Freedom is not something merely opposed to constraint; on the contrary, it presupposes and requires restraint. This is true of concrete freedom. However, abstract or negative freedom, when it is more than a moment in actual or positive freedom, is a purely destructive force. Hegel considered that this negative freedom played a large part in the French Revolution. The old corporations and institutions were destroyed in such a frenzy of annihilation that it took several years for new institutions to be created and recognized as authoritative.
Furthermore, when the conflicting interests in society are overcome, individuals come to be treated as equal, undifferentiated, replaceable, and expendable units. The events of the Reign of Terror thus led Hegel to hold that purely negative freedom was associated with force and death.
The logical connections are not altogether clear, but it may well be that the links between egalitarianism, antinomianism, violence, and contempt for human life are not wholly accidental. Freedom, according to Hegel, is something that has to be achieved, and it therefore would be impossible in the absence of opposition and negation. Hence, although negative freedom in its abstract form is a "fury of destruction," it is a necessary element in concrete freedom. Free will is not the liberty of indifference but the rational organization of the feelings and impulses.
Rationality is not a power that could reside in an isolated individual, however. To be rational, the individual must draw upon the resources of an organized and differentiated society and must be "formed" and educated to do this. His will is then in harmony with the ends of the various social groups by which he has been influenced and, in civilized societies, with the more complex ends of the state. In conforming to these pressures and in obeying the laws of the state, the individual is achieving his own rational ends and in so doing is free.
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Hegel, like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, also held that an individual might be free even when he was being coerced, for although he might dislike the force applied against him, this dislike would be an expression of his particular whims, not of his rational insight, as can be seen when he approves of the imposition of a like force upon other people in like circumstances. Insofar as the criminal who is being punished would wish others to be punished who committed a like crime against him, he wills his own punishment.
Hegel considered that the history of the human race is a development from less to greater freedom and from less adequate forms of freedom to freedom in its perfection. Thus, his philosophy of history can be understood only in terms of his conception of freedom. In the Oriental world there was no freedom for the subjects and only an arbitrary, irrational freedom for the despot who ruled over them. In the classical world of Greece and Rome there was a more adequate conception of freedom, and more men achieved freedom than in the Oriental despotisms.
In the Greek city-state the citizens often regarded themselves as finding their fulfillment in the achievements of their city, apart from which they conceived of no life for themselves. Indeed, they might accept personal defeat and misfortune and submit to what they called destiny and still regard themselves as free in so doing. Of course, there were slaves who had no part in this activity and had no freedom. Christianity offered the prospect of freedom to all men, a freedom, furthermore, that transcended the given social order. In what Hegel called the Germanic world — that is, the Christian civilization that grew out of Protestantism — this latest form of freedom was being realized in the manifold institutions of Europe and America and in the states in which these institutions flourished and by which they were regulated and protected.
In Christianity the individual is regarded as of infinite value, as a candidate for eternal salvation, and although the emphasis on subjective freedom can lead, as it did in the French Revolution, to contempt for social institutions, it comprises the form and aspect of freedom that gives its special quality to modern civilization, with its romantic art, romantic love, and support for the rights of conscience Philosophy of Right , Sec. It is apparent from the foregoing that Hegel rejected the liberal view that man is free to the extent that he is guaranteed a sphere within which he can do what he wishes without interference from others who are guaranteed a like position.
Such freedom he stigmatized as negative, abstract, or merely willful.
Men enjoy concrete freedom when the various orders and groups of civilized life are maintained in and by the state. Thus, the argument comes full circle. The theoretical reason is inseparable from will and from freedom; necessity and negative freedom are only abstractions; in concrete freedom the negative, destructive element is held in check and rendered fruitful by being realized in institutions; the individual enjoys concrete freedom when he is educated to live in a civilized state and to be guided by the reason that permeates it.
There is no space here to criticize this view in any detail, for in a way it is a cross-section of the whole Hegelian metaphysic. It should be noted, however, that when a critic maintains that real freedom is what Hegel called negative or abstract freedom and when he goes on to maintain that "concrete freedom" is not freedom but indoctrinated submission, then he is criticizing Hegel's terminology rather than the substance of his view.
To say that freedom consists of a willing acceptance of the tasks imposed by a civilized state is certainly to extend and perhaps to distort the ordinary senses of the term and to capture a word from the liberal vocabulary for use in a far from liberal scheme of concepts. It was Hegel's view, however, that the thoughts that the liberal phraseology expressed necessarily move in the directions he described and that societies themselves, the embodiments of men's thoughts and aims, move in these directions, too.
We have already seen that Hegel discussed the nature of art and of beauty toward the end of both the Phenomenology and the Encyclopedia. Art, according to Hegel, is one of the manifestations of Absolute Mind, of which religion and philosophy are the other two. Thus, although art presupposes the civilized life of the state, it also transcends it. The lectures possess great power and attraction, and so much of their value resides in the details that a summary treatment is bound to be difficult. Hegel's account of beauty is a modification of Friedrich Schiller's view, in his Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Mankind , that beauty is the mediation between the sensible and the rational.
According to Hegel, beauty is the rational rendered sensible, the sensible appearance being the form in which the rational content is made manifest. This sensible embodiment of the rational, he held, can take place in three principal ways: symbolic art, classical art, and romantic art. In the first and least adequate form, symbolic art, the sensible shape merely symbolizes the rational content without penetrating and transforming it.
