sábado, 20 de octubre de 2012
Las dos leyes
Hegel finds the exemplary material for this first, rudimentary form of spirituality in the ethical world of Greek tragedy, with which he had come into vivid contact in his Gymnasium studies at Stuttgart. Rudimentary spiritual life is not the life of an undivided community with which the individual subject identifies himself whole-heartedly: it is essentially bifocal, and centres as much in the family, with its unwritten prescriptions dimly backed by dead ancestors, as in the overt power of the State, with its openly proclaimed, 'daylight' laws. The law of the family is a divine law, a law stemming from the underworld of the unconscious, and interpreted by the intuitive females of the family: the state law is on the contrary human, and is proclaimed and enforced by mature males. Hegel makes plain that these laws must at times clash—the theme of the Antigone and other tragedies: in the case of such clashes, the individual incurs guilt whatever he may do. Obviously Hegel has here seized on a very profound source of disunity in ethical spiritual life: the clash between a self-transcendence which is deep, but also tinged with contingent immediacy, and a self-transcencence which can be extended indefinitely, but in that very extensibility necessarily lacks depth. The truly moral life to which we must advance will be as deep in its care for individual problems and circumstances as it is wide in its concern for anyone and everyone. For the time being, however, the rent life of the primitive ethical community must yield place to a spiritual life where all intimacy is dissolved. (Findlay xxi).
§439. The essence of Spirit has already been recognized as the ethical substance, the customs and laws of a society. Spirit, however, is the ethical actuality which, when it confronts itself in objective social form, has lost all sense of strangeness in what it has before it. The ethical substance of custom and law is the foundation and source of everyone's action and the aim towards which it tends: it is the common work which men's co-operative efforts seek to bring about. The etical substance is as it were the infinite self-dispending benevolence on which every individual draws. It is of the essence of this substance to come to life in distinct individuals and to act through and in them.
§440. Spirit is the absolutely real being of which all previous forms of consciousness have represented falsely isolated abstractions, which the diealectic development has shown them to be. In the previous stage of observational and active Reason, Sirit has rather had Reason than been Reason: it has imposed itself as a category on material not intrinsically categorized. When Spirit sees itself and its world as being Reason it becomes ethical substance actualized.
§441. Spirit in its immediacy is the ethical life of a people, of individuality at once with a social world. But it must advance to the full consciousness of what it immediately is through many complex stages, stages realized in a total social world and not merely in a separate individual consciousness.
§442-3. The living ethical world of spirit is its truth, its abstract self-knowledge being the formal generality of law. But it dirempts itself on the one hand into the hard reality of a world of culture, and on the other hand into the inner reality of a world of faith and insight. The conflict between these two modes of experience is resolved in Spirit-sure-of-itself, i.e. in morality. Out of all these attitudes the actual self-consciousness of absolute Spirit will make its appearance.
THE TRUE SPIRIT. THE ETHICAL ORDER.
§444. Spirit is a consciousness which intrinsically separates its moments, whether in its substance or in its consciousness. In its consciousness the individual moral act and the accomplished work are separated from the general moral substance or essence: the term which serves as middle term between them is the individual conscious agent.
§445. The ethical substance, i.e. the system of laws and customs, itself reflects the distinction between the individual action or agent, on the one hand, and the moral substance or essence, on the other. It splits up into a human and a divine law. The individual harried by these contradictory laws both knows and does not know the wrongness of his acts, and is tragically destroyed in the conflict. Through such tragic instances, individuals learn to advance beyond blind obedience to law and custom. They achieve the ability to make conscious decisions to obey or disobey.
THE ETHICAL WORLD
§446. Spirit is essentially self-diremptive. But just as bare being dirempts itself into the Thing with its many properties, so the ethical life dirempts itself into a web of ethical relations. Adn just as the many properties of the Thing concentrate themselves into the contrast between individuality and universality, so too do ethical laws resolve themselves into individual and universal laws.
§447. The ethical substance, as individual reality, is the commonality which realizes itself in a plurality of existent consciousnesses in all of which it is consciously reflected, but which also underlies them as substance and contains them in itself. As actual substance it is a people, as actual consciousness the citizens of that people. Such a people is not anything unreal: it exists and prevails.
§448. This Spirit can be called the human law since it is a completely self-conscious actuality. It is present as the known law and the prevailing custom. It shows itself in the assurance of individuals generally, and of the government in particular. It has a daylight sway, and lets individuals go freely about their business.
