Consciousness A. – Part II


According to Hegel, perception takes what is present to it as a everything that is. In other words, it takes the image as is perceived as the thing that it is. It has two major events, the first being the act of perceiving itself while the second event being having a conception of the object perceived. Both of these moments, are unessential to the things in themselves. In other words, do not constitute either the I or the objects being. Someone incapable of perceiving would still have consciousness, while the object’s being would still be out there. Yet both are essential in regards to the process of being perceived. The object acts a a mediated universal, and expresses its own nature through this means. That is, through firstly showing itself to be a being of many properties and secondly, as a source of difference.

This, whenever the I or object, is always established as a not being this. In other words, it is established by focusing on what is different to itself. Its own self contained determination is absent, and so it must get confirmation of itself from something else. One being is the negative of another. Thinghood, i.e. here and now, act in such a way to join thing together in a plurality. By having things distinguished only by what they are not, it creates a codependency on things in order to make our perceptions intelligible. There is, both a unity and exclusion in this process. As they depend on each other, to define what they are not. Through this, the thing of the perception is completed and it is only through this process of both synthesis and antithesis, that properties can develop. This is how the thing or perception is constituted. When we look at the object, we do not come to know its being by finding out what it is like in-itself. Rather, we come to know the object by how it exists in a community of things that are opposed to one and other.

Our perception of the object, bounces back into consciousness. Things are as they are to us, only because we perceive them to be so. Things are white to our eyes, soft to our touch, etc. We then, make the thing ours. Such difference we find in our perception, are specifically determined. White is white only in regards to what is black, yellow, blue, etc. When perception goes into consciousness, it does not merely capture one aspect of a thing. Rather, it captures a multitude of different aspects e.g. Size, shape, color, density, and so on. Again though, the thing exhibits itself for consciousness and is reflected back into it. It is reflected both for itself, in that the reflection states what it is, and for another. The different things which give description to a particular thing, exist on their own account. Here, Hegel seems to be alluding that they act as predicates which give an empty subject a meaning and thus, have an existence not essential to the thing but essentially give the thing its meaning. Hegel claims that the thing has what is essential to it confirmed in another thing, which seems to imply a subject-predicate like relationship as has been discussed in the preface. The thing, acts to preserve its own nature though in this relationship of opposition. Once again, what is unessential to the actual hidden being of the thing, is essential for our perception. In the end, my meaning of the object vanishes as I treat it as a universality.