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Xibraq? of philosophy 










Kai rovro i-pyoi> fcrrl, rb Troirjcrai eV ruv ai}r 

TO. rfj \f/vffei 7/ui/)tyu.a avrta yvApi/jLa. 
Kal Zffriv T) vbtjcris vor]ffeus voT)(ns. 

ARISTOTLE, Metaphysics. 




In Or** 




A. Objective Spirit : the ethical order . 

a. The ethical world : law divine and human : 

man and woman 

[1 Nation and family. 

(a) Human law. 

(6) Divine law. 

(c) The claims of the individual. 
2 The process involved in these two laws. 

(a) Government as positive power, war as 


(b) The ethical relation of man and woman 

as brother and sister. 

(c) The interfusion of the two laws. 

3. The ethical world as infinitude or self- 
complete totality.] 

b. Ethical action : knowledge human and Divine : 

guilt and Destiny .... 
[1. Contradiction of individuality with its essence. 

2. Opposite characteristics of ethical action. 

3. Dissolution of the ethical being.] 

c. Legal status ..... 
[1. Personality. 

2. Contingency of the person. 

3. The lord of the world ; the absolute person.] 






vi Contents 


B. Spirit in self-estrangement : The discipline 

of culture and civilisation . . . 486-605 
I. The world of spirit in self-estrangement . 493-545 

a. Culture and its sphere of reality . 494-533 
[(1) Culture as the estrangement of natural 


(a) Goodness and badness : state-power 

and wealth. 

(b) The cleavage of self -consciousness : 

nohility and baseness. 

(c) Service and advice. 

(2) Language as the actuality of culture. 

(a) Flattery. 

(b) The language of distraction. 

(c) The vanity of culture.] 

b. Belief and pure Insight . . . 534-545 
[(1) The idea of belief. 

(2) The object of belief. 

(3) The rationality of pure insight.] 

II. Enlightenment .... 546-591 

a. The struggle of enlightenment with 

superstition .... 549-581 
[(1) The negative attitude of insight to- 
wards belief. 

(2) The doctrine of enlightenment. 

(3) The rights of enlightenment.] 

b. The truth of enlightenment . . 582-591 
[(1) Pure thought and pure matter. 

(2) The sphere of utility. 

(3) Self-certainty.] 

III. Absolute freedom and terror . . 592-605 

_ _-. [The awakening of free subjectivity.] 

C. Spirit certain of itself : Morality . . 606-682 
a The moral view of the world 610-623 

Contents vii 


[(1) The 'postulated harmony of duty and reality. 

(2) The [divine lawgiver and ; the imperfect 

moral consciousness. 

(3) The moral world as a presented idea.] 

b. Dissemblance ..... 625-639 
[(1) The contradictions in the moral view of the 


(2) The resolution of morality into its opposite. 

(3) The truth of moral self-consciousness]. 

c. Conscience : the " beautiful soul " : Evil and 

the forgiveness of it . . . . 642-682 

[(1) Conscience as the freedom of the self within 
itself. The reality of duty : conviction. 

(2) The universality of conscience. 

(3) Evil and forgiveness.] 

(CC). RELIGION . . 683-799 

A. Natural Eeligion .... 698-711 / 

a. God as Light. / 

b. Plants and Animals as religious objects. 

c. The artificer. 

B. Religion in the form of Art . . . 712-758 

a. The abstract work of art. 

[(1) The representation of the gods. 

(2) The hymn. 

(3) The cult.] 

b. The living work of art : the human form 

as an embodiment of beauty. 

c. The spiritual work of art : art expressive of 

social life. 
[(1) Epic. 

(2) Tragedy. 

(3) Comedy.] 

viii Contents 


C. Kevealed Religion .... 759-799 

[1. The presuppositions requisite for the notion 
of revealed religion. 

2. The ultimate content of revealed religion : 

the reality of the incarnation of God 
(a) in an individual, 
(&) in a religious communion. 

3. Development of the notion of revealed 

religion. The Absolute as a trinity : 
the Absolute as externalised in the world : 
the Absolute as fulfilled in a spiritual 


[1. The ultimate content of the Self which 
knows itself as all existence. 

2. Systematic Science as the self-comprehen- 

sion of Spirit. 

3. The return of Spirit so comprehended to 

immediate existence] 



[In the preceding section there is analysed the attempt on the part of 
individuality to operate as its own legislator and judge of laws holding 
for individuals. Individuality may claim the privilege of enunciating 
laws universal in character but having their source and inspiration solely in 
the single individual. Such laws can at best only be regulative and 
cannot be constitutive of the substance of individuality ; for the sub- 
stance of individuality necessarily involves other individuals within it. 
In short individuality is itself only realised as a part of a concrete whole 
of individuals : its life is drawn from common life in and with others. 
To attempt to enunciate laws from itself as if it could create the conditions 
of its own inherent universality can only issue in one result : laws are 
furnished without the content which gives those laws any meaning, or else 
the laws and the content remain from first to last external to one another. 
But if laws are purely formal, they cease to be "laws," i.e. constitutive 
conditions of individuality. Hence the attempt above described is sure 
to break down by its own futility. What is wanted to give the laws 
meaning is the concrete substance of social life : and when this concrete 
substance is provided ipso facto the attempt of individuality to create 
laws disappears, for these laws are already found in operation in social life. 
Only such laws have reality. But this involves the further step that in- 
dividuality is only realised, only finds its true universal content, in and 
with the order of a society. Here alone is individuality what it is in 
truth, at once a particular focus of self-consciousness, and a realisation of 
universal mind. This condition where individuality is conscious of itself 
only in and with others, and conscious of the common life as its own, is 
the stage of spiritual existence. Spiritual existence and social life thus go 
together. The following section begins the analysis of this phase of 
experience, which extends from the simplest form of sociality the Family 
up to the highest experience of universal mind Keligioii. 

The immediately succeeding section may be taken as the keystone of 
t" e whole arch of experience traversed in the Phenomenology. Here it is 
pointed out that all the preceding phases of experience have not merely 
been preparing the way for what is to follow, but that the various aspects, 
hitherto treated as separate moments of experience, are in reality abstrac- 
tions from the life of concrete spirit now to be discussed and analysed. 

It is noteworthy that from this point onwards the argument is less 
negative in its result either directly or indirectly, and is more systematic 
and constructive. This is no doubt largely because hitherto individual 
mind as such has been under review, and this is an abstraction from social 
mind or spiritual existence.] 

* 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. 

VOL. II. B 429 


T3 EASON is spirit, when its certainty of being all reality 
JL\ has been raised to the level of truth, and reason 
is consciously aware of itself as its own world, and of the 
world as itself. The development of spirit was indicated 
in the preceding movement of mind, 
where the object of consciousness, the category pure 
and simple, rose to be the notion of reason. When 
reason " observes/' this pure unity of ego and existence, 
the unity of subjectivity and objectivity, of for-itself-ness 
and in-itself-ness this unity is immanent, has the 
character of implicitness or of being ; and consciousness 
of reason finds itself. But the true nature of " observa- 
tion " is rather the transcendence of this instinct of 
finding its object lying directly at hand, and passing 
beyond this unconscious state of existence. The directly 
perceived (angeschauf) category, the thing simply 
"found," enters consciousness as the self-existence of the 
ego, ego, which now knows itself in the objective realit)', 
and knows itself there as the self. But this feature of 
the category, viz. of being for-itself as opposed to 
being immanent within itself, is equally one-sided, 
and a moment that cancels itself. The category 
therefore gets for consciousness the character which it 
possesses in its universal truth it is self-contained 


Spirit 431 

essential reality (an und fursichseyndes Weseri). This 
character, still abstract, which constitutes the nature 
of absolute fact, of "fact itself," is to begin with 
" spiritual reality " (das geistige Wesen) : and its mode of 
consciousness is here a formal] \cnooo |^gef that reahty, 
a knowledge which is occupied with the varied and 
manifold content thereof. This consciousness is still, 
in point of fact, a particular individual distinct from 
the general substance, and either prescribes arbitrary 
laws or pretends to possess within its own knowledge 
as such the laws as they absolutely are (an und fur sick), 
and takes itself to be the power that passes judgment on 
them. Or again, looked at from the side of the sub- 
stance, this is seen to be the self-contained and self- 
sufficient spiritual reality, which is not yet a conscious- 
ness of its own self. The self-contained and self-suffi- 
cient reality, however, which is at once aware of being 
actual in the form of consciousness and presents itself 
to itself, is Spirit. 

Its essential spirtual being (Wesen) has been above 
designated as the ethical substance ; spirit, however, 
is concrete ethical actuality (Wirklichkeit). Spirit is the 
self of the actual consciousness, to which spirit stands 
opposed, or rather which appears over against itself, as 
an objective actual world that has lost, however, all 
sense of strangeness for the self, just as the self has lost 
all sense of having a dependent or independent existence 
by itself, cut off and separated from that world. 
Being substance and universal self-identical permanent 
essence (Wesen), spirit is the immovable irreducible 
basis and the starting point for the action of all and 
every one ; it is their purpose and their goal, because 
the ideally implicit nature (Ansich) of all self-conscious- 

432 Phenomenology of Mind 

nesses. This substance is likewise the universal product, 
wrought and created by the action of each and all, and 
giving them unity and likeness and identity of meaning ; 
for it is self -existence (Fursichseyri), the self, action. 
Qua substance^seKrvY- ^ oHibending righteous self-same- 
ness, self -identity ; but qua for-itself, self-existent and 
self-determined (Fursichseyri), its continuity is resolved 
into discrete elements, it is the self-sacrificing soul of 
goodness, the benevolent essential nature, in which 
each fulfils his own special work, rends the continuum 
of the universal substance, and takes his own share 
of it. This resolution of the essence into individual 
forms is just the aspect of the separate action and the 
separate self of all the several individuals ; it is the 
moving soul of the ethical substance, the resultant 
universal spiritual being. Just because this substance 
is a being resolved in the self, it is not a lifeless 
essence, but actual and alive. 

Spirit is thus the self-supporting absolutely real 
ultimate being (Weseri). All the previous modes of 
consciousness are abstractions from it : they are 
constituted by the fact that spirit analyses itself, 
distinguishes its moments, and halts at each individual 
mode in turn. The isolating of such moments pre- 
supposes spirit itself and requires spirit for its subsist- 
ence, in other words, this isolation of modes only exists 
within spirit, which is existence. Taken in isolation 
they appear as if they existed as they stand. But their 
advance and return upon their real ground and essential 
being showed that they are merely moments or vanishing 
quantities; and this essential being is precisely this move- 
ment and resolution of these moments. Here, where 
spirit, the reflection of these moments into itself, has 

Spirit 433 

become established, our reflection may briefly recall 
them in this connexion : they were consciousness, self- 
consciousness, and reason. Spirit is thus Consciousness 
in general, which contains sense-experience, perception 
and understanding, so far as in analysing its own self it 
holds fast by the moment of being a reality objective 
to itself, and by abstraction eliminates the fact that this 
reality is its own self objectified, its own self-existence. 
When again it holds fast by the other abstract moment 
produced by analysis, the fact that its object is its own 
self become objective to itself, is its self-existence, then it 
is Self -consciousness. But as immediate consciousness of 
its inherent and its explicit being, of its immanent self 
and its objective self, as the unity of consciousness and 
self-consciousness, it is that type of consciousness 
which h * Reason: it is the consciousness which, as 
the word have " indicates, has the object in a shape 
which is implicitly and inherently rational, or is cate- 
gorised, 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 


434 Phenomenology of Mind 

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 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 Civilisation ; 
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 gasped by 
spirit which, after this loss of self through self- 
diremption, penetrates itself, are thrown into con- 
fusion and revolutionised through individual Insight 
(Einsickt), and the general diffusion of this attitude, 
known as the " Enlightenment " (Aufkldrung). 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 

Spirit 435 

" 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 
(fursichseynd), will be developed. When these attain 
their goal and final result, the actual self-consciousness 
of Absolute Spirit will make its appearance. 



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 conscious- 
ness. The substance appears in the shape of a universal 
inner nature and purpose standing in contrast to itself 
qua particularised 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 (fur sick), unites the universal 
inner nature and its particular realisation, raises the 
latter to the former and becomes ethical action : 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 a "work" done, and thus as actual 
concrete fact (WirTdichkeit). 

When consciousness breaks up into these elements, 
the simple substance has in part preserved the attitude 
of opposition to self-consciousness ; in part it thereby 
manifests in itself the very nature of consciousness, 
which consists in distinguishing its own content within 

* Der wahre Geist. t Sittlichkeit. 


Objective Spirit 437 

itself, manifests a world articulated into separate 
areas. The substance is thus an ethical being 
split up into distinct elemental forms, a human and 
a divine law. In the same way, the self-conscious- 
ness appearing over against the substance assigns itself, 
in virtue of its inner nature, to one of these powers, 
and, qua involving knowledge, gets broken up into 
ignorance of what it is doing on the one hand, 
and knowledge of this on the other, a knowledge which 
for that reason proves a deception. It learns, therefore, 
through its own act at once the contradictory nature of 
those powers into which the inner substance divided it- 
self, and their mutual overthrow, as well as the contra- 
diction between its knowledge of the ethical character of 
its act and what is truly and essentially ethical, and so 
finds its own destruction. In point of fact, however, 
the ethical substance has by this process become actual 
concrete self-consciousness : in other words this parti- 
cular self has become self-sufficient and self-dependent 
(An und Fursichseyenderi), but precisely thereby the 
ethical order has been overthrown and destroyed. 



[The first step in the analysis of spirit is to take spirit as a realised actual 
social order, immediately given as a historical fact, and present directly to 
the minds of the individuals composing it. This is social life as an estab- 
lished routine of human adjustments, where the natural characteristics and 
constitution of its moral individuals are absorbed and built into the single 
substance of the living social whole. It is spirit as an objectively 
embodied whole of essentially spiritual individuals, without any con- 
sciousness of opposition to one another or to the whole, and with an 
absolute unbroken sense of their own security and fulfilment within 
the substance of social mind. It is spirit at the level of naive acqui- 
escence in the law and order of conventional life. 

But such a self-complete type of experience has various levels of 
realisation. It cannot exist except through the union of opposing 
elements ; and the central principle of all experience, self-consciousness, 
which assumes here such a concrete form, has abundant material on which 
to exercise its function of creating and imiting distinctions. The first 
level is determined by the fact that the substance of social life is consti- 
tuted out of the quasi-natural phenomena of human genus and species, 
of race and nationality, on the one hand, and the purely natural element 
of specialised individual sex on the other. These two aspects go together ; 
the sex-relations of individuals maintain race and nationality, the nation 
lives in and through its sexually distinct individuals. The social order as 
an order is realised and maintained in the medium of these elements. 
The fact that this order is an order of universal mind gives it a perma- 
nence, an inviolability, an absoluteness, which are inseparable from it, 
so inseparable that the order is looked on as having its roots in the 
Absolute Mind, and as deriving its authority from it. The social order on 
this aspect consists of a divinely established and divinely sanctioned 
regime; the gods are the guardians of the city, of the hearth and the 
home. On the other hand the expression of this order varies, and is 
enunciated from time to time in the history of a community. The 
order in this sense is made by man ; the law of the social order thus 
becomes a human law, determined by human conditions and human ends; 
it is a round of conventions and customs. These two forms of order are 
inseparable in the life of a community, and they subsist together and side 


Objective Spirit 439 

by side at this level of social consciousness. They may lead to conflict in 
the life of the individual in the community, and have to be reconciled by 
force or otherwise ; and they become associated and connected with the 
fundamental differences of individuality above referred to. 

The analysis of this level of social life constituted as above furnishes 
the argument of the following section.] 


The simple substance of spirit, being consciousness, 
divides itself into parts. In other words, just as con- 
sciousness of abstract sensuous existence passes over 
into perception, so does immediate certainty of real 
ethical existence ; and just as for sense perception 
bare "being" becomes a "thing" with many proper- 
ties, so for ethical perception a given act becomes 
a reality involving many ethical relations. For the 
former, again, the unnecessary plurality of proper- 
ties concentrates itself into the form of an essential 
opposition between individual and universal ; and 
still more for the latter, which is consciousness puri- 
fied and substantial, the plurality of ethical moments 
is reduced to and assumes a twofold form, that of a law 
of individuality and a law of universality. Each of 
these areas or " masses " of the substance remains, how- 
ever, spirit in its entirety. If in sense-perception 
" things " have no other substantial reality than the 
two determinations of individual and universal, these 
determinations express, in the present instance, merely 
the superficial opposition of both sides to one an- 

Individuality, in the case of the subject (Wesen) we 
are here considering, has the significance of self-con- 
sciousness in general, not of any particular consciousness 
we care to take. The ethical substance is, thus, in this 


The Ethical World 441 

determination actual concrete substance, Absolute Spirit 
realised in the plurality of distinct consciousnesses 
definitely existing. It [this spirit] is the community 
(Gemeinwesen) which, as we entered the stage of the 
practical embodiment of reason in general, came 
before us as the absolute and ultimate reality, 
and which here comes objectively before itself in its 
true nature as a conscious ethical reality (Wesen) and 
as the essential reality, for that mode of conscious- 
ness we are now dealing with. It is spirit which is 
for itself', since it maintains itself by being reflected in 
the minds of the component individuals ; and which 
is in itself or substance, since it preserves them within 
itself. Qua actual substance, that spirit is a Nation 
( Volk) ; qua concrete consciousness, it is the Citizens of 
a nation. This consciousness has its essential being in 
simple spirit, and is certain of itself in the actual 
realisation of this spirit, in the entire nation ; it has 
its truth there directly, not therefore in something 
unreal, but in a spirit which exists and makes itself 

This spirit can be named Human Law, because it 
has its being essentially in the form of self-con- 
scious actuality. In the form of universality, that 
spirit is law known to everybody, familiar and recog- 
nised, and is every-day present Customary Convention 
(Sitte) ; in the form of particularity it is the concrete 
certainty of itself in any and every individual ; and the 
certainty of itself as a single individuality is that spirit 
in the form of Government. Its true and complete 
nature is seen in its authoritative validity openly and 
unmistakably manifested, an existence which takes 
the form of unconstrained independent objective fact, 

442 Phenomenology of Mind 

and is immediately apprehended with conscious cer- 
tainty in this form. 

Over against this power and publicity of the ethical 
secular human order there appears, however, another 
power, the Divine Law. For the ethical power of the 
state, being the movement of self-conscious action, 
finds its opposition in the simple immediate essen- 
tial being of the moral order ; qua actual concrete 
universality, it is a force exerted against the indepen- 
dence of the individual ; and, qua actuality in general, 
it finds inherent in that essential being something other 
than the power of the state. 

We mentioned before that each of the opposite 
ways in which the ethical substance exists, contains 
that substance in its entirety, and contains all moments 
of its contents. If, then, the community is that sub- 
stance in the form of self-consciously realised action, 
the other side has the form of immediate or directly 
existent substance. The latter is thus, on the one 
hand, the inner principle (Begriff) or universal possibility 
of the ethical order in general, but, on the other hand, 
contains within it also the moment of self-consciousness. 
This moment which expresses the ethical order in this 
element of immediacy or mere being, which, in other 
words, is an immediate consciousness of self (both as 
regards its essence and its particular thisness) in an 
" other," and hence, is a natural ethical community 
this is the Family. The family, as the inner indwelling 
principle of sociality operating in an unconscious way, 
stands opposed to its own actuality when explicitly con- 
scious ; as the basis of the actuality of a nation, it stands 
in contrast to the nation itself ; as the immediate ethical 
existence, it stands over against the ethical order 

The Ethical World 443 

which shapes and preserves itself by work for universal 
ends ; the Penates of the family stand in contrast to 
the universal spirit. 

Although the ethical existence of the family has the 
character of immediacy, it is within itself an ethical 
entity, but not so far as it is the natural relation of its 
component members, or so far as their connexion is one 
immediately holding between individual concrete beings. 
For the ethical element is intrinsically universal, and 
this relation established by nature is essentially just 
as much a spiritual fact, and is only ethical by being 
spiritual. Let us see wherein its peculiar ethical char- 
acter consists. 

In the first place, because the ethical element is 
the intrinsically universal element, the ethical relation 
between the members of the family is not that of senti- 
ment or the relationship of love. The ethical element in 
this case seems bound to be placed in the relation of the 
individual member of the family to the entire family 
as the real substance, so that the purpose of his action 
and the content of his actuality are taken from this 
substance, are derived solely from the family life. 
But the conscious purpose which dominates the action 
of this whole, so far as that purpose concerns that 
whole, is itself the individual member. The procuring 
and maintaining of power and wealth turn, in part, 
merely on needs and wants, and are a matter that has 
to do with desire ; in part, they become in their higher 
aspect something which is merely of mediate significance. 
This aspect does not fall within the family itself, but 
concerns what is truly universal, the community ; it 
acts rather in a negative way on the family, and consists 
in setting the individual outside the family, in subduing 

444 Phenomenology of Mind 

his merely natural existence and his mere particularity 
and so drawing him on towards virtue, towards living 
in and for the whole. The positive purpose peculiar 
to the family is the individual as such. Now in order 
that this relationship may be ethical, neither the 
individual who does an act nor he to whom the act 
refers, must show any trace of contingency such as 
obtains in rendering some particular help or service. 
The content of the ethical act must be substantial in 
character, or must be entire and universal ; hence it 
can only stand in relation to the entire individual, to 
the individual qua universal. And this, again, must not 
be taken as if it were merely in idea that an act of 
service furthered his entire happiness, whereas the 
service, taken as an immediate or concrete act, 
only does something particular in regard to him. 
Nor must we think that the service really takes 
him as its object, and deals with him as a whole, 
in a series of efforts, as if it were a process of education, 
and produces him as a kind of work, where apart from 
the purpose, which operates in a negative way on the 
family, the real act has merely a limited content. 
Finally, just as little should we take it that the service 
rendered is a help in time of need, by which in truth 
the entire individual is saved ; for it is itself an entirely 
casual act which can as well be as not be, the occasion 
of which is an ordinary actuality. The act, then, 
which embraces the entire existence of the blood rela- 
tion, does not concern the citizen, for he does not belong 
to the family, nor does it deal with one who is going 
to be a citizen and so will cease to have the significance 
of a mere particular individual : it has as its object and 
content this specific individual belonging to the family, 

The Ethical World 445 

takes him as a universal being, divested of his sensuous, 
or particular reality. The act no longer concerns the 
living but the dead, one who has passed through the 
long sequence of his broken and diversified existence 
and gathered up his being into its one completed 
embodiment, who has lifted himself out of the unrest of 
a life of chance and change into the peace of simple 
universality. Because it is only as citizen that he is 
real and substantial, the individual, when not a citizen, 
and belonging to the family, is merely unreal insub- 
stantial shadow. 

This condition of universality, which the individual 
as such reaches, is mere being, death ; it is the immediate 
issue of a natural process, and is not the action of a 
conscious mind. The duty of the member of a family 
is on that account to attach this aspect too, in order 
that this last phase of being also, (this universal being), 
may not belong to nature alone, and remain something 
irrational, but may be something actually done, and the 
right of consciousness be asserted in it. Or rather the 
significance of the act is that, because in truth the peace 
and universality of a self-conscious being does not belong 
to nature, the apparent claim which nature has made to 
act in this way, may be given up and the truth reinstated. 

What nature did in the individual's case, concerns 
the aspect in which his process of becoming universal 
is manifested as the movement of an existent. It 
takes effect no doubt within the ethical community, 
and has this in view as its purpose : death is the fulfil- 
ment and final task which the individual as such under- 
takes on its behalf. But so far as he is essentially a 
particular individual, it is an accident that his death 
was connected directly with his labour for the universal 

446 Phenomenology of Mind 

whole, and was the outcome of his toil : partly because 
if it was so, it is the natural course of the negativity 
of the individual qua existent, in which consciousness 
does not return into itself and become self-conscious ; 
or, again, because, since the process of the existent con- 
sists in becoming cancelled and transcended and attaining 
the stage of independent self-existence, death is the 
aspect of diremption, where the self-existence, which is 
obtained, is something other than that being which 
entered on the process. 

Because the ethical order is spirit in its immediate 
truth, those aspects into which its conscious life breaks 
up, fall also into this form of immediacy ; and the 
individual's particularity passes over into this abstract 
negativity, which, being in itself without consolation or 
reconcilement, must receive them essentially through 
a concrete and external act. 

Blood-relationship therefore supplements the abstract 
natural process by adding to it the process of conscious- 
ness, by interrupting the work of nature, and rescuing 
the blood-relation from destruction ; or better, because 
destruction, the passing into mere being, is necessary, 
it takes upon itself the act of destruction. 

Through this it comes about that the universal being, 
the sphere of death, is also something which has returned 
into itself, something self-existent ; the powerless bare 
particular unity is raised to universal individuality. 
The dead individual, by his having detached and 
liberated his being from his action or his negative unity, 
is an empty particular, merely existing passively for 
some other, at the mercy of every lower irrational 
organic agency, and the [chemical, physical] forces 
of abstract material elements, both of which are now 

The Ethical World 447 

stronger than himself, the former on account of the life 
which they have, the latter on account of their negative 
nature.* The family keeps away from the dead this 
dishonouring of him by the desires of unconscious 
organic agencies and by abstract elements, puts its 
own action in place of theirs, and weds the relative 
to the bosom of the earth, the elemental individu- 
ality that passes not away. Thereby the family makes 
the dead a member of a community f which prevails over 
and holds under control the powers of the particular 
material elements and the lower living creatures, which 
sought to have their way with the dead and destroy him. 
This last duty thus accomplishes the complete 
divine law, or constitutes the positive ethical act 
towards the given individual. Every other relation 
towards him which does not remain at the level of love, 
but is ethical, belongs to human law, and has the nega- 
tive significance of lifting the individual above the con- 
finement within the natural community to which he 
belongs as a concrete individual. But, now, though 
human right has for its content and power the actual 
ethical substance consciously aware of itself, the entire 
nation, while divine right and law derive theirs from 
the particular individual who is beyond the actual, yet 
he is still not without power. His power lies in the 
abstract pure universal, the shadowy individual, which 
seizes upon the individuality that cuts itself loose from 
the element and constitutes the self-conscious reality of 
the nation, and draws it back into the pure abstraction 
which is the essential nature of the shadowy individual, 
while at the same time the latter is its ultimate ground 

* The description here refers to the process of bodily corruption, 
t i.e. the earth? 

448 Phenomenology of Mind 

as well. How this power is made explicit in the nation 
itself will come out more fully as we proceed. 

Now in the one law as in the other there are differences 
and stages. For since these laws involve the element 
of consciousness in both cases, distinction is developed 
within themselves : and this is just what constitutes 
the peculiar process of their life. The consideration of 
these differences brings out the way they operate, and 
the kind of self-consciousness at work in both the uni- 
versal essential principles (Weseri) of the ethical world, 
as also their connection and transition into one an- 

The community, the higher law whose validity is 
open to the light of day, makes its concrete activity 
felt in government; for in government it is an 
individual whole. Government is concrete actual spirit 
reflected into itself, the self pure and simple of the 
entire ethical substance. This simple force allows, 
indeed, the community to unfold and expand into 
its component members, and to give each part 
subsistence and self-existence of its own (Fursichseyn). 
Spirit finds in this way its realisation or its objective 
existence, and the family is the medium in which this 
realisation takes effect. But spirit is at the same time 
the force of the whole, combining these parts again 
within the unity which negates them, giving them 
the feeling of their want of independence, and keep- 
ing them aware that their life only lies in the whole. 
The community may thus, on the one hand, organise 
itself into the systems of property and of personal 
independence, of personal right and right in things ; 
and, on the other hand, articulate the various ways of 
working for what in the first instance are particular 

The Ethical World 449 

ends those of gain and enjoyment into their own 
special guilds and associations, and may thus make 
them independent. The spirit of universal assem- 
blage and association is the single and simple prin- 
ciple, and the negative essential factor at work in the 
segregation and isolation of these systems. In order 
not to let them get rooted and settled in this isolation 
and thus break up the whole into fragments and let 
the common spirit evaporate, government has from 
time to time to shake them to the very centre by War. 
By this means it confounds the order that has been 
established and arranged, and violates that right to 
independence, while the individuals, (who, being ab- 
sorbed therein, get adrift from the whole, striving after 
inviolable self-existence (Fursichseyn) and personal 
security), are made, by the task thus imposed on 
them by government, to feel the power of their lord 
and master, death. By thus breaking up the form 
of fixed stability, spirit guards the ethical order from 
sinking into merely natural existence, preserves 
the self of which it is conscious, and raises that 
self to the level of freedom and its own powers. The 
negative essential being shows itself to be the might 
proper of the community and the force it has for self- 
maintenance. The community therefore finds the true 
principle and corroboration of its power in the inner 
nature of divine law, and in the kingdom of the nether 

The divine law which holds sway in the family has 
also on its side distinctions within itself, the relations 
among which make up the living process of its realisation. 
Amongst the three relationships, however, of husband 
and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, the 


450 Phenomenology of Mind 

relationship of husband and wife is to begin with the 
primary and immediate form in which one conscious- 
ness recognises itself in another, and in which each 
finds reciprocal recognition. Being natural self-know- 
ledge, knowledge of self on the basis of nature, and 
not on that of ethical life, it merely represents and 
typifies in a figure the life of spirit, and is not spirit 
itself actually realised. This figurative representation, 
however, gets its realisation in an other than it is. 
This relationship, therefore, finds itself realised not in 
itself as such, but in the child an other, in whose 
coming into being that relationship consists, and with 
which it passes away. And this change from one 
generation onwards to another is permanent in and as 
the life of a nation. 

The reverent devotion (Pietat) of husband and wife 
towards one another is thus mixed up with a natural 
relation and with feeling, and their relationship is not 
inherently self-complete ; similarly, too, the second rela- 
tionship, the reverent devotion of parents and children 
to one another. The devotion of parents towards their 
children is affected and disturbed just by its being 
consciously realised in what is external to themselves 
(viz. the children), and by seeing them become some- 
thing on their own account without this returning to 
the parents : independent existence on the part of the 
children remains a foreign reality, a reality all their 
own. The devotion of children, again, towards their 
parents is conversely affected by their coming into being 
from, or having their essential nature in, what is external 
to themselves (viz. the parents) and passes away ; 
and by their attaining independent existence and a 
self-consciousness of their own solely through separation 

The Ethical World 451 

from the source whence they came a separation in 
which the spring gets exhausted. 

Both these relationships are constituted by and hold 
within the transience and the dissimilarity of the two 
sides, which are assigned to them. 

An unmixed intransitive form of relationship, how- 
ever, holds between brother and sister. They are the 
same blood, which, however, in them has entered into 
a condition of stable equilibrium. They therefore 
stand in no such natural relation as husband and wife, 
they do not desire one another ; nor have they given 
to one another, nor received from one another, this 
independence of individual being ; they are free 
individualities with respect to each other. The feminine 
element, therefore, in the form of the sister, premonises 
and foreshadows most completely the nature of ethical 
life (sittliches Weseri). She does not become conscious 
of it, and does not actualise it, because the law of the 
family is her inherent implicit inward nature, which 
does not lie open to the daylight of consciousness, but 
remains inner feeling and the divine element exempt 
from actuality. The feminine life is attached to these 
household divinities (Penates), and sees in them 
both her universal substance, and her particular 
individuality, yet so views them that this relation of 
her particular being to them is at the same time not 
the natural one of pleasure. 

As a daughter, the woman must now see her parents 
pass away with natural emotion and yet with ethical 
resignation, for it is only at the cost of this con- 
dition that she can come to that individual existence 
of which she is capable. She thus cannot see her 
independent existence positively attained in her relation 

452 Phenomenology of Mind 

to her parents. The relationships of mother and wife, 
however, are individualised partly in the form of some- 
thing natural, which brings pleasure ; partly in the form 
of something negative which finds simply its own 
evanescence in those relationships; partly again the 
individualisation is just on that account something 
contingent, which can be replaced by an other par- 
ticular individuality. In a household of the ethical 
kind, a woman's relationships are not based on a 
reference to this particular husband, this particular child, 
but to a husband, to children in general, not to feeling, 
but to the universal. The distinction between her 
ethical life (Sittlichkeit), (while it determines her particu- 
lar existence and brings her pleasure), and that of her 
husband consists just in this, that it has always a 
directly universal significance for her, and is quite alien 
to the impulsive condition of mere particular desire. 
On the other hand, in the husband these two aspects 
get separated ; and since he possesses, as a citizen, 
the self-conscious power belonging to the universal 
life, the life of the social whole, he acquires thereby 
the rights of desire, and keeps himself at the same time 
in detachment from it. So far, then, as particularity is 
implicated in this relationship in the case of the wife, 
her ethical life is not purely ethical ; so far, however, 
as it is ethical, the particularity is a matter of 
indifference, and the wife is without the moment 
of knowing herself as this particular self in and through 
an other. 

The brother, however, is in the eyes of the sister a 
being whose nature is unperturbed by desire and is 
ethically like her own ; her recognition in him is pure 
and unmixed with any sexual relation. The indifference 

The Ethical World 453 

characteristic of particular existence, and the ethical 
contingency thence arising, are, therefore, not present 
in this relationship ; instead, the moment of individual 
selfhood, recognising and being recognised, can here 
assert its right, because it is bound up with the balance 
and equilibrium resulting from their being of the same 
blood, and from their being related in a way that 
involves no mutual desire. The loss of a brother is 
thus irreparable to the sister, and her duty towards 
him is the highest.* 

This relationship at the same time is the limit, at 
which the circumscribed life of the family is broken up, 
and passes beyond itself. The brother is the member 
of the family in whom its spirit becomes individualised, 
and enabled thereby to turn towards another sphere, 
towards what is other than and external to itself, 
and pass over into consciousness of universality. The 
brother leaves this immediate, rudimentary, and, there- 
fore, strictly speaking, negative ethical life of the family, 
in order to acquire and produce the concrete ethical 
order which is conscious of itself. 

He passes from the divine law, within whose realm 
he lived, over to the human law. The sister, however, 
becomes, or the wife remains, director of the home 
and the preserver of the divine law. In this way both 
the sexes overcome their merely natural being, and 
become ethically significant, as diverse forms dividing 
between them the different aspects which the ethical 
substance possesses. Both these universal factors of 
tihe ethical world have their specific individuality in 
naturally distinct self-consciousnesses, for the reason 
that the spirit at work in the ethical order is the im- 

* Cp. Antigone, 1. 910. 

454 Phenomenology of Mind 

mediate unity of the substance [of ethical life] with, 
self-consciousness an immediacy which thus appears 
as the existence of a natural difference, at once as 
regards its aspect of reality and of difference. 
It is that aspect which, in the notion of spiritual 
reality, came to light as " original determinate nature," 
when we were dealing with the stage of " Individuality 
which is real to itself." This moment loses the in- 
determinateness which it still has there, and the contin- 
gent diversity of " constitution " and " capacities." It 
is now the specific opposition of the two sexes, whose 
natural character acquires at the same time the signifi- 
cance of their respective ethical determinations. 

The distinction of the sexes and of their ethical 
content remains all the same within the unity of the 
ethical substance, and its operation is just the constant 
process of that substance. The husband is sent forth 
by the spirit of the family into the life of the community, 
and finds there his self-conscious reality. Just as the 
family thereby finds in the community its universal 
substance and subsistence, conversely the community 
finds in the family the formal element of its own realisa- 
tion, and in the divine law its power and confirmation. 
Neither of the two is alone self-complete. Human law 
as a living and active principle proceeds from the divine, 
the law holding on earth from that of the nether world, 
the conscious from the unconscious, mediation from 
immediacy ; and returns too whence it came. The 
power of the nether world, on the other hand, finds its 
realisation upon earth ; it comes through consciousness 
to have existence and efficacy. 

The universal elements of the ethical life are thus 
the (ethical) substance qua universal, and that sub- 

The Ethical World 455 

stance qua particular consciousness. Their universal 
actuality is the nation and the family ; while they get 
their natural self, and their operative individuality, in 
man and woman. Here in this content of the ethical 
world, we see attained those purposes which the previous 
insubstantial modes of conscious life set before them. 
What Reason apprehended only as an object, has 
become Self-consciousness, and what self-consciousness 
merely contained within it is here explicit true reality. 
What Observation knew, an object given externally and 
picked up, and one in the constitution of which the sub- 
ject knowing had no share, is here a given ethical con- 
dition, a custom found lying ready at hand, but a reality 
whifch is at the same time the deed and the product of 
the subject finding it. The individual who seeks the 
" pleasure " of enjoying his particular individuality, 
finds it in the family life, and the " necessity "* in which 
that pleasure passes away is his own self-consciousness 
as a citizen of his nation. Or, again, it is knowing the 
" la\v of his own heart "f as the law of all hearts, know- 
ing the consciousness of self to be the recognised and 
universal ordinance of society: it is " virtue, "J which 
enjoys the fruits of its own sacrifice, which brings about 
what it sets out to do, viz. to bring the essential nature 
into the light of the actual present, and its enjoyment 
lies in this universal life. Finally, consciousness of 
" fact a.s such " (der Sache selbst) gets satisfaction in the 
real sub. tance, which contains and maintains in positive 
form tt abstract aspects of that empty category. 
That su', stance finds a genuine content in the powers 
of the i chical order, a content that takes the place of 
those iasubstantial commands which the " healthy 

* Cp. p 350 ff. t Cp. p. 357 ff. | Cp. p. 369 ff. Cp. p. 387 ff. 

456 Phenomenology of Mind 

human reason "* wanted to give and to know : and in 
consequence thus gets a concrete inherently determinate 
standard for " testing," not the laws, but what is done. 
The whole is a stable equilibrium of all the parts, 
and each part a spirit in its native element, a spirit 
which does not seek its satisfaction beyond itself, but 
has the satisfaction within itself for the reason that 
itself is in this balanced equipoise with the whole. This 
condition of stable equilibrium can, of course, only be 
living by inequality arising within it, and being brought 
back again to equipoise by Righteousness and Juscice. 
Justice, however, is neither an alien principle (Wesen) 
holding somewhere remote from the present, nor the 
realisation (unworthy of the name of justice) of mutual 
malice, treachery, ingratitude, etc., which, in the un- 
intelligent way of chance and accident, would fulfil 
the law by a kind of irrational connection with- 
out any controlling idea, action by commission and 
omission, without any consciousness of what was 
involved. On the contrary, being justice in human law, 
it brings back to the whole, to the universal 5fe of 
society, what has broken away separately from the 
harmony and equilibrium of the whole : the ic depen- 
dent classes and individuals. In this way justice is the 
government of the nation, and is its all-pervading essen- 
tial life in a consciously present individual form, and 
is the personal self-conscious will of all. 
b&That justice, however, which restores to equilibrium 
the universal when getting the mastery over lie par- 
ticular individual, is similarly the simple singV jpirit 
of the individual who has suffered wrong ; it is not 
broken up into the two elements, one who has suffered 

* Cp. p. 412 ff. 

The Ethical World 457 

wrong and a far away remote reality (Wesen). The 
individual himself is the power of the " nether " world, 
and that reality is his " fury/' wreaking vengeance 
upon him.* For his individuality, his blood, still lives 
in the house, his substance has a lasting actuality. 
The wrong, which can be brought upon the individual 
in the realm of the ethical world, consists merely in this, 
that a bare something by chance happens to him. The 
power which perpetrates on the conscious individual 
this wrong of making him into a mere thing, is " nature " ; 
it is the universality not of the community, but the 
abstract universality of mere existence. And the 
particular individual, in wiping out the wrong suffered, 
turns not against the community for he has not 
suffered at its hands but against the latter. As we 
saw, those who consciously share the blood of the in- 
dividual remove this wrong in such a way, that what 
has happened becomes rather a work of their own 
doing, ana hence bare existence, the last state, gets 
alo to be something willed, and thus an object of 

The ethical realm remains in this way permanently 
a world without blot or stain, a world untainted by any 
internal dissension. So, too, its process is an untroubled 
transition from one of its powers to the other, in such a 
way that each preserves and produces the other. We 
see it no doubt divided into two ultimate elements and 
their realisation : but their opposition is rather the 
confirming and substantiation of one through the other ; 
and where they directly come in contact and affect each 
other as actual factors, their mediating common element 
straightway permeates and suffuses the one with the 

* The reference here is to Orestes. 