§449. The ethical substance reveals itself, however, in another law, the Divine Law, which springs from the immediate, simple essence of the ethical, and is opposed to the fully conscious dimension of action, and extends down to the inner essence of individuals.
§450. The Divine Law has its own self-consciousness, the immediate consciousness of self-in-other, in a natural ethical community, the Family. The Family is that elementary, unconscious ethical being which is opposed to, and yet is also presupposed by, the conscious ethical being of the people and their devotion to common ends.
§451. In the Family natural relations carry universal ethical meaning. The individual in the Family is primarily related to the Family as a whole, and not by ties of love and sentiment to its particular members. The Family, further, is not concerned to promote the well-being of its particular members, nor to offer them protection. It is concerned with individuality raised out of the unrest and change of life into the universality of death, i.e. the Family exists to promote the cult of the dead.
§452. The individuality by dying achieves peace and universality through a merely natural process. As regards its timing it is only accidentally connected with the services he performs to the community, even though dying is in a sense the supreme service to the community that a man can perform, in furnishing the Family with its ancestral pantheon, its household Lares. In order, however, that the individual's taking up into universality may be effective, it must be helped out by a conscious act on the part of the Family members. This act may indifferently be regarded as the saving of the deceased individual from destruction, or as the conscious effecting of that destruction, so that the individual becomes a thing of the past, a universal meaning. The Family resists the corruption of worms and of chemical agencies by substituting their own conscious work in its place, by consigning the dead individual solemnly to the imperishable elementary individual, the earth. It thereby also makes the dead person an imperishable presiding part of the Family.
§454. There are in both laws differences and gradations. In discussing these we shall see them in active operation, enjoying their own self-consciousness and also interacting with one another.
§455. The human law has its living seat in the government in which it also assumes individual form. The government is the actual Spirit which reflects on itself, and is the self of the whole ethical substance. It may accord a limited independence to the families under its sway, but is always ready to subordinate them to the whole It may likewise accord a limited independence to individuals promoting their own gain and enjoyment, but it has to prevent such individual concerns from becoming overriding. From tim to time it must foster wars to prevent individual life from becoming a mere case of natural being, and ceasing to serve the freedom and power of the social whole. The daylight, human law, however, always bases its authority on the deeper authority of the subterranean Divine Law.
§456. The Divine Law governs three different family-relationships, that of husband to wife, of parents to children, and of siblings to one another. The husband-wife relation is a case of immediate self-recognition in another consciousness which has also a mainly natural character: its reality lies outside of itself, in the children, in which it passes away.
§457. A relationship unmiexed with transience or inequality of status is that of brother and sister. In them identity of blood has come to tranquillity and equilibrium. As sister, a woman has the highest intimations of ethical essence, not yet brought out into actuality or full consciousness: she manifests internal feeling and the divinity that is raised above the actual. As daughter, a woman must see her parents pass away with resigned tenderness, as mother and wife there is something natural and replaceable about her, and her unequal relation to her husband, in which she has dueties where he mainly has pleasures, means that she cannot be fully aware of herself in another. In brother and sister there are none of the inequalities due to desire nor any possibility of replacement: the loss of a brother is irreparable to a sister, and her duty to him is the highest.
§458. The brother represents the family-spirit at its most individual and therefore turned outwards towards a wider universality. The brother leaves the immediate, elemental, negative ethical life of the family to achieve a self-conscious, actual ethical life.
§459. The brother passes from the suzerainty of the divine to that of the human law: the sister or wife remains the guardian of the Divine Law. They have each a different natural vocation, a sequel of the vocation considered above in the 'task itself', a vocation which has its outer expression in the distinction of sex.
§460. The human and ethical orders require one another. The human law has its roots in the divine order, whereas the Divine law is only actual in the daylight realm of existence and activity.
§461. The ethical system in its two branches fulfils all the perfect categories that have led up to it. It is rational in that it unites self-consciousness and objectivity. It observes itself in the customs which surround it. It has pleasure in the family life and necessity in the wider social order. It has the law of the heart at its root which is also the law of all hearts. It exhibits virtue and the devotion to the 'task itself'. It provides the criterion by which all detailed projects and acts are tested.
