YouTube: REASON. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit
This is the fifth lecture on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, here focused on the chapter titled “Reason”. Following the chapter on Self-Consciousness, Hegel now wants to deal with the structure of self-consciousness, and its “reasons”. Here “reasons” form the essential dimension of Hegelian idealism. For Hegel, the basic definition of his idealism is a symmetry, a symmetry between the object world, or nature, and the subjective world, or mind. When subjective thought, or mind, reaches a symmetry with the objective mind, or nature, this is the conditions for idealism. You can see here, with this symmetry, that for Hegel, the natural sciences would be the peak or height of idealism, paradoxically making scientific materialism the ultimate form of idealism.
For Hegel, this form of idealism becomes a self-determining universality. In other words, it is not a universal that exists independent of human beings, but active in self-mediation. The universality is always-already a self and a becoming of self. Thus, idealism and the whole process of the natural sciences, is not only the discovery of nature, but the imposition of our ideal onto nature. This captures a critical transition, from a natural sciences that reflects to a natural sciences that actually creates. This would all fall into Hegel’s idealism.
What is also essential for Hegel is the transition from reasonableness to spirituality. Reasonableness doesn’t include the very process of reason, the phenomenology of spirit. When we include the entire phenomenology of spirit, we are interested in formalizing a universality that is self-consistent with our own spirit, as opposed to discovering a pre-existing universality.
Let’s first focus on Reason itself. Reason manifests itself in particular universalities. That is, me (Cadell), am a particular universality; and you, reading this, are also a particular universality. We both hold a universal structure of reason as particular entities. The fact is, in this development of particular universalities, there is a motion which Hegel identifies from the external other being seen as a negativity, to the external other being seen as a positivity. What this means is that thought recognizes that it is not in symmetrical relation to the objective world. It doesn’t know everything, and it cannot know everything. This is an asymmetry between itself and the world.
Emotionally speaking, thought perceives this as a negativity at first. This is before it divines its own presence in the world as an individual. It recognizes that its own presence and participation in universality, is necessary for the becoming of spirit itself, and even necessary for the existence of the self as an individual. From this point, in the transition from external other as a negativity to positivity, spirit learns to deeply trust its own instinct of reason as a guiding principle. It learns to integrate the asymmetry as a positive feature. From Hegel:
231. In this movement [of being-for-self] it has also become aware of its unity with this universal […] which, for us, no longer falls outside of it since the superseded single individual is the universal[.] […] This middle term [between change/un-change] is the unity directly aware of both and connecting them[.] [/] 232. Now that self-consciousness is Reason, its hitherto negative relation to otherness turns round into a positive relation. […] Reason, assured of itself, it is at peace with [otherness], and can endure [it.] [/] 235. Now […] self-consciousness and being possess difference in itself; for its essence is just this, to be immediately one and selfsame in otherness, or in absolute difference. [/] 239. This Reason remains a restless searching and in its very searching declares that the satisfaction of finding is a sheer impossibility. Actual Reason, however, […] is aware […] it is not yet in truth reality, and it is impelled to […] give filling to the empty ‘mine’.
This quote requires some unpacking. What I already emphasized, that the particular individual starts to perceive that it is part of the universal, that its own reason is a part of the universal development, and this leads to a negative relation to otherness to a positive relation to otherness. In other words, knowledge becomes more comfortable with unknowing, knowledge becomes more certain in uncertainty, it no longer desires to reduce certainty to itself, or reduce all the otherness to itself. This is a fully social and historical “I”, a lot different from the Cartesian cogito. At the same time it is mobilising the self assuredness and certainty of the cogito in a social and historical way. Also what is crucial is that Hegel is not reducing this process to identity, but rather is accepting this absolute difference. This is an important way to avoid making straw-man arguments of the Hegelian dialectic. Hegel is bringing spirit into comfort in discomfort, certainty to uncertainty, identity in relation to difference, mobilised by the contradiction. Finally, reason is ultimately trying to fill in some empty lack which it senses, which is the difficulty with the emotional integration of the process.
