A Reading of "The Oldest Systematic Program of German Idealism"
“The Oldest Systematic Program of German Idealism” is an esoteric text at the heart of 19th century German philosophy and of no certain authorship. The primary contention is that it was most likely written by either Hölderlin, Hegel, or Schelling during their time together as essentially collage dorm-mates whilst at Tübinger Stift in Germany, although some analyses leave open the possibility of a fourth unknown author. That being said, the text itself was written in Hegel’s handwriting, and speaks with post-revolutionary vigour about the need to overthrow priestly control of the human mind and the heralding of a new dawn of reason; a reason that, despite the austerity imposed upon it by Kantianism, is not afraid of speculation, sensuousness, and poetics, but rather lets its own truth shine through them. This text is a agitation for universal emancipation, a liberatory declaration that holds self-consciousness and enlightenment at its core—the labour of not only becoming-mature, but also towards the hope of humanity’s next childhood. The opinion of the reader of the text here is that the text is a Hegelian one, although not for any reason that benefits Hegel. The text begins with a miscounting of Kant’s practical postulates, counting only two instead of three; and this aligns well with Pinkard’s biological note that of the three within the Stift that Hegel’s Kantianism was the least developed at the time.