Jacques Maritain Center

Moral Philosophy


Hegelian Idealism

Hegel's God

I The Hegelian Gnosis

Religion captured by Philosophy
1. The Spirit objectifies itself in the State -- according to a process of generation and destruction of nations and empires which reaches its ultimate stage with the advent of the Christian-Germanic State; and so, in and through the concrete super-personality of the State, it reveals to man the unconditional rule of the ethical life, obedience to which constitutes freedom for man. But the State remains a limited thing; it is the supreme objectification of the Spirit, but it is not the Spirit in-and-for-itself. The Spirit itself (or Freedom itself) is infinite. The return of the Spirit into itself, by means of which it transcends the opposition between subjective Spirit and objective Spirit, and restores the finite to the infinite, occurs on a level above that of ethical conduct and regulations, the level of pure Knowledge -- either masked in the lights of beauty, or mythically "represented", or directly attained. Nothing is superior to the State on the practical level and as far as duty is concerned. That is why the Church, or religion in the form of a finite organization, is subordinated, like every particular society or community, to the State.{1} But religion in its spiritual essence is infinite and belongs, like the chrysalis of Philosophy, to a more elevated order of manifestations of the spirit. In short, the summit of dialectical development is the development of the absolute Spirit, with its three essential stages: Art, Religion, Philosophy. At this point in our analysis, the positions Hegel takes concerning the last two of these stages are of primary interest to us.

Thanks to the dialectical revolution which made all the irrational flow back into reason, the rationalism inaugurated by Descartes has now achieved its ultimate triumph. Everything is subject to the dominion of Reason, which, in the most decidedly univocal sense, is "the Positive Existence [Wesen] of Spirit, divine as well as human".{2} Philosophy is knowledge purely and simply supreme. When it attains absolute Knowledge, it coincides with the Science which God has of Himself. But in seizing first place in the degrees of knowledge, philosophy charged itself, like it or not, with the burden of all the enigmas in the midst of which the human spirit had been struggling. It was not enough to deny or reject everything that derived from faith and from theology, as the tragic prattle of the eighteenth century had bravely attempted, in the candlelight of the Aufklärung. It was necessary to integrate and reinterpret it all. With Hegel as with Auguste Comte, under the label of Christianity as under the label of the religion of Humanity, modern philosophy perceived that in overthrowing theology it had taken over the whole heritage of theology. Henceforth it was up to philosophy to furnish men with the final answers and the ultimate certitudes, and with what will serve in the place of transfiguration, the communion of the saints, the Paraclete, and of the good news of salvation and redemption which they had expected from revelation. In seeking to build up a purely philosophical morality that would work better than Christian morality, and to enclose religion within the limits of pure reason, Kant had remained honestly a philosopher. That is why he had failed. Now it was necessary to make religion enter into the very substance of philosophy. The Auguste Comte of the subjective synthesis was to attempt a lay counterfeit of Catholicism, intended to supplant the Christian message. As for Hegel, by religiously absorbing Protestantism into his philosophy, it was the Christian message itself and the salt of the gospel, it was Christ and His redemptive passion, the Trinity, the Incarnation and the felix culpa that he installed in the dialectic and restored with his pious hands: "Philosophy . . . to-day is essentially orthodox; it is what conserves and maintains the articles of faith that have always carried authority, the fundamental truths of Christianity."{1} "The content of philosophy, its needs and its interests, it holds in common with religion; its object is eternal truth -- nothing other than God and his explanation. Philosophy does nothing but explain itself in explaining religion, and in explaining itself it explains religion. . . . Thus religion and philosophy coincide."{2} Consummate philosophical knowledge, which is absolute Knowledge -- "the spirit knowing itself as spirit" -- does not, then, leave religion behind. It integrates religion in itself and constitutes the full comprehension of it. The forms that precede philosophy are the organic constituents of the empire of absolute Spirit, of which philosophy is the fulfilment. ". . . they are the recollection and the Golgotha" of its history, and at the same time "the reality, the truth, the certainty of its throne, without which it were lifeless, solitary and alone".{3}

Is there any philosophy more Christian than Hegelian philosophy? It is religious at its very foundation, animated from the beginning by the theme of a God suffering passion and given over to death. It "preserves many more elements of dogma than the dogma itself, than theology itself";{1} "it is itself, in reality, a devotion offered to God".{2} Here is, to be sure, a Christian philosophy, a hyper-Christian philosophy, in the sense that it has taken all that it could from Christianity in order to thrive on it. At the same time it has completely emptied Christianity of its own substance, and this in the name of a radical requirement of the historical meaning and destiny of Christianity itself, as it conceives them. For Christianity came to reveal to man an unheard-of freedom and dignity which are his, and the fact that he is called to participate in the very life of God. But at first this revelation could only be formulated in the unreal images and the myths proper to religion, by elevating above the world the idea of a transcendent God who, from heaven where he dwells, "recognizes" each man and his dignity, and calls each one to enter after the death of the body into his own divine life and freedom. But what is the good of being "recognized" above if I am not here below, of entering into the divine life once I am dead and not while I am living here below? The real meaning of such a revelation is that each one must be recognized, not by a Whole who is imagined as separate, but by that very Whole which is the World (and primarily in the form of the State), and that man must enter into the possession of his divinity in this very world and in this very life, when the travails of history are concluded, Jesus having been the first among us to know that He was God, because God and man make themselves God in man. And so it is that Christianity comes to be what it is, to realize itself truly, only by ceasing to be Religion (or represented under the form of myths) in order to become Philosophy (in the sense of absolute Knowledge), and by understanding that there is neither hereafter (Jenseits) nor afterlife, and no other world than the World. We must concur with M. Kojève on this point, when in his commentary on the Phenomenology he shows so clearly that for Hegel Christianity can only realize itself through the suppression (Aufhebung) of Christian theology and Christian dogmatics.{3}

2. It is not, then, by virtue of some more or less subjective and purely theoretical allegorical interpretation, but following the very dictation of history, and by virtue of the internal requirements of a Christianity-without-hereafter, forcing itself into being, that Hegel knows that Christianity, or religion having attained "its true or absolute form", is "an anticipatory representation of philosophical thought",{4} a system of myths preparatory to philosophy. Its content is nothing more than the very content of philosophy, but obscured by symbols.{5} It is philosophy which reveals the truth that revelation still veiled and that religion attained only imperfectly: because philosophy is the "highest, freest, wisest phase"{1} in the union of subjective spirit with objective spirit, and the final goal of the whole development. "What was formerly revealed as a mystery, and remains in the purest forms, and still more in the obscure forms of revelation, a mystery for (merely) formal thought, is (finally) revealed for (genuine, concrete) Thought itself, which, exercising the absolute right of its freedom, affirms its obstinate determination to be reconciled with the content of the real only if the latter knows how to give itself the form most worthy of thought, that of the concept, of the necessity which binds all things together and thus liberates them."{2}

