Chapter OneIntroduction: The Philosophy of HegelIt has become customary in the introduction and exposition of Hegel to begin by bemoaning the difficulty of the task and, especially, of making a beginning at all. Many of Hegel's commentators have been compelled to go through a sort of personal catharsis before plunging into the labyrinthine abyss of Hegel's system and its expression. But if it is true, as Goethe says (and Hegel repeats), that there is no remedy but love against the great superiorities of others, then a purging of one's complacency and conceit may indeed be the best way to approach Hegel--or any other great thinker.His entire philosophy is itself a spiritual bath, a baptism, which ravishes everything in its path and leaves nothing on earth or in heaven untouched. It is a religion built upon a profound faith, which teaches that we must die in order to live, and which regards man as natural, and points out how he may be born anew--how his first nature may be changed intoa second, spiritual nature. It is a philosophy of education, a dialectical "paideia, "which calls upon us to obey that absolute commandment: "know thyself; "and a Promethean attempt to show that this summons is not an arbitrary law imposed from without, but the free and essential act of the God within, our innermost self. But in no other philosophy does the word "self" appear more often, Yet more selflessly, than in that of Hegel, for the self that gradually and painfully emerges from its struggle with a protean world (which is, in truth, an inversion of its own nature) is like a phoenix risen from the ashes of its own funeral pyre, a subject become substance, creating out of itself bytransforming itself and canceling within itself a myriad of inadequate forms of its own truth.Hegel's philosophy is the suffering, death, and if we believe and can follow him, resurrection of everything incomplete, unknowing, andHegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich is the author of 'Hegel The Essential Writings', published 1977 under ISBN 9780061318313 and ISBN 0061318310.