Tuesday, October 5, 2010

“For to think does not mean to be an abstract 'I', but an 'I' which has at the same time the significance of intrinsic being, of having itself for object, or of relating itself to objective being in such a way that its significance is the being-for-self of the consciousness for which it is [an object]. For in thinking, the object does not present itself in picture-thoughts but in Notions, i.e. in a distinct being-in-itself or intrinsic being, consciousness being immediately aware that this is not anything distinct from itself.”

I think the following is true—whether it's Hegel is another question:

Thinking an object means more than representing it for consciousness. For what can be represented to consciousness is not what can be thought. I can represent a circular thing to myself but I cannot represent a circle. The most I can do is represent something as representative of a circle. But even this "as" does not appear within representation. Only by hypothesizing the circular as the equal distance of points from a center on a plane do I form the concept of the circle. This hypothesis can be drawn through a figure, or better, through the tracing of a figure, and continually depends on the repetition of such a figure, in order to persist as the superseding of this figure. The circular is the determinate nothing constituted by the vanishing of a circular figure.
This concept of circularity is only a model: the discovery of the circular as the vanishing of a figure is not yet thinking, but it is like thinking. It is like thinking in that it supersedes what can be represented and is this superseding. Thinking, however, does not inhere in a mathematical approach to things, but in the disclosure of the thinghood of things through work. The proper object of consciousness shows up not in the light of the indiscriminate overturning of representation, but in the light of the good. At first this light shines in the proximate good which makes the object of work show up as something to be developed. Something that has to be worked into shape presents itself to the worker as resistance: it resists its own being—what it is supposed to be. Abstractly, the thing seems just to be what it is. In the light of the good which shines through work, it shows up as the concept of itself, which is to say that it shows up as really being what the working consciousness, referring to the good, has placed upon it to become. What from the outside seems to be a projection of the working consciousness on its object shows up in this light as the true being of the thing in itself.