A lion may symbolize courage; a bird, the soul; or a temple, the presence of a god who nevertheless remains a mystery. Thus, in symbolic art the sensible object refers away from itself to a rationality that is enigmatically and mysteriously beyond it. In thus referring away from the sensible symbol to something vast and merely adumbrated, symbolic art sometimes achieves the sublime. In classical art, the second form of sensible embodiment, the sensible expression is adequate to the idea that it gives expression to and does not point vaguely beyond itself. This is typified in sculptures of the human body so formed that the divine ideal is realized in the stone, not merely hinted at.
A temple makes us think of the god but is not the god. In a statue of Apollo the god is visible and tangible in the stone. Hegel pointed out that works of classical art have independence and completeness, so that when they have been created, it seems that there is nothing more left to do done. Christianity, however, with its emphasis on the infinite value of the individual and upon subjective freedom, made classical art seem somewhat unsatisfactory.
More is required than works of art in which reason, as Hegel put it, "stands in quiet and blessedness in bodily form. According to Hegel, it is in romantic art that this progress to subjectivity and self-consciousness is achieved.
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Romantic art turns its back on the quiet and balanced beauty of the classical and "weaves the inner life of beauty into the contingency of the external form, and allows full scope to the emphatic features of the unbeautiful. And in romantic art the mind has achieved a greater measure of freedom than in classical art because romantic art is less involved in and hampered by the sensible embodiment. Hegel's view of the three main types of beauty is closely linked with his view of the main types of artistic product.
Hegel divided the arts into architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry. Works in any of these mediums may be produced in the symbolic, classical, or romantic styles, but, according to Hegel, architecture is particularly appropriate to symbolic art, sculpture to classical art, and painting, music, and poetry to romantic art. Architecture, Hegel held, is the basic art, the art that men first practice, for its material is mindless and its forms depend upon the weight and physical properties of this mindless medium.
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The architecture of early men, by bringing them together to worship the gods in temples, served to bring unity into their societies. Hegel imagined the men who built the first temples as they cleared the ground on which to build them, and he described this as "clearing the undergrowth of finitude.
In architecture a house is provided for the god, and the god is prepared for and expected. He is not, however, embodied or manifested in the stones of a mere building. In classical sculpture the god is embodied in the stone in such a way that all the parts of the statue combine in expressing and proclaiming him.
Hence, it is not a mindless symbol of the mind beyond but a unified expression of it.
outer-edge-design.com/components/map10.php Hegel contrasted the stiff regularity of Egyptian sculpture with the harmonious independence of the Greek, the acme of classical art. In Christian sculpture this Greek ideal does not predominate, and even when, as with Michelangelo, it is fully understood and mastered, it is associated with "the kind of inspiration that is found in romantic art.
The three romantic arts of painting, music, and poetry differ from the arts of sculpture and architecture, according to Hegel, by being more "ideal. Painting, of course, is two-dimensional, and Hegel thought it is more ideal than sculpture because it is further removed from the solid substance of material things.
He appears to have argued that the painter transforms to an extent that the sculptor has no need to do. In reducing the three dimensions to two, space is somehow rendered more "inward" and "subjective," and the first step has been taken on the road to poetry. The next step toward subjectivity is taken by music, which abandons all the dimensions of space as well as the senses of sight and touch.
Hearing, according to Hegel, is a "more subjective" sense than sight because it is less practical and more contemplative. In poetry the sensible elements of music, the notes or tones, are replaced by words that stand for thoughts. Hegel's account of dramatic poetry is particularly interesting. Indeed, in comedy, according to Hegel, the subjectivity characteristic of romantic art is taken to such an extreme that all unity is dissolved; with it goes beauty, too.
In comedy there is merely a series of subjective interests playing against one another, as opposed to the aim of all art, which is the revelation of the eternal and divine in sensible form. It is with this that by far the greater part of the "Lectures on Aesthetics" is concerned. He discussed the notions of regularity, symmetry, harmony, and conformity to law and also the beauty claimed for plants, animals, and human beings. He concluded his discussion of the subject with some comments on how natural beauty falls short of artistic beauty.
Plants and animals, he granted, are more beautiful than inanimate natural objects, but what we see of them is their outward coverings, not the soul that works within, for that is concealed by the visible feathers, hair, scales, fur, and the like that cover them. Hegel referred to natural beauty as the "prose of the world.
Indeed, the structure of his system made this inevitable, for it is the self-conscious achievements of man that form its culmination. It would seem that the triadic divisions of the "Lectures on Aesthetics" constrained and even corrupted Hegel's argument. An example of this occurs in his account of dramatic poetry, into which he introduced a species called "drama," the function of which was to add one species to tragedy and comedy and thus make three species of dramatic poetry. Hegel also tended to confuse conceptual and historical relationships.
For example, the distinction between symbolic, classical, and romantic art was intended to be made on conceptual grounds, but, on the other hand, Hegel had in mind historical progression. Here, as elsewhere, Hegel confused historical types, such as romanticism, with conceptual types, such as tragedy, which have no necessary temporal sequence.
Perhaps the most interesting case of this is Hegel's suggestion that art comes to an end with the highest flights of romanticism. We have already seen that Hegel brought his account of dramatic poetry to an end with comedy, the most subjective of all art forms. At the very end of the "Lectures on Aesthetics" he said that "in this culmination comedy is leading straight to the dissolution of art in general.
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