Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences
Part III: The Philosophy of Spirit (1830)
SECTION ONE: SUBJECTIVE SPIRIT
(a) Theoretical Mind - (b) Practical Mind - (c) Free Mind
Mind has defined itself as the truth of soul and consciousness – the former a simple immediate totality, the latter now an infinite form which is not, like consciousness, restricted by that content, and does not stand in mere correlation to it as to its object, but is an awareness of this substantial totality, neither subjective nor objective. Mind, therefore, starts only from its own being and is in correlation only with its own features.
Psychology accordingly studies the faculties or general modes of mental activity qua mental – mental vision, ideation, remembering, etc., desires, etc.- apart both from the content, which on the phenomenal side is found in empirical ideation, in thinking also and in desire and will, and from the two forms in which these modes exist, viz. in the soul as a physical mode, and in consciousness itself as a separately existent object of that consciousness. This, however, is not an arbitrary abstraction by the psychologist. Mind is just this elevation above nature and physical modes, and above the complication with an external object – in one word, above the material, as its concept has just shown. All it has now to do is to realise this notion of its freedom, and get rid of the form of immediacy with which it once more begins. The content which is elevated to intuitions is its sensations: it is its intuitions also which are transmuted into representations, and its representations which are transmuted again into thoughts, etc.
The soul is finite, so far as its features are immediate or connatural. Consciousness is finite, in so far as it has an object. Mind is finite, in so far as, though it no longer has an object, it has a mode in its knowledge; i.e. it is finite by means of its immediacy, or, what is the same thing, by being subjective or only a notion. And it is a matter of no consequence, which is defined as its notion, and which as the reality of that notion. Say that its notion is the utterly infinite objective reason, then its reality is knowledge or intelligence: say that knowledge is its notion, then its reality is that reason, and the realisation of knowledge consists in appropriating reason. Hence the finitude of mind is to be placed in the (temporary) failure of knowledge to get hold of the full reality of its reason, or, equally, in the (temporary) failure of reason to attain full manifestation in knowledge. Reason at the same time is only infinite so far as it is ‘absolute’ freedom; so far, that is, as presupposing itself for its knowledge to work upon, it thereby reduces itself to finitude, and appears as everlasting movement of superseding this immediacy, of comprehending itself, and being a rational knowledge.
The progress of mind is development, in so far as its existent phase, viz. knowledge, involves as its intrinsic purpose and burden that utter and complete autonomy which is rationality; in which case the action of translating this purpose into reality is strictly only a nominal passage over into manifestation, and is even there a return into itself. So far as knowledge which has not shaken off its original quality of mere knowledge is only abstract or formal, the goal of mind is to give it objective fulfilment, and thus at the same time produce its freedom.
The development here meant is not that of the individual (which has a certain anthropological character), where faculties and forces are regarded as successively emerging and presenting themselves in external existences series of steps, on the ascertainment of which there was for a long time great stress laid (by the system of Condillac), as if a conjectural natural emergence could exhibit the origin of these faculties and explain them. In Condillac’s method there is an unmistakable intention to show how the several modes of mental activity could be made intelligible without losing sight of mental unity, and to exhibit their necessary interconnection. But the categories employed in doing so are of a wretched sort. Their ruling principle is that the sensible is taken (and with justice) as the prius or the initial basis, but that the latter phases that follow this starting-point present themselves as emerging in a solely affirmative manner, and the negative aspect of mental activity, by which this material is transmuted into mind and destroyed as a sensible, is misconceived and overlooked. As the theory of Condillac states it, the sensible is not merely the empirical first, but is left as if it were the true and essential foundation.
Similarly, if the activities of mind are treated as mere manifestations, forces, perhaps in terms stating their utility or suitability for some other interest of head or heart, there is no indication of the true final aim of the whole business. That can only be the intelligible unity of mind, and its activity can only have itself as aim; i.e. its aim can only be to get rid of the form of immediacy or subjectivity, to reach and get hold of itself, and to liberate itself to itself. In this way the so-called faculties of mind as thus distinguished are only to be treated as steps of this liberation. And this is the only rational mode of studying the mind and its various activities.
As consciousness has for its object the stage which preceded it, viz. the natural soul (§ 413), so mind has or rather makes consciousness its object: i.e. whereas consciousness is only the virtual identity of the ego with its other (§ 415), the mind realises that identity as the concrete unity which it and it only knows. Its productions are governed by the principle of all reason that the contents are at once potentially existent, and are the mind’s own, in freedom. Thus, if we consider the initial aspect of mind, that aspect is twofold – as being and as its own: by the one, the mind finds in itself something which is, by the other it affirms it to be only its own. The way of mind is therefore
(a) to be theoretical: it has to do with the rational as its immediate affection which it must render its own: or it has to free knowledge from its presupposedness and therefore from its abstractness, and make the affection subjective. When the affection has been rendered its own, and the knowledge consequently characterised as free intelligence, i.e. as having its full and free characterisation in itself, it is
(b) Will: practical mind, which in the first place is likewise formal – i.e. its content is at first only its own, and is immediately willed; and it proceeds next to liberate its volition from its subjectivity, which is the one-sided form of its contents, so that it
(c) confronts itself as free mind and thus gets rid of both its defects of one-sidedness.
The theoretical as well as the practical mind still fall under the general range of Mind Subjective. They are not to be distinguished as active and passive. Subjective mind is productive: but it is a merely nominal productivity. Inwards, the theoretical mind produces only its ‘ideal’ world, and gains abstract autonomy within; while the practical, while it has to do with autonomous products, with a material which is its own, has a material which is only nominally such, and therefore a restricted content, for which it gains the form of universality. Outwards, the subjective mind (which as a unity of soul and consciousness, is thus also a reality – a reality at once anthropological and conformable to consciousness) has for its products, in the theoretical range, the word, and in the practical (not yet deed and action, but) enjoyment.
Psychology, like logic, is one of those sciences which in modern times have yet derived least profit from the more general mental culture and the deeper conception of reason. It is still extremely ill off. The turn which the Kantian philosophy has taken has given it greater importance: it has, and that in its empirical condition, been claimed as the basis of metaphysics, which is to consist of nothing but the empirical apprehension and the analysis of the facts of human consciousness, merely as facts, just as they are given. This position of psychology, mixing it up with forms belonging to the range of consciousness and with anthropology, has led to no improvement in its own condition: but it has had the further effect that, both for the mind as such, and for metaphysics and philosophy generally, all attempts have been abandoned to ascertain the necessity of essential and actual reality, to get at the notion and the truth.
(a) THEORETICAL MIND
i Intuition – ii Representation – iii Thinking
Intelligence finds itself determined: this is its apparent aspect from which in its immediacy it starts. But as knowledge, intelligence consists in treating what is found as its own. Its activity has to do with the empty form – the pretense of finding reason: and its aim is to realise its concept or to be reason actual, along with which the content is realised as rational. This activity is cognition. The nominal knowledge, which is only certitude, elevates itself, as reason is concrete, to definite and conceptual knowledge. The course of this elevation is itself rational, and consists in a necessary passage (governed by the concept) of one grade or term of intelligent activity (a so-called faculty of mind) into another. The refutation which such cognition gives of the semblance that the rational is found, starts from the certitude or the faith of intelligence in its capability of rational knowledge, and in the possibility of being able to appropriate the reason, which it and the content virtually is.