458 Phenomenology of Mind 

other. The one extreme, universal spirit conscious 
of itself, becomes, through the individuality of man, 
linked together with its other extreme, its force and 
its element, with unconscious spirit. On the other 
hand, divine law is individualised, the unconscious 
spirit of the particular individual finds its existence, in 
woman, through the mediation of whom the spirit of 
the individual comes out of its unrealisedness into 
actuality, out of the state of unknowing and un- 
known, and rises into the conscious realm of universal 
spirit. The union of man with woman constitutes the 
operative mediating agency for the whole, and con- 
stitutes the element which, while separated into the 
extremes of divine and human law, is, at the same time, 
their immediate union. This union, again, turns both 
those first mediate connections (Schlusse) into one and 
the same synthesis, and unites into one process the 
twofold movement in opposite directions, one from 
reality to unreality, the downward movement of 
human law, organised into independent members, to 
the danger and trial of death, the other, from un- 
reality to reality, the upward movement of the law of 
the nether world to the daylight of conscious existence. 
Of these movements the former falls to man, the latter 
to woman. 


[A fundamental condition of social order is that it is maintained by 
action on the part of the individual members of a society ; action is a 
fundamental principle of distinction between individuals, is the way they 
make their contribution to social life, and ia also the way by which the 
continuance of social life is ceaselessly broken and reconstituted. In a 
comprehensive sense therefore action is the principle by which distinction 
in unity is carried out in social life. The consideration of its significance 
is thus an essential problem for the analysis of social mind. Action must 
be considered at once with reference to individuality and also with refer- 
ence to those conceptions of social order as containing both " divine " and 
" human " law. In the following section, this analysis is undertaken. 

The specific historical background of Hegel's thought in this section, 
and to some extent in the preceding section, is supplied by the social life 
of the Greek city state. The Greek city state has been taken as the type, 
so to say, of spiritual existence realised as a self-complete ethical order. 
But the social life of Greece is here in large measure read and interpreted 
in the light of the dramatisation of Greek ethical conceptions by the 
great Greek tragedians, especially Sophocles. This accounts for the re- 
peated reference to the purely dramatic conception of the " destiny" or 
the "pathic" element in the life of the individual whose spiritual 
existence is completely bound up with the established social order. It is 
in Greece that we find most fully realised the all-sufficiency of the state 
for the individual, which Hegel has here in view, a sufficiency which 
was at once the strength and beauty, as well as the pathos and weakness 
of Greek social life. 

With this and the preceding section should be read Hegel's Philosophy 
of History, Part II, "The Greek World."] 



In the form presented by the opposition of elements 
in the realm just dealt with, self -consciousness has not 
yet come to its rights as a particular individuality. 
Individuality there has, on one side, the sense of merely 
universal will, on the other, of consanguinity of the 
family. This particular individual has merely the signifi- 
cance of shadowy unreality. There is as yet no perform- 
ance of an act. The act, however, is the realised self. 
It breaks in upon the untroubled stable organisation 
and movement of the ethical world. What there appears 
as ordinance and harmony between both its constituent 
elements, each of which confirms and complements the 
other, becomes through the performing of an act a 
transition of opposites into one another, by which each 
proves to be the annihilation rather than the confirma- 
tion of its self and its opposite. It becomes the process 
of negation or destruction, the eternal necessity of awful 
destiny, which engulfs in the abyss of its bare identity 
divine and human law alike, as well as both the self- 
conscious factors in which these powers subsist ; 
and, to our view, passes over into the absolute self- 
existence of mere particular self-consciousness. 

The basis from which this movement proceeds, and 
on which it takes effect, is the kingdom of the ethical 
order. But the activity at work in this process is self- 
consciousness. Being ethical consciousness, it is the 


Ethical Action 461 

pure and simple direction of activity towards the 
essential principle of the ethical life it is Duty. There 
is no caprice, and likewise no struggle, no indecision in 
it, since it has given up legislating and testing laws : 
the essential ethical principle is, for it, something 
immediate, unwavering, without contradiction. There 
is therefore neither the painful spectacle of find- 
ing itself in a collision between passion and duty, nor 
the comic spectacle of a collision between duty and 
duty a collision, which so far as content goes is the 
same as that between passion and duty ; for passion 
can also be presented as a duty, because duty, when 
consciousness withdraws into itself and leaves its 
immediate essential substance (Wesenheit), comes to be 
the formal universal, into which one content fits equally 
well with another, as we found before. The collision 
of duties is, however, comical, because it brings out 
the contradiction inherent in the idea of an absolute 
standing opposed to another absolute, expresses some- 
thing absolute and then directly the annihilation of 
this so-called absolute or duty. The ethical conscious- 
ness, however, knows what it has to do ; and is decided, 
whether it is to belong to divine or human law. This 
directness which characterises its decision is something 
immanent and inherent (Ansicliseyri), and hence has 
at the same time the significance of a natural condition 
of being, as we saw. Nature, not the accident of 
circumstances or choice, assigns one sex to one law, the 
other to the other law ; or conversely both the ethical 
powers themselves establish their individual existence 
and actualisation in the two sexes. 

Thus, then, because on the one side the ethical 
order consists essentially in this immediate directness 

462 Phenomenology of Mind 

of decision, and therefore only the one law is for con- 
sciousness the essential reality ; while, on the other side, 
the powers of the ethical order are actual in the self of 
conscious life, in this way these forces acquire the 
significance of excluding one another and of being 
opposed to one another. They are explicit in self- 
consciousness just as they were merely implicit in the 
realm of the ethical order. The ethical consciousness, 
because it is decisively on the side of one of them, is 
essentially Character. There is not for it equal 
essentiality in both. The opposition therefore appears 
as an unfortunate collision of duty merely with 
reality, on which right has no hold. The ethical con- 
sciousness is qua self-consciousness in this opposition, 
and being so, it at once proceeds either to subdue by 
force this reality opposing it to the law which it 
accepts, or to get round this reality by craft. Since 
it sees right only on its own side, and wrong on the 
other, so, of these two, that which belongs to divine 
law detects, on the other side, mere arbitrary fortuitous 
human violence, while what appertains to human law, 
finds in the other the obstinacy and disobedience of 
subjective self-sufficiency. For the commands of 
government have a universal sense and meaning 
open to the light of day ; the will of the other law, 
however, is the inner concealed meaning of the realm 
of darkness (unterirdisch), a meaning which appears 
expressed as the will of a particular being, and in 
contradicting the first is malicious offence. 

There arises in this way in consciousness the opposi- 
tion between what is known and what is not known, 
just as, in the case of substance, there was an opposition 
between the conscious and the unconscious ; and the 

Ethical Action 463 

absolute right of ethical self-consciousness comes into 
conflict with the divine right of the essential reality. 
Self-consciousness, qua consciousness, takes the objective 
actuality, as such, to have essential being. Look- 
ing at its substance, however, it is the unity of itself 
and this opposite, and the ethical self-consciousness is 
consciousness of that substance : the object, qua 
opposed to self-consciousness, has, therefore, entirely 
lost the characteristic of having essential being 
by itself. Just as the spheres [of conscious life] where 
the object is merely a "thing" are long past and 
gone, so, too, are these spheres, where consciousness 
sets up and establishes something from out itself, and 
turns a particular moment into the essential reality 
(Weseri). Against such one-sidedness actual concrete 
reality has a power of its own ; it takes the side of 
truth against consciousness and shows consciousness 
itself what the truth is. The ethical consciousness, 
however, has drunk from the cup of the absolute 
substance, forgotten all the one-sidedness of isolating 
self-existence, all its purposes and peculiar notions, 
and has, therefore, at the same time drowned in 
this Stygian stream all essentiality of nature and all the 
independence claimed by the objective reality. Its 
absolute right, therefore, when it acts in accordance 
with ethical law, is to find in this actualisation nothing 
else than the fulfilment and performance of this law 
itself: and that the deed should manifest nothing but 
ethical action. 

The ethical, being absolute essence and absolute 
power at once, cannot endure any perversion of its 
content. If it were merely absolute essence without 
power, it might undergo perversion at the hands of 

464 Phenomenology of Mind 

individuality. But this latter, being ethical conscious- 
ness, has renounced all perverting when it gave up its 
one-sided subjectivity (Fursichseyn). Conversely, again, 
mere power might be perverted by the essential reality, 
if power were still a subjectivity of that kind. On 
account of this unity, individuality is a pure form of 
the substance which is the content, and action consists 
in transition from thought over into reality, merely as 
the process of an unreal opposition, whose moments 
have no special and particular content distinct from 
one another, and no essential nature of their own. The 
absolute right of ethical consciousness is, therefore, that 
the deed, the mode and form of its realisation, should 
be nothing else than it knows it to be. 

But the essential ethical reality has split asunder 
into two laws, and consciousness, taking up an un- 
divided single attitude towards law, is assigned only 
to one. Just as this simple consciousness takes its 
stand on the absolute right that the essential reality has 
appeared to it qua ethical as that reality inherently is, so, 
too, this essence insists on the right belonging to its 
reality, i.e. the right of having a double form.* This 
right of the essential reality does not, however, at the 
same time stand over against and opposed to self- 
consciousness, as if it were to be found anywhere else ; 
rather it is the essential nature of self-consciousness. 
Only there has it its existence and its power ; and its 
opposition is the act of self-consciousness itself. For 
the latter, just because it is a self to itself, and proceeds 
to act, lifts itself out of the state of simple immediacy, 
and itself sets up the division into two. By the act it 
gives up the specific character of the ethical life, that of 

* viz, divine and human law, 

Ethical Action 465 

being pure and simple certainty of immediate truth, 
and sets up the division of itself into self as active and 
reality over against it, and for it, therefore, negative. 
By the act it thus becomes Guilt. For the deed is its 
doing, and doing is its inmost nature. And the guilt 
acquires also the meaning of Crime ; for as simple 
ethical consciousness it has turned to and conformed 
itself to the one law, but turned away from the other, 
and thus has broken the latter by its deed. 

Guilt is not an external indifferent entity (Weseri) with 
the double meaning, that the deed, as actually manifested 
to the light of day, may be an action of the guilty self, or 
may not be so, as if with the doing of it there could be 
connected something external and accidental that did not 
belong to it, from which point of view, therefore, the 
action would be innocent. Rather the act is itself this 
diremption, this affirming itself for itself, and establishing 
over against this an alien external reality. That such a 
result takes place is due to the deed itself, and is the 
outcome of it. Hence, innocence is an attribute merely 
of the want of action (Nicht-thun), a state like the mere 
being of a stone, and one which is not even true of a 

Looking at the content, however, the ethical act con- 
tains the element of wrongdoing, because it does not 
cancel and transcend the natural allotment of the two 
laws to the two sexes ; but rather, being an undivided 
attitude towards the law, keeps within the sphere of 
natural immediacy, and, qua acting, turns this one-sided- 
ness into guilt, by merely laying hold of one side of the 
essential reality and taking up a negative relation 
towards the other, i.e. violating it. Where, in the 
general ethical life, guilt and crime, deeds and actions, 


466 Phenomenology of Mind 

come in, will be more definitely brought out later. 
Meantime, so much is at once clear, that it is not this 
particular individual who acts and becomes guilty. 
For he, qua this particular self, is merely a shadowy 
reality ; he is merely qua universal self, and indi- 
viduality is purely the formal aspect of doing anything 
at all, while its content is the laws and customs which 
are determined for the individual, the laws and customs 
of his class or station. He is the substance qua genus, 
which by its determinateness becomes, no doubt, a 
species, but the specific form remains at the same time the 
generic universal. Self-consciousness within the life of 
a nation descends from the universal only down as far 
as specific particularity, but not as far as the single indi- 
viduality, which sets up an exclusive self, establishes in its 
action a reality negative to itself. On the contrary, the 
action of that self-consciousness rests on secure confidence 
in the whole, into which there enters nothing alien or 
foreign, neither fear nor hostility. 

Ethical self-consciousness now comes to find in its 
deed the full explicit meaning of concrete real action as 
much when it followed divine law as when it followed 
human. The law manifest to it is, in the essential 
reality, bound up with its opposite ; the essential 
reality is the unity of both ; but the deed has merely 
carried out one as against the other. But being 
bound up with this other in the inner reality, the fulfil- 
ment of the one calls forth the other, in the shape of 
something which, having been violated and now become 
hostile, demands revenge an attitude which the deed 
has made it take up. In the case of action, only one 
phase of the decision is in general in evidence. The 
decision, however, is inherently something negative, 

Ethical Action 467 

which plants an "other" in opposition to it, something 
foreign to the decision, which is clear knowledge. 
Actual reality, therefore, keeps concealed within itself 
this other aspect alien to clear knowledge, and does 
not show itself to consciousness as it fully and truly is 
(an und fur sick). In the story of OEdipus the son does 
not see his own father in the person of the man who 
has insulted him and whom he strikes to death, nor 
his mother in the queen whom he makes his wife. In 
this way a hidden power shunning the light of day, 
waylays the ethical self-consciousness, a power which 
bursts forth after the deed is done, and seizes the doer 
in the act. For the completed deed is the removal of the 
opposition between the knowing self and the reality over 
against it. The ethical consciousness cannot disclaim the 
crime and its guilt. The deed consists in setting in motion 
what was unmoved, and in bringing out what in the 
first instance lay shut up as a mere possibility, and 
thereby linking on the unconscious to the conscious, 
the non-existent to the existent. In this truth, there- 
fore, the deed comes to the light ; it is something in 
which a conscious element is bound up with what is 
unconscious, what is peculiarly one's own with what 
is alien and external : it is an essential reality divided 
in sunder, whose other aspect consciousness discovers 
and also finds to be its own aspect, but as a power 
violated by its doing, and roused to hostility against it. 
It may well be that the right, which kept itself in 
reserve, is not in its peculiar form present to the con- 
sciousness of the doer, but is merely implicit, present 
in the subjective inward guilt of the decision and 
the action. But the ethical consciousness is more 
complete, its guilt purer, if it knows beforehand the 

468 Phenomenology of Mind 

law and the power which it opposes, if it takes them 
to be sheer violence and wrong, to be a contingency in 
the ethical life, and wittingly, like Antigone, commits 
the crime. The deed when accomplished transforms 
its point of view : the very performance of it eo ipso 
expresses that what is ethical has to be actual ; for 
the realisation of the purpose is the very purpose of 
acting. Acting expresses precisely the unity of reality 
and the substance ; it expresses the fact that actuality 
is not an accident for the essential element, but 
that, in union with that element, is given to no right 
which is not true right. On account of this actuality 
and on account of its deed ethical consciousness must 
acknowledge its opposite as its own actuality ; it must 
acknowledge its guilt. 

Because of our sufferings we acknowledge we have erred.* 

To acknowledge this, is expressly to indicate that the 
severance between ethical purpose and actuality has 
been done away ; it means the return to the ethical 
frame of mind, which knows that nothing counts 
but right. Thereby, however, the agent surrenders 
his character and the reality of his self, and has 
utterly collapsed. His being lies in belonging to 
his ethical law, as his substance ; in acknowledging 
an opposite, however, he has ceased to find his sub- 
stance in this law; and instead of reality this has 
become an unreality, a mere sentiment, a frame of 
mind. The substance no doubt appears as the "pathic " 
element! in the individuality, and the individuality 

* An adaptation from Antigone, 926. 

t The element that so permeates his being as to constitute his con- 
trolling necessity and destiny. 

Guilt and Destiny 460 

appears as the factor which animates the substance, 
and hence stands above it. But the substance is a 
" pathic " element which is at the same time his char- 
acter; the ethical individuality is directly and in- 
herently one with this its universal, exists in it alone, 
and is incapable of surviving the destruction which this 
ethical power suffers at the hands of its opposite. 

This individuality, however, has all the same the cer- 
tainty, that that individuality, whose "pathic" ele- 
ment is this opposite power [the substance], suffers no 
more harm than it has inflicted. The opposition of the 
ethical powers to one another, and the process of the 
individualities setting up these powers in life and 
action, have reached their true end merely in the fact 
that both sides undergo the same destruction. For 
neither of the powers has any advantage over the 
other that it should be a more essential moment of 
the substance common to both. The fact of their being 
equally and to the same degree essential, and subsisting 
independently beside each other means their having no 
separate self ; in the act they have a self-nature, but a 
different self, which contradicts the unity of the self 
and cancels their claim to independent right, and thus 
brings about their necessary destruction. Character, 
too, in part, looking at its " pathic " element, the 
substance, belongs to one alone ; in part, when we look 
at the aspect of knowledge, the one character like the 
other is divided into a conscious element and an un- 
conscious : and since each itself calls forth this opposi- 
tion, and the want of knowledge is by the act also 
its doing, each falls into the guilt which consumes it. 
The victory of one power and its character, and the 
defeat of the other side, would thus be merely the 

470 Phenomenology of Mind 

part and the incomplete work, which steadily advances 
till the equilibrium between the two is attained. It is 
in the equal suppression of both sides that absolute 
right is first accomplished, and the ethical substance, 
as the negative force devouring both sides, in other 
words omnipotent and righteous Destiny, makes its 

If both powers are taken according to their specific 
content and its individualisation, we have the scene 
presented of a contest between them as individuated. 
On its formal side, this is the struggle of the ethical 
order and of self-consciousness with unconscious nature 
and a contingency due to this nature. The latter has a 
right as against the former, because this is only objec- 
tive spirit, merely in immediate unity with its substance. 
On the side of content, the struggle is the rupture of 
divine and human law. The youth goes forth from the 
unconscious life of the family and becomes the in- 
dividuality of the community [i.e. Ruler]. But that he 
still shares the natural life from which he has torn 
himself away, is seen in the fact that he emerges there- 
from only to find his claim affected by the contingency 
that there are two brothers * who with equal right take 
possession of the community ; t the inequality due to 
the one having been born earlier and the other later, 
an inequality which is a natural difference, has no 
importance for them when they enter the ethical life of 
society. But government, as the single soul, the self of 
the national spirit, does not admit of a duality of in- 
dividuality ; and in contrast to the ethical necessity of 
this unity, nature appears as by accident providing 

* Eteocles and Polynices : v. (Edipus at Colonus, 
t viz. the throne of their Father (Edipus. 

Guilt and Destiny 471 

more than one. These two [brothers], therefore, become 
disunited ; and their equal right in regard to the 
power of the state is destructive to both, for they 
are equally wrong. Humanly considered, he has 
committed the crime who, not being in actual possession, 
seizes on the community, at the head of which the other 
stood. While again he has right on his side who knew 
how to seize the other merely qua particular individual, 
detached from the community, and banish him, while 
thus powerless, out of the community ; he has 
merely laid hands on the individual as such, not the 
community, not the essential nature of human right. 
The community, attacked and defended from a point 
of view which is merely particular, maintains itself ; 
and both brothers find their destruction reciprocally 
through one another. For individuality, which involves 
peril to the whole in the maintenance of its own self- 
existence (Fursichseyn), has thrust its own self out of 
the community, and is disintegrated in its own nature. 
The community, however, will do honour to the one 
who is found on its side ; the government, the re- 
established singleness of the self of the community, 
will punish by depriving of the last honour him 
who already proclaimed its devastation on the walls 
of the city. He who came to affront the highest 
spiritual form of conscious life, the spirit of the com- 
munity, must be stripped of the honour of his entire 
and complete nature, the honour due to the spirit of 
the departed.* 

But if the universal thus lightly knocks off the 
highest point of its pyramid, and doubtless triumphs 
victoriously over the family, the rebellious principle 

* v. Antigone. 

472 Phenomenology of Mind 

of individuation, it has thereby merely put itself 
into conflict with divine law, the self-conscious with 
the unconscious spirit. For the latter, this unconscious 
spirit, is the other essential power, and therefore the 
power undestroyed, but only insulted by the former. 
It finds, however, only a bloodless shade to lend it help 
towards actually carrying itself out in the face of that 
masterful and openly enunciated law. Being the law 
of weakness and of darkness, it therefore gives way, 
to begin with, before law which has force and pub- 
licity ; for the strength of the former is effective 
in the nether realm, not on earth and in the light 
of day. But the actual and concrete, which has taken 
away from what is inward its honour and its power, has 
thereby consumed its own real nature. The spirit which 
is manifest to the light of day has the roots of its power 
in the lower world : the certainty felt by a nation, a 
certainty of which it is sure and which makes itself 
assured, finds the truth of its oath binding all its 
members into one, solely in the mute unconscious 
substance of all, in the waters of forgetfulness. In 
consequence, the fulfilment of the public spirit 
turns round into its opposite, and learns that its 
supreme right is supreme wrong, its victory rather 
its own defeat. The slain, whose right is injured, 
knows, therefore, how to find means of vengeance 
which are of the same reality and strength as the 
power at whose hands it has suffered. These powers 
are other communities,* whose altars the dogs or birds 
defiled with the corpse of the dead, which is not raised 
into unconscious universality by being restored, as is 
its due, to the ultimate individuum, the elemental 

* Refers to the attack of Argos against Thebes : v. Antigone. 

Guilt and Destiny 473 

earth, but instead has remained above ground in the 
sphere of reality, and has now received, as the force 
of divine law, a self-conscious actual universality. 
They rise up in hostility, and destroy the community 
which has dishonoured and destroyed its own power, 
the sacred claims, the " piety " of the family. 

Eepresented in this way, the movement of human and 
divine law finds the expression of its necessity in indi- 
viduals, in whom the universal appears as a " pathic " 
element, and the activity of the movement as action of 
individuals, which gives the appearance of contingency 
to the necessity of the process. But individuality and 
its action constitute the principle of individuation in 
general, a principle which in its pure universality was 
called inner divine law. As a moment of the visible 
community it does not merely exhibit that unconscious 
activity of the nether world, its operation is not simply 
external in its existence ; it has an equally manifest 
visible existence and process, actual in the actual nation. 
Taken in this form, what was represented as a simple 
process of the " pathic " element as embodied in in- 
dividuals, assumes another look, and crime and the 
resulting ruin of the community assume the proper 
form of their existence. 

Human law, then, in its universal mode of existence 
is the community, in its efficient operation in general 
is the manhood of the community, in its actual 
efficient operation is government. It has its being, its 
process, and its subsistence by consuming and absorbing 
into itself the separatist action of the household gods 
(Penates), the individualisation into insular independent 
families which are under the management of woman- 
land, and by keeping them dissolved in the fluent 

474 Phenomenology of Mind 

continuum of its own nature. The family at the same 
time, however, is in general its element, the individual 
consciousness its universal operative basis. Since the 
community gets itself subsistence only by breaking in 
upon family happiness, and dissolving [individual] 
self-consciousness into the universal, it creates its 
enemy tor itself within its own gates, creates it in 
what it suppresses, and what is at the same time essen- 
tial to it womankind in general. Womankind the 
everlasting irony in the life of the community changes 
by intrigue the universal purpose of government into 
a private end, transforms its universal activity into 
a work of this or that specific individual, and perverts 
the universal property of the state into a possession 
and ornament for the family. Woman in this way 
turns to ridicule the grave wisdom of maturity, which, 
being dead to all particular aims, to private pleasure, 
personal satisfaction, and actual activity as well, 
thinks of, and is concerned for, merely what is universal ; 
she makes this wisdom the laughing-stock of raw and 
wanton youth, an object of derision and scorn, un- 
worthy of their enthusiasm. She asserts that it is 
everywhere the force of youth that really counts ; 
she upholds this as of primary significance ; extols a 
son as one who is the lord and master of the mother 
who has borne him ; a brother as one in whom the 
sister finds man on a level with herself ; a youth as 
one through whom the daughter, deprived of her 
dependence (on the family unity), acquires the satis- 
faction and the dignity of wifehood. 

The community, however, can preserve itself only 
by suppressing this spirit of individualism ; and because 
the latter is an essential element, the community like- 

Guilt and Destiny 475 

wise creates it as well, and creates it, too, by taking 
up the attitude of seeking to suppress it as a hostile 
principle. Nevertheless, since, by cutting itself off 
from the universal purpose, this hostile element is 
merely evil, and in itself of no account, it would be 
quite ineffective if the community did not recognise 
the force of youth, (manhood, which, while immature, 
still remains in the condition of particularity), as the 
force of the whole. For the community, the whole, 
is a nation, it is itself individuality, and really only is 
something for itself by other individualities being for 
it, by its excluding these from itself and knowing itself 
independent of them. The negative side of the com- 
munity, suppressing the isolation of individuals within 
its own bounds, but originating activity directed beyond 
those bounds, finds the weapons of its warfare in individ- 
uals. War is the spirit and form in which the essential 
moment of ethical substance, the absolute freedom of 
ethical self-consciousness from all and every kind of 
existence, is manifestly confirmed and realised. While, 
on the one hand, war makes the particular spheres of 
property and personal independence, as well as the 
personality of the individual himself, feel the force of 
negation and destruction, on the other hand this 
engine of negation and destruction stands out as that 
which preserves the whole in security. The individual 
who provides pleasure to woman, the brave youth, 
the suppressed principle of ruin and destruction, 
comes now into prominence, and is the factor of primary 
significance and worth. It is now physical strength 
and what seems like the chance of fortune, that decide 
as to the existence of ethical life and spiritual necessity. 
Because the existence of the ethical life thus rests on 

476 Phenomenology of Mind 

physical strength and the chances of fortune, it is 
eo ipso settled that its overthrow has come. While 
only household gods, in the former case, gave way 
before and were absorbed in the national spirit, here 
the living individual embodiments of the national 
spirit fall by their own individuality and disappear 
in one universal community, whose bare universality 
is soulless and dead, and whose living activity is 
found in the particular individual qua particular. The 
ethical form and embodiment of the life of spirit has 
passed away, and another mode appears in its place. 

This disappearance of the ethical substance and its 
transition into another mode are thus determined by 
the ethical consciousness being directed upon the law 
essentially in an immediate way. It lies in this char- 
acter of immediacy that nature at all enters into the 
acts which constitute the ethical h'fe. Its realisation 
simply reveals the contradiction and the germ of 
destruction, which He hid within that very peace and 
beauty belonging to the gracious harmony and un- 
broken equilibrium of the ethical spirit. For the 
essence and meaning of this immediacy contains a 
contradiction : it is at once the unconscious peace of 
nature and the self-conscious unresting peace of spirit. 
On account of this " naturalness," the ethical life of 
a nation is, in general, a kind of individuality determined 
by, and therefore limited by, nature, and thus finds 
its dissolution in, and gives place to, another type of 
individuality. This characteristic being given a positive 
existence, is a limitation, but at the same time is the 
negative element in general and the self of individuality. 
Since, however, this determinateness passes away, 
the life of spirit and this substance, conscious of itself 

Guilt and Destiny 477 

in all its component individuals, are lost. The determin- 
ate character comes forth and stands apart as a formal 
universality in the case of all the component in- 
dividuals, and no longer dwells within them as a living 
spirit ; instead, the uniform solidarity of its individuality 
has burst into a plurality of separate points. 


[A further step in the realisation of the principle of coherent sociality 
is reached when the individual is invested with the universality of the 
social order by definite enactments of the controlling agency of the 
social whole. His contingency as an individual is removed by his being 
expressly treated as a focal unity of the whole order, whose very exist- 
ence is staked on maintaining him as a unit with a universal significance, 
and which stands or falls by maintaining him in this condition. The 
universal order is in this case no longer merely implicit, merely a matter 
of routine and custom ; it is openly and objectively expressed in and 
through each individual component of society. The form this takes is 
the differentiation of the social substance into a totality of " persons," each 
and all invested with express universal, or legally acknowledged, signifi- 
cance. This is the sphere of legal personality, or of individuality consti- 
tuted by a system of Rights. It is a supreme achievement of social 
existence, and the highest attainment of coherent social experience. Hence 
the present section. 

This is a condition or stage in every developed community. But the 
specific historical material for this section is derived from the law-consti- 
tuted social order of the Roman Empire, especially the Empire under the 
Antonines. Here, whether by coincidence or otherwise, the culmination of 
imperial rule and the " golden age " of law synchronised. The triumph of 
Roman imperial government and the perfecting of the system of Roman 
jurisprudence were accomplished during the same period of time, about 
A.D. 131-235. There is every reason to suppose that the two necessarily 
arose and fell together, and that the decline and disappearance of the 
Roman law-constituted state should thus prepare the way for a further 
achievement of the social spirit of humanity. Hence the historical justifi- 
cation for the transition to the next stage of social life, that of self- 
discordant spiritual existence. 

With this section should be read Hegel's Philosophy of History, Part 
III, especially the introduction to this part, and Sect. Ill, c. 1., "Rome 
under the Emperors."] 



The general comprehensive unity, into which the 
living immediate unity of individuality and the ethical 
substance falls back, is the soulless (geistlos) community, 
which has ceased to be the un-self conscious * substance 
of individuals, and in which they now, each in his 
separate individual existence, count as selves and 
substances with a being of their own. The universal 
being thus split up into the atomic units of a 
sheer plurality of individuals, this inoperative, lifeless 
spirit is a "principle of equality in which all count 
for as much as each, i.e. have the significance of 
Persons. What in the realm of the ethical life was 
called the hidden divine law has in fact come out of 
concealment to the light of actuality. In the former 
the individual was, and was counted, actual merely 
as a blood relation, merely as sharing in the general 
life of the family. Qua particular individual, he was 
the selfless departed spirit ; now, however, he has 
come out of his unreality. Because the ethical sub- 
stance is only objective, "true," spirit, only implies spirit, 
the individual on that account turns back to the im- 
mediate certainty of his own self ; he is that substance 
qua positive universal, but his actuality consists in being 
a negative universal self. 

We saw the powers and forms of the ethical world 
sink in the bare necessity of mere Destiny. This 

* Reading ' ' selbstbewusstlose " (1st ed.). 

480 Phenomenology of Mind 

power of the ethical world is the substance turning 
itself back into its ultimate and simple nature. But 
that absolute being turning back into itself, that very 
necessity of characterless Destiny, is nothing else 
than the Ego of self-consciousness. 

This is taken henceforth as what is absolutely real, 
as the ultimate self-contained reality. To be so ac- 
knowledged is its substantiality ; but this is abstract 
universality, because its content is this rigid self, not 
the self dissolved in the substance. 

Personality, then, has here risen out of the life 
and activity of the ethical substance. It is the con- 
dition in which the independence of consciousness 
has actual concrete validity. The unrealised abstract 
thought of such independence, which arises through 
renouncing actuality, was at an earlier stage before 
our notice in the form of " Stoical self-consciousness." 
Just as the latter was the outcome of "Lordship and 
Bondage/ 3 * the mode in which self-consciousness exists 
immediately, so personality is the outgrowth of the 
immediate life of spirit which is the universal controlling 
will of all, as well as their dutiful obedience and 
submissive service. What in Stoicism was implicit 
merely in an abstract way, is now an explicit con- 
crete world. Stoicism is nothing else than the mood 
of consciousness which reduces to its abstract form 
the principle of legal status, the principle of the sphere 
of right, an independence devoid of the qualities of 
spirit (geistlos). By its flight from actuality it attained 
merely the idea of independence : it is absolutely sub- 
jective, exists solely for itself, in that it does not link 
its being to anything that exists, but rather wants to 

* v. p. 175 ff. 

Legal Status 481 

give up every kind of existence, and places its essential 
meaning in the unity of mere thinking. In the same 
manner, the " right " of a " person " is not linked on to a 
richer or more powerful existence of the individual qua 
individual, nor again connected with a universal living 
spirit, but, rather, is attached to the mere unit of its 
abstract reality, or to that unit qua self-consciousness 
in general. 

Now just as the abstract independence of Stoicism set 
forth the stages of its actualisation, so, too, this last form 
of independence [Personality] will recapitulate the pro- 
cess of the former mode. The former [Stoicism] passes 
over into the state of sceptical confusion, into a fickle 
instability of negation, which without adopting any per- 
manent form strays from one contingent mode of being 
and thinking to another, dissipates them indeed in 
absolute independence, but just as readily creates their 
independence once more. In fact, it is simply the 
contradiction of consciousness claiming to be at once 
independent and yet devoid of independence. In like 
manner, the personal independence characteristic of 
the sphere of right is really a similar universal confusion 
and reciprocal dissolution of this kind. For what passes 
for the absolute essential reality is self-consciousness 
in the sense of the bare empty unit of the person. As 
against this empty universality, the substance has the 
form of what supplies the filling and the content ; and 
this content is now left completely detached and dis- 
connected ; for the spirit, which kept it in subjection 
and held it in its unity, is no longer present. The 
empty unit of the person is, therefore, as regards its 
reality, an accidental existence, a contingent insub- 
stantial process and activity that comes to no durable 



482 Phenomenology of Mind 

subsistence. Just as was the case in Scepticism, the 
formalism of "right" is, thus, by its very conception, 
without special content ; it finds at its hand the fact of 
" possession," a fact subsisting in multiplicity, and im- 
prints thereon the abstract universality, by which it is 
called " property," the same sort of abstraction as 
Scepticism made use of. But while the reality so deter- 
mined is in Scepticism called a mere appearance, a 
mere semblance, and has merely a negative value, in 
the case of right it has a positive significance. The 
negative value in the former case consists in the real 
having the meaning of self qua thought, qua inherent 
universal; the positive significance in the latter case, 
however, consists in its being mine in the sense of the 
category, as something whose validity is admitted, re- 
cognised, and actual. Both are the same abstract uni- 
versal. The actual content, the proper value of what is 
" mine " whether it be an external possession, or again 
inner riches or poverty of mind and character is not 
contained in this empty form and does not concern it. 
The content belongs, therefore, to a peculiar specific 
power, which is something different from the formal 
universal, is chance and caprice. Consciousness of 
right, therefore, in the course of the very process of 
making its claim good, finds that it loses its own reality, 
discovers its complete lack of inherent substantiality, 
and that to describe an individual as a " person " is to use 
an expression of contempt. 

The free and unchecked power possessed by the 
content takes determinate shape in this way. The 
absolute plurality of dispersed atomic personalities is, 
by the nature of this characteristic feature gathered 
at the same time into a single centre, alien t<? 

Legal Status 483 

them and just as devoid of the life of spirit (geistlos). 
That central point is, in one respect, like the atomic 
rigidity of their personality, a merely particular 
reality ; but in contrast to their empty particularity, 
it has the significance of the entire content, and hence 
is taken to be the essential element; while again, in 
contrast to their pretended absolute, but inherently 
insubstantial, reality, it is the universal power, and 
absolute actuality. This " lord and master of the world " 
takes himself in this way to be the absolute person, 
comprising at the same time all existence within himself, 
for whom there exists no higher type of spirit. He is a 
person : but the sole and single person who has chal- 
lenged, confronted, and conquered all. These all 
constitute and establish the triumphant universality 
of the one person ; for this particular, as such, is truly 
what it is only qua universal plurality of particular 
units : cut off from this plurality, the solitary and 
single self is, in fact, a powerless and unreal self. 
At the same time, it is the consciousness of the con- 
tent which is antithetically opposed to that universal 
personality. This content, however, when liberated 
from its negative power, means chaos of spiritual 
powers, which, when let loose as elemental independent 
agencies, break out into wild extravagances and excesses, 
and fall on one another in mad destruction. Their help- 
less self-consciousness is the powerless inoperative en- 
closure and the arena of their chaotic tumult. But this 
master and lord of the world, aware of his being the 
sum and substance of all actual powers, is the titanic 
self-consciousness, which takes itself to be the living 
God. Since, however, he exists merely qua formal self, 
which is unable to tame and subdue those powers, his 

484 Phenomenology of Mind 

procedure and his self-enjoyment are equally gigantic 

The lord of the world becomes really conscious of 
what he is, viz. the universal might of actuality, by 
that power of destruction which he exercises against 
the contrasted selfhood of his subjects. For his power 
is not the spiritual union and concord in which the 
various persons might get to know their own self- 
consciousness. Rather they exist as persons separately 
for themselves, and all continuity with others is ex- 
cluded from the absolute punctual atomicity of their 
nature. They are, therefore, in a merely negative 
relation, a relation of exclusion both to one another 
and to him, who is their principle of connection or 
continuity. Qua this continuity, he is the essential 
being and content of their formal nature, a content, 
however, foreign to them, and a being hostile in 
character, which abolishes just what they take to be 
their very essence, viz. bare subjectivity without any 
content, mere empty independent existence each on its 
own account. And, again, qua the continuity of their 
personality, he destroys this very personality itself. 
Juridical personality thus finds itself, rather, without 
any substance of its own, since content alien to it 
is imposed on it and holds good within it, and does 
so there, because such content is the reality of that 
type of personality. On the other hand the passion for 
destroying and turning over everything on this unreal 
field gains for itself the consciousness of its complete 
supremacy. But this self is barren desolation, and 

* Cp. with the above Hobbes' Leviathan. The historical reference 
here is to the "apotheosis" of the Roman Emperors. 

Legal Status 485 

hence is merely beside itself, and is indeed the very 
abandonment and rejection of its own self-consciousness. 
Such, then, is the constitution of that aspect in 
which self-consciousness qua absolute being is actual. 
The consciousness, however, that is driven back 
into itself out of this actuality, thinks this its insub- 
stantiality, makes it an object of thought. Formerly 
we saw the stoical independence of pure thought pass 
through Scepticism and find its true issue in the 
"unhappy consciousness/' the truth about what 
constitutes its inherent and explicit nature, its final 
reality. If this knowledge appeared at that stage 
merely as the one-sided view of a consciousness qua 
consciousness, here the actual truth of that view has 
made its appearance. The truth consists in the fact that 
this universal accepted objectivity of self -consciousness 
is reality estranged from it. This objectivity is the 
universal actuality of the self; but this actuality 
is directly the perversion of the self as well it is 
the loss of its essential being. The reality of the self 
that was not found in the ethical world, has been 
gained by its reverting into the " person." What in the 
case of the former was all harmony and union, comes 
now on the scene, no doubt in developed form, but self- 




[The life of spirit as found in the social self-consciousness has two 
fundamental factors, the universal spirit or social whole as such, and the 
individual member as such. The interrelation of these constitutes the 
spiritual existence of society. Each by itself is abstract, but the realisa- 
tion of complete spiritual life through and in each is absolutely essential for 
spiritual fulfilment. In the preceding analysis of spirit, one form of this 
process has been considered, the realisation of the objective social order 
in and through individuals. In the succeeding section, with its various 
subsections, the other process of securing the same general result is 
analysed : we have the movement by which, starting from the in- 
dividual spirit, the realisation of complete spiritual existence is established. 
The former starts from the compact solidarity of the social substance, and 
results in the establishment of separate and individually complete legal 
personalities. The latter process starts from the rigidly exclusive unity of 
the individual self and issues in the establishment of a social order of 
absolutely universal and therefore absolutely free wills. Both processes 
are per se abstract, necessary though they are : hence, as we shall find, 
a further stage in the evolution of spirit has still to appear. 

