The Phenomenology of Mind HTML version

of the individual: and so it passes into Virtue. The experience which virtue goes through can be no other than
that of finding that its purpose is already implicitly (an sich) carried out, that happiness lies immediately in
action itself, and action itself is the good. The principle or notion of this entire sphere of experience − viz.
that "thinghood" is the independent self−existence of mind − becomes in the course of this experience an
objective fact for self−consciousness. In that self−consciousness has found this principle, it is aware of itself
as reality in the sense of directly self−expressing Individuality, which no longer finds any resistance in a
reality opposed to it, and whose object and purpose are merely this function of self−expression.
1. Viz. in descriptive observation of nature as such.
2. Viz. in observation of living nature, the "organic".
3. Viz. in observation of nature as the external reality of mind, laws of thought, psychology, physiognomy,
4. The first and succeeding editions read "seines" Volks: Lasson proposes "eines". This seems correct in the
[[Translator's comments: The succeeding three sections discuss the procedure of one−sided subjective
individualism−−the attempt to realize the individual and yet not transcend the particular individuality. The
first thought of self−consciousness when it seeks to realize or objectify itself as a mere individual is to make
the objective element return directly to itself and bring a sense of increase of its own individual being or
private Pleasure. This is all its interest in the practical realization of its purposes. But the realization of
purposes is an expression of the life of reason, and reason means universality and systematic connexion of the
content realized. Hence to seek solely private satisfaction or pleasure by a process which is inherently
universal is a contradiction in terms. This contradiction the individual discovers in the shape of a sharp and
painful contrast between its private feeling of individuation on the one hand and a network of universal
connexion on the other−the contrast between "pleasure" and "necessity". Both fall within the individual's
experience as a rational agent, and hence this necessity is his own necessity as much as the pleasure is his
own pleasure. In the opposition between these factors there is no question as to which must triumph, and
which must surrender.
This is the type of experience analysed in the following section. It is an experience that constantly recurs in
the life−history of most if not all human beings at one stage or another in their development. The analysis
contained in this section is indirectly a searching criticism of Hedonism in all its forms.]]
SELF−CONSCIOUSNESS, which is aware of being the reality, has its object within itself, but an object
which, at first, is merely its own (fer sich), and is not yet in actual existence. Existence stands opposed to it as
a reality other than its own; and the aim of self−consciousness consists in carrying out what it is "for itself" so
as to see itself as another independent being. This first purpose is to become conscious, in that other
self−consciousness, of itself as an individual, to turn this other into its own self. It has the assurance that this
other already is essentially itself.
In so far as it has risen from out of the substance of ethical life and the quiescent state of thought, and attained
its conscious independence, it has left behind the law of custom and of substantial existence, the kinds of
knowledge acquired through observation, and the sphere of theory; these lie behind it as a gray shadow that is