From Nihilism to Kingdom Come

Dr. Ken Foldes, Fulbright Scholar

[Part I] Contents, Preface, Acknowledgments, Abbreviations.



Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Abbreviations xv

Introductory Essay:

The Solution To Our Postmodern World Crisis 23

One: How to Understand the Present Paradigm Shift 35

Two: The “God-Self”—The Solution to Our Crisis 71

Three: What We Can Do 107

Part I: Hegel, Postmodernity, and God 123

1    Drs. Nietzsche and Hegel: The Antidote to Postmodern Nihilism 127

2    Reflections on the Fate of Philosophy and The Church in the 21st Century 151

3    The Difference Between Schelling’s God and Hegel’s: Educating Humanity or Educating God? 171

4    Absolute Freedom in Fichte and Hegel: Politics, The State, and God 195

5    Does Philosophy End with Hegel? 215

Part II: Hegel’s System of Science 263

6    Hegel’s Circle: The System’s “Two” Logics 267

7    The Phenomenology of Spirit or Transcendental Idealism à la Hegel 287

8    Crossing Over: From Sense to Thought in the Phenomenology and the “Divided Line” 315

9    The Final Synthesis in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit 335

10 The Aufheben of the Philosophy of Right 367

11 Hegel’s Deduction of Matter: And The Untenability of The Big-Bang Theory 387

Part III: Before and After Hegel 405

12 Kant’s “Theater of the Mind” 409

13 Kant’s Practical Philosophy: A Hegelian Critique 431

14 What is Fichte up to in the 1794 Doctrine of Science? 449

15 The Insight: The Secret of the 1804 Doctrine of Science and the Unity of the Doctrines of Science 475

16 Hegel’s Solution to the Problem of Reference 515

Concluding Essay:

Manifesto of The New World Order 555

Postscript: On “Space Condominiums” and the Obviation of “Star-Wars” 621

Appendix 1: The Standpoint—In Kant, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel 641

Appendix 2: Excerpts from Fichte’s “Doctrine of Religion” 659

Appendix 3: Hegel’s Remarks On The Method of The Sciences of Nature and Spirit 665

Appendix 4: Hegel’s Inaugural Address Delivered at Heidelberg, 1816 681

Select Bibliography 689

Index 691

“I exhort myself always in the words of the Lebenslaufe:

‘Strive toward the sun, my friends, that the salvation of the human race may soon come to fruition! What use are the hindering leaves? or the branches? Cleave through them to the sunlight, and strive till ye be weary! Tis good so, for so shall ye sleep the better!’”

Hegel to Schelling, 16, April 1795

“I am completely positive. … The 60s was only the beginning! … like waking up in the morning—and we haven’t even got to dinner time yet … ‘Man, don’t you know that everything’s going to be all right … that we are all One and One is all there is! With our love we can save the world. Just imagine —All the people living in peace and sharing the whole world and really loving each other … Man, the world is going to be so amazingly beautiful and incredible’ … It’s just going to be great!”

John Lennon, Imagine, c. 1970

Logical Knowledge has been brought to a close … everyone must now make a clean sweep in their discipline. Religion is intuited philosophy, which in turn is nothing other than cognizant religion; both use different methods to seek the same thing: God. Only the arrogance of immaturity, the stubbornness of one-sided Understanding, and the selfishness of privileged obscurantism—can possibly stop the glorious dawning day!”

Hegel to Baron d’Uxkull, 1817


The author of this book, essentially a collection of essays written over the last ten years, believes that the most important task of our times is to understand the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel and his relevance for our postmodern crisis. He feels it is absolutely imperative that we take Hegel’s writings quite seriously especially in view of the events stemming from “9/11” and our present precarious world situation which, in our view, is directly related to the rampant relativism and nihilism that characterize our times and to the erosion of the paradigm of the previous world order. The author is convinced that we are presently going through a critical “transitional” period of human history and that Hegel is our best guide for assisting us in understanding its nature and for helping us safely navigate through the present upheavals and cultural dislocations to the other side. It is hoped that these essays will make a positive contribution in this direction. He also believes that the public is being offered, in large measure, only a watered down “politically correct” version of Hegel and that the majority of books on Hegel have completely missed his main point.

