Relative knowledge is that which is limited to a particular relation, a specific subject that is known. It is a limited reason and represents the qualitative capacity of the agent who is confronted by it, and made to acknowledge what he knows. These limitations are not due to reason itself, which is the system by which things become known, but reason limiting knowledge; a knowledge which is abrupt, almost truncated, due to the lack of ability of the knower. Yet whatever is limited is, in itself, related to the absolute. It actually has no limits. It is reason liberating itself from itself, securing a path to absolute knowledge through any kind of knowledge.
Reason is consciousness. It preserves itself by elevating itself to greater heights. Through reason all knowledge is obtained. Once a thing is known it is changed. It becomes for self-consciousness the relation between the knower and the object. They exist for each other. Thus, that which was previously unknown and hidden from perception, becomes a reality and is supported by reason. The knower, through his own reasoning, takes the object to be what he reasons it to be. It is thus limited to his own knowledge. Although the object may hold a multitude of various contents, as in its chemical makeup, its origin and history, the knower only is aware of what he knows. His lack of knowledge is due to his reasoning which can only relate relatively and, beyond that, has no control, nor want, to approach the manifold of multiplicity. His aim is directed within his self-consciousness to keep its knowing, or lack of, within the reasoning he uses to approach all matters. He’s cut short and obliterated by anything more than his knowledge will take him. A knowledge that is absolute in its limitations, but beyond that nothing more than a relative reasoning that avoids absolute fulfillment.
Reasoning requires a system. It does not emerge from behind a curtain, nor can it be brought about by sheer willingness. Reason’s object is to escape its own limitations; to expand into the unknown and make it known. This absolute character of reason, its essence, lingers within all consciousness’s and has the want of freedom from all limitations. The consciousness that denies all presuppositions and unfolds in thought, is one that can reach the greatest points of knowledge and look into the invisible realm where reason awaits, craving its freedom.
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