FROM MELODY TO THEME: ATTEMPTED TESTIMONYThe cunning of Reason! First acquaintance with a Mendelssohn piano concerto at thirteen, aswith other music, goes to make me whatever I am today. "Today", what is that? Also a
, dialectical, the same as those "days", superseded for that very reason, except in thememory merely. So I am not now, any of us must say, what I am eternally. I
not now, morethan phenomenally. I, says Hegel, am the Idea
under the form of
individuality, am liberty,love, blessedness. For it is thinking (thought as act) which is both I and these other forms of the Idea.
We are unable to
anything else when we say "I". The mood corresponds quitewell to the typically Thomist slogan, "Become what you are". Religion, or prophecy rather,counters, "We know what we are but we know not what we shall be."
This though is prior toany questioning of empirical time, engendering the contradiction tolerated as paradox, "andtime shall be no more", a future that is not future, not time.So how did the Mendelssohn form thinking? Of course it might have been Mozart, Haydn or Bach, Gubaidulina (had she been composing already then) or anyone whatever, seen thoughas a contrast or challenge to previous experience and its coincident interpretation. The relationof one's musical taste to one's thinking is closer than many styling themselves thinkers admit.What though is music? Melody? Rhythm? It is certainly perceived aurally, as
. Yet it bears the name of a general spiritual inspiration, as from a or any
. Music. The samethough might be said, differently, of poetry,
(from a verb to
). Hegel, in the
, places poetry above music, due to its greater explicitness, to the substitution of sign for symbol while still remaining art in its essential intellectuality. Yet he places musicabove painting, sound above sight, as not "braking" or suspending dialectical flow, whereeverything finite is a stage or
, not standing still because not
in itself, butonly as itself superseded (
) in the final and eternal
.This in turn means, we should be clear, that we cannot begin to explain this flow itself bysaying "In reality". This is just what is denied, not partially, as in Kant, but of our whole perceived and perceiving finite mind. The flow is peculiar to us, as the cunning of reasonhides from us that all is accomplished.
Just as and only as phenomenally perceived, mindremains intact with its inalienable claim to immediate perception, of flow or of anything else,as is denied
on this level
in Kant, proposing a
immediate reality (subjective idealism).Yet of course we might
that in reality things are not real. It is in part a matter of style, anaesthetic even, though this would be not at all reductively meant.As for this result, Thomas Aquinas correspondingly argued that the
(of humanliving) is present, as final cause of action as such, in all that we do. It is God, beatitude or,according to him,
bonum in communi
(to be distinguished from
is in fact
absolutely). As determinative of all action, hence too of allthinking, this presence is total as totally operative, so that nothing is present except as
it. Itwould be "absolute cunning" as intrinsically hidden, latent, since what is open to view is passive to the onlooker. The Infinite cannot be thus limited or, as Hegel will so stronglyemphasise,
to anything. Otherness, that is, is not absolute but, taken as such, abstract,a category in short.Even
as a whole is thus to be understood as a
in this circular dialectic of "thewhole", of
rather. Whole, too, is abstract, a
of the trans-organic unity of whole and parts. It is circular as going out and coming back.
, as the circle or sphere,
159 (1827 version, as in Wallace translation, OUP).
Ia-IIae, 10, 1.