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Michael Maier Scrutinium chymicum (1687) Michael Maier Scrutinium chymicum (1687) This alchemical engraving well conveys the dialectical process wherein the mind attains new statuses of itself via a process of negation and sublation.

In the foreground of the picture, the reigning or existing concept, imaged as the King, is shown to be negated. He is a fallen King, and the inner discrepancy or contradiction that has occasioned this is tautologically out-pictured as a wolf eating into his side.

It is the famous recursive and self-redefining Hegelian formula A = A and –A by which the mind or a particular concept drives itself into new determinations of itself.

The King emerging from the flames higher up in the background of the picture represents the sublated or newly defined reigning concept which is produced by the aforementioned negation having been “tarried with” to that point where it is itself negated and the restored or newly defined position attained.


“Death, if that is what we want to call this non-actuality, is of all things the most dreadful, and to hold fast what is dead requires the greatest strength. Lacking strength, Beauty hates the Understanding for asking of her what it cannot do. But the life of the Spirit is not the life that shrinks from death and keeps itself untouched by devastation, but rather the life that endures it and maintains itself in it. It wins its truth only when, in utter dismemberment, it finds itself. It is this power, not as something positive, which closes its eyes or is false, and then having done with it, turn away and pass on to something else; on the contrary, Spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face, and tarrying with it. This tarrying with the negative is the magical power that converts it into being.”

G.W. F. Hegel,Phenomenology of Spirit, § 32

Soon wild commotions shook him, and made flush All the immortal fairness of his limbs; Most like the struggle at the gate of death; Or liker still to one who should take leave Of pale immortal death, and with a pang As hot as death's is chill, with fierce convulse Die into life: so young Apollo anguish'd: His very hair, his golden tresses famed Kept undulation round his eager neck. During the pain Mnemosyne upheld Her arms as one who prophesied.

John Keats, Hyperion: A Fragmant, lines 124-134

“As humans, we live on principle in an inverted world, namely in mindedness, in soul. The invertedness of our world consists in the fact that we have factual reality or the so-called external world only in consciousness, that the 'territory' for us can be found only in the 'map' (whatever map it may be), that we can come down to earth only within the soul.”

Wolfgang Giegerich, CEP III, p. 216.

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