Monday, February 16, 2009

the course of world history

The realization of the self-consciousness of the Spirit brings about an understanding of history as progressive. Hegel states that changes in nature hardly bring about something new, in this sense it is just an endless flux of change. Only changes that occur in the realm of the Spirit can anything new, completely different, ever occur. And it is through humanity that the actual capacity for change, a change for the something better perfectibility is made possible (57). This however brings about a question. The concept of perfection only brings out a notion of "What is better?" or "How is this perfection determinable?". Perfectibility is an indefinite concept, thus meaning that even if it is accomplished, it may never be formally recognized (...maybe?).

With the idea of perfection, Hegel introduces the principle of development. The determination, however, as has been stated before is the Spirit. The Spirit becomes the ends, but it is also becomes the means to that end. Through this exists the duality. The Spirit is determined to be realized, but it must at the same time "overcome itself as its own truly hostile hindrance" (59). The Spirit wants to realize its actuality, yet at the same time it conceals its own actualization from itself. Hegel explains this in relation to World History. the events that occur in history occur within the nations involved, but at the same time they can only be understood in their relation to that nation.

"Here we can only point out that Spirit begins from its own infinite possibility, but only from the possibility.(60)" This makes the concept of Spirit seem almost circular. The Spirit is infinite possibility, and through this possibility is the realization of its infinitude made possible. Thus, the Spirit is both the purpose and the goal. World History becomes the movement from the "imperfect to the more perfect".

He further states that before narrative and written history (pre-history), the world was in a "state of nature". The German term for "history" (Geschichte) derives itself from the verb "to happen" (geschehen). This emphasizes the relationship between the objective and subjective. It is only through proper history that the narration of history is remembered. And only through its own recognition has the actualization of the Spirit, as a possibility, been brought to existence.

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