But although the “unhappy consciousness” does not possess this actual presence, it has, at the same time, transcended pure thought, so far as this is the abstract thought of Stoicism, which turns away from particulars altogether, and again the merely restless thought of Skepticism–so far, in fact, as this is merely particularity in the sense of aimless contradiction and the restless process of contradictory thought. It has gone beyond both of these; it brings and keeps together pure thought and particular existence, but has not yet risen to that level of thinking where the particularity of consciousness is harmoniously reconciled with pure thought itself. It rather stands midway, at the point where abstract thought comes in contact with the particularity of consciousness qua particularity. Itself is this act of contact; it is the union of pure thought and individuality; and this thinking individuality or pure thought also exists as object for it, and the unchangeable is essentially itself an individual existence. But that this its object, the unchangeable, which assumes essentially the form of particularity, is its own self, the self which is particularity of consciousness –this is not established for it.
UNHAPPY AM I,
OF ALL HELP BEREFT,
WHO AGAINST HEAVEN AND EARTH
On the eve of a major retrospective at Tate Britain, Aida Edemariam visits the artist’s studio – painstakingly recreated in a Dublin gallery after his death. But what does this tiny, chaotic space really reveal about the birth of Bacon’s art?