The process of spirit in this second stage assumes from the start a 
conscious contrast between the individual spirit and a universal spiritual 
whole, a contrast, which, while profound, the individual seeks to remove, 
because the universality of spiritual existence which he seeks to attain is 
implicitly involved in his very being as a spiritual entity. His spiritual 
life seems, to begin with, rent in twain, so complete is the sense of the 
opposition of these factors constituting his life. His true life, his objective 
embodiment, seems outside him altogether and yet is felt to be his own 
self. He seems " estranged " from his complete self, and the estrangement 
seems his own doing, because the substance from which he is cut off is 
felt to be his own. The contrast is the deepest that spirit can possibly 
experience, just because spirit is and knows itself to be self-contained and 
self -complete, "the only reality." The contrast can only be removed by 
effort and struggle, for the individual spirit has to create or recreate for 
itself and by its own activity a universal objective spiritual realm, which 


Spirit in Self-estrangement 487 

it implies and in which alone it can be free and feel itself at home. The 
struggle spirit goes through is thus the greatest in the whole range of its 
experience, for the opposition to be overcome is the profoundest that 
exists. Since its aim is to achieve the highest for itself, nothing sacred 
can be allowed to stand in its way. It will make any sacrifice, and, if 
necessary, produce the direst spiritual disaster, a spiritual "reign of 
terror," to accomplish its result. 

The movement of spirit here analysed covers every form of the in- 
dividual's "struggle for a substantial spiritual life." It embraces the 
" intellectual," " economic," " religious," and the " ethical " in the narrower 
sense of these terms ; it embraces all that we mean by " culture " and 
" civilisation." Hence the various parts of the argument : spiritual " dis- 
cipline," "enlightenment," the pursuit of "wealth," "belief" and "super- 
stition," " absolute freedom." 

The process of spiritual life passed under critical review here is familiar 
to a greater or less extent in every age and every society. But the 
actual historical material present to the mind of the writer is derived 
from (1) the period of European history embracing the entrance of 
Christianity and Christian philosophy into European civilisation after the 
fall of the Roman Empire, and the intellectual, " humanistic," awakening 
of the Renaissance which led on to the ecclesiastical revolution known as 
the Reformation : (2) the rationalistic movement of the eighteenth century, 
the so-called "Enlightenment" which preceded and culminated in the 
French Revolution, the supreme outburst of spiritual emancipation known 
in European history. These two periods, far removed as they are in time, 
have much in common. They embody principles of spiritual develop- 
ment fundamentally alike, and are therefore freely drawn upon in the 
analysis, regardless of historicity. 

Much of Hegel's analysis of the first stage of this spiritual move- 
ment has also directly in view the character of Rameau in Diderot's 
dialogue Le neveu de Rameau. This remarkable work was written in 
1760, but was first brought to the notice of the literary public by Goethe, 
who translated and published the work in 1805. It thus came into 
Hegel's hands while he was writing the Phenomenology : and this perhaps 
accounts for the repeated references to it in the argument. The term 
" self -estranged spirit" with which he heads this section occurs in Goethe's 
translation. Rameau is an extreme type of such a spirit. 

With this section should be read Hegel's Philosophy of History, Pt. Ill, 
3, c. 2 ; Pt. IV, 2, c. 1, 3, c. 1, 3 : the History of Philosophy, Pt. 3, 
Introduction, and c. 2, " The French Philosophy and the German En- 



The ethical substance preserved and kept opposition 
enclosed within its simple conscious life ; and this con- 
sciousness was in immediate unity with its own 
essential nature. That nature has therefore the 
simple characteristic of something merely existing 
for the consciousness which is directed immediately 
upon it, and whose "custom" (Sitte) it is. Con- 
sciousness does not stand for a particular excluding 
self, nor does the substance mean for it an existence 
shut out from it, with which it would have to establish 
its identity only through estranging itself, and yet at 
the same time have to produce that estrangement. But 
that mind, whose self is absolutely insular, absolutely 
discrete, finds its content over against itself in the form 
of a reality that is just as impenetrable as itself, and 
the world here gets the characteristic of being some- 
thing external, negative to self-consciousness. Yet 
this world is a spiritual reality, it is essentially the 
fusion of individuality with being. This its existence 
is the work of self-consciousness, but likewise an 
actuality immediately present and alien to it, which 
has a peculiar being of its own, and in which it does 
not know itself. This reality is the external element 
and the free content * of the sphere of legal right. But 
this external reality, which the master of the world 

* v, p. 479 ff. 

4 88 

Spirit in Self-estrangement 489 

of legal right takes control of, is not merely this ele- 
mentary irreducible entity casually lying before the self ; 
it is his work, but not in a positive sense, rather 
negatively so. It preserves its existence by self-con- 
sciousness of its own accord relinquishing itself and 
giving up its essentiality, the condition which, in that 
waste and ruin which prevail in the sphere of right, the 
external force of the elements let loose seems to bring 
upon self-consciousness. These elements by themselves 
are sheer ruin and destruction, and cause their own over- 
throw. This overthrow, however, this their negative 
nature, is just the self ; it is their subject, their action, 
and their process. Such process and activity again, 
through which the substance becomes actual, are the 
alienation of personality, for the immediate self, i.e. the 
self without estrangement and holding good as it stands, 
is without substantial content, and the sport of these 
raging elements. Its substance is thus just its re- 
linquishment, and the relinquishment is the substance, 
i.e. the spiritual powers forming themselves into a 
coherent world, and thereby securing their subsistence. 

The substance in this way is spirit, self-conscious 
unity of the self and the essential nature ; but both also 
take each other to mean and to imply alienation. Spirit 
is consciousness of an objective reality which exists 
independently on its own account. Over against 
this consciousness stands, however, that unity of the 
self with the essential nature, consciousness pure and 
simple over against actual consciousness. On the one 
side actual self-consciousness by its self-relinquishment 
passes over into the real world, and the latter back again 
into the former. On the other side, however, this 
very actuality, both person and objectivity, is can- 

490 Phenomenology of Mind 

celled and superseded ; they are purely universal. This 
its alienation is pure consciousness, or the essential 
nature. The present has at once its opposite in its 
beyond, which consists in its thinking and its being 
thought; just as this again has its opposite in what 
is here in the present, which is its actuality alienated 
from it. 

Spirit in this case, therefore, constructs not merely one 
world, but a twofold world, divided and self-opposed. 
The world of the ethical spirit is its own proper present ; 
and hence every power it possesses is found in this 
unity of the present, and, so far as each separates itself 
from the other, each is still in equilibrium with the 
whole. Nothing has the significance of a negative of 
self-consciousness ; even the spirit of the departed 
is in the life-blood of his relative, is present in the self 
of the family, and the universal power of government 
is the will, the self of the nation. Here, however, what is 
present means merely objective actuality, which has its 
consciousness in the beyond ; each particular moment, 
as an essential entity, receives this, and thereby actuality 
from an other, and so far as it is actual, its essential 
being is something other than its own actuality. No- 
thing has a spirit self-established and indwelling within 
it ; rather each is outside itself in what is alien to it. 
The equilibrium of the whole is not the unity which 
abides by itself, nor its inwardly secured tranquillity, 
but rests on the alienation of its opposite. The whole 
is, therefore, like each particular moment, a self- 
estranged reality. It breaks up into two spheres : 
in one kingdom self-consciousness is actually both the 
self and its object, and in another we have the kingdom 
of pure consciousness, which, being beyond the former, 

Spirit in Self-estrangement 491 

has no actual present, but exists for Faith, is matter 
of Belief. Now just as the ethical world passes from 
the separation of divine and human law, with its various 
forms, and its consciousness gets away from the division 
into knowledge and the absence of knowledge, and re- 
turns into the principle which is its destiny, into the self 
which is the power to destroy and negate this oppo- 
sition, so, too, both these kingdoms of self-alienated 
spirit will return into the self. But while the former was 
the first self, holding good directly, the particular person, 
this second, which returns into itself from its self- 
relinquishment, will be the universal self, the conscious- 
ness grasping the conception ; and these spiritual worlds, 
all of whose moments insist on being a fixed reality and 
an unspiritual subsistence, will be dissolved in the light 
of pure Insight. This insight, being the self grasping 
itself, completes the stage of culture. It takes up 
nothing but the self, and everything as the self, i.e. it 
comprehends everything, extinguishes all objectiveness, 
and converts everything implicit into something ex- 
plicit, everything which has a being in itself into what 
is for itself. When turned against belief, against faith, 
as the far-away region of inner being lying in the distant 
beyond, it is Enlightenment (Aufklarung). This en- 
lightenment also terminates self-estrangement in this 
region whither spirit in self-alienation turns to seek its 
safety as to a region where it becomes conscious of a 
peace adequate to itself. Enlightenment upsets the 
household arrangements, which spirit carries out in the 
house of faith, by bringing in the goods and furnishings 
belonging to the world of the Here and Now, a world 
which that spirit cannot refuse to accept as its own 
property, for its conscious life likewise belongs to that 

492 Phenomenology of Mind 

world. In this negative task pure insight realises itself 
at the same time, and brings to light its own proper 
object, the ''unknowable absolute Being" and utility.* 
Since in this way actuality has lost all substantiality, 
and there is nothing more implicit in it, the kingdom 
of faith, as also that of the real world, is overthrown ; 
and this revolution brings about absolute freedom, the 
stage at which the spirit formerly estranged has gone 
back completely into itself, leaves behind this sphere 
of culture, and passes over into another region, the land 
of the inner or subjective moral consciousness (moral- 
ischen Bewusstseiri). 

* Cp. Eighteenth century Deism and utilitarianism. 


The sphere of spirit at this stage breaks up into two 
regions. The one is its real world, its self-estrangement, 
the other is constructed and set up in the ether of pure 
consciousness, and is exalted above the first. This 
second world, being constructed in opposition and 
contrast to that estrangement, is just on that account 
not free from it ; on the contrary, it is only another 
form of that very estrangement, which consists precisely 
in having a conscious existence in two sorts of worlds, 
and embraces both. Hence it is not self-consciousness 
of Absolute Being in and for itself, not Religion, which 
is here dealt with : it is Belief, Faith, in so far as faith 
is a flight from the actual world, and thus is not a self- 
complete experience (an und fiir sick). Such flight 
from the realm of the present is, therefore, directly in 
its very nature a dual state of mind. Pure consciousness 
is the sphere into which spirit rises : but it is not only 
the element of faith, but of the notion as well. Con- 
sequently both appear on the scene together at the 
same time, and the latter comes before us only in anti- 
thesis to the former. 



The spirit of this world is spiritual essence permeated 
by a self-consciousness which knows itself to be directly 
present as a self -existent particular, and has that essence 
as its objective actuality over against itself. But the 
existence of this world, as also the actuality of self- 
consciousness, depends on the process that self-con- 
sciousness divests itself of its personality, by so doing 
creates its world, and treats it as something alien 
and external, of which it must now take possession. 
But the renunciation of its self-existence is itself the 
production of objective actuality, and in doing so, 
therefore, self-consciousness ipso facto makes itself 
master of this world. 

To put the matter otherwise, self-consciousness is 
only something definite, it only has real existence, so 
far as it alienates itself from itself. By doing so, it puts 
itself in the position of something universal, and this 
its universality actualises it, establishes it objectively, 
makes it valid. This equality of the self with all selves 
is, therefore, not the equality that was found in the case 
of right ; self-consciousness does not here, as there, 
get immediate recognition and acknowledgment merely 
because it is ; on the contrary, its claim to be rests on 

* It will be observed that "culture" embraces all means of self- 
development, "ideas" as well as material factors such as "wealth," 


Culture and its Sphere of Reality 495 

its having made itself, by that mediating process of self- 
alienation, conform to what is universal. The spiritless 
formal universality which characterises the sphere of 
right takes up every natural form of character as well 
as of existence, and sanctions and establishes them. 
The universality which holds good here, however, is 
one that has undergone development, and for that 
reason it is concrete and actual. 

The means, then, whereby an individual gets objec- 
tive validity and concrete actuality here is the forma- 
tive process of Culture. The alienation on the part 
of spirit from its natural existence is here the indi- 
vidual's true and original nature, his very sub- 
stance. The relinquishment of this natural state is, 
therefore, both his purpose and his mode of existence ; 
it is at the same time the mediating process, the transi- 
tion of the thought-constituted substance to concrete 
actuality, as well as, conversely, the transition of deter- 
minate individuality to its essential constitution. This 
individuality moulds itself by culture to what it 
inherently is, and only by so doing is it then something 
per se and possessed of concrete existence. The extent* 
of its culture is the measure of its reality and its power. 
Although the self, qua this particular self, knows itself 
here to be real, yet its concrete realisation consists 
solely in cancelling and transcending the natural self. 
The original determinateness of its nature is, therefore, 
reduced to a matter of quantity, to a greater or less 
energy of will, a ' non-essential principle of distinc- 
tion. But purpose and content of the self belong 
to the universal substance alone, and can only be 
something universal. The specific particularity of 

* Bacon's phrase, " Knowledge is power," 

496 Phenomenology of Mind 

a given nature, which becomes purpose and content, 
is something powerless and unreal: it is a "kind of 
being " which exerts itself foolishly and in vain to 
attain embodiment : it is the contradiction of giving 
reality to the bare particular, while reality is, ipso 
facto, something universal. If, therefore, individuality 
is falsely held to consist in particularity of nature and 
character, then the real world contains no individualities 
and characters ; individuals are all alike for one another ; 
the pretence (vermeint) of individuality in that case 
is precisely the mere presumptive (gemeint) existence 
which has no permanent place in this world where only 
renunciation of self and, therefore, only universality 
get actual reality. What is presumed or conjectured to 
be (Das Gemeinte) passes, therefore, simply for what 
it is, for a kind of being. "Kind" is not quite the 
same as Espece* "the most horrible of all nicknames, 
for it signifies mediocrity, and denotes the highest 
degree of contempt, "f "A kind" and "to be good of 
its kind " are German expressions, which add an air of 
honesty to this meaning, as if it were not so badly 
meant and intended after all ; or which, indeed, do not 
yet involve a clear consciousness of what " kind " and 
what culture and reality are. 

That which, in reference to the particular individual, 
appears as his culture, is the essential moment of 
spiritual substance as such, viz. : the direct transition 
of its ideal, thought-constituted, universality into 
actual reality; or otherwise put, culture is the single 
soul of this substance, in virtue of which the essen- 

* " Espece se dit de personues auxquelles on ne trouve ni qualite ni 
merite. " Littre. 

t Diderot's Rameau's Neffe. 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 497 

tially inherent (Ansich) becomes something explicitly 
acknowledged, and assumes definite objective exist- 
ence. The process in which an individuality cultivates 
itself is, therefore, ipso facto, the development of 
individuality qua universal objective being; that 
is to say, it is the development of the actual 
world. This world, although it has come into being 
by means of individuality, is in the eyes of self-con- 
sciousness something that is directly alienated and 
estranged, and, for self-consciousness, takes on the form 
of a fixed, undisturbed reality. But at the same time 
self-consciousness is sure this is its own substance, and 
proceeds to take it under control. This power over its 
substance it acquires by culture, which, looked at from 
this aspect, appears as self-consciousness making itself 
conform to reality, and doing so to the extent permitted 
by the energy of its original character and talents. 
What seems here to be the individual's power and force, 
bringing the substance under it, and thereby doing 
away with that substance, is the same thing as the 
actualisation of the substance. For the power of the 
individual consists in conforming itself to that substance, 
i.e. in emptying itself of its own self, and thus estab- 
lishing itself as the objectively existing substance. Its 
culture and its own reality are, therefore, the process of 
making the substance itself actual and concrete. 

The self is conscious of being actual only as trans- 
cended, as cancelled.* The self does not here constitute 
the unity of consciousness of self and object ; rather 
this object is negative as regards the self. By means 
of the self qua inner soul of the process, the substance 
is so moulded and worked up in its various moments, 

* Cp. Hume's view of " personal identity," Treatise, pt. IV, c. 6, 

498 Phenomenology of Mind 

that one opposite puts life into the other, each opposite, 
by its alienation from the other, gives the other stability, 
and similarly gets stability from the other. At the 
same time, each moment has its own definite nature, 
in the sense of having an insuperable worth and signifi- 
cance ; and has a fixed reality as against the other. 
The process of thought fixes this distinction in the 
most general manner possible, by means of the absolute 
opposition of " good " and " bad," which are poles 
asunder, and can in no way become one and the same. 
But the very soul of what is thus fixed consists in its 
immediate transition to its opposite ; its existence 
lies really in transmuting each determinate element into 
its opposite ; and it is only this alienation that consti- 
tutes the essential nature and the preservation of the 
whole. We must now consider this process by which 
the moments are thus made actual and give each other 
life ; the alienation will be found to alienate itself, and 
the whole thereby will take all its contents back 
into the ultimate principle it implies (seinen Begriff). 

At the outset we must deal with the substance 
pure and simple in its immediate aspect as an organisa- 
tion of its moments ; they exist there, but are inactive, 
their soul is wanting. We have here something like 
what we find in nature. Nature, we find, is resolved 
and spread out into separate and separable elements 
air, water, fire, earth. Of these air is the unchanging 
factor, purely universal and transparent ; water, the 
reality that is for ever being dissolved and given up ; 
fire, its pervading active unity which is ever dissolving 
opposition into unity, as well as breaking up simple 
unity into opposite constituents : earth is the tightly 
compact knot of these separated factors, the subject 

Culture and its SpJiere of Reality 499 

in which these realities are, where their processes take 
effect, that which they start from and to which they 
return. In the same way the inner essential nature, 
the simple life of spirit that pervades self-conscious 
reality, is resolved, spread out into similar general areas 
or masses, spiritual masses in this case, and appears as 
a whole organised world. In the first area or mass it is 
the inherently universal spiritual being, self-identical ; 
in the second it is self-existent being, it has become 
inherently self-discordant, sacrificing itself, abandon- 
ing itself ; the third which takes the form of self- 
consciousness is subject, and possesses in its very 
nature the fiery force of dissolution. In the first 
case it is conscious of itself, as immanent and implicit, 
as existing per se ; in the second it finds independence, 
self-existence (Fursichseyri) developed and carried out 
by means of the sacrifice of what is universal. But 
spirit itself is the self - containedness and self -com- 
pleteness of the whole, which splits up into substance 
qua constantly enduring and substance engaged in self- 
sacrifice, and which at the same time resumes substance 
again into its own unity ; a whole which is at once a 
flame of fire bursting out and consuming the substance, 
as well as the abiding form of the substance consumed. 
We can see that the areas of spiritual reality here 
referred to correspond to the Community and the 
Family in the ethical world, without, however, possess- 
ing the native familiarity of spirit which the latter 
have. On the other hand, if destiny is alien to this spirit, 
self-consciousness is and knows itself here to be the 
real power underlying them. 

We have now to consider these separate members 

500 PJienomenology of Mind 

of the whole, in the first instance as regards the way 
they are presented qua thoughts, qua essential inherent 
entities falling within pure consciousness, and also 
secondly as regards the way they appear as objective 
realities in concrete conscious life. 

In the first form, the simplicity of content found in 
pure consciousness, the real is the Good, the self-identical, 
immediate, unchanging, and primal nature of every con- 
sciousness, the independent spiritual power inherent in 
its essence, alongside which the activity of the mere 
self-existent consciousness is only by-play. Its other 
is the passive spiritual being, the universal so far 
as it parts with its own claims, and lets individuals 
get in it the consciousness of their particular existence ; 
it is a state of nothingness, a being that is null and 
void, the Bad. This absolute break-up of the real into 
these disjecta membra is itself a permanent condition; 
while the first member is the foundation, starting- 
point, and result of individuals, which are there purely 
universal, the second member, on the other hand, is 
a being partly sacrificing itself for another, and, on 
that very account, is partly their incessant return to 
self qua individual, and their constant development of 
a separate being of their own. 

But, secondly, these bare ideas of Good and Bad are 
similarly and immediately alienated from one another ; 
they are actual, and in actual consciousness appear as 
moments that are objective. In this sense the first 
state of being is the Power of the State, the second its 
Resources or Wealth. The state-power is the simple 
spiritual substance, as well as the achievement of all, 
the absolutely accomplished fact, wherein individuals 
find their essential nature expressed, and where their 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 501 

particular existence is simply and solely a consciousness 
of their own universality. It is likewise the achieve- 
ment and simple result from which the sense of its 
having been their doing has vanished : it stands as 
the absolute basis of all their action, where all their 
action securely subsists. This simple pervading sub- 
stance of their life, owing to its thus determining their 
unalterable self-identity, has the nature of objective 
being, and hence only stands in relation to and exists 
for '* another. " It is thus, ipso facto, inherently the 
opposite of itself Wealth or Eesources. Although 
wealth is something passive, is nothingness, it is 
likewise a universal spiritual entity, the continu- 
ously created result of the labour and action of all, 
just as it is again dissipated into the enjoyment of 
all. In enjoyment each individuality no doubt becomes 
aware of self-existence, aware of itself as particular; 
but this enjoyment is itself the result of universal action, 
just as, reciprocally, wealth calls forth universal labour, 
and produces enjoyment for all. The actual has 
through and through the spiritual significance of being 
directly universal. Each individual doubtless thinks he 
is acting in his own interests when getting this enjoy- 
ment ; for this is the aspect in which he gets the sense 
of being something on his own account, and for that 
reason he does not take it to be something spiritual. 
Yet looked at even in external fashion, it becomes 
manifest that in his own enjoyment each gives enjoy- 
ment to all, in his own labour each works for all as 
well as for himself, and all for him. His self-existence 
is, therefore, inherently universal, and self-interest is 
merely a supposition that cannot get the length of 
making concrete and actual what it means or sup- 

502 Phenomenology of Mind 

poses, viz. to do something that is not to further the 
good of all. 

Thus, then, in these two spiritual potencies self- 
consciousness finds its own substance, content, and 
purpose ; it has there a direct intuitive consciousness 
of its twofold nature ; in one it sees what it is inherently 
in itself, in the other what it is explicitly for it- 
self. At the same time qua spirit, it is the negative 
unity, uniting the subsistence of these potencies with the 
separation of individuality from the universal, or that 
of reality from the self. Dominion and wealth are, 
therefore, before the individual as objects he is aware 
of, i.e. as objects from which he knows himself to be 
detached and between which he thinks he can choose, 
or even decline to choose altogether. In the form of this 
detached bare consciousness he stands over against the 
essential reality as one which is merely there for him. 
He then has the reality qua essential reality within 
itself. In this bare consciousness the moments of the 
substance are taken to be not state-power and wealth, but 
thoughts, the thoughts of Good and Bad. But further, 
self-consciousness is a relation of his pure consciousness 
to his actual consciousness, of what is thought to the 
objective being; it is essentially Judgment. What is 
Good and what is Bad has already been brought out in 
the case of the two aspects of actual reality by determin- 
ing what the aspects primarily are; the one is state- 
power, the other wealth. But this first judgment, this 
first distinction of content, cannot be looked at as a 
" spiritual " judgment ; for in that first judgment the 
one side has been characterised as only the inherently 
existing or positive, and the other side as only 
the explicit self-existent and negative. But qua 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 503 

spiritual realities, each permeates both moments, per- 
vades both aspects ; and thus their nature is not ex- 
hausted in those specific characteristics [positive and 
negative]. The self-consciousness that has to do with 
them is self-complete, is in itself and for itself. It must, 
therefore, relate itself to each in that twofold form in 
which they appear; and by so doing, this nature of 
theirs, which consists in being self-estranged determin- 
ations, will come to light. 

Now self-consciousness takes that object to be good, 
and to exist per se, in which it finds itself ; and that 
to be bad when it finds the opposite of itself there. 
Goodness means its identity with objective reality, 
badness their disparity. At the same time what is for 
it good and bad, is per se good and bad ; because 
it is just that in which these two aspects of being per 
se, and of being for it are the same : it is the real 
indwelling soul of the objective facts, and the judgment 
is the evidence of its power within them, a power which 
makes them into what they are in themselves. What 
they are when spirit is actively related to them, their 
identity or non-identity with spirit, that is their real 
nature and the test of their true meaning, and not how 
they are identical or diverse taken immediately in them- 
selves apart from spirit, i.e. not their inherent being 
and self-existence in abstracto. The active relation of 
spirit to these moments, which are first put forward 
as objects to it and thereafter pass by its action into 
what is essential and inherent becomes at the same 
time their reflection into themselves, in virtue of 
which they obtain actual spiritual existence, and their 
spiritual meaning comes to light. But as their first 
immediate characteristic is distinct from the relation of 

504 Phenomenology of Mind 

spirit to them, the third determinate moment their 
own proper spirit is also distinguished from the 
second moment. Their second inherent nature (Das 
zweite Ansich derselben) their essentiality which comes 
to light through the relation of spirit to them 
must in the first instance turn out different from the 
immediate inherent nature ; for indeed this mediating 
process of spiritual activity puts in motion the im- 
mediate characteristic, and turns it into something 

As a result of this process, the self-contained con- 
scious mind doubtless finds now in the Power of the 
State its reality pure and simple, and its subsistence ; 
but it does not find its individuality as such ; it finds its 
inherent and essential being, but not what it is for 
itself. Rather, it finds there its action qua individual 
action rejected and denied, and subdued into obedience. 
The individual thus recoils before this power and turns 
back into himself ; it is the reality that suppresses 
him, and is the bad. For instead of being identical 
with him, that with which he is at one, it is something 
utterly in discordance with individuality. In contrast 
with this, Wealth and Riches are the good ; they tend 
to the general enjoyment, they are there simply to be 
disposed of, and they ensure for every one the conscious- 
ness of his particular self. Riches means in its very 
nature universal beneficence : if it refuses any benefit 
in a given case, and does not gratify every need, this 
is merely an accident which does not detract from its 
universal and necessary nature of imparting to every 
individual his share and being a thousand-handed 

These two judgments provide the ideas of goodness 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 505 

and badness with a content which is the reverse of what 
they had for us. Self-consciousness has up till now, 
however, been related to its objects only incompletely, 
viz. only according to the criterion of the self-existent. 
But consciousness is also real in its inherent nature, and 
has likewise to take this aspect for its point of view and 
criterion, and by so doing round off completely the 
judgment of self-conscious spirit. According to this 
aspect state-power expresses its essential nature : the 
power of the state is in part the quiet insistence of law, 
in part government and prescription, which appoints 
and regulates the particular processes of universal 
action. The one is the substance pure and simple, the 
other its action which animates and sustains itself and 
all individuals. The individual thus finds therein his 
ground and nature expressed, organised, and exercised. 
As against this, the individual, by the enjoyment of 
riches, does not get to know his own universal nature : 
he only gets a transitory consciousness and enjoyment 
of himself qua particular and self-existing, and discovers 
his discordance, his want of harmony with his own 
essential nature. The conceptions good and bad thus 
receive here a content the opposite of which they had 

These two ways of judging find each of them an 
identity and a disagreement. In the first case conscious- 
ness finds the power of the state out of agreement with it, 
and the enjoyment that came from wealth in accord 
with it ; while in the second case the reverse holds 
good. There is a twofold attainment of identity 
and a twofold form of disagreement : there is an 
opposite relation established towards both the essential 
realities. We must pass judgment on these different 

506 Phenomenology of Mind 

ways of judging as such ; to this end we have to 
apply the criterion already brought forward. The 
conscious relation where identity or agreement is 
found, is, according to this standard, the good ; that 
where want of agreement obtains, the bad. These two 
types of relation must henceforth be regarded as modes 
or forms of conscious existence. Conscious life, through 
taking up a different kind of relation, thereby becomes 
itself characterised as different, comes to be itself good 
or bad. It is not simply distinct in virtue of the fact 
that it took as its constitutive principle either existence 
for itself, or mere being in itself ; for both are 
equally essential moments of its life : that dual way 
of judging, above discussed, presented those principles 
as separated, and contained, therefore, merely abstract 
ways of judging. Concrete actual conscious life has 
within it both principles, and the distinction between 
them falls solely within its own nature, viz. inside the 
relation of itself to the real. 

This relation takes opposite forms ; in the one there 
is an active attitude towards state-power and wealth 
as to something with which it is in accord, in the other it 
is related to these realities as to something with which 
it is at variance. A conscious life which finds itself at 
one with them has the attribute of Nobility. In the 
case of the public authority of the state, it beholds 
what is in accord with itself, and sees that it has there 
its own nature pure and simple and the region for the 
exercise of its own powers, and takes up the position 
of open willing and obedient service in its interests, 
as well as that of inner reverence towards it. In the 
same way in the sphere of wealth, it sees that wealth 
secures for it the consciousness of self-existence, of 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 507 

realising the other essential aspect of its nature : hence 
it looks upon wealth likewise as something essential in 
relation to itself, acknowledges him from whence the 
enjoyment comes as a benefactor, and considers itself 
under a debt of obligation. 

The conscious life involved in the other relation, again, 
that of disagreement, has the attribute of Baseness. It 
remains at variance with both those essential elements. 
It looks upon the authoritative power of the state as a 
chain, as something suppressing its separate existence 
for its own sake, and hence hates the ruler, obeys only 
with secret malice, and stands ever ready to burst out 
in rebellion. It sees, too, in wealth, by which it attains 
to the enjoyment of its own independent existence, 
merely something discordant, or out of harmony with 
its permanent nature ; since through wealth it only gets 
a sense of its particular isolated existence and a con- 
sciousness of passing enjoyment, this type of mind 
loves wealth, but despises it, and, with the disappearance 
of enjoyment, of what is inherently evanescent, regards 
its relation to the man of wealth as having ceased too. 

These relations now express, in the first instance, a 
judgment, the determinate characterisation of what both 
those facts [state-power and wealth] are as objects for 
consciousness ; not as yet what they are in their 
complete objective nature (an und fur sich). The 
reflection which is presented in this judgment is partly 
at first for us [who are philosophising] an affirmation 
of the one characteristic along with the other, and 
hence is a simultaneous cancelling of both ; it is not 
yet the reflection of them for consciousness itself. 
Partly, again, they are at first immediate essential 
entities ; they have not become this nor is there in 

508 Phenomenology of Mind 

them consciousness of self : that for which they are is 
not yet their animating principle : they are predicates 
which are not yet themselves subject. On account 
of this separation, the entirety of the spiritual 
process of judgment also breaks asunder into two 
existent modes of consciousness, each of which has 
a one-sided character. Now, just as at the outset the 
indifference of the two aspects in the process of self- 
estrangement one of which was the inherent essential 
being of pure consciousness, viz. the determinate 
ideas of good and bad, the other their actual ex- 
istence in the form of state-power and wealth passed 
to the stage of being related the one to the other, 
passed to the level of judgment ; in the same way this 
external relation must be raised to the level of their 
inner unity, must become a relation of thought to 
actual reality. In this way the spirit animating both 
the forms of judgment will make its appearance. This 
takes place when judgment passes into inference, 
becomes the mediating process in which the middle 
term necessitating and connecting both sides of the 
judgment is brought forward. 

The noble type of consciousness, then, finds itself in 
the judgment related to state-power, in the sense 
that this power is indeed not a self as yet but at first 
is universal substance, in which however this form of 
mind feels its own essential nature to exist, is conscious of 
its own purpose and absolute content. By taking up a 
positive relation to this substance, it assumes a negative 
attitude towards its own special purposes, its par- 
ticular content and individual existence, and lets 
them disappear. This type of mind is the heroism of 
Service ; the virtue which sacrifices individual being 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 509 

to the universal, and thereby brings this into existence ; 
the type of personality which renounces possession and 
enjoyment, acts for the sake of the prevailing power, 
and becomes a concrete reality in this way. 

Through this process the universal becomes united 
and bound up with existence in general, just as the 
individual consciousness makes itself by this renuncia- 
tion essentially universal. That from which this con- 
sciousness alienates itself by submitting to serve is its 
consciousness immersed in mere existence : but the being 
alienated from itself is the inherent nature. By thus 
shaping its life in accord with what is universal, it 
acquires a Reverence for itself, and gets reverence 
from others. The power of the state, however, which 
to start with was merely universal in thought, the 
inherent nature, becomes through this very process 
universal in fact, becomes actual power. It is actually 
so only in getting that actual obedience which it obtains 
through self-consciousness judging it to be the essential 
reality, and through the self being freely surrendered 
to it. The result of this action, binding the essential 
reality and self indissolubly together, is to produce a 
twofold actuality, a self that is truly actualised, and a 
state-power whose authority is accepted as true. 

Owing to this alienation [implied in the idea of 
sacrifice] state-power, however, is not yet a self- 
consciousness that knows itself as state-power. It 
is merely the law of the state, its inherent prin- 
ciple, that is accepted ; the state-power has as yet 
no particular will. For as yet the self-consciousness 
rendering service has not alienated its pure self- 
hood, and made it an animating influence in the 
exercise of state-power ; the serving attitude merely 

510 Phenomenology of Mind 

gives the state its bare being, sacrifices merely 
its existence to the state, not its essential nature. 
This type of self-consciousness passes thus for some- 
thing that is in conformity with the essential nature, 
and is acknowledged and accepted because of its in- 
herent reality. The others find their essential nature 
operative in it, but not their independent existence 
find their thinking, their pure consciousness fulfilled, 
but not their specific individuality. It has a value, 
therefore, in their thoughts, and is honoured accord- 
ingly. Such a type is the haughty vassal ; he is active 
in the interests of the state-power, so far as the latter 
is not a personal will [a monarch] but merely an 
essential will. His self-importance lies only in the 
honour thus acquired, only in the general opinion think- 
ing of his concern for the essential will, not in an indi- 
viduality gratefully thinking of his services ; for he has 
not helped this individuality [the monarch] to get inde- 
pendence. The language he would use, were he to 
occupy a direct relation to the personal will of the 
state-power, which thus far has not arisen, would take 
the form of " counsel " imparted in the interests of 
what is the best for all. 

State-power has, therefore, still at this stage no 
will to meet the advice, and does not decide between 
the different opinions as to what is universally the best. 
It is not yet governmental control, and on that account 
is in truth not yet real state-power. Individual self- 
existence, the possession of an individual will that 
is not yet qua will surrendered, is the inner separa- 
tist spiritual principle of the various classes and 
stations, a spirit which keeps for its own behoof 
what suits itself best, in spite of its words about 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 511 

the universal best, and this clap-trap about what 
is universally the best tends to be made a substi- 
tute for action bringing it about. The sacrifice of 
existence, which takes place in the case of service, 
is indeed complete when it goes so far as death. But 
the constant danger of a death which the individual 
survives, leaves a specific kind of existence, and hence 
a particular self-reference still untouched ; and this 
makes the counsel imparted in the interests of the 
universally best ambiguous and open to suspicion ; 
it really means, in point of fact, retaining the claim 
to a private opinion of his own, and a separate individual 
will as against the power of the state. Its relation to 
the latter is, therefore, still one of discordance ; and 
it possesses the characteristic found in the case of the 
base type of consciousness it is ever at the point of 
breaking out into rebellion. 

This contradiction, which has to be got rid of, in 
this form of discordance and opposition between the 
independence of the individual conscious life and 
the universality belonging to state-authority, contains 
at the same time another aspect. That renunciation 
of existence, when it is complete, as it is in death, 
is one that does not revert to the conscious life that 
makes the sacrifice ; it simply is : this conscious life 
does not survive the renunciation and exist by itself as 
an objective fact (an und fur sich), it merely passes away 
in the unreconciled opposition. That alone is true 
sacrifice of individuality, therefore, in which it gives itself 
up as completely as in the case of death, but all the 
while preserves itself in the renunciation. It comes 
thereby to be actually what it is implicitly, the identical 
unity of self with its opposed self. In this way, by the 

512 Phenomenology of Mind 

inner withdrawn and separatist spiritual principle, the 
self as such, coming forward and abrogating itself, the 
state-power becomes ipso facto raised into a proper self 
of its own ; without this alienation of self the deeds of 
honour, the actions of the noble type of consciousness, 
and the counsels which its insight reveals, would con- 
tinue to maintain the ambiguous character which, as 
we saw, kept that secret reserve of private intention 
and self-will, in spite of its overt pretensions. 

This estrangement, however, takes place in Language, 
in words alone, and language assumes here its peculiar 
role. Both in the sphere of the general social order 
(Sittlichkeit), where language conveys laws and com- 
mands, and in the sphere of actual life, where it ap- 
pears as conveying advice, the content of what it 
expresses is the essential reality, and language is the form 
of that essential content. Here, however, it takes 
the form in which qua language it exists to be its con- 
tent, and possesses authority, qua spoken word ; it is 
the power of utterance qua utterance which, just in 
speaking, performs what has to be performed. For 
it is the existence of a pure self qua self ; in speech 
the particular self-existent self-consciousness comes as 
such into existence, so that its particular individuality 
is something for others. Ego qua this particular pure 
ego is non-existent otherwise ; in every other mode of 
expression it is absorbed in some concrete actuality, 
and appears in a shape from which it can withdraw ; 
it turns reflectively back into itself, away from its act, as 
well as from its physiognomic expression, and leaves 
such an incomplete existence, (in which there is always 
at once too much as well as too little), lying soul- 
less behind, Speech, however, contains this ego in its 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 513 

purity ; it alone expresses I, qua self. Its existence in 
this case is, qua existence, a form of objectivity which has 
in it the true nature of existence. Ego is this particular 
ego, but at the same time universal ; its appearing 
is ipso facto and at once the alienation and disappear- 
ance of this particular ego, and in consequence its 
remaining all the while universal. The I, that ex- 
presses itself, is apprehended as an ego ; it is a kind 
of infection, in virtue of which it establishes at once a 
unity with those who are aware of it, a spark that 
kindles a universal consciousness of self. That it is 
perceived as a fact by others means eo ipso that 
its existence is itself dying away : this its otherness 
is taken back into itself ; and its existence lies just in 
this, that, qua self-conscious Now, as it exists, it has 
no subsistence and that it subsists just through its 
disappearance. This disappearance is, therefore, itself 
ipso facto its continuance ; it is its own cognition of 
itself, and its knowing itself as something that has 
passed into another self that has been perceived and 
apprehended and is universal. 

Spirit maintains this form of reality here, because 
the extremes, too, whose unity spirit is, have directly 
the character of being realities each on its own 
account. Their unity is disintegrated into rigid as- 
pects, each of which is an actual object for the 
other, and each is excluded from the other. The 
unity, therefore, appears in the role of a mediating 
term, which is excluded and distinguished from the 
separated reality of the two sides ; it has, therefore, 
itself the actual character of something objective, 
apart, and distinguished from its aspects, and objective 
for them, i.e. the unity is an existent objective fact. 


514 Phenomenology of Mind 

The spiritual substance comes as such into existence only 
when it has been able to take as its aspects those self- 
consciousnesses, which know this pure self to be a reality 
claiming immediate validity, and therein immediately 
know, too, that they are such realities merely through 
the process of alienation. Through that pure self 
the moments of substance get the transparency of a 
self-knowing category, and become clarified so far as 
to be moments of spirit ; through the mediating process 
spirit comes to exist in spiritual form. Spirit in this way 
is the mediating term, presupposing those extremes 
and produced through their existence ; but it is also 
the spiritual whole breaking out between them, 
which sunders its self into them, and creates each 
solely in virtue of that contact with the whole which 
belongs to its very principle. The fact that both 
extremes are from the start and in their very nature 
transcended and disintegrated brings out their unity; 
and this is the process which fuses both together, inter- 
changes their characteristic features, and binds them 
together, and does so in each extreme. This mediating 
process consequently actualises the principle of each 
of the two extremes, or makes what each is inherently 
in itself its controlling and moving spirit. 

Both extremes, the state-authority and the noble 
type of consciousness, are disintegrated by this latter. 
In state-power, the two sides are the abstract universal 
which is obeyed, and the individual will existing on its 
own account, which, however, does not yet belong to 
the universal itself. In nobility, the two sides are 
the obedience in giving up existence, or the inherent 
maintenance of self-respect and honour, and, on the 
other hand, a self which exists purely for its own sake 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 515 

and whose self-existence is not yet done away with, 
the self-will that remains always in reserve. These 
two moments into which the extremes are refined, 
and which, therefore, find expression in language, 
are the abstract universal, which is called the "universal 
best/' and the pure self which by rendering service 
abrogated the life of absorption in the manifold variety 
of existence. Both in principle are the same ; for > 
pure self is just the abstract universal, and hence their 
unity acts as their mediating term. But the self is, to 
begin with, actual only in consciousness as one extreme, 
while the inherent nature (Ansich) is actualised in 
state-authority as the other extreme. That state-power 
not merely in the form of honour but in reality should 
be transferred to it, is lacking in the case of conscious- 
ness; while in the case of state-authority there is 
lacking the fact that it was obeyed not merely as a 
so-called universal best, but as will, in other words, 
as state-power which is the self regulating and de- 
ciding. The unity of the principle in which state- 
power still remains, and into which consciousness 
has been refined, becomes real in this mediating pro- 
cess, and this exists qua mediating term in the simple 
form of speech. All the same, the aspects of this 
unity are not yet present in the form of two selves 
as selves ; for state-power comes first to be inspired with 
active self-hood. This language is, therefore, not yet 
spiritual existence in the sense in which spirit com- 
pletely knows and expresses itself. 

