By Adam Kotsko
Argues that the awkwardness of our age is a key to realizing human adventure.
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Additional info for Awkwardness: An Essay
There we find philosophy, at its most basic level, to be the generation of categories which are simultaneously subjective thought forms, and objective forms of the being of things. Thus, Absolute Knowing, in transcending the distinction between subject and object is, in fact, both subjective and objective (though this is only truly revealed at the end of the Logic). In so far as it constitutes a knowing of thought forms, it is self-knowledge. There is one important respect, however, in which the simile of the television signal is inadequate: because there is no distinction between form and content, or method and content, in the system, the broadcasts of the Absolute Station and the act of turning to the station are really one: in other words, there is no distinction between Absolute Knowing and an ‘object’ known in Absolute Knowing.
In the Phenomenology it is made clear that Absolute Knowing is the telos or goal of Spirit itself. The first and most basic form of Spirit Hegel deals with is sense-certainty, a naive standpoint in which we believe we can adequately grasp an object through its bare sensory givenness. The dialectical nature of Hegel’s philosophy means that the end is, in a sense, a return to the beginning. Absolute Knowing accordingly accomplishes exactly what Absolute Knowing 27 sense-certainty cannot: the complete and total grasp of an object.
While in such trance states, individuals often seemed capable of psychic or paranormal powers, such as telepathy and clairvoyance. These phenomena were widely discussed in Hegel’s time, and captured the interest of many philosophers and intellectuals, including Schelling and Schopenhauer. Hegel’s treatment of animal magnetism constitutes one of the most extensive discussions of any topic in the Philosophy of Spirit. Briefly, he argues that in paranormal states the ‘feeling’ part of the soul temporarily usurps the higher-level, ‘mental’ functions.
Awkwardness: An Essay by Adam Kotsko