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TheHegelianConceptofCulture

TheHegelianConceptofCulture

byGyrgyMrkus


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Source: PRAXISInternational(PRAXISInternational),issue:2/1986,pages:113123,onwww.ceeol.com.

THE HEGELIAN CONCEPT OF CULTURE


Gyrgy Markus
In the whole history of ideas there are few carrier-stories stranger and more striking than that of the term and concept of culture. A word of venerable antiquity, which already occurs with Cicero, it remains till the end of the eighteenth century a little used, marginal expression of learned folk and the scholarly public. Today this word has not only invaded the talk of all of us becoming in its many derivations an everyday catch-phrase, but consistutes one of those notions without which a systematic reflection upon our own situation, and the human situation in general, seems to be impossible. It is not fortuitous that Heidegger once mentioned the concept of culture among the metaphysical grounds of modernity. At the same time, this story of phenomenal success is the story of fundamental failure. The present-day complexity of meaning of the term culture has been primarily established in the theories of the late Enlightenment. Here, however, it served together with a number of competing synonyms as the articulation of a fundamental social-historical project. Today it requires the labour of remembrance, a work of historical reconstruction, to recall this practical-projective aspect of the use of culture to which, however, its original importance and popularity was primarily due. It is the loss of this meaning that to a significant degree conditions our situation today. To refer in this context to Hegels philosophy, is I think rather unusual. It is, of course, a commonplace that our modern conceptions of culture were largely elaborated within German philosophy. Anthropologists refer to Herder, or perhaps, Iselin as the true initiators of the contemporary culture-concept; philosophers will at least add Kant, and maybe even Fichte to this list. Hegels name, however, is almost never mentioned in this connection. In fact, one of the best scholars of Hegel in Germany Bruno Liebruck not long ago published a paper attempting to explain why Hegel avoided employing the concept of culture, and failed to integrate it systematically into his philosophy. With due respect to Liebrucks (certainly superior to mine) knowledge of Hegel, such a way of posing the question, seems to rest on a misunderstanding based on a number of factors that certainly ought to be mentioned and acknowledged. Firstly, it is a fact that Hegel used the term Kultur in a quite sporadic and accidental manner. Instead he employed another word, which, at least at the turn of the century, was generally accepted in Germany as the synonym of Kultur the term, Bildung. The reasons for this terminological preference are, in all probability, quite innocent. The German word Bildung, due to its associations with the noun Bild (picture), on the one

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hand, and with the verb bilden (to form), on the other hand, allowed Hegel to draw together the various meaning-aspects of culture through that etymologizing reference to the unconscious spirit of language which he so much liked, and which we find so often irritating. This terminological choice has, however, proved to be quite fatal from the viewpoint of the later Hegel-reception. For in the second half of the nineteenth century, the original synonymity between Kultur and Bildung was broken, and Bildung has acquired the more restricted meaning of education (and the contents acquired through the educational process). Consequently, Hegels conception of Bildung has been predominantly treated in its individualistic pedagogic aspect alone. This has been reinforced by the fact that it is this aspect of Bildung with which Hegel himself dealt in the most extensive and explicit manner, though mostly in his extra-systematic writings and largely due to accidental, biographic circumstances. Nevertheless, such a reduction of the meaning of Bildung in Hegel to the process (or content) of the education/cultivation of the individual, represents a distortion of his views. Not only is such an interpretation unable to account for many of the ways in which he actually uses this term in his systematic writings, but it goes against his explicit strictures, and, even more importantly, against the basic intentions and insights of his philosophy. Bildung, he writes explicitly in the Preface to Phenomenology, if regarded from the side of the individual, consists in his acquiring what lies [as product of past experiences - G.M.] at hand . . . and taking possession of it for himself. But, regarded from the side of universal spirit as substance, this is nothing but its own acquisition of self-consciousness, the bringing-about of its own becoming and reflection into itself (Phen. 16-17). The point Hegel makes here is not only a metaphysical one, concerning the dialectic between the individual-subjective and the universal spirit; it has a direct historicalpractical significance. Because the reduction of Bildung to the consciously undertaken intellectual-educational activity of the individual, and the ensuing treatment of it in terms of acquisition, possession and mastery, is a characteristic feature of the narrow standpoint of understanding (Verstand) a standpoint, the elaboration of which is a necessary precondition for the emergence of modernity and, simultaneously the greatest hindrance for coming to terms with its phenomena. To outline Hegels concept of Bildung as culture in all its complexity (within which Bildung as education represents only one meaning-aspect) is, however, a formidable task. For, and this is certainly the second factor that underlies a reductionist understanding of his conception, Hegel undoubtedly never elaborated a theory of Bildung. He constantly uses the term and concept, and does it at the most diverse and disparate places in his system, without ever attempting to give an analytic account for the implied diversity of its meaning and the interconnection between its various constituents. Consequently, his use of the term appears prima facie at least baffling, if not confused, since the various constituents hardly seem to be compatible with each other. It suffices to say that even within one single work, the Phenomenology of Spirit alone, Bildung means, on the one hand, the process of education through which the