The distinction of Intelligence from Will is often incorrectly taken to mean that each has a fixed and separate existence of its own, as if volition could be without intelligence, or the activity of intelligence could be without will. The possibility of a culture of the intellect which leaves the heart untouched, as it is said, and of the heart without the intellect – of hearts which in one-sided way want intellect, and heartless intellects – only proves at most that bad and radically untrue existences occur. But it is not philosophy which should take such untruths of existence and of mere imagining for truth – take the worthless for the essential nature. A host of other phrases used of intelligence, e.g. that it receives and accepts impressions from outside, that ideas arise through the causal operations of external things upon it, etc., belong to a point of view utterly alien to the mental level or to the position of philosophic study.
A favorite reflectional form is that of powers and faculties of soul, intelligence, or mind. Faculty, like power or force, is the fixed quality of any object of thought, conceived as reflected into self. Force (§ 136) is no doubt the infinity of form – of the inward and the outward: but its essential finitude involves the indifference of content to form (ib. note). In this lies the want of organic unity which by this reflectional form, treating mind as a ‘lot’ of forces, is brought into mind, as it is by the same method brought into nature. Any aspect which can be distinguished in mental action is stereotyped as an independent entity, and the mind thus made a skeleton-like mechanical collection. It makes absolutely no difference if we substitute the expression ‘activities’ for powers and faculties. Isolate the activities and you similarly make the mind a mere aggregate, and treat their essential correlation as an external incident.
The action of intelligence as theoretical mind has been called cognition (knowledge). Yet this does not mean intelligence inter alia knows – besides which it also intuits, conceives, remembers, imagines, etc. To take up such a position is in the first instance, part and parcel of that isolating of mental activity just censured; but it is also in addition connected with the great question of modern times, as to whether true knowledge or the knowledge of truth is possible – which, if answered in the negative, must lead to abandoning the effort. The numerous aspects and reasons and modes of phrase with which external reflection swells the bulk of this question are cleared up in their place: the more external the attitude of understanding in the question, the more diffuse it makes its simple object. At the present place the simple concept of cognition is what confronts the quite general assumption taken up by the question, viz. the assumption that the possibility of true knowledge in general is in dispute, and the assumption that it is possible for us at our will either to prosecute or to abandon cognition. The concept or possibility of cognition has come out as intelligence itself, as the certitude of reason: the act of cognition itself is therefore the actuality of intelligence. It follows from this that it is absurd to speak of intelligence and yet at the same time of the possibility or choice of knowing or not. But cognition is genuine, just so far as it realises itself, or makes the concept its own. This nominal description has its concrete meaning exactly where cognition has it. The stages of its realising activity are intuition, conception, memory, etc.: these activities have no other immanent meaning: their aim is solely the concept of cognition (§ 445 note). If they are isolated, however, then an impression is implied that they are useful for something else than cognition, or that they severally procure a cognitive satisfaction of their own; and that leads to a glorification of the delights of intuition, remembrance, imagination. It is true that even as isolated (i.e. as non-intelligent), intuition, imagination, etc. can afford a certain satisfaction: what physical nature succeeds in doing by its fundamental quality – its out-of-selfness – exhibiting the elements or factors of immanent reason external to each other – that the intelligence can do by voluntary act, but the same result may happen where the intelligence is itself only natural and untrained. But the true satisfaction, it is admitted, is only afforded by an intuition permeated by intellect and mind, by rational conception, by products of imagination which are permeated by reason and exhibit ideas – in a word, by cognitive intuition, cognitive conception, etc. The truth ascribed to such satisfaction lies in this, that intuition, conception, etc. are not isolated, and exist only as ‘moments’ in the totality of cognition itself.
i. Intuition (Intelligent Perception)
The mind which as soul is physically conditioned – which as consciousness stands to this condition on the same terms as to an outward object – but which as intelligence finds itself so characterised – is (1) an inarticulate embryonic life, in which it is to itself as it were palpable and has the whole material of its knowledge. In consequence of the immediacy in which it is thus originally, it is in this stage only as an individual and possesses a vulgar subjectivity. It thus appears as mind in the guise of feeling.
If feeling formerly turned up (§ 399) as a mode of the soul’s existence, the finding of it or its immediacy was in that case essentially to be conceived as a congenital or corporeal condition; whereas at present it is only to be taken abstractly in the general sense of immediacy.
The characteristic form of feeling is that though it is a mode of some ‘affection’, this mode is simple. Hence feeling, even should its import be most sterling and true, has the form of casual particularity – not to mention that its import may also be the most scanty and most untrue.
It is commonly enough assumed that mind has in its feeling the material of its ideas, but the statement is more usually understood in a sense the opposite of that which it has here. In contrast with the simplicity of feeling it is usual rather to assume that the primary mental phase is judgment generally, or the distinction of consciousness into subject and object; and the special quality of sensation is derived from an independent object, external or internal. With us, in the truth of mind, the mere consciousness point of view, as opposed to true mental ‘idealism’, is swallowed up, and the matter of feeling has rather been supposed already as immanent in the mind. – It is commonly taken for granted that as regards content there is more in feeling than in thought: this being specially affirmed of moral and religious feelings. Now the material, which the mind as it feels is to itself, is here the result and the mature result of a fully organised reason. hence under the head of feeling is comprised all rational and indeed all spiritual content whatever. But the form of selfish singleness to which feeling reduces the mind is the lowest and worst vehicle it can have – one in which it is not found as a free and infinitely universal principle, but rather as subjective and private, in content and value entirely contingent. Trained and sterling feeling is the feeling of an educated mind which has acquired the consciousness of the true differences of things, of their essential relationships and real characters; and it is with such a mind that this rectified material enters into its feeling and receives this form. Feeling is the immediate, as it were the closest, contact in which the thinking subject can stand to a given content. Against that content the subject reacts first of all with its particular self-feeling, which though it may be of more sterling value and of wider range than a one-sided intellectual standpoint, may just as likely be narrow and poor; and in any case is the form of the particular and subjective. If a man on any topic appeals not to the nature and notion of the thing, or at least to reasons – to the generalities of common sense – but to his feeling, the only thing to do is to let him alone, because by his behaviour he refuses to have any lot or part in common rationality, and shuts himself up in his own isolated subjectivity – his private and particular self.
(2) As this immediate finding is broken up into elements, we have the one factor in Attention – the abstract identical direction of mind (in feeling, as also in all other more advanced developments of it) – an active self-collection – the factor of fixing it as our own, but with an as yet only nominal autonomy of intelligence. Apart from such attention there is nothing for the mind. The other factor is to invest the special quality of feeling, as contrasted with this inwardness of mind, with the character of something existent, but as a negative or as the abstract otherness of itself. Intelligence thus defines the content of sensation as something that is out of itself, projects it into time and space, which are the forms in which it is intuitive. To the view of consciousness the material is only an object of consciousness, a relative other: from mind it receives the rational characteristic of being its very other (§§ 247, 254).
(3) When intelligence reaches a concrete unity of the two factors, that is to say, when it is at once self-collected in this externally existing material, and yet in this self-collectedness sunk in the out-of-selfness, it is Intuition or Mental Vision.
