The Philosophy of History by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel With Prefaces by Charles Hegel

By Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel With Prefaces by Charles Hegel and the Translator, J. Sibree, M.A.

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Human beings least of all sustain the bare external relation of mere means to the great ideal aim. Not only do they in the very act of realizing it, make it the occasion of satisfying personal desires, whose purport is diverse from that aim — but they share in that ideal aim itself; and are for that very reason objects of their own existence; not formally merely, as the world of living beings generally is — whose individual life is essentially subordinate to that of man, and is properly used up as an instrument.

Stated simply and abstractly, this mediation involves the activity of personal existences in whom Reason is present as their absolute, substantial being; but a basis, in the first instance, still obscure and unknown to them. But the subject becomes more complicated and difficult when we regard individuals not merely in their aspect of activity, but more concretely, in conjunction with a particular manifestation of that activity in their religion and morality — forms of existence which are intimately connected with Reason, and share in its absolute claims.

For his spiritual reality consists in this, that his own essence — Reason — is objectively present to him, that it possesses objective immediate existence for him. Thus only is he fully conscious; thus only is he a partaker of morality — of a just and moral social and political life. For Truth is the Unity of the universal and subjective Will; and the Universal is to be found in the State, in its laws, its universal and rational arrangements. The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth. We have in it, therefore, the object of History in a more definite shape than before; that in which Freedom obtains objectivity, and lives in the enjoyment of this objectivity.

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