Nobility of consciousness, because the extreme form 
of self, assumes the role of creating the language by 
which the separate factors related are formed into 
active spiritual wholes. The heroism of dumb service 

516 Phenomenology of Mind 

passes into the heroism of flattery. This reflection 
of service in express language constitutes the self- 
conscious self-disintegrating mediating term, and re- 
flects back into itself not only its own special extreme, 
but reflects the extreme of universal power back into 
this self too, and makes that power, which is at first 
implicit, into an independent self-existence, and gives 
it the individualistic form of self-consciousness. Through 
this process the indwelling spirit of this state-power 
comes into existence that of an unlimited monarch. 
It is unlimited ; the language of flattery raises 
power into transparent, clearly-acknowledged univer- 
sality; this moment being the product of language, 
of transparent spiritualised existence, is a purified 
form of self -identity. It is a monarch; for flattering 
language likewise puts individualistic self-consciousness 
on its pinnacle; what conscious nobility abandons 
as regards this aspect of pure spiritual unity is 
the pure essential nature of its thought, its ego 
itself. The naked particularity of its ego, which 
otherwise is only imagined, flattery brings out more 
definitely into relief as an actual existence, by giving 
the monarch a proper name. For it is in the name 
alone that the distinction of the individual from every 
one else is not imagined but is actually made by all. 
By having a name the individual passes for a pure 
individual not merely in his own consciousness of him- 
self, but in the consciousness of all. By its name, 
then, the monarch becomes absolutely detached from 
every one, exclusive and solitary, and in virtue of it is 
unique as an atom that cannot commute any part of its 
essential nature, and has nothing like itself. This name 
is thus its reflection into itself, or is the actual reality 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 517 

which universal power has inherently within itself : 
through the name the power is the monarch.* Con- 
versely he, this particular individual, thereby knows 
himself, this individual self, to be universal power, 
knows that the nobles not only are ready and pre- 
pared for the service of the state-authority, but are 
grouped as an ornamental setting round the throne, 
and that they are for ever telling him who sits thereon 
what he is. 

The language of their professed praise is in this way 
the spirit that unites together the two extremes in 
the case of state-power itself. This language reflects 
in itself the abstract power and gives to it the 
moment peculiar to the other extreme, an isolated 
self of its own, willing and deciding on its own 
account, and consequently gives it self-conscious exist- 
ence. Or again, by that means this self-conscious 
particular being comes to be aware of itself for certain 
as the supreme authority. This power is the central 
focal self into which, through relinquishing their own 
inner certainty of self, the many separate centres of self- 
hood are fused together into one. 

Since, however, this proper spirit of state-power 
subsists by getting its realisation and its nourishment 
from the homage of action and thought rendered by 
the nobility, it is a form of independence in internal 
self-estrangement. The noble, the extreme form of 
self -existence, keeps back the other extreme of actual 
universality, and keeps it back for the universality 
of thought which was relinquished. The power of 
the state has passed over to and fallen upon the noble. 
It falls to the noble primarily to make the state- 

* Cp. " L'etat c'est moi." 

518 Phenomenology of Mind 

authority truly effective : in his existence as a self on 
his own account, that authority ceases to be the inert 
being it appeared to be qua extreme of abstract and 
merely implicit reality. 

Looked at per se, state-power reflected back into 
itself, or becoming spiritual, means nothing else than 
that it has come to be a moment of self-conscious life, 
i.e. is only by being sublated. Consequently it is now 
the real in the sense of something whose spiritual mean- 
ing lies in being sacrificed and squandered ; it exists 
in the sense of wealth. It continues, no doubt, to 
subsist at the same time as a form of reality over 
against wealth, into which in principle it is forever 
passing ; but it is a reality, whose inherent principle 
is this very process of passing over owing to the 
service and the reverence rendered to it, and by 
which it arises into its opposite, into the condi- 
tion of relinquishing its power. Thus from its point 
of view (Fursich) the special and peculiar self, which 
constitutes its will, becomes, by the self-abasement of 
the nobility, a universal that renounces itself, becomes 
completely an isolated particular, a mere accident, 
which is the prey of every stronger will. What remains 
to it of the universally acknowledged and incommunic- 
able independence is the empty name. 

While, then, the nobility may adopt the attitude of 
something that can in a similar way stand related to the 
universal power, its true nature lies rather in retaining 
its own separateness of being when rendering its service, 
but, in what is properly the abnegation of its person- 
ality, its true being lies in actually cancelling and rending 
in pieces the universal substance. Its spirit is the 
attitude of thoroughgoing discordance (inequality) : 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 519 

on one side it retains its own will in the honour it 
receives, on the other hand it gives up its will : in part 
it alienates its inner nature from itself, and arrives 
at the extreme of discordance with itself, in part it 
subdues the universal substance to itself, and puts this 
entirely at variance with itself. It is obvious that, as a 
result, its own specific nature, which kept it distinct 
from the so-called base type of mind, disappears, and 
with that this latter type of mind too. The base type 
has gained its end, that of subordinating universal 
power to self-centred isolation of self. 

Endowed in this way with universal power, self- 
consciousness exists in the form of universal beneficence : 
or, from another point of view, universal power is wealth 
that again is itself an object for consciousness. For 
wealth is here taken to be the universal put in subjec- 
tion, which, however, through this first transcendence, 
is not yet absolutely returned into the self. Self has 
not as yet its self as such for object, but the universal 
essential reality in a state of sublation. Since this 
object has first come into being, the relation of con- 
sciousness towards it is immediate, and consciousness 
has thus not yet set forth its want of congruity with 
this object: we have here the nobility preserving its 
own self-centred existence in the universal that has 
become non-essential, and hence acknowledging the 
object and feeling grateful to its benefactor. 

Wealth has within it from the first the aspect of self- 
existence (Fursichseiri). It is not the self-less universal 
of state-power, or the unconstrained simplicity of the 
natural life of spirit ; it is state-power as holding its 
own by effort of will in opposition to a will that wants 
to get the mastery over it and get enjoyment out of it. 

520 Phenomenology of Mind 

But since wealth has merely the form of being essen- 
tial, this one-sided self-existent life, which has no 
being in itself, which is rather the sublation of inherent 
being, is the return of the individual into himself to 
find no essential reality in his enjoyment. It thus itself 
needs to be given animation ; and its reflective process 
of bringing this about consists in its becoming some- 
thing real in itself as well as for itself, instead of 
being merely for itself ; wealth, which is the sublated 
essential reality, has to become the essentially real. 
In this way it preserves its own spiritual principle in 

It will be sufficient here to describe the content of 
this process since we have already explained at length 
its form. Nobility, then, stands here in relation not 
to the object in the general sense of something essen- 
tial ; what is alien to it is self-existence itself. It finds 
itself face to face with its own self as such in a state of 
alienation, as an objective solid actuality which it has 
to take from the hands of another self-centred being, 
another equally fixed and solid entity. Its object is 
self-existence, i.e. its own being : but by being an object 
this is at the same time ipso facto an alien reality, 
which is a self-centred being on its own account, has a 
will of its own ; i.e. it sees its self under the power of 
an alien will on which it depends for the concession of 
its self. 

From each particular aspect self-consciousness can 
abstract, and for that reason, even when under 
an obligation to one of these aspects, retains the 
recognition and inherent validity of self-consciousness 
as an independent reality. Here, however, it finds 
that, as regards its own ego, its own proper and 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 521 

peculiar actuality, it is outside itself and belongs to 
an other, finds its personality as such dependent on 
the chance personality of another, on the accident of a 
moment, of an arbitrary caprice, or some other sort of 
irrelevant circumstance. 

In the sphere of legal right, what lies in the power 
of the objective being appears as an incidental content, 
from which it is possible to make abstraction ; and the 
governing power possessed does not affect the self as 
such; rather this self is recognised. But here the self sees 
its self-certainty as such to be the most unreal thing of 
all, finds its pure personality to be absolutely without 
the character of personality. The sense of its grati- 
tude is, therefore, a state in which it feels profoundly 
this condition of being utterly outcast, and feels also 
the deepest revolt as well. Since the pure ego sees itself 
outside self, and torn in sunder, everything that gives 
continuity and universality, everything that bears the 
name of law, good, and right, is thereby torn to pieces 
at the same time, and goes to wreck and ruin : all 
identity and concord break up, for what holds sway is 
the purest discord and disunion, what was absolutely 
essential is absolutely unessential, what has a being on 
its own account has its being outside itself : the pure 
ego itself is absolutely disintegrated. 

Thus since this consciousness receives back from 
the sphere of wealth the objective form of being a 
separate self-existence, and cancels that objective 
character, it is in principle not only, like the preced- 
ing reflexion, not completed, but is consciously un- 
satisfied : the reflexion, since the self receives itself as an 
objective fact, is the immediate contradiction that has 
taken root in the pure ego as such. Qua self, however, 

522 Phenomenology of Mind 

it at the same time ipso facto rises above this contradic- 
tion ; it is absolutely elastic, and again cancels this 
sublation of itself, repudiates this repudiation of itself , 
wherein its self-existence is made to be something alien 
to it, revolts against this acceptance of itself and in the 
very reception of itself is self-existent. 

Since, then, the attitude of this type of consciousness 
is bound up with this condition of utter disintegration, 
the distinction constituting its spiritual nature that 
of being nobility and opposed to baseness falls away 
and both aspects are the same. 

The spirit of well-doing that characterises the action 
of wealth may, further, be distinguished from that of 
the conscious life accepting the benefit it confers, and 
deserves special consideration. 

The spirit animating wealth had an unreal insubstan- 
tial independence; wealth was something to be given 
up. By communicating what it has, however, it passes 
into something essential and inherent ; since it fulfils its 
nature in sacrificing itself, it cancels the aspect of par- 
ticularity, of merely seeking enjoyment for one's own 
particular self, and, being thus sublated qua particular, 
the type of spirit here is universality or essentially real. 

What it imparts, what it gives to others, is self- 
existence. It does not hand itself over, however, as a 
natural self-less object, as the frankly and freely offered 
condition of unconscious life, but as self-conscious, as 
a reality keeping hold of itself : it is not like the power 
of an inorganic element which is felt by the conscious- 
ness receiving its force to be inherently transitory ; it 
is the power over self, a power aware that it is indepen- 
dent and voluntary, and knowing at the same time that 
what it dispenses becomes the self of some one else. 

Culture and Us Sphere of Reality 523 

Wealth thus shares reprobation with its clientele ; 
but in place of revolt appears arrogance. For in 
one aspect it knows, as well as the self it benefits, 
that its self-existence is a matter of accident ; but 
itself is this accident in whose power personality is 
placed. In this mood of arrogance which thinks it 
has secured through a dole an alien ego -nature, 
and thereby brought its inmost being into submis- 
sion it overlooks the secret rebellion of the other 
self : it overlooks the fact of all bonds being com- 
pletely cast aside, overlooks this pure disintegra- 
tion, in which, the self-identity of what exists for 
its own sake having become sheer internal discordance, 
all oneness and concord, all subsistence is rent asunder, 
and in which in consequence the thoughts and inten- 
tions of the benefactor are the first to be shattered. 
It stands directly in front of this abyss, cleaving 
it to the innermost, this bottomless pit, where every 
solid base and stay have vanished : and in the depths 
it sees nothing but a common thing, a display of whims 
on its part, a chance result of its own caprice. Its 
spirit consists in quite unreal imagining, in being super- 
ficiality forsaken of all true spiritual import. 

Just as self-consciousness had its own manner of 
speech in dealing with state-power, in other words, just 
as spirit took the form of expressly and actually mediat- 
ing between these two extremes, self-consciousness has 
also a mode of speech in dealing with wealth ; but 
still more when in revolt does it adopt a language of 
its own. The form of utterance which supplies wealth 
with the sense of its own essential significance, and 
thereby makes it master of itself, is likewise the language 
of flattery, but of ignoble flattery ; for what it gives 

524 Phenomenology of Mind 

out to be the essential reality, it knows to be a reality 
without an inherent nature of its own, to be something 
at the mercy of another. The language of flattery, 
however, as already remarked, is that of a one-sided 
spirit. To be sure its constituent elements are, on the 
one hand, a self moulded by service into a shape where 
it is reduced to bare existence, and, on the other, the 
inherent reality of the power dominating the self. 
Yet the bare principle, the pure conception, in which 
the mere self and the inherent reality (Ansich), that 
pure ego and this pure reality or thought, are one 
and the same thing this conceptual unity of the 
two aspects between which the reciprocity takes effect, 
is not consciously felt when this language is used. 
The object is consciously still the inherent reality 
in opposition to the self; in other words, the object is 
not for consciousness at the same time its own proper 
self as such. 

The language expressing the condition of disintegra- 
tion, wherein spiritual life is rent asunder, is, however, 
the perfect form of utterance for this entire stage of 
spiritual culture and development, the formative process 
of moulding self-consciousness (Bildung), and expresses 
the spirit in which it most truly exists. This self-con- 
sciousness, which finds befitting the rebellion that 
repudiates its own repudiation, is eo ipso absolute self- 
identity in absolute disintegration, the pure activity 
of mediating pure self-consciousness with itself. It 
is the oneness expressed in the identical judgment, 
where one and the same personality is subject as well 
as predicate. But this identical judgment is at the 
same time the infinite judgment ; for this personality 
is absolutely split in two, and subject and predicate 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 525 

are entities utterly indifferent one to the other, which 
have nothing to do with each other, with no necessary 
unity, so much so that each has the power of an in- 
dependent personality of its own. What exists as 
a self on its own account has for its object its 
own self-existence, which is object in the sense of an 
absolute other, and yet at the same time directly in 
the form of itself itself in the sense of an other, not 
as if this had an other content, for the content is the 
same self in the form of an absolute opposite, with 
an existence completely all its own and indifferent. 

We have, then, here the spirit of this real world 
of formative culture, conscious of its own nature as 
it truly is, and conscious of its ultimate and essential 
principle (Begriff). 

This type of spiritual life is the absolute and universal 
inversion of reality and thought, their entire estrange- 
ment the one from the other ; it is pure culture. What 
is found out in this sphere is that neither the concrete 
realities, state-power and wealth, nor their determin- 
ate conceptions, good and bad, nor the consciousness 
of good and bad (the consciousness that is noble and 
the consciousness that is base) possess real truth; it 
is found that all these moments are inverted and trans- 
muted the one into the other, and each is the opposite 
of itself. 

The universal power, which is the substance, 
since it gains a spiritual nature peculiarly its own 
through the principle of individuality, accepts the 
possession of a self of its own merely as a name by 
which it is described, and, even in being actual power, 
is really so powerless as to have to sacrifice itself. 
But this self-less reality given over to another, this. 

526 Phenomenology of Mind 

self that is turned into a thing, is in fact the return 
of the reality into itself ; it is a self-existence that is 
there for its own sake, the existential form of spirit. 

The principles belonging to these realities, the thoughts 
of good and bad, are similarly transmuted and reversed 
in this process; what is characterised as good is bad, 
and vice versa. The consciousness of each of these 
moments by itself, the conscious types judged as noble 
and base these are rather in their real truth simi- 
larly the reverse of what these specific forms should be ; 
nobility is base and repudiated, just as what is repudiated 
as base turns round into the nobleness that characterises 
the most highly developed form of free self-conscious- 

Looked at formally, everything is likewise in its 
external aspects the reverse of what it is internally 
for itself ; and again it is not really and in truth what 
it is for itself, but something else than it wants to be; 
self-existence on its own account is, strictly speaking, 
the loss of self, and alienation of self is really self- 

The state of things brought about here, then, is 
that all moments execute justice on one another all 
round, each is just as much in a condition of inherent 
alienation as it fancies itself in its opposite, and in this 
way reverses its nature. 

Spirit truly objective, however, is just this unity 
of absolutely separate moments, and in fact comes 
into existence as the common ground, the mediating 
agency, just through the independent reality of these 
self-less extremes. Its very existence lies in universal 
talk and depreciatory judgment rending and tearing 
everything, before which all those moments are broken 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 527 

up that are meant to signify something real and to 
stand for actual members of the whole, and which at 
the same time plays with itself this game of self-dis- 
solution. This judging and talking is, therefore, the 
real truth, which cannot be got over, while it over- 
powers everything it is that which in this real world 
is alone truly of importance. Each part of this world 
comes to find there its spirit expressed, or gets to be 
spoken of with spirit and finds said of it what it is. 

The honest * soul takes each moment as a permanent 
and essential fact, and is an uncultivated unreflective 
condition, which does not think and does not know that 
it is just doing the very inverse. The distraught and 
disintegrated soul is, however, aware of inversion; it 
is, in fact, a condition of absolute inversion : the con- 
ceptual principle predominates there, brings together 
into a single .unity the thoughts that lie far apart in 
the case of the honest soul, and the language clothing 
its meaning is, therefore, full of esprit and wit 

The content uttered by spirit and uttered about 
itself is, then, the inversion and perversion of all con- 
ceptions and realities, a universal deception of itself 
and of others. The shamelessness manifested in stating 
this deceit is just on that account the greatest truth. 
This style of speech is the madness of the musician " who 
piled and mixed up together some thirty airs, Italian, 
French, tragic, comic, of all sorts and kinds ; now, in a 
deep undertone, he descended to the depths of hell, then, 
contracting his throat to a high, piping falsetto, he rent 
the vault of the skies, raving and soothing, haughtily 

* v. p. 402 ff ? 

528 Phenomenology of Mind 

imperious and mockingly j eering by turns. ' ' * The placid 
soulf that in simple honesty of heart takes the music 
of the good and true to consist in harmony of 
sound and uniformity of tone, i.e. in a melodious 
chord, regards this style of expression as a fickle 
fantasy of wisdom and folly, a melee of so much skill 
and low cunning, composed of ideas as likely to be right 
as wrong, with as complete a perversion of sentiment, 
with as much consummate shamefulness in it, as abso- 
lute frankness, candour, and truth. It is not able 
to refrain from bringing out the sound of every note, 
and running up and down the whole gamut of feeling, 
from the depths of contempt and repudiation to the 
highest pitch of admiration and stirring emotion. 
A vein of the ridiculous will be diffused through the 
latter, which takes away from their nature " ; the 
former will find in their very candour a strain of 
atoning reconcilement, will find in their shuddering 
depths the all-powerful qualities which give spirit a 

If we consider, by way of contrast to the mode of 
utterance indulged in by this self-transparent distracted 
type of mind, the language adopted by that simple, 
placid consciousness of the good and the true, we find 
that it can only speak in monosyllables when face to 
face with the frank and self-conscious eloquence of the 
mind developed under the influence of culture ; for 
it can say nothing to the latter that the latter does 
not know and say. If it gets beyond speaking in 
monosyllables, then it says the same thing that the 
cultivated mind expresses, but in doing so commits, 

* Diderot, Rameau's Neffe. 

t The " philosopher " in Diderot's Dialogue. 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 529 

in addition, the folly of imagining that it is saying 
something new, something different. Its very syllables, 
"disgraceful, " "base," are this folly already, for the other 
says them of itself. This latter type of mind perverts 
in its mode of utterance everything that sounds the 
same, because this self-sameness is merely an abstraction, 
but in its actual reality is intrinsically and inherently 
perversion. On the other hand, again, the unsophisti- 
cated mind takes under its protection the good and 
the noble (i.e. what retains its identity of meaning in 
being objectively expressed), and takes care of it in the 
only way here possible that is to say, the good must 
not lose its value because it may be linked with what is 
bad or mingled with it, for to be thus associated with 
badness is its condition and necessity, and the wisdom 
of nature lies in this fact. Yet this unsophisticated 
mind, while it intended to contradict, has merely, 
in doing so, gathered into a trifling form the mean- 
ing of what spirit said, and put it in a manner which, 
by turning the opposite of noble and good into the 
necessary condition of noble and good, means, in an 
unthinking way, to state something else than that 
the so-called noble and good is by its very nature the 
reverse of itself, or that what is bad is, conversely, 
something excellent. 

If the naive consciousness makes up for this barren, 
soulless idea by the concrete reality of what is excellent, 
when it produces an example of what is excellent, 
whether in the form of a fictitious case or a true story, 
and thus shows it to be not an empty name, but an 
actual fact, then the universal reality of perverted 
action stands in sharp contrast to the entire real world, 
where that example constitutes merely something 


530 Phenomenology of Mind 

quite isolated and particular, merely an espece, a sort 
of thing. And to represent the existence of the good 
and the noble as an isolated particular anecdote, 
whether fictitious or true, is the bitterest thing that 
can be said about it. 

Finally, should the naive mind require this entire 
sphere of perversion to be dissolved and broken up, it 
cannot ask the individual to withdraw out of it, for even 
Diogenes in his tub [with his pretence of withdrawal] 
is under the sway of that perversion ; and to ask this 
of the particular individual is to ask him to do pre- 
cisely what is taken to be bad, viz. to care for the self as 
particular. But if the demand to withdraw is directed 
at the universal individual, it cannot mean that reason 
must again give up the culture and development of 
spiritual conscious life which has been reached, that 
reason should let the extensive riches of its moments 
sink back into the naivete of natural emotion, and 
revert and approximate to the wild condition of the 
animal consciousness, which is also called the natural 
state of innocence. On the contrary, the demand for 
this dissolution when addressed to the spirit realised in 
culture can only mean that it must qua spirit return 
out of its confusion into itself, and win for itself a 
still higher level of conscious life. 

In point of fact, however, spirit has already accom- 
plished this result. To be conscious of its own distraught 
and torn condition and to express itself accordingly, 
this is to pour scornful laughter on its existence, on 
the confusion pervading the whole and on itself as well : 
it is at the same time this whole confusion dying away 
and yet apprehending itself to be doing so. This 
self-apprehending vanity of all reality and of every 

Culture and its Sphere of Reality 531 

definite principle reflects the real world into itself in a 
twofold form : in the particular self of consciousness 
qua particular, and in the pure universality of con- 
sciousness, in thought. According to the one aspect, 
mind thus come to itself has directed its gaze into the 
world of actual reality, and makes that reality its own 
purpose and its immediate content : from the other 
side, its gaze is in part turned solely on itself and 
against that world of reality, in part turned away from 
it towards heaven, and its object is the region beyond 
the world. 

In respect of that return into self the vanity of all 
things is its own peculiar vanity, it is itself vain. It is 
self existing for its own sake, a self that knows not only 
how to sum up and chatter about everything, but with 
esprit and wit to hit off the contradiction that lies 
in the heart of the all so solid seeming reality, and the 
fixed determinations which judgment sets up ; and that 
contradiction is their real truth. Looked at formally it 
finds everything estranged from itself, self-existence 
is cut off from essential being (Ansich), what is 
intended and the purpose are separated from real 
truth, and from both again existence for another, what 
is ostensibly put forward is cut off from the proper 
meaning, the real fact, the true intention. 

It thus knows exactly how to put each moment in 
antithesis to every other, knows in short how to express 
correctly the perversion that dominates all of them : 
it knows better than each what each is, no matter 
how it is constituted. Since it apprehends what 
is substantial from the side of that disunion and 
contradiction of elements combined within its nature, 
but not from the side of this union itself, it under- 

532 Phenomenology of Mind 

stands very well how to pass judgment on this 
substantial reality, but has lost the capacity of truly 
grasping it. 

This vanity needs at the same time the vanity of all 
things, in order to get from them consciousness of itself ; 
it therefore itself creates this vanity, and is the soul 
that supports it. State-power and wealth are the 
supreme purposes of its strenuous exertion, it is aware 
that through renunciation and sacrifice it is moulded 
into universal shape, that it attains universality, and 
in possessing universality finds general recognition and 
acceptance : state-power and wealth are the real and 
actually acknowledged sources of power. But its gain- 
ing acceptance thus is itself vain, and just by the fact 
that it gets the mastery over them it knows them to be 
not real by themselves, knows rather itself to be the 
power within them, and them to be vain and empty. 
That in possessing them it thus itself is able to stand 
apart from and outside them, this is what it expresses 
in spirited languages ; and to express this is, therefore, 
its supreme interest, and the true meaning of the whole 
process. In such utterance this self, in the form of 
a pure self not associated with or bound by determina- 
tions derived either from reality or thought, comes 
consciously to be a spiritual entity having a truly 
universal significance and value. It is the condition in 
which the nature of all relationships is rent asunder, and 
it is the conscious rending of them all. But only by self- 
consciousness being roused to revolt does it know its own 
peculiar torn and shattered condition ; and in its know- 
ing this it has ipso facto risen above that condition. In 
that state of self-conscious vanity all substantial content 
comes to have a negative significance, which can no 

Culture and 'its Sphere of Reality 533 

longer be taken in a positive sense. The positive object 
is merely the pure ego itself ; and the consciousness 
that is rent in sunder is inherently and essentially this 
pure self-identity of self-consciousness returned to 


The spiritual condition of self-alienation exists in the 
sphere of culture as a fact. But since this whole has 
become estranged from itself, there lies beyond this 
sphere the nonactual region of pure consciousness, of 
thought. Its content consists of what has been reduced 
purely to thought, its absolute element is thinking. 
Since, however, thinking is in the first instance the 
element of this sphere, consciousness has merely these 
thoughts, but it does not as yet think them or does not 
know that they are thoughts : to consciousness they 
appear in the form of presentations, they are objects 
in the form of ideas. For it comes out of the sphere 
of actuality into that of pure consciousness, but is 
itself still to all intents and purposes in the sphere 
of actuality with the determinateness that implies. 
The conscious state of being rent and torn to pieces is 
still essentially and inherently the self-identity of 
pure consciousness not as a fact that itself is aware 
of but only as presented to us who are considering its 
condition. It has thus not as yet completed within 
itself the process of rising above this condition, it is 
simply there ; and it still has within itself the opposite 

* The contrast between these two elements is found both in the pre- 
Reformation period and in the eighteenth century period ; in the latter 
the contrast assumes perhaps its acutest form. 


Belief and Pure Insight 535 

principle by which it is conditioned, without as yet 
having become master of that principle through a 
mediating process. Hence the essential content of its 
thought is not taken to be an essential object merely 
in the form of abstract immanence (Ansich}, but in the 
form of a common object, an object that has merely 
been elevated into another element, without having 
lost the character of an object that is not constituted 
by thought. 

It is essentially distinct from the immanent nature 
which constitutes the essential being of the stoic type 
of consciousness. The significant factor for Stoicism 
was merely the form of thought as such, which has 
any content foreign to it that is drawn from reality. 
In the case of the consciousness just described, 
however, the form of thought is not the significant 
element. Similarly it is essentially distinct from the 
inherent principle of the virtuous type of conscious life ; 
here the essential fact stands, no doubt, in a relation 
to reality ; it is the essence of reality itself : but it 
is no more than an unrealised essence of it. In 
the above type of consciousness the essence, although 
no doubt beyond reality, stands all the same for an 
actual real essence. In the same way, the inherently 
right and good which reason as lawgiver establishes, 
and the universal operating when consciousness tests 
and examines laws neither of these has the character 
of actual reality. 

Hence while pure thought fell within the sphere of 
spiritual culture as an aspect of the estrangement 
characteristic of this sphere, as the standard in fact 
for judging abstract good and abstract bad, it has 
become enriched, by having gone through the process 

536 Phenomenology of Mind 

of the whole, with the element of reality and thereby 
with content. This reality of its essential being, how- 
ever, is at the same time merely a reality of pure 
consciousness, not of concrete actual consciousness : 
it is no doubt lifted into the element of thought, but 
this concrete consciousness does not yet take it for a 
thought ; it is beyond the reality peculiar to this con- 
sciousness, for it means flight from the latter. 

In the form in which Religion here appears 
for it is religion obviously that we are speaking 
about as the belief which belongs to the realm 
of culture, religion does not yet appear as it is truly 
and completely (an und fur sick). It has already 
come before us in other phases, viz. as the un- 
happy consciousness, as a form of conscious process 
with no substantial content in it. So, too, in the 
case of the ethical substance, it appeared as a belief 
in the nether-world. But a consciousness of departed 
spirits is, strictly speaking, not belief, not the inner 
essence subsisting in the element of pure consciousness 
away beyond the actual : there the belief has itself an 
immediate existence in the present ; its element, its 
substance is the family. 

But at the stage we are now considering, religion is 
in part the outcome of the substance, and is the pure 
consciousness of that substance ; in part this pure 
consciousness is alienated from its concrete actual 
consciousness, the essence from its existence. It is thus 
doubtless no longer the insubstantial process of con- 
sciousness ; but it has still the characteristic of opposi- 
tion to reality qua the given reality in general, and of 
opposition to the reality of self-consciousness in par- 
ticular. It is essentially therefore merely a belief. 

Belief and Pure Insight 537 

This pure consciousness of Absolute Being is a con- 
sciousness in alienation. Let us see more closely what is 
the characteristic of that whose other it is ; we can only 
consider it in connection with this other. In the first 
instance this pure consciousness seems to have over 
against it merely the world of actuality. But since 
its nature is to flee from this actuality, and thereby is 
characterised by opposition, it has this actuality inherent 
within its own being ; pure consciousness is, therefore, 
essentially in its very being self-alienated, and belief 
constitutes merely one side of it. The other side has 
already arisen too. For pure consciousness is reflexion 
out of the world of culture in such a way that the 
substantial content of this sphere, as also the separate 
fragments into which it falls, are shown to be what they 
inherently are, essential modes of spiritual life, abso- 
lutely restless processes or determinate moments which 
are at once cancelled in their opposite. Their essential 
nature, bare consciousness, is thus the bare simplicity 
of absolute distinction, distinction which as it stands 
is no distinction. Consequently it is pure self-existence 
not of a particular self, but essentially universal self, 
whose being consists in a restless process invading and 
pervading the stable existence of actual fact. In it is 
found the certainty that knows itself at once to be the 
truth ; there we have pure thought in the sense of 
absolute notion with all its power of negativity, which 
annihilates every objective existence that would claim 
to stand over against consciousness, and turns it into 
a form of conscious existence. 

This pure consciousness is at the same time simple 
and undifferentiated as well, just because its distinction 
is no distinction. Being this form of bare and simple 

538 Phenomenology of Mind 

reflexion into self, however, it is the element of belief, 
in which spirit has the special feature of positive 
universality, of what is inherent and essential in contrast 
with that self-existence on the part of self-consciousness. 

Forced back upon itself away from this unsubstan- 
tial world whose being is mere dissolution, spirit in 
its undivided unity is, when we consider its true 
meaning, at once the absolute movement, the ceaseless 
process of negating its appearance, as well as the essen- 
tial substance thereof satisfied within itself, and the 
positive stability of that appearance. But, bearing as 
they inherently do the characteristic of alienation, both 
these moments fall apart in the shape of a twofold 
consciousness. The former is pure Insight, the spiritual 
process concentrated and focussed in self-consciousness, 
a process which has over against it the consciousness 
of something positive, the form of objectivity or pre- 
sentation, and which directs itself upon this presented 
object. The proper and peculiar object of this insight 
is, however, merely pure ego.* The bare consciousness 
of the positive element, of unbroken self-identity, finds 
its object, on the other hand, in the inner reality as 

Pure insight has, therefore, in the first instance, no 
content within it, because it exists for itself by 
negating everything in it ; to belief, on the other hand, 
belongs the content, but without insight. While the 
former does not get away from self-consciousness, the 
latter to be sure has its content as well in the element 
of pure self -consciousness, but only in presentation, not 
in conceptions in pure consciousness, not in pure self- 
consciousness. Belief is, as a fact, in this way pure 

* Kant : " Pure ego is the absolute unity of apperception." 

Belief and Pure Insight 539 

consciousness of the essential reality, i.e. of the bare 
and simple inner nature, and is thus thought the 
primary factor in the nature of belief, which is generally 
overlooked.* The immediateness which characterises 
the presence of the essential reality within it is due 
to the fact that its object is essence, inner nature, 
i.e. pure thought, f This immediateness, however, so 
far as thinking enters consciousness, or pure conscious- 
ness enters into self-consciousness, maintains the signifi- 
cance of an objective being that lies beyond consciousness 
of self. It is because of the significance which imme- 
diacy and simplicity of pure thought thus retain in 
consciousness that the essential reality in the case of 
belief drops into being an objectively presented idea 
(Vorstellung), instead of being the content of thought, 
and comes to be looked at as a supersensible world, 
which is essentially an " other " for self-consciousness. 

In the case of pure insight, on the other hand, the 
entrance of pure thought into consciousness has the 
opposite character : objectivity has the significance 
of a content that is merely negative, that cancels 
itself and returns into the self ; that is to say, only the 
self is properly object to self, or, to put it otherwise, 
the object only has truth so far as it has the form of 

As belief and pure insight fall in common within 
pure consciousness, they also in common involve the 
mind's return out of the concrete sphere of spiritual 
culture. There are three aspects, therefore, from 
which they show what they are. In one aspect each 

* " Belief is a kind of knowledge." Encycl. : 554. 
t Kant : " I am the essential reality when conscious of myself in pure 

540 Phenomenology oj Mind 

is outside every relation, and has a being all its own ; 
in another each takes up an attitude towards the 
concrete actual world standing in antithesis to pure 
consciousness ; while in the third form each is related 
to the other inside pure consciousness. 

In the case of belief the aspect of complete being, of 
being in-and-for-itself, is its absolute object, whose 
content and character we have already come to know. 
For it lies in the very notion of belief that this object 
is nothing else than the real world lifted into the uni- 
versality of pure consciousness. The articulation of 
this world, therefore, constitutes the organisation be- 
longing to pure universality also, except that the 
parts in the latter case do not alienate one another 
when spiritualised, but are complete realities all by 
themselves, are spirits* returned into themselves and 

The process of their transition from one into the 
other is, therefore, only for us [who are analysing 
the process] an alienation of the characteristic nature 
in which their distinction lies, and only for us, the 
observers, does it constitute a necessary series ; for 
belief, however, their distinction is a static diversity, 
and their movement simply a historical fact. 

To deal shortly with the external character of their 
form : as in the world of culture state-power or the 
good was primary, so here the first and foremost 
moment is Absolute Being, spirit absolutely self-con- 
tained, so far as it is simple eternal substance, f But 
in the process of realising its constitutive notion, which 
consists in being spirit, that substance passes over into 

* The " persons" of the "Trinity." 
t God transcendent, God as Substance. 

Belief and Pure Insight 541 

a form where it exists for an other ; its self -identity 
becomes actual Absolute Being, actualised in self-sacri- 
fice ; it becomes a self, but a self that is transitory and 
passes away.* Hence the third stage is the return of 
self thus alienated, the substance thus abased into its 
first primal simplicity of nature. Only when this is 
done is spirit presented and manifested as spirit, f 

These distinct ultimate Realities, when brought back 
by thought into self out of the flux of the actual world, 
are changeless, eternal spirits, whose being lies in think- 
ing the unity which they constitute. While thus 
torn away from self-consciousness, these Realities all 
the same lay hold on it; for if the Ultimate Reality 
were to be fixed and unmoved in the form of the first 
bare and simple substance, it would remain alien to 
self-consciousness. But the laying aside, the " empty- 
ing," of this substance, and afterwards its spirit, in- 
volves the element of concrete actuality, and thereby 
participates in the believing self-consciousness, or the 
believing attitude of consciousness belongs to the real 

According to this second condition, the believing type 
of consciousness partly finds its actuality in the real 
world of culture, and constitutes its spirit and its 
existence, which have been described ; partly, how- 
ever, belief takes up an attitude of opposition to this 
its own actuality, looks on this as something vain, 
and is the process of cancelling and abolishing it. 
This process does not consist in the believing conscious- 
ness having ingenious views about the perverted 
condition of that reality ; for it is bare and simple 

* The God-man, Christ. 

t God as Absolute Spirit and Subject. 

542 Phenomenology of Mind 

consciousness, which reckons esprit and wit as some- 
thing vain and empty, because this still has the real 
world for its purpose. On the contrary, in opposition 
to its placid realm of thought stands concrete actuality 
as a soulless form of existence, which on that account 
has to be overcome in external fashion. This obedience 
through service and rewards, by cancelling sense-know- 
ledge and action, brings out the consciousness of unity 
with the self -complete and self -existing Being, though 
not in the sense of an actual perceived unity. This 
service is merely the incessant process of producing the 
sense of unity, a process that never completely reaches 
its goal in the actual present. The religious communion 
no doubt does so, for it is universal self-consciousness. 
But for the individual self-consciousness the realm of 
pure thought necessarily remains something away 
beyond its sphere of reality ; or, again, since this 
remote region by the emptying, the "kenosis," of the 
eternal Being, has entered the sphere of actuality, its 
actuality is sensuous, non-conceptual. But one sensuous 
actuality is ever indifferent and external to another, and 
what lies beyond has thus only received the further 
character of remoteness in space and time. The essen- 
tial notion, however, the concrete actuality of spirit 
directly present to itself remains for belief an inner 
principle, which is all and effects all, but never itself 
comes to the light. 

In the case of pure insight, however, the principle, 
the essential notion (Begriff), is alone the real ; and this 
third aspect of belief that of being an object for pure 
insight is the specific relation in which the notion here 
appears. Pure insight itself has similarly to be con- 
sidered partly by itself (an und fur sick), partly in re- 

Belief and Pure Insight 543 

lation to the real world so far as the real world is still 
present in positive shape, viz. in the form of a sense of 
vanity and lastly in that relation to belief already 

We have already seen what pure insight by itself 
is. Belief is unperturbed pure consciousness of spirit 
as the ultimate Reality ; pure insight is the self-con- 
sciousness of spirit as the ultimately real ; it knows 
the essentially real, therefore, not qua essence but qua 
Absolute Self. Its aim thus is to cancel every other 
kind of independence which falls without self-conscious- 
ness, whether that be the independence of the actually 
objective or of the inherently real, and to mould it into 
conceptual form. It is not merely the certainty of self- 
conscious reason assured of being all truth ; it knows 
that it is so. 

In the form, however, in which the notion of pure 
insight meets us first, it is not yet realised. As a 
phase of consciousness it appears in consequence as 
something contingent, as something isolated and par- 
ticular, and its inmost constitutive nature appears as 
some purpose that it has to carry out and realise. 
It has to begin with the intention of making pure 
insight universal, i.e. of making everything that is 
actual into a notion, and a notion for every self- 
consciousness.* The intention is pure, for its content 
is pure insight ; and this insight is similarly pure, 
for its content is merely the absolute notion, which 
finds no opposition in an object, and is not restricted 
in itself. In the unrestricted notion there are found at 
once both the aspects that everything objective is 

* " Kant's philosophy is the enlightenment adapted so as to become a 
philosophical method." Hegel, W.W. 15, p. 502. 

544 Phenomenology of Mind 

to signify the self-existent, self-consciousness, and that 
this is to signify something universal, that pure insight 
is to be the property of all self-consciousnesses. This 
second feature of the intention is so far a result of 
culture, in that in culture the distinctions of objective 
spirit, the parts and express determinations of its world, 
have come to naught, as well as the distinctions, which 
appeared as originally determinate natures. Genius, 
talent, special capacities in general, belong to the world 
of actuality, in so far as this world contains still the 
aspect of being a herd of self-conscious individuals, 
where, in confusion and mutual violence, individuals 
cheat and struggle with one another over the contents 
of the real world. 