At and towards this its own out-of-selfness, intelligence no less essentially directs its attention. In this its immediacy it is an awaking to itself, a recollection of itself. Thus intuition becomes a concretion of the material with the intelligence, which makes it its own, so that it no longer needs this immediacy, no longer needs to find the content.
ii. Representation (or Mental Idea)
[a] Recollection – [b] Imagination – [c] Memory
Representation is this recollected or inwardised intuition, and as such is the middle between that stage of intelligence where it finds itself immediately subject to modification and that where intelligence is in its freedom, or, as thought. The representation is the property of intelligence; with a preponderating subjectivity, however, as its right of property is still conditioned by contrast with the immediacy, and the representation cannot as it stands be said to be. The path of intelligence in representations is to render the immediacy inward, to invest itself with intuitive action in itself, and at the same time to get rid of the subjectivity of the inwardness, and inwardly divest itself of it; so as to be in itself in an externality of its own. But as representation begins from intuition and the ready-found material of intuition, the intuitional contrast still continues to affect its activity, and makes its concrete products still ‘syntheses’, which do not grow to the concrete immanence of the notion till they reach the stage of thought.
Intelligence, as it at first recollects the intuition, places the content of feeling in its own inwardness – in a space and a time of its own. In this way that content is (1) an image or picture, liberated from its original immediacy and abstract singleness amongst other things, and received into the universality of the ego. The image loses the full complement of features proper to intuition, and is arbitrary or contingent, isolated, we may say, from the external place, time, and immediate context in which the intuition stood.
(2) The image is of itself transient, and intelligence itself is as attention its time and also its place, its when and where. But intelligence is not only consciousness and actual existence, but qua intelligence is the subject and the potentiality of its own specialisations. The image when thus kept in mind is no longer existent, but stored up out of consciousness.
To grasp intelligence as this night-like mine or pit in which is stored a world of infinitely many images and representations, yet without being in consciousness, is from the one point of view the universal postulate which bids us treat the notion as concrete, in the way we treat, for example, the germ as affirmatively containing, in virtual possibility, all the qualities that come into existence in the subsequent development of the tree. Inability to grasp a universal like this, which, though intrinsically concrete, still continues simple, is what has led people to talk about special fibres and areas as receptacles of particular ideas. It was felt that what was diverse should in the nature of things have a local habitation peculiar to itself. But whereas the reversion of the germ from its existing specialisations to its simplicity in a purely potential existence takes place only in another germ – the germ of the fruit; intelligence qua intelligence shows the potential coming to free existence in its development, and yet at the same time collecting itself in its inwardness. Hence from the other point of view intelligence is to be conceived as this subconscious mine, i.e. as the existent universal in which the different has not yet been realised in its separations. And it is indeed this potentiality which is the first form of universality offered in mental representation.
(3) An image thus abstractly treasured up needs, if it is to exist, an actual intuition: and what is strictly called Remembrance is the reference of the image to an intuition – and that as a subsumption of the immediate single intuition (impression) under what is in point of form universal, under the representation (idea) with the same content. Thus intelligence recognises the specific sensation and the intuition of it as what is already its own – in them it is still within itself: at the same time it is aware that what is only its (primarily) internal image is also an immediate object of intuition, by which it is authenticated. The image, which in the mine of intelligence was only its property, now that it has been endued with externality, comes actually into its possession. And so the image is at once rendered distinguishable from the intuition and separable from the blank night in which it was originally submerged. Intelligence is thus the force which can give forth its property, and dispense with external intuition for its existence in it. This ‘synthesis’ of the internal image with the recollected existence is representation proper: by this synthesis the internal now has the qualification of being able to be presented before intelligence and to have its existence in it.
(1) The intelligence which is active in this possession is the reproductive imagination, where the images issue from the inward world belonging to the ego, which is now the power over them. The images are in the first instance referred to this external, immediate time and space which is treasured up along with them. But it is solely in the conscious subject, where it is treasured up, that the image has the individuality in which the features composing it are conjoined: whereas their original concretion, i.e. at first only in space and time, as a unit of intuition, has been broken up. The content reproduced, belonging as it does to the self-identical unity of intelligence, and an out-put from its universal mine, has a general idea (representation) to supply the link of association for the images which according to circumstances are more abstract or more concrete ideas.
The so-called laws of the association of ideas were objects of great interest, especially during that outburst of empirical psychology which was contemporaneous with the decline of philosophy. In the first place, it is not Ideas (properly so called) which are associated. Secondly, these modes of relation are not laws, just for the reason that there are so many laws about the same thing, as to suggest a caprice and a contingency opposed to the very nature of law. It is a matter of chance whether the link of association is something pictorial, or an intellectual category, such as likeness and contrast, reason and consequence. The train of images and representations suggested by association is the sport of vacant-minded ideation, where, though intelligence shows itself by a certain formal universality, the matter is entirely pictorial. – Image and Idea, if we leave out of account the more precise definition of those forms given above, present also a distinction in content. The former is the more sensuously concrete idea, whereas the idea (representation), whatever be its content (from image, notion, or idea), has always the peculiarity, though belonging to intelligence, of being in respect of its content given and immediate. It is still true of this idea or representation, as of all intelligence, that it finds its material, as a matter of fact, to be so and so; and the universality which the aforesaid material receives by ideation is still abstract. Mental representation is the mean in the syllogism of the elevation of intelligence, the link between the two significations of self-relatedness – viz. being and universality, which in consciousness receive the title of object and subject. Intelligence complements what is merely found by the attribution of universality, and the internal and its own by the attribution of being, but a being of its own institution. (On the distinction of representations and thoughts, see Introduction to the Logic, § 20 note.)
Abstraction, which occurs in the ideational activity by which general ideas are produced (and ideas qua ideas virtually have the form of generality), is frequently explained as the incidence of many similar images one upon another and is supposed to be thus made intelligible. If this superimposing is to be no mere accident and without principle, a force of attraction in like images must be assumed, or something of the sort, which at the same time would have the negative power of rubbing off the dissimilar elements against each other. This force is really intelligence itself – the self-identical ego which by its internalising recollection gives the images ipso facto generality, and subsumes the single intuition under the already internalised image (§ 453).
Thus even the association of ideas is to be treated as a subsumption of the individual under the universal, which forms their connecting link. But here intelligence is more than merely a general form: its inwardness is an internally definite, concrete subjectivity with a substance and value of its own, derived from some interest, some latent concept or Ideal principle, so far as we may by anticipation speak of such. Intelligence is the power which wields the stores of images and ideas belonging to it, and which thus (2) freely combines and subsumes these stores in obedience to its peculiar tenor. Such is creative imagination – symbolic, allegoric, or poetical imagination – where the intelligence gets a definite embodiment in this store of ideas and informs them with its general tone. These more or less concrete, individualised creations are still ‘syntheses’: for the material, in which the subjective principles and ideas get a mentally pictorial existence, is derived from the data of intuition.