Reason here now attempts to formulate laws, formulate laws of the otherness. This is a big feature of the natural sciences. We see this with Newton and Leibniz, trying to formulate laws that are invariant, constant, that never change. At the same time, Hegel recognizes that the successful classification of the natural world in terms of laws, can only be successful, or perhaps, partially successful, in the inorganic realm. We cannot do that with the organic realm. We cannot use physical laws to reduce biological organisms. There is a type of organic freedom where the sciences reach a limit. This is recognized in the sciences of emergence and complexity, where the emergence of chemistry, biology, and higher order phenomena, do not seem to be reducible to physical law. There is freedom in nature. This is especially obvious with organism and conscious mind. Hegel is here recognizing that reason has a desire to make the unknown known, formulate laws, but these laws reach their own contradiction reach their own contradiction when it comes to life and mind itself.
255. The aspects of law which the instinct of Reason proceeds to observe are […] organic and inorganic Nature in their relation to one another. […] Here we have law as the connection of a [universal] element with the formative process of the organism which […] has the elementary being over against it, and, […] exhibits it within its organic reflection. […] Such laws are seen at a glance to display a poverty which does not do justice to the manifold variety of organic Nature. […] Organic Nature in its freedom can divest its forms of these characteristics, and of necessity everywhere presents exceptions to such laws, or rules as we might call them, […] amounts to no more than the great influence of environment[.] Such relations of organisms to the elements [they live in] cannot therefore be called laws. […] Neither the individuality, nor the universal element, is absolutely in and for itself; […] they behave at the same time as essentially connected, but in such a way that their independence and mutual indifference are the predominant feature.
This is a beautiful passage where Hegel is identifying that organic and inorganic nature have a relation with each other, but the organic is somehow over and above the inorganic. By definition the inorganic is reflected by the organic, you can never escape this way in which the organic and inorganic nature have a type of asymmetry. The way the organic and inorganic have a negative relation in some sense. The idea of inorganic laws are coming from organism and mind. Organism and mind cannot reduce inorganic nature because it is not including itself in the very process of this reduction. It is not understanding its own organism and own mind. This is what Hegel is “barring” us from in some sense, but then opening us up to the nature of organic nature, which he says displays a manifold variety that you do not see in inorganic nature. Any law applied to the organic realm, would not do justice to the organic realm. This is very relevant, and essentially important for any philosopher interested in life sciences and the relation between life and the natural world. We have to always remember the emergence and irreducibility of the organic to the inorganic.
Then reason comes to understand that the individual Earth and its life forms possess a type of law in-themselves. He calls these laws principles of necessary tendency. These principles of necessary tendency cannot be observed externally, from without, as you would in the typical sciences, but rather, that these necessary tendencies emerge internal to the organism and mind and is invisible to external gaze. This is a way in which nature becomes even more mysterious then the inorganic realm. There is a feature of the Thing which is hiding from itself, an irreducible interiority. This is linked to teleology for Hegel. You can see here the way there is a conflict between Hegelian dialectics and phenomenology, and Newtonian mechanics, where there is no final causation and teleology. For Newtonian mechanistic paradigm, this is an image of Aristotelian metaphysics that is now outdated. However, Hegel is reviving this metaphysics dialectically:
255. The necessity [of organism] […] can no longer be observed in the world of reality, but has withdrawn […] [in] what is called a teleological relation[.] It is a conception which leaves necessity [of law] behind and operates spontaneously above it. [/] 257. We must examine most closely this determination of End, both as it is in itself, and as it is for the instinct of Reason[.] The notion of End […] in its role of [Reason] rises [as] its essence […] [and] is related purposively to an other: which means that its relation is a contingent one[.] […] But the essence of their relation […] and their action has a different meaning from the one sense-perception at first finds[.] The necessity in what takes place is hidden, and shows itself only in the End [even if it has] also been there from the beginning. [/] 297. The [necessary] universality of organic life falls, in its actuality [in-itself], directly into the extreme of singleness without a genuine mediation of its own […] [and] has the significance, not of the Earth, but of the oneness immanent in life[.]
This is a really important passage to understand Hegelian science of teleology, life and mind. He is again recognizing the necessity of the organism that cannot be observed externally, but has withdrawn into itself. There is a way in which this withdrawing into self, represented by the organism, has its own in-itself which rises above any natural law. It does not recognize any natural law. It thus requires us to think a universality that inscribes contingency into itself. Organism has a degree of freedom, it can make a determination of its own end, and not the end of the inorganic universe.
He then posits that this teleology has no relation to the Earth or physical reality, but has a significance to the oneness immanent to life. This means life and mind are not one, but there is a oneness immanent in this teleological necessity. This necessity that emerges contingently, freely. This is a very subtle dialectical point which often gets misunderstood.
