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The Phenomenology of Mind

The fatuousness of that style of eloquence seems, too, in a quasi−unconscious manner to have got the length
of being an acknowledged certainty for the cultivated minds of our time, since all interest in the whole mass
of those rhetorical spread−eagle phrases has disappeared−−a loss of interest which is betrayed in the sheer
wearisomeness they produce.
The result, then, arising from this opposition, consists in the fact that consciousness lets the idea of an
inherent good, which yet has no actual reality, slip from it like a mere cloak. Consciousness has learned in the
course of its struggle that the world's process is not so bad as it looked; for the reality of the world's process is
that of the universal. With the discovery of this it is seen that there is no way of producing the good through
the sacrifice of individuality, the means for doing so have gone; for individuality is precisely the explicit
actualization of what is implicitly and inherently real (i.e. the universal); and the perversion ceases to be
looked at as a perversion of goodness, for it is just the transmuting of the good, qua bare purpose, into actual
reality. The movement of individuality is the reality of the universal.
In point of fact, however, what as world process stood opposed to the consciousness of the inherently and
implicitly real, has likewise been vanquished and has disappeared with the attainment of the above result. The
self−existence of individuality was there in opposition to the inner essential nature, the universal, and made
its appearance as a reality cut off from the inherent implicit nature. Since, however, it has come out that
reality is in undivided unity with the universal, the self−existence of the world's process proves not to be
more than an aspect, just as the inherent nature (Ansich) of virtue is merely an aspect too (Ansicht). The
individuality of the world's process may doubtless think it acts merely for itself or selfishly; it is better than it
thinks; its action is at the same time one that is universal and with an inherent being of its own. If it acts
selfishly, it does not know what it is doing; and if it insists that all men act selfishly, it merely asserts that all
men are unaware as to what action is. If it acts for itself, this is just the explicit bringing into reality of what is
at first implicit and inherent. The purpose of its self−existence, of its "being for itself", which it fancies
opposed to the inherent nature−−its futile ingenuity and cunning, as also its fine−spun explanations which so
knowingly demonstrate the existence of selfishness everywhere−−all these have as much vanished as the
purpose of the inherent element and its rhetoric.
Thus, then, the effort, the struggle, the activity of individuality is inherently an end in itself; the use of
powers, the play of their outward manifestations−−that is what gives them life: otherwise they would be
lifeless, potential, and merely implicit (Ansich). The inherent implicit nature is not an abstract universal
without existence and never carried into effect; it is itself immediately this actual present and this living
actuality of the process of individuality.
1. Here the individual's own universal nature (his own good and true) has to control his private feelings and
2. Here, by contrast with (1), the only real discipline is to subdue the entire personality to the "course of the
world" (i.e., the good and true in it.)
[[Translator's comments: The following section gives a general description of individuality which seeks to
realize itself, not in the one−sided ways analysed in the three preceding sections, but as a complete concrete
whole. Here individuality does not regard itself abstractedly, and hence does not treat the sphere of its
realization as in any way alien to itself. It is completely one with the objective world where it carries out its
ends, and finds both itself adequate to its own realization, and the world sufficient and all−sufficient for the
embodiment of its ends. In this sphere we have, as it were, the very antithesis of the preceding state of mind.