Anyone who has read the literature of the period following the French Revolution cannot but conclude that something incredible and of unprecedented magnitude and scope was taking place in the consciousness of the post-Kantian philosophers. The author offers—and he is not at all alone in this view—that in Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel the highest consciousness possible and attainable by the World Mind was breaking and finally broke through, and in Hegel most definitively. Indeed, we maintain that what took place was nothing less than the culmination of human History itself. The revelation of revelations, concealed in the depths of time, finally saw the full light of day. —The revelation, namely, to put it in a word, that WE ARE GOD or THE ABSOLUTE ITSELF. —I hasten to add that the meaning of this statement must be carefully unpacked, for there is a right and wrong way to construe it; this will be a major task of the Introduction.— Thus all the philosophers, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, in all their writings and in their own way give clear and poignant expression to this profound truth as is evident to any one who has studied their works. Now what this incredible Event means for our “end of history” times, to get right to the point and to put the thing most forcefully, is simply this:— that AN AGE OF GODS AND GODDESSES IS NOW COMING ON THE SCENE — ALONG WITH AN AMAZING NEW WORLD. Indeed, the Old—what no one will argue—is fast imploding around us, and the New is being born in our midst, a phenomenon best describable as the Great Inversion of “nihilism into Kingdom Come.” This central motif in its pure form, it should be added, is most clearly and thoroughly articulated in the Introductory and Concluding Essays but nonetheless has a strong presence in the other essays, mainly concerned with understanding Hegel and his Philosophy or Science—indeed they were all written from within its standpoint and vision.

Thus, following the Introduction, the first part of the book will contain essays that underscore in global terms the relevance of Hegel’s thought and achievement for our present existential-historical situation; the second part, essays that focus on key parts of Hegel’s “System of Science” and attempt to facilitate a deeper understanding of the same; and the third part, essays that shed light on the thought of Hegel’s fellow idealists, notably Kant, Fichte, and Schelling, a proper grasp of which is indispensable for understanding Hegel’s position, as well as a piece which evinces Hegel’s relevance for recent analytical thought. The book concludes with a contributed essay by The Omega Group, “The Manifesto of the New World,” which boldly expresses the spirit and main theme of the book. All of the essays on Hegel in their own way try to show how and why the dominant interpretations of Hegel are inadequate and need to be corrected. What they fail to appreciate, above all, is the spiritual and redemptive dimension of Hegel’s vision that provides for a new true “immanent” concept of the Judeo-Christian God that doubtless Hegel believes is destined to replace the old “transcendent” concept. In effect, the received interpretations end up throwing out the “baby with the bathwater” and thereby leave nihilism, our number one problem, undisturbed.