Here you have the three levels of reason, for Hegel, where first the external otherness from negative to positive. This means reason sees external otherness as a positive thing, not something that has to be reduced to known categories, eternal laws where we know everything; but rather sees external otherness as a positive thing, a condition for its own free activity. Reason recognizes that there is an organic freedom that is diverse, with its own will and interiority that cannot be observed. From this interiority and teleology, the contingency of the freedom, a necessity emerges, and this necessity and tendency is towards an immanent oneness. This is a very beautiful dialectical formulation.
Now moving on to another level of reason. Reason here is concerned with itself. Reason is thinking about reason. Reason being meta-rational. Reason becomes interested: are there laws of thought? How to understand the way in which reason and self-consciousness is determining universality? Hegel here explores the concept of abstract negativity. This means that the way reason abstracts is through a series of negations, abstractions through a series of what it is not, through otherness. Reason is not self-similar, there is an asymmetry between thought and matter.
298. Observation finds this free Notion, whose universality contains just as absolutely within it developed individuality, only in the Notion which itself exists as Notion, i.e. in self-consciousness. [/] 299. When observation now turns in upon itself and directs its attention to the Notion existing as free Notion, it finds […] Thought is […] the abstract movement of the negative, a movement wholly retracted into simplicity[.] [/] 300. In their truth, as vanishing moments in the unity of thought, they would have to be taken as a knowing, or as a movement of thought, but not as Laws of being. But observing is not knowing itself, and is ignorant of it; it converts its own nature into the form of being[.][…] The more precise development belongs to speculative philosophy in which [thoughts] show themselves to be what they are in truth, viz. single vanishing moments whose truth is only the whole movement of thought, knowing itself.
This is a brilliant and complicated passage. Hegel is saying that thought is observing itself as a free notion and trying to understand itself as a free notion. It is trying to recognize that it contains a pure individuality, a freedom in self-consciousness. Its own movement is a negative one. Retracted into simplicity means that these negations in themselves are simple negations. They are not necessarily complex. Thought has a simple notion: “no”. These are the vanishing moments in the unity of thought. Thought as a whole is a unity but it appears in time as a simple moment, moment after moment after moment. Observing these thoughts is not knowledge in-itself. So staying in the mode of observation is a withdrawal and retraction from active knowledge, the movement of thought. This brings Hegel to the notion of speculative philosophy: the free notion speculating on the truth. This is the movement of truth itself, and a daring activity of thought, a willingness to participate in the becoming of universality, as opposed to bring on the side lines observing. Thought is participating speculatively. This is knowing itself, this is the philosopher, for Hegel.
Now Hegel becomes interested in the mind-matter relationship. The two sides of matter-mind are two sides but the mind here is the active speculative element. Mind is speculating. Matter is not speculating. Mind is speculating about matter, not vice versa. There is the asymmetry and the idealism. This is also occurring through individuation. Mind as a totality being individuated in each particular element. The becoming of the minds in their speculative capacities, is the spiritual function of the universality. The spiritual function of universality is the free speculative notion:
305. The moments constituting the content of the law are […] the individuality itself [and] its universal inorganic nature, viz. the given circumstances, situation, habits, customs, religion, and so on[.] They embrace specific as well as universal elements, and are at the same time […] something which provides material for observation and which […] expresses itself in the form of individuality. [/] 306. Now, the law of this relation of the two sides […] should have a double gallery of pictures, one of which would be the reflection of the other: the one, the gallery of external circumstances which completely determine and circumscribe the individual, the other, the same gallery translated into the form in which those circumstances are present in the conscious individual: the former the spherical surface, the latter the centre which represents that surface within it.
This is a beautiful image of the relation between mind and matter. He is saying that you cannot understand materialism independent of mind; or mind independent of material. They are in this asymmetrical relation, this weird relation, where there is universal elements, that somehow all mind is contained within. At the same time there is an individuation in the container, and these expressions of individuality. There is this weird double gallery, of the external circumstances, within which individuation occurs, and then individuation which has the powers of representation of this externality. He has this idea that on the one hand, you have a spherical surface (the external world as a spherical surface, with no density or depth). And then you have this centre which is this “I”, representing that surface with images and symbols. This is a very interesting form or way of thinking about materialism, especially for our day today, where consciousness or the “I”, is always on surfaces. We are no longer with the natural world like we used to be, but the natural world is in some sense disappearing onto surfaces. Our computer screens and cell phone screens, these are the surfaces, these are our worlds. I think this is a productive way to think of the way mind is relating to materiality.
