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A History of Philosophy in Epitome by Schwegler

3 the Reason as the unity of reflection and subsumption


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exists in the form of indifference.

If we could see together every thing which is, we should find in all the pure identity, because we should find in all a perfect quantitative equilibrium of subjectivity and objectivity. True, we find, in looking at individual objects, that sometimes the preponderance is on one side and sometimes on the other, but in the whole this is compensated. The absolute identity is the absolute totality, the universe itself. There is in reality (_an-sich_) no individual being or thing. There is in reality nothing beyond the totality; and if any thing beyond this is beheld, this can only happen by virtue of arbitrary separation of the individual from the whole, which is done through reflection, and is the source of every error. The absolute identity is essentially the same in every part of the universe. Hence the universe may be conceived under the figure of a line, in the centre of which is the A=A, while at the end on one side is [+A] = B, _i. e._ a transcendence of the subjective, and at the end on the other side is A = [+B], _i. e._ a transcendence of the objective, though this must be conceived so that a relative identity may exist even in these extremes. The one side is the real or nature, the other side is the ideal. The real side developes itself according to three potences (a potence, or power, indicates a definite quantitative difference of subjectivity and objectivity). (1) The first potence is matter and weight--the greatest preponderance of the object. (2) The second potence
is light (A^2), an inner--as weight is an outer--intuition of nature. The light is a higher rising of the subjective. It is the absolute identity itself. (3) The third potence is organism (A^3), the common product of light and weight. Organism is just as original as matter. Inorganic nature, as such, does not exist: it is actually organized, and is, as it were, the universal germ out of which organization proceeds. The organization of every globe is but the inner evolution of the globe itself; the earth itself, by its own evolving, becomes animal and plant. The organic world has not formed itself out of the inorganic, but has been at least potentially present in it from the beginning. That matter which lies before us, apparently inorganic, is the residuum of organic metamorphoses, which could not become organic. The human brain is the highest bloom of the whole organic metamorphosis of the earth. From the above, Schelling adds, it must be perceived that we affirm an inner identity of all things, and a potential presence of every thing in every other, and therefore even the so-called dead matter may be viewed only as a sleeping-world of animals and plants, which, in some period, the absolute identity may animate and raise to life. At this point Schelling stops suddenly, without developing further the three potences of the ideal series, corresponding to those of the real. Elsewhere he completes the work by setting up the following three potences of the ideal series: (1) Knowledge, the potence of reflection; (2) Action, the potence of subsumption; (3) the Reason as the unity of reflection and subsumption. These three potences represent themselves: (1) as the true, the imprinting of the matter in the form; (2) as the good, or the imprinting of the form in the matter; (3) as the beautiful, or the work of art, the absolute blending together of form and matter.


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