§462. The ethical whole is a tranquil equilibrium of parts in which each finds its stisfaction in this equilibrium with the whole. Justice is the agency which restores this equilibrium whenever it is disturbed by individuals or classes. The communal spirit avenges itself on wrongs done to its members, wrongs which have the mechanical character of the merely natural, by equally natural expedients of revenge.
§463. Universal self-conscious Spirit is chiefly manifest in the man, unconscious individualized Spirit in the woman: both serve as middle terms in what amounts to the same syllogism uniting the divine with the human law.
§464. In the opposition of the two laws we have not yet considered the role of the individual and his deed. It is the individual's deed which brings the two laws into conflict. A dreadful fate (Schicksal) here enters the scene and makes action come out on one side or the other.
§465. The individual's self-alignment with one law does not, however, involve internal debate and arbitrary choice, only immediate, unhesitant, dutiful self-commitment. There is no quarrel of duty with duty. It is one's sex, Hegel suggests, which decides which law one will obey.
§466. In self-consciousness the two laws are explicit, not merely implicit as in ordinary ethical life. The individual's character commits him to one law. The other seems to him only an unrighteous actuality (será el punto de vista de Antígona sobre la orden de Creonte) or a case of human obstinacy or perversity (es así como ve Creonte la obstinación de Antígona).
§467. The ethical consciousness cannot (like the consciousness that preceded it) draw any distinction between an objective order and its own subjective order: it cannot doubt that the law it obeys has absolute authority. Nor is there any taint of individuality left over that can deflect it from the path of duty. (Así pues, la acción de Antígona no se debe a un impulso individualista o de aserción de su propio yo). It cannot conceive that the duty could be other than what it knows it to be.
§468. None the less the ethical consciousness cannot divert itself of allegiance to both laws, and so cannot escape guilt when it opts for the one as opposed for the other. Only an inert, unconscious stone can avoid incurring guilt. The guilt is, however, not individual, but collective. It is the guilt of a whole class or sex.
§469. The law violated by an individual's act necessarily demands vindication, even though its voice was not at the time heard by the violator. Action brings the unconscious into the daylight, and forces consciousness to bow to its offended majesty.
§470. The ethical consciousness is most truly guilty when it wittingly rejects the behests of one law and holds them to be violent and wrong. Its action denies the demand for real fulfilment which is part of the law, and so involves real guilt.
§471. The individual cannot survive the tragic conflict in him of the two laws, neither of which he can repudiate. He cannot merely have a sentiment (Gesinnung) for the one. His whole being is consumed in pathos, which is part of his character as an ethical being.
§472. In the fateful conflict of two laws in different individuals both individuals undergo destruction. Each is guilty in the face of the law he has violated. It is in the ethical subordination of both sides that absolute right is first carried out.
§473. A young man leaves the unconscious natural medium of ethical life to become ruler of the community and administer the human law. But the natural character of his origins may show itself in a duplicity of existence, e.g. Eteocles and Polynices. The community is bound to honour the one who actually possesses power, and to dishonour the mere claimant to state power who takes up arms against the community. This dishonour involves deprivation of burial rights. (Es la forma que toma el conflicto en la Antígona de Sófocles).
§474. The family-spirit, backed by the Divine Law, and with its roots in the underworld waters of forgetfulness, is affronted by these human arrangements. The dead man finds instruments of vengeance by which the representatives of the human law are in their turn destroyed.
§475. The battle of laws, with its inherent pathos, is carried on by human agents, which gives it an air of contingency. The atomistic family has to be liquidated in the continity of communal life, but the latter continues to have its roots in the former. Womankind, that eternal source of irony, reduces to ridicule the grave deliberations of the state elders, and asserts the claims of youth. The communal spirit then takes its revenge of feminine anarchy by impressing youth into war. In war the ethical substance asserts its negativity, its freedom from all existing arrangements. But since victory depends on fortune and strength, this sort of ethical community breaks down, and is superseded by a soulless, universal ethical community, based on limitless individualism.
§476. The destruction of the ethical world of custom lies in its mere naturalness, its immediacy. This immediacy breaks down because it tries to combine the unconscious peace of nature with the self-conscious, unresting peace of Spirit. An ethical system of this natural sort is inevitably restricted, and gets superseded by another similar system. Spiritual communal life necessarily detaches itself from such tribalism, and erects itself into a formally universal 'open society' (term not used by Hegel) dispersed among a vast horde of separate individuals.
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José Ángel García Landa
(Biescas y Zaragoza)
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