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Hegel - Philosophy of Mind – Appetite or Instinctive Desire



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Philosophy of Mind -  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

(–) Appetite or Instinctive Desire

426. Self-consciousness, in its immediacy, is a singular, and a desire (appetite),—the contradiction implied in its abstraction [054] which should yet be objective,—or in its immediacy which has the shape of an external object and should be subjective. The certitude of one's self, which issues from the suppression of mere consciousness, pronounces the object null: and the outlook of self-consciousness towards the object equally qualifies the abstract ideality of such self-consciousness as null.

§ 427. Self-consciousness, therefore, knows itself implicit in the object, which in this outlook is conformable to the appetite. In the negation of the two one-sided moments by the ego's own activity, this identity comes to be for the ego. To this activity the object, which implicitly and for self-consciousness is self-less, can make no resistance: the dialectic, implicit in it, towards self suppression exists in this case as that activity of the ego. Thus while the given object is rendered subjective, the subjectivity divests itself of its one-sidedness and becomes objective to itself.

§ 428. The product of this process is the fast conjunction of the ego with itself, its satisfaction realised, and itself made actual. On the external side it continues, in this return upon itself, primarily describable as an individual, and maintains itself as such; because its bearing upon the self-less object is purely negative, the latter, therefore, being merely consumed. Thus appetite in its satisfaction is always destructive, and in its content selfish: and as the satisfaction has only happened in the individual (and that is transient) the appetite is again generated in the very act of satisfaction.

§ 429. But on the inner side, or implicitly, the sense of self which the ego gets in the satisfaction does not remain in abstract self-concentration or in mere individuality; on the contrary,—as negation of immediacy and individuality the result involves a character of universality and of the identity of self-consciousness with its object. The judgment or diremption of this self- [055] consciousness is the consciousness of a “free” object, in which ego is aware of itself as an ego, which however is also still outside it.

The source of the experience

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich

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