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Monday, January 30, 2006

It's Hegel time

Well, and Goethe and another guy, but they're connected.

Against the great superiorities of others
There is no remedy but love.
--Goethe (later quoted by Hegel)

Is it possible to know and doubt simultaneously?
That, Hegel tells us, is what knowing in the fullest possible sense really is.
--Frederick G. Weiss

And now the man himself in a lengthier passage; stay awake now, it's worth it:

Time was when man had a heaven, decked and fitted out with endless wealth of thought and pictures. The significance of all that is lay in the thread of light by which it was attached to heaven; instead of dwelling in the present as it is here and now, the eye glanced away over the present to the Divine, away, so to say, to a present that lies beyond. The mind's gaze had to be directed under compulsion to what is earthly, and kept fixed there; and it has needed a long time to introduce that clearness, which only celestial realities had, into the crassness and confusion shrouding the sense of things earthly, and to make attention to the immediate present as such, which was called Experience, of interest and value. Now we have apparently the opposite of this; man's mind and interest are so deeply rooted in the earthly power that we require a like power to have them raised above that level. His spirit shows such poverty of nature that it seems to long for the mere pitiful feeling of the divine in the abstract, and to get refreshment from that, like a wanderer in the desert craving for the merest mouthful of water. By the little which can thus satisfy the needs of the human spirit we can measure the extent of its loss.

1 comment:

Matthew Francis said...

That is a tremendous swath of Hegel, at his lyrical best. "Phenomenology of Spirit" is one of my all-time most beloved books.