Understanding is self-consciousness and the realization of its independence from things other than it. It serves consciousness in a way that keeps it both separate from consciousness and the same with it. Thoughts that fill self-consciousness do so at the behest of consciousness, and they are taken to be the truth of all things outside of it. But, self-consciousness can only serve itself. It is the recognition of the self, since consciousness provides the means of self-recognition. However, there is a third element of the self that is a force against self-consciousness. That is the self of self-consciousness; the “questioner and the interrogator” of all things. It defines guilt, happiness, love, hate, and so on. It is the dividing force that separates consciousness from itself and leads it from the universal to the primitive; from everything that is external to the internal and the destructive.
The fear of death is what awakens self-consciousness to the world and holds it in place. It sets up perimeters and boundaries and leads self-consciousness into its otherness. It needs this otherness to have something to retreat from, thus it alienates itself in its belonging to the world. And the world alienates itself from consciousness so that it remains as an ‘over there’ rather than an ‘over here’. It must be an unchangeable world, a self-liberating world, in which self-consciousness finds refuge while simultaneously remaining separate from it.
In its separation it denies its relationship with the world in which death is a part of. In its seeking refuge in the world, self-consciousness finds the otherness that defines itself, which it desires so that it can stay ‘other’ from the world. It duplicates itself. It does so in being both part of, and apart from, all things. Its essence is, thus, never complete and never true to itself. It must always search and find other essences, other objects which have within themselves a truth for consciousness, and an independent form that can be self-identified and overcome. A form which is always ‘there’ and other, while the self is always ‘here’ and belonging to its-self.
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