The Phenomenology of Mind HTML version

[[Translator's comments: The following section is an analysis of the mood of moral Sentimentalism. It is a
mood of all times and appears in many forms; but about Hegel's time it became prominent in the Romantic
school and was frankly adopted as a practical attitude by certain of its representatives. Perhaps one of the
most remarkable historic examples of sentimentalism was Rousseau, to whom so much in the romantic
movement may be traced. In the literature of Hegel's time, and indeed in all literature, no more perfect type of
sentimentalism can be found than Goethe's Werther. With such instances as these in our minds the
succeeding analysis requires neither explanation nor comment.]]
NECESSITY is for this new mode of consciousness what in truth self−consciousness finds necessity in its
own case to be. In its new attitude self−consciousness regards itself as the necessary element. It knows that it
has the universal, the law, immediately within itself, a law which, because of this characteristic of being
immediately within consciousness as it is for itself, is called the Law of the Heart. This mode or attitude of
consciousness is for itself, qua individual, essential reality as the former mode similarly was; but in the
present case it is richer by the characteristic that this self−existence is taken as necessary or universal.
The law, therefore, which is primarily the law proper of self−consciousness, or a "heart" which however has
in it a law, is the purpose which the self proceeds to realize. It remains to be seen whether its realization
corresponds to its notion, and whether it will therein come to find this its law to be the essential ultimate fact.
Opposed to this "heart" stands a reality. For in the "heart" the law is in the first place merely for itself; it is
not yet actualized, and thus, too, is something other than what the notion is. This other is thereby
characterized as a reality which is the antithesis of what is to be realized, and consequently is the
contradiction of the law and the individual. This reality is thus on the one hand a law by which the particular
individuality is crushed and oppressed, a violent ordinance of the world which contradicts the law of the
heart, and, on the other hand, a humanity suffering under that ordinance−−a humanity which does not follow
the law of tile heart, but is subjected to an alien necessity.
'This reality, appearing in opposition to the present mode of consciousness is, as is evident, nothing but the
foregoing diremption of individuality and its truth, a relation of gruesome necessity, under which the former
is crushed. We, who trace the process, see the preceding movement, therefore, as in opposition to the new
form, because the latter has essentially arisen from it, and the moment whence the new form comes is
necessary for it. The new mode, however, looks on that moment as something simply met with, since it has
no consciousness of its origin, and takes its real essence to consist rather in being independent, in being for
itself, or negatively disposed toward this positive, implicit, immanent content.
The aim and object of this individuality is thus to cancel and transcend this necessity which contradicts the
law of the heart, as also to do away with the suffering thereby arising. There is in consequence no longer here
the frivolity of the former mode, which merely wanted private and particular pleasure; it is the earnestness of
a high purpose, which seeks its pleasure in displaying the m excellence of its own true nature, and in bringing
about the welfare of mankind. What it realizes is itself the law, and its pleasure is at the same time universal,
a pleasure which all hearts feel. To it both are inseparable; its pleasure is what conforms to the law and the
realization of the law of all mankind affords it its particular pleasure. For within its own self individuality and
necessity are immediately and directly one; the law is a law of the heart. Individuality is not yet removed
from its place; and the unity of both has not been brought about by means of the development of
individuality, has not yet been established by discipline. The realization of the immediate undisciplined
nature passes for a display of excellence and for bringing about the well−being of mankind.