Janko Stojanow

ON THE ABSOLUTE RATIONAL WILL

(SUBLATION OF ’S PHILOSOPHY) G.W.F. Hegel

                                                                                 An online book

 

 

Introduction

 

 

 

 

 

To begin, I would like to provide a key to better understanding of the speculative ideas in this scientific work and to indicate the manner in which I found this key. As a Hegelian and as a citizen of a former Eastern-European communist country I took a stand on the political actuality of the era in which for the first time in the world-history we had to deal practically with the strongest contradiction between private and common ownership of the means of production. It was a great merit of Marxism to have articulated the question of ownership down to the level of its deepest contradiction. In the 1980s, world-history, more precisely the Rational Will acting within it, confronted the task to solve this contradiction both practically and theoretically. 

To solve this fundamental question meant at the same time to develop the science of philosophy. But it was Hegel - the author of speculative logic and the most speculative philosopher of all time, - that had developed philosophy to the point of becoming a science. That is why this work is written in the most speculative scientific Hegelian language. True, we rarely encounter the latter today. Nonetheless, it clearly deserves to be saved from obscurity and to be strengthened its position in the world. Its use is all the more indispensable since it is unconditionally the language of pure philosophy - speculative, scientific and truly infinite. It and it alone expresses in the best possible way the essence and infinitely rich content of truth, right and freedom. 

Furthermore, if we want to develop Hegel's scientific philosophy, it is essential to use his own categories and his speculative method as proficiently as Hegel himself. He knew that the sublation of a great true philosophy cannot come from outside; it is an immanent moment of the very same science of philosophy that through itself and from itself attains to a higher level of its development. 

Beyond question, each subsequent true philosophy must necessarily contain within itself Hegel's philosophy as sublated. I predicate my work on the proposition that his philosophy has certainly been the highest, richest and most concrete up to the present. Hegel proudly asserts: “The absolute is spirit; this is the supreme definition of the absolute. It may be said that the discovery of this definition and the grasping of its meaning and content was the ultimate end of all education and philosophy. All religion and science has driven towards this point, and world history is to be grasped solely from this drive.”(1) Yet the principle of Hegel's philosophy is no longer the highest. It is no longer the ultimate, absolute determination. It has already met the same fate that the principles of all previous philosophies had met before Hegel's one appeared, that is, it was fated to become subordinated to a principle still higher. Naturally, because the science of the absolute Will and the solution of the infinite contradiction of the category of property, of ownership, requires a principle of Will that is higher than the principle of Hegel's speculative logic “Cognise yourself”.

 The Science of the Absolute Rational Will cannot be based on the purely cognitive principle "Cognise yourself" as Hegel did in his philosophy. It is beyond doubt that, - as we will see, - Hegel also felt the tremendous need of modern times to develop the science of Will. He wanted to set before himself the task to attain to the systematic development of Will as a science. However, he never had the time he needed to carry out into practice his plans.

It is the thesis of the present work that today more than ever before we have to aim at revealing the dialectics of Hegel’s principle "Cognise yourself", which in and through itself sublates itself to its true form as a subordinate moment of a higher speculative principle - the principle of Absolute Rational Will "Will yourself." The World Rational Will never stops to cognise itself and to enter into possession of itself. Its forward movement towards the Science of Will is insuperable; no wonder that it has made great advances in reaching its goal.

 The present writer has always been convinced that modern philosophy cannot make a genuine headway until it sublates Hegel's philosophy. Hegel's principle is not the highest one; it is not the ultimate, the absolute determination. It is only a moment subordinate to the higher principle "Will yourself," which Hegel failed to attain. In this work I set myself the task of showing that by virtue of the principle "Will yourself" we can elaborate upon the concept of Will, and furthermore, we can develop and make the science of Will through and through, wholly and completely concrete; development, which the latter deserves to the highest degree.

I have had sufficient reason to base my research not only on Hegel's speculative ideas, but Aristotle's ones as well. One may safely conclude that more than 180 years ago Hegel had the same reason. He says: "One reason for treating of Aristotle in detail rests in the fact that no philosopher has had so much wrong done him by the thoughtless traditions which have been received respecting his philosophy, and which are still the order of the day, although for centuries he was the instructor of all philosophers. For to him views are ascribed diametrically opposite to his philosophy. And while Plato is much read, the treasures contained in Aristotle have for centuries, and until quite modern times, been as good as unknown, and the falsest prejudices reign respecting him. Almost no one knows his speculative and logical books; in modern times more justice has been done to his writings regarding nature, but not to his philosophical views."(2) It is beyond doubt that Hegel was acquainted with Aristotle’s philosophy better than anyone else. Being the most speculative philosopher ever, he was in a position to understand it in its speculative depth and develop it. However, as we will see, Hegel also failed to acquire Aristotle’s speculative ideas about Will and make them his own, because he omitted to give to Aristotle the amount of attention he deserves and did not examine all Aristotle’s speculative ideas at considerable length. 