The Incarnation of the Word thus signifies the fundamental law of the dialectic: thought must enter into the abyss of its own negation in order to find its plenitude through return into itself and abiding with itself; the redemptive passion signifies the process by which human consciousness makes an end to its separation from the universal and in which the finite and the infinite are reunited and reconciled. For the only begotten Son, in His phase of "disintegration"{3} appears as the finite world of nature and of man, which far from being one with the Father, begins by being in a state of alienation and division from Him, and where the finite mind "completes its independence till it becomes wickedness".{4} And the history of Christ is that of the reintegration of this finite world into unity. The remission of sins{6} (which was no doubt as central a problem for Hegel as for Luther) signifies that the fall is the necessary condition of the advent and triumph of Spirit. The Trinity signifies that the life of the Spirit consists of Reason's self-interior movement and reflection on itself. This dogma lets us into the secret of Hegelian metaphysics, and the triadic structure of Being. In short, the whole message of the religion of Christ is the absolute Knowledge of the philosophy which deciphers it, by explaining to us, for example, concerning the "infinite return, and reconciliation with the eternal being", or "the withdrawal of the eternal from the phenomenal into the unity of its fullness",{1} that "the universal substance, as actualized out of its abstraction", is realized "in an individual self-consciousness", which is identical with the "essence -- (in the Eternal sphere he is called the Son) -- . . . transplanted into the world of time", in Him the universal substance shows evil as suppressed in itself. But furthermore, the concrete absolute, in "this immediate, and thus sensuous existence", "of its own expiring in the pain of negativity", becomes -- as "infinite subjectivity. [keeping] himself unchanged" -- an "absolute return" and "universal unity of universal and individual essentiality" for itself -- this is "the Idea of the Spirit eternal, but alive and present in the world".{2} Hegel's philosophy is centered on the Christian idea of the mediation of the Son of God, understood in the sense that humanity is its own mediator and that history is the very process of mediation by which God realizes Himself and manifests Himself in incarnation -- making Himself God and man at the same time.

So the Christian faith, like everything else, is "put in the form"{3} or "translated into the form of thought".{4} Everything is there, and everything is a corpse. All the truths of the faith are hanging up in the slaughterhouse of pure reason. This is quite inevitable, since philosophy has become so Christian that it has usurped the place of the revealing God.

Philosophy has caught Christianity and even God in its dialectic, in order to extend the supreme protection of Reason over them. It lavishes its care on a dead Christianity. It is a dead God that it causes to reign over men and charges with sanctioning the power of the State. Once again Hegel has killed what he affirmed and exalted. In proclaiming the death of God,{5} Nietzsche will only unveil what had been covered by the cloak of dialectical idealism. The atheism of Nietzsche and Marx will unmask the religiosity without faith of Hegelian reason by rising up against Christianity. The faith of Kierkegaard will avenge itself upon it by rising up against reason.

The Spiritual captured by the Temporal
3. We have just seen how religion is captured by philosophy in the Hegelian dialectic. By virtue of the same operation the spiritual is captured by the temporal. The evangelical distinction between the spiritual order (the things that are God's) and the temporal order (the things that are Caesar's) vanishes with the advent of the Idea of the State finally actualized in its truth, that is, with the advent of the Christian-Germanic State. When "the end of days is fully come",{1} and thanks to the Protestant Reformation and the developments which followed, the fourth stage of universal history, the Germanic empire, arrives at its final outcome, then "the antithesis of Church and State vanishes. The spiritual becomes reconnected with the secular, and develops this latter as an independently organic existence. The State no longer occupies a position of real inferiority to the Church . . . and the spiritual is no longer an element foreign to the State."{2}

In protesting against the distinction between the spiritual and the temporal,{3} Hegel was following in the footsteps of Hobbes and Rousseau.{4} But his State is more deeply imbued with religion than theirs, because it is the social body of the Spirit -- it is to the Church what philosophy is to religion, it envelops and protects it by absorbing it into itself.{5} The fact is that Religion, as Hegel conceives it, is resolved and absorbed, on the one hand, into Philosophy and absolute Knowledge (and as we saw above, it is in this role, as the chrysalis of Philosophy, that religion belongs to a higher order than the State), and, on the other hand, it is resolved and absorbed into the State, in the sense that by nourishing men with the symbols of truth it was like the maternal bosom where the State took possession of its proper principles and established its divine authority. But once this authority is established, the whole substance of Religion passes into the ("Christian") State, as far as the regulation of conduct is concerned, just as its whole substance passes into ("Christian") Philosophy as far as knowing is concerned. The temporal State in its ultimate form is the spiritual community par excellence, "secular life is the positive and definite embodiment of the Spiritual Kingdom"{1}

"There is nothing holier than the ethical element and the law of the State."{2}

What Hegel introduces here into modern history is a principle which, in its direct opposition to the Gospel, constitutes the mystical root of the deification, no longer of the Emperor, as in ancient Rome, but of the totalitarian State: that is to say, the claim of sanctity for the world and the temporal power.

II The Ethics of Dialectical Connivance with History, in "Christian" Submission to the Emperor of This World

Hegel's God
4. In the proper philosophical order itself, what is the Hegelian notion of God? God is the infinite Spirit insofar as it makes itself personal or supra-personal by becoming conscious of itself (in man), that same infinite Spirit which only realizes itself by first denying and alienating itself in the finite, and which posits itself as Idea and then exteriorizes itself as Nature before returning into itself as Spirit.

