K. Appel, „Die Zeit als freies Dasein der Wirklichkeit in Hegels Phänomenologie des Geistes“, aus: Ders., Zeit und Gott. Mythos und Logos der Zeit im Anschluss an Hegel und Schelling (Wien, Univ., Habil. 2005 überarbeitet), Paderborn 2008.
Translated into English by Oliver Wieters, 20 October 2020
Time as Free Existence of Actuality in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit
„In my view, which must be justified by the exposition of the system itself, everything hangs on grasping and expressing the true not just as substance but just as much as subject.“ (PoS 17)
„The wounds of the spirit heal and leave no scars behind“ (PoS 669)
„However, in this kind of representational thought, actuality does not receive its full due, namely, that it is not only a garment, it is also a free-standing self-sufficient existence.“ (PoS 678)
„The word of reconciliation is the existing spirit which immediately intuits in its opposite the pure knowing of itself as the universal essence, intuits it in the pure knowing of itself as singular individuality existing absolutely inwardly – a reciprocal recognition which is Absolute Spirit.“ (PoS 670)
„Time is the same principle as the I = I of pure self-consciousness…“ (Enc §258, 233)
1. Entrance I. Thinking in Shapes
1. The decisive elements of Hegel’s thoughts can already be found in his early theological writings which represent a philosophical interpretation of the life of Jesus. Hegel is one of the first philosophers of Western philosophy to think in historical Shapes. If Aristoteles’ categories where Shapes of being derived from judgment, Kant’s categories were Shapes of consciousness (judgment). Hegel’s early writings unite both positions as Shapes of Conscious-Being (Bewusst-Sein). He later called this unity of consciousness and being a Concept (Begriff) which contains reality in itself. The subject-object-opposition is sublated in favour of a view that conceives objectivity as the result of human encounter with the world in intersubjective contexts. One could speak of a subject-subject-object-thinking. Objects (and their Perception) are the objectified dealing with the world (Weltumgang) of man, which it cultivates socially, culturally, linguistically and historically with other men. Its Essence is manifested in the Shape of the Absolute.
2. In his early theological writings Hegel contrasts two forms of dealing with the world: On the one hand the technical-practical Shape in which the Absolute presents itself as law. On the other hand the sympathetic Shape in which the Absolute has the Shape of love. The second dealing with the world knows that objects are neither independent from the subject and are nor the result of its dealing with the world, but are in a constant interrelationship with the subject and thus also constitute it. As such they are alive (lebendig), and the relationship between the subject (as a singular and intersubjective universal) and its object is always the relationship between living beings. This event is called by Hegel, in the Phenomenology of Spirit, spirit (Geist).
3. Today even renowned Hegel scholars reduce the spirit to an interaction between subjects. Thus Hegel must be considered an atheist. On the contrary, already in Hegel’s early theological writings the intersubjectivity can be found in the dialectic of the singular and the universal (the latter understood as a living relationship that can never be positivized and reduced to the sum of singular individuals). Hegel’s statement that „the I is we“ must be understood in the sense that the We can be thought of by the „I“ only to the same extent that the I can be thought of by the we (or by the never positivizable difference which constitutes „we“). In theological terms, this can be expressed in saying that the walk of man to the other man is man’s walk towards God and God’s walk towards man. However, at the same time, God will steer the walk of man into ever new directions.
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