The self-abstracted entity, fixed for itself, is man as abstract
egoist--egoism raised in its pure abstraction to the level of thought.
(We shall return to this point later.)
For Hegel the human being--man--equals self-consciousness. All
estrangement of the human being is therefore nothing but estrangement
of self-consciousness. The estrangement of self-consciousness is not
regarded as an expression--reflected in the realm of knowledge and thought--of
the real estrangement of the human being. Instead, the actual
estrangement--that which appears real--is according to its innermost,
hidden nature (which is only brought to light by philosophy) nothing
but the manifestation of the estrangement of the real human essence,
of self-consciousness. The science which comprehends this is therefore
called phenomenology. All reappropriation of the estranged objective
essence appears, therefore, as incorporation into self-consciousness:
The man who takes hold of his essential being is merely the self-consciousness
which takes hold of objective essences. Return of the object into the
self is therefore the reappropriation of the object.
Expressed in all its aspects, the surmounting of the object
of consciousness means:
(1) That the object as such presents itself to consciousness as something
(2) That it is the alienation of self-consciousness which posits thinghood.
(3) That this alienation has not merely a negative but a positive
(4) That it has this meaning not merely for us or intrinsically,
but for self-consciousness itself.
(5) For self-consciousness, the negative of the object, or its
annulling of itself, has positive significance--or it knows
this futility of the object--because of the fact that it alienates
itself, for in this alienation it posits itself as object, or,
for the sake of the indivisible unity of being-for-self, posits
the object as itself.
(6) On the other hand, this contains likewise the other moment, that
self consciousness has also just as much superseded this alienation and
objectivity and resumed them into itself, being thus at home in
its other-being as such.
(7) This is the movement of consciousness and this is therefore the totality
of its moments.
(8) Consciousness must similarly be related to the object in the totality
of its determinations and have comprehended it in terms of each of them.
of its determinations makes the object intrinsically a spiritual being;
and it becomes so in truth for consciousness through the apprehending
of each one of the determinations as self or through what was called
above the spiritual attitude to them.
As to (1): That the object as such presents itself to consciousness as
something vanishing--this is the above-mentioned return of the object
into the self.
As to (2): The alienation of self-consciousness posits thinghood.
Because man equals self-consciousness, his alienated, objective essence,
or thinghood, equals alienated self-consciousness, and thinghood
is so posited through this alienation (thinghood being that which
is an object for man and an object for him is really only that
which is to him an essential object, therefore his objective essence.
And since it is not real man, nor therefore nature--man being
human nature--who as such is made the subject, but only the abstraction
of man, self-consciousness, so thinghood cannot be anything but alienated
self-consciousness). It is only to be expected that a living, natural
being equipped and endowed with objective (i.e., material) essential powers
should of his essence have real natural objects; and that his self-alienation
should lead to the positing of a real, objective world, but within
the framework of externality, and, therefore, an overwhelming world
not belonging to his own essential being. There is nothing incomprehensible
or mysterious in this. It would be mysterious, rather, if it were otherwise.
But it is equally clear that a self-consciousness by its alienation
can posit only thinghood, i.e., only an abstract thing, a thing
of abstraction and not a real thing. It is