He says there is a unity of the two sides, in mind. There is an asymmetry, in the unity of the two sides in the “I”. This is a reversal of how scientific materialists usually think. Mind ultimately reduces matter to its own model. The active principle of the mind, the philosophy, is interested in developing its own truth and reducing the external world to its own model of the world. Scientists are always more fascinated with their own model of reality, then they are with the so-called reality, which we know from Kant is noumenal. Hegel is simply reversing Kant’s notion of noumena, and reducing it to mind’s speculative activity.
307. The spherical surface, the world of the individual, has at once an ambiguous meaning: it is the actual state of the world as it is in and for itself, and it is the world of the individual; it is the latter either in so far as the individual has merely coalesced with that world[…]; or, […] it is the world of the individual, in the sense that the actual world as given has been transformed by the individual. Since, on account of this freedom, the actual world is capable of […] twofold meaning, the world of the individual is to be comprehended only from the individual himself[.] [/] 308. Thus there is no question of a being which would be in and for itself and was supposed to constitute one [universal] aspect […] of a law. Individuality is what its world is, the world that is its own. Individuality is itself the cycle of its action in which it has exhibited itself as an actual world, and is simply and solely the unity of the world […]; a unity whose sides do not fall apart[.]
In other words, the one is two on the side of mind. This relationship with the spherical surface (nature disappearing into a spherical surface) into the world of the individual. This is prophetic to the nature of spirit in-itself. So many natural motions of spirit, of our relationship with surfaces, become fully understandable and logical. We are not actually interacting with the world as we are normally interacting with the world. Yes, there are external givens, even if we don’t know what these external givens are in-themselves, but what we are interacting with, is the transformation processes of the individual. The individual through abstract negation is transforming. Abstract universality is constantly transforming through negation.
First we have the inward notion of reason becoming interested in reason, meta-rational. Reason becoming interested in abstract thought and laws of negativity. Then recognizing the two-side relation asymmetrically on the side of mind, one is two on the side of mind. These two sides don’t fall apart, but to be understood as processes of the one’s transformations, this immanent oneness. This is in regard to our own individual transformations, our own abstract negations.
Now that reason has understood the first order external, and also understood the inner, it now brings the inner to the outer. The inner tries to impose itself on the outer. This is what Hegel refers to as a hedonistic imperative. One’s own inner world and the satisfaction and joy from the inner world, however that is represented on the surface, is imposed. Everyone becomes their own dictator, imposing on the external otherness. This is the first order of reason bringing its inner to the outer.
309. Individuality has now become the object for observation[.] [/] 310. The individual exists in and for himself: he is […] a free activity; but he has also an intrinsic being[.] […] But since the individual is […] only what he has done, his body is also the expression of himself which he has himself produced […] when he sets his original nature to work. [/] 311. We have then to consider how to determine the relation between these two sides[:] the inner and the outer. [/] 312. This outer […] acts only as an organ in making the inner visible[.] The speaking mouth, the working hand[,] the legs […] are the organs of performance and actualization[.] But the externality which the inner obtains […] as a reality [is] separated from the individual[:] outer expressions in which the individual […] lets the inner get completely outside of him[.] […] The organ […] does not therefore provide the expression which is sought.
Here this is crucial: we get an outer in Hegel, an authentic outer or externality. But this externality and outer is the production of the inner and the projection of the inner into the outer under this hedonistic imperative. Spirit here reaches the contradiction that this external production of itself, the hedonistic motive, escapes the spirit itself. It gets completely outside of him. Therefore, this external production by the spirit, does not provide the expression which the spirit wants, because it escapes itself. You can think here, the speaking mouth, the working hand and legs. For me, right now, with my working hand, is producing an outside, this essay is my outside, you are reading it, and I am not currently writing as you are reading, it is outside me completely, into a realm of intersubjective spirit. Hegel is saying that if I and my writing hands, were to identify with this external production as the organ of my activity and identity, I wouldn’t find satisfaction there. It is in your eyes and mouth now. You can totally negate me, by-pass me, and create your own thing. It is not what I as spirit am looking for. And vice versa.
