The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 600 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07.
the life of a people—­of art, of law, of morals, of religion, of science.  All the activity of Spirit has only this object—­the becoming conscious of this union, i. e., of its own freedom.  Among the forms of this conscious union religion occupies the highest position.  In it Spirit-rising above the limitations of temporal and secular existence—­becomes conscious of the Absolute Spirit, and, in this consciousness of the Self-Existent Being, renounces its individual interest; it lays this aside in devotion—­a state of mind in which it refuses to occupy itself any longer with the limited and particular.  By sacrifice man expresses his renunciation of his property, his will, his individual feelings.  The religious concentration of the soul appears in the form of feeling; it nevertheless passes also into reflection; a form of worship (cultus) is a result of reflection.  The second form of the union of the objective and subjective in the human spirit is art; this advances farther into the realm of the actual and sensuous than religion.  In its noblest walk it is occupied with representing, not, indeed, the Spirit of God, but certainly the Form of God; and, in its secondary aims, that which is divine and spiritual generally.  Its office is to render visible the divine, presenting it to the imaginative and intuitive faculty.  But the true is the object not only of conception and feeling, as in religion—­and of intuition, as in art—­but also of the thinking faculty; and this gives us the third form of the union in question—­philosophy.  This is consequently the highest, freest, and wisest place.  Of course we are not intending to investigate these three phases here; they have only suggested themselves in virtue of their occupying the same general ground as the object here considered the State.



TRANSLATED BY J. LOEWENBERG, PH.D.  Assistant in Philosophy, Harvard University



The State is the realization of the ethical idea.  It is the ethical spirit as revealed, self-conscious, substantial will.  It is the will which thinks and knows itself, and carries out what it knows, and in so far as it knows.  The unreflected existence of the State rests on custom, and its reflected existence on the self-consciousness of the individual, on his knowledge and activity.  The individual, in return, has his substantial freedom in the State, as the essence, purpose, and product of his activity.

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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