Samstag, 3. März 2012

PR#207 : A man actualises himself only in becoming something definite, i.e. something specifically particularised


A man actualises himself only in becoming something definite, i.e. something specifically particularised; this means restricting himself exclusively to one of the particular spheres of need.

In this class-system, the ethical frame of mind therefore is rectitude and esprit de corps, i.e. the disposition to make oneself a member of one of the moments of civil society by one’s own act, through one’s energy, industry, and skill, to maintain oneself in this position, and to fend for oneself only through this process of mediating oneself with the universal, while in this way gaining recognition both in one’s own eyes and in the eyes of others.

Morality has its proper place in this sphere where the paramount thing is reflection on one’s doings, and the quest of happiness and private wants, and where the contingency in satisfying these makes into a duty even a single and contingent act of assistance.

Remark: At first ( i.e. especially in youth ) a man chafes at the idea of resolving on a particular social position, and looks upon this as a restriction on his universal character and as a necessity imposed on him purely ab extra.

This is because his thinking is still of that abstract kind which refuses to move beyond the universal and so never reaches the actual. It does not realise that if the concept is to be determinate, it must first of all advance into the distinction between the concept and its real existence and thereby into determinacy and particularity ( see § 7 ) – It is only thus that the concept can win actuality and ethical objectivity.

Addition: When we say that a man must be a ‘ somebody ’, we mean that he should belong to some specific social class, since to be a somebody means to have substantive being. A man with no class is a mere private person and his universality is not actualised.

On the other hand, the individual in his particularity may take himself as the universal and presume that by entering a class he is surrendering himself to an indignity. This is the false idea that in attaining a determinacy necessary to it, a thing is restricting and surrendering itself.

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