The Phenomenology of Mind HTML version

[[Translator's comments: The analysis of experience up to this point has been occupied with the relation of
consciousness to an object admittedly different in nature from the mind aware of it. This external opposition,
however, breaks down under analysis, and we are left with the result that consciousness does and must find
itself in unity with its object, a unity which implies identity of nature between consciousness and its object:
consciousness becomes "certain of itself in its object". This is not merely a result, but the truest expression of
the initial relation with which experience starts. It is, therefore, the ground of the possibility of any relation
between the terms in question: "consciousness of self" is the basis of the consciousness of anything
whatsoever. This is Hegel's re−interpretation of the Kantian analysis of experience.
But this result is, again, really the starting−point for a further analysis of experience, but of experience at a
higher level of realization. Consciousness of self is to begin with a general attitude, a definite type of
experience, which requires elucidation. It has its own conditions and forms of manifestation.
Self−consciousness, being supreme, must realize itself in relation to nature, to other selves similar to the self,
and to the Ultimate Being of the world. These are different kinds of content with which consciousness is to
find its oneness, and they furnish different forms in which the same principle is manifested. The argument
seeks to show that these forms are also different degrees of realization of self−consciousness. The outcome of
the argument is that self−consciousness is truly realized only when it is universal self−consciousness, when
consciousness is certain of itself throughout all reality, and explicitly finds there only itself. This result takes
the form, as we shall see, of what is called Reason.
The immediately succeeding section takes up the first stage of the development of self−consciousness−−the
consciousness of self in relation to nature. This takes the shape of Desire, Instinct, Impulse, etc., and involves
the category of Life. This relationship, while undoubtedly implying the sense of self in the object and
consciousness of unity with it, is the least satisfying and the least complete of all the modes of
self−consciousness. It points the way, therefore, to the fuller sense of self obtained when the self is aware of
itself in relation to another self.]]
IN the kinds of certainty hitherto considered, the truth for consciousness is something other than
consciousness itself. The conception, however, of this truth vanishes in the course of our experience of it.
What the object immediately was in itself−−whether mere being in sense−certainty, a concrete thing in
perception, or force in the case of understanding−−it turns out, in truth, not to be this really; but instead, this
inherent nature (Ansich) proves to be a way in which it is for an other. The abstract conception of the object
gives way before the actual concrete object, or the first immediate idea is cancelled in the course of
experience. Mere certainty vanished in favour of the truth. There has now arisen, however, what was not
established in the case of these previous relationships, viz. a certainty which is on a par with its truth, for the
certainty is to itself its own object, and consciousness is to itself the truth. Otherness, no doubt, is also found
there; consciousness, that is, makes a distinction; but what is distinguished is of such a kind that
consciousness, at the same time, holds there is no distinction made. If we call the movement of knowledge
conception, and knowledge, qua simple unity or Ego, the object, we see that not only for us [tracing the
process], but likewise for knowledge itself, the object corresponds to the conception; or, if we put it in the
other form and call conception what the object is in itself, while applying the term object to what the object is
qua object or for an other, it is clear that being "in−itself" and being "for an other" are here the same. For the
inherent being (Ansich) is consciousness; yet it is still just as much that for which an other (viz. what is
"in−itself") is. And it is for consciousness that the inherent nature (Ansich) of the object, and its "being for an