Hegel denied being pantheist because pantheism,{1} he said, consists of affirming "the identity of God and the world",{2} while in Hegel's system the world is necessarily other than God: but in what way? Because in its very otherness the world is necessary to God as an extraneation of God, and in order that God may become Himself in the world. Whether He be taken in the state of alienation from self or in that of reintegration into self, God is nothing but the eternal process, painful or victorious, of a Thought which has been raised to the absolute, not as a pure act of intellection but as discursive reason. He is but the eternal process of an infinite Whole which is not "separate", nor transcendent, but consubstantial with becoming and with the swarming of the forms of the finite. Such an absolute immanentism is more pantheistic than common pantheism.{3} And how does this God of Hegel become conscious of Himself and personalize Himself, how does He acquire His divinity, starting from His own negative? In order to accomplish this He needs the finite. It is through man and man's thought that He brings Himself and all things back into Himself. "God must be apprehended as spirit in his community."{4} "Not only is God not independent of the spiritual community, but he exists qua God, or as knowing himself, only in this community."{5} The development of the absolute Spirit thus coincides with the history of the human spirit. "Both [the divine and the human spirit] have in common what is in-itself and for-itself -- the universal, absolute Spirit."{6} "The divine nature is itself only this: to be the absolute Spirit, that is to say, the unity of the divine nature and human nature."{1} "God is God only so far as he knows himself: his self-knowledge is, further, his self-consciousness in man, and man's knowledge of God, which proceeds to man's self-knowledge in God."{2}

This means that the reconciliation of the Spirit with itself, and the final realization of its divinity, or its final conquest of an "infinite interiority", take place in man and through man. If God is "spirit in its community", it is because He becomes conscious of Himself, as we noted above, through the community of minds, and realizes Himself as God thereby. And even this occurs in a consummate way -- no longer under the shadow of sense perceivable beauty or under the veil of myths which nourish feeling, but in full rational splendor -- only in and through absolute Knowledge of Philosophy, in which the reintegration of the finite into the infinite is accomplished, and which is the ultimate interior sanctuary, the Word formed in time, in which God at the same time, and in a totally pure way, becomes conscious of Himself and of the world and becomes, insofar as He is thought, an infinite personality or supra-personality. Suppress philosophy and its history, and God is no longer God. In other words, suppress man and his history, and God is no longer God. For "the owl of Minerva begins its flight only at nightfall" -- the Knowledge of the sage is none other than a supremely comprehensive reflection in which is revealed, in the "interiorizing-memory", what has been accomplished, what the real has become. At the same time and by the same token such knowledge reveals God and Man having attained the plenitude of their being, as one being, God become true God in Man and Man become God in becoming truly Man.{3} This is not "common pantheism", it is anthropo-theistic immanentism.

5. But Hegelian pantheism has consequences which have no less significance and which it is important to point out. They have to do with the problem of evil (or evil par excellence, sin){4} in its relation to God.

In the authentic perspective of Christianity, the innocence of God is a corollary of His transcendence. God is absolutely innocent of evil. More than that, He wages war against evil, and against its companion, death. He took them upon Himself when he was incarnated in order to suffer, as if He sought thus to console His glory for having created a world in which evil is permitted, because it is in the nature of everything that is not God to be capable of failing.

A philosophy of transcendence{1} knows that God is innocent of evil: because the primary origin of evil lies in a universe -- the universe of created existence -- so completely other than that of the uncreated Unity that this universe of created existence can isolate itself from God (that is, it can nihilate, it can do nothing). Since God is self-subsistent Being itself, and since things exist in their own nature, absolutely distinct from the divine esse, those among them that are free agents or persons produce by themselves alone, or without God, the rupture or nihilation which is at the root of the evil act. They alone initiate evil; they are the primary cause of evil. Evil is the only thing (but it is not a thing -- it is a privation) that God knows without having caused it. And certainly nothing happens without His having willed or permitted it. But to permit is not to will. And the permission for the creature to slip away from the influx of God if it wishes is but one with the fact that the influx the creature receives in the ordinary course of things is a "breakable" influx, as befits the peccability natural to created agents. As for the permission of the act itself which is infected with this nihilation, if God, the uncreated Freedom, thus suffers to have the wound of evil that He has not willed pass into being, it is because in the duel with created liberties in which He is engaged, and in the adventure in which His love has staked all, He will draw from this evil that He does not will a greater good which will be His reply to it. Only the uncreated Freedom is capable of winning such a game with infallible art, a game played at breakneck speed, in which the losses are terrifying because the gains are divine: namely the final entry of the creature (free, at each moment of the drama, in relation to prevenient grace) into the very joy of self-subsistent Being, which it becomes by participation, by virtue of the vision of the divine essence. Whatever created freedom may do, however far it may sink into evil, God will produce from His treasures super-compensations better than all the good that would have existed, had this not happened. The "fair play" of God is the first law of the philosophy of history. He plays a fair game with free agents. From the moment that He decided to create the world, He decided to let them have their way, even though they might undo His work, and say no, even though they might, either in the manner of angels or in the manner of man, raise, like gods from below, nothingness against His love. He enlists us along with Himself in this enterprise. Our collaboration is required for its progress. This is the unheardof paradox of the first three petitions in the Lord's Prayer, that, as has been said,{1} they are prayers we address to God for God, for His Name, for His Kingdom, for His Will, for His own victory over the evil that He permits, that He does not will. He is the sovereign master and governor of history (in which He nevertheless has partners -- the created free agents). And He is the cause only of the good, not of the evil of history. He is pure of the impurities of history, innocent of its crimes. Absolutely innocent.

All this is the A, B, C of Christianity. But for the "Christian" immanentism of Hegel, things are quite otherwise. The distinction between permitting and willing has no meaning when there is no Person dealing with other persons, but rather a Process which tends toward unity and consciousness of self through its own differences. God is now immanent in the becoming of things; he and they are univocally Thought -- it is his own self that he negates and reassumes in the engendering of the universe and time and in the progress of history. His entire being, "the complete richness of the Spirit",{2} is contained in each of the Worlds or historical Spirits which succeed each other in the movement of human becoming. His eternity does not transcend time -- before considering it in itself, in the dialectic of pure thought, the philosopher contemplates that eternity within the most intimate workings of time -- eternity is the other of time immanent in time; it alienates itself in time and reinstates itself through time.{3} God's freedom is nothing other than the "truth of necessity" and the spontaneity of dialectical development. He makes himself through the conflicts and oppositions of this development, and through all the losses of self and the annihilations into which the "work of the negative" must descend for the sake of ulterior resurrections. Is it not so that Schelling's and Fichte's idea of God "sinks into insipidity", because "it lacks the seriousness, the suffering, the patience, and the labour of the negative"?{1} It is a necessity of being, to pass through the negative and through evil. God also must pass through it. Without the Golgotha of Absolute Spirit, which history forms, spirit would be "lifeless, solitary and alone".{2} If the fall and the experience of evil are, as we noted above, the necessary conditions of the advent and triumph of the Spirit, this means they are an integral part of the history of God.{3} It is at this price that "God posits himself in his alterity, in order to find himself as Self and Spirit".{4} Similarly, what religion depicts as the original fall was a metaphysical necessity. It was necessary that man desert his animal innocence in order to become spirit-for-itself, through the rending which is the knowledge of good and evil procured through the experience of evil.{5} In short, evil is dialectically or metaphysically necessary. And God, by virtue of His own existence and His own process of self-realization, is the primary (immanent) source of evil as of good, and ultimately responsible for it. He is the source of evil with all its fruits as He is the source of good with all its fruits in the history of the human race; and He is the supreme justification of evil as of good, of evil with all its fruits as of good with all its fruits.

