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If we apprehend a demand of this kind in its broader context , and view it as it appears at the stage which self-conscious Spirit has presently reached , it is clear that Spirit has now got beyond the substantial life it formerly led in the element of thought , that it is beyond the immediacy of faith , beyond the satisfaction and security of the certainty that consciousness then had , of its reconciliation with the essential being , and of that being's universal presence both within and without .

It has not only gone beyond all this into the other extreme of an insubstantial reflection of itself into itself , but beyond that too .

Spirit has not only lost its essential life ; it is also conscious of this loss , and of the finitude that is its own content .

Turning away from the empty husks , and confessing that it lies in wickedness , it reviles itself for so doing , and now demands from philosophy , not so much knowledge of what it is , as the recovery through its agency of that lost sense of solid and substantial being .

Philosophy is to meet this need , not by opening up the fast-locked nature of substance , and raising this to self-consciousness , not by bringing consciousness out of its chaos back to an order based on thought , nor to the simplicity of the Notion , but rather by running together what thought has put asunder , by suppressing the differentiations of the Notion and restoring the feeling of essential being : in short , by providing edification rather than insight .

The " beautiful " , the " holy " , the " eternal " , " religion " , and " love " are the bait required to arouse the desire to bite ; not the Notion , but ecstasy , not the cold march of necessity in the  thing itself , but the ferment of enthusiasm , these are supposed  to be what sustains and continually extends the wealth of substance .


In keeping with this demand is the strenuous , almost over-zealous and frenzied effort to tear people away from their preoccupation with the sensuous , from their ordinary , private affairs , and to direct their gaze to the stars ; as if they had forgotten all about the divine , and were ready like worms to content themselves with dirt and water .

Formerly they had a heaven adorned with a vast wealth of thoughts and imagery .

The meaning of all that is , hung on the thread of light by which it was linked to that heaven .

Instead of dwelling in this world's presence , people looked beyond it , following this thread to an otherworldly presence , so to speak .

The eye of the Spirit had to be forcibly turned and held fast to the things of this world ; and it has taken a long time before the lucidity which only heavenly things used to have could penetrate the dullness and confusion in which the sense of worldly things was enveloped , and so make attention to the here and now as such , attention to what has been called " experience " , an interesting and valid enterprise .

Now we seem to need just the opposite : sense is so fast rooted in earthly things that it requires just as much force to raise it .

The Spirit shows itself as so impoverished that , like a wanderer in the desert craving for a mere mouthful of water , it seems to crave for its refreshment only the bare feeling of the divine in general .

By the little which now satisfies Spirit , we can measure the extent of its loss .


This modest complacency in receiving , or this sparingness in giving , does not , however , befit Science .

Whoever seeks mere edification , and whoever wants to shroud in a mist the manifold variety of one's earthly existence and of thought , in order to pursue the indeterminate enjoyment of this indeterminate divinity , may look where one likes to find all this .

One will find ample opportunity to dream up something for oneself .

But philosophy must beware of the wish to be edifying .


Still less must this complacency which abjures Science claim that such rapturous haziness is superior to Science .

This prophetic talk supposes that it is staying right in the centre and in the depths , looks disdainfully at determinateness , and deliberately holds aloof from Notion and Necessity as products of that reflection which is at home only in the finite .

But just as there is an empty breadth , so too there is an empty depth ; and just as there is an extension of substance that pours forth as a finite multiplicity without the force to hold the multiplicity together , so there is an intensity without content , one that holds itself in as a sheer force without spread , and this is in no way distinguishable from superficiality .

The power of Spirit is only as great as its expression , its depth only as deep as it dares to spread out and lose itself in its exposition .

Moreover , when this non-conceptual , substantial knowledge professes to have sunk the idiosyncrasy of the self in essential being , and to philosophize in a true and holy manner , it hides the truth from itself : by spurning measure and definition , instead of being devoted to GOD , it merely gives free rein both to the contingency of the content within it , and to its own caprice .

Such minds , when they give themselves up to the uncontrolled ferment of ( the divine ) substance , imagine that , by drawing a veil over self-consciousness and surrendering understanding they become the beloved of GOD to whom GOD gives wisdom in sleep ; and hence what they in fact receive , and bring to birth in their sleep , is nothing but dreams .



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