Force and the Understanding: The World of Appearance and the Supersensible Worldby Hegel
'132' Consciousness has found “seeing” and “hearing”, etc., pass away in the dialectic process of sense-experience, and has, at the stage of perception, arrived at thoughts which, however, it brings together in the first instance in the unconditioned universal.
This unconditioned element, again, if it were taken as inert essence bare and simple, would itself be nothing else than the one-sided extreme of self-existence (Fürsichseyn); for the non-essential would then stand over against it.
But if thus related to the latter, it would be itself unessential, and consciousness would not have got disentangled from the deceptions of perception; whereas this universal has proved to be one which has passed out of such conditioned separate existence and returned into itself.
This unconditioned universal, which henceforward is the true object of consciousness, is still object of consciousness; consciousness has not yet grasped its principle, or notion, qua notion. There is an essential distinction between the two which must be drawn. On the one hand, consciousness is aware that the object has passed from its relation to an other back into itself, and thereby become inherently and implicitly (an sich) notion; but, on the other hand, consciousness is not yet the notion explicitly or for itself, and consequently it does not know itself in that reflected object.
We (who are analysing experience) found this object arise through the process of consciousness in such a way that consciousness is implicated and involved in the development of the object, and the reflection is the same on both sides, i.e. there is only one reflection. But because in this movement consciousness had as its content merely the objective entity, and not consciousness as such, the result has to be given an objective significance for consciousness; consciousness, however, still withdrawing from what has arisen, so that the latter in objective form is the essential reality to consciousness.
'133' Understanding has, indeed, eo ipso, done away with its own untruth and the untruth in its object. What has thereby come to view is the notion of the truth as implicit inherent truth, which is not yet notion, or lacks a consciously explicit existence for itself (Fürsichseyn), and is something which understanding allows to have its way without knowing itself in it. It pursues its own nature by itself, so that consciousness has no share in its process of free realization, but merely looks on and apprehends that realization as a naked fact.
It is, consequently, our business in the first instance to step into its place and be the notion, which works up into shape what is contained in the result. With this complete formation of the object, which is presented to consciousness as a bare existent fact (ein Seyendes), mere implicit awareness then first becomes to itself conceptual consciousness, conscious comprehension.'134'
The result arrived at was the unconditioned universal, in the first instance in the negative and abstract sense that consciousness negated its one-sided notions and abstracted them: it surrendered them.
This result, however, has inherently a positive significance; it has established the unity of existence-for-self, and existence-for-another; in other words, absolute opposites are immediately posited as one and the same reality.
At first this seems to affect merely the formal relation of the moments to one another. But to be for-self and to be for-another constitutes the content itself as well, because the opposition, looked at truly, can have no other nature than what has come about in the result – viz. that the content, taken in perception for truth, belongs, in point of fact, solely to the form, and is dissipated into its unity.
This content is at the same time universal; there can be no other content which by its peculiar constitution would refuse to return into this unconditioned universality. Such a content would be some specific way or other of being for-itself and taking up a relation to something else. But to be in general for-self and to stand in relation to something else constitutes the very nature and meaning of that whose truth lies in being unconditionally universal; and the result is through and through universal.'135'
Since, however, this unconditioned universal is an object for consciousness, the distinction of form and content makes its appearance within it.
In the shape of content, the moments have the aspect in which they were first presented – that of being on one side a universal medium of many substantial elements, and, on the other, a unit reflected into self, where their substantial independence is overthrown and done away with.
The former dissolves the independence of the thing, is the condition of passivity which consists in being something for something else; the latter is its individual subsistence, its being something on its own account (für sich).
We have to see what shape these moments take in the unconditioned universal which is their essential nature. It is obvious at the outset that by existing only in this universal they do not at all lie any longer apart from one another, but rather are in themselves essentially self-cancelling aspects, and what is established is only their transition into one another.