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uncultivated individual can reach the standpoint of contemporary science. On the other hand, it is used to conceptualize the whole of world history which is conceived as a Bildungsgeschichte, as the formative cultivation of consciousness. At the same time, however, it is employed also to characterize one single epoch in this history, since it is emerging modernity, and modernity alone, which in this work is categorically described as the world of Bildung (and alienation). Hegel, however, treats this concept also as the attribute of what seems to be one of his most fundamental and universal metaphysical categories Spirit (Geist). Spirit, he says, taken in counterdistinction from nature, is defined not simply as having a Bildung, but as being nothing else but Bildung. Bildung, is undoubtedly using the terminology of later-day phenomenology a merely operational concept within Hegels philosophy, a concept belonging to its cognitive horizon, but not made truly thematic within it. Its reconstruction, nevertheless, constitutes a task which, in my opinion, has a significance beyond the matters of Hegel interpretation and philology. For the confusing complexity of the Hegelian idea of Bildung is the direct outcome of his striving to uphold and to defend that fundamental social-historical project Enlightenment designated by the name culture; to defend it while accepting many of the insights that an incipient critique of culture (from Rousseau and Diderot to German Romantics) had developed concerning its limitations and antinomies. As a result, Hegel offers a conceptualization of culture which is not only among the richest in the history of Western philosophy, but also brings to the fore what is at stake in the original conceptions of culture and the type of fundamental aporias and difficulties they involve. What follows cannot be more than an attempt to outline the bare skeleton of the Hegelian Bildung-concept, to indicate in a highly schematic way its basic meaning-dimensions and their interconnections. These are essentially four. In a rather arbitrary and modernizing way, I shall call them: the pedagogical, the historical, the sociological, and the metaphysicalculturological concepts of culture. Man is writes Hegel in the introduction to his lectures on philosophy of history (Hoffmeister, p.58), what he ought to be, only through cultivation (Bildung) and discipline . . . The formation of the animal takes a short time . . . Man, on the other hand, must make himself to what he ought to be; he must first himself acquire everything, just because he is Spirit; he must cast off the natural. Spirit is its own result. This anthropological thesis of a fundamental human historicity implying both freedom (man is what he makes himself in, and by, his own activity) and dependence (he can make himself only through the acquisition and transformation of what has been created by, and inherited from, the past), is the point of departure for Hegels conception of Bildung as education. As historical being, the child is both in need of, and as the Rechtsphilosophie underlines has a right to education (Rph. 174). In the most general sense Hegel defines education as the process through which the natural singularity of the child becomes transformed into societal individuality, through the appropriation and interiorization of what is

