But nature too, taken abstractly, for itself--nature fixed in isolation
from man--is nothing for man. It goes without saying that the abstract
thinker who has committed himself to intuiting, intuits nature abstractly.
Just as nature lay enclosed in the thinker in the form of the absolute
idea, in the form of a thought-entity--in a shape which was obscure and
enigmatic even to him--so by letting it emerge from himself he has really
let emerge only this abstract nature only nature as
a thought-entity--but now with the significance that it
is the other-being of thought, that it is real, intuited nature--nature
distinguished from abstract thought. Or, to talk in human language, the
abstract thinker learns in his intuition of nature that the entities
which he thought to create from nothing, from pure abstraction--the
entities he believed he was producing in the divine dialectic as pure
products of the labour of thought, for ever shuttling back and forth in
itself and never looking outward into reality--are nothing else but abstractions
from characteristics of nature. To him, therefore, the whole
of nature merely repeats the logical abstractions in a sensual, external
form. He once more resolves nature into these abstractions. Thus,
his intuition of nature is only the act of confirming his abstraction
from the intuition of nature--is only the conscious repetition by him
of the process of creating his abstraction. Therefore, for example, time
equals negativity referred to itself (op. cit.,b p.238). To the superseded
becoming as being there corresponds, in natural form, superseded movement
as matter. Light is reflection-in-itself, the natural form.
Body as moon and comet is the natural form of the
antithesis which according to logic is on the one side the positive
resting on itself and on the other side the negative resting
on itself. The earth is the natural form of the logical ground,
as the negative unity of the antithesis, etc.
Nature as nature--that is to say, insofar as it is still
sensually distinguished from that secret sense hidden within it--nature
isolated, distinguished from these abstractions is nothing--a nothing
proving itself to be nothing--is devoid of sense, or has only the
sense of being an externality which has to be annulled.
"In the finite-teleological position is to be found the correct
premise that nature does not contain within itself the absolute purpose."
P.225 [§ 245).
Its purpose is the confirmation of abstraction.
"Nature has shown itself to be the idea in the form of other-being.
Since the idea is in this form the negative of itself or external
to itself, nature is not just relatively external vis-à-vis
this idea, but externality constitutes the form in which it
exists as nature." P. 277 [§ 247].
Externality here is not to be understood as the world of sense which manifests
itself and is accessible to the light, to the man endowed with senses.
It is to be taken here in the sense of alienation, of a mistake, a defect,
which ought not to be. For what is true is still the idea. Nature is only
the form of the idea's other-being. And since abstract thought
is the essence, that which is external to it is by its essence
something merely external. The abstract thinker recognises at the
same time that sensuality--externality in contrast to thought
shuttling back and forth within itself--is the essence of nature.
But he expresses this contrast in such a way as to make this externality
of nature, its contrast to thought, its defect, so that
inasmuch as it is distinguished from abstraction, nature is something