Then spirit transcends the hedonistic imperative, and seeks to find a active external relation, which escapes its projects to its drive. All of spirit’s projects will escape it, but its drive is in and for itself. The life of the heart has to become one with its task and deed. Another way of saying this is that the life of the heart has to align its desire and duty, its heart with its deed, its action and drive. This is what is crucial, not the external products, but the drive. Not the essay I am writing this moment, but my drive of research and speculation itself.
319. Individuality gives up that reflectedness-into-self […] and places its essence in the work it has done. […] The [contradiction] this observation encounters has the form of […] the practical and the theoretical, both falling within the practical aspect itself […] and individuality as being at the same time reflected out of this ‘doing’ into itself and making this its object [qua “Spirit is a Bone”]. […] The [deed] is the immediate sensuous presence of the individual spirit[.] [/] 320. The forming of opinions prima facie about the presumed [outward] presence of Spirit is natural […] [but what] is to be recognized is the capacity to be one. The fixed abstract quality thereby gets lost in the concrete, infinitely determinate, character of the particular individual[.] For the individual […] self-consciousness is, qua being, […] inexpressible. The ‘science of knowing men’, […] lacks both foundation and finality[.]
This is very interesting. When he is saying spirit gives up reflected-ness into self, he means the external products cannot be contained within itself. The theoretical work of spirit has to be linked deeply to the practical. The practical has primacy. The practical work of spirit must be informed by theoretical work, but theoretical has to feed back into practical. This is the meaning of spirit is a bone. The abstract has to be made concrete, not just floating in the clouds. This is spirit is a bone. A beautiful axiom. The deed is what spirit is. The action is what spirit is. The drive of spirit is this capacity to be one, which is hard to do as a drive. It is easy to lose oneself in the drive, to become overwhelmed by the negativity, to find the otherness too much. To remain one is a difficult task for spirit. To stay one in the drive. This is the perspectival shift on desire, which becomes important to psychoanalysis.
The most important line here is the science of knowing men. In other words, the science interested in knowledge and knowing men, has to foundation or finality because it is nothing but the drive itself, abyssal freedom. It only has its own immanent oneness to contend with.
Here again Spirit is a Bone: the Flesh of Spirit. Spirit brings itself to the ethical life of community. It has to embed itself in the communal life world of spirit, it has no value outside of that. It has to embed itself in organic links. To come into organic free relation with the other, this is crucial.
349. If we look on this still inner Spirit as Substance [on] the stage of having an outer existence, then in this Notion there is disclosed the realm of ethical life. For this is nothing else than the absolute spiritual unity of the essence of individuals in […] an intrinsically universal self-consciousness that takes itself to be actual in another consciousness[.] [/] 350. Reason is present here as the fluid universal Substance, […] which yet bursts asunder into many completely independent beings[.] They are conscious of being these separate independent beings through the sacrifice of their particularity[.] [/] 360. Instead of the heavenly-seeming Spirit of the universality of knowledge and action in which the feeling and enjoyment of individuality are stilled, there has entered into [them] the Spirit of the earth[.]
This is crucial because, ultimately the theoretical abstract mind finds itself in ethical life, and losing its individuality and particularity, to embed oneself with the others. You can see why Marx picks up Hegel and sees the immanence of the free notion in communism. The universality of knowledge needs to be brought and entered into the spirit of the Earth. It has to be brought to the concrete community, the ethical spiritual life. This consumes intelligence. This consumes reason. This consumes our spontaneously teleological relation to immanent onenness.
Here we have the inner coming to the outer. This starts with hedonism and imposition of self onto other. One’s own external products escape oneself. This moves to the drive, my own immanent oneness. And then embedding that immanent oneness into the ethical community life itself. It is almost irrelevant what ethical community, but just that this process is unfolding when the mind fully attempts to become an active speculative living mind.
Then we have the formulation of what Hegel calls the law of the heart. This is the feeling and emotions of spirit in intersubjective relation. How to bring reason to love? How to love? Hegel here tries to formulate the law of the heart, it is almost as if the heart already knows, but there is this incredible emptiness, this individual as an end in-itself, finds itself in an emptiness, struggling to actualize the law of the heart.
