Sunday, 5 August 2012

Subject and Object: or, What is Expression ii?

'Even our physical life, and still more the world of our spiritual aims and interests, rests on the demand to carry though into objectivity what at first was there only subjectively and inwardly, and then alone to find itself satisfied in this complete existence. Now since the content of our aims and interests is present first only in the one sided form of subjectivity, and this one-sidedness is a restriction, this deficiency shows itself at the same time as an unrest, a grief, as something negative. This, as negative, has to cancel itself […] The individual in his essential nature is the totality, not the inner alone, but equally the realization of this inner through and in the outer.'

Hegel, Aesthetics.

Expression does not simply transfer what was 'inside' onto what is 'outside'.  What is 'inside' is deficient, partially known and incomplete whilst it is still only 'inside'. The inside is virtual, the outside actual. The inside intends the outside.

The customary division between subject and object typically overlooks how the subject is only fully disclosed and known through the object, and so follows in its wake.

Expression - the 'carrying through into objectivity' - always both surpasses and surprises us. 

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