6. Hegel speaks frequently of the spirit of the world, and it is as Spirit of the world that his God enters into history in order to realize Himself. It would be very naive not to understand this expression Spirit of the World as bearing all the implications involved in the strangely ambiguous word which designates at once the cosmos of the Greeks and the hic mundus of the Gospel ("the world cannot receive the spirit of truth," Christ said.{6}) Absolute Knowledge has made the Spirit of God emigrate from the Trinity, as conceived by the Faith, into the cosmos and into this world . The divine Spirit is henceforth the Entelechy of the World and the Spirit of this World. In other words, the God that Hegel asks us to adore is God conceived as the Emperor of this World.{7}

We had occasion to allude to the idea thus designated in connection with the Stoics. It was latent in Greek tragedy (though man as the victim of the gods, who punished him for a crime into which they had themselves made him fall, began to assert himself against them); but it was more clearly delineated in the fatum of the Stoics. This was one of the faces of the God of pagan antiquity, but this God had a double visage. He was at the same time the true God of nature and of reason; and thus the idea of God as Emperor of this world was in this context counterbalanced and partially held in check by that of the true God. With Hegel, the idea of God as Emperor of this world is finally invested with full philosophical authority.

It is important to understand the significance of this idea clearly. Imagine, we have written elsewhere,{1} a notion of God which, while recognizing the existence of the One and Supreme, of the Spirit on which everything depends, at the same time misunderstood that which St. Paul called His glory, denied the abyss of freedom that His transcendence signifies, shackled Him to the superworld He had made; imagine a notion of God shut off from the natural, and which rendered impossible the mysteries hidden in the love of God and in His freedom and in His incommunicable life. Then we should have the false God of the philosophers, the Jupiter of all false Gods. Imagine a God tied to the order of nature or to the evolution of the world; a God who is nothing more than the supreme guarantee and justification of that order or of that evolution; a God who is responsible for this world but without the power to redeem it, and whose inflexible will, that no prayer can reach, is pleased with and condones all the evil as all the good of the world, all the deceit and the cruelty as well as all the generosity which are at work in the world; a God who blesses iniquity and slavery and misery, and who sacrifices man to the cosmos, and who makes of the tears of children and the agony of the innocent a mere ingredient of the sacred necessities of the eternal cycles or of evolution -- with no after-life where His goodness mends the ravages made in His work by created freedom. Such a God would doubtless be the One and Supreme, the Spirit on which everything depends, but changed into an idol, deprived of his essence and profaned, "the naturalistic God of nature, the Jupiter of this world, the great God of the idolaters of the powerful on their thrones and of the rich in their earthly glory, of lawless success, and of the pure fact exalted into law".

This is the God of Hegel, to be sure, except that by descending further into immanence than the God of the Stoics and of ordinary pantheism, who without being transcendent was still superior to time and to becoming, he is no longer, properly speaking, the One and Supreme. But he is still the Spirit on whom everything depends. And no doubt he does not dominate the world from on high, as that empty and degraded skeleton of a Herr der Welt, the Roman Emperor, pretended to do, and as the transcendent God of the Christians did, "represented" as He was in mythical terms; but it is from the very bosom of the world and from the groans of the world, it is from the profoundest depths of time that in the process of making himself and of consummating or realizing his own limitless freedom Hegel's God extends his power over all things. Thus involved in the world by the very requirements of his own divinity, needing the world in order to be, and leading it, in Man, to that same ultimate freedom which is his, this God eminently deserves the title of Emperor of this world, in an incomparably more decisive way than the God of the Stoics (because he has undergone the influence of Christianity, and is a Christian God turned inside-out, or an anti-christic God). Moreover, if, as Hegel puts it in the Phenomenology, the Christian God was a celestial sublimation of the Roman Emperor, it is another Emperor, Napoleon, the God revealed, der erscheinende Gott, who was the first real manifestation of the supremely immanent God of Hegel.

Emperor of this world and Emperor of history, this God is only free, infinitely free, insofar as he manifests and knows his own infinite necessity. The freedom of the creation, the freedom of the redemption, the freedom of revelation, all these have completely disappeared. It is in virtue of the very necessities of the dialectical process that he deploys himself in the world, that he reconciles the world to himself, that he manifests himself to the world. This God, the God of Hegel, is not innocent of evil -- he passes through evil himself in order to win his own divinity. And everything that happens, evil as well as good, is his own work.{1} He has on his head the blood of all the victims immolated since the beginning of the world by the blessed harrows of the dialectical development, more inexorable than those of the sacrifice machine of Kafka's Penal Colony. He is in our midst, polemos patêr pantôn, the Principle of War, which is the father of all things. He does not command men to love; he is not so naive as that. He is not interested in what ought to be, but only in what is. And it is certainly not of him that it was said, "God is Love." He knows, and makes real, the fact that crime has its necessity, as does war, which is a "crime for the Universal, and one in which the particular, giving and receiving death "in the void, impersonally", "contemplates itself as absolutely free, as universal Negativity for itself and really against another".{1} He fosters war in men, and the sacred will to victory; he sanctifies war as the great breath which "keeps the waters of the lake from stagnating" and keeps individuals from sinking into security. Thanks to war, nations and empires replace one another and succeed one another at the head of humanity, up to the advent of the people definitely chosen, the Christian-German community. (For "the pure inwardness of the German nation was the proper soil for the emancipation of Spirit";{2} it is the Germanic nation which, at "the last stage in history",{3} will cause the spirit to reign over the world.) "In order not to let particular systems get rooted and settled . . . and thus break up the whole into fragments and let the common spirit evaporate, government has from time to time to shake them to the very centre by War. By this means it confounds the order that has been established and arranged, and violates their right to independence, while the individuals (who, being absorbed therein, get adrift from the whole, striving after inviolable self-existence . . . and personal security), are made, by the task thus imposed on them by government, to feel the power of their lord and master, death. By thus breaking up the form of fixed stability, spirit guards the ethical order from sinking into merely natural existence, preserves the self of which it is conscious, and raises that self to the level of freedom and its own powers."{4} In The Philosophy of Right of Berlin, Hegel was to write: "The state is an individual, and individuality essentially implies negation.{5} Hence even if a number of states make themselves into a family, this group as an individual must engender an opposite and create an enemy. As a result of war, nations are strengthened, but peoples involved in civil strife also acquire peace at home through making wars abroad. To be sure, war produces insecurity of property, but this insecurity of things is nothing but their transience -- which is inevitable. We hear plenty of sermons from the pulpit about the insecurity, vanity and instability of temporal things, but everyone thinks, however much he is moved by what he hears, that he at least will be able to retain his own. But if this insecurity now comes on the scene in the form of hussars with shining sabres and they actualize in real earnest what the preachers have said, then the moving and edifying discourses which foretold all these events turn into curses against the invader. Be that as it may, the fact remains that wars occur when the necessity of the case requires. The seeds burgeon once more, and harangues are silenced by the solemn cycles of history. . . ."{1}

