From his Foundations of Natural Right:
The character of rationality consists in the fact that that which act and that which is acted upon are one and the same; and with this description, the sphere of reason as such is exhausted. -For those who are capable of grasping it (i.e. for those who are capable of abstracting from their own I), linguistic usage has come to denote this exalted concept by the word: I; thus reason has been characterized as "I-hood" [p. 3].I keep trying to abstract from my I, but Memorial Day sun and fun is holding me back. When reading and writing about Fichte sometimes I feel like his students who are described by Henrik Steffens, an actual student of Fichte:
[Fichte] made every effort to provide proofs for everything he said; but his speech still seemed commanding, as if he wanted to dispel any possible doubts by means of an unconditional order. 'Gentlemen,' he would say, 'collect your thoughts and enter into yourselves. We are not at all concerned now with anything external, but only with ourselves.' And, just as he requested, his listeners really seemed to be concentrating upon themselves. Some of them shifted their position and sat up straight, while others slumped with downcast eyes. But it was obvious that they were all waiting with great suspense for what was supposed to come next. Then Fichte would continue: 'Gentlemen, think about the wall.' And as I saw, they really did think about the wall, and everyone seemed able to do so with success. 'Have you thought about the wall?' Fichte would ask. 'Now, gentlemen, think about whoever it was that thought about the wall.' The obvious confusion and embarrassment provoked by this request was extraordinary. [Wissenschaftslehre nova methodo, trans. Daniel Breazeale, Ithaca: Cornell, 1992, p. 111, n. 11.]Such is life.