There is a world of difference between Aristotle's and Hegel's approach to philosophy. Not for a single moment did Aristotle want to make Logic the base of philosophy as Hegel did. This is the fundamental defect of Hegel's philosophy, which did not allow him to take into account and develop Aristotle's standpoint of Will; he failed to incorporate the latter in his own Idea of the Good as well as in his own doctrine of Will. The concept of Will is closely connected with the concept of the Good, the welfare of the individual. However, Hegel does not examine the Good with due attention and in a manner that gives this fundamental concept its due. In his opinion it is not the highest end of the absolute. Pondering Aristotle's work, On the soul, he does not go beyond Aristotle's thought of thought. Yet, Aristotle's philosophy itself contains more than that. As I will try to demonstrate, Aristotle goes further, precisely because he is a thinking empiricist (as Hegel correctly describes him). Aristotle treats the concepts of the good and the Will in a way that is still unsurpassed.

Hegel did not follow him there. The defect of Hegel's philosophy is that he treated the good as a by-product of reason and failed to go further than the principle “Cognise yourself” and the absolute idea as a self-knowing truth. In his philosophy Reason is so infinitely self-conceited that it proclaims itself to be the highest; it subordinates the Good and everything else to itself. As a consequence, the concept usurped the rightful place of the good. That deformed the good so much that Hegel was obliged to define the Will as self-knowing intelligence. According to him true Will is simply Reason. Thought is substance of the will; thought determines itself as will. So according to Hegel “the will is ... a special way of thinking, thinking translating itself into existence, thinking as the urge to give itself existence.”(3) Hegel could neither think nor write otherwise. True though his principle is, it is not the total truth, not the ultimate or supreme truth. As a principle of only the ideal moment of the Absolute it is not speculative enough to overcome the infinite contradictions of ownership. That is why I perceive a need for a philosophical principle of Will which is as much ideal as material; a principle which embraces as much the ideal world as it embraces the material world. The principle that rules the world, the highest precept of the absolute, is not the precept of the absolute spirit “Cognise yourself,” as Hegel claims. It is a precept of the absolute rational will “Will yourself.” As we will see, this powerful new principle achieves the unity of opposite schools in philosophy - idealism and materialism as well as intellectualism and voluntarism. For it is the principle of the Absolute Owner of the world, who knows, possesses and rules itself in-and-for-itself and for whom these philosophical schools are only moments of his absolute property.  

The newest principle takes in consideration that coming into self-possession and self-ruling is also an immanent moment of the absolute material actuality that Aristotle called entelechy and as a matter of fact it is substantially more important than cognition. It is beyond doubt that contemporary science needs entelechy - this Aristotelian category par excellence, -and for that reason we apprehend it, make it our own and develop it further. In this work I set myself the task to show that by virtue of the principle “Will yourself” we can elaborate the concept of Will that still remains undeveloped, and furthermore, we can develop and make the science of Will through and through, wholly and completely concrete; development which the latter deserves to the highest degree.

The principle of the Absolute Rational Will goes beyond the bounds of a merely cognising philosophy. It makes it possible for us to achieve a developing, speculative critique of scientific philosophy. Yet, the philosophising person who sublates previous philosophies only assists the Absolute. For it is the Absolute itself that refutes and overcome its previous forms but only to sublate them in order to arrive at a more developed possession of itself.

The sublating power of the principle “Will yourself” is shown in chapter one titled “Sublation of Hegel’s philosophy”. Hegel argued that absolute spirit, on its own, posits its Other - Nature, - and sublating it, comes back to itself, achieving itself as absolute self-knowledge and as absolute unity of its concept and its reality. Hegel proclaims this coming back to itself to be the supreme aim of Spirit. That is the determinate way in which Spirit achieves its freedom. Hegel says, “Even in willing I am not simply at home with myself; I have specific interests, and these are indeed mine, but they always involve an other over against me, an other which remains other and by which I am determined in a natural way, (e.g. by impulses, inclination, etc.). In all these, I am never completely at home with myself. Thinking alone is the sphere where everything foreign has vanished and the spirit is absolutely free and at home with itself. To achieve this aim is the interest of the Idea, of thinking, and of philosophy.”(4) Arguably, whenever Hegel discussed the Will, he remained only at the stage of the natural, the finite, and never overcame that stage. If so, no wonder that he exalted and glorified the spirit and despised the Will, that according to him “Cognise yourself” is the principle of philosophy and the absolute truth is its subject matter. I will argue that Hegel failed to attain to the higher absolute concept of entelechy, the infinite urge of the absolute to come into possession of itself and also its act of self-possessing. Hegel took into consideration only one of the moments of the absolute entelechy, namely self-consciousness, which he made into a criterion for all things. He tore spirit away from body and matter; that is the original sin of the objective idealism. 