Special thanks to the Fulbright Commission, Otto Pöggeler and John Sallis who facilitated a grant to do critical research at the Hegel Archives in Bochum, Germany. I would also like to thank Richard Winfield and William Maker for the invitation to present “Absolute Freedom in Fichte and Hegel: Politics, The State, and God” before the Society of Systematic Philosophy at the Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in December 1997; a shorter version of this paper is published in The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy under the title, “Does the Solution to Our Moral and Political Problems Lie in the Theories of the German Idealists?” and is also available online at www.bu.edu. I am also grateful to the Hegel Society of America for inviting me to present “Hegel’s Circle: The System’s ‘Two’ Logics” at their session at the Central Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in April 2000. I would also like to thank Mike Marchetti for reading large sections of the manuscript, for his many invaluable comments and criticisms on it, and for publishing my essay “Hegel’s Deduction of Matter: And The Untenability of The Big-Bang Theory” on his Hegel website at www.gwfhegel.org. Many thanks are owed to Patrick O’Neil, editor of Aristoi, for permission to reproduce the following essays: “The Difference Between Schelling’s God and Hegel’s: Educating Humanity or Educating God?” Aristoi, Vol. I, No. 1 (March 1999); “Hegel’s Solution to the Problem of Reference,” Aristoi, Vol. I, No. 2 (October 1999); “The Aufheben of the Philosophy of Right,” Aristoi, Vol. II, No. 1 (March 2000); “What is Fichte Up To in the 1794 Wissenschaftslehre?” Aristoi, Vol. II, No. 2 (October 2000); the essay “Drs. Nietzsche and Hegel: The Antidote to Postmodern Nihilism” appears in Aristoi, Vol. III, No. 1 (March 2001) under the title “Aquinas-Hegel-Nietzsche: The Way out of Our Postmodern Nihilistic Rut,” a shorter version of which is published in The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy and also available online at www.bu.edu. The essay “Kant’s Theater of the Mind” is excerpted from a revised version of my dissertation, Transcendental Idealism(Ann Arbor: UMI, 1994), and the two essays on the 1794 and 1804 versions of Fichte’s Doctrine of Science were presented before the North American Fichte Society’s 1997 Shakerstown and 1999 Montreal Meetings respectively. Special thanks are also due to the Fordham Roundtable for their invitation to present an abridged version of “Does Philosophy End with Hegel?” at their April 2001 Meeting, and to Stanley Rosen for helpful commentary on “Hegel’s Solution to the Problem of Reference.” And I am especially grateful to Alex Delfini of Iona College for his stimulating discussions and encouragement with the project.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the many teachers, colleagues and students with whom over the years I have discussed aspects of the book’s main theme and for sharing with me their wisdom and enthusiasm for philosophy and Truth. Especially to: Quentin Lauer, S.J., Darrell Taylor, Edith Wyschogrod, Alan W. Watts, John J. McDermott, John Sallis, Otto Pöggeler, John Lachs, Andre Schuwer, Norman O. Brown, Thomas J.J. Altizer, Alan White, Lawrence Cassidy, S.J., William McKenna, S.J., Stanley Rosen, Thomas Seebohm, Reiner Schurmann, Alan Ponikvar, Tom Rockmore, Henry Harris, John Findlay, Merold Westphal, Kenley Dove, William Maker, Richard Winfield, Robert Berman, Sam Attard, Dan Morrison, Klaus Brinkmann, Claudia Bickmann, Werner Marx, Vittorio Hösle, Richard Bernstein, Holger Zaborowski, Wilhelm Wurzer, Dorothea Olkowski, Jacqueline Sipos, Daniel Tate, Alex Delfini, Rev. Elaine White, Walter Wright, John McCumber, Rev. Peter Scazzero, Dan Breazeale, Ardis Collins, Catherine Pickstock, Baba Ram Dass, Stan Grof, Rev. Marianne Williamson, Larry Stepelevich, D.G. Leahy, Stephen Houlgate, Michael Baur, Sarah Borden, Ed Halper, John Burbidge, Will Dudley, Errol Harris, Rickard Donovan, Carol Sosa, Elizabeth Cosgrove, Robert Brandom, Rev. Joan Krawchick, Dom Balestra, Gerald Galgan, Stan Hendel, Michael Swartz, Zoe Walton, Richard Carlin, Marise McDermott, William Gati, Nancy Nadrich, Les Modell, Richard Curtis, Mark Levine, Geraldine Peckham, Darren Foldes, and Ken Adams.

Thank you all.


The following abbreviations will appear in the text:

PS           = Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller

Phen.    = Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind, trans. J. Baillie

SL            = Hegel’s Science of Logic, trans. A.V. Miller

EL            = The Encyclopedia Logic, trans. Geraets, Suchting, H. Harris

Enc.        = Hegel’s Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830)

PN          = Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, trans. A.V. Miller

PM         = Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind (Spirit), trans. William Wallace

PR           = Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, trans. T.M. Knox

PH          = Hegel’s Philosophy of History. trans. J. Sibree

STI          = Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism, trans. P. Heath

WL          = Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre, the context will specify the version

SK           = Fichte’s The Science of Knowledge, trans. P. Heath, J. Lachs

NM        = Fichte’s “Nova Methodo,” trans. D. Breazeale

EPW       = Fichte’s Early Philosophical Writings, trans. D. Breazeale

BKH        = Between Kant and Hegel, trans. G. di Giovanni, H.S. Harris



  1. Dr. Ken Foldes

    Please help me find your Appendix 4 related to Hegel’s Inaugural Address at Heidelberg.

    Thank you.

    J Devin
    Toronto Canada


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