The Phenomenology of Mind HTML version
THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF MIND
The element in which individuality manifests and displays its form and shape, is simply the day, in whose
light consciousness wants to display itself. This element−the daylight−means nothing but the simple
assuming of the form of individuality. Action alters nothing, opposes nothing; it is the mere form of
translation from a condition of being invisible to one of being visible, and the content, brought thus to
daylight, and laid bare, is nothing else than what this action already is implicitly (an sich). It is implicit − that
is its form as unity in thought: and it is actual − that is its form as unity in existence: while it is itself content
merely in virtue of maintaining this character of simplicity in spite of its aspect of process and transition.
a. INTRODUCTORY NOTE: SELF−CONTAINED INDIVIDUALS
ASSOCIATED AS A COMMUNITY OF ANIMALS, AND THE DECEPTION
THENCE ARISING: THE REAL FACT
[[Translator's comments: The title of this section sounds unfamiliar; but the purpose of the analysis is plain,
and the argument is essential as a stage in the unfolding of what rational self−contained individuality implies.
It also, with the immediately succeeding sections, prepares the way for the constructive interpretation of
organized society. Indeed, without individuals constituted as rational self−conscious units, each
self−contained, a free self−conscious community could not exist. They form the component separate cells of
the "organism" of a society, the elements out of which the compact structure of a society is made. In the first
instance and as an abstract aspect of associated life, they can be regarded, and for certain purposes are in fact
regarded, as merely distinct and detached units living together. Each functions as an individuality, endowed
with certain powers and capacities for self−expression, pursuing his ends for his own interest, spontaneously
putting forth his energies without being clearly aware of or concerned with any universal result which his
essentially universal nature must bring about. In realizing his individuality he goes out of himself in one
sense, in another sense he does not. By expressing himself he carries out some "end" in which he has an
"interest"; he "does" something: he does a deed or a "work", which qua mere action is nothing more than a
mode of purposed self−expression, and is not, as such, either good or bad (at this stage). What he does
appears as external to himself, but is his own all the while, something which he has formed and in which he
specifically is interested. Such a result at once objective, framed by himself and reflecting his interest, is
"fact" as distinct from "thing" (which is an object of perception at the level of consciousness, not of
self−consciousness). But by the nature of the case he can distinguish within this fact what is the real "intent"
(die Sache Selbst)(1) he has in mind from the merely objective character of the fact (Sache); he can, if we
may put it so, distinguish the "fact of the matter" from mere "matter of fact". But other individuals with
whom he is associated and who are similarly constituted, carry on the same process of separate
self−expression. Each is "honest" and "honourable" in so doing: each is concerned with his own "real intent"
and his own "fact". By this association they necessarily are interrelated and intercommunicate. But
communication on such a basis leads to misconception, transference of intent, and "deception" of each other
as well as of themselves. Work, deeds, facts have a universal character as well as a particular nature: in the
former aspect they cannot be one's own, in the latter aspect they cannot be another's: yet both aspects are
inseparable. Intercommunication between these individuals thus inevitably leads to contradiction. It implies a
common universal nature between the individuals: but such universality at this stage is implicit not explicit.
The contradiction inherent at this level between the elements in the situation created by individuals merely
coexisting together without a conscious common purpose controlling and guiding all, points the way and
compels an advance to another stage in the evolution of rational individuality.
When self−conscious individuals are regarded as merely "together", as coexisting without consciously
controlling common purposes, they resemble a community or herd of animals. Hence the title of the Section.
It is not an accidental but an essential aspect of the life of society; it is indeed the indispensable basis of
community which is in one respect like a community of ants, the system of activity of its component
individuals, though each may and does fulfil his purpose as his own private interest.
a. INTRODUCTORY NOTE: SELF−CONTAINED INDIVIDUALS ASSOCIATED AS A COMMUNITY OF ANIMALS, AND THE DECEPTION THENCE ARISING: THE REAL FACT