The above distinctions doubtless have no place in it 
as genuine especes. Individuality neither is contented 
with unreal " fact," nor has special content and purposes 
of its own. It signifies merely something universally 
acknowledged and accepted, viz. cultivated and de- 
veloped ; and the question of distinction is reduced to 
a matter of less or more energy, a distinction of quantity, 
i.e. a non-essential distinction. This last difference, 
however, has come to nothing, by the fact that the 
distinction in the state where consciousness was com- 
pletely torn asunder, turned round into an absolutely 
qualitative distinction. What is there the other for the 
ego is merely the ego itself. In this infinite judgment 
all the one-sidedness and peculiarity of the original 
self-existing self is extinguished; the self knows itself 
qua pure self to be its own object ; and this absolute 
identity of both sides is the element of pure insight. 

Pure insight, therefore, is the simple ultimate being 
undifferentiated within itself, and at the same time the 

Belief and Pure Insight 545 

universal achievement and production and a universal 
possession of all. In this simple spiritual substance 
self-consciousness gives itself and maintains for itself in 
every object the sense of this its own particularity or 
of action, just as conversely the individuality of self- 
consciousness is there identical with itself and universal. 
This pure insight is, then, the spirit that calls to 
every consciousness : be for yourself what you are 
essentially in yourself rational. 




The peculiar object on which pure insight directs 
the active force of the notion is belief, this being a form 
of pure consciousness like itself and yet opposed to it in 
that element. But at the same time pure insight has a 
relation to the actual world, for, like belief, it is a return 
from the actual world into pure consciousness. We 
have first of all to see how its activity is constituted, 
as contrasted with the impure intentions and the per- 
verted forms of insight found in the actual world, t 

We have touched already on the placid type of con- 
scious life, which stands in contrast to this turmoil of 
alternate self-dissolution and self-evolution ; it con- 
stitutes the aspect of pure insight and intention. 
This unperturbed consciousness, however, as we saw, 
has no special insight regarding the sphere of culture. 
The latter has itself rather the most painful feeling, 
and the truest insight about itself the feeling that 
everything made secure crumbles to pieces, that every 
element of its existence is shattered to atoms, and every 
bone broken : moreover, it consciously expresses this feel- 
ing in words, pronounces judgment and gives luminous 
utterance concerning all aspects of its condition. Pure 

* Enlightenment (Aufkl'drung) is the universalisation of the principle 
of " pure insight/' and hence is logically the outcome of the preceding 

t Cf. pp. 525-33. 


Enlightenment 547 

insight, therefore, can have here no activity and content 
of its own, and thus can only take up the formal 
attitude of truly apprehending this ingenious insight 
proper to the world and the language it adopts. Since 
this language is a scattered and broken utterance and 
the pronouncement a fickle mood of the moment, which 
is again quickly forgotten, and is only known to be a 
whole by a third consciousness, this latter can be 
distinguished as pure insight only if it gathers those 
several scattered traces into a universal picture, and 
then makes them the insight of all. 

By this simple means pure insight will resolve the 
confusion of this world. For we have found that the 
fragments and determinate conceptions and individu- 
alities are not the essential nature of this actuality, 
but that it finds its substance and support alone in the 
spirit which exists qua judging and discussing, and that 
the interest of having a content for this ratiocination 
and parleying to deal with alone preserves the whole 
and the fragments into which it falls. In this language 
which insight adopts, its self-consciousness is still par- 
ticular, a self existing for its own sake ; but the empti- 
ness of its content is at the same time emptiness of the 
self knowing that content to be vain and empty. Now, 
since the consciousness placidly apprehending all these 
sparkling utterances of vanity makes a collection of 
the most striking and penetrating phrases, the soul 
that still preserves the whole, the vanity of witty 
criticism, goes to ruin with the other form of vanity, 
the previous vanity of existence. The collection shows 
most people a better wit, or at least shows every 
one a more varied wit than their own, and shows 
that better knowledge and judging in general are^some- 

548 Phenomenology of Mind 

thing universal and are now universally familiar. 
Thereby the single and only interest which was still found 
is done away with ; and individual light is resolved 
into universal insight. 

Still, however, knowledge of essential reality stands 
secure above vain and empty knowledge; and pure 
insight, to begin with, appears in genuinely active form 
in so far as it enters into conflict with belief. 



The various negative forms which consciousness 
adopts, the attitude of scepticism, and that of theoretical 
and practical idealism, are inferior attitudes compared 
with that of pure insight and the expansion of pure 
insight enlightenment ; for pure insight is born of the 
substance of spirit, it knows the pure self of conscious- 
ness to be absolute, and enters into conflict with the 
pure consciousness of the Absolute Being of all reality. 

Since belief and insight are the same pure conscious- 
ness, but in form are opposed, the reality in the case 
of belief being a thought, not a notion, and hence some- 
thing absolutely opposed to self-consciousness, while the 
reality in the case of pure insight is the self they are 
such that inter se the one is the absolute negative of the 

As appearing the one against the other, all content 
falls to belief ; for in its unperturbed element of 
thought each moment obtains definite subsistence. 
Pure insight, however, is in the first instance without 
any content ; it involves rather the complete dis- 
appearance of content ; but by its negative attitude 
towards what it excludes it will make itself real and 
give itself a content. 

* "We live in an age of enlightenment " (Kant). Cp. Hegel W W 15 
introduction to " French Philosophy." 


550 Phenomenology of Mind 

It knows belief to be opposed to insight, opposed 
to reason and truth. Just as, for it, belief is in general 
a tissue of superstitious prejudices and errors; so it 
further sees the consciousness embracing all this content 
organised into a realm of error, in which false insight 
is the general sphere of consciousness, immediate, 
naively unperturbed, and inherently unreflective. Yet 
all the while this false insight does have within it 
the moment of self-reflection, the moment of self-con- 
sciousness, separated from its simple naivete, and keeps 
this reflection in the' background as an insight remain- 
ing by itself, and as an evil intention by which that 
that former conscious state is befooled. That mental 
sphere is the victim of the deception of a Priesthood, 
which carries out its envious vanity, jealous of being 
alone in possession of insight, and carries out its 
other selfish ends as well. At the same time this 
priesthood conspires with Despotism, which takes up 
the attitude of being the synthetic crude (begrifflos) 
unity of the real and this ideal kingdom a singularly 
amorphous and inconsistent type of being, and stands 
above the bad insight of the multitude, and the bad 
intention of the priests, and even combines both of 
these within itself. As the result of the stupidity and 
confusion produced amongst the people by the agency 
of priestly deception, despotism despises both and 
draws for itself the advantage of undisturbed control 
and the fulfilment of its desires, its humours, and its 
whims. Yet at the same time it is itself in this same 
state of murky insight, is equally superstition and error. 

Enlightenment does not attack these three forms of 
the enemy without distinction. For since its essential 
nature is pure insight, which is per se universal, its 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 55 1 

true relation to the other extreme is that in which it 
is concerned with the common and identical element in 
both. The aspect of individual existence isolating itself 
from the universal naive consciousness is the antithesis 
of it, and cannot be directly affected by it. The will 
of a deceiving priesthood and an oppressive despot is, 
therefore, not primarily the object on which it directs 
its activity ; its object is the insight that is without 
will and without individualised isolated self-existence, 
the notion (Begriff) of rational self-consciousness, 
which has its existence in the total mental sphere, 
but is not yet there in the fullness of its true 
meaning (Begriff). Since, however, pure insight rescues 
this genuinely honest form of insight, with its naive 
simplicity of nature, from prejudices and errors, it 
wrests from the hands of bad intention the effective 
realisation of its powers of deception, for the exercise 
of which the incoherent and undeveloped (begrifflos) 
consciousness of the general sphere provides the basis 
and raw material, while isolated self-existence finds its 
substance in the simple consciousness as a whole. 

The relation of pure insight to the naive conscious- 
ness of absolute Reality has now a double aspect. On 
one side pure insight is inherently one and the same 
with it. On the other side, however, this naive conscious- 
ness lets absolute Reality as well as its parts dispose 
themselves at will in the simple element of its thought, 
and subsist there, and lets them hold only as its inherent 
nature and hence hold good in objective form. In this 
immanent being it disowns, however, independent exist- 
ence for its own sake. In so far as, according to the 
first aspect, this belief is for pure insight inherently 
and essentially pure self-consciousness, and has to 

552 Phenomenology of Mind 

become so expressly] merely for itself, pure insight 
finds in this constitutive notion of belief the element 
in which, instead of false insight, it realises itself. 

Since, from this point of view, both are essentially 
the same, and the relation of pure insight takes effect 
through and in the same element, the communication 
between them is direct and immediate, and their give 
and take an unbroken interfusion. Whatever pins and 
bolts may be otherwise driven into consciousness, it is in 
itself this simplicity of nature in which everything is 
resolved, forgotten and unconstrained, and which, 
therefore, is absolutely amenable to the activity of the 
notion. The communication of pure insight is on that 
account comparable to a silent extension or the expan- 
sion, say, of vapour in the unresisting atmosphere. It is 
a penetrating infection, which did not previously make 
itself noticeable as something distinct from and opposed 
to the indifferent medium into which it insinuates its 
way, and hence cannot be averted. Only when the infec- 
tion has become widespread is that consciousness alive 
to it, which unconcernedly yielded to its influence. For 
what this consciousness received into itself was doubtless 
something simple, homogeneous, and uniform through- 
out it, but was at the same time the simplicity of self- 
reflected negativity, which later on also develops by its 
nature into something opposed, and thereby reminds 
consciousness of its previous state. This simple uni- 
formity is the notion, which is simple knowledge that 
knows both itself and its opposite, this opposite being, 
however, cancelled as opposite within the self-know- 
ledge of the notion. In the condition, therefore, in 
which consciousness becomes aware of pure insight, 
this insight is already widespread. The struggle with 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 553 

it betrays the fact that the infection has done its work. 
The struggle is too late ; and every means taken 
merely makes the disease worse ; for the disease has 
seized the very marrow of spiritual life, viz. con- 
sciousness in its ultimate principle (Begriff), or its 
pure inmost nature itself. There is therefore no 
power left in conscious life to surmount the disease. 
Because it affects the very inmost being, whatever in- 
dividual expressions remain, are repressed and allowed 
to subside and the superficial symptoms are smothered. 
This is immensely to its advantage ; for it does not 
now squander its power in useless fashion, nor does 
it show itself unworthy of its true nature which is 
the case when it breaks out into symptoms and par- 
ticular eruptions antithetic to the content of belief 
and the connexion of its external reality. Rather, 
being now an invisible and unperceived spirit, it 
insinuates its way through and through the noble 
parts, and soon has got complete hold over all the 
vitals and members of the unconscious idol ; and then 
" some fine morning it gives its comrade a shove with 
the elbow, when, bash ! crash ! and the idol is lying 
on the floor/* * On some " fine morning/' whose noon 
is not red with blood, if the infection has penetrated 
to every organ of spiritual life. It is then the memory 
alone that still preserves the dead form of the spirit's 
previous state, as a vanished history, vanished men 
know not how. And the new serpent of wisdom, raised 
on high before bending worshippers, has in this manner 
painlessly stripped off merely a shrivelled skin. 

But this silent steady working of the loom of spirit 
in the inner region of its substance,! its own action 

* Rameau's Neffe. t In the life of "feeling" ami "emotion." 

554 Phenomenology of Mind 

hidden from itself, is merely one side of the realising 
of pure insight. Its expansion does not only consist 
in like going along with like ; and its realisation is not 
merely an unresisted expansion. The action of the 
principle of negation is at the same time essentially a 
developed process of self-distinction, which, being a 
conscious action, must set forth its moments in a 
definitely manifested expression, and must make its 
appearance in the form of sheer noise, and a violent 
struggle with an opposite as such. 

We have, therefore, to see how pure insight and pure 
intention maintains its negative attitude towards that 
other which it finds standing opposed to it. 

Pure insight and intention, operating negatively, 
can only be, since its very principle is all essentiality 
and there is nothing outside it the negative of itself. 
As insight, therefore, it passes into the negative of pure 
insight, it becomes untruth and unreason ; and as inten- 
tion it passes into the negative of pure intention, becomes 
a lie and sordid impurity of purpose. 

It involves itself in this contradiction by the fact 
that it engages in a strife and thinks to do battle with 
some alien external other. It merely imagines this, for 
its nature as absolute negativity lies in having that 
otherness within its own self. The absolute notion is 
the category ; it is the principle that knowledge and 
the object of knowledge are the same. In consequence, 
what pure insight expresses as its other, what it pro- 
nounces to be an error or a lie, can be nothing else than 
its own self ; it can only condemn what itself is. What 
is not rational has no truth, or what is not comprehended 
through a notion, conceptually determined, is not. 
When reason thus speaks of some other than itself is, it 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 555 

in fact speaks merely of itself; it does not therein go 
beyond itself. 

This struggle with the opposite, therefore, combines 
in its meaning the significance of being its own actualisa- 
tion. This consists just in the process of unfolding its 
moments and taking them back into itself. One part 
of this process is the making of the distinction in which 
the insight of reason opposes itself as object to itself ; 
so long as it remains in this condition, it is at variance 
with itself. Qua pure insight it is without any content ; 
the process of its realisation consists in itself becoming 
content to itself ; for no other can be made its content, 
because it is the category become self-conscious. But 
since this insight in the first instance thinks of the 
content as in its opposite, and knows the content 
merely as a content, and does not as yet think of it as 
its own self, pure insight misconceives itself in it. The 
complete attainment of insight, therefore, has the 
sense of a process of coming to know that content as 
its own, which was to begin with opposed to itself. 
Its result, however, will be thereby neither the re- 
establishment of the errors it has fought, nor merely 
its original notion, but an insight which knows the 
absolute negation of itself to be its own proper reality, 
to be its self, or an insight which is its self-understanding 

This feature of the struggle of enlightenment with 
errors, that of fighting itself in them, and of condemn- 
ing that in them which it asserts, this is something 
for us who observe the process, or is what enlightenment 
and its struggle are in themselves implicitly. The first 
aspect of this struggle, however, the contamination 
and defilement of enlightenment through its pure self- 

556 Phenomenology of Mind 

identity accepting the attitude and function of destruc- 
tive negation this is how belief looks upon it; belief 
finds it simply lying unreason and malicious intent, 
just as enlightenment in the same way regards belief as 
error and prejudice. 

As regards its content, it is in the first instance 
empty insight, whose content appears an external 
other to it. It meets this content, consequently, 
in the shape of something not yet its own, as some- 
thing that exists quite independent of it, and is 
found in belief. 

Enlightenment, then, conceives its object in the 
first instance and generally in such a way as to take 
it as pure insight, and failing to recognise itself there, 
interprets it as error. In insight as such consciousness 
apprehends an object in such a manner that it becomes 
the inner being of conscious life, or becomes an object 
which consciousness permeates, in which consciousness 
maintains itself, keeps within itself, and is present to 
itself, and, by its thus being the process of that 
object, brings the object into being. It is precisely 
this which enlightenment rightly declares belief to be, 
when enlightenment says that the Absolute Reality 
professed by belief is a being that comes from belief's 
own consciousness, is its own thought, something 
produced from and by consciousness.* Enlightenment, 
consequently, interprets and declares it to be error, to 
be a made-up invention about the very same thing as 
enlightenment itself is. 

Enlightenment that seeks to teach belief this new 
wisdom does not, in doing so, tell it anything new. 

* Cp. the view of God held by Fichte : also Feuerbach : Wesen 
der Religion. 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 557 

For the object of belief itself is just this too, viz. a pure 
essential reality of its own peculiar consciousness ; so 
that this consciousness does not put itself down for lost 
and negated in that object, but rather puts trust in it ; 
and this just means that it finds itself there as this par- 
ticular consciousness, finds itself therein to be self-con- 
sciousness. If I put my trust in any one, his certitude 
of himself is for me the certitude of myself; I know 
my self-existence in him, I know that he acknow- 
ledges it, and that it is for him both his purpose 
and his real nature. Trust, however, is belief, because 
its consciousness has a direct relation to its object, 
and thus sees at once that it is one with the object, 
and in the object. 

Further, since what is object for me is something 
in which I know myself, I am at the same time in that 
object really in the form of another self -consciousness, 
i.e. one which has become in that object alienated 
from its own particular individuation, from its natural 
and contingent existence, but which partly continues 
therein to be self-consciousness, and partly is there an 
essential consciousness just like pure insight. 

In the notion of insight there lies not merely this, 
that consciousness knows itself in the object it looks 
at, and finds itself directly there, without first quitting 
the thought element and then returning into itself ; the 
notion implies as well that consciousness is aware of 
itself as being also the mediating process, aware of itself 
as active, as the agency of production. Through this 
it gets the thought of this unity of self as self and 

This very consciousness is also belief. Obedience and 
action make a necessary moment, through which the 

558 Phenomenology of Mind 

certainty of existence in Absolute Keality comes about. 
This action of belief does not indeed make it appear as if 
Absolute Reality is itself produced thereby. But the 
Absolute Reality for belief is essentially not the abstract 
reality that lies beyond the believing consciousness; it 
is the spirit of the religious communion, it is the unity 
of that abstract reality and self-consciousness. The 
action of the communion is an essential moment in 
bringing about that it is this spirit of the communion. 
That spirit is what it is by the productive activity 
of consciousness, or rather it does not exist without 
being produced by consciousness. For essential as this 
process of production is, it is as truly not the only 
basis of Absolute Reality; it is merely a moment. 
The Absolute Reality is at the same time self-complete 
and self-contained (an und fur sick selbst). 

From the other side the notion of pure insight is 
seen to be something else than its own object ; for 
just this negative character constitutes the object. 
Thus from the other side it also expresses the 
ultimate Reality of belief as something foreign 
to self-consciousness, something that is not bone of 
its bone, but is surreptitiously foisted on it like a 
changeling child. But here enlightenment is entirely 
foolish ; belief discovers it to be a way of speaking 
which does not know what it is saying, and does not 
understand the facts of the case when it talks about 
priestly deception, and deluding the people. It speaks 
about this as if by means of some hocus-pocus of con- 
juring priestcraft there were foisted on consciousness 
as true Reality something that is absolutely foreign, 
and absolutely alien to it ; and yet says all the while 
that this is an essential reality for consciousness, that 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 559 

consciousness believes in it, trusts in it, and seeks 
to make it favourably disposed towards itself ; i.e. that 
consciousness therein sees its pure ultimate Being just 
as much as its own particular and universal individuality, 
and creates by its own action this unity of itself with 
its essential reality. In other words, it directly de- 
clares that to be the very inmost nature of conscious- 
ness which it declares to be something alien to con- 

How, then, can it possibly speak about deception 
and delusion ? By the fact that it directly expresses 
about belief the very opposite of what it asserts of 
belief, it ipso facto really reveals itself to be the 
transparent lie. How are deception and delusion 
to take place, where consciousness in its very truth 
has directly and immediately the certitude of itself, 
where it possesses itself in its object, since it just as 
much finds as produces itself there ? The distinction 
no longer exists, even in words. 

When the general question has been raised, whether 
it is permissible to delude a people, the answer, as a 
fact, had to be that the question is pointless, be- 
cause it is impossible to deceive a people in this matter. 
Brass in place of gold, counterfeit instead of genuine 
coin may doubtless have been disposed of in many an 
instance ; many a one has stuck to it that a battle lost 
was a battle won; and lies of all sorts about things 
of sense and particular events have been credited for 
a time ; but in the knowledge of that inmost reality 
where consciousness finds the direct certainty of its 
own self, the idea of delusion is entirely baseless. 

Let us see further how belief finds enlightenment 
in the case of the different moments of its own con- 

560 Phenomenology of Mind 

scious experience, to which the view just noted referred 
in the first instance only in a general way. These 
moments are pure thought, or, qua object, absolute 
Being per se (an und fur sick) ; then its relation, 
as a form of knowledge, to absolute Being, the ulti- 
mate basis of its belief ; and finally its relation to abso- 
lute Being in its acts, i.e. its and " worship " service.* 
Just as pure insight has misconceived itself in belief as a 
whole and denied its own nature, we shall find it taking 
up in these moments, too, an attitude similarly perverted 
and distorted. 

Pure insight assumes towards the absolute Reality 
of the believing mind a negative attitude. This 
Being is pure thought, and pure thought is established 
within itself as object or as the true Being; in the 
believing consciousness this immanent and essential 
reality of thought preserves at the same time for the 
self-existent consciousness the form of objectivity, but 
merely the empty form ; it exists in the character of 
something consciously "presented." To pure insight, 
however, since it is pure consciousness in its aspect of 
self existing for itself, this other appears as something 
negative of self-consciousness. This might, again, be 
taken either as the pure essential reality of thought, 
or even as the being found in sense-experience, the 
object of sense-certainty. But since it is at the same 
time for the self, and this self, qua self which has an 
object, is an actual consciousness, for insight the peculiar 
object as such is an ordinary existing thing of sense. 
This its object appears before it when it examines 
the ideas found in belief. It condemns these ideas 

* Enlightenment attacks the object and the txi&is of belief, and the 
mode of worship. 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 561 

and in doing so condemns its own proper object. It 
really commits a wrong, however, against belief in 
so apprehending the object of belief as if it were its 
own ob j ec t. According to this account it states regarding 
belief that its absolute Being is a piece of stone, a block 
of wood, having eyes and seeing not, or again some 
bread-paste, which is obtained from gram grown on 
the field and transformed by men and set aside for that 
purpose; or in whatever other ways belief anthro- 
morphoses absolute Being, making it objective and 

Enlightenment, proclaiming itself as the pure and 
true, here turns what is held to be eternal life and holy 
spirit into a concrete passing thing of sense, and contami- 
nates it with the inherent nothingness of sense-experi- 
ence with an aspect and point of view which is not to 
be found at all in the worshipping attitude of belief, 
so that enlightenment simply calumniates it by speak- 
ing of such an aspect. What belief reveres is for belief 
assuredly neither stone nor wood, nor bread-dough, nor 
any other sort of thing of time and sense. If enlighten- 
ment thinks it worth while to say its object all the same 
is this as well) or even that belief is this in its inherent 
nature and in truth, then belief also knows that some- 
thing which it is " as well," but for it this something 
lies outside its worship ; on the other hand, however, 
belief does not in general look on such things as stones, 
etc., as having an inherent and essential being at all, 
the Absolute Reality of pure thought is for it alone 
something inherent. 

The second moment is the relation of belief as a 
form of knowing consciousness to this ultimate Reality. 
As pure thinking consciousness belief has this Reality 

VOL. II. L,, 

562 Phenomenology of Mind 

immediately within itself. But pure consciousness is 
just as much a mediate relation of conscious certainty to 
truth, a relation constituting the basis of belief. For 
enlightenment this ground comes at the same time to 
be regarded as a chance knowledge of chance occur- 
rences. The ground of knowledge, however, is the con- 
scious universal, and in its ultimate meaning is absolute 
spirit, which in abstract pure consciousness, or thought 
as such, is merely absolute Being, but qua self-conscious- 
ness is the knowledge of itself. Pure insight sets up this 
conscious universal, self-knowing spirit pure and simple, 
likewise as a negative element for self-consciousness. 
Doubtless this insight is itself pure mediate thought, i.e. 
thought mediating itself with itself, it is pure know- 
ledge ; but since it is pure insight, or pure knowledge, 
which does not yet know itself, i.e. for which as yet there 
is no awareness that it is this pure process of mediation, 
this process seems to insight, like everything else consti- 
tuting it, to be something external, an other. When 
realising its inherent principle, then, it develops this 
moment essential to it ; but that moment seems to it to 
belong to belief, and to be, in its character of an 
external other, a fortuitous knowledge of just such 
common historical actualities. It thus here charges 
religious belief with basing its certainty on some par- 
ticular historical evidence, which, considered as his- 
torical evidence, would assuredly not even warrant that 
degree of certainty about the matter which we get 
regarding any event mentioned in the newspapers. It 
further makes the imputation that the certainty in the 
case of religious belief rests on the accidental fact of the 
preservation of all this evidence : on the preservation of 
this evidence partly by means of paper, and partly 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 563 

through the skill and honesty in transferring what is 
written from one paper to another, and lastly rests upon 
the accurate interpretation of the sense of dead words 
and letters. As a matter of fact, however, it never 
occurs to belief to make its certainty depend on such 
evidence and such fortuitous circumstances. Belief in 
its conscious assurance occupies a naive unsophisticated 
attitude towards its absolute object, knows it with a 
purity, which never mixes up letters, paper, or copyists 
with its consciousness of the Absolute Being, and does 
not make use of things of that sort to effect its union 
with the Absolute. On the contrary, this consciousness 
is the self-mediating, self-relating ground of its know- 
ledge ; it is spirit itself which bears witness of itself 
both in the inner heart of the individual consciousness, 
as well as through the presence everywhere and in all 
men of belief in it. If belief wants to appeal to historical 
evidences in order to get also that kind of foundation, 
or at least confirmation, for its content which enlighten- 
ment speaks of, and is really serious in thinking and 
acting as if that were an important matter, then it 
has eo ipso allowed itself to be corrupted and led astray 
by the insinuations of enlightenment ; the efforts it 
makes to secure a basis or support in this way are 
merely indications that show how it has been affected 
and contaminated by enlightenment. 

There still remains the third aspect, the active re- 
lation of consciousness to Absolute Being, its forms of 
service.* This action consists in cancelling the particu- 
larity of the individual, or the natural form of its self- 
existence, whence arises its certainty of being pure 
self - consciousness, of being, as the result of its 

* The cult. 

564 Phenomenology of Mind 

action, i.e. as a self-existing conscious individual, 
one with ultimate Keality. 

Since in this action purposiveness and end get dis- 
tinguished, and pure insight likewise takes up a nega- 
tive attitude towards this action, and denies itself just 
as it did in the other moments, it must as regards 
purposiveness present the appearance of being stupid 
and unintelligent, since insight united with intention, 
accordance of end with means, appears to it as an 
other, as really the opposite of what insight is. As 
regards the end, however, it has to make badness, 
enjoyment, and possession, its purpose, and prove itself 
in consequence to be the impurest kind of intention, 
since pure intention, qua external, an other, is equally 
impure intention. 

Accordingly we find that, so far as concerns pur- 
posiveness, enlightenment thinks it foolish when the 
believing individual seeks to obtain the higher con- 
sciousness, where there is no entanglement with natural 
enjoyment and pleasure, by positively denying itself 
natural enjoyment and pleasure, and proving through 
its acts that it makes no denial of its contempt for 
them, but rather that the contempt is quite genuine. 

In the same way enlightenment finds it foolish for 
consciousness to absolve itself of its characteristic 
of being absolutely individual, excluding all others, 
and possessing property of its own, by itself demitting 
its own property, for thereby it shows in reality that 
this isolation is not really serious. It shows rather 
that itself is something that can rise above the natural 
necessity of isolating itself and of denying, in this 
absolute isolation of its own individual existence, that 
the others are one and the same with itself. 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 565 

Pure insight finds both purposeless as well as wrong. 
It is purposeless to renounce a pleasure and give away a 
possession, in order to show oneself independent of 
pleasure and possession; hence, in the opposite case, 
insight will be obliged to proclaim the man a fool, who, 
in order to eat, employs the expedient of actually 
eating. Insight again thinks it wrong to deny one- 
self a meal, and give away butter and eggs not for 
money, nor money for butter and eggs, but just to give 
them away and get no return at all ; it understands a 
meal, or the possession of things of that sort, to be a 
self's proper object, an end of a self, and hence in fact 
understands itself to be a very impure intention which 
ascribes essential value to enjoyment and possessions 
of this kind. As pure insight it further maintains the 
necessity of rising above the condition of nature, 
above covetousness and its ways ; it only finds it 
foolish and wrong that this supremacy should have 
to be demonstrated by action. In other words this 
pure intention is in reality a deception, which pretends 
to and demands an inner elevation, but declares that it is 
superfluous, foolish, and even wrong to be in earnest in 
the matter, to put this uplifting into concrete expression, 
into actual shape and form, and demonstrate its truth. 

Pure insight thus denies itself both as pure insight, 
for it abrogates directly purposive action, and as 
pure intention, for it denies the intention of proving 
its independence of the ends of particular existence. 

Thus, then, enlightenment makes belief learn what 
it means. It takes on this appearance of being bad, 
because just by the fact of relation to an external other 
it gives itself a negative reality, it presents itself as the 
opposite of itself. Pure insight and intention have to 

566 Phenomenology of Mind 

adopt this relational attitude, however, for that is their 

This realisation appeared, in the first instance, as a 
negative reality. Perhaps its positive reality is better 
constituted. Let us see how this stands. 

When all prejudice and superstition have been 
banished, the question arises what next ? What is 
the truth enlightenment has diffused in their stead ? 
It has already given expression to this positive content 
in its process of exterminating error, for that alienation 
of itself is equally its positive reality. 

In dealing with what for belief is Absolute Spirit, 
it interprets whatever sort of determination it discovers 
there as being wood, stone, etc., as particular concrete 
things of sense. Since in this way it conceives in general 
every characteristic, i.e. every content and filling, to 
be a finite fact, to be a human entity and a mental 
presentation, absolute Being on its view turns out 
to be a mere vacuum, to which can be attributed 
no characteristics, no predicates at all. In fact to 
marry such a vacuity with universal predicates would 
be essentially reprehensible; and it is just through 
such a union that the monstrosities of superstition 
have been produced. Reason, pure insight, is doubt- 
less not empty itself, since the negative of itself is 
present consciously to it, and is its content ; it is, 
on the contrary, rich in substance, but only in particu- 
larity and restrictions. The enlightened function of 
reason, of pure insight, consists in allowing nothing of 
that sort to appertain to Absolute Reality, nor attribut- 
ing anything of that kind to it : this function well knows 
how to put itself and the wealth of finitude in their 
place, and deal with the Absolute in a worthy manner. 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 567 

In contrast with this colourless empty Reality there 
stands, as a second aspect of the positive truth of 
enlightenment, the particularity in general of conscious 
life and of all that is : a particularity excluded from 
an absolute Being, and standing by itself as some- 
thing entirely self-contained. Consciousness, which 
in its very earliest expression is sense-certainty and 
mere " opining," here comes back, after the whole course 
of its experience, to this same point, and is once again 
a knowledge of what is pure negative of itself, a know- 
ledge of sense things, i.e. of existent entities which 
stand in indifference over against its own self-existence. 
But here it is not an immediate naive consciousness ; 
it has become to itself immediate. While at first the prey 
to every sort of entanglement, into which it is plunged 
by its gradually unfolding, and now led back to its 
first form by pure insight, it has arrived at this first state 
as the result and outcome of the process. This sense- 
certainty, resting as it does on an insight into the 
nothingness of all other forms of consciousness, and 
hence the nothingness of whatever is beyond sense- 
experience, this sense-certainty is no longer a mere 
" opining," it is rather absolute truth. This nothingness 
of everything that transcends sense is doubtless merely 
a negative proof of this truth. But no other is admis- 
sible or possible, for the positive truth of sense-experi- 
ence in itself is just the unmediated self-existence of 
the notion itself qua object and an object in the form of 
otherness the positive truth is that it is absolutely 
certain to every consciousness that it is and that 
there are other real things outside it, and that in its 
naive existence it, as well as these things too, are in and 
for themselves or absolute. 

568 Phenomenology of Mind 

Lastly, the third moment of the truth of enlighten- 
ment is the relation of the particular entities to Abso- 
lute Being, is the relation of the first two moments 
to one another. Insight, qua pure insight of what is 
identical or unrestricted, also transcends the unlike or 
diverse, i.e. transcends finite reality, or transcends itself 
qua mere otherness. The " beyond " of this otherness it 
takes to be the void, to which it thus relates the facts 
of sense. In determining this relation both the terms 
do not enter the relation as its content ; for the one is 
the void, and thus a content is only to be had through 
the other, through sense reality. The form the relation 
assumes, however, to the determination of which the 
aspect of immanent and ultimate being (Ansich) contri- 
butes, can be shaped just as we please ; for the form 
is something inherently and essentially negative, and 
therefore something self-opposed, being as well as 
nothing, inherent and ultimate (Ansich) as well as 
the opposite ; or, what is the same thing, the relation of 
actuality to an inherent essential being qua something 
beyond, is as much a negating as a positing of that 
actuality. Finite actualities can, therefore, properly 
speaking, be taken just in the way people have need of 
them. Sense facts are thus related now positively to 
the Absolute qua something ultimate (Ansich), and sense 
reality is itself ultimate per se ; the Absolute makes 
them, fosters and cherishes them. Then, again, they 
are related to it as an opposite, that is to their own 
non-being ; in this case they are not something ulti- 
mate, they have being only for an other. Whereas 
in the preceding mode of consciousness the conceptions 
involved in the opposition took shape as good and bad, 
in the case of pure insight they pass into the more 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 569 

abstract forms of what is per se (Ansich) and what is 
for an other being. 

Both ways of dealing with the positive as well as the 
negative relation of finitude to what is ultimate (Ansich) 
are, however, equally necessary as a matter of fact, 
and everything is thus as much something per se 
(an sick) as it is something for an other : in other words 
everything is " useful." 

Everything is now at the mercy of other things, lets 
itself now be used by others, and exists for them ; 
and then again it, so to say, gets up on its hind legs, 
fights shy of the other, exists for itself on its own account, 
and on its side uses the other too. 

From this, as a result, man, being the thing conscious 
of this relation, derives his true nature and place. As 
he is immediately, man is good, qua natural conscious- 
ness per se, absolute qua individual, and all else exists 
for him : and further, since the moments have the 
significance of universality for him qua self-conscious 
animal, everything exists to pleasure and delight 
him, and, as he first comes from the hand of God, 
he walks the earth as in a garden planted for him. 
He is bound also to pluck the fruit of the tree of 
knowledge of good and evil ; he claims to have a use 
for it which distinguishes him from every other being, 
for, as it happens, his inherently good nature is so 
constituted that the superfluity of delight does it 
harm, or rather his particularity contains as a factor 
in its constitution a principle that goes beyond it ; 
his particularity can overreach itself and destroy itself. 
To prevent this, he finds reason a useful means for duly 
restraining this self-transcendence, or rather for pre- 
serving himself when he does go beyond determinate 

570 Phenomenology of Mind 

limits : for such is the force of consciousness. The 
enjoyment of this conscious and essentially universal 
being must, in manifold variety and duration, be itself 
universal and not something determinate. The prin- 
ciple of measure or proportion has, therefore, the deter- 
minate function of preventing pleasure in its variety 
and duration from being quite broken off: i.e. the 
"measure" is determined with respect to immodera- 

As everything is useful for man, man is likewise 
useful too, and his characteristic determination con- 
sists in making himself a member of the human herd, 
of use for the common good, and serviceable to all. 
The extent to which he looks after his own interests is 
the measure with which he must also serve the purpose 
of others, and so far as he serves their turn, he is taking 
care of himself : the one hand washes the other. But 
wherever he finds himself there he is in his right: he 
makes use of others and is himself made use of. 

Different things are serviceable to one another in 
different ways. All things, however, have this recipro- 
city of utility by their very nature, by being related to 
the Absolute in the twofold manner, the one positive, 
whereby they have a being all their own, the other 
negative, and thereby exist for others. The relation to 
Absolute Keality, or Keligion, is therefore of all forms 
of profitableness the most supremely profitable;* for 
it is profiting pure and simple ; it is that by which 
all things stand by which they have a being all their 
own and that by which all things fall have an 
existence for something else. 

Belief, of course, finds this positive outcome of 

* Cp. 1 Timothy iv. 8 : "Godliness is profitable unto all things." 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 571 

enlightenment as much an abomination as its negative 
attitude towards belief. This enlightened insight into 
absolute Reality, that sees nothing in it but just 
absolute Reality, the etre supreme, the great Void 
this intention to find that everything in its imme- 
diate existence is inherently real (an sich) or good, 
and finally to find the relation of the particular con- 
scious entity to the Absolute Being, Religion, ex- 
haustively summed up in the conception of profitableness 
all this is for belief utterly and simply revolting. 
This special and peculiar wisdom of enlightenment 
necessarily seems at the same time to the believing 
mind to be sheer insipidity and the confession of 
insipidity ; because it consists in knowing nothing of 
absolute Being, or, what amounts to the same thing, 
in knowing this entirely accurate platitude regard- 
ing it, that it is merely absolute Being, and, again, 
in knowing nothing but finitude, taking this, more- 
over, to be the truth, and thinking this knowledge 
about finitude qua truth to be the highest knowledge 

Belief has a divine right as against enlightenment, 
the right of absolute self-identity or of pure thought; 
and it finds itself utterly wronged by enlighten- 
ment ; for enlightenment distorts all its moments, and 
makes them something quite different from what they 
are in it. Enlightenment, on the other hand, has 
merely a human right as against belief, and can only 
put in a human claim for its own truth ; for the wrong 
it commits is the right of disunion, of discordance, 
and consists in perverting and altering, a right that 
belongs to the nature of self-consciousness in opposi- 
tion to the simple ultimate essence or thought. But 

572 Phenomenology of Mind 

since the right of enlightenment is the right of self- 
consciousness, it will not merely retain its own right, 
too, in such a way that two equally valid rights of spirit 
would be left standing in opposition to one another 
without either satisfying the claims of the other ; it 
will maintain the absolute right, because self-conscious- 
ness is the negative function of the notion (Begriff), 
a function which does not merely operate on its own 
account, but also gets control over its opposite. And 
because belief is a mode of consciousness, it will not be 
able to balk enlightenment of that right. 

For enlightenment does not operate against the 
believing mind with special principles of its own, but 
with those which belief itself implies and contains. 
Enlightenment merely brings together and presents to 
belief its own thoughts, the thoughts that lie scattered 
and apart within belief, all unknown to it. Enlighten- 
ment merely reminds belief, when one of its own forms 
is present, of others it also has, but which it is always 
forgetting when the one is there. Enlightenment shows 
itself to belief to be pure insight, by the fact that it, 
in a given determinate moment, sees the whole, brings 
forward the opposite element standing in direct rela- 
tion to that moment and, converting the one into the 
other, brings out the principle operating negatively on 
both thoughts the notion. It appears, therefore, to 
belief to be distortion and lies, because it shows up the 
other side in the moments of belief. Enlightenment 
seems, in consequence, directly to make something 
else out of them than they are in their own particu- 
larity ; but this other is equally essential, and in 
reality is to be found in the believing mind itself, only 
the latter does not think about it, but keeps it some- 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 573 

where else. Hence neither is the result foreign to 
belief nor can belief reject its truth. 

Enlightenment itself, however, which reminds belief 
of the opposite of its various separate moments, is just 
as little enlightened regarding its own nature. It takes 
up a purely negative attitude to belief, so far as it 
excludes its own content from its own pure activity and 
takes that content to be negative of itself. Consequently, 
neither in this negative, in the content of belief, does it 
recognise itself, nor, for this reason, does it bring to- 
gether the two thoughts, the one which it contributes 
and the one against which it brings the first. Since 
it does not know that what it condemns in the case of 
belief is directly its very own thought, it has its own 
being in the opposition of both moments, only one of 
which, viz. in every case the one opposed to belief 
it acknowledges, but cuts off the other from the first, 
just as belief does. Enlightenment, consequently, does 
not bring out the unity of both as their unity, i.e. the 
notion ; but the notion arises before it and comes to light 
of its own accord, in other words, enlightenment finds the 
notion merely as something lying ready at hand. For 
in itself the process of realising pure insight is just this, 
that insight, whose essential nature is the notion, comes 
before itself to begin with in the shape of an abso- 
lute other, and repudiates itself (for the opposite of the 
notion is an absolute opposite), and then out of this 
otherness comes to itself or comes to its notion. 

Enlightenment, however, is merely this process, it 
is the activity of the notion in still unconscious form, 
an activity which no doubt comes to itself qua object, 
but takes this object for an external other, and does not 
even know the nature of the notion, i.e. does not know 

574 Phenomenology of Mind 

that it is the undifferentiated element which absolutely 
divides itself. 