In creative imagination intelligence has been so far perfected as to need no aids for intuition. Its self-sprung ideas have pictorial existence. This pictorial creation of its intuitive spontaneity is subjective – still lacks the side of existence. But as the creation unites the internal idea with the vehicle of materialisation, intelligence has therein implicitly returned both to identical self-relation and to immediacy. As reason, its first start was to appropriate the immediate datum in itself (§§ 445, 435), i.e. to universalise it; and now its action as reason (§ 438) is from the present point directed towards giving the character of an existent to what in it has been perfected to concrete auto-intuition. In other words, it aims at making itself be and be a fact. Acting on this view, it is self-uttering, intuition-producing: the imagination which creates signs.
Productive imagination is the centre in which the universal and being, one’s own and what is picked up, internal and external, are completely welded into one. The preceding ‘syntheses’ of intuition, recollection, etc., are unifications of the same factors, but they are ‘syntheses’; it is not till creative imagination that intelligence ceases to be the vague mine and the universal, and becomes an individuality, a concrete subjectivity, in which the self-reference is defined both to being and to universality. The creations of imagination are on all hands recognised as such combinations of the mind’s own and inward with the matter of intuition; what further and more definite aspects they have is a matter for other departments. For the present this internal studio of intelligence is only to be looked at in these abstract aspects. – Imagination, when regarded as the agency of this unification, is reason, but only a nominal reason, because the matter or theme it embodies is to imagination qua imagination a matter of indifference; whilst reason qua reason also insists upon the truth of its content.
Another point calling for special notice is that, when imagination elevates the internal meaning to an image and intuition, and this is expressed by saying that it gives the former the character of an existent, the phrase must not seem surprising that intelligence makes itself be as a thing; for its ideal import is itself, and so is the aspect which it imposes upon it. The image produced by imagination of an object is a bare mental or subjective intuition: in the sign or symbol it adds intuitability proper; and in mechanical memory it completes, so far as it is concerned, this form of being.
In this unity (initiated by intelligence) of an independent representation with an intuition, the matter of the latter is, in the first instance, something accepted, somewhat immediate or given (for example, the colour of the cockade, etc.). But in the fusion of the two elements, the intuition does not count positively or as representing itself, but as representative of something else. It is an image, which has received as its soul and meaning an independent mental representation. This intuition is the Sign.
The sign is some immediate intuition, representing a totally different import from what naturally belongs to it; it is the pyramid into which a foreign soul has been conveyed, and where it is conserved. The sign is different from the symbol: for in the symbol the original characters (in essence and conception) of the visible object are more or less identical with the import which it bears as symbol; whereas in the sign, strictly so-called, the natural attributes of the intuition, and the connotation of which it is a sign, have nothing to do with each other. Intelligence therefore gives proof of wider choice and ampler authority in the use of intuitions when it treats them as designatory (significative) rather than as symbolical.
In logic and psychology, signs and language are usually foisted in somewhere as an appendix, without any trouble being taken to display their necessity and systematic place in the economy of intelligence. The right place for the sign is that just given: where intelligence – which as intuiting generates the form of time and space, but appears as recipient of sensible matter, out of which it forms ideas – now gives its own original ideas a definite existence from itself, treating the intuition (or time and space as filled full) as its own property, deleting the connotation which properly and naturally belongs to it, and conferring on it an other connotation as its soul and import. This sign-creating activity may be distinctively named ‘productive’ Memory (the primarily abstract ‘Mnemosyne’); since memory, which in ordinary life is often used as interchangeable and synonymous with remembrance (recollection), and even with conception and imagination, has always to do with signs only.
The intuition – in its natural phase a something given and given in space – acquires, when employed as a sign, the peculiar characteristic of existing only as superseded and sublimated. Such is the negativity of intelligence; and thus the truer phase of the intuition used as a sign is existence in time (but its existence vanishes in the moment of being), and if we consider the rest of its external psychical quality, its institution by intelligence, but an institution growing out of its (anthropological) own naturalness. This institution of the natural is the vocal note, where the inward idea manifests itself in adequate utterance. The vocal note which receives further articulation to express specific ideas – speech and, its system, language – gives to sensations, intuitions, conceptions, a second and higher existence than they naturally possess – invests them with the right of existence in the ideational realm.
Language here comes under discussion only in the special aspect of a product of intelligence for manifesting its ideas in an external medium. If language had to be treated in its concrete nature, it would be necessary for its vocabulary or material part to recall the anthropological or psychophysiological point of view (§ 401), and for the grammar or formal portion to anticipate the standpoint of analytic understanding. With regard to the elementary material of language, while on one hand the theory of mere accident has disappeared, on the other the principle of imitation has been restricted to the slight range it actually covers – that of vocal objects. Yet one may still hear the German language praised for its wealth – that wealth consisting in its special expression for special sounds – Rauschen, Sausen, Knarren, etc.; – there have been collected more than a hundred such words, perhaps: the humour of the moment creates fresh ones when it pleases. Such superabundance in the realm of sense and of triviality contributes nothing to form the real wealth of a cultivated language. The strictly raw material of language itself depends more upon an inward symbolism than a symbolism referring to external objects; it depends, i.e. on anthropological articulation, as it were the posture in the corporeal act of oral utterance. For each vowel and consonant accordingly, as well as for their more abstract elements (the posture of lips, palate, tongue in each) and for their combinations, people have tried to find the appropriate signification. But these dull subconscious beginnings are deprived of their original importance and prominence by new influences, it may be by external agencies or by the needs of civilisation. Having been originally sensuous intuitions, they are reduced to signs, and thus have only traces left of their original meaning, if it be not altogether extinguished. As to the formal element, again, it is the work of analytic intellect which informs language with its categories: it is this logical instinct which gives rise to grammar. The study of languages still in their original state, which we have first really begun to make acquaintance with in modern times, has shown on this point that they contain a very elaborate grammar and express distinctions which are lost or have been largely obliterated in the languages of more civilised nations. It seems as if the language of the most civilised nations has the most imperfect grammar, and that the same language has a more perfect grammar when the nation is in a more uncivilised state than when it reaches a higher civilisation. (Cf. W. von Humboldt’s Essay on the Dual.)
In speaking of vocal (which is the original) language, we may touch, only in passing, upon written languages further development in the particular sphere of language which borrows the help of an externally practical activity. It is from the province of immediate spatial intuition to which written language proceeds that it takes and produces the signs (§ 454). In particular, hieroglyphics uses spatial figures to designate ideas; alphabetical writing, on the other hand, uses them to designate vocal notes which are already signs. Alphabetical writing thus consists of signs of signs – the words or concrete signs of vocal language being analysed into their simple elements, which severally receive designation. – Leibniz’s practical mind misled him to exaggerate the advantages which a complete written language, formed on the hieroglyphic method (and hieroglyphics are used even where there is alphabetic writing, as in our signs for the numbers, the planets, the chemical elements, etc.), would have as a universal language for the intercourse of nations and especially of scholars. But we may be sure that it was rather the intercourse of nations (as was probably the case in Phoenicia, and still takes place in Canton – see Macartney’s Travels by Staunton) which occasioned the need of alphabetical writing and led to its formation. At any rate a comprehensive hieroglyphic language for ever completed is impracticable. Sensible objects no doubt admit of permanent signs; but, as regards signs for mental objects, the progress of thought and the continual development of logic lead to changes in the views of their internal relations and thus also of their nature; and this would involve the rise of a new hieroglyphical denotation. Even in the case of sense-objects it happens that their names, i.e. their signs in vocal language, are frequently changed, as, for example, in chemistry and mineralogy. Now that it has been forgotten what names properly are, viz. externalities which of themselves have no sense, and only get signification as signs, and now that, instead of names proper, people ask for terms expressing a sort of definition, which is frequently changed capriciously and fortuitously, the denomination, i.e. the composite name formed of signs of their generic characters or other supposed characteristic properties, is altered in accordance with the differences of view with regard to the genus or other supposed specific property. It is only a stationary civilisation, like the Chinese, which admits of the hieroglyphic language of that nation; and its method of writing moreover can only be the lot of that small part of a nation which is in exclusive possession of mental culture. – The progress of the vocal language depends most closely on the habit of alphabetical writing; by means of which only does vocal language acquire the precision and purity of its articulation. The imperfection of the Chinese vocal language is notorious: numbers of its words possess several utterly different meanings, as many as ten and twenty, so that, in speaking, the distinction is made perceptible merely by accent and intensity, by speaking low and soft or crying out. The European, learning to speak Chinese, falls into the most ridiculous blunders before he has mastered these absurd refinements of accentuation. Perfection here consists in the opposite of that parler sans accent which in Europe is justly required of an educated speaker. The hieroglyphic mode of writing keeps the Chinese vocal language from reaching that objective precision which is gained in articulation by alphabetic writing.
