XXVIII

 

[XXVIII.1.]
abstraction of itself. For consciousness itself the nullity of the object has a positive meaning because it knows this nullity, the objective being, as its self-alienation, because it knows that it exists only as a result of its own self-alienation....

The way in which consciousness is, and in which something is for it, is knowing. Knowing is its sole act. Something therefore comes to be for consciousness insofar as the latter knows this something. Knowing is its sole objective relation.

It [consciousness] then knows the nullity of the object (i.e., knows the non-existence of the distinction between the object and itself, the non-existence of the object for it) because it knows the object as its self-alienation; that is, it knows itself-knows knowing as object - because the object is only the semblance of an object, a piece of mystification, which in its essence, however, is nothing else but knowing itself, which has confronted itself with itself and hence has confronted itself with a nullity--a something which has no objectivity outside the knowing. Or: knowing knows that in relating itself to an object it is only outside itself--that it only externalises itself; that it itself only appears to itself as an object--that that which appears to it as an object is only itself.

On the other hand, says Hegel, there is here at the same time this other moment, that consciousness has just as much annulled and reabsorbed this externalisation and objectivity, being thus at home in its other-being as such. In this discussion all the illusions of speculation are brought together.

First of all: consciousness, self-consciousness, is at home in its other-being as such. It is therefore--or if we here abstract from the Hegelian abstraction and put the self-consciousness of man instead of self-consciousness--it is at home in its other-being as such. This implies, for one thing, that consciousness (knowing as knowing, thinking as thinking) pretends to be directly the other of itself - to be the world of sense, the real world, life-thought surpassing itself in thought (Feuerbach) ~ This aspect is contained herein, inasmuch as consciousness as mere consciousness takes offence not at estranged objectivity, but at objectivity as such.
[XXIX.1.]

[XXVIII.2.]
Secondly, this implies that self-conscious man, insofar as he has recognised and superseded the spiritual world (or his world's spiritual, general mode of being) as self-alienation, nevertheless again confirms it in this alienated shape and passes it off as his true mode of being - reestablishes it, and pretends to be at home in his other-being as such. Thus, for instance, after superseding religion, after recognising religion to be a product of self-alienation, he yet finds confirmation of himself in religion as religion. Here is the root of Hegel's false positivism, or of his merely apparent criticism: this is what Feuerbach designated as the positing, negating and re-establishing of religion or theology--but it has to be expressed in more general terms. Thus reason is at home in unreason as unreason. The man who has recognised that he is leading an alienated life in law, politics, etc., is leading his true human life in this alienated life as such. Self-affirmation, self-confirmation in contradiction with itself - in contradiction with both the knowledge and the essential being of the object - is thus true knowledge and life.

There can therefore no longer be any question about an act of accommodation on Hegel's part vis-à-vis religion, the state, etc., since this lie is the lie of his principle.
[XXIX.2.]



Send comments to: Lemmaesthetics@freeuk.com, The Hypertext Manuscripts of Karl Marx, Paris 1844, Copyright Gary Tedman 2001-3