As against belief, then, insight is the power of the 
notion in so far as this is the active process of relating 
the moments lying apart from one another in belief ; a 
way of relating them in which the contradiction in them 
comes to light. Herein lies the absolute right of the 
power which insight exercises over belief ; but the 
actuality which it gives this power lies just in the 
fact that the believing state of consciousness is itself 
the notion and thus itself recognises and accepts the 
opposite which insight produces and presents before it. 
Insight, therefore, has and retains right against belief, 
because it makes valid in belief what is necessary to 
belief itself, and what belief contains within it. 

At first enlightenment asserts the moment of the 
notion to be an act of consciousness ; it maintains in the 
face of belief that the absolute Keality belief accepts is a 
Reality of the believer's consciousness qua a self, or that 
this absolute Reality is produced through consciousness. 
To the believing mind its absolute Being is just as it is in 
itself for the believer, at the same time not as a foreign 
thing, standing there no one knows how or whence 
it came there. The trust and confidence of belief con- 
sists just in finding itself in absolute Reality as a par- 
ticular personal consciousness, and its obedience and 
service consist in acting so as to bring out that Reality 
as its own Absolute. Enlightenment, strictly speaking, 
only reminds belief of this, if belief goes beyond the 
action of consciousness and gives expression to the ulti- 
mate nature (Ansicli) of absolute Being in abstracto. 

But while enlightenment no doubt puts alongside the 
one-sidedness of belief the opposite moment, viz. : the 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 575 

action of belief in contrast to being and being is all 
belief thinks about here, and yet does not itself in 
doing so bring those opposite thoughts together, en- 
lightenment isolates the pure moment of action, and 
declares that what belief takes to be per se ultimate 
(Ansich) is merely a product of consciousness. The 
isolated separate act opposed to this ultimate Being 
(Ansich) is, however, a contingent action, and, qua pre- 
sentative activity, is a creating of fictions, presented 
figurative ideas that have no being in themselves. And 
this is how enlightenment regards the content of belief. 

Conversely, however, pure insight equally says 
the very opposite. Since insight lays stress on the 
moment of otherness which the notion contains, it 
declares the essential Reality for belief to be one 
which is not in any way due to consciousness, is 
away beyond consciousness, foreign to it, and un- 
known. To belief, too, that Reality has the same 
character. On one side belief trusts in it, and gets, 
in doing so, the assurance of its own self, on the other 
side it is unsearchable in all its ways and unattainable 
in its being. 

Further, enlightenment maintains against the be- 
lieving mind a right which the latter concedes, when 
enlightenment treats the object of the believer's 
veneration as stone and wood, or, in short, some finite 
anthropomorphic feature. For, since this conscious- 
ness is divided within itself in having a ' beyond' remote 
from actuality and an immediate present embodiment of 
that remote beyond, there is also found in it, as a 
matter of fact, the view that sense-things have a value 
and significance in and for themselves (an und fur sich). 
But belief does not bring together these two ideas of 

576 Phenomenology of Mind 

what is " in and for itself," viz. that at one time what is 
" in and for itself " is for belief pure essential Reality 
and at another time is an ordinary thing of sense. 
Even its own pure consciousness is affected by this last 
view ; for the distinctions of its supersensuous world, 
because dispensing with the notion, are a series of inde- 
pendent shapes and forms, and their activity is a 
happening, i.e. they exist merely in idea, merely as 
presentations, and have the characteristic of sense- 

Enlightenment on its side isolates actuality in the 
same way, treating it as a reality abandoned by spirit ; 
isolates specific determinateness as some fixed im- 
movable finite element, as if it were not a moment 
in the spiritual process of the real itself, were neither 
nothing, nor something with a being all its own, but 
something evanescent and transitory. 

It is clear that the same is the case with regard 
to the ground of knowledge. The believing mind 
recognises itself to be an accidental knowledge ; for in 
belief the mind adopts an attitude towards contingen- 
cies, and absolute Reality itself comes before belief 
in the form of a presented idea of ordinary actual 
fact. Consequently belief is also a kind of certainty 
which does not carry the truth within it, and it con- 
fesses itself to be an unsubstantial consciousness of 
this kind, far short of being well assured of itself and 
authentically secure. This moment, however, belief 
forgets in its immediate spiritual knowledge of absolute 

Enlightenment, however, which reminds belief of 
all this, thinks again merely of the contingency of 
the knowledge and forgets the other thinks only 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 577 

of the mediating process which takes effect through 
an alien third term, and does not think on that pro- 
cess wherein the immediate is itself the third term, 
through which it mediates itself with the other, viz. 
with itself. 

Finally, on the view enlightenment takes of the 
action of belief, the rejection of enjoyment and posses- 
sions is looked upon as wrong and purposeless. 

As to the wrong thus done, enlightenment preserves 
the harmony of the believing attitude in this that 
belief acknowledges the actual reality of possessing 
property, keeping hold of it, and enjoying it. In in- 
sisting on its property, it behaves with all the more 
stubborn independence and exclusiveness, and in its 
enjoyment with all the more frank self-abandonment, 
since its religious act of giving up pleasure and property 
takes effect beyond the region of this actuality, and 
purchases for it freedom to do as it likes so far as that 
other sphere is concerned. This service, that consists 
in sacrificing natural impulses and enjoyments, in 
point of fact has no truth, owing to this opposition. 
The retention and the sacrifice subsist together side by 
side. The sacrifice is merely a "sign" which performs 
real sacrifice only as regards a small part, and hence 
in point of fact only representatively suggests sacri- 

As for purposiveness, enlightenment finds it point- 
less and stupid to throw away a possession in order to 
feel and to prove oneself to be free from all possession, 
to renounce an enjoyment in order to think and de- 
monstrate that one is rid of all enjoyment. The be- 
lieving mind itself takes the absolute act for a universal 
one. Not only does the action of its absolute Reality 


578 Phenomenology of Mind 

as its object appear something universal, but the 
individual consciousness, too, has to prove itself de- 
tached entirely and altogether from its sensuous nature. 
But throwing away a particular possession, giving up 
and disclaiming a particular enjoyment, is not acting 
universally in this way. And since in the action it 
is essentially the purpose, which is a universal, 
and the performance, which is a particular process, 
that had to stand in all their incompatibility before 
consciousness, that action shows itself to be of a kind 
in which consciousness has no share, and consequently 
this way of acting is seen to be too naive to be an action 
at all. It is too naive to fast in order to prove one- 
self quite indifferent to the pleasures of the table ; 
too naive to rid oneself, like Origen, of other bodily 
pleasure in order to show that pleasure is finished 
and done with. The act itself proves to be an external 
and a particular function. But desire' is deeply rooted 
within the inner life, and is a universal element ; its 
pleasure neither disappears with the instrument for 
getting pleasure nor by abstention from particular 

But enlightenment on its side here isolates the un- 
realised inwardness as against the concrete actuality ; 
just as in the case of the devotion and direct intuition 
of belief, enlightenment holds fast to the externality 
of things of sense as against the inward attitude of 
belief. Enlightenment finds the main point in the 
intention, in the thought, and thereby finds no need 
for actually bringing about the liberation from natural 
ends. On the contrary, this inner sphere is itself the 
formal element that has its concrete fulfilment in 
natural impulses, which are justified simply by the 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 579 

fact that they fall within, that they belong to universal 
being, to nature. 

Enlightenment, then, holds irresistible sway over 
belief by the fact that the latter finds in its own 
constitution the very moments to which enlightenment 
gives significance and validity. Looking more closely 
at the action exerted by this force, its operation on 
belief seems to rend asunder the unity and happy 
harmony of trustfulness and immediate confidence, 
to pollute its spiritual life with lower thoughts drawn 
from the sphere of sense, to destroy the feeling of calm 
security in its attitude of submission by introducing 
the vanity of understanding, of self-will, and self-fulfil- 
ment. But in point of fact, enlightenment really 
brings to pass the abolition of that state of unthinking, 
or rather uncomprehended (begrifflos) cleavage, which 
finds a place in the nature of belief. The believing 
mood weighs and measures by a twofold standard, 
it has two sorts of eyes and ears, uses two voices to 
express its meaning, it duplicates all ideas, without 
comparing and squaring the sense and meaning in 
the two forms used. Or we may say belief lives its 
life amidst two sorts of perceptions, the one the percep- 
tions of thought which is asleep, purely uncritical and 
uncomprehending, the other those of waking conscious- 
ness living solely and simply in the world of sense ; 
and in each of them it manages to carry on a household 
all its own. 

Enlightenment illuminates that world of heaven 
with ideas drawn from the world of sense, pointing 
out there this element of finitude which belief cannot 
deny or repudiate, because it is self-consciousness, and 
in being so is the unity to which both kinds of ideas 

580 Phenomenology of Mind 

belong, and in which they do not fall apart from one 
another ; for they belong to the same indivisible simple 
self into which belief has passed, and which constitutes 
its life. 

Belief has by this means lost the content which 
furnished its rilling, and collapses into an inarticulate 
state where the spirit works and weaves within itself.* 
Belief is banished from its own kingdom ; this kingdom 
is sacked and plundered, since every distinction and 
expansion of it has rent the waking consciousness in its 
innermost nature, and claimed every one of its parts 
for earth, and returned them to the earth that owns 
them. Yet belief is not on that account satisfied, 
for this illumination has everywhere brought to light 
only what is individual, with the result that only 
insubstantial realities and finitude forsaken of spirit 
make any appeal to spirit. 

Since belief is without content and cannot continue 
in this barren condition, or since, in getting beyond 
finitude, which is the sole content, it finds merely the 
empty void, it is a sheer longing : its truth is an empty 
beyond, for which there is no longer any appropriate 
content to be found, for everything is appropriated and 
connected in other ways. 

Belief in this manner has in fact become the same 
as enlightenment the conscious attitude of relating 
a finite that inherently exists to an unknown and un- 
knowable Absolute without predicates ; the difference 
is merely that the one is enlightenment satisfied, while 
belief is enlightenment unsatisfied, f It will yet be 

* i.e. the life of feeling. 

t i.e. the contrast between belief and enlightenment becomes a con- 
trast inside enlightenment itself. 

The Struggle of Enlightenment with Superstition 581 

seen whether enlightenment can continue in its state 
of satisfaction ; that longing of the troubled, be- 
shadowed spirit, mourning over the loss of its spiritual 
world, lies in the background. Enlightenment has 
on it this stain of unsatisfied longing : in its empty 
Absolute Being we find this in the form of the pure 
object; in passing beyond its individual nature to an 
unfulfilled beyond, the fleck appears as an act and a 
process; in the selflessness of what is "useful" it is 
seen in the form of an object fulfilled. Enlightenment 
will remove this stain : by considering more closely 
the positive result which constitutes the truth in its 
case, we shall find that the stain is implicitly removed 


The spirit that sullenly works and weaves without 
further distinctions within itself has thus passed into 
itself away beyond consciousness, which, again, has 
arrived at clearness as to itself. The first moment 
of this clearness of mind is determined, in regard to 
its necessity and constitution, by the fact that pure 
insight, or insight that is implicitly and per se notion, 
actualises itself ; it does so when it gives otherness 
or determinateness a place in its own nature. In this 
manner it is negative pure insight, i.e. the negation of 
the notion; this negation is equally pure; and here- 
with has arisen the pure and simple " thing/' the Abso- 
lute Being, that has no further determination of any 
sort. If we define this more precisely, insight in the 
sense of absolute notion is a distinguishing of distinc- 
tions that are not so any longer, of abstractions or pure 
notions that no longer support themselves but find a 
fixed hold and a distinction only by means of the whole 
life of the process. This distinguishing of what is not 
distinguished consists just in the fact that the absolute 
notion makes itself its object, and as against that 
process asserts itself to be the essence. The essence 
hereby dispenses with the aspect wherein abstrac- 

* The outcome is at once positive and negative materialism and 
agnosticism : on the secular side, it is pure utilitarianism . 


The Result of Enlightenment 583 

tions or distinctions are kept apart, and hence be- 
comes pure thought in the sense of a pure thing. 

This, now, is just the dull, silent, unconscious working 
and weaving of the spirit at the loom of its own being, 
to which belief, as we saw, sank back when it lost all 
distinction in its content. And this is at the same time 
that movement of pure self-consciousness, in regard to 
which the essence is intended to be the absolutely exter- 
nal beyond. For, because this pure self-consciousness is a 
movement working with pure notions, with distinctions 
that are no distinctions, pure self-consciousness col- 
lapses in fact into that unconscious working and 
weaving of spirit, i.e. into pure feeling, or pure thing- 

The self-alienated notion for the notion still stands 
here at the level of such alienation does not, however, 
know this identical nature constituting both sides, the 
movement of self-consciousness and its absolute Reality, 
does not know the identity of their nature, which, in 
point of fact gives them their very substance and sub- 
sistence. Since the notion is not aware of this insight, 
absolute Reality has significance and value merely in 
the form of an objective beyond, while the consciousness 
making these distinctions, and in this way keeping 
the ultimate reality outside itself, is treated as a finite 

Regarding that Absolute Being, enlightenment itself 
falls out with itself in the same way as it did formerly 
with belief, and is divided between the views of two 
parties. One party proves itself to be victorious by 
the fact that it breaks up into two parties ; for in that 
fact it shows it possesses within it the principle it 
combats, and consequently shows it has abolished 

584 Phenomenology of Mind 

the one-sidedness with which it formerly made its 
appearance. The interest which was divided between 
it and the other, now falls entirely within it, and forgets 
the other, because that interest finds lying in it alone 
the opposition on which attention is directed. At 
the same time, however, the opposition has been lifted 
into the higher victorious element, where it is cleared 
up and set forth. So that the schism that arises in 
one party, and seems a misfortune, demonstrates rather 
its good fortune. 

The pure essence itself has in it no distinction ; con- 
sequently distinction is reached by two such pure 
essences being put forward for consciousness to be 
aware of, or by a twofold consciousness of the pure 
reality. The pure absolute essence is only in pure 
thought, or rather it is pure thought itself, and thus 
absolutely beyond the finite, beyond self-consciousness, 
and is merely the ultimate essence in a negative sense. 
But in this way it is just being, the negative of self- 
consciousness. Being negative of self-consciousness, it 
is also related to self-consciousness. It is external 
being, which, placed in relation to self-consciousness 
within which distinctions and determinations fall, pre- 
serves within it the distinctions, of being tasted, seen, 
and so on; and the relationship is that of sense- 
experience and perception. 

Taking the point of departure from this sense- 
existence, into which that negative beyond necessarily 
passes, but abstracting from those various ways in 
which consciousness is related to sense-existence, there 
is left pure matter as that in which consciousness weaves 
and moves inarticulately within itself. In dealing with 
this, the essential point to note is that pure matter is 

The Result of Enlightenment 585 

merely what remains over when we abstract from seeing, 
feeling, tasting, etc., i.e. it is not what is seen, tasted, 
felt, and so on ; it is not matter that is seen, felt, or 
tasted, but colour, a stone, salt, and so on. Matter is 
really a pure abstraction ; and, being so, we have here 
the pure essential nature of thought, or pure thought 
itself, as the Absolute without predicates, undetermined, 
having no distinctions within it.* 

The one kind of enlightenment calls absolute Being 
that predicateless Absolute, which exists in thought 
beyond the actual consciousness from which this en- 
lightenment started ; the other calls it matter. If they 
were distinguished as Nature and Spirit or God, the 
unconscious inner working and weaving would have 
nothing of the wealth of developed life required in 
order to be nature, while Spirit or God would have 
no self-distinguishing consciousness. Both, as we saw, 
are entirely the same notion ; the distinction lies not 
in the objective fact, but purely in the diversity of 
starting-point adopted by the two thought-construc- 
tions, and in the fact that each keeps to a special point 
of view in the thought-process. If they rose above 
that, their thoughts would coincide, and they would 
find what to the one is, as it holds, a horror, and to 
the other a folly, is one and the same thing. For to 
the one, absolute Being, in its pure thought or 
directly for pure consciousness is outside finite con- 
sciousness, is the negative beyond of finite mind. If 
it would reflect that in part that simple immediacy 
of thought is nothing else than pure being, that in part, 
again, what is negative for consciousness is at the same 

* Cp. Schopenhauer : " The absolute without predicates is just 

586 Phenomenology of Mind 

time related to consciousness that in the negative 
judgment the copula " is " also connects and holds 
together the two separated factors it would come to 
see that this beyond, which the nature of an external 
existence implies, stands in a relation to consciousness, 
and that in so doing this means the same as what is 
called pure matter. The missing moment of the 
present would then be secured. 

The other enlightenment starts from sense-existence ; 
it then abstracts from the sensuous relation of tasting, 
seeing, etc., and turns sense-existence into purely 
inherent being (Ansich], absolute matter, something 
neither felt nor tasted. This being has in this way 
become the inner reality of pure consciousness, the 
ultimately simple without predicates ; it is the pure 
notion, qua notion whose being is in itself, or it is pure 
thought within itself. This insight in its conscious 
activity does not go through the process of passing 
from being, which is purely being, to an opposite in 
thought, which is the same as mere being, or does not 
go from the pure positive to the opposite pure negative ; 
since the positive is really pure simply and solely 
through negation, while the negative qua pure is self- 
identical and one within itself, and precisely on that 
account positive. 

Or again, these two have not come to the notion 
found in Descartes' metaphysics that in themselves being 
and thought are the same; they have not arrived at 
the thought that being, pure being, is not a concrete 
actual reality, but pure abstraction, and conversely that 
pure thought, self-identity or inner essence, is partly 
the negative of self-consciousness, and consequently 
is being, and partly, qua immediate simple entity, is 

The Result of Enlightenment 587 

likewise nothing else than being. Thought is thing- 
hood, or thinghood is thought. 

The real essence is here divided asunder in such a way 
that, to begin with, it appertains to two specifically 
distinct modes of thinking. In part, the real must hold 
distinction in itself ; in part, just by so doing, both ways 
of considering it merge into one ; for then the abstract 
moments, of pure being and the negative, by which 
their distinction is expressed, are united in the object 
with which these modes of treatment deal. 

The universal common to both is the abstraction 
of pure self-thinking, of pure quivering within the 
self. This simple motion of rotating on its own 
axis is bound to resolve itself into separate moments, 
because it is itself only motion by distinguishing its 
own moments. This distinguishing of the moments 
leaves the unmoved [unity] behind as the empty shell 
of pure being, that is no longer actual thought, has 
no more life within it ; for qua distinction this process 
is all the content. The process, which thus puts itself 
outside that unity thereby constitutes, however, the 
shifting change a change that does not return into 
itself of the moments of being-in-itself, of being- 
for-another, and of being-for-self actual reality in the 
way this is object for the concrete consciousness of pure 
insight constitutes Utility. 

Bad as utility may look to belief or sentimentality or 
even to the abstraction that calls itself speculation, and 
takes to do with the ultimate, the inherent nature ; 
yet it is that in which pure insight finds its realisation, 
and itself is the object for insight, an object which 
insight now no longer repudiates, and which, too, it 
does not put down as the void or the pure beyond. For 

588 Phenomenology of Mind 

pure insight, as we saw, is the living notion itself, the 
self-same pure personality, distinguishing itself within 
itself in such a way that each of the distinguished 
elements is itself pure notion, i.e. is eo ipso not distinct ; 
it is simple undifferentiated pure self-consciousness, 
which is for itself as well as in itself within an immediate 
unity. Its inherent being, its being in itself, is therefore 
not fixed and permanent, but at once ceases, in its 
distinction, to be something distinctive. A being of that 
kind, however, which is immediately without support 
and cannot stand of itself, has no being in itself, no 
inherent existence, it is essentially for something else, 
which is the power that consumes and absorbs it. But 
this second moment, opposed to that first one, dis- 
appears immediately too, like the first ; or, rather, qua 
being merely for some other, it is the very process of 
disappearing, and is definitely affirmed as being that 
has turned back into itself, as being for itself. This 
simple being-f or-self , however, qua self-identity, is rather 
an objective being, or is thereby for an other. 

This nature of pure insight in thus unfolding and 
making explicit its moments, in other words insight 
qua object, finds expression in the useful, the profitable. 
What is useful is a thing, something that subsists in 
itself ; this being in itself is at the same time only a pure 
moment : it is in consequence absolutely for something 
else, but is equally for an other merely as it is in itself : 
these opposite moments return into the indivisible 
unity of being-for-self. While, however, the useful 
doubtless expresses the notion of pure insight, it is all 
the same not insight as such, but insight as conscious 
presentation, or as object for insight. It is merely the 
restless shifting change of those moments, of which 

The Result of Enlightenment 589 

one is indeed being returned into itself, but merely as 
being for itself, i.e. as abstract moment, appearing on 
one side over against the others. The useful itself does 
not consist in the negative fact of having these moments 
in their opposition at the same time undivided in 
one and the same respect, of having them as a form of 
thought per se in the way they are qua pure insight. 
The moment of being-for-self is doubtless a phase of 
usef ulness, but not in the sense that it swamps the other 
moments, being-per-se and being-for-another ; if so, it 
would be the whole self. In dealing with the useful, 
pure insight thus takes as object its own peculiar 
notion in the pure moments constituting its nature; 
it is the consciousness of this metaphysical principle, 
but not yet its conceptual comprehension, it has not 
yet itself got to the unity of being and notion. Because 
the useful still appears before insight in the form of an 
object, insight has a world, not indeed any longer a 
world all by itself and self-contained, but still a world 
all the same, which it distinguishes from itself. Only, 
since the opposites have come forth on the summit of 
the notion, the next step will be for them to collide 
with one another and for enlightenment to experience 
the fruits of their deeds. 

When we look at the object reached in relation to 
this entire sphere of spiritual life, we found the actual 
world of culture summed up in the vanity of self- 
consciousness in independent self-existence, whose 
content is drawn from the confusion characteristic 
of culture, and which is still the individual notion, 
not yet the self-conscious (fur sich) universal notion. 
Returned into itself, however, that (individual) notion 
is pure insight pure consciousness qua pure self or 

590 Phenomenology of Mind 

negativity, just as belief, too, is pure consciousness, qua 
pure thought or positivity. Belief finds in that self the 
moment that makes it complete; but, perishing through 
being thus completed, it is in pure insight that we now 
see both moments as absolute Being, which is purely 
thought-constituted or is a negative entity, and as 
matter, which is the positive entity. 

This completion still lacks that actual reality of 
self-consciousness, which belongs to the vain and empty 
type of consciousness the world out of which thought 
raised itself up to itself. What is thus wanting is 
reached in the aspect of utility so far as pure 
insight secures positive objectivity there; pure insight 
is thereby a concrete actual consciousness satisfied 
within itself. This objectivity now constitutes its 
world, and is become the final and true outcome of the 
entire previous world, ideal as well as real. The first 
world of spirit is the expansive realm of spirit's 
self-dispersed existence and of certainty of self in 
separate individual shapes and forms : just as nature 
disperses its life in an endless multiplicity of forms and 
shapes, without the generic principle of all the forms being 
present therein. The second world contains the generic 
principle, and is the realm of the ultimate inherent 
nature (Ansichseyns) or the essential truth, over against 
that individual certainty. The third world, however, 
that of the profitable or the useful, is the truth which is 
certainty of self as well. The realm of the truth of belief 
lacks the principle of concrete actuality, or of certainty 
of self in the sense of this individual self. But, again, 
concrete actuality, or certainty of self qua this individual, 
lacks the ultimate inherent nature (Ansich) . In the obj ect 
of pure insight both worlds are united. The useful 

The Result of Enlightenment 591 

is the object so far as self-consciousness sees through it 
and individual certainty of self finds its enjoyment 
(its self-existence) in it; self-consciousness sees into it 
in this manner, and this insight contains the true essence 
of the object (which consists in being something perme- 
able to sight, something seen through, in other words, 
in being for an other). This insight is thus itself true 
knowledge ; and self-consciousness directly finds in this 
attitude universal certainty of itself as well, has its pure 
consciousness in this attitude, in which truth as well as 
immediateness and actuality are united. Both worlds 
are reconciled and heaven is transplanted to the earth 



Consciousness has found its notion in the principle 
of utility. But that notion is partly an object still, 
partly, for that very reason, still a purpose, of which 
consciousness does not yet find itself to be immediately 
possessed. Utility or profitableness is still a predicate 
of the object, not a subject, not its immediate and sole 
actuality. It is the same thing that appeared before 
when we found that self-existence (being-for-self) had 
not yet shown itself to be the substance of the remaining 
moments, a process by which the useful would be 
primarily nothing else than the self of consciousness 
and this latter thereby in its possession. 

This resumption of the form of objectivity which 
characterises the useful has, however, already taken 
effect implicitly, and as the outcome of this immanent 
internal revolution there comes to light the actual 
revolution of concrete actuality, the new mode of 
conscious life absolute freedom. 

This is so because in point of fact there is here no more 
than an empty semblance of objectivity separating 
self-consciousness from actual possession. For, in part, 
all the worth and permanence of the various specific 
members of the organisation of the world of actuality 
and belief have as a whole returned into this simple 

* Refers primarily to the regime under the French revolutionaries. 


Absolute Freedom and Terror 593 

determination, which is their ground and their indwell- 
ing spirit : in part, however, this determinate element 
has nothing peculiarly its own left for itself, it is instead 
pure metaphysic, pure notion or knowledge of self- 
consciousness. That is to say, from the inherent and 

/ ' 

specific nature of the useful qua object consciousness 
learns that its inherent nature, its being-in-itself, is 
essentially a being for another ; mere being per se, 
since it is self-less, is ultimately and in truth a passive 
entity, or something that is for another self. The object, 
however, is present to consciousness in this abstract 
form of purely immanent being, of pure being-in-itself ; 
for consciousness is the activity of pure insight, the 
separate moments of which take the pure form of 

Self-existence, being-for-self, however, into which being 
for another returns, in other words the self, is not a self 
of what is called object, a self all its own and different 
from the ego : for consciousness qua pure insight is not 
an individual self, over against which the object, in the 
sense of having a self all its own, could stand, but the 
pure notion, the gazing of the self into self, the literal 
and absolute seeing itself doubled. The certainty of 
itself is the universal subject, and its notion knowing 
itself is the essential being of all reality. If the useful 
was merely the shifting change of the moments, without 
returning into its own proper unity, and was hence 
still an object for knowledge to deal with, then it ceases 
to be this now. For knowing is itself the process and 
movement of those abstract moments ; it is the univer- 
sal self, the self of itself as well as of the object, and, 
being universal, is the unity of this process, a unity 
that returns into itself. 


594 Phenomenology of Mind 

This brings on the scene spirit in the form of absolute 
freedom. It is the mode of self-consciousness which 
clearly comprehends that in its certainty of self lies the 
essence of all the component spiritual parts of the 
concrete sensible as well as of the supersensible world, 
or, conversely, that essential being and concrete actu- 
ality consist in the knowledge consciousness has of 

It is conscious of its pure personality and with that 
of all spiritual reality ; and all reality is solely spiritu- 
ality ; the world is for it absolutely its own will, and 
this will is universal will. And further, this will is not 
the empty thought of will, which is constituted by 
giving a silent assent, or an assent through a representa- 
tive, a mere symbol of willing ; it is a concretely em- 
bodied universal will, the will of all individuals as such. 
For will is in itself the consciousness of personality, of 
every single one ; and it has to be as this true concrete 
actual will, as self-conscious essential being of each and 
every personality, so that each single and undivided 
does everything, and what appears as done by the whole 
is at once and consciously the deed of every single 

This undivided substance of absolute freedom puts 
itself on the throne of the world, without any power 
being able to offer effectual resistance. For since in 
very truth consciousness is alone the element which 
furnishes spiritual beings or powers with their sub- 
stance, their entire system, which is organised and 
maintained through division into separate spheres and 
distinct wholes, has collapsed into a single whole, when 
once the individual consciousness conceives the object 
as having no other nature than that of self-conscious- 

Absolute Freedom and Terror 595 

ness itself, or conceives it to be absolutely the notion. 
What made the notion an existential object was the 
distinguishing it into separate and separately subsist- 
ing areas or groups ; when, however, the object becomes 
a notion there is nothing fixedly subsisting left in it; 
negativity permeates and pervades all its moments. 
It exists in such a way that each individual conscious- 
ness rises out of the sphere assigned to it, finds no 
longer its inmost nature and function in this isolated 
area, but grasps itself as the notion of will, grasps all 
the various groupings as the essential expression of this 
will, and is in consequence only able to realise itself 
in a work which is a work of the whole. In this absolute 
freedom all social ranks or classes, which are the 
component spiritual factors into which the whole is 
differentiated, are effaced and annulled ; the individual 
consciousness that belonged to any such group and 
exercised its will and found its fulfilment there, has re- 
moved the barriers confining it ; its purpose is the 
universal purpose, its language universal law, its work 
universal achievement. 

The object and the element distinguished have here 
lost the meaning of utility, of profitableness, which was 
a predicate of all real being; consciousness does not 
commence its process with the object as a sort of alien 
element after dealing with which it then and only then 
returns into itself ; the object it is aware of is conscious- 
ness itself. The opposition thus consists solely in the 
distinction of individual and universal consciousness. 
But the individual itself is directly on its own view 
that which had merely the semblance of opposition ; 
it is universal consciousness and will. The ulterior 
beyond that lies remote from this its actual reality, 

596 Phenomenology of Mind 

hovers over the corpse of the vanished and departed 
independence of what is real or believed to be, and 
hovers there merely as an exhalation of stale gas, of the 
empty elre supreme. 

By doing away with the various distinct spiritual 
groups, and the restricted and confined life of individuals, 
as well as both its worlds, there thus remains merely the 
process of the universal self-consciousness within itself 
as an interaction of its content, a reciprocal interaction 
between its universal form and personal consciousness. 
The universal will goes into itself, is subject! vised, and 
becomes individual will, to which the universal law and 
universal work stand opposed. But this individual con- 
sciousness is equally and immediately conscious of 
itself as universal will; it is fully aware that its own 
objective content is a law given by that will, a work 
performed by that will ; in exercising and carrying out 
its activity, in creating objectivity, it is thus doing 
nothing individual, but executing laws and functions of 
the state. 

This process is consequently the interaction of con- 
sciousness with itself, in which it lets nothing break 
away and assume the shape of a detached object 
standing over against it. It follows from this, that it 
cannot arrive at a positive accomplishment of anything, 
either in the way of universal operations in language 
or in actual reality, either in the shape of laws and 
universal regulations of conscious freedom, or of deeds 
and works of active freedom. 

The accomplished result at which this freedom, that 
gives itself consciousness, might manage to arrive, 
would consist in the fact that such freedom qua universal 
substance made itself into an object and an abiding 

Absolute Freedom and Terror 597 

existence. This objective otherness would there be the 
differentiation which enabled it to divide itself into 
stable spiritual groups and into separate fragments or 
members. These wholes or spheres would partly be the 
thought-constituted factors of a power that is differ- 
entiated into legislative, judicial and executive ; but 
partly they would be the substantial elements we found 
in the real world of spiritual culture; and, since the 
content of universal action would be more closely taken 
note of, they would be the particular areas or spheres of 
labour, which are further distinguished as specific social 
ranks or classes. Universal freedom, which would have 
differentiated itself in this manner into its various parts, 
and by the very fact of doing so would have made itself 
an existing substance, would thereby be free from par- 
ticular individualities, and could apportion the plurality 
of individuals to its several parts. 

The activity and being of personality would, however, 
find itself by this process confined to a branch of the 
whole, to one kind of action and existence ; when placed 
in the element of existence, personality would bear the 
meaning of a determinate personality ; it would cease 
to be in reality universal self-consciousness. Neither 
by the idea of submission to self-imposed laws, addressed 
in part to universal self-consciousness, nor by its being 
represented when legislation and universal action take 
place, does self-consciousness here let itself be mistaken 
about the actual truth, that itself lays down the law 
and itself accomplishes a universal and not a particular 
task. For in the case where the self is merely repre- 
sented and ideally presented (vorgestellt), there it is not 
actual : where it is by proxy, it is not.* 

* The essential principle of anarchy. 

598 Phenomenology of Mind 

Just as the individual self-consciousness does not find 
itself in this universal work of absolute freedom qua 
existing substance, as little does it find itself in the deeds 
proper and specific individual acts of will performed by 
this substance. For the universal to pass into a deed, it 
must gather itself into the single unity of individuality, 
and put an individual consciousness in the forefront ; for 
universal will is an actual concrete will only in a self 
that is single and one. Thereby, however, all other in- 
dividuals are excluded from the entirety of this deed, and 
have only a restricted share in it, so that the deed would 
not be a deed of real universal self-consciousness. 

Universal freedom can thus produce neither a positive 
achievement nor a deed ; there is left for it only nega- 
tive action ; it is merely the rage and fury of dis- 
appearance and destruction. 

But the highest reality of all and the reality most of 
all opposed to absolute freedom, or rather the sole 
object it is yet to become aware of, is the freedom and 
singleness of actual self-consciousness itself. For that 
universality which does not let itself attain the reality of 
organic differentiation, and whose purpose is to maintain 
itself in unbroken continuity, distinguishes itself within 
itself all the while, because it is process or consciousness 
in general. Moreover on account of its own peculiar 
abstraction, it divides itself into extremes equally 
abstract, into the cold unbending bare universality, 
and the hard discrete absolute rigidity and stubborn 
atomic singleness of actual self-consciousness. Now 
that it is done with exterminating and destroying 
express organisation, and subsists on its own behalf, 
this is its sole object, an object that has no other content 
left, no other possession, existence and external exten- 

Absolute Freedom and Terror 599 

sion, but is merely this knowledge of itself as absolutely 
pure and detached individual self. The point at which 
the object can be laid hold of and understood is solely 
its abstract existence in general. 

The relation, then, of these two, since they exist for 
themselves indivisibly and absolutely and thus cannot 
arrange for a common part to act as a means for con- 
necting them, is pure negation entirely devoid of media- 
tion, the negation, moreover, of the individual as a factor 
existing within the universal. The sole and only work 
and deed accomplished by universal freedom is therefore 
death a death that achieves nothing, embraces nothing 
within its grasp ; for what is negated is the unachieved, 
unfulfilled punctual entity of the absolutely free self. 
It is thus the most cold-blooded mean and meaningless 
death of all, with no more significance than cleaving 
a head of cabbage or swallowing a draught of water. 

In this single expressionless syllable consists the 
wisdom of the government, the intelligence of the 
general will, when carrying out and executing its plans. 
The government is itself nothing but the self-established 
focus, the individual embodiment of the general will. 
Government, a power to will and perform proceeding 
from a single centre, wills and performs at the same time a 
determinate order and action. In doing so it, on the 
one hand, excludes other individuals from a share in 
its deed, and, on the other, thereby constitutes itself 
a form of government which is a specifically determinate 
will and eo ipso opposed to the universal will. By 
no manner of means, therefore, can it put itself forward 
as anything but a faction. The victorious faction 
only is called the government ; and just in that it 
is a faction lies the direct necessity of its overthrow : 

600 Phenomenology of Mind 

and its being government makes it, conversely, into a 
faction and hence guilty. When the universal will holds 
to this concrete action of the government and holds this to 
be a crime which the government has committed against 
the universal will, then the government on its side has 
nothing tangible and external left whereby to establish 
and show the guilt of the will opposing itself to it ; for 
what thus stands opposed to it as concrete actual uni- 
versal will is merely unreal abstract will, bare intention. 
Being suspected, therefore, takes the place, or has the 
significance and effect, of being guilty ; and the external 
reaction against this reality that lies in bare inward 
intention, consists in the fatuous barren destruction 
of this particular existent self, in whose case there is 
nothing else to take away but its mere existence. 

In this its characteristically peculiar performance, 
absolute freedom becomes objective to itself, and 
self-consciousness finds out what this freedom is. 
In itself it is just this abstract self-consciousness, 
which destroys all distinction and all fixedness of 
distinction within itself. It is object to itself in this 
shape ; the terror of death is the direct apprehension 
(Anschauung) of this its negative nature. This its 
reality, however, finds absolute free self-conscious- 
ness quite different from what its own notion of itself 
was, viz. that the universal will is merely the positive 
substance of personality, and that this latter knows 
itself in it only positively, knows itself preserved there. 
Rather for this self - consciousness, which qua pure 
insight completely separates its positive and negative 
nature separates the unpredicated Absolute qua pure 
thought and qua pure matter the absolute transition 
from the one to the other is found here present within 

Absolute Freedom and Terror 601 

its reality. The universal will, qua absolutely positive 
concrete self-consciousness because it is this self-con- 
scious actuality raised to the level of pure thought or 
abstract matter turns round into the negative entity, 
and shows itself at the same time to be what cancels 
and does away with self- thinking or self - conscious- 

Absolute freedom qua pure self-identity of universal 
will thus carries with it negation; but in doing so 
contains distinction in general, and develops this again 
as concrete actual difference. For pure negativity finds 
in the self-identical universal will the element of sub- 
sistence, or the substance in which its moments get 
their realisation ; it has the matter which it can turn into 
the specific nature of the substance ; and in so far as this 
substance has manifested itself to be the negative element 
for the individual consciousness, the organisation of the 
spiritual groups or "masses" of the substance, to which 
the plurality of conscious individuals is assigned, thus 
takes shape and form once more. These individuals, 
who felt the fear of death, their absolute lord and master, 
submit to negation and distinction once more, arrange 
themselves into groups, and return to a restricted and 
apportioned task, but thereby to their substantial 

Out of this tumult spirit would be thrown back 
upon its starting-point, the ethical world and the real 
world of spiritual culture, which would thus have been 
merely refreshed and rejuvenated by the fear of the 
lord, that has again entered their hearts. Spirit 
would have anew to traverse and continually repeat 
this cycle of necessity, if only complete interpenetra- 
tion of self-consciousness and the substance were 

602 Phenomenology of Mind 

the final result. In such an interpenetration self-con- 
sciousness might seek to experience the force of its 
universal nature operating negatively upon it, would 
try to know and find itself not as this particular self- 
consciousness but only as universal, and hence, too, 
would be able to endure the objective reality of uni- 
versal spirit, a reality, excluding self-consciousness qua 

But this is not the form the final result assumes. For 
in absolute freedom there was no reciprocal interaction 
either between an external world and consciousness, 
which is absorbed in manifold existence or sets itself 
determinate purposes and ideas, or between consciousness 
and an external objective world, be it a world of reality 
or of thought. What that freedom contained was the 
world absolutely in the form of consciousness, as a 
universal will, and, along with that, self-consciousness 
gathered out of all the dispersion and manifoldness of 
existence or all the manifold ends and judgments of 
mind, and concentrated into the bare and simple self. 
The form of culture, which it attains in interaction with 
that essential nature, is, therefore, the grandest and 
the last, is that of seeing its pure and simple reality 
immediately disappear and pass away into empty 
nothingness.* In the sphere of culture itself it does 
not get the length of viewing its negation or alienation 
in this form of pure abstraction ; its negation is nega- 
tion with a filling and a content either honour and 
wealth, which it gains in the place of the self that it 
has alienated from itself ; or the language of esprit and 
insight, which the distraught consciousness acquires ; or, 
again, the negation is the heaven of belief or the element 

* Kant's "thing in itself" f 

Absolute Freedom and Terror 603 

of utility belonging to the stage of enlightenment. All 
these determinate elements disappear with the disaster 
and ruin that overtake the self in the state of absolute 
freedom ; * its negation is meaningless death, sheer 
horror of the negative which has nothing positive in 
it, nothing that gives a filling. 

