Why I am Hegelian

Today on the occasion of my 25th birthday I would like to defend a philosophy I want to affiliate myself with.

This is a big deal for me so I will express myself in the correct mode: dialetic:
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 realizing the idea, is actuality. It is thus 'Objective' Mind.

No Idea is so generally recognized 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 realized 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.

...april fools!


  1. Frater Asinus said...
    It was like reading another language...

    I was taking you seriously at first.
    Well done!
    Dawnwatchman said...
    This argument would follow if it were not for the impossibility of constituting the idea of absolute liberty, and hence the grounding of absolute mind, synthetically a priori within the realm of pure cognition. As such, the absolute is beyond the bounds of possible experience, and hence cannot be operative in such speculative cognition. However, its use in the practical metaphysical domain is limited also, for reasons which are apparent to anyone versed in human duty towards another.

    ...just thought I'd throw in my own crazy German proto-idealist in there.

    I second Frater: well done!

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