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universal. Through Bildung as education the individual becomes through his own activity and in his own fashion a picture (Bild) of his world, and thereby makes himself capable of acting meaningfully in it and also forming it (bilden); he becomes an autonomous member of society. This education is, for Hegel, a process with twofold and contrasted characteristics a conception which has a clear polemic intent against what he ironically calls pedagogical philantropism, against Rousseau and Pestalozzi, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, against the traditionalist view which equates education with externally imposed training (zweckmssiges Dressieren) to fixed, status-determined social functions and ways of life. As against the first, he emphasizes that education is neither play, nor the free-natural blossoming of inborn capacities; it is a process of disciplining which breaks down the self-will of the child, infantile narcissism. Education, says Hegel, is the hard struggle against the pure subjectivity of demeanour, against the immediacy of desire, against the empty subjectivity of feeling and caprice of inclination. (Rph. 187). It is a process of alienation and practical abstraction from what is merely natural and immediately singular. Someone is uneducated who judges and understands everything from the viewpoint of his/her momentary concerns and limited interest. Being educated means developing an ability to comprehend the thought and standpoint of others, and developing a feeling for, and interest in, the free, objective specificity of the very thing (die Sache selbst) whatever it be. Consequently, education is not mere training, or mechanical learning of foreign contents repressing all pre-given inclinations, abilities and needs. As the learning of other, broader horizons, it is a process of interiorization of what originally appeared as alien, and so it can be realized only in self-activity of the child. The discipline of education is not that of taming, but, as Hegel says, that of cultivating the imagination and the hard labour of thought a socially stimulated, controlled and directed working out, and mastery of, ones own abilities. Education is therefore also a series of successive achievements, and a process in which these achievements the formation and the character of the socially valuable abilities, the direction of the voluntarily chosen interests can also be best judged, first of all by the growing child itself. Therefore it is a broadly based and increasingly differentiated system of education, freed from all status-privileges, that is the most appropriate social channel to affect the selection of the growing-up members of society for the various professionaloccupational roles, to distribute them among the various spheres of social activity. In such a way Bildung as the second birth of man realizes not only the transformation of a natural singularity into a free individuality who is able to act rationally in his/her social world, but at the same time, it also prepares for the fulfillment of some socially recognized and valued function on the basis of achievement and conscious choice. Certainly, Hegel harbors no illusions about the limits of the freedom of this choice, severely restricted by the contingencies of both nature and society. But human freedom as freedom in finitude never can mean a complete emancipation from contingencies, appearing as external necessities. Education is the way of reducing the role of the latter to a minimum, and thereby creating a rational correspondence

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between the appropriately cultivated personal inclinations, interests and abilities on the one hand, and the highly variegated, impersonal requirements and demands of a complex society, on the other. This Hegelian variant of a liberal and neohumanist conception of education is, however, from Hegels own standpoint, a limited one; insufficient to capture the full meaning of Bildung even if it is taken only in the sense of the cultivation of the individual. The internal limitations of such a conception of Bildung can be seen in two respects: firstly, it makes education into a finite process which is closed when the school is finished a superficial view which completely misses the unending character of the cultivation of the individual, the fact that the objectivity of the very thing (die Sache selbst) cannot be experienced and learned but in the severity of a full life alone. Secondly, such a conception is inadequate for encompassing even Bildung as the social maturation of the child. For the so-conceived education cannot take place but on the basis, and in the continuous presence, of another cultivating process, to which, however, its own principle is sharply opposed: family upbringing. If education is based on the principle of achievement and merit judged by universal criteria, upbringing within the family is based on love directed at the child as a particular. The very fact that the real process of education is dependent upon another (contrasted) one, demonstrates that the former can only be understood within a broader context which alone decides about its real meaning as a purposive activity: the readability of its end, the creation of a rational correspondence between cultivated personal inclinations and interests on the one side, and social requirements, on the other. This broader context, which determinates the true meaning of Bildung as education, ultimately turns out to be a historical one. What has been offered as the general concept of education of free individuality turns out to be at the same time a historically particular form of it (which is, by the way, completely consistent with the Hegelian historicized teleology of the Concept). Bildung is a possibility and necessity only within a historical world of Bildung, within the world-epoch of cultivation. This world of Bildung is analyzed in a long chapter of the Phenomenology of Spirit which encompasses from a definite viewpoint the whole historical process of formation of modernity. It is primarily here that Hegel not simply employs but philosophically generalizes and radicalizes all the results and ideas of early critiques of culture. I cannot analyze here even schematically the content of this chapter. All I can do is to indicate its main idea. Speaking about the world of cultivation, Hegel means ultimately a historically created and specific double relationship between the individual and his social reality, the objective order of social institutions (in his terminology: between the subject and the substance). On the one hand, the individual is posited here as having worth and deserving social recognition only insofar as he makes himself by his own effort and work cultivated and educated, i.e., able to act and conduct himself/herself according to the learned standards, roles and norms of social institutions. On the other hand, these institutions are posited not as parts of a cosmic or divine order, but as culture, i.e., as man-made, creations of the equal and autonomous