367. What necessity truly is in self-consciousness, it is for this new form of self-consciousness, in which it knows its own self to be the principle of necessity. It knows that it has the universal of law immediately within itself, and because the law is immediately present in the being-for-self of consciousness, it is called the law of the heart. This form takes itself to be, qua individuality, essence like the previous form; but the new form is richer because its being-for-self has for it the character of necessity or universality. [/] 368. The law, therefore, which is immediately self-consciousness’s own law, or a heart which, however, has within it a law, is the End which self-consciousness proceeds to realize. We have to see whether its realization corresponds to this Notion and whether in that realization it will find that this its law as its essential nature.
This is a difficult passage, but the law of the heart is basically that self-consciousness recognizes in itself a necessary truth. This has to do with love and the heart, it has to do with the very being of its individuality, the purpose of its individuality, to realize this as its essential nature.
In trying to realize this as its essential nature, the heart finds itself in an irreducible and impossible conflict. There is a profound disunity in the subject’s ethical life, between the individual and the law of the world. The individual desire to actualize the law of the heart, to make its inner heart what it reflects outside (Hegel’s idealism), is thwarted by the law of others. There are other hearts. There are other laws. There is difference. Absolute difference. One’s law of the heart, and the other’s law of the heart can go into conflict. How to resolve or overcome this contradictory level of spiritual becoming?
369. This heart is confronted by a real world; for in the heart the law is,[…] not yet realized[.] This reality is […] a law by which […] individuality is oppressed, a violent ordering of the world which contradicts the law of the heart, and […] a humanity suffering under that ordering, […] subjected to an alien necessity. [/] 379. The fact […] is the law of all hearts [is] immediately this universal[.] [Thus,] the consciousness which sets up the law of its heart […] meets with resistance from others, because it contradicts the equally individual laws of their hearts. [/] 383. It is from virtue now that the universal is to receive its true reality by nullifying individuality[.] For in so far as it is an individuality, it is the activity of the conflict it wages with the ‘way of the world’; but its aim and true nature is to conquer the reality of the ‘way of the world’. [/] 386. What the conflict offers to it is the universal […] animated by individuality and existing for an other, in other words, the actual good.
Hegel is basically saying there is an asymmetry between the law of the heart and the way the world is. In other words, what my heart expresses and desires is radically different from the way the world is. My heart views the world as an oppression to my heart and also an oppression to all other human beings. You can see here where Marx picks up from Hegel. The self on this level is alienated from its own necessity of being with its heart and to see its heart reflected ideally in the world.
Also, in the attempt of the heart to formulate its will as the will of the world, it runs into the contradiction that others have their own will and their own hearts, the law of hearts themselves become contradictory, this is true in any romantic or communal organization. There are multiple laws of the heart. What we have to learn in this process is the falling away of our individuality. The way our hearts are in conflict is a sign and mirroring to cleanse ourselves of individuality. Only in that way can we conquer the way of the world. When we are existing for an other subject, we can have the actual good. You can see why Marx would be taken by this dialectic and phenomenology.
Finally, Hegel tries to formulate the moral destiny of this process, the emptying of the individual for the other. The “I” recognizes that it is in all “I’s”. It is self with the other. All the “I’s” together is the universal. Individual problems and circumstances are a concern for anyone and everyone. My problem and your problem are linked because we are dealing with the same problem: the problem of love and the heart and the immanent oneness.
418. [The universal] being is the action of the single individual and of all individuals and whose action is immediately for others, or is a ‘matter in hand’ and is such only as the action of each and everyone: the essence which is the essence of all beings, viz. spiritual essence. Consciousness learns that no one of these moments is subject, but rather gets dissolved in the universal ‘matter in hand’[.] Thus the ‘matter in hand’ no longer has the character of a predicate, and loses the characteristic of lifeless abstract universality. It is rather substance permeated by individuality, […] just as much qua individual, or qua this particular individual, as qua all individuals; and it is the universal which has being only as this action of all and each, and a reality in the fact that this particular consciousness knows it to be its own individual reality and the reality of all.
I think that summarizes Hegel’s emphasis that the individual can no longer create this abstract lifeless universality. All these theories of communism and world politics become lifeless universality which imposes the law of the heart on others. It is not a solution. All “I’s” have to realize themselves truly in relation to the other as a life process. In their own action and being. Only then will the individual reality and the reality of the all will be realized in their immanent onenness.
Here we have the passage where Hegel recognizes the virtue and necessity of the heart, then spirit comes into irreducible conflict with other hearts, and the nature of the world itself. It sees disunity between itself and others. Through these conflicts, it can cleanse itself of the individuality and see itself in the light of all others.