In regard to what we have called the Jupiter of all the false gods, or the Emperor of this world -- "who is an absurd counterfeit of God but who is also the imaginary focus whence the adoration of the cosmos radiates, and to whom we pay tribute each time we bow down before the world",{2} -- in regard to this false God Christianity is an act of total rupture and absolute rejection. "Thus are we even called atheists. We do proclaim ourselves atheists as regards those whom you call gods."{3} But Hegel proposes this God to us as the very God of Christian philosophy, no doubt, because meditating on the history of Christ in order to feed the "absolute knowledge", with it, Hegel saw from the beginning, in the black fires of his immanentist gnosis, the image of the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world -- the immaculate Logos who although he is "in the form of God" has freely consented to take on the "form of a servant"{4} in order to save us -- Hegel saw this image turn into that of a God who had fallen, by virtue of the very law of His being, into the condition of the slave and who, in order to achieve the form of God, and to emerge as Emperor of the world with all the riches of the world integrated into him, had Himself to live through the sins of the world and slave among its crimes, and to bless the fecundity of the negative.

History as the supreme Law of Good and Evil
7. But let us return now to the order of human conduct, to ethics. It is the State that reveals to us the content of the categorical imperative. Yet the State emerged from originally imperfect forms of society and is itself subject to historical development. In reality, it is the dialectical movement of history that determines the substance of Sittlichkeit at the various stages of development, even after the State has made its appearance. In other words, if the most obvious characteristic of Hegel's ethics is the voluntary submission to the State which it requires of man, and which for Hegel constitutes freedom, its deepest and most essential characteristic is the obligation it places upon the human will to put itself in unison with history, or to do the will of history earnestly, patiently and fervidly. It is this full interior consent to, or this full identification with, the universal will expressing itself in history which marks even submission to the State with the seal of Christian freedom. Is not the history of the world, the history of "national spirits",{1} the history of that "series of external forms each one of which declares itself as an actually existing people",{2} is not the history of the world the very history of the city of God, the history of "the divine, absolute development of spirit in its highest forms",{3} sacred history? "The carrying out of his [God's] plan -- is the History of the World."{4} "The History of the World, with all the changing scenes which its annals present, is this process of development and the realization of spirit -- this is the true Theodicoea, the justification of God in History." It is through history that the universal Self progresses toward the perfect freedom in which it no longer knows anything beyond itself, and possesses "in the strength of its certainty of itself" "the majesty of absolute self -- sufficiency, of absolute autarkeia, to bind or to loose".{6} And it is the history of humanity "which alone decides the truth of an action emanating from an individual Self".{7}

It is to Hegel that we owe the new attributes and the new connotations by which history has been enriched for the last hundred years, along with the ethical coefficients which they involve. What makes the force of these entia rationis or of this kind of mythology is the fact that they have a foundation in reality. For human history does possess an intelligible structure. It passes through typically different periods or climates which have a rational significance. And the factual conditionings on which it depends, and the collective forces or tendencies which are at work in it, determine lines of necessity which limit the field of human freedom while at the same time furnishing it with possibilities and means of action of tremendous breadth. All this is true. But there has been grafted onto this a mythical identification of the movement of history with the will of God (which is natural in Hegelianism, since for it God makes Himself through and in the course of history). Instead of signifying simply the fact that certain changes or certain needs whose pressure has become irresistible oblige collective life to find a means of adjusting itself to them, the expression "historical necessity" has come to designate a so-called essential necessity (by right) according to which the directions taken by the collective life are supposed to be entirely predetermined. And a mythical relation between man and history has been conceived according to the pattern of the relation between man and God. I would note here that to call upon man's freedom to cooperate with divine grace posed difficult problems for theology but did not involve a contradiction, while to call upon human freedom to cooperate with the necessities of history sounds like complete nonsense. However that may be, the movement of history understood as the will of God, the designs or purposes of history, the inflexible necessities of the development of history which nevertheless require the free gift and the full cooperation of all the energies of man, the sanctions of history, the supreme moral importance of historical efficiency and historical success, these constitute the apparatus of concepts which the schools of thought tributary to Hegel will depend upon for the major regulations of human conduct.

8. All that is rational is real. The implication is clear: there is no exigency of reason that is not realized in being, no ought to be that is distinct from what really is. "The real world is as it ought to be."{1} For Hegel the very notion of an "ought to be" which remains in this state and does not push itself forward into being is an offense to philosophy and condemns itself. "Philosophy speculates on nothing which does not exist. Only that which is ts rational. 'Philosophy does not deal with a being so impotent that it lacks the force to push itself forward into existence.'"{2}

In short, there is no natural law in the sense that the whole long tradition of Greco-Roman civilization and Christian civilization understood that word.{3} (Kant had already made a clean sweep of it, while trying unsuccessfully at the same time to restore what he had destroyed. And Hegel as well was to have a theory of natural Right, but founded solely on the freedom of the will which wills itself.){1} There is no ideal order which, distinct from concrete existence, imposes itself upon the latter as deserving to be realized in it, and which, spontaneously or instinctively knowable to reason in virtue of the essential inclinations of the human being, exists in us as a participation in that order which the Christian Doctors properly called the eternal law, lodged in the uncreated wisdom. For them -- and this is quite evident -- if, on the level of thought (judging per modum inclinationis, and even though slowly advancing in the discernment of particular rules{2}) an ideal law is perceived which is superior to fact, or to temporal existence, and which requires of fact and of temporal existence, that they conform to it, it is because that law is founded and rooted in the real eternity of the transcendent God, directing all things according to an order which it behooves free agents, just because they are free, to accomplish freely, and which therefore prescribes what they ought to do or what ought to be. But now with Hegel the eternity which is transcendent to time has vanished. What takes place in time is part of the very internal process of the divine eternity. There is all the more reason that the ideal order founded in this eternity, the ideal order which, as naturally known to us, constitutes the natural law, should vanish also. Everything that is rational is real. It is just what reason prescribes that has or will have the force to be, to impose itself into existence.