He argued that Spirit deals only with its own determinations and as absolute spirit it reaches its own concept. But I will argue that this is not enough. Hegel failed to treat the very act of thinking as a process of absolute material actuality. He examined only pure activity, actus purus, and so he easily accepted the Aristotelian idea of thinking as the form of forms. Hegel's concept - the product of self-consciousness, which according to Hegel is the highest form of the absolute, - is only a sublimation of the actual organization of the material. His absolute idea is immaterial and in its highest form it is the absolute truth. He examined consciousness and self-consciousness without their material performer - the brain, which is only one of the organs of organized material actuality, of its physical self-organization. As directed towards itself actuality, however, the absolute entelechy has its own end and this end is the good. It is precisely the latter that is the beginning, the principle of self-organization of material actuality in its concrete being and self-possession.

The principle of Rational Will does not transpierce Hegel's philosophy. He did not unite Reason and Will, nor did he base philosophy on the principle “Will yourself.” This completely and wholly material-actual principle sublates the principle of spirit, "Cognise yourself," as its immanent moment. Welfare is a higher moment of the Rational Will in comparison with cognition and contains in itself the latter as sublated. This new principle goes beyond Hegel's philosophy of Spirit, sublates the latter and elevates it to the higher circle of Rational Will, to which the spirit is only a subordinate moment.

In chapter two “On the absolute entelechy,” I argue that while Hegel's achievement is a moment of truth in the highest degree, it is still not the ultimate determination of what is absolutely true. Abiding by the principle “Cognise yourself”, Hegel clearly and consistently elevated objective idealism to its highest attainable level - the level of the Absolute Idea.  Nonetheless, Hegel and all philosophers before and after him, underestimated the significance of Aristotle's science of entelechy. Consequently, they did not elevate philosophy to the standpoint of absolute material entelechy.

What was impossible in science yesterday is possible today. Insofar as Aristotle's description of entelechy is still underdeveloped (he did not yet express its principle), I chose to develop this category and to put it in conformity with recent achievements of Natural science. Entelechy is the self-organizing, self-animating material actuality. It manifests its principle “Will yourself” as the directed towards itself actuality of the material self-organizing absolute, which wills to cognise itself and actually cognises its willing, its purpose (its ends), in order to come into possession of itself. It is the principle that is in the basis of vitality, of the end, and the good. Thus, the absolute entelechy, i.e. the absolute material actuality, sublates Hegel's absolute idea.

In chapter three “On Aristotle's concept of Will” I argue that in reviewing Aristotle's work, On the soul, Hegel does not go beyond the thought of thought, which he proclaims is the highest apex of Aristotle's philosophy. Hegel did not examine and penetrate the whole wealth of Aristotle's philosophy.  The thinking itself thought is not the principle of Aristotle's philosophy. That is the reason Aristotle goes further - he is interested in the will and wants to examine it on its own account. Hegel does not follow him. He abides by the principle “Cognise yourself” and by his speculative logic and does not go beyond the circle of the true. Aristotle, however, grasped the extremely important moment that thought does not set in motion anything whatever. Only a thought premising a certain end can do that. Aristotle did not yet pose the great question “What is the principle of Will?” However, he says that the living being moves because it possesses a faculty of volition. He determines practical good, - volition, - as an immanent moment of material actuality. Entelechy has in itself the volition to will itself, to come into possession of itself and to achieve its supreme good - its welfare. Volition is a higher moment of entelechy in comparison with thought. 

Aristotle defined conscious choice as a willing Thought or thinking Will. He made the volition rational, and the reason willing; this philosophical speculation is still unsurpassed. Nobody has ever spoken about the will more superbly than Aristotle. Nobody else could have accomplished his deed; Aristotle was the philosopher of entelechy. He was the first to base the science of will on entelechy. The world-historical turning point in the science of Will began with Aristotle. Unfortunately, the succeeding generations failed to apprehend his philosophy of entelechy and will, so it remained undeveloped. One may say that Aristotle's entelechy is completely neglected. I consider this to be a significant problem in modern philosophy. The great task of our time is to join the revolution, which Aristotle began more than 2300 years ago. Aristotle's entelechy deserves to be revived in all its grandeur and brilliance, reinvigorated, apprehended and developed.

