[See p. XVIII--Marx]
The outstanding achievement of Hegel's Phanomenologie and of its
final outcome, the dialectic of negativity as the moving and generating
principle, is thus first that Hegel conceives the self-creation of man
as a process, conceives objectification as 1oss of the object, as alienation
and as transcendence of this alienation; that he thus grasps the essence
of labour and comprehends objective man--true, because real man--as
the outcome of man's own labour. The real, active orientation
of man to himself as a species-being, or his manifestation as a real species-being
(i.e., as a human being), is only possible if he really brings out all
his species-powers something which in turn is only possible
through the cooperative action of all of mankind, only as the result of
history--and treats these powers as objects: and this, to begin with,
is again only possible in the form of estrangement.
We shall now demonstrate in detail Hegel's one-sidedness and limitations
as they are displayed in the final chapter of the Phanomenologie "Absolute
Knowledge"--a chapter which contains the condensed spirit of the
Phanomenologie, the relationship of the Phanomenologie to
speculative dialectic, and also Hegel's consciousness concerning
both and their relationship to one another.
Let us provisionally say just this much in advance:
Hegel's standpoint is that of modern political economy. He grasps labour
as the essence of man--as man's essence which stands the test:
he sees only the positive, not the negative side of labour. Labour is
man's coming-to-be for himself within alienation, or as
alienated man. The only labour which Hegel knows and recognises
is abstractly mental labour. Therefore, that which constitutes
the essence of philosophy--the alienation of man who knows himself
or alienated science thinking itself--Hegel grasps as
essence; and in contradistinction to previous philosophy he is therefore
able to combine its separate aspects, and to present his philosophy as
the philosophy. What the other philosophers did - that they grasped
separate phases of nature and of human life as phases of self-consciousness,
namely, of abstract self-consciousness--is known to Hegel as the
doings of philosophy. Hence his science is absolute.
Let us now turn to our subject.
"Absolute Knowledge". The last chapter of the "Phanomenologie".
The main point is that the object of consciousness is nothing
else but self-consciousness, or that the object is only objectified
self-consciousness - self-consciousness as object. (Positing of man
The issue, therefore, is to surmount the object of consciousness. Objectivity
as such is regarded as an estranged human relationship which
does not correspond to the essence of man, to self-consciousness.
The reappropriation of the objective essence of man, produced within
the orbit of estrangement as something alien, therefore denotes not only
the annulment of estrangement, but of objectivity as well.
Man, that is to say, is regarded as a nonobjective, spiritual being.
The movement of surmounting the object of consciousness is now
described by Hegel in the following way:
The object reveals itself not merely as returning into the
self - this is according to Hegel the one-sided way of apprehending
this movement, the grasping of only one side. Man is equated with self.
The self, however, is only the abstractly conceived man - man created
by abstraction. Man is selfish. His eye, his ear, etc., are selfish.
In him, every one of his essential powers has the quality of selfhood.
But it is quite false to say on that account "self-consciousness
has eyes, ears, essential powers". Self-consciousness is
rather a quality of human nature, of the human eye, etc.; it is not human
nature that is a quality of