Love as Sublation

I have been reading G.W.F. Hegel lately and have been struck by his idea of love as sublation. Sublation, for Hegel, involves a movement of cancellation, preservation and elevation. Love, he says, is identity in difference; that is, the differences between the two people (or more) are overcome in a relationship of love. Some things are cancelled. Some things are preserved. All are elevated.

Lent is, liturgically speaking, a purgative season; a time of cancellation, if you will. Lent is often characterized as a time of dying to the self, but perhaps that is putting it too strongly. Lenten practice is not about eliminating the self but rather purging the self; cancelling some things and preserving others. The goal is resurrection; a time of elevation, if you will.

If God is love, then in Hegelian terms she is a movement of cancellation, preservation and elevation. God, as the active power in our lives, is purging us; cancelling some things, preserving others, and elevating us in ways we could have never foreseen. Let us make room for love.

Comments 2

  1. I look at lent as a time of reevaluating my relationship with things. This year – dairy, booze and facebook. A cleanse both physically and mentally. I love lent. I always learn so much.

    Thanks for all the philosophical insight, as always John.

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