Thursday, April 21, 2011

Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 68

As regards philosophy proper, we find put forward without any hesitation, as an entirely sufficient equivalent for the long course of mental cultivation – for the movement, as rich as it is profound, by which the human spirit attains to knowledge – direct divine revelation and healthy common sense, which has concerned itself and been formed neither by other knowledge nor by actual philosophizing, as a complete equivalent and as good a surrogate as chicory is purported to be for coffee. It gives no joy to note that the ignorance and the formless as well as tasteless crudity which is incapable of holding onto an abstract proposition, much less a concatenation of such propositions, confidently assures itself that it is intellectual freedom and toleration, and even genius. This last used once upon a time, as everyone knows, to be all the vogue in the case of poetry, as it is now in philosophy. Instead of poetry, however, when this form of inspiration did have some sense, it now generates trivial prose, or, going beyond that, raving harangues. So also nowadays with natural philosophizing, which considers itself too good for the concept, and by the lack thereof believes it has a contemplative and poetical thinking – such philosophizing trades in arbitrary combinations of a disorganized power of imagination, figments that are neither fish nor fowl, neither poetry nor philosophy.

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