It follows from this that the most mysterious and the most certain right is the right exercised by the "stewards of the genius of the Universe", by the great figures of History. They obey moral laws which are above the laws of Morality of the conscience, and which justify these "historic individuals". Judged according to Kantian moralism and romantic liberalism, Napoleon was Evil personified, das Böse, but in reality no one has the right to accuse him, for, to express the true thought of Hegel without circumlocution, "Every action is egoistic and criminal, as long as it does not succeed; -- but Napoleon succeeded."{1} This does not mean that Moralität is rejected; it has been sufficiently relativized to cede its place to a superior ethics, at the same time remaining intact in its subjective and uncertain sphere, where it still believes in good actions. But the obligations that it imposes and all its claims are dominated and set aside by a duty which is incomparably more sacred because the ought-to-be is therein possessed of an irresistible potency to push itself forward into being. Men who have been the instruments of history (their whole merit, as we noted previously, was to divine the fact; and in following their ambitions or their personal passions, they were without knowing it the objects of the "cunning of reason"{2}) may have been condemned by the morality of their time, may seem to have been contemners of the moral law,{3} even criminals; but they were all these things in appearance only, for in reality none of that counts. They were preparing the future, they are absolved and justified by history, it makes them white as snow. Their actions "thus appear not only justified in view of that intrinsic result of which they were not conscious, but also from the point of view occupied by the secular moralist".{4} It remains for the virtuous conscience and the envy characteristic of the sphere of Moralität to find consolation in seeing that such men were unhappy, that they were as much victims as heroes.{5}

9. But what about the other men, the men of ordinary humanity, insofar as they also are engaged in the movement of history and furnish to it the indispensable material of their energies? No doubt the "inner focus . . . the abstract sphere of conscience -- that which comprises the responsibility and moral value of the individual, remains untouched; and is quite shut out from the noisy din of the World's History".{6} But universal history still has the last word, in concrete reality; and once it is no longer a question of the purely private sphere, once the interests of the people are involved, and those of the future of humanity, the ultimate criterion of what must be done is provided by victory, I mean historical victory or success, that of the community, with the destiny of which the individual must identify his own destiny. It is in the measure that he shares that victory that the individual proves and at the same time realizes his mission in respect to the movement of history.{1} History is the judgment of God. The history of the world is the tribunal which judges the world, Weltgeschichte ist Weltgericht. To cooperate in the victory of the community, which in virtue of its historical success will be absolved at this tribunal, that is the only requirement that the higher ethics makes of the individual, the ethics which has to do with the destiny of peoples. It was when the one-party systems, the organized prophetic Minorities of the totalitarian type appeared, that this implication of the Hegelian Sittlichkeit became fully manifest, an implication more secret but even more deeply rooted than that which has to do with the State. At the same time it became clear that this same Sittlichkeit had opened the doors of the modern world to what can best be called absolute Machiavellianism.

"We must then combine justice and might," said Pascal,{2} "and for this end make what is just strong, and what is strong just." But "we cannot give might to justice, because might has gainsaid justice, and has declared that it is she herself who is just. And thus being unable to make what is just strong, we have made what is strong just." This is precisely what Hegel did, but in an incomparably more thorough-going manner than is possible through the force of custom or the social apparatus. In the very truth of things as they are revealed to philosophy, in the sacred scales of infallible Reason, in the judgment of God, it is just -- in that higher realm where the destinies of States are played out and the necessities of universal history unfolded -- it is just for injustice to triumph, if it is strong.

Machiavelli made of politics an art absolutely separate from morality, but he never called evil good or good evil; he was content to teach that since politics aims solely at power or success, good politics used good and evil means indiscriminately -- honesty and perfidy, justice and injustice, and as things actually go, this results most often in the use of evil, injustice and perfidy. Now, on the contrary, in the perspective established by Hegel, it must be said that the politics which forms the will of history and triumphs because the force of history is invested in it is the higher expression of ethics. It is ethically right, it has God on its side. And the means it uses to guarantee victory, even if they must "necessarily crush many an innocent flower",{3} are for that very reason ethical too, and sacred. The Hegelian critique of the "moral vision of the world"{1} is not inveighing simply against the kind of moral purism which separates the universe of freedom from the universe of nature after the Kantian fashion, and in which conscience, busy justifying itself by condemning existence, falls in the end into hypocrisy and envy; in the last analysis the Hegelian critique implies that efficiency and purity are only reconciled in the "self-certitude" of "mind" when mind actualizes itself in terms of the truth of what really is, in the sacred course of history which constitutes its epiphany. We said a moment ago{2} that the God of Hegel gave His sanction to all the evil as well as to all the good in the world, to all the deceit and all the cruelty as well as to all the generosity which are at work in the world, and that in the name of the sacred necessities of historical development he blessed iniquity, slavery, misery, and the agony of the innocent. Let us add now that the word evil was employed in this connection only as signifying what appears to men engaged in the illusions of the vulgar conscience. These things are no doubt bad from the point of view of Moralität and when they concern only the private life of individuals, or -- in the higher realm we are dealing with now -- when they thwart the purposes of history; but they are good, they are only bad in appearance, we must greet them with all the inner respect, all the seriousness of a profound and religious ethical conviction, when they serve the purposes of history and of God who is making Himself through history. When it struggles against the course of the world, the virtuous conscience is without knowing it confronting "actually real good" and "always hits upon places where goodness is found to exist; the good, as the inherent nature of the world's process, is inseparably interwoven with the manifestations of it, with all the ways in which the world's process makes its appearance, and where it is real the good has its own existence too".{3} In short, "The History of the World occupies a higher ground than that on which morality has properly its position."{4}

10. When it is a matter of any private end, and of "subjective opinion about what is good and better", Hegel can only condemn and reject with contempt the principle that the end justifies the means.{1} But how could the same thing be true in regard to the absolute end? Where the ultimate -- and divine -- criterion is the achievement of the ends of history, how could the supreme rule of the higher ethics dealing with the destiny of peoples be anything other than that for him who is accomplishing the ends of history the end authorizes and consecrates the means? They are fully consecrated, rendered ethically good. So it is that for the absolute Machiavellianism which our age has witnessed, evil is called good and must be consciously recognized as such, if it has served the ends of history and those who are taken to be the standard-bearers of history. And good is called evil and must be consciously recognized as such, if it has not served the ends of history and the standard-bearers of history.

From the same point of view it must be noted that the judgment of the moral value of human acts varies as history passes through different phases. And no doubt it is true that some ethical rules which are obligatory today could be innocently broken in ages when the moral consciousness had not yet perceived them. But here we have to do with quite a different matter: in the Hegelian perspective it is the ethical rule itself that history causes to vary. History condemns in one epoch what it blessed in another. Yet the great man of action whom history would oblige us to consider a malefactor today, played the role expected of him at the time he lived. At that time he deserved well of history, he was worthy of praise, a hero perhaps. And to-day, even if we disapprove of his conduct when we imagine it as taking place in our own time, he still deserves our full moral approbation for this conduct when we refer to the past.

