The Phenomenology of Mind HTML version

It is in these three moments that the notion of self−consciousness first gets completed: (a) pure
undifferentiated ego is its first immediate object. (b) This immediacy is itself, however, thoroughgoing
mediation; it has its being only by cancelling the independent object, in other words it is Desire. The
satisfaction of desire is indeed the reflexion of self−consciousness into itself, is the certainty which has
passed into objective truth. But (c) the truth of this certainty is really twofold reflexion, the reduplication of
self−consciousness. Consciousness has an object which implicates its own otherness or affirms distinction as
a void distinction, and therein is independent. The individual form distinguished, which is only a living form,
certainly cancels its independence also in the process of life itself; but it ceases along with its distinctive
difference to be what it is. The object of self−consciousness, however, is still independent in this negativity of
itself; and thus it is for itself genus, universal flux or continuity in the very distinctiveness of its own separate
existence; it is a living self−consciousness.
A self−consciousness has before it a self−consciousness. Only so and only then is it self−consciousness in
actual fact; for here first of all it comes to have the unity of itself in its otherness. Ego which is the object of
its notion, is in point of fact not "object". The object of desire, however, is only independent, for it is the
universal, ineradicable substance, the fluent self−identical essential reality. When a self−consciousness is the
object, the object is just as much ego as object.
With this we already have before us the notion of Mind or Spirit. What consciousness has further to become
aware of, is the experience of what mind is−−this absolute substance, which is the unity of the different
self−related and self−existent self−consciousnesses in the perfect freedom and independence of their
opposition as component elements of that substance: Ego that is "we", a plurality of Egos, and "we" that is a
single Ego. Consciousness first finds in self−consciousness − the notion of mind − its turning−point, where it
leaves the parti−coloured show of the sensuous immediate, passes from the dark void of the transcendent and
remote super−sensuous, and steps into the spiritual daylight of the present.
1. Cp. Propadeutik, p. 84 ff.
2. Cp. Hegel's Logik, T. II. Absch. 3. Kap. I.−"das Leben."
[[Translator's comments: The selves conscious of self in another self are, of course, distinct and separate from
each other. The difference is, in the first instance, a question of degree of self −assertion and
self−maintenance: one is stronger, higher, more independent than another, and capable of asserting this at the
expense of the other. Still, even this distinction of primary and secondary rests ultimately on their identity of
constitution; and the course of the analysis here gradually brings out this essential identity as the true fact.
The equality of the selves is the truth, or completer realization, of self in another self ; the affinity is higher
and more ultimate than the disparity. Still, the struggle and conflict of selves must be gone through in order to
bring out this result. Hence the present section.
The background of Hegel's thought is the remarkable human phenomenon of the subordination of one self to
another which we have in all forms of servitude−−whether slavery, serfdom, or voluntary service. Servitude
is not, only a phase of human history, it is in principle a condition of the development and maintenance of the
consciousness of self as a fact of experience.]]
SELF−CONSCIOUSNESS exists in itself and for itself, in that, and by the fact that it exists for another
self−consciousness; that is to say, it is only by being acknowledged or "recognized". The conception of this