Alphabetic writing is on all accounts the more intelligent: in it the word – the mode, peculiar to the intellect, of uttering its ideas most worthily – is brought to consciousness and made an object of reflection. Engaging the attention of intelligence, as it does, it is analysed; the work of sign-making is reduced to its few simple elements (the primary postures of articulation) in which the sense-factor in speech is brought to the form of universality, at the same time that in this elementary phase it acquires complete precision and purity. Thus alphabetic writing retains at the same time the advantage of vocal language, that the ideas have names strictly so called: the name is the simple sign for the exact idea, i.e. the simple plain idea, not decomposed into its features and compounded out of them. Hieroglyphics, instead of springing from the direct analysis of sensible signs, like alphabetic writing, arise from an antecedent analysis of ideas. Thus a theory readily arises that all ideas may be reduced to their elements, or simple logical terms, so that from the elementary signs chosen to express these (as, in the case of the Chinese Koua, the simple straight stroke, and the stroke broken into two parts) a hieroglyphic system would be generated by their composition. This feature of hieroglyphic – the analytical designations of ideas – which misled Leibniz to regard it as preferable to alphabetic writing is rather in antagonism with the fundamental desideratum of language – the name. To want a name means that for the immediate idea (which, however ample a connotation it may include, is still for the mind simple in the name), we require a simple immediate sign which for its own sake does not suggest anything, and has for its sole function to signify and represent sensibly the simple idea as such. It is not merely the image-loving and image-limited intelligence that lingers over the simplicity of ideas and redintegrates them from the more abstract factors into which they have been analysed: thought too reduces to the form of a simple thought the concrete connotation which it ‘resumes’ and reunites from the mere aggregate of attributes to which analysis has reduced it. Both alike require such signs, simple in respect of their meaning: signs, which though consisting of several letters or syllables and even decomposed into such, yet do not exhibit a combination of several ideas. – What has been stated is the principle for settling the value of these written languages. It also follows that in hieroglyphics the relations of concrete mental ideas to one another must necessarily be tangled and perplexed, and that the analysis of these (and the proximate results of such analysis must again be analysed) appears to be possible in the most various and divergent ways. Every divergence in analysis would give rise to another formation of the written name; just as in modern times (as already noted, even in the region of sense) muriatic acid has undergone several changes of name. A hieroglyphic written language would require a philosophy as stationary as is the civilisation of the Chinese.
What has been said shows the inestimable and not sufficiently appreciated educational value of learning to read and write an alphabetic character. It leads the mind from the sensibly concrete image to attend to the more formal structure of the vocal word and its abstract elements, and contributes much to give stability and independence to the inward realm of mental life. Acquired habit subsequently effaces the peculiarity by which alphabetic writing appears, in the interest of vision, as a roundabout way to ideas by means of audibility; it makes them a sort of hieroglyphic to us, so that in using them we need not consciously realise them by means of tones, whereas people unpractised in reading utter aloud what they read in order to catch its meaning in the sound. Thus, while (with the faculty which transformed alphabetic writing into hieroglyphics) the capacity of abstraction gained by the first practice remains, hieroglyphic reading is of itself a deaf reading and a dumb writing. It is true that the audible (which is in time) and the visible (which is in space), each have their own basis, one no less authoritative than the other. But in the case of alphabetic writing there is only a single basis: the two aspects occupy their rightful relation to each other: the visible language is related to the vocal only as a sign, and intelligence expresses itself immediately and unconditionally by speaking. – The instrumental function of the comparatively non-sensuous element of tone for all ideational work shows itself further as peculiarly important in memory which forms the passage from representation to thought.
The name, combining the intuition (an intellectual production) with its signification, is primarily a single transient product; and conjunction of the idea (which is inward) with the intuition (which is outward) is itself outward. The reduction of this outwardness to inwardness is (verbal) Memory.
Under the shape of memory the course of intelligence passes through the same inwardising (recollecting) functions, as regards the intuition of the word, as representation in general does in dealing with the first immediate intuition (§ 45l). (1) Making its own the synthesis achieved in the sign, intelligence, by this inwardising (memorising) elevates the single synthesis to a universal, i.e. permanent, synthesis, in which name and meaning are for it objectively united, and renders the intuition (which the name originally is) a representation. Thus the import (connotation) and sign, being identified, form one representation: the representation in its inwardness is rendered concrete and gets existence for its import: all this being the work of memory which retains names (retentive Memory).
The name is thus the thing so far as it exists and counts in the ideational realm. (2) In the name, Reproductive memory has and recognises the thing, and with the thing it has the name, apart from intuition and image. The name, as giving an existence to the content in intelligence, is the externality of intelligence to itself; and the inwardising or recollection of the name, i.e. of an intuition of intellectual origin, is at the same time a self-externalisation to which intelligence reduces itself on its own ground. The association of the particular names lies in the meaning of the features sensitive, representative, or cogitant – series of which the intelligence traverses as it feels, represents, or thinks.
Given the name lion, we need neither the actual vision of the animal, nor its image even: the name alone, if we understand it, is the unimaged simple representation. We think in names.
The recent attempts – already, as they deserved, forgotten – to rehabilitate the Mnemonic of the ancients, consist in transforming names into images, and thus again deposing memory to the level of imagination. The place of the power of memory is taken by a permanent tableau of a series of images, fixed in the imagination, to which is then attached the series of ideas forming the composition to be learned by rote. Considering the heterogeneity between the import of these ideas and those permanent images, and the speed with which the attachment has to be made, the attachment cannot be made otherwise than by shallow, silly, and utterly accidental links. Not merely is the mind put to the torture of being worried by idiotic stuff, but what is thus learnt by rote is just as quickly forgotten, seeing that the same tableau is used for getting by rote every other series of ideas, and so those previously attached to it are effaced. What is mnemonically impressed is not like what is retained in memory really got by heart, i.e. strictly produced from within outwards, from the deep pit of the ego, and thus recited, but is, so to speak, read off the tableau of fancy. – Mnemonic is connected with the common prepossession about memory, in comparison with fancy and imagination; as if the latter were a higher and more intellectual activity than memory. On the contrary, memory has ceased to deal with an image derived from intuition – the immediate and incomplete mode of intelligence; it has rather to do with an object which is the product of intelligence itself – such a without-book as remains locked up in the within-book of intelligence, and is, within intelligence, only its outward and existing side.
