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Hegel, Stages of Freedom

Lesson on the Philosophy of History


        I have said that the Orientals only knew that a single man was free - that the worlds of Greece and Rome knew that some were free - but that we know that all men are free, that man is free as man. These stages in the knowledge of Freedom are the division which we make in universal history and according to which we shall study it...

       Universal history goes from East to West, for Europe is truly the end of History, of which Asia is the beginning. For universal history, there is an East which exists in itself, the East for itself being something quite relative; for although the Earth is a sphere, History does not describe a circle around it but instead it has a defined East, and that is Asia. That is where the physical, external sun rises, and it sets in the West. This is why, here, the sun which rises is the internal sun of the consciousness of the self, which shines with a much greater brightness.

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