The Phenomenology of Mind HTML version

perverted and perverting, and hence feels bound to surrender and sacrifice individualism of
consciousness−this type of consciousness is Virtue.
[[Translator's comments: The mood of moral sentimentalism is reduced to confusion and contradiction: but
the subjective individualism in which it is rooted is not yet eradicated. Individualism now takes refuge in
another attitude which claims to do greater justice to the inherent universality of rational self−realization, but
yet clings to its particular individuality as an inalienable possession. It now tries to make the realization of
universal purposes in the shape of the Good depend solely on its own activity, the objective sphere in which
the good is to be carried out being regarded as at once external to its ends, opposing its activity, and yet
requiring these ends to be carried out in order to have any moral significance. Individualism looks on the
good as its private perquisite, and makes a personal merit and glory out of its action in carrying out the good.
This external realm is the "Course of the World" which in itself is thought to contain no goodness, and which
only gets a value if the good is realized in it. The world's course is thus to owe its goodness to the efforts of
the individual. A struggle ensues, for the situation is contradictory; and the issue of the struggle goes to prove
that the individual is not the fons etorigo boni, that goodness does not await his efforts, and that in fact the
course of the world is at heart good; the soul of the world is righteous.
The attitude analysed here is that of abstract moral idealism, the mood of moral strenuousness, the mood that
constantly seeks the improvement and perfectibility of mankind. It is found in many forms, but particularly
wherever there is any strong enmity between the "ideal" life and the "life of the world".]]
IN the first mode of active reason, self−consciousness felt it was pure individuality; and over against this
stood empty universality. In the second the two factors in the antithesis had each both the moments within
them, both law and individuality; but the one factor, the "heart"', was their immediate unity, the other their
opposition. Here, in the relation of virtue and the course of the world, both members are each severally unity
and antithesis of the moments, are each a process, but in an opposite direction, of law and individuality inter
se. For the virtuous consciousness law is the essential element, and individuality the one to be superseded and
cancelled both in the case of its own conscious life, as well as in that of the course of the world. In the former
case the private individuality claimed by any one has to be brought under the discipline and control of the
universal, the inherently good and true.(1) It remains there, however, still a personal consciousness. True
cultivation and discipline consist solely(2) in the surrender of the entire personality, as a way of making sure
that in point of fact individual peculiarities are no longer asserted and insisted on. In this individual surrender,
individuality, as it is found in the world's process, is at the same time annihilated; for individuality is also a
simple moment common to both.
In the course of the world individuality adopts a position the reverse of what it is in the case of the virtuous
consciousness, viz. that of making itself the essential factor, and subordinating to itself the inherently good
and true. Further, the course of the world, too, does not mean for virtue merely a universal thus overturned
and perverted through individuality; absolute law and order form likewise a common moment: a moment,
however, not present in the world's course in the sense of an existing actual fact for consciousness, but as the
inmost essence of the process. That regulative order, therefore, has not, properly speaking, to be first
produced by virtue, for production means, qua action, a consciousness of individuality, and individuality has,
on the contrary, to be superseded. By thus cancelling individuality, however, the inherent nature of the
world's process merely gets room, as it were, to enter real existence independently on its own account (an und
fer sich selbst).