(3) As the interconnection of the names lies in the meaning, the conjunction of their meaning with the reality as names is still an (external) synthesis; and intelligence in this its externality has not made a complete and simple return into self. But intelligence is the universal – the single plain truth of its particular self-divestments; and its consummated appropriation of them abolishes that distinction between meaning and name. This supreme inwardising of representation is the supreme self-divestment of intelligence, in which it renders itself the mere being, the universal space of names as such, i.e. of meaningless words. The ego, which is this abstract being, is, because subjectivity, at the same time the power over the different names – the link which, having nothing in itself, fixes in itself series of them and keeps them in stable order. So far as they merely are, and intelligence is here itself this being of theirs, its power is a merely abstract subjectivity – memory; which, on account of the complete externality in which the members of such series stand to one another, and because it is itself this externality (subjective though that be), is called mechanical (§ 195).
A composition is, as we know, not thoroughly conned by rote, until one attaches no meaning to the words. The recitation of what has been thus got by heart is therefore of course accentless. The correct accent, if it is introduced, suggests the meaning: but this introduction of the signification of an idea disturbs the mechanical nexus and therefore easily throws out the reciter. The faculty of conning by rote series of words, with no principle governing their succession, or which are separately meaningless, for example, a series of proper names, is so supremely marvellous, because it is the very essence of mind to have its wits about it; whereas in this case the mind is estranged in itself, and its action is like machinery. But it is only as uniting subjectivity with objectivity that the mind has its wits about it. Whereas in the case before us, after it has in intuition been at first so external as to pick up its facts ready made, and in representation inwardises or recollects this datum and makes it its own – it proceeds as memory to make itself external in itself, so that what is its own assumes the guise of something found. Thus one of the two dynamic factors of thought, viz. objectivity, is here put in intelligence itself as a quality of it. – It is only a step further to treat memory as mechanical – the act implying no intelligence – in which case it is only justified by its uses, its indispensability perhaps for other purposes and functions of mind. But by so doing we overlook the proper signification it has in the mind.
If it is to be the fact and true objectivity, the mere name as an existent requires something else – to be interpreted by the representing intellect. Now in the shape of mechanical memory, intelligence is at once that external objectivity and the meaning. In this way intelligence is explicitly made an existence of this identity, i.e. it is explicitly active as such an identity which as reason it is implicitly. Memory is in this manner the passage into the function of thought, which no longer has a meaning, i.e. its objectivity is no longer severed from the subjective, and its inwardness does not need to go outside for its existence.
The German language has etymologically assigned memory (Gedächtnis), of which it has become a foregone conclusion to speak contemptuously, the high position of direct kindred with thought (Gedanke).
It is not matter of chance that the young have a better memory than the old, nor is their memory solely exercised for the sake of utility. The young have a good memory because they have not yet reached the stage of reflection; their memory is exercised with or without design so as to level the ground of their inner life to pure being or to pure space in which the fact, the implicit content, may reign and unfold itself with no antithesis to a subjective inwardness. Genuine ability is in youth generally combined with a good memory. But empirical statements of this sort help little towards a knowledge of what memory intrinsically is. To comprehend the position and meaning of memory and to understand its organic interconnection with thought is one of the hardest points, and hitherto one quite unregarded in the theory of mind. Memory qua memory is itself the merely external mode, or merely existential aspect of thought, and thus needs a complementary element. The passage from it to thought is to our view or implicitly the identity of reason with this existential mode: an identity from which it follows that reason only exists in a subject, and as the function of that subject. Thus active reason is Thinking.
Intelligence is recognitive: it cognises an intuition, but only because that intuition is already its own (§ 454); and in the name it rediscovers the fact (§ 462): but now it finds its universal in the double signification of the universal as such, and of the universal as immediate or as being – finds that is the genuine universal which is its own unity overlapping and including its other, viz. being. Thus intelligence is explicitly, and on its own part cognitive: virtually it is the universal – its product (the thought) is the thing: it is a plain identity of subjective and objective. It knows that what is thought, is, and that what is, only is in so far as it is a thought (§§ 5, 21); the thinking of intelligence is to have thoughts: these are as its content and object.
But cognition by thought is still in the first instance formal: the universality and its being is the plain subjectivity of intelligence. The thoughts therefore are not yet fully and freely determinate, and the representations which have been inwardised to thoughts are so far still the given content.
As dealing with this given content, thought is (a) understanding with its formal identity, working up the representations, that have been memorised, into species, genera, laws, forces, etc., in short into categories – thus indicating that the raw material does not get the truth of its being save in these thought-forms. As intrinsically infinite negativity, thought is (b) essentially an act of partition – judgment, which, however, does not break up the concept again into the old antithesis of universality and being, but distinguishes on the lines supplied by the interconnections peculiar to the concept. Thirdly (c), thought supersedes the formal distinction and institutes at the same time an identity of the differences – thus being nominal reason or inferential understanding. Intelligence, as the act of thought, cognises. And (a) understanding out of its generalities (the categories) explains the individual, and is then said to comprehend or understand itself: (b) in the judgment it explains the individual to be a universal (species, genus). In these forms the content appears as given: (c) but in inference (syllogism) it characterises a content from itself, by superseding that form-difference. With the perception of the necessity, the last immediacy still attaching to formal thought has vanished.
In Logic there was thought, but in its implicitness, and as reason develops itself in this distinction-lacking medium. So in consciousness thought occurs as a stage (§ 437 note). Here reason is as the truth of the antithetical distinction, as it had taken shape within the mind’s own limits. Thought thus recurs again and again in these different parts of philosophy, because these parts are different only through the medium they are in and the antitheses they imply; while thought is this one and the same centre, to which as to their truth the antitheses return.
Intelligence which as theoretical appropriates an immediate mode of being, is, now that it has completed taking possession, in its own property: the last negation of immediacy has implicitly required that the intelligence shall itself determine its content. Thus thought, as free notion, is now also free in point of content. But when intelligence is aware that it is determinative of the content, which is its mode no less than it is a mode of being, it is Will.
(b) MIND PRACTICAL
i Feeling – ii Impulses – iii Happiness
As will, the mind is aware that it is the author of its own conclusions, the origin of its self-fulfilment. Thus fulfilled, this independency or individuality forms the side of existence or of reality for the Idea of mind. As will, the mind steps into actuality; whereas as cognition it is on the soil of notional generality. Supplying its own content, the will is self-possessed, and in the widest sense free: this is its characteristic trait. Its finitude lies in the formalism that the spontaneity of its self-fulfilment means no more than a general and abstract ownness, not yet identified with matured reason. It is the function of the essential will to bring liberty to exist in the formal will, and it is therefore the aim of that formal will to fill itself with its essential nature, i.e. to make liberty its pervading character, content, and aim, as well as its sphere of existence. The essential freedom of will is, and must always be, a thought: hence the way by which will can make itself objective mind is to rise to be a thinking will – to give itself the content which it can only have as it thinks itself.
