The Henid

- A definition of the Henid -


An unclarified, sub-conscious "feeling". A vague, unformed, foggy or confused idea. A disorganized, undifferentiated thought. A proto-thought.

Example: "On the one side a conceptual thought, on the other side an unconceptual 'feeling,' a henid." - Otto Weininger, Sex and Character


The idea of the "henid" was first postulated by Otto Weininger, in his work Sex and Character.

Weininger warns that the "absolute henid" is an abstract concept, and that it is uncertain how often real psychical experience in adult humans is so undifferentiated as to deserve the description of henid.

As an example of a henid, Weininger says,

"I made a note, half mechanically, of a page in a botanical work from which later on I was going to make an extract. Something was in my mind in henid form. What I thought, how I thought it, what was then knocking at the door of my consciousness, I could not remember a minute afterwards, in spite of the hardest effort. I take this case as a typical example of a henid.". - Sex and Character

And again:

"A common example from what has happened to all of us may serve to illustrate what a henid is. I may have a definite wish to say something particular, and then something distracts me, and the “it” I wanted to say or think has gone. Later on, by some process of association, the “it” is quite suddenly reproduced, and I know at once that it was what was on my tongue, but, so to speak, in a more perfect stage of development." - Sex and Character

Otto Weininger on the Internet