David Arthur Walters
My Original Problem
An individual unity of universal and particular may be called the concrete universal. The personal concrete universal, i.e. the unity of the perspectival “I” and its circumstantial world, which includes the social world, may be denominated the phenomenal self. I speak of my “I” habitually, as if “I” were a powerful, active unity of apperception psychologically constituting “my” relation to the world. That whole self is “my” mind-and-body-world. My self-conscious “I” really has nothing to be conscious of without a world hence in itself it is not really an objective unity, but is nothing but pure being, or, rather, nothing self-perceptible. It is a convenient fiction, when defined, fabricated from a longing-to-be, the particular will-to-endure which sets “me,” as a concrete universal, apart from, and in relation to, the multiplicity of the world that is, for example, inadequately represented by me. My “I” as a subject is a universal derived from the particulars of perception while standing against them, whereby the “self” partially perceived is the whole self.
The Presiding Spirit has no reason to think
Hegel’s ideal good is capitalized as if it were God, as the big Idea, a transcendental or free thing, yet at once imminent or imprisoned, for it is both in the subject, the generalizing thinker, and in the particular object thought about. Thus we have a unity of subject and object – they are identical, one and the same. Paradoxically, the relationship of subject and object stands over and above subject and object as the good, as if the relationship were a third entity besides subject and object. Thus we have a logically absurd, trinitarian theology, with the Spirit dominating. In the name of the Subject, the Object, and their relational Spirit, as One, the Spirit is Good is Will is Freedom. But said freedom is not the absolute, subjective anarchy of the particular or individual will, which would as an omnipotent god brook no resistance; no, it is freedom confined to the object: that is, freedom in obedience. Hegel conceives of the general will by projecting the would-be anarchic yet imprisoned individual will or spirit onto the world, as if the world were presided over by an individual, single god with a will. Of course the objective world within the purview of this absolutely free god or presiding spirit would install perfect order even though God Himself or Spirit Itself would be an anarchist – a Supreme Anarchist or an unpredictable Terrorist Almighty. That is, any objective order, as long as it is absolutely subject to the omnipotent, unlimited will of this projected god, would do. Whether that total order or Totalitaria would be in chaotic disarray as a hell on earth, or the peaceful order of paradise, is relative only to the residential opinions and not to the over-riding Spirit. For the spirit or demon, and particularly the super-individual, just like the individual, wants nothing better than to endure forever and by any means whatsoever. Ideally, the means would be accomplished by unthinking will alone, for an omnipotent god does not need to think – thinking is a survival device responding to fear.
The Absolutely Good Unity
“The good is the Idea as the unity of the concept of the will. In this unity, abstract right, welfare, the subjectivity of knowing and the contingency of external fact have their independence superseded, though at the same time they are contained and retained within it in their essence. The good is thus freedom realized, the absolute aim of the world.” (Hegel’s Philosophy of Right)
Good, then, according to Hegel, is not a relative thing like a free lunch but is rather a mental thing or thought content, an idea of an abstract concept; to wit, the unity of the will; by which we suppose Hegel means the general will of a community too abstract to exist, conceived in unity to be the greater good in itself, and not the lesser good or evil in any relative, objective concern, such as, for instance, a uniformed police force. Therefore, the good is in the unity, not in the good’s relative forms. Hell presided over by the devil might then be good if it were not for the fact that hell and its lord are conceived to be the place and president of disorder. Thus Hegel seems to indentify absolute world order with good no matter what the character of that order might be. Totalitaria in any shape or form would be fine.
A Unique Coincidence of Universal Qualities
Human beings are of course self-conscious social creatures whose nature comprises a highly developed dynamic unity of mind and body in animated individuals. The ‘person’ or synthesis of the particular individual with society in general comprises an introjection and imitation of perceived others. Their personal projections introjected serve as compost for the person’s willful composition of self-identity in imitative comparison with those others. That developing personal complex is in turn projected onto others for their introjection and projection. Allowance is made for differences of individuality all along; that is, for the uniqueness of the individuals involved in the relational field. The individual person (particular) may be conceived as the unique coincidence of universals (qualities) in Waltersonian terms; a concrete universal in British Hegelian terms; a categorical individual and totalization of society in Existentialist terms; a synthesis of id,ego, and superego in Freudian terms; a synthesis of father (cause or mind), spirit (force), and son (effect or body) in Theological or Psycho-physical terms. The self-conscious I-individual or the collective self-consciousness of the I-race necessarily alienates the individual U-man and the U-man species from objective nature, and, to the extent of individuality, from the race as well.
The Subject is not an Object
The subject or self of self-consciousness is not an object unto itself but is by virtue of its division into subjective individual and objective world an imaginative composition of materials at hand, a distorted image of the I-magus. The effort to “Know thyself” necessarily distorts the self and amounts to self-deception. Once the self is willfully divided for sake of self-knowledge, the I-magination knows nothing of its origin, for the ideas and images projected have no life or will-to-know of their own – they know nothing at all, have no cognitive power of their own. What the subjective self is aware of after the split into self-consciousness is not itself but rather a screen or field of consciousness derived from perception of sensed externals – consciousness of feeling externality. It assumes from those derivations that it is itself an active entity and something to be perceived, a unity of consciousness or a self. In any event, the very attempt at self-knowledge opposes the social tides: it endeavors to swim upstream backwards. When consciousness splits into self-consciousness, the self-2 which self-1 thinks it knows is not what it appears to be, nor is it self-1, the subjective self which would know it. Self-1 is unknowable, not its own object, and self-2 is factitious. Attempts to fixate the fleeting appearance by means of a static “truth” are to no avail. A snapshot destroys it.
Despite the decree, “Know thyself,” consciousness rarely strives to know its subjective or I-self. And when it does it tends to find nothing except the realization and honest admission of personal ignorance. The effort to “Know thyself” is usually accidental and contrary to the general course of nature – it is revolutionary inasmuch as the effort is skeptical of received ritualized knowledge and would return to the obscure origin or root of cognition. Anti-intellectuals fear the cultivation of I-knowledge and often prefer to idolize a projected I-god that is not a plural or social reconciliation of individuals but is rather an absolute universal which ultimately extinguishes or sacrifices individual existence, purportedly for the progress of the species. Independent intellectual pursuits of “intellectuals” – in contradistinction to the ritual reproduction of orthodox phrases by the hired, uniformed or suited intelligentsia who support the hierarchy – threaten the survival of the group in those cases where the I-self must be sacrificed or submerged in hate-others-based group-love.