At the same time, however, this negation in its actual 
manifestation is not something alien and external. 
It is neither that universal background of necessity in 
which the moral world is swamped, nor the particular 
accident of private possession, the whims and humours 
of the owner, on which the distraught consciousness 
finds itself dependent ; it is universal will, which in 
this its last abstraction has nothing positive, and 
hence can give nothing in return for the sacrifice. 
But just on that account this will is in unmediated 
oneness with self-consciousness, it is the pure positive 
because it is the pure negative ; and that meaningless 
death, the insubstantial, vacuous negativity of self, in 
its inner constitutive principle, turns round into abso- 
lute positivity. For consciousness, the immediate unity 
of itself with universal will, its demand to see and find 
itself as a determinate particular focus in the universal 
will, is changed and converted into the absolutely oppo- 
site experience. What it loses there, is abstract being, 
the immediate existence of that insubstantial focus ; and 
this vanished immediacy is the universal will as such 
which it now knows itself to be, so far as it is superseded 
and cancelled immediacy, so far as it is pure knowledge 
or pure will. By this means it knows that will to be 
itself, and knows itself to be essential reality; but not 
as the immediate essence, not will as revolutionary 

* la the sense of abstract autonomy. 

604 Phenomenology of Mind 

government or anarchy struggling to establish an anar- 
chical constitution, nor itself as a centre of this faction or 
the opposite : the universal will is its pure knowing and 
willing, and it is universal will qua this pure knowledge 
and volition. It does not lose itself there, for pure 
knowledge and volition is it qua atomic point of con- 
sciousness. It is thus the interaction of pure knowledge 
with itself ; pure knowledge qua essential reality is 
universal will, while this essence is simply and solely 
pure knowledge. Self-consciousness is thus pure know- 
ledge of essential reality in the sense of pure knowledge. 
Furthermore, qua particular self it is merely the form 
of the subject or concrete real action, a form which by 
it is known as form. In the same way objective reality, 
11 being," is for it absolutely self-less form ; for that 
objective reality would be what is not known : this 
knowledge, however, knows knowledge to be the essen- 
tial fact. 

Absolute freedom has thus squared and balanced 
the opposition of universal and particular will with 
its own nature. The self-alienated type of mind, 
driven to the acme of its opposition, where pure volition 
and the purely volitional agent are still kept distinct, 
reduces that opposition to a transparent form, and 
therein finds itself. 

Just as the realm of the real and actual world 
passes over into that of belief and insight, absolute 
freedom leaves its self-destructive sphere of reality, 
and passes over into another land of self-conscious spirit, 
where in this unreality freedom is taken to be and is 
accepted as the truth. In the thought of this truth 
spirit refreshes and revives itself (so far as spirit is thought 
and remains so), and knows this being which self- 

Absolute Freedom and Terror 605 

consciousness involves [viz. thought] to be the complete 
and entire essence of everything. The new form and 
mode of experience that now arises is that of the Moral 
Life of Spirit. 




[The following section deals with the final and highest stage in the life 
of finite spiritual experience as realised in the concrete form of a historical 
society. Here the substance of the social order is the real content of the 
self-conscious individual : that substance has become subjectified ; we 
have therefore a self-contained spiritual subject. TJie discordance in- 
volved in the sphere of culture and enlightenment is overcome by the 
self knowing and realising itself as a completely universal self -determin- 
ing free will, its world within itself, and its self its own world. Each 
reflects the whole (the totality of social life) in itself so perfectly that 
what it does is transparently the doing of the whole as much as its own 
doing. Such a sphere of spiritual existence is Morality, the all-sufficient 
spiritual order of the finite spirit as an individual. The meaning assigned 
to " morality " here is that expressed by Kant when he says that morality 
is "the relation of actions to the autonomy of the will, i.e. to possible 
universal legislation through maxims of the will." In other words, all the 
universality constituting the interrelations of finite spirits in a society 
are epitomised in the soul of the acting individual, who can thus quite 
legitimately, look upon itself as the self-regulating source of all universal 
conditions of action. 

It is inevitable that such a concrete mode of experience should have 
various aspects and should pass through various stages in the process of 
fully realising its nature. The individual may lay exclusive stress on the 
self -completeness which he possesses through being the source and origin 
of his own laws. His self -legislative function, just because it carries with 
it the sense of universality, may appear so supremely important that all 
the actual detail of his life comes to be treated as external, indifferent, and 
contingent. This detail no doubt is essential to give body and substance 
to his spiritual individuality, but the universality of his will so far tran- 
scends each and every detail of content as to seem by itself the sole and 
all-sufficient reality of his being. The content of his life only enters into 
consideration as an element to be regulated and made to conform to the 
universal : the relation so constituted between content and universal is 


Morality 607 

found in the consciousness of Duty. Since the content is thus subor- 
dinate, though absolutely essential to give even meaning to the idea and 
the " fulfilment " of duty, and since the universal is the supremely im- 
portant fact, not merely is duty to be fulfilled for duty's sake, but the 
duty in question is pure duty. The " good will " is the purely universal 
will, and is the only will in the world from this point of view. 

In the first section (a) Hegel analyses this phase of the moral life. 

The historical material the writer has in mind is a moral attitude 
which came into prominence at the time of the Romantic movement 
towards the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. It found its philosophical expression in the moral theories of 
Kant and Fichte ; and Lessing may be taken as a typical representative in 
literature of the same attitude.] 



The ethical order of the community found its con- 
summation and its truth in the type of spirit existing 
in mere solitude and separation within it the individual 
self. This legal person, however, has its substance and 
its fulfilment outside that ethical order. The process 
of the world of culture and belief does away with this 
abstraction of a mere person ; and by the completion 
of the process of estrangement, by reaching the ex- 
tremity of abstraction, the self of spirit finds the sub- 
stance become first the universal will, and finally its 
own possession. Here, then, knowledge seems at last 
to have become entirely at one with the truth at which 
it aims ; for its truth is this knowledge itself. All 
opposition between the two sides has vanished, and 
that, too, not for us (who are tracing the process), not 
merely implicitly, but actually for self-consciousness 
itself. That is to say, knowledge has itself got the 
mastery over the opposition which consciousness had 
to face. This rests on the opposition between certainty 
of self and the object. Now, however, the object for it 
is the certainty of self, knowledge : just as the cer- 
tainty of itself as such has no longer ends of its own, 
is no longer conditioned and determinate, but is pure 

Self-consciousness thus now takes the knowledge of 
itself to be the substance itself. This substance is, for 
it, at once immediate and absolutely mediated in one 


Morality 609 

indivisible unity. It is immediate just in the way 
the " ethical " consciousness knows and itself does its 
duties, and is bound to the substance as to its own 
nature : but it is not character, just as that ethical 
consciousness, which in virtue of its immediacy is 
a determinate type of spirit, belongs merely to one 
of the essential features of ethical life, and has 
the peculiarity of not being conscious explicit know- 
ledge. It is, again, absolute mediation, as involving the 
conscious processes of culture and belief ; for it is essen- 
tially the movement of the life of self to transcend the 
abstract form of immediate existence, and become con- 
sciously universal and yet to do so neither by simply 
estranging and rending itself as well as reality, nor by 
fleeing from it. Rather, it is directly and immediately 
present in its very substance ; for this substance is its 
knowledge, it is the pure certainty of self become trans- 
parently visible. And just this very immediacy, which 
constitutes its actual reality, is the entire actuality; 
for the immediate is being, and qua pure immediacy, 
immediacy made transparent by thoroughgoing nega- 
tion, this immediacy is pure being, is being in general, 
is all being. 

Absolute essential Being is, therefore, not exhausted 

by the characteristic of being the simple essence of 

'thought; it is all actuality, and this actuality exists 

merely as knowledge. What consciousness did not know 

would have no sense and can be no power in its life. 

Into its self-conscious knowing will, all objectivity, the 

. whole world, has withdrawn. It is absolutely free in 

that it knows its freedom ; and just this very knowledge 

of its freedom is its substance, its purpose, its sole and 

. only content. 



Self-consciousness knows and accepts duty as the 
Absolute. It is bound by that alone, and this sub- 
stance is its own conscious life pure and simple ; duty 
cannot, for it, take on the form of something alien 
and external. When thus shut up and confined within 
itself, however, moral self-consciousness is not yet 
affirmed and looked at as consciousness* The object 
is immediate knowledge, and, being thus permeated 
purely by the self, is not object. But, this knowledge 
being essentially mediation and negativity, there is im- 
plied in its very conception relation to some otherness ; 
and thus it is consciousness. This other, because duty 
constitutes its sole essential purpose and objective con- 
tent, is a reality completely devoid of significance for 
consciousness. But again because this consciousness is 
so entirely confined within itself, it takes up towards 
this otherness a perfectly free and detached attitude ; 
and the existence of this other is, therefore, an exis- 
tence completely set free from self-consciousness, and in 
like manner relating itself merely to itself. The 
freer self-consciousness becomes, the freer also is the 
negative object of its consciousness. The object is thus 
a complete world within itself, with an individuality of 

* i.e. there is not the opposition of an object to subject which con- 
sciousness requires. 


The Moral View of the World 611 

its own, an independent whole of laws peculiar to it- 
self, as well as an independent procedure and an un- 
fettered active realisation of those laws. It is alto- 
gether a nature, a nature whose laws and also whose 
action belong to itself as a being which is not dis- 
turbed about the moral self-consciousness, just as the 
latter is not troubled about it. 

Starting with a specific character of this sort, there 
is formed and established a moral outlook or point of 
view which consists in a process of relating the im- 
plicit aspect of morality (moralisches Ansichseyri) and the 
explicit aspect (moralisches Fursichseyri). This relation 
presupposes both thorough reciprocal indifference and 
specific independence as between nature and moral 
purposes and activity ; and also, on the other side, 
a conscious sense of duty as the sole essential fact, 
and of nature as entirely devoid of independence and 
essential significance of its own. The point of view or 
attitude of the moral life consists in the development 
of these moments, which are involved in this relation of 
such entirely antithetic and contradictory presuppo- 

To begin with, then, the moral consciousness in 
general is presupposed. It takes duty to be the essen- 
tial reality : itself is actual and active, and in its 
actuality and action fulfils duty. But this moral con- 
sciousness, at the same time, finds before it the assumed 
freedom of nature : it learns by experience that nature 
is not concerned about giving consciousness a sense of 
the unity of its reality with that of nature, and hence 
discovers that nature may let it become happy, but 
perhaps also may not. The non-moral consciousness 
on the other hand finds, by chance perhaps, its realisa- 

612 Phenomenology of Mind 

tion where the moral consciousness sees merely an occa- 
sion for acting, but does not see itself enjoying through 
its action the success of performance and the satisfaction 
of achievement. It therefore finds reason for bewailing 
a situation where there is no correspondence between 
itself and existence, and lamenting the injustice which 
confines it to having its object merely in the form of 
pure duty but refuses to let it see this object and itself 
actually realised. 

The moral consciousness cannot renounce happiness 
and drop this element out of its absolute purpose. 
The purpose, which is expressed as duty pure and 
simple, essentially implies retention of individual self- 
consciousness and maintenance of its claims. Individual 
conviction and knowledge thereof constituted a funda- 
mental element in morality. This element in the objecti- 
fied purpose, in duty fulfilled, is the particular conscious- 
ness seeing itself as actually realised. In other words, 
this moment is that of enjoyment, which thus lies in the 
very principle of morality, not indeed of morality in 
the sense of immediate feeling and sentiment, but in 
the principle of the actualisation of morality. Owing 
to this, however, enjoyment is also involved in moral 
sentiment, for morality seeks, not to remain sentiment 
as opposed to action, but to act or realise itself. Thus 
the purpose, expressed as a whole along with the con- 
sciousness of its elements or moments, is that duty 
fulfilled shall be both a purely moral act and a real- 
ised individuality, and that nature, the aspect of par- 
ticularity in contrast with abstract purpose, shall be 
one with this purpose. 

While experience must necessarily bring to light the 
disharmony between the two 'aspects, seeing that nature 

The Moral View of the World 613 

is detached and apart, nevertheless duty is alone the es- 
sential fact and nature by contrast is devoid of self- 
hood. That purpose in its entirety, which the harmony 
of the two constitutes, contains within it actuality itself. 
It is, at the same time, the thought of actuality. The 
harmony of morality and nature, or seeing that nature 
is taken account of merely so far as consciousness finds 
out nature's unity with it the harmony of morality and 
happiness, is thought of as necessarily existing ; it is 
postulated. For to postulate or demand means that 
something is thought to be which is not yet actual, 
a necessity affecting, not the conception qua conception, 
but existence. But the requirement or necessity is at the 
same time essentially a relation through the conception. 
The existence demanded thus belongs, not to something 
present in the mind of some chance individual con- 
sciousness, but is implied in the very notion of morality 
itself, whose true content is the unity of pure with 
individual consciousness. It falls to the individual 
consciousness to see that this unity is, for it, an actu- 
ality : happiness as regards the content of the purpose, 
and existence in general as regards its form. The ex- 
istence thus demanded the unity of both is there- 
fore not a wish, nor, looked at qua purpose, is it of 
such a kind as to be still uncertain of attainment ; 
the purpose is rather a demand of reason, or an imme- 
diate certainty and presupposition of reason. 

The first experience above referred to and this postu- 
late are not the only experience and postulate ; a whole 
round of postulates comes to light. For nature is not 
merely this completely detached external mode in 
which, as a bare pure object, consciousness has to 
realise its purpose. Consciousness is per se essentially 

614 Phenomenology of Mind 

something for which this other detached reality exists, 
i.e. it is itself something contingent and natural. This 
nature, which is properly its own, is sensibility, which, 
taking the form of volition, in the shape of Impulses and 
Inclinations, has by itself a determinate essential being 
of its own, i.e. has specific particular purposes, and 
thus is opposed to abstract will with its pure purpose. In 
contrast with this opposition, however, pure conscious- 
ness rather takes the relation of sensibility to it, the 
absolute unity of sensibility with it, to be the essential 
fact. Both of these, pure thought and sensibility, 
are essentially and inherently one consciousness, and 
pure thought is just that for which and in which this 
pure unity exists ; but for it qua consciousness the 
opposition between itself and its impulses holds. In 
this conflict between reason and sensibility, the essen- 
tial thing for reason is that the conflict should be re- 
solved, and that the unity of both should come out as 
a result : not the original unity which consisted in 
both the opposites being in one individual, but a unity 
which arises out of the known opposition of the two. 
So attained, such a unity is then the actual morality ; for 
in it is contained the opposition through which the self 
is a consciousness, or first becomes concrete and in 
actual fact self, and at the same time universal. In 
other words, we find there expressed that process of 
mediation which, as we see, is essential to morality. 

Since, of the two factors in opposition, sensibility is 
otherness out and out, is the negative, while, on the 
other hand, pure thought of duty is the ultimate 
essence which cannot possibly be surrendered in any 
respect, it seems as if the unity produced can be brought 
about only by doing away with sensibility. But since 

The Moral View of the World 6l5 

sensibility is itself a moment of this process of pro- 
ducing the unity, is the aspect of actuality, we have, 
in the first instance, to be content to express the unity 
in this form sensibility should be in conformity with 

This unity is likewise a postulated existence ; it is not 
there as a fact ; for what is there is consciousness, or 
the opposition of sensibility and pure consciousness. 
All the same, the unity is not a something per se 
like the first postulate, in which free external nature 
constitutes an aspect and the harmony of nature with 
moral consciousness in consequence falls outside the 
latter. Rather, nature is here that which lies within 
consciousness ; and we have here to deal with morality 
(Moralitdt) as such, with a harmony which is the 
active self's very own. Consciousness has, therefore, 
of itself to bring about this harmonious unity, and 
" to be always making progress in morality." The 
completion of this result, however, is pushed away 
into the remote infinite, because if it actually entered 
the life of consciousness as an actual fact, the moral 
consciousness would be done away with. For morality 
is only moral consciousness qua negative force ; sen- 
sibility has merely a negative significance for the con- 
sciousness of pure duty, it is something merely " not in 
conformity with " duty. By attaining that harmony, 
however, morality qua consciousness, i.e. its actuality, 
passes away, just as in the moral consciousness or 
actuality its harmony vanishes. The completion is, 
therefore, not to be reached as an actual fact ; it is to 
be thought of merely as an absolute task or problem, 
i.e. one which remains a problem pure and simple. 
Nevertheless, its content has to be thought as some- 

616 Phenomenology of Mind 

thing which unquestionably has to be, and must not 
remain a problem : whether we imagine the moral 
consciousness quite cancelled in the attainment of this 
goal, or not. Which of these exactly is the case, can- 
not very well be clearly distinguished in the dim dis- 
tance of infinitude, to which the attainment of the end 
has to be postponed, just because we cannot decide 
the point. We shall be, strictly speaking, bound to 
say that a definite idea on the matter ought to be 
of no interest and ought not to be sought for, because 
this leads to contradictions the contradiction in speak- 
ing of an undertaking that at once ought to remain an 
undertaking and yet ought to be carried out, and the 
contradiction in speaking of a morality which is not 
consciousness, i.e. which is no longer actual. By 
adopting the view, however, that morality when com- 
pleted would contain a contradiction, the sacredness 
of moral truth would be seriously affected, and an 
unconditional duty would appear something unreal. 

The first postulate was the harmony of morality and 
objective nature the final purpose of the world : the 
other was the harmony of morality and will in its sen- 
Vgjuous form, in the form of impulse, etc. the final 
purpose of self-consciousness as such. The former is 
the harmony in the form of implicit immanent exist- 
ence ; the latter, the harmony in the form of explicit 
.self-existence. That, however, which connects these 
two extreme final purposes which are thought, and 
operates as their mediating ground, is the process of 
concrete action itself. They are harmonies whose 
moments in their abstract distinctiveness from each 
other have not yet become definitely objective : this 
takes place in concrete actuality, in which the aspects 

The Moral View of the World 617 

appear in consciousness proper, each as the other of 
the other. The postulates arising by this means con- 
tain harmonies which are now completely realised and 
objective, whereas formerly they were merely separated 
into implicit and explicit, immanent and self-existent. 

The moral consciousness, qua bare and simple know- 
ledge and willing of pure duty, is brought, by the 
process of acting upon an object opposed to that 
abstract simplicity, into relation with the manifold 
actuality which various cases present, and thereby 
assumes a moral attitude varied and manifold in 
character. Hence arise, on the side of content, the 
plurality of laws generally, and, on the side of form, 
the contradictory powers of intelligent knowing con- 
sciousness and of a being devoid of consciousness. 

To begin with, as regards the plurality of duties, it is 
merely the aspect of pure or bare duty in them which 
in general appeals to the moral consciousness as being 
of significance : the many duties qua many are deter- 
minate and, therefore, are not, as such, anything 
sacred for the moral consciousness. At the same time, 
however, being necessary, in virtue of the very nature 
of action which implicates a manifold actuality, and 
hence manifold types of moral attitude, those many 
duties must be looked on as having a substantial 
existence and value. Furthermore, since they can only 
exist in a moral consciousness, they exist at the same 
time in another consciousness than that for which only 
pure duty qua bare duty is sacred and self-sufficient. 

It is thus postulated that there is another conscious- 
ness which renders them sacred, or which knows them 
as duties and wills them so. The first maintains pure 
duty indifferent towards all specific content, and duty 

618 Phenomenology of Mind 

consists merely in being thus indifferent towards it. 
The other, however, contains the equally essential re- 
lation to the process of action, and the necessity, there- 
fore, of determinate content : since duties for this 
other mean determinate duties, the content is thus, for 
it, just as essential as the form in virtue of which 
the content is a duty at all. This consciousness is, 
consequently, such that in it the universal and the 
particular are, through and through, one ; its essential 
principle is thus the same as that of the harmony of 
morality and happiness. For this opposition between 
morality and happiness expresses in like manner the 
separation of the self-identical moral consciousness from 
that actuality which, qua manifold existence, opposes and 
conflicts with the simple nature of duty. While, how- 
ever, the first postulate expresses merely the objective 
existential harmony between morality and nature, 
because nature is therein the negative of self-conscious- 
ness, is the aspect of existence, this inherent harmony, 
on the other hand, is now affirmed essentially as a 
mode of consciousness. For existence now appears as 
the content of duty, as that in the determinate duty 
which gives it specific determinateness. The immanent 
harmony is thus the unity of elements which, qua simple 
ultimate elements, are essentially thought-created, and 
hence cannot exist except in a consciousness. This 
latter becomes now a master and ruler of the world, 
who brings about the harmony of morality and happi- 
ness, and at the same time sanctifies duties in their 
multiplicity. To sanctify these duties means this 
much, that the consciousness of pure duty cannot 
straightway and directly accept the determinate or 
specific duty as sacred ; but because a specific duty, 

The Moral View of the World 610 

owing to the nature of concrete action which is some- 
thing specific and definite, is all the same necessary, 
its necessity falls outside that consciousness and holds 
inside another consciousness, which thus mediates or 
connects determinate and pure duty, and is the reason 
why that specific duty also has validity. 

In the concrete act, however, consciousness proceeds 
to work as this particular self, as completely individual : 
it directs its activity on actual reality as such, and takes 
this as its purpose, for it wants to perform something 
definite. " Duty in general " thus falls outside it and 
within another being, which is the consciousness and 
sacred lawgiver of pure duty. The consciousness which 
acts, just because it acts, accepts the other conscious- 
ness, that of bare duty, and admits its validity imme- 
diately ; this pure duty is thus a content of another 
consciousness, and is only indirectly or in a mediate 
way sacred for the active consciousness, viz. in virtue 
of this other consciousness. 

Because it is established in this manner that the 
validity, the bindingness, of duty as something wholly 
and absolutely sacred, falls outside the actual conscious- 
ness, this latter thereby stands altogether on one side 
as the incomplete moral consciousness. Just as, in 
regard to its knowledge, it is aware of itself as that 
whose knowledge and conviction are incomplete and con- 
tingent ; in the same way, as regards its willing, it feels 
itself to be that whose purposes are affected with sensi- 
bility. On account of its " un worthiness," therefore, it 
cannot look on happiness as something necessary, but 
as a something contingent, and can only expect happi- 
ness as the result of " grace." 

But though its actuality is incomplete, duty is still, so 

620 Phenomenology of Mind 

far as its pure will and knowledge are concerned, held 
to be the essential truth. In principle, therefore, so far 
as the notion is opposed to actual reality, in other 
words, in thought, it is perfect. The absolute truth 
[duty] is, however, just this object of thought, and is 
something postulated beyond the actual. It is there- 
fore the thought in which the morally imperfect know- 
ledge and will are held to be perfect, and since it 
takes this imperfection to have full weight in which, 
consequently, happiness is meted out according to 
" worthiness," i.e. according to the " merit " ^ascribed. 

This completes the meaning of the moral attitude. 
For in the conception of moral self-consciousness the 
two aspects, pure duty and actual reality, are affirmed 
of a single unity, and thereby the one, like the other, is 
put forward, not as something self-complete, but as a 
moment, or as cancelled and transcended. This be- 
comes consciously explicit in the last phase of the moral 
attitude or point of view. Consciousness, we there saw, 
places pure duty in another form of being than its own 
consciousness, i.e. it regards pure duty partly as some- 
thing ideally presented, partly as what does not by itself 
hold good indeed, the non-moral is rather what is 
held to be perfect. In the same way it affirms itself to 
be that whose actuality, not being in conformity with 
duty, is transcended, and, qua, transcended, or in the 
presented idea of what is absolute [pure duty], no longer 
contradicts morality. 

For the moral consciousness itself, however, its moral 
attitude does not mean that consciousness therein de- 
velops its own proper notion and makes this its object. 
It has no consciousness of this opposition either as 
regards the form or the content thereof ; the elements 

The Moral View of the World 621 

composing this opposition it does not relate and compare 
with one another, but goes forward on its own course 
of development, without being the connecting principle 
of those moments. For it is only aware of the essence 
pure and simple, i.e. the object so far as this is 
duty, so far as this is an abstract object of its pure 
consciousness qua pure knowledge in other words, it is 
only aware of this object as itself. Its procedure is thus 
merely that of thinking, not conceiving, is by way of 
thoughts not notions. Consequently it does not yet find 
the object of its actual consciousness transparently 
clear to itself ; it is not the absolute notion, which 
alone grasps otherness as such, its absolute opposite, 
as its very self. Its own reality, as well as all objective 
reality, no doubt is held to be something unessential ; 
but its freedom is that of pure thought, in opposition 
to which, therefore, nature has likewise arisen as some- 
thing equally free. Because both are found in like manner 
within it both the freedom which belongs to [external] 
being and the inclusion of this existence within con- 
sciousness its object comes to be an existing object, 
which is at the same time merely a thought-product. 
In the last phase of its attitude or point of view, the 
content is essentially so constituted that its being has 
the character of something presented, an idea, and this 
union of being and thinking is expressed as what in fact 
it is, viz. Presentation. 

When we look at the moral view of the world in such 
a way that this objective result is nothing else than 
the very principle or notion of moral self-conscious- 
ness which it makes objective to itself, there arises 
through this consciousness concerning the form of its 
origin another mode of exhibiting this view of the world. 

622 Phenomenology of Mind 

The first stage, which forms the starting point, is the 
actual moral self-consciousness, or is the fact that there is 
such a self-consciousness at all. For the notion estab- 
lishes moral self-consciousness in the form that, for it, all 
reality in general has essential being only so far as such 
reality is in conformity with duty; and that notion 
establishes this essential element as knowledge, i.e. in 
.immediate unity with the actual self. This unity is thus 
itself actual, is a moral actual consciousness. The latter, 
now, qua consciousness, presents its content to itself as 
an object, viz. as the final purpose of the world, as the 
harmony of morality with all reality. Since, however, it 
represents this unity as object and is not yet the com- 
plete notion, which has the object as such in its grasp, 
this unity is taken to be something negative of or 
opposed to self-consciousness, i.e. the unity falls outside 
it, as something beyond its actual reality, but at the 
same time of such a nature as to be also existent, 
though merely thought of. 

This self-consciousness, which, qua self-consciousness, 
is something other than the object, thus finds itself left 
with the want of harmony between the consciousness of 
duty and actual reality, a reality, too, which is its own. 
The proposition consequently now runs thus: "there is 
no morally complete actual self-consciousness"; and, 
since what is moral only is in the long run so far as 
it is complete, for duty is the pure unadulterated 
ultimate element (Ansicli), and morality consists merely 
in conformity to this pure principle the second pro- 
position runs : " there is no morally actual existence 
at all." 

Since, however, in the third place, it is a self, it is 
inherently the unity of duty and actual reality. This 

The Moral View of the World 623 

unity thus becomes its object, as completed morality 
but as something beyond its actual reality, and yet 
a " beyond" which still ought to be real. 

In this final stage and last expression of the synthetic 
unity of the two first propositions, the self-conscious 
reality, as well as duty, is only affirmed as a tran- 
scended or superseded moment. For neither of them is 
alone, neither is isolated ; on the contrary, these factors, 
whose essential characteristic lies in being free from 
one another, are thus each in that unity no longer free 
from the other ; each is transcended. Hence, as re- 
gards content, they become, as such, object, each of them 
holds good for the other; and, as regards form, they 
become such that this interchange on their part is, at the 
same time, merely in idea, is merely ideally presented. 
Or, again, the actually non-moral, because it is, at the 
same time, pure thought and elevated above its own 
actual reality, is in idea still moral, and is taken to be 
entirely sufficing. In this way the first proposition, that 
there is a moral self-consciousness, is reinstated, but 
bound up with the second that there is none ; that is 
to say, there is one, but merely in idea. In other 
words, there is indeed none, but it is all the same 
allowed by some other consciousness to pass for one. 


[The first stage fails as it stands to do complete justice to the full mean- 
ing of morality. Both elements in the spiritually complete individual are 
essential, and each has to be recognised. The universal must be objectified 
in nature ("external nature" and "sensibility"), and nature must be 
subjectivised in spirit. Another condition or stage of the moral con- 
sciousness, therefore, is found where the equality of value of the 
elements of the moral consciousness is admitted, without these elements 
being completely fused into a single and total attitude. The universal is 
realised in many ways and forms, and each is accepted in turn as the true 
moral reality. The mind passes from one to the other ; when one is 
accepted the other is set aside. The moral consciousness tries, so to say, to 
hide from itself the endless diversity of its appearances, simply because it 
clings tenaciously to the idea that the inherent self -completeness of itself 
is a unity per se which can only admit diversity on sufferance. Formerly 
it eliminated all diversity by eliminating the source of diversity nature. 
Here it is forced to admit diversity, and yet cannot give up the claim to 
be an abstract single unity independent of difference. Thus its condition 
here is a mixture of self-realisation and self -sophistication a condition 
which Hegel characterises as " Dissemblance," and which borders upon 
and may pass into "Hypocrisy." Hegel regards this attitude as the 
inevitable outcome of the preceding.] 



In the moral attitude of experience we see, on one 
side, consciousness itself produce its object in a con- 
scious way. We find that neither does it pick up the 
object as something external, nor does the object come 
before it in an unconscious manner. Rather, conscious- 
ness throughout proceeds on a certain basis, and from 
this establishes the objective reality. It thus knows this 
objective element to be itself, for it is aware of itself as 
the active agent producing this object. It seems, in 
consequence, to attain here its peace and satisfaction, 
for this can only be found where it does not need to go 
any more beyond its object, because this object no 
longer goes beyond it. On the other side, however, it 
really puts the object away outside itself, as something 
beyond itself. But this latter self-contained entity is 
at the same time put there as something that is not 
detached from self-consciousness, but really there on 
behalf of and by means of it. 

The moral attitude is, therefore, in fact nothing else 
than the developed expression of this fundamental con- 
tradiction in its various aspects. It is to use a Kantian 
phrase which is here most appropriate a " perfect 

* Verstellung : It is not possible to bring out exactly by an English word 
the verbal play involved in Hegel's interpretation of the state of mind 
here discussed. Hegel has, in the course of his analysis, used the mean- 
ing implied in the general term " stellen" to explain by contrast the 
' specific nuance of the purely moral attitude conveyed by the term 

VOL. ii. P 625 

626 Phenomenology of Mind 

nest" of inconsistencies and contradictions.* Conscious- 
ness, in developing this situation, proceeds by fixing 
definitely one moment, passing thence immediately 
over to another and doing away with the first. But, 
in the way it has now set up this second moment, it 
also " shifts " (verstelU) this again, and really makes 
the opposite the essential element. At the same time, 
it is conscious of its contradiction and of this displace- 
ment, for it passes from one moment, immediately in 
its relation to this very moment, right over to the oppo- 
site. Because a moment has for it no reality at all, it 
affirms that very moment as real : or, what comes 
to the same thing, in order to assert one moment 
as per se existent, it asserts the opposite as the per se 
existent. It thereby confesses that, as a matter of fact, 
it is in earnest about neither of them. The various 
moments of this fraudulent process we must look at 
more closely. 

Let us allow the assumption, that there is an actual 
moral consciousness, to rest on its own basis in the first 
instance, because the assumption is not directly made 
with reference to something preceding ; and let us turn 
to the harmony of morality and nature the first 
postulate. It is to be immanent, not explicitly for 
actual conscious life, not really present ; the present 
is rather simply the contradiction between the two. 
In the present, morality is taken to be something 
at hand, and actual reality to be so situated or 
" placed " that it is not in harmony with morality. 
The concrete moral consciousness, however, is active, 
consists in acting ; that is what constitutes the 
actuality of its morality. In the very process of acting, 

* An expression used by Kant of the " cosmological proof/' < 

Dissemblance 627 

however, that " place " or semblance is immediately 
" displaced," is dissembled ; for action is nothing else 
than the actualisation of the inner moral purpose, 
nothing but the production of an actuality constituted 
and determined by purpose ; in other words, the pro- 
duction of the harmony of moral purpose and reality 
itself. At the same time the performance of the 
action is a conscious fact, it is the " presence " of 
this unity of reality and purpose ; and because in the 
completed act consciousness realises itself as a given 
particular consciousness, or sees existence return into 
itself qua particular and in this consists the nature 
of enjoyment there is, eo ipso, also contained in the 
realisation of moral purpose that form of its realisation 
which is called enjoyment and happiness. 

Action thus, as a fact, fulfils directly what it was 
asserted could not take place at all, fulfils what was to 
be merely a postulate, was to He merely " beyond." 
Consciousness, therefore, expresses through its deed that 
it is not in earnest in making the postulate, since the 
meaning of acting is really that it makes a present fact 
of what was not to be in the present. And, since the 
harmony is postulated for the sake of the action for 
what is to become actual through action must be im- 
plicit, otherwise the actuality would not be possible 
the connexion of action with the postulate is so con- 
stituted that, for the sake of the action, i.e. for the sake 
of Wie actual harmony of purpose and reality, this har- 
mony is put forward as not actual, as far away, as 
" beyond." 

Since action does take place, the want of adaptation 
between purpose and reality is thus in general not taken 
seriously. Action itself, on the other hand, does seem 

628 Phenomenology of Mind 

to be taken seriously. But, as a matter of fact, the 
actual deed done is the action of a particular conscious- 
ness, and so is itself merely something particular, and 
the result contingent. The end of reason, however, 
being the all-comprehensive universal end, is nothing 
short of the entire world a final purpose which goes 
far beyond the content of this particular act, and 
therefore is to be placed altogether above anything 
actually done. Because the universal best ought to be 
carried out, nothing good is done. In point of fact, 
however, the nothingness of actual action and the 
reality of the entire purpose alone, which are here up- 
held these are on all hands again " shifted " or dis- 
sembled. The moral act is not something contingent 
and restricted ; its essential nature lies in pure duty. 
This pure duty constitutes the sole entire purpose ; and 
the act, whatever may be the limitation of the content, 
being the actualisation of that purpose, is the accom- 
plishment of the entire absolute purpose. Or, if again 
we take the reality in the sense of nature, which has 
laws of its own and stands over against pure duty, and 
take it in such a way that duty cannot realise its law 
within nature, then, since duty as such is the essential 
element, we are, when acting, not in fact concerned about 
the accomplishment of pure duty which is the whole pur- 
pose ; for the accomplishment would then rather have 
as its end not pure duty, but the opposite, viz. reality. 
But there is again a " shifting " from the position that 
it is not reality with which we have to do. For, by the 
very notion of moral action, pure duty is essentially an 
active consciousness. Action thus ought certainly to take 
place, absolute duty ought to be expressed in the whole 
of nature, and " moral law " to become " natural law." 


If, then, we allow this highest good to stand for the 
essentially real, consciousness is not altogether in earnest 
with morality. For, in this highest good, nature has 
not a different law from what morality has. Moral 
action itself, in consequence, drops, for action takes 
place only under the assumption of a negative or op- 
posing element which is to be cancelled by means of 
the act. But if nature conforms to the moral law, then 
undoubtedly this moral law would be violated by 
acting, by cancelling what already exists. 

On that mode of interpretation, then, there has arisen 
as the essential situation one which renders moral action 
superfluous and in which moral action does not take 
place at all. Hence the postulate of the harmony 
between morality and reality a harmony involved in 
the very notion of moral action, which means bringing 
the two into agreement finds on this view, too, an ex- 
pression which takes the form : " because moral action 
is the absolute purpose, the absolute purpose is that 
moral action do not take place at all." 

If we put these moments together, through which con- 
sciousness has gone on presenting its ideas of its moral 
life, we see that it cancels each one again in its opposite. 
It starts from the position that, for it, morality and 
reality do not make a harmony ; but it is not in earnest 
with that, for in the moral act it is conscious of the 
presence of this harmony. But neither is it in earnest 
with this action, since the action is something par- 
ticular ; while it has such a high purpose, the highest 
good. This, however, is once more merely a dissem- 
blance of the actual fact, for thereby all action and all 
morality would fall to the ground. In other words, it 
is not strictly in earnest with moral action ; on the con- 

630 Phenomenology of Mind 

trary, it really feels that, what is most to be wished 
for, the absolutely desirable, is that the highest good 
were carried out and moral action superfluous. 

From this result consciousness must go on still fur- 
ther in its contradictory procedure, and must of neces- 
sity again dissemble the abolition of moral action. 
Morality is the inherently essential (Ansicli) ; in order 
that it may have place, the final end of the world 
cannot be carried out ; rather, the moral conscious- 
ness must exist for itself, and must find lying before 
it a nature opposing it. But it must 'per se be 
completed. This leads to the second postulate of the 
harmony of itself and sensibility, the " nature " imme- 
diately within it. Moral self-consciousness sets up its 
purpose as pure purpose, as independent of inclinations 
and impulses, so that this bare purpose has abolished 
within itself the ends of sensibility. But this cancel- 
ling of the element of sense is no sooner set up 
than it is again dissembled. The moral consciousness 
acts, it brings its purpose into reality ; and self- 
conscious sensibility, which should be done away with, 
is precisely the mediating element between pure con- 
sciousness and reality is the instrument used by 
the former for the realisation of itself, or is the organ 
of what is called impulse, inclination. It is thus 
not really in earnest in cancelling inclinations and 
impulses, for these are just self-consciousness making 
itself actual. Moreover, they ought not to be sup- 
pressed, but merely to be in conformity with reason. 
They, are, too, in conformity with it ; for moral action 
is nothing else than self-realising consciousness con- 
sciousness taking on the form of an impulse, i.e. it 
is immediately the realised, actually present harmony 

Dissemblance 631 

of impulse and morality. But, in point of fact, the 
impulse is not only this empty conscious form, which 
might possibly have within itself a spring of action 
other than the impulse in question, and be driven on 
by that. For sensibility is a kind of nature, which con- 
tains within itself its own laws and springs of action : 
consequently, morality cannot seriously mean to be 
the inciting motive (Triebfeder) for impulses (Triebe), 
the angle of inclination for inclinations. For, since these 
latter have their own fixed character and peculiar con- 
tent, the consciousness, to which they were to conform, 
would rather be in conformity with them a conformity 
which moral self-consciousness declines to adopt. The 
harmony between the two is thus merely implicit and 

In moral action the realised or present harmony of 
morality and sensibility was set up at one moment, and 
at the next is " displaced." The harmony is in a misty 
distance beyond consciousness, where there is nothing 
more to be accurately distinguished or grasped ; for, to 
grasp this unity, which we have just tried to do, has 
proved impossible. 

In this merely immanent or implicit harmony, how- 
ever, consciousness gives up itself altogether. This im- 
manent state is its moral completion, where the struggle 
of morality and sensibility has ceased, and the latter is 
in conformity to the former in a way which cannot be 
made out. On that account, this completion is again 
merely a dissemblance of the actual case ; for in 
point of fact morality would be really giving up itself 
in that completion, because it is only consciousness of 
absolute purpose qua pure and simple purpose, i.e. in 
opposition to all other purposes. Morality is both the 

632 Phenomenology of Mind 

activity of this pure purpose, and at the same time 
the consciousness of rising above sensibility, of being 
mixed up with sensibility and of opposing and struggling 
with it. That this moral completion is not taken seri- 
ously is directly expressed by consciousness in the fact 
that it shifts this completion away into infinity, i.e. 
asserts that the completion is never completed. 

Thus it is really only the middle state of being incom- 
plete that is admitted to have any value : a state never- 
theless which at least ought to be one of progress to- 
wards completion. Yet it cannot be so ; for advancing 
in morality would mean approaching its annihilation and 
disappearance. For the goal would be the nothingness 
above mentioned, the abolition of morality and con- 
sciousness itself : but to come ever nearer and nearer 
to nothing means to decrease. Besides, " advancing " 
would, in general, in the same way as "decreasing/' 
introduce distinctions of quantity into morality: but 
these are quite inadmissible in such a sphere. In 
morality qua mode of consciousness which takes the 
ethical end to be pure duty, we cannot think at all of 
difference, least of all of the superficial difference of 
quantity : there is only one virtue, only one pure duty, 
only one morality. 

