Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 10

Still less must this temperance which foregoes science take it upon itself to claim that such raving enthusiasm and obscurantism is something higher than science. These prophetic utterances pretend to occupy the very center and the depths, look askance at definiteness (the Horus), and deliberately hold back from the concept and necessity as being the sort of reflection which, they say, can only feel at home in finitude. But just as there is an empty expanse, there is also an empty depth, and as there is an extension of substance which overflows into finite multiplicity without the power of keeping the manifold together, in the same way we may have a content-less intensity which, maintaining itself as mere force without expansion, is the same thing as superficiality. The power of the mind is only as great as its expression, its depth only as deep as it dares  to expand and lose itself in its explanation. Likewise when this concept-less substantial knowledge pretends to have immersed the peculiarity of self in the essence, and to philosophize in truth and holiness, it hides from itself the fact that instead of devotion to God, it rather, by this contempt for all measure and definiteness, on the one hand simply attests in itself the fortuitous character of its content, and on the other endows God with its own caprice. When such minds commit themselves to the unrestrained ferment of substance, they think that, by putting a veil over self-consciousness, and surrendering all understanding, they are thus God’s own, to whom He gives His wisdom in their sleep. What they in fact do conceive and bring forth in sleep is, therefore, dreams.

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