True liberty, in the shape of moral life, consists in the will finding its purpose in a universal content, not in subjective or selfish interests. But such a content is only possible in thought and through thought: it is nothing short of absurd to seek to banish thought from the moral, religious, and law-abiding life.
Practical mind, considered at first as formal or immediate will, contains a double ought – (1) in the contrast which the new mode of being projected outward by the will offers to the immediate positivity of its old existence and condition – an antagonism which in consciousness grows to correlation with external objects. (2) That first self-determination, being itself immediate, is not at once elevated into a thinking universality: the latter, therefore, virtually constitutes an obligation on the former in point of form, as it may also constitute it in point of matter; – a distinction which only exists for the observer.
i. Practical Sense or Feeling
The autonomy of the practical mind at first is immediate and therefore formal, i.e. it finds itself as an individuality determined in its inward nature. It is thus ‘practical feeling’, or instinct of action. In this phase, as it is at bottom a subjectivity simply identical with reason, it has no doubt a rational content, but a content which as it stands is individual, and for that reason also natural, contingent and subjective – a content which may be determined quite as much by mere personalities of want and opinion, etc., and by the subjectivity which selfishly sets itself against the universal, as it may be virtually in conformity with reason.
An appeal is sometimes made to the sense (feeling) of right and morality, as well as of religion, which man is alleged to possess – to his benevolent dispositions – and even to his heart generally – i.e. to the subject so far as the various practical feelings are in it all combined. So far as this appeal implies (1) that these ideas are immanent in his own self, and (2) that when feeling is opposed to the logical understanding, it, and not the partial abstractions of the latter, may be the totality – the appeal has a legitimate meaning. But on the other hand, feeling too may be one-sided, unessential, and bad. The rational, which exists in the shape of rationality when it is apprehended by thought, is the same content as the good practical feeling has, but presented in its universality and necessity, in its objectivity and truth.
Thus it is, on the one hand, silly to suppose that in the passage from feeling to law and duty there is any loss of import and excellence; it is this passage which lets feeling first reach its truth. It is equally silly to consider intellect as superfluous or even harmful to feeling, heart, and will; the truth and, what is the same thing, the actual rationality of the heart and will can only be at home in the universality of intellect, and not in the singleness of feeling as feeling. If feelings are of the right sort, it is because of their quality or content – which is right only so far as it is intrinsically universal or has its source in the thinking mind. The difficulty for the logical intellect consists in throwing off the separation it has arbitrarily imposed between the several faculties of feeling and thinking mind, and coming to see that in the human being there is only one reason, in feeling, volition, and thought. Another difficulty connected with this is found in the fact that the Ideas which are the special property of the thinking mind, namely God, law and morality, can also be felt. But feeling is only the form of the immediate and peculiar individuality of the subject, in which these facts, like any other objective facts (which consciousness also sets over against itself), may be placed.
On the other hand, it is suspicious or even worse to cling to feeling and heart in place of the intelligent rationality of law, right, and duty; because all that the former holds more than the latter is only the particular subjectivity with its vanity and caprice. For the same reason it is out of place in a scientific treatment of the feelings to deal with anything beyond their form, and to discuss their content; for the latter, when thought, is precisely what constitutes, in their universality and necessity, the rights and duties which are the true works of mental autonomy. So long as we study practical feelings and dispositions specially, we have only to deal with the selfish, bad, and evil; it is these alone which belong to the individuality which retains its opposition to the universal: their content is the reverse of rights and duties, and precisely in that way do they – but only in antithesis to the latter – retain a speciality of their own.
The ‘Ought’ of practical feeling is the claim of its essential autonomy to control some existing mode of fact – which is assumed to be worth nothing save as adapted to that claim. But as both, in their immediacy, lack objective determination, this relation of the requirement to existent fact is the utterly subjective and superficial feeling of pleasant or unpleasant.
Delight, joy, grief, etc., shame, repentance, contentment, etc., are partly only modifications of the formal ‘practical feeling’ in general, but are partly different in the features that give the special tone and character mode to their ‘Ought’.
The celebrated question as to the origin of evil in the world, so far at least as evil is understood to mean what is disagreeable and painful merely, arises on this stage of the formal practical feeling. Evil is nothing but the incompatibility between what is and what ought to be. ‘Ought’ is an ambiguous term – indeed infinitely so, considering that casual aims may also come under the form of Ought. But where the objects sought are thus casual, evil only executes what is rightfully due to the vanity and nullity of their planning: for they themselves were radically evil. The finitude of life and mind is seen in their judgment: the contrary which is separated from them they also have as a negative in them, and thus they are the contradiction called evil. In the lifeless there is neither evil nor pain: for in inorganic nature the intelligible unity (concept) does not confront its existence and does not in the difference at the same time remain its permanent subject. Whereas in life, and still more in mind, we have this immanent distinction present: hence arises the Ought: and this negativity, subjectivity, ego, freedom are the principles of evil and pain. Jacob Böhme viewed egoity (selfhood) as pain and torment, and as the fountain of nature and of spirit.
ii. The Impulses and Choice
The practical ought is a ‘real’ judgment. Will, which is essentially self-determination, finds in the conformity – as immediate and merely found to hand – of the existing mode to its requirement a negation, and something inappropriate to it. If the will is to satisfy itself, if the implicit unity of the universality and the special mode is to be realised, the conformity of its inner requirement and of the existent thing ought to be its act and institution. The will, as regards the form of its content, is at first still a natural will, directly identical with its specific mode: – natural impulse and inclination. Should, however, the totality of the practical spirit throw itself into a single one of the many restricted forms of impulse, each being always in conflict to another, it is passion.
Inclinations and passions embody the same constituent features as the practical feeling. Thus, while, on one hand, they are based on the rational nature of the mind; they, on the other, as part and parcel of the still subjective and single will, are infected with contingency, and appear as particular to stand to the individual and to each other in an external relation and with a necessity which creates bondage.
The special note in passion is its restriction to one special mode of volition, in which the whole subjectivity of the individual is merged, be the value of that mode what it may. In consequence of this formalism, passion is neither good nor bad; the title only states that a subject has thrown his whole soul – his interests of intellect, talent, character, enjoyment – on one aim and object. Nothing great has been and nothing great can be accomplished without passion. It is only a dead, too often, indeed, a hypocritical moralising which inveighs against the form of passion as such.
But with regard to the inclinations, the question is directly raised, Which are good and bad? – Up to what degree the good continue good; – and (as there are many, each with its private range). In what way have they, being all in one subject and hardly all, as experience shows, admitting of gratification, to suffer at least reciprocal restriction? And, first of all, as regards the numbers of these impulses and propensities, the case is much the same as with the psychical powers, whose aggregate is to form the mind theoretical – an aggregate which is now increased by the host of impulses. The nominal rationality of impulse and propensity lies merely in their general impulse not to be subjective merely, but to get realised, overcoming the subjectivity by the subject’s own agency. Their genuine rationality cannot reveal its secret to a method of outer reflection which pre-supposes a number of independent innate tendencies and immediate instincts, and therefore is wanting in a single principle and final purpose for them. But the immanent ‘reflection’ of mind itself carries it beyond their particularity and their natural immediacy, and gives their contents a rationality and objectivity, in which they exist as necessary ties of social relation, as rights and duties. It is this objectification which evinces their real value, their mutual connections, and their truth. And thus it was a true perception when Plato (especially including as he did the mind’s whole nature under its right) showed that the full reality of justice could be exhibited only in the objective phase of justice, namely in the construction of the State as the ethical life.