To tell the truth there is only one residue of evil that is irreducibly bad, unassimilable by the Hegelian "theodicy", and with which the thinking mind cannot reconcile itself.{2} That is the illusion and perversity of the particular will presenting itself as universal, or of the individual conscience when, in its contingency and its "subjective opinion", in its radical weakness and its solitude, it presumes to oppose itself to the State or to History, to the universal Will. As the consciences of certain Communist leaders brought to trial by their Party were to feel so keenly, in so profoundly Hegelian a way, the man who gives way to this illusion and to this perversity is irretrievably lost (separated from the spirit of the community, therefore from the very substance and truth of his very being), unless he confesses himself guilty and condemns himself. The others, however dark their deeds may appear to us, have been justified at least at some particular moment -- they have done what they had to do.

The higher ethics that Hegel called Sittlichkeit is in the last analysis the rationalization and philosophical normalization of the type of morality that some people have permitted themselves in order to justify as good and permissible any act whatever that served (or was thought to serve) the interests of God. (In the perspective of traditional Christianity this type of morality has sometimes been employed, but it was held to be an aberration.) Now it is the glory and the power of the God of Immanence that must be served, by fulfilling the purposes of history. This ethics can be defined as an ethics of dialectical connivance with history, in a so-called "Christian" submission to the Emperor of this world.

Characteristics of the Hegelian Ethic
11. Hegelian ethics may be called acosmic in the sense that for absolute idealism there exists no world having extra-mental consistency and reality. But at the same time it is a pseudo-cosmic ethics in the sense that, dealing with a world which is not the world, a world taken as a development of the Idea, it brings to an end the Kantian separation between the universe of being and the universe of freedom; and even further, it somehow merges them into each other, since being is nothing but the manifestation and the progress of freedom in search of itself, and since, on the other hand, it is in the communion with the mind of the world, or in the accomplishment of the universal Will expressing itself through the State and through History that freedom for man on the practical level exists. The super-disinterestedness required by Kant is still there, but it no longer consists in pure devotion to duty, it consists in the sacrifice of the individual self, making itself into a pure part, and through this very loss equalizing itself with the supra-personal Whole.

This ethics is as normative, and as imperiously normative as that of Kant. But now the you ought of the categorical imperative, its content and its form, are delivered from the heights of the Sinai of the State (or of History). And woe to him who transgresses it! He is thrown on the scrap-heap, expelled from history, in tenebras exteriores. As far as the motivation of the subject is concerned, it is only in the imperfect and contradictory stage of Moralität that an act is dictated (by the conscience) because it is good; on the level of Sittlichkeit, an act is good because it is dictated (by the State, or by History), and its ethical quality or its rectitude (what we call its moral "goodness") depends not on the intrinsic nature of the object but on the fact that this object is prescribed by the universal Will.

And yet (contrary to what is the case with Kant) the notion of the Good is for Hegel part of the very structure of ethics: because his is a metaphysical or metaphysically based ethics.

Is it a question of the Good as Value ? -- The notion of value is present at every stage of the dialectical development, and the supreme values are revealed to us in the stages of the development of the absolute Spirit. And in the specifically moral sphere the notion of value is also present. But if (on the level of Sittlichkeit, or the ethical properly so-called) the value of human acts still has an unconditional character as far as the extrinsic criteria on which it depends are concerned (historical success is an absolute, on the level of events), it is entirely relative as regards the intrinsic nature of these acts, what they are in themselves. In respect to the divine ends of the State and of History, they have a moral value only as means to the end. And if philosophical reflection declares them to be good or bad, it is no longer in virtue of a quality intrinsic to them (conformity to reason), but in virtue of their consequences relative to the ends of the State or the designs of History, or in virtue of their impact on the social community in a given historical context, briefly, in virtue of their results or their effects of a collective nature. By the same token the notion of bonum honestum, of the good as right, which is essentially connected with value, and which is maintained in connection with the judgment of acts (by the community -- and by the Sage in whom the supreme consciousness is embodied), is also completely relativized as far as the nature or intrinsic quality of the act is concerned.

Thus an essential displacement occurs in relation to the morality of Kant. Finality has become the crucially important thing. The question, "what is the ultimate design of the World?"{1} is primordial for Hegel.

12. Considering the Good as End, then, it must be said that in Hegel's ethics the end has not only been reintegrated, but has primacy over value. It is so thoroughly an ethics of finality that everything in it is justified in the last analysis by the ends of history; and the value of human conduct, at the authentically ethical stage (Sittlichkeit) is measured, as we have just seen, by the fact that its results serve or betray the ends (supra-individual, but immanent in time) of the historical process. Moreover, there is in this ethics no ultimate subjective end, properly speaking{1} (a corollary of what we have called the dialectical immolation of the person): for if, to use the symbolical language of religion, man is, as Christianity holds him to be, destined to eternity and to "his true home in a supersensuous world -- an infinite subjectivity",{2} it is only insofar as he surrenders his own personality in the "consuming fire" of Knowledge, through which God achieves being in him. But there is an objective ultimate end -- the self-realization of God (and the whole of humanity) through the dialectical development -- to which man-in-history and all things are subordinated and towards which they are borne. But it is not that man-in-history has a relationship of love with this objective ultimate end (one wishes well to an existing person, not to the final stage of a development): before being equalized with it at the end of history, man's relationship with it is one of self-oblation, of voluntarily accepted death and annihilation, in that recognition of the truth of necessity which is the essence of our freedom.

Although, as we have just remarked, Hegelian ethics is essentially an ethics of finality, it must be observed that the very notion of end has lost its rational authenticity and its intelligibility in this system. For in itself the notion of end implies design or intention: before it is attained, the end is known by an intelligence that directs toward that end either the action of the intelligent agent itself or the activity of other agents that are subject to it. Surely there is an immanent finality in the living organism; but since the organism itself is not aware of the end of its activity (the perfecting of its own being), there must be a separate Intelligence that does know it, and that made the organism and activated it toward that end, as it has made and activates the whole of nature. Hegel, on the contrary, doing away with this separate and creative Intelligence, attributes to being as a whole, because it is spirit, an immanent finality that, while it is finality, still presupposes neither previous knowledge nor previous intention of the end. It follows from this that if the end is at the heart of the very process that tends toward it, it is because the end draws the process toward itself as a force which operates within it and moves it; the end is not a terminus to which an essence, with its tendencies and its aspirations and its intrinsic necessities, is preordained in virtue of deriving its very intelligibility from the Primary Intelligence; the end is rather a terminus that actively{3} and by itself determines the process of development and its dialectical necessities, in the manner of a magnet (as if a magnet not already realized could by itself perform an action!). What we have here is a hybrid or bastard concept in which the end conceived by the intelligence of the spectator (the philosopher who contemplates things) is by him transported into the very process of efficient causality that the spectacle offers him, there to burgeon in tendency and aspiration. Such an operation has been rendered possible by the transformation of things into Thought; for there, in thought, the end that attracts does exercise a real causation, but through the medium of knowledge and of desire,{1} and not through who knows what pseudo-efficient activity.{2}

