The Truth which Conscious Certainty of Self Realises
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172 Since we started from the first immediate unity, and returned through the moments of form-determination, and of process, to the unity of both these moments, and thus again back to the first simple substance, we see that this reflected unity is other than the first.
As opposed to that immediate unity, the unity expressed as a mode of being, this second is the universal unity, which holds all these moments sublated within itself. It is the simple genus, which in the movement of life itself does not exist in this simplicity for itself; but in this result points life towards what is other than itself, namely, towards Consciousness for which life exists as this unity or as genus.
3. The Ego and Desire
173 This other life, however, for which the genus as such exists and which is genus for itself, namely, self-consciousness, exists in the first instance only in the form of this simple, essential reality, and has for object itself qua pure Ego.
In the course of its experience, which we are now to consider, this abstract object will grow in richness, and will be unfolded in the way we have seen in the case of life.
174 The simple ego is this genus, or the bare universal, for which the differences are insubstantial, only by its being the negative essence of the moments which have assumed a definite and independent form.
Self-consciousness is thus only assured of itself through sublating this other, which is presented to self-consciousness as an independent life; self-consciousness is Desire.
Convinced of the nothingness of this other, it definitely affirms this nothingness to be for itself the truth of this other, negates the independent object, and thereby acquires the certainty of its own self, as true certainty, a certainty which it has become aware of in objective form.
175 In this state of satisfaction, however, it has experience of the independence of its object.
Desire and the certainty of its self obtained in the gratification of desire, are conditioned by the object; for the certainty exists through cancelling this other; in order that this cancelling may be effected, there must be this other.
Self-consciousness is thus unable by its negative relation to the object to abolish it; because of that relation it rather produces it again, as well as the desire.
The object desired is something other than self-consciousness, the essence of desire.
Through this experience, this truth has become realized.
At the same time, however, self-consciousness is likewise absolutely for itself, exists on its own account. It is so only by sublation of the object; and it must come to feel its satisfaction, for it is the truth.
On account of the independence of the object, therefore, it can only attain satisfaction when this object itself effectually brings about negation within itself. The object must per se effect this negation of itself, for it is inherently (an sich) something negative, and must be for the other what it is.
Since the object is in its very self negation, and in being so is at the same time independent, it is Consciousness. In the case of life, which is the object of desire, the negation either lies in an other, namely, in desire, or takes the form of determinateness standing in opposition to an other external individuum indifferent to it, or appears as its inorganic general nature.
The above general independent nature, however, in the case of which negation takes the form of absolute negation, is the genus as such or as self-consciousness. Self-consciousness attains its satisfaction only in another self-consciousness.
176 It is in these three moments that the notion of self-consciousness first gets completed:
- (a) pure undifferentiated ego is its first immediate object.
- (b) This immediacy is itself, however, thoroughgoing mediation; it has its being only by cancelling the independent object, in other words it is Desire. The satisfaction of desire is indeed the reflexion of self-consciousness into itself, is the certainty which has passed into objective truth.
- But (c) the truth of this certainty is really twofold reflexion, the reduplication of self-consciousness.
Consciousness has an object which implicates its own otherness or affirms distinction as a void distinction, and therein is independent.
The individual form distinguished, which is only a living form, certainly cancels its independence also in the process of life itself; but it ceases along with its distinctive difference to be what it is.
The object of self-consciousness, however, is still independent in this negativity of itself; and thus it is for itself genus, universal flux or continuity in the very distinctiveness of its own separate existence; it is a living self-consciousness.
177 Only so and only then is it self-consciousness in actual fact; for here first of all it comes to have the unity of itself in its otherness.
Ego is the object of its notion.
- It is in point of fact not “object”.
The object of desire, however, is only independent, for it is the universal, ineradicable substance, the fluent self-identical essential reality.
When a self-consciousness is the object, the object is just as much ego as object.
With this we already have before us the notion of Mind or Spirit.
What consciousness has further to become aware of, is the experience of what mind is — this absolute substance.
This absolute is the unity of the different self-related and self-existent self-consciousnesses in the perfect freedom and independence of their opposition as component elements of that substance.
Ego is “we”, a plurality of Egos, and “we” that is a single Ego.
Consciousness first finds in self-consciousness — the notion of mind — its turning-point, where it leaves the parti-coloured show of the sensuous immediate, passes from the dark void of the transcendent and remote super-sensuous, and steps into the spiritual daylight of the present.