In the Phenomenology of Spirit (section 169 in my edition), Hegel asserts the following:
The determination of life as it has arisen from the concept, or from the general results with which we enter this sphere, is sufficient to characterize it. (There is no further need to develop its nature any further out of those factors). Its cycle resolves itself into the following moments. The essence is infinity as the sublation of all distinctions, the pure movement rotating on its own axis, its own being at rest as absolutely restless infinity. It is to be characterized as self-sufficiency itself into which the distinctions of the movement have been dissolved.
In class, my professor brushed past this and remarked that "Hegel takes some time here to settle scores with some other authors" insofar as "what's unique about human life as human life is the axial rotation." I know this is a phrase that appears in a few other places in the Phenomenology and I'm having trouble finding anyone in the secondary literature who defines it.
My understanding is something like: life is a kind of movement (much like perception is a kind of movement), so there needs to be some medium that it does its moving in -- namely the "universal fluidity" that he addresses later in this chapter. Furthermore, since it's a movement, it needs something to move with respect to. Since self-consciousness is, by definition, self-sufficient, it follows that the only thing its movement can be oriented with respect to is itself, i.e. its axis. So we get some kind of "snake attempting to eat its tail" image of what the position of life is in the "logical space" that Hegel often metaphorically locates relations in.
But I wouldn't be surprised if I've misinterpreted him completely. Can anyone provide a good interpretation and/or something in the secondary literature that addresses this term?