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individuals. In his lectures on the philosophy of religion, Hegel very graphically describes this attitude: We do indeed start from what is, from what we find present; but what we make of this through our knowledge and willing, that is our affair, our work, and we are aware that it is our work, which we ourselves have produced. These productions, therefore, constitute our honor and glory; they make up a vast and infinite wealth the world of our insight and knowledge, of our external possessions, our rights, and our deeds. Thus spirit has been entangled into the contradiction naively, without knowing it ... (PhR, I/14(95)). One could say that the situation so characterized implies a kind of double bind: the worth of the individual solely consists in his ability to function within the framework of some pre-given institutions; but the work of the institutions rests solely in the judgment of the individual, since they are merely changeable facticities made by him/her or by his/her equals. As Hegels analysis shows, such a situation can come about only when the various dimensions or spheres of social totality sacred and secular authority including the institutions of the state and those of wealth not only are differeniated from each other, but each makes itself absolute; i.e., sets universal but competing and irreconcilable claims upon the individuals. The individual is then set up as the judge who must make a choice about their legitimacy on the basis of his reason alone. Making this choice correctly and realizing it consistently is the sole act that determines the worth of the individual. In a phenomenological analysis, reconstructing the main stages and configurations of modern Western cultural history, Hegel attempts to demonstrate how the so-constituted world of cultivation sets into motion an inescapable dialectic of Enlightenment the logic of a progressing alienation. The emergence of modernity is the world-historical process of the emancipation of the rational and self-determining individuality, for whom the cultivation of reason and will is a value-in-itself, nay in Hegels own words an infinite value. But this same process is that of the progressive emptying of the individual from all substantive contents and aims, and therefore also the progressive transformation of each sphere of the institutional order into an autonomous mechanism which, driven by its objective logic, makes more and more narrow, rigid, and impersonal requirements and demands upon the individual. In the world of Bildung, Bildung as true cultivation as the creation of a common bond between the individual subjects and their social world, making it into their home becomes impossible. Cultivation turns into berbildung (overcultivation) and Verbildung (miscultivation). It turns into its own opposite: instead of transforming what is social and historical into the habitual nature of the individual, it makes everything habitual to appear as non-natural, as violence upon the nature of the individual. Culture as the second nature of the individual turns into anti-nature. The more cultivated man becomes, the more he yearns for an alleged natural simplicity and harmony. In a world that made Bildung into an ultimate value, it cannot have but a merely instrumental value: either as the instrument of society for transforming the individual into a well-functioning cog within the great

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machinery of its institutions, or an instrument of adaptation, making the individual a mere object; or as the instrument of the individual to get at the top of his society, an instrument of mastery and domination, making social life and the other individuals a mere object. Such a world of diremption and alienation has no substantive sustainance it must collapse. It does collapse for Hegel in the French Revolution. But this collapse is only that of the ancien regime, and not of the culture modernity. If the radical critique of culture leads to the conclusion of its historical untenability, then history proves it wrong. What emerges out of the ruins of the old regime, is neither a return to the alleged harmony and simplicity of a natural life, nor the rebirth of the ancient polis-republic, but the truly modern state. This is a state whose prodigious strength can unify the differentiated societal spheres not by liquidating their tensions and contradictory tendencies, but by allotting to each an appropriate place in its rational constitution; so that these contradictions can be reconciled in their movement keeping society in change. In this sense modern society represents for Hegel the end of history: it is an institutional system which incorporates the principle of expansion and progress into its very working, a society which can and must change without being overcome or overthrown. In view of this reality of reconciliation, the earlier outlined standpoint of a critique of culture again turns out to be based on a one-sided and insufficient abstraction. Anachronistically fixing, what from Hegels point of view are the birth-pangs of modernity, it both recognizes and misrecognizes what culture, Bildung, is. The view which regards modernity as the world of Bildung, contains the correct insight that only modern society knows itself as culture, recognizes its institutional world as one which came about in, and is sustained by, human activities. It is therefore in need of rational legitimation and ought to be changed in its absence. But this view at the same time misses the fact that all historical worlds are worlds of culture, even if they do not know it. As long as Bildung is taken merely in the sense of cultivation as the consciously undertaken effort of the private individual be it either the pedagogic process of acquisition of teachable knowledge and skills, or the deliberate mastering of institutional norms and roles judged to be right or useful the universal scope of this concept cannot be recognized, since these former are according to Hegel truly modern (and solely modern) phenomena. And even more importantly such a view misses the point that every such conscious effort presupposes already culturally formed abilities which were, however, not formed in the way of cultivation in the above sense. As long as culture is identified with that which can be willed and made, as long as the relationship between the individual and its social world is identified with the relation of the subject to some object as the mere material of its activity, and thereby it is conceived according to the paradigm of making or fabricating, the phenomenon of culture cannot be understood in its full meaning. At this point Hegel introduces his third concept of Bildung which perhaps should be translated as acculturation (and culture in the sense of its results). Here Bildung means what all the individuals acquire due to their inescapable participation in the pervasive social institutions of their time and