The answer to the question, therefore, What are the good and rational propensities, and how they are to be coordinated with each other? resolves itself into an exposition of the laws and forms of common life produced by the mind when developing itself as objective mind – a development in which the content of autonomous action loses its contingency and optionality. The discussion of the true intrinsic worth of the impulses, inclinations, and passions is thus essentially the theory of legal, moral, and social duties.
The subject is the act of satisfying impulses, an act of (at least) formal rationality, as it translates them from the subjectivity of content (which so far is purpose) into objectivity, where the subject is made to close with itself. If the content of the impulse is distinguished as the thing or business from this act of carrying it out, and we regard the thing which has been brought to pass as containing the element of subjective individuality and its action, this is what is called the interest. Nothing therefore is brought about without interest.
An action is an aim of the subject, and it is his agency too which executes this aim: unless the subject were in this way even in the most disinterested action, i.e. unless he had an interest in it, there would be no action at all. – The impulses and inclinations are sometimes depreciated by being contrasted with the baseless chimera of a happiness, the free gift of nature, where wants are supposed to find their satisfaction without the agent doing anything to produce a conformity between immediate existence and his own inner requirements. They are sometimes contrasted, on the whole to their disadvantage, with the morality of duty for duty’s sake. But impulse and passion are the very life-blood of all action: they are needed if the agent is really to be in his aim and the execution thereof. The morality concerns the content of the aim, which as such is the universal, an inactive thing, that finds its actualising in the agent; and finds it only when the aim is immanent in the agent, is his interest and – should it claim to engross his whole efficient subjectivity – his passion.
The will, as thinking and implicitly free, distinguishes itself from the particularity of the impulses, and places itself as simple subjectivity of thought above their diversified content. It is thus ‘reflecting’ will.
Such a particularity of impulse has thus ceased to be a mere datum: the reflective will now sees it as its own, because it closes with it and thus gives itself specific individuality and actuality. It is now on the standpoint of choosing between inclinations, and is option or choice.
Will as choice claims to be free, reflected into itself as the negativity of its merely immediate autonomy. However, as the content, in which its former universality concludes itself to actuality, is nothing but the content of the impulses and appetites, it is actual only as a subjective and contingent will. It realises itself in a particularity, which it regards at the same time as a nullity, and finds a satisfaction in what it has at the same time emerged from. As thus contradictory, it is the process of distraction and of suspending one desire or enjoyment by another – and one satisfaction, which is just as much no satisfaction, by another, without end. But the truth of the particular satisfactions is the universal, which under the name of happiness the thinking will makes its aim.
In this idea, which reflection and comparison have educed, of a universal satisfaction, the impulses, so far as their particularity goes, are reduced to a mere negative; and it is held that partly they are to be sacrificed to each other for the behoof of that aim, partly sacrificed to that aim directly, either altogether or in part. Their mutual limitation, on one hand, proceeds from a mixture of qualitative and quantitative considerations: on the other hand, as happiness has its sole affirmative contents in the springs of action, it is on them that the decision turns, and it is the subjective feeling and good pleasure which must have the casting vote as to where happiness is to be placed.
Happiness is the mere abstract and merely imagined universality of things desired – a universality which only ought to be. But the particularity of the satisfaction which just as much is as it is abolished, and the abstract singleness, the option which gives or does not give itself (as it pleases) an aim in happiness, find their truth in the intrinsic universality of the will, i.e. its very autonomy or freedom. In this way choice is will only as pure subjectivity, which is pure and concrete at once, by having for its contents and aim only that infinite mode of being – freedom itself. In this truth of its autonomy where concept and object are one, the will is an actually free will.
(c) FREE MIND
Actual free will is the unity of theoretical and practical mind: a free will, which realises its own freedom of will, now that the formalism, fortuitousness, and contractedness of the practical content up to this point have been superseded. By superseding the adjustments of means therein contained, the will is the immediate individuality self-instituted – an individuality, however, also purified of all that interferes with its universalism, i.e. with freedom itself. This universalism the will has as its object and aim, only so far as it thinks itself, knows this its concept, and is will as free intelligence.
The mind which knows itself as free and wills itself as this its object, i.e. which has its true being for characteristic and aim, is in the first instance the rational will in general, or implicit Idea, and because implicit only the notion of absolute mind. As abstract Idea again, it is existent only in the immediate will – it is the existential side of reason – the single will as aware of this its universality constituting its contents and aim, and of which it is only the formal activity. If the will, therefore, in which the Idea thus appears is only finite, that will is also the act of developing the Idea, and of investing its self-unfolding content with an existence which, as realising the idea, is actuality. It is thus ‘Objective’ Mind.
No Idea is so generally recognised as indefinite, ambiguous, and open to the greatest misconceptions (to which therefore it actually falls a victim) as the idea of Liberty: none in common currency with so little appreciation of its meaning. Remembering that free mind is actual mind, we can see how misconceptions about it are of tremendous consequence in practice. When individuals and nations have once got in their heads the abstract concept of full-blown liberty, there is nothing like it in its uncontrollable strength, just because it is the very essence of mind, and that as its very actuality. Whole continents, Africa and the East, have never had this Idea, and are without it still. The Greeks and Romans, Plato and Aristotle, even the Stoics, did not have it. On the contrary, they saw that it is only by birth (as, for example, an Athenian or Spartan citizen), or by strength of character, education, or philosophy (- the sage is free even as a slave and in chains) that the human being is actually free. It was through Christianity that this Idea came into the world. According to Christianity, the individual as such has an infinite value as the object and aim of divine love, destined as mind to live in absolute relationship with God himself, and have God’s mind dwelling in him: i.e. man is implicitly destined to supreme freedom. If, in religion as such, man is aware of this relationship to the absolute mind as his true being, he has also, even when he steps into the sphere of secular existence, the divine mind present with him, as the substance of the state, of the family, etc. These institutions are due to the guidance of that spirit, and are constituted after its measure; whilst by their existence the moral temper comes to be indwelling in the individual, so that in this sphere of particular existence, of present sensation and volition, he is actually free.
If to be aware of the Idea – to be aware, that is, that men are aware of freedom as their essence, aim, and object – is matter of speculation, still this very Idea itself is the actuality of men – not something which they have, as men, but which they are. Christianity in its adherents has realised an ever-present sense that they are not and cannot be slaves; if they are made slaves, if the decision as regards their property rests with an arbitrary will, not with laws or courts of justice, they would find the very substance of their life outraged. This will to liberty is no longer an impulse which demands its satisfaction, but the permanent character – the spiritual consciousness grown into a non-impulsive nature. But this freedom, which the content and aim of freedom has, is itself only a notion – a principle of the mind and heart, intended to develop into an objective phase, into legal, moral, religious, and not less into scientific actuality.
Mind (1817) – next section (Objective Spirit)
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