In chapter four, “On the absolute rational will,” I argue that Hegel's philosophy is true only because and only inasmuch as his concept is nothing else but the absolute entelechial end in its form as thinking itself thought. His principle manifests a self-alienation of entelechy from itself. By virtue of the principle “Will yourself”, however, the absolute alienates itself from its Hegelian self-alienation. Then, through the act of a self-alienation of its self-alienation, it posits itself as living entelechial unity of spirit and will. Thus, the good sublates the truth, and “Will yourself” sublates “Cognise yourself.” 

Entelechy is the rational will that wills and thinks itself. The will cognises itself but only to enter in possession of itself deeper, and it is the living process of its self-cognising and self-possessing. What Hegel calls the coming of spirit to itself is rather a self-coming of actual matter into possession of itself as an actual single individual (a principle of individuation), i.e. actual matter attains to a living being which enters in possession of itself, possesses and uses itself as well as its inorganic Other for itself. This is the infinite coming of entelechy, of absolute material actuality to itself. The urge, the volition of this self-organizing matter as directed towards itself absolute material actuality is to come into possession of itself. It is objective willing, the objective determination of the will. Absolute Rational Will is the infinite self-willing Will that of necessity thinks itself, but only to take itself into possession entirely and in its full infinity. The entelechial rational will alone, as a self-having property of itself, is the absolutely free.

Finally, in Chapter five, "Political Will - the totally practical universal Rational Will," I introduce the concept of politovolia and explain the etymology of the word. Politovolia, - or Political Will as the totally practical universal Rational Will, - is more than an ordinary science and that is why I do not use the well-known category “politologia.” Not only is politovolia, the practical Rational Will, a living self-organizing deed that masters itself as a scientific system, but it is also a scientific system that develops and carries itself into practice as a living deed. Politovolia is a manifestation of the Absolute Rational Will. Having attained to the principle “Will yourself,” the Absolute develops the concept of property and introduces a whole range of new categories and terminology such as subjective public property, in-and-for-itself having itself absolute property of the Rational Will of the “I”, the self-knowing and self-having entelechy and the concept of Freedom as the highest absolute property of the human person. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES

1. Hegel’s Philosophy of Subjective Spirit edited and translated with an introduction and explanatory notes   by M. J. Petry, volume 1, Introductions, D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht: Holland /Boston: USA, 1979, page 59

2.  Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, volume 2, Plato and the Platonists, translated by E. S. Haldane and Frances H. Simson, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, 1995, page 118

3. Great books of the western world, volume 46, Hegel, The Philosophy of Right, translated by T. M. Knox, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, London, 1971, page 116

4. Hegel’s Introduction to the Lectures on the History of Philosophy, translated by T. M. Knox and A.V. Miller, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1987, page 80

 

 

 I. Sublation of Hegel's philosophy - Next Section

 

 

 

 

 

Janko Stojanow

ON THE ABSOLUTE RATIONAL WILL

(SUBLATION OF HEGEL’S PHILOSOPHY)

(an online book published on 29.10.2001 Copyright © 2001 Janko Stojanow)

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

   

Preface Philosophy of the Absolute Rational Will

Introduction 

I. Sublation of Hegel's philosophy

II. On the Absolute Material Entelechy

III. On Aristotle's concept of Will 

IV. On the Absolute Rational Will 

V. Political Will - the totally practical universal Rational Will

Conclusion   

 

FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF ABSOLUTE RATIONAL WILL    

Preface to the further development of the Philosophy of Absolute Rational Will

            1. On the Absolute Rational Will                                        (Published on 5.05.2002)

            2. On the Soul                                                                       (Published on 16.06.2002)

            3. On Property                                                                         (Published on 5.02.2003)  

            4. Sublation of Hegel's philosophy                                         (Published on 28.08.2002)

            5. WILL YOURSELF                                                             (Published on 10.09.2002)

             6. A Copernican Revolution in Philosophy                            (Published on 19.10.2002)

             7. The totally practical universal Philosophy                        (Published on 26.12.2002)

 

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Copyright © 2001 Janko Stojanow. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.

 

 

(SUBLATION OF ’S PHILOSOPHY) G.W.F. Hegel

 

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PHILOSOPHY OF THE ABSOLUTE RATIONAL WILL