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which they share as members of the same society. Bildung is the commongeneral stock of attitudes and aptitudes, ideas and values which are formed in the individuals because they live in one historical world that is not a world of independent and neutral objects. Rather, it is a world of objectivations, existing only through individuals participatory activities. Only the so-conceived Bildung, acculturation, makes meaningful intercourse and mutual understanding between the members of a society possible and the achievement of a definite level of it is also the precondition of any deliberately undertaken self-cultivating effort on the side of the individual. The modern subject can make himself/herself through his/her own choice and deliberate activity into an individuality who is both worthy of social recognition and at the same time unique, because he/she is in a largely unconscious and unwilled way already stamped and imbued with characteristics pertaining to his/her whole community. Bildung, in this sociological sense, is for Hegel a complex hierarchically articulated formation within which he distinguishes a number of layers and constituents. Its most fundamental and elementary level is that of practical culture, encompassing a historically specific system of needs, the development of all the skills necessary to use purposively the objects of these needs, and also the very habit and discipline of meaningful, will-directed activity as labour. Upon this practical culture Hegel bases what he calls general culture (allgemeim Bildung) embodied primarily in language. From the formal side, it designates a definite niveau of psychological abilities, the historically required level of the flexibility and rapidity of mind, the ability to pass from one idea to the another, to grasp complex and general relations (Ph.R. p. 129). From the side of its content, general culture contains those most general presuppositions and determinations of thought which an epoch unreflexively and unconsciously accepts as conditions of thinking in general, as dogmatic premisses of intelligibility, ultimately a specifically structured system of categories. General culture consists in those universal ideas and ends, in the scope of those spiritual powers, that rule consciousness and life. Our consciousness has these ideas, maintains their validity as ultimate determinations, follows the interconnections indicated by them in its course . . . but it knows them not: it does not make them the subject-matter and interest of its investigation (G.Ph. p. 41). Lastly, Bildung in the relevant sense encompasses the forms of We-consciousness the affectively interiorized communal norms and ends, in terms of which social identities are formed. Among them the most important for Hegel is what he calls political sentiment (politische Gesinnung), the specifically modern form of which is represented by patriotism. But education, cultivation and acculturation, even in their interaction, do not exhaust the Hegelian concept of Bildung. Individuals are not autonomous makers of their social world on the basis of their subjective insight into what is good and rational. Neither are they simple play-things of their social environment which through the process of acculturation would imbue them with unreflexively shared norms and premises thereby insulated from any conscious criticism. Each historical culture also formulates directly, and in an

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unconditionally universal way, these ends which it regards as ultimate and binding; it articulates a definite understanding of the world in the light of which the meaning that human life can and ought to have, becomes explicit. In this way it sets up an historically immanent standard as an ideal or as an idea by which the concrete norms of its actual institutions and objectivations can be judged. This is accomplished in, and by, spiritual culture (geistige Bildung), culture as the direct manifestation of the Spirit, of the Absolute. This fourth meaning of culture directly links up with Hegels metaphysics a connection which cannot be explored here. All I can do now is to refer briefly to the significance of some of the historically immanent elements of this Hegelian conception. Spiritual culture is what, in other systematic contexts, Hegel calls the forms of absolute spirit: art, religion, and science understood as philosophy. These forms have one and the same content and underlying principle: the expression and manifestation of what is absolute and divine; what represents the ultimate meaning and highest end for a people in an universally valid form. As such the forms of absolute spirit are both time-bounded and timeless: they manifest a historically conditioned comprehension of the superhistorical in a form claiming validity upon everyone and so adequate only if comprehensible for everyone. Since the history of these forms reveals the path of selfconsciousness to the comprehension of the Absolute to the comprehension of itself as Absolute what is once achieved in them: in the classical works of art; in the fundamental forms of world religion; in the great systems of philosophy; remains paradigmatic and lasting. These constitute that basic tradition, upon which true education to free self-consciousness as acquisition of growlngly broader cognitive and normative horizons, must be based. Spiritual culture is the realm of cultural values, historically formed but remaining with us as valid always. But the identical content the Absolute is expressed in the three great configurations of spiritual culture in different forms: as sensuous presentation in art; as imaginative representation in religion; and as conceptual thought in philosophy. This difference in their formative principle, determining the structural specificity of each of these spheres, establishes a hierarchical relation between them. Furthermore, it also orders them into a corresponding sequence of historical relevance; it establishes an inherent limit beyond which they cannot function as the vehicle of ultimate truth about the ultimate matters of life for a historical community. For it is only in this function alone that they constitute elements of a spiritual culture. When Hegel explicitly maintains the end of art, and, implicitly but clearly, suggests the end of religion as well, he is not suggesting the cessation and disappearance of concerned activities. What he maintains is the loss of their cultural creativity and significance in the above sense their becoming derivatively dependent upon other cultural spheres in their development and/or sinking down to the function of a privatized entertainment, or respectively private piety. Under the conditions of modernity, with its explicit demand for reflectiverational legitimation, only discoursive-conceptual thought, science can formulate an insight into the real of what is universally binding for everyone.

