The Phenomenology of Mind HTML version

but in such a way that the object is not yet taken by the consciousness in question to have the value of a
category. Spirit here is that consciousness from the immediately preceding consideration of which we have
arrived at the present stage. Finally, when this reason, which spirit "has", is seen by spirit to be reason which
actually is, to be reason which is actual in spirit, and is its world, then spirit has come to its truth; it is spirit,
the essential nature of ethical life actually existent.
Spirit, so far as it is the immediate, truth, is the ethical life of a nation:−−the individual, which is a world. It
has to advance to the consciousness of what it is immediately; it has to abandon and transcend the beautiful
simplicity of ethical life, and get to a knowledge of itself by passing through a series of stages and forms. The
distinction between these and those that have gone before consists in their being real spiritual individualities
(Geister), actualities proper, and instead of being forms merely of consciousness, they are forms of a world.
The living ethical world is spirit in its truth. As it first comes to an abstract knowledge of its essential nature,
ethical life (Sittlichkeit) is destroyed in the formal universality of right or legality (Recht). Spirit, being now
sundered within itself, traces one of its worlds in the element of its objectivity as in a crass solid actuality;
this is the realm of Culture and Civilization; while over against this in the element of thought is traced the
world of Belief or Faith, the realm of the .Inner Life and Truth (Wesen). Both worlds, however, when in the
grip of the notion−−when grasped by spirit which, after this loss of self through self−diremption, penetrates
itself−−are thrown into confusion and revolutionized through individual Insight (Einsicht), and the general
diffusion of this attitude, known as the "Enlightenment" (Aufklarung). And the realm which had thus been
divided and expanded into the "present" and the "remote beyond", into the "here" and the "yonder", turns
back into self−consciousness. This self−consciousness, again, taking now the form of Morality (the inner
moral life) apprehends itself as the essential truth, and the real essence as its actual self no longer puts its
world and its ground and basis away outside itself, but lets everything fade into itself, and in the form of
Conscience (Gewissen) is spirit sure and certain (gewiss) of itself.
The ethical world, the world rent asunder into the "here" and the "yonder", and the moral point of view
(moralische Weltanschauung), are, then, individual forms of spirit (Geister) whose process and whose return
into the self of spirit, a self simple and self−existent (fersichseyend), will be developed. As these attain their
goal and final result, the actual self−consciousness of Absolute Spirit will make its appearance and be their
1. The term "Spirit" seems better to render the word "Geist" used here, than the word "mind" would do. Up to
this stage of experience the word "mind" is sufficient to convey the meaning. But spirit is mind at a much
higher level of existence.
Spirit, in its ultimate simple truth, is consciousness, and breaks asunder its moments from one another. An act
divides spirit into spiritual substance on the one side, and consciousness of the substance on the other; and
divides the substance as well as consciousness. The substance appears in the shape of a universal inner nature
and purpose standing in contrast to itself qua individualized reality. The middle or mediating term, infinite in
character, is self−consciousness, which, being implicitly the unity of itself and that substance, becomes so,
now, explicitly (fer sich), unites the universal inner nature and its particular realization, raises the latter to the
former and acts ethically: and, on the other hand, brings the former down to the latter and carries out the
purpose, the substance presented merely in thought. In this way it brings to light the unity of its self and the
substance, and produces this unity in the form of its "work", and thus as actual concrete fact (Wirklichkeit).
When consciousness breaks up into these elements, the simple substance has in part acquired the attitude of
opposition to self−consciousness; in part it thereby manifests in itself the very nature of consciousness, which