But the dangerous ties between Hegelian philosophy and Finality involve still more serious perils, and this time for the philosophy itself. We noted previously{3} that for Hegel self-creation of the real is a ceaseless movement but not a movement without an end, because it is a circular movement whose final terminus is also its point of departure. This is a necessary characteristic of the laws of purely logical (onto-logical) movement: on the one hand, purely logical movement actually takes place in that completely formal eternity proper to Spirit which has returned into itself and is acting as pure thought or denying itself as Nature.{4} But Spirit cannot deny itself as Nature, except because, on the other hand, it is alienated from itself into Nature, in other words because, passing beyond itself, the Logos extrapolates itself into Nature, which is the Whole denying itself as Logos: from this point onward it is in its other -- in Time -- and as immanent in Time (in the Time of nature in which it is alienated from itself, and in the time of man in which it is reintegrated into itself) that eternity becomes real and concrete; and it is in the circularity of the phases Spirit-Nature-History-Spirit -- the spasms of the old serpent that bites its tail -- that the law of its own proper discourse or logical (onto-logical) movement is accomplished. We must now add an additional remark, concerning a great difficulty in the system:{5} it is that while the circular movement of the eternal process by which God loses and regains His divine condition goes on without ceasing, on the other hand, as far as man and his life in time (his only life) are concerned, in short, as far as the Time of man (History) is concerned, once the final end of history is reached it is not followed by a relapse and a new beginning, as taught in the ancient schools fascinated by the myth of the eternal return. What should one say then? That once the terminus of history is reached the times are accomplished and remain accomplished for man, who will no doubt always live in time but who will then live in the perfect autonomy of definitively victorious Reason, with no more dialectical transformations henceforth, and no more self-creation? Will this life, then, be in the nature of a state? Are stability and permanence, which had been excluded by definition, restored at the end of all ends, and is becoming then abolished? If this were so, one would have to say that Finality had finally triumphed over Becoming, and that the affirmation of a last End is, for any dialectical philosophy of the Hegelian type, the source of an inevitable incoherence.

13. In view of all this, what happens to obligation in Hegelian ethics? Obligation is no longer the kind of completely interior and completely spiritual constraint exercised upon the will in the depths of the soul by the grasp of universal law, by intelligence of what is intrinsically and in itself good or bad, a constraint which is effective because the will is incapable of willing the bad insofar as it is bad; obligation is now the constraint -- disguised as freedom and therefore retaining its character of moral obligation -- exercised by the commandment of an infinitely more powerful will, that of the State, and still more fundamentally that of History, upon the feeble and precarious will of the individual, which the latter must consent to under pain of being annihilated, separated forever from its own essence and its own truth. This is still another bastard concept, but a concept thanks to which there can exist an "ought to be" which possesses the additional merit and power of "pushing itself into being".

Finally, the same may be said of the notion of culpability.

On the one hand, in the general perspective of the metaphysics or the dialectics of action, a very correct philosophical view of the endless repercussions of our destitution -- in the sense that into the best of our actions there slips some element, I do not say of sin, but of impurity -- is confused with the idea that every human operation is culpable and involves a species of crime (Verbrechen) because it is inevitably tied in with finitude and the affirmation of finitude as such, in other words, because it disturbs being, breaking into it with effectivity and the law of the opposite.{1} Where one ought to say "Only God is holy", Hegel declares: only the stone is innocent -- "innocence is an attribute merely of the want of action . . . a state like the mere being of a stone".{2} He thus pushes the positions of Luther to the extreme -- and follows in Luther's train as healer, freeing us from the sting of conscience; for if the fault is to this extent universal and inevitable, why torment ourselves with the feeling of culpability, even on those occasions when we might have the best reasons for experiencing the feeling.

On the other hand, within the perspective of Sittlichkeit, and of our obligations toward the State and towards History, the notion of culpability becomes noticeably tougher, and is falsified at the same time. For it no longer designates the state of an agent responsible for having transgressed the moral law that his conscience revealed to him. It designates the state of an agent responsible for having set up his particular judgment against that of the Whole (of the community, of the State, of History), and of having separated himself, isolated himself from the spiritual community, and by that very fact of having cut himself off from the universal Reason at work in the world. Such a notion of culpability retains within a concept which is really social in nature the ghost of a properly moral concept which the former has dismissed and replaced. It follows from this that, by a kind of regression toward the situation of primitive societies, intention counts very little in the evaluation of the fault: if in fact a man is mistaken when he believes, and wills, to act in communion with the spirit of the Whole, this means that he has already broken with it. Finally, the very content of the notion of culpability has been displaced, for henceforth there is no greater crime than to break the absolute right of the State, the objectification of Mind, to be and to increase and to fulfill its historic mission. The "Organic Law"{1} which was to develop later on in Germany, and according to which a man innocent of such and such particular crimes he is accused of, but engaged in activities subversive of the sovereign Whole, deserves punishment all the more (is really all the more guilty) because the innocence in question renders him more dangerous to the State, has thoroughly Hegelian sources. We noted above that Sittlichkeit amounts in practice to joyfully offering up the conscience in sacrifice to the State. It amounts also to virtuously offering up to the State (or to the community elected by history) the sacrifice of the innocents, because they are, if they do harm to State (or the community elected by history), guiltier than criminals.

14. Why not end this chapter with a quotation from an author particularly devoted to Hegelian studies, and to the Hegelian philosophy?

"What is, finally," asks M. Kojève,{1} "the morality of Hegel?

"True moral judgments are those made by the State (moral = legal); States themselves are judged by universal History. But for these judgments to have a meaning, it is necessary that History be finished . . .

"What exists is good just in that it exists. Every action tending to negate the existing given is therefore bad: a sin. But sin can be pardoned. How? Through its success. Success absolves the crime, because success -- is the new reality that exists. But how is success to be judged? For this it is necessary that History be terminated. Then we see what maintains itself in existence: definitive reality.

"Christian (Lutheran) origins: every action is a sin; only Hegel (= God) can absolve sins, by pronouncing the judgment of completed universal History (= Christ)."

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