Hegel On This Now And The Here Pointed Out

The Now is pointed to, this Now. ‘Now’; it has already ceased to be in the act of pointing to it. The Now that is, is another Now than the one pointed to, and we see that the Now is just this: to be no more just when it is. The Now, as it is pointed out to us, is Now that has been, and this is its truth; it has not the truth of being. Yet this much is true, that it has been. But what essentially has been [gewesen ist] is, in fact, not an essence that is [kein Wesen]; it is not, and it was with being that we were concerned…

The Here pointed out, to which I hold fast, is similarly a this Here which, in fact, is not this Here, but a Before and Behind, an Above and Below, a Right and Left. The Above is itself similarly this manifold otherness of above, below, etc. The Here, which was supposed to have been pointed out, vanishes in other Heres, but these likewise vanish. What is pointed out, held fast, and abides, is a negative This, which is negative only when the Heres are taken as they should be, but, in being so taken, they supersede themselves; what abides is a simple complex of many Heres. The Here that is meant would be the point; but it is not: on the contrary, when it is pointed out as something that is, the pointing-out shows itself to be not an immediate knowing [of the point], but a movement from the Here that is meant through many Heres into the universal Here which is a simple plurality of Heres, just as the day is a simple plurality of Nows.

It is clear that the dialectic of sense-certainty is nothing else but the simple history of its movement or of its experience, and sense-certainty itself is nothing else but just this history. That is why the natural consciousness, too, is always reaching this result, learning from experience what is true in it; but equally it is always forgetting it and starting the movement all over again. It is therefore astonishing when, in face of this experience, it is asserted as universal experience and put forward, too, as a philosophical proposition, even as the outcome of Scepticism, that the reality or being of external things taken as Thises or sense-objects has absolute truth for consciousness.

G.W.F. Hegel 1807 The Phenomenology of Spirit, page 63


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