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Only philosophy is able, and it is able, not to stylize away the contradictions and tensions of modernity into a simple harmony (be it the sensuous presence of a beautiful ideal, or the imagined form of parousia), but to grasp the resolution of these contradictions in their incessant movement. Only philosophy is the cultural form which can reconcile us with the essential characteristics of modernity and at the same time offer a critical standard in respect of its particular historical realisations because philosophy does not endow the senseless and the accidental with imaginary meanings, but discovers the higher meaning, superindividual reason in the necessary and lawful play of these very accidentalities. The theories of late Enlightenment, to which we are indebted for our concept of culture, seem from our present standpoint to be implicated in deep confusion. On the one hand, in its struggle against the binding force of mere tradition, the Enlightenment discovered the historical relativity of all traditions and in this process elaborated a seemingly universalistic concept of culture as descriptively designating a fundamental characteristic of human existence in general; a concept equally applicable to all times and societies, and encompassing all that from ways of subsistence to religion which, as man-created work and insight, makes possible and directs meaningful human activities. At the same time, however, the thinkers of Enlightenment used the concept of culture in a directly value-laden way, applicable only to some higher intellectual activities which at least as autonomous activities have an essentially modern character, primarily the sciences, the religion of reason and the arts. This conceptual confusion the remnants of which still characterize our everyday use of culture has not been, however, a mere accident. The incompatible meanings of culture arose from the unity of that project for which the Enlightenment stood. Its struggle against the conservative force of the tradition which the universalistic notion of culture attempted to relativize and thereby neutralize, was a struggle not only for a dynamic, future-oriented progressing society. It was simultaneously animated by the faith that in such a society the direction of change and progress can be determined by those forms of autonomous-creative activities alone, which are ends in themselves for rational human beings. They represent the only true and real culture, the only actually binding tradition which is kept alive not by imitatio but inventio. The faith that in a society of free autonomous individuals high cultural (as we would call it today) activities will be able to overtake both the traditional socially integrative and orienting functions, fulfilled primarily by sacralized, and therefore ossified traditions, is central to the whole Enlightenment. The battle-cry of culture served to express this faith. Hegels conception of culture attempts to articulate in a complex and coherent manner a concept of Bildung which is capable of expressing and legitimatising such a project. He also defends it in the face of such criticisms, the relative justification and force of which he not only recognizes, but also attempts to incorporate into his own philosophy. In this way he is the heir of

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Enlightenment. But his defence is already characterized by signs of a deep

resignation. Not only is philosophy, the sole form of spiritual culture able to provide an adequate self-understanding of the modern society, the owl of Minerva able to comprehend the reasonability of change in the seeming chaos of a dynamic world, but philosophy is not called upon to teach the world what to do and how to change. This philosophy is for him a segregated holy place and its servants represent an isolated priesthood. The only spiritual-cultural form which according to Hegel can provide a rational reconciliation with, and justification of, the phenomena of modernity, is accessible only for the few. In discussing the relation between religious representations and philosophical concepts, Hegel remarks: Man not only begins the knowledge of Truth by the name of representation. He is also as a living man, at home with it alone (Review of Goeschel, Brl. Schr. 319). If religious representations lose their power over the people, then there are no longer cultural forces which can provide meaning for the life of the majority and stop the growth of a destructive nihilism. Hegels concept of modernity is therefore deeply paradoxical: the only society which makes dynamic progress into its own inherent principle, and thereby ends history, can progress only on the basis of a dead cultural tradition, a tradition which its development robbed of spiritual creativity and forced into the merely private sphere. In this paradoxical diagnosis Hegel is the remote forerunner of many contemporary theories of cultural crisis, from Daniel Bell to Habermas. His philosophy stands at the turning point where the historical faith in culture ends, and our discontent (and bewitchment) with culture begins.

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