In the Doctrine of Essence Hegel begins with shine [schein] as

"all that remains of the sphere of being" (WL, p.342).

He further qualifies it as a

"nothingness or a lack of essence...its being is its own equality with itself" (WL, p.346).

That is, the shining of being seems to be being's immediate turning into itself that exclaims itself as itself. This to me is a confusing formulation, because in the Encyclopedia Hegel makes it clear that formulations like this already presuppose a kind of relation to itself that

"promises a difference between subject and predicate," (Enz, p.178)

that is, a distinction between being itself as the other and itself. In other words, when we can speak of shine it seems like we have already passed into the realm of identity. It is impossible to articulate the immediacy of shine, as being shouting itself as such, without already speaking the language of identity (A=A) which posits a difference. This appears to take away the necessity of shine as a transition from being to essence, as the gap between shining (scheinen) and appearing (erscheinen) is filled not with necessity but a mystical leap of some kind. One could possibly save this by taking a Lacanian turn saying that the shine is a necessary failure or misidentification that allows the truth of identity to emerge which teleologically justifies this idea, but I don't think introducing it would be a strictly Hegelian solution and moreover Hegel never returns to shine at the end of the Doctrine of Essence unlike for any of the other concepts which appear false at the beginning of each part of the Logic. I know shine reappears in his aesthetics but I am not familiar with it. Is there anything I am missing in my reading that leads me to this paradox?

  • Schein in German and Jewish (Ashkenazic) means shining and someone with radiant personality, which is a variant of Schoen and Yiddish Sheyn. Here Hegel used it to mean illusory being as defined in section 817, not into the realm of identity: The being of illusory being consists solely in the sublatedness of being, in its nothingness; this nothingness it has in essence and apart from its nothingness, apart from essence, illusory being is not. So shine is outside light added and covers being's essence thus consisting in the sublatedness of being, ie, it is the negative posited as negative... Jul 5, 2022 at 5:18
  • @DoubleKnot Shine is not into the realm of identity -- that I know for sure. But my question is that as soon as Shine is described as something like "outside light(!) added and covers being's essence thus consisting in the sublatedness of being," as a kind of reflection through which "being has gone into itself," there is already a difference posited between the two sides of the formula "being is being" and being as shine looses its immediacy and becomes identity. But this seems to put shine as something akin to pure being which is also something that cannot be said and makes Hegel a mystic.
    – Samuel D
    Jul 5, 2022 at 5:31
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    Magee famously judged Hegel follows ambitious tradition of the mystic Hermes Trismegistus instead of that of modest Socrates, Masonic subtext of “initiation mysticism” and Boehmean subtext in his Phenomenology of Spirit; a Kabbalistic-Boehmean-Lullian influence on the Logic. His key proposition is The various forms of idealism,..., have not advanced beyond being as determinateness, have not advanced beyond this immediacy, any more than scepticism did...In essence, being is non-being. Shine is immediately determined and his previous philosophies have not advanced beyond this immediacy... Jul 5, 2022 at 6:18
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    .. the problem that, according to his concept that a defined thing needs to have an other, that essence would need an antagonist. So he creates a thing that is essential and one that is non-essential. But as the purely essential is defined by being removed from the existence there isn't really anything left that makes up the non-essential antagonist that is both essence and not-existence but not essential for the essence. And so he defines that nothingness as the "Schein"...
    – haxor789
    Jul 5, 2022 at 17:40
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    This inwardness or this in-itself, sublates the movement of causality, with the result that the substantiality of the sides standing in relation is lost, and necessity unveils itself. Necessity does not become freedom by vanishing, but only because its still inner identity is manifested, a manifestation which is the identical movement of the different sides within themselves, the reflection of the illusory being as illusory being into itself.. Thus the necessity of Shine as transition is the manifestation of Shine returning to itself leaving objective logic to his subjective logic, Notion... Jul 6, 2022 at 4:13


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