Since, then, it is not moral completion that is taken 
seriously, but rather the middle state, i.e., as just ex- 
plained, the condition of no morality, we thus come 
by another way back to the content of the first postu- 
late. For we cannot perceive how happiness is to be 
demanded for this moral consciousness on the ground 
of its worthiness to be happy. It is well aware of its 
not being complete, and cannot, therefore, in point of 
fact, demand happiness as a desert, as something of 

Dissemblance 633 

which it is worthy. It can ask happiness to be given 
merely as an act of free grace, i.e. it can only ask for 
happiness as such, and as a substantive element by it- 
self ; it cannot expect it except as the result of chance 
and caprice, not because there is any absolute reason 
of the above sort. The condition of non-morality 
herein expresses just what it is that it is concerned, 
not about morality, but about happiness alone, with- 
out reference to morality. 

By this second aspect of the moral point of view, the 
assertion of the first aspect, wherein disharmony be- 
tween morality and happiness is presupposed, is also 
cancelled. One may pretend to have found by experience 
that in the actual present the man who is moral often 
fares badly, while the man who is not, often comes off 
happily. Yet the middle state of incomplete morality, 
the condition which has proved to be the essential one, 
shows clearly that this perception that morality fares 
badly, this experience which ought to be but is not, is 
merely a dissemblance of the real facts of the case. 
For, since morality is not completed, i.e. since morality 
in point of fact is not, what can there be in experience 
that morality should fare badly ? 

Since, at the same time, it has come out that the 
point at issue concerns happiness alone, it is manifest 
that, in making the judgment, '* the man who has no 
morality comes off well," there was no intention to 
convey thereby that there is something wrong in such 
a case. The designation of an individual as one devoid 
of morality necessarily falls to the ground, when morality 
in general is incomplete ; such a characterisation rests, 
indeed, on pure caprice. Hence the sense and content 
of that judgment of experience is simply this, that 

634 Phenomenology of Mind 

happiness as such should not have fallen to some who 
got it, i.e. the judgment is an expression of envy, which 
is assuming the covering cloak of morality. The reason, 
however, why we think good luck, as we call it, should 
fall to the lot of others is good friendship, which un- 
grudgingly grants and wishes them, and wishes itself 
too, this favour, this accident of good fortune. 

Morality, then, in the moral consciousness, is not 
completed. This is what is now established. But its 
essence consists in being merely what is complete, and 
so pure morality : incomplete morality is, therefore, 
impure, in other words, is Immorality. Morality it- 
self thus exists in another being than the actual con- 
crete consciousness. This other is a holy moral legis- 

Morality which is not completed in consciousness, 
the morality which is the reason for making those 
postulates, means, in the first instance, that morality, 
when it is set up as actual in consciousness, stands in 
relation to something else, to an existence, and thus 
itself preserves and implies otherness or distinction, 
whence arises a manifold plurality of moral commands. 
The moral self-consciousness at the same time, however, 
looks on these many duties as unessential ; for it is 
concerned with merely the one pure duty, and this 
plurality of duties, so far as they are determinate duties, 
have no true reality for self-consciousness. They can 
thus have their real truth accepted only in another 
consciousness, and are (what they are not for the actual 
moral self-consciousness) sacred through a holy law- 

But this, too, is again merely a dissembling of the 
actual fact. For moral self -consciousness is to itself 

Dissemblance 635 

the absolute, and duty is simply and solely what it 
knows to be duty. It, however, recognises only pure 
duty as duty : what is not sacred in its view is not in 
itself sacred at all, and what is not per se sacred cannot 
be rendered so by some being that is sacred. Moral 
consciousness, further, is not really serious in allowing 
something to be made sacred by another consciousness 
than its own. For, only that is without qualification 
sacred in its eyes which is made sacred through its own 
action, and is sacred within it. It is thus just as little 
in earnest in treating this other being as a holy being ; 
for this would mean that, within it, something was to 
attain an essential significance, which, for the moral 
consciousness, i.e. in itself, has none. 

If the sacred being was postulated, in order that duty 
might have binding validity within the moral con- 
sciousness, not qua pure duty, but as a plurality of 
specific duties, then this must again be dissembled and 
the other being must be solely sacred in so far as 
only pure duty has binding validity within the moral 
consciousness. Pure duty has also, in point of fact, 
validity and bindingness only in another being, not in 
the moral consciousness. Although, within the latter, 
pure morality seems alone to hold good, still this must 
be put right in another form, for it is, at the same 
time, a natural consciousness. Morality is, in it, 
affected and conditioned by sensibility, and thus is not 
by itself self-contained, but a contingent result of free 
will; in it, however, qua pure will, morality is a con- 
tingency of knowledge. Taken by itself, therefore, 
morality is in another being, is self-complete only in 
another reality than the actual moral consciousness. 

This other being, then, is here absolutely complete 

636 Phenomenology of Mind 

morality, because in its case morality does not stand in 
relation to nature and sensibility. Yet the reality of pure 
duty lies in its actualisation in nature and sensibility. 
The moral consciousness accounts for its incompleteness 
by the fact that morality, in its case, has a positive rela- 
tion to nature and sensibility, since it holds an essential 
moment of morality to be that morality should have 
simply and solely a negative relation towards nature 
and sensibility. The pure moral being, on the other 
hand, because far above the struggle with nature and 
sense, does not stand in a negative relation to them. 
Thus, in point of fact, the positive relation to them 
alone remains in its case, i.e. there remains just what 
a moment ago passed for the incomplete, for what was 
not moral. Pure morality, however, entirely cut off 
from actual reality so as likewise to be even without 
positive relation to reality, would be a blank unreal 
abstraction, where the very notion of morality, which 
consists in thinking of pure duty and in willing and 
doing, would be absolutely done away with. This other 
being, so purely and entirely moral, is again, therefore, 
a mere dissemblance of the actual fact, and has to be 
given up. 

In this purely moral being, however, the moments of 
the contradiction, in which this synthetic ideational 
process is carried on, come closer together. So, like- 
wise, do the opposites taken up alternately, now this 
and also that, and also the other, opposites which are 
allowed to follow one after the other, with one opposite 
constantly set aside by another, yet without these 
ideas ever being brought together. So close do they 
come, that consciousness here has to give up its moral 
view of the world and retreat within itself. 

Dissemblance 637 

It knows its morality as incomplete because it is 
affected by an opposing sensibility and nature, which 
partly perturb morality as such, and partly give rise 
to a plurality of duties, by which, in concrete cases 
of real action, consciousness finds itself embarrassed. 
For each case is the concrete focus of many moral 
relations, just as an object of perception in general 
is a thing with many qualities. And since a determinate 
duty is a purpose, it has a content ; its content is a 
part of the purpose, and so morality is not pure 
morality. This latter, then, has its real existence in 
some other being. But such reality means nothing 
else than that morality is here self -complete, in itself 
and for itself for itself, i.e. is morality of a con- 
sciousness : in itself, i.e. has existence and actuality. 

In that first incomplete consciousness, morality is 
not realised and carried out. It is there something 
immanent and implicit, in the sense of a mere thought- 
element ; for it is associated with nature and sensi- 
bility, with the actuality of [external] existence and 
conscious life, which constitutes its content ; and nature 
and sensibility are morally nothing. In the second, 
morality is present as completed, and not in the form 
of an unrealised thought-element. But this completion 
consists just in the fact that morality has reality in a 
consciousness, in the sense of free reality, objective exist- 
ence in general, is not something empty, but filled out, 
full of content. That is to say, the completion of morality 
is placed in this, that what a moment ago was character- 
ised as morally nothing is found present in morality and 
inherent in it. It is at one time to have validity simply 
and solely as the unrealised thought-element, a product 
of pure abstraction ; but, on the other hand, is just as 

638 Phenomenology of Mind 

certainly to have in this form no validity at all : its 
true nature is to consist in being opposed to reality, 
detached altogether therefrom, and empty, and then 
again to consist in being actual reality. 

The syncretism, or fusion, of these contradictions, 
which is expressed in extenso in the moral attitude of 
experience, collapses internally, since the distinction on 
which it rests its distinction from something which 
must be thought and stated as a necessity, and is yet at 
the same time not essential passes into one which does 
not any longer exist even in words. What, at the end, 
is affirmed to be something with different aspects, both 
to be nothing and also real, is one and the very same 
existence and reality. And what is to be absolute only 
as something beyond actual existence and actual con- 
sciousness, and at the same time to be only in conscious- 
ness and so, qua beyond, nothing at all this absolute is 
pure duty and the knowledge that pure duty is the essen- 
tially real. The consciousness, which makes this distinc- 
tion that is no distinction, which announces actuality to 
be at once what is nothing and what is real, pronounces 
pure morality to be both the ultimate truth and also to be 
devoid of all true reality, and expresses together in one 
and the same breath ideas which it formerly separated 
such a consciousness itself proclaims that it is not in 
earnest with this characterisation and separation of the 
moments of self and inherent reality. It shows, on the 
contrary, that, what it announces as absolute existence 
apart from consciousness, it really keeps enclosed 
within the self of self-consciousness ; and that, what 
it gives out as something entirely in thought or abso- 
lutely inherent and implicit, it just for that reason 
takes to be something which has no truth at all. 

Dissemblance 639 

It becomes clear to consciousness that placing these 
moments apart from each other is mentally " dis- 
placing" them, is a dissemblance, and it would be 
hypocrisy were it really to keep to this. But, being 
pure moral self-consciousness, it flees from this discord- 
ance between what it represents and what constitutes 
its essential nature, flees from this untruth, which gives 
out as true what it holds to be untrue, and, turning 
away with abhorrence, it hastens back into itself. The 
consciousness, which scorns such a moral idea of the 
world, is pure Conscience (Gewissen) : it is, in its inmost 
being, simply spirit consciously assured or " certain " 
(gewiss) of itself, spirit which acts directly in the light 
of this assurance, which acts conscientiously (gewissen- 
haft), without the intervention of those ideas, and finds 
its true nature in this direct immediacy. 

While, however, this sphere of dissemblance is nothing 
else than the development of moral self-consciousness in 
its various moments and is consequently its reality, 
so too this self-consciousness, by returning into itself, 
will become, in its inmost nature, nothing else. This 
returning into itself, indeed, simply means that it has 
come to be conscious that its truth is a pretended 
truth, a mere pretence. As returning into itself it had 
to be always giving out this pretended truth as its real 
truth, for it had to express and display itself as an 
objective idea ; but it had to know all the same that 
this is merely a dissemblance. It would consequently 
be, in point of fact, hypocrisy all the while, and its 
abhorrence of such dissemblance would be itself the first 
expression of hypocrisy. 


[The one-sidedness of each of the preceding stages is removed when the 
moral consciousness assumes the attitude of Conscience. Here the indi- 
vidual is at once self-legislating and yet sure of the unity and self- 
completeness of its own will in the midst of all diversity of moral content. 
The immediacy involved in the idea of a " self-legislating" will appears in 
the perceptual directness of the action of conscience : it " sees " what is 
right and does the right without hesitation. But it is not an abstract 
" faculty " of willing independent of the varied content of the individual's 
moral experience. The universality of the individual permeates and per- 
vades all the content of his being, and makes him a concrete moral 
individuality, at home with himself in the smallest detail as well as in the 
larger issues of his self-complete spiritual existence. Conscience, as Butler 
says, is a ' system ' or ' constitution,' analogous in the case of the indi- 
vidual to the objectified system of the state and its institutions. The 
self-deception of the second one-sided phase of moral experience seems also 
to have no place in Conscience, for Conscience is the transparent and self- 
revealing unity in all the content of moral individuality. Only on this 
condition can it be absolutely confident and certain of itself in all its 
functions, and this certainty of itself is the inalienable characteristic of 
conscience. It thinks it cannot be deceived about itself, can neither 
delude itself nor others, but freely realises all that it professes to be and 
professes to be all that it realises. It is thus the supreme achievement of 
finite spiritual existence ; but it has no meaning apart from the existence 
of finite spirit in the form of society. 

Its very conditions, however, give rise to delusion and deception 
of another kind. For, so complete is its world and its life that it may 
attempt to cut itself off from the concrete substance of actual society which 
alone makes possible the existence of conscience. It then tries to cultivate 
goodness in solitary isolation from the actual social whole. This is the 
attitude of the " beautiful soul," a type of spiritual life cultivated by the 
"Moravians," and familiar during the Romantic movement. Novalia is 
the best-known example ; the classical interpretation of the mood was 


Conscience 641 

given in Goethe's Meisters Lehrjahre, Bk. 6. It has the self-confidence 
and individual inspiration of Conscience, but frankly rejects the con- 
crete objectivity which secures for Conscience liberation from mere sub- 
jectivity. The very rejection of objectivity is the only achievement of 
the " beautiful soul," and is held to be the greatest triumph of its self- 
conscious freedom. It flees from concrete moral action, and luxuriates in 
a state of self-hypnotised inactivity. Still it takes up this attitude in the 
interests of " pure goodness," and hence in withdrawing from the lowly 
deeds of the daily moral life it indulges all the more in the self-cloistered 
cult of the beauty of holiness. It is moral individualism turned into 
mystic self-absorption. Hegel's analysis brings out that this type of 
spirit is in principle as it was in fact the direct ally of moral evil. For 

(1) its refusal to act means indifference to all action, good and bad alike, 
and the rejection of the demands of duty is precisely immorality : 

(2) its self-closed isolation destroys the very principle of true morality, 
universality of will, recognition and acknowledgment by others of the 
claims of the individual will. 

But this extremity of finite spiritual experience is the opportunity of 
Absolute Spirit. The attitude of this mystical moral individuality is 
indirectly an indication of the finitude of the moral point of view and 
therefore of its failure to supply the absolute self-completeness which 
spirit requires. The very consciousness by finite spirit of its inherent 
incompleteness is implicitly a consciousness of the Absolute Spirit. The 
consciousness of Absolute Spirit is the attitude of experience known as 

II. Q 


The antinomy in the moral view of the world viz. that 
there is a moral consciousness and that there is none, 
or that the validity, the bindingness, of duty has its 
ground beyond consciousness, and conversely only takes 
effect in consciousness these contradictory elements 
had been combined in the idea, in which the non-moral 
consciousness is to pass for moral, its contingent know- 
ledge and will to be accepted as fully sufficing, and 
happiness to be its lot as a matter of grace. Moral self- 
consciousness took this self-contradictory idea not upon 
itself, but transferred it to another being. But this 
putting outside itself of what it must think as neces- 
sary is as much a contradiction in form as the other 
was in content. But that which appears as contra- 
dictory, and that in the division and again dissolution 
of which lies the round of activity peculiar to the 
moral attitude, are inherently the same : for pure duty 
qua pure knowledge is nothing else than the self of 
consciousness, and the self of consciousness is existence 
and actuality ; and, in the same way, what is to be 
beyond actual consciousness is nothing else than pure 
thought, is, in fact, the self. Because this is so, self- 
consciousness, for us or per se, passes back into itself, 
and becomes aware that that being is its self, in which 
the actual is at once pure knowledge and pure duty. 


Conscience 643 

It takes itself to be absolutely valid in its contingency, 
to be that which knows its immediate particular 
existence as pure knowledge and action, as the true 
objective reality and harmony. 

This self of Conscience, the phase of spiritual life 
immediately certain of itself as absolute truth and 
objective being, is the third type of spiritual self. It 
is the outcome of the third sphere of the spiritual 
world,* and may be shortly contrasted with the 
two former types of self. 

The totality or actuality which is revealed as the 
final result of the ethical world, the world of the social 
order, is the self of a Person, ethical personality : its 
existence lies in its being recognised and acknowledged. 
As the person is the self devoid of substance, its exist- 
ence is abstract reality too. The person has a definite 
standing, and that directly and unconditionally : 
its self is the point in the sphere of its existence which 
is immediately at rest. That point is not torn away 
from its universality ; the two [the particular focus 
and its universality] are therefore not in a relational 
process with regard to one another : the universal is 
in it without distinction, and is neither the content of 
the self, nor is the self filled by itself. 

The second self is the final truth and outcome of a 
world of culture, is spirit that has recovered itself after 
and through disruption, is absolute freedom. In this 
self, the former immediate unity of individual exist- 
ence and universality finds its elements separated from 
one another. The universal, which remains at the same 
time a purely spiritual entity, the state of recognition or 

* Viz. Morality, the first being the Ethical Order of Society, the second 
the sphere of^Cultu. . 

644 Phenomenology of Mind 

universal will and universal knowledge the universal is 
object and content of the self, and its universal actual- 
ity. But the universal has not there the form of exist- 
ence detached from the self : in this mode of self it 
therefore gets no filling, no positive content, no world. 

Moral self-consciousness, indeed, lets its universal 
aspect get detached, so that this aspect becomes a 
nature of its own ; and at the same time it retains this 
universality within itself in a superseded form. But it 
is merely a game of dissembling ; it constantly inter- 
changes these two characteristics. In the form of Con- 
science, with its certainty of itself, it first finds the 
content to fill the former emptiness of duty as well as 
the emptiness of right and the empty universal will. 
And because this certainty of self is at the same time 
immediacy, it finds in conscience definite existence. 

Having reached this level of its truth, moral self- 
consciousness then leaves, or rather supersedes, this 
state of internal division and self-separation, whence 
arose dissimulation the separation of its inherent being 
from the self, of pure duty, qua pure purpose, from 
reality qua a nature and a sensibility opposed to mere 
purpose. It is, when thus returned into itself, con- 
crete moral spirit, which does not make for itself a bare 
abstract standard out of the consciousness of pure duty, 
a standard to be set up against 'actual conscious life ; on 
the contrary, pure duty, as also the sensuous nature 
opposed to pure duty, are superseded moments. This 
mode of spirit, in its immediate unity, is a moral being 
making itself actual, and an act is immediately a con- 
crete embodiment of morality. 

Given a case of action ; it is an objectVe reality for 
the knowing mind. The latter, qua cor science, knows 

Conscience 645 

it in a direct concrete manner ; and at the same time 
it is merely as conscience knows it to be. When know- 
ledge is something other than its object, it is contingent 
in character. Spirit, however, which is sure of its self, 
is not at all an accidental knowledge of that kind, is 
not a way of producing inside its own being ideas from 
which reality is divorced. On the contrary ; since the 
separation between what is essential or inherent and 
self has been given up, a case of moral action falls, 
just as it is per se, directly within immediate conscious 
certainty, the sensible [feeling] form of knowledge, and 
it merely is per se as it is in this form of knowledge. 

Action, then, qua realisation, is in this way the 
pure form of will the bare conversion of reality, in 
the sense of a given case, into a reality that is performed 
and done, the conversion of the bare state of objective 
knowledge into one of knowledge about reality as some- 
thing produced and brought about by consciousness. 
Just as sensuous certainty is directly taken up, or 
rather converted, into the essential life and substance 
of spirit, this other transformation is also simple and 
unmediated, a transition made through pure conception 
without changing the content, the content being con- 
ditioned by some interest on the part of the conscious- 
ness knowing it. 

Further, conscience does not break up the circum- 
stances of the case into a variety of duties. It does not 
operate as the positive general medium, in which the 
manifold duties, each for itself, would keep their substan- 
tial existence undisturbed. If it did so, either no action 
could take place at all, because of each concrete case in 
general containing opposition, and, in the specific case of 
morality, opposition of duties, and hence there would 

646 Phenomenology of Mind, 

always be one side injured, one duty violated, when the 
act took definite shape: or else, if action did take 
place, the violation of one of the conflicting duties 
would be the actual result brought about. Conscience 
is rather the negative single unity, it is the absolute 
self, which does away with this variety of substantial 
moral constituents. It is simple action in accordance 
with duty, action which does not fulfil this or that 
duty, but knows and does what is concretely right. It 
is, therefore, in general, and for the first time in moral 
experience, moral action as action, and into this the 
previous stage of mere consciousness of morality with- 
out action has passed. 

The concrete shape which the act takes may be 
analysed by a conscious process of distinction into a 
variety of properties, i.e. in this case into a variety of 
moral relationships ; and these may either be each 
expressly held to be absolute (as each must be if it 
is to be duty) or, again, subjected to comparison and 
criticism. In the simple moral action arising from 
conscience, duties are shed so promiscuously that 
the isolated independence of all these separate entities 
is immediately destroyed, and the process of critically 
considering and worrying about what our duty is finds 
no place at all in the unshaken certainty of conscience. 

Just as little, again, do we find in conscience that 
fluctuating uncertainty of mind, which puts now so- 
called " pure " morality away from itself, assigning it 
to some other holy being, and takes itself to be unholy, 
and then again, on the other hand, puts this moral 
purity within itself, and places in that other the con- 
nexion of the sensuous with the moral element. 

It renounces all these semblances and dissem- 

Conscience 647 

blances (Stellungen und Verstellungeri) characteristic 
of the moral point of view, when it gives up think- 
ing that there is a contradiction between duty and 
actual reality. According to this latter state of mind, 
I act morally when I am conscious of performing 
merely pure duty and nothing else but that : i.e. in fact, 
when I do not act. When, however, I really act, I am 
conscious of an " other," of a reality which is there 
before me, and one which I want to bring about ; I have 
a definite end and fulfil a definite duty. There is some- 
thing else therein than the pure duty, which alone 
was supposed to be kept in view. 

Conscience, on the other hand, is the sense that, when 
the moral consciousness declares pure duty to be the 
essence of its action, this bare purpose is a dissemblance 
of the actual fact. For the real fact is that bare duty 
consists in the empty abstraction of pure thought, and 
finds its reality and content solely in some definite 
actual existence, an actuality which is actuality of 
consciousness itself not of consciousness in the sense 
of a thought-entity, but as an individual. Conscience, 
for its own part, finds its truth to lie in the direct cer- 
tainty regarding itself. This immediate concrete cer- 
tainty of itself is true reality. Looking at this certainty 
from the point of view of the opposition which con- 
sciousness involves, its own immediate particularity 
constitutes the content of moral action ; and the form 
of moral action is just this very self as a pure process, 
viz. as the process of knowing, in other words, is private 
individual conviction. 

Looking more closely at the unity and the significance 
of the moments of this stage, we find that moral 
consciousness conceived itself merely in the form of 

648 Phenomenology of Mind 

the inherent principle, or as ultimate essence ; qua 
conscience, however, it lays hold of its explicit indi- 
vidual self-existence (Fursichseyri), or its self. The 
contradiction involved in the moral point of view 
is resolved, i.e. the distinction, which lay at the basis 
of its peculiar attitude, proves to be no distinction, and 
melts into the process of pure negativity. This process 
of negativity is, however, just the self : a single simple 
self which is at once pure knowledge and knowledge 
of itself as this individual conscious life. This self 
constitutes, therefore, the content of what formerly 
was the empty essence ; for it is something actual and 
concrete, which no longer has the significance of being 
a nature alien to the ultimate essence, a nature inde- 
pendent and with laws of its own. As the negative 
element, it introduces distinction into the pure essence, 
a definite content, and one, too, which has a value 
in its own right as it stands. 

Further, this self is, qua pure self-identical knowledge, 
the universal without qualification, so that just this 
knowledge, being its very own knowledge, being con- 
viction, constitutes duty. Duty is no longer the uni- 
versal appearing over against and opposed to the self ; 
duty is known to have in this condition of separation 
and opposition no validity. It is now the law, which 
exists for the sake of the self, and not the self for the 
sake of the law. The law and duty, however, have 
for that reason not only the significance of existing 
on their own account, but also of being inherent 
and essential ; for this knowledge is, in virtue of 
its identity with itself, just what is inherently essen- 
tial. This inherent being gets also separated in con- 
sciousness from that direct and immediate unity with 

Conscience 649 

self-existence : so contrasted and opposed, it is objective 
being, it is being for something else. 

Duty itself now, qua duty deserted by the self, is 
known and thought to be merely a moment ; it has 
ceased to mean absolute being, it has become de- 
graded to something which is not a self, does not exist 
on its own account, and is thus what exists for some- 
thing else. But this existing-for-something-else remains 
just for that reason an essential moment, because self, 
qua consciousness, constitutes and establishes the 
opposition between existence-for-self and existence- 
for-another ; and now duty essentially means some- 
thing immediately actual, and is no longer a mere 
abstract consciousness of duty. 

This existence for something else is, then, the in- 
herently essential substance distinguished from the 
self. Conscience has not given up pure duty, the 
abstract implicit essence : pure duty is the essential 
moment of relating itself, qua universality, to others. 
Conscience is the common element of distinct self-con- 
sciousnesses ; and this is the substance in which the act 
secures subsistence and reality, the moment enabling 
recognition by others to take place. The moral self- 
consciousness does not possess this moment of recog- 
nition, of pure consciousness which has definite exist- 
ence ; and on that account really does not "act" at 
all, does not effectually actualise anything. Its inher- 
ent nature is for it either the abstract unreal essence, 
or else existence in the form of a reality which has no 
spiritual character. The actual reality of conscience, 
however, is one which is a self, i.e. an existence conscious 
of itself, the spiritual element of being recognised. 
Doing something is, therefore, merely the translation 

650 Phenomenology of Mind 

of its particular content into that objective element 
where it is universal and is recognised, and this very 
fact, that the content is recognised, makes the deed an 
actuality. The action is recognised and thereby real, 
because the actual reality is immediately bound up 
with conviction or knowledge ; or, in other words, 
knowledge of its purpose is immediately and at once 
the element of existence, universal recognition. For 
the essence of the act, duty, consists in the conviction 
conscience has about it. This conviction is just the 
inherent principle itself ; it is inherently universal self- 
consciousness in other words, is recognition and hence 
reality. The result achieved under conviction of duty 
is therefore directly one which has substantial solid ex- 
istence. Thus, we hear nothing more there about good 
intention not coming to anything definite, or about the 
good man faring badly. What is known as duty is 
carried out completely and becomes an actual fact, just 
because what is dutiful is the universal for all self- 
consciousnesses, that which is recognised, acknow- 
ledged, and thus objectively is. Taken separately and 
alone, however, without the content of self, this duty 
is existence-for-another, the transparent element, which 
has merely the significance of an unsubstantial ultimate 
factor in general. 

If we look back on the sphere where in general 
spiritual reality made its appearance, we find that 
the principle involved was that the utterance of 
individuality is the absolutely real, the ultimately 
self-sufficing. But the shape which, in the first in- 
stance, gave expression to this notion, was the 
" honest consciousness " * which was occupied and 

* v.p. 402 ff. 

Conscience 651 

concerned with abstract " fact itself." This " fact 
itself " was there a predicate. In conscience, however, 
it is for the first time a Subject, which has put all 
aspects of consciousness in it, and for which all these 
moments, substantiality in general, external existence, 
and essence of thought, are contained in this cer- 
tainty of itself. The " fact itself " has substantiality 
in general in the ethical order (Sittlichkeit), external 
existence in culture, self-knowing essence of thought 
in morality ; and in conscience it is the Subject, 
which knows these moments within itself. While the 
" honest consciousness " is for ever grasping merely the 
bare and empty " fact itself/' conscience, on the other 
hand, secures the " fact itself "in its fullness, a fullness 
which conscience of itself supplies. Conscience has 
this power through its knowing the moments of con- 
sciousness as moments, and controlling them because 
it is their negative essential principle. 

When conscience is considered in relation to the 
particular features of the opposition which appears in 
action, and when we consider its consciousness regard- 
ing the nature of those features, its attitude towards 
the reality of the particular case where action takes 
effect is, in the first instance, that of knowledge. So 
far as the aspect of universality is present in such 
knowledge, it is the business of conscientious action, 
qua knowledge, to compass the reality before it in 
an unrestricted exhaustive manner, and thus get to 
know exactly the circumstances of the case, and give 
them due consideration. This knowledge, however, 
since it is aware of universality as a moment, is in 
consequence a kind of knowledge of these circum- 
stances which is conscious all the while of not embracing 

652 Phenomenology of Mind 

them, is conscious of not being conscientious in its pro- 
cedure. The genuinely universal and pure relation of 
knowledge would be one towards something not op- 
posed, a relation to itself. But action through the oppo- 
sition essentially implied in action is related to what 
negates consciousness, to a reality existing per se. Con- 
trasted with the simple nature of pure consciousness, 
the absolute other, externality, multiplicity per se, is 
a sheer plurality of circumstances which breaks up in- 
definitely and spreads in all directions backwards in 
their conditions, sidewards in their associations, for- 
wards in their consequences. 

The conscientious mind is aware of this state of affairs 
and of its relation thereto, and knows it is not acquainted 
to the full and complete extent required with the case 
in which its action takes effect, and knows that its 
pretence of conscientiously weighing and considering 
all the circumstances is futile. This acquaintance with 
and consideration of all the circumstances, however, 
are not entirely absent : but they are merely present 
as a moment, as something which is only for others : 
and the conscientious mind holds its incomplete know- 
ledge to be sufficient and complete, merely because it 
is its own knowledge. 

In a similar way is constituted the process in 
connection with the universality of the essential 
principle, the universality by which the content is 
characterised when determined through pure con- 
sciousness. Conscience, when it goes on to act, takes 
up a relation to the various sides of the case. The 
case breaks up into separate elements, and the relation 
of pure consciousness towards it does the same : 
whereby the multiplicity characteristic of the case 

Conscience 653 

becomes a multiplicity of duties. Conscience knows 
that it has to select and decide amongst them ; 
for none of them specifically, in its content, is an 
absolute duty ; only duty pure and simple is so. But 
this abstract entity has, in its realisation, come to denote 
self-conscious ego. Spirit certain of itself is at rest 
within itself in the form of conscience, and its real 
universality, its duty, lies in its bare conviction con- 
cerning duty. This bare conviction as such is as empty 
as pure duty, pure in the sense that nothing within it, 
no definite content, is duty. Action, however, has to 
take place, the individual must determine to do some- 
thing or other ; and spirit which is certain of itself, 
in which the inherent principle has attained the sig- 
nificance of self-conscious ego, knows it has this deter- 
mination, this specific content, within the immediate 
certainty of its own self. This certainty, being a 
determination and a content, is " natural " conscious- 
ness, i.e. the various impulses and inclinations. 

Conscience admits no content as absolute for it, be- 
cause it is absolute negativity of all that is definite. 
It determines from itself alone. The circle of the self, 
however, within which determinateness as such falls, is 
so-called " sensibility " : in order to get a content out 
of the immediate certainty of self, there is no other 
means to be found except sensibility. 

Everything that in previous modes of experience was 
presented as good or bad, law and right, is something 
other than immediate certainty of self ; it is a uni- 
versal, which is now a relative entity, an existence-for- 
another. Or, looked at otherwise, it is an object which, 
while connecting and relating consciousness with itself, 
comes between consciousness and its own proper truth, 

654 Phenomenology of Mind 

and instead of that object being the immediacy of con- 
sciousness, it rather cuts consciousness off from itself. 

For conscience, however, certainty of self is the 
pure, direct, and immediate truth : and this truth is 
thus its immediate certainty of self presented as 
content ; i.e. its truth is altogether the caprice of the 
individual, and the accidental content of his uncon- 
scious natural existence [his sensibility]. 

This content at the same time passes for essential 
moral reality, for duty. For pure duty, as was found 
when testing and examining laws,* is utterly indifferent 
to every content, and gets along with any. Here it has 
at the same time the essential form of self-existence, of 
existing on its own account : and this form of individual 
conviction is nothing else than the sense of the empti- 
ness of pure duty, and the consciousness that this is 
merely a moment, that its substantial independence is 
a predicate which finds its subject in the individual, 
whose caprice gives pure duty content, can connect 
every content with this form, and attach its feeling of 
conscientiousness to any content. 

An individual increases his property in a certain way. 
It is a duty that each should see to the maintenance 
of himself and family, and no less ensure the possibility 
of his being serviceable to his neighbours and of doing 
good to those standing in need. The individual is aware 
that this is a duty, for this content is directly contained 
in the certainty he has of himself. He perceives, 
further, that he fulfils this particular duty in this par- 
ticular case. Other people possibly consider the specific 
way he adopts as fraud : they hold by other sides 
of the concrete case presented, while he holds firmly to 

* v.p. 418 ff. 

Conscience 655 

this particular side of it by the fact of his being 
conscious that the increase of property is a pure and' 
absolute duty. 

In the same way there is fulfilled by the individual, 
as a duty, what other people call violence and wrong- 
doing the duty of asserting one's independence 
against others : and, again, the duty of preserving 
one's life, and maintaining the possibility of being 
useful to one's neighbours. Others call this cowardice, 
but what they call courage really violates both 
these duties. But cowardice cannot be so stupid and 
thoughtless as not to know that the maintenance 
of life and the possibility of being useful to others 
are duties so inept as not to be convinced of the 
dutifulness of its action, and not to know that 
dutifulness consists in knowledge. Otherwise it would 
commit the absurdity of being without morality. Since 
morality lies in the consciousness of having fulfilled 
one's duty, this will not be lacking when the action is 
what is called cowardice any more than when it is what 
is called courage. As the abstraction called " duty " 
is capable of every content, it is quite equal to this 
latter content. The agent acting knows what he does 
to be duty, and since he knows this, and conviction as 
to duty is just dutifulness, he is thus recognised and 
acknowledged by others. The act thereby becomes 
accepted as valid and has actual existence. 

It is of no avail to object to this freedom which puts 
one kind of content as well as any other into this uni- 
versal inert receptacle of pure duty and pure know- 
ledge by asserting that another content ought to have 
been put there. For whatever the content be, each 
content has upon it the stain of determinateness from 

656 Phenomenology oj Mind 

which pure knowledge is free, which pure knowledge 
can disregard just as readily as it can take up every 
determinateness in turn. Every content, through its 
being determinate, stands on the same footing with 
every other, even though it seems to have precisely the 
character that the particularity in the content is 
cancelled. It may well seem since in concrete cases 
duty breaks regularly into opposition, and, by doing 
so, sunders the opposites particularity and univer- 
sality that the duty, whose content is the universal 
as such, contains on that account, ipso facto, the nature 
of pure duty, and that thus form and content are here 
entirely in accord. On this view, it might seem that, 
e.g., acting for the universal good, for what is the best 
for all, is to be preferred to acting for what is the best 
for the individual. But this universal duty is in its 
entirety what is present as self-contained actual sub- 
stance, in the form of [established] law and right, 
and holds good independently of the individual's 
knowledge and conviction and immediate interest. It 
is thus precisely that against the form of which morality 
as a whole is directed. As regards its content, however, 
even this is determinate in character, in so far as the 
" universally best " is opposed to the " individual best." 
Consequently, its law is one from which conscience 
knows itself to be absolutely free, and it gives itself the 
absolute privilege to add and pare, to neglect as well 
as fulfil it. 

Then, again, the above distinction of duty towards 
the individual and duty towards the universal is not 
something fixed and final, when we look at the nature of 
the opposition in question. On the contrary, what the 
individual does for himself is to the advantage of the 

Conscience 657 

universal as well. The more he looks after his own 
good, not only is there the greater possibility of his use- 
fulness to others : his very reality consists merely in 
his living and existing in connection with others. His 
individual enjoyment means ultimately and essentially 
putting what is his own at the disposal of others, 
and helping them to secure their enjoyment. In ful- 
filling duty to individuals, and hence duty to self, duty 
to the general thus also gets fulfilled. Weighing, con- 
sidering, comparing duties, should this appear here, 
would take the line of calculating the advantage which 
the general would get from any given action. But there 
can be no such process ; partly because morality would 
thereby be handed over to the inevitable contingency 
characteristic of mere " insight " ; partly because it is 
precisely the nature of conscience to have done with 
all this calculating and weighing of duties, and to 
decide directly from itself without reasons of any 

In this way, then, conscience acts and maintains 
itself in the unity of its essential being and its 
objective existence for itself, in the unity of pure 
thought and individuality : it is spirit certain of itself, 
which inherently possesses its own truth, within itself, 
in its knowledge, a knowledge in the sense of know- 
ledge of its duty. It maintains its being therein by 
the fact that the positive element in the act, the 
content as well as form of duty and the knowledge of 
duty, belong to the self, to the certainty of itself. 
What, however, seeks to come before the self with an 
inherent being of its own is held to be not truly 
real, merely a transcended element, only a moment. 
Consequently, it is not universal knowledge in general 


658 Phenomenology of Mind 

that has a value, but what is known of the circum- 
stances. It puts into duty, which is the universal im- 
manent essence, the content which it derives from its 
natural individuality ; for the content is one that is 
present in its own being. This content, in virtue of 
the universal medium wherein it exists, becomes the 
duty which it carries out, and empty bare duty is, 
through this very fact, affirmed to be something tran- 
scended, a moment. This content is its emptiness, 
transcended and cancelled, i.e. is the fulfilling of pure 

But at the same time conscience is detached from 
every possible content. It absolves itself from every 
specific duty, which would try to pass for a law. In 
the strength of its certainty of itself, it has the majesty 
of absolute self-sufficiency, of absolute avrdpKeia, to 
bind or to loose. This self-determination is at once, 
therefore, absolute conformity to duty. Duty is the 
knowledge itself ; this pure and simple selfhood, how- 
ever, is the immanent principle and essence ; for this 
inherent principle is pure self -identity, and self-identity 
lies in this consciousness. 

This pure knowledge is immediately objective, is 
existence-for-another ; for, qua pure self -identity, it is 
immediacy, it is objective being. This being, however, 
is at the same time pure universality, the selfhood of 
all : in other words, action is acknowledged, and hence 
actual. This being forms the element by which con- 
science directly stands on a footing of equality with 
every self-consciousness ; and this relation means not 
an abstract impersonal law, but the self of conscience. 

In that this right which conscience does is at the 
same time, however, a fact for others, a disparity seems 

Conscience 659 

to affect conscience. The duty which it fulfils is 
a determinate content; that content is, no doubt, 
the self of consciousness, and so its knowledge of itself, 
its identity with its self. But when fulfilled, when 
planted in the general element of existence, this identity 
is no longer knowledge, no longer this process of dis- 
tinction which directly and at the same time does away 
with its distinctions. Rather, in the sphere of exist- 
ence, distinction is set up as subsistent, and the act is a 
determinate specific one, not identical with the element 
of everybody's self-consciousness, and hence not neces- 
sarily acknowledged and recognised. Both aspects, 
conscience qua acting, and the general consciousness 
acknowledging this act to be duty, stand equally loose 
from the specific character belonging to this deed. On 
account of this freedom and detachment, the relation 
of the two within the common medium of their connec- 
tion is rather a relationship of complete disparity as a 
result of which, the consciousness doing and owning 
the act finds itself in complete uncertainty regarding 
the spirit which does the act and is " certain of itself." 
This spirit acts and places in existence a particular 
determinate characteristic ; others hold to this existence, 
as its truth, and are therein certain of this spirit ; it has 
therein expressed what it takes to be its duty. But it 
is detached and free from any specific duty ; it has, 
therefore, left the point where other people think it 
actually to be ; and this very medium of existence 
and duty as inherently existing are held by it to be 
merely transitory moments. What it thus places 
before them, it also " displaces " again, or rather has, 
eo ipso, immediately " displaced." For its reality is, 
for it, not the duty and determinate content thus 

660 Phenomenology of Mind 

put forward, but rather is the reality which it has 
in its absolute certainty of itself. 

The other self-consciousnesses do not know, then, 
whether this particular conscience is morally good or is 
wicked ; or, rather, not merely can they not know this 
conscience, but they must take it to be also wicked. 
For just as it stands loose to the determinate content 
of duty, and detached from duty as inherently existing, 
so do they likewise. What is placed before them, they 
themselves know how to " displace " or dissemble : it 
is something expressing merely the self of another 
individual, not their own : they do not merely know 
themselves to be detached and free from it, but have 
to resolve and dissipate it within their own conscious- 
ness, reduce it to nothingness by judgments and 
explanations in order to preserve their own self. 

But the act of conscience is not merely this deter- 
mination of existence, a determinate content forsaken 
by the pure self. What ought to be binding as duty and 
get recognised as such, only is so through knowledge 
and conviction as to its being duty, by knowledge of 
self in the deed done. When the deed ceases to have 
in it this element of self, it ceases to be what is alone 
its essential nature. Its existence, if deserted by this 
consciousness of self, would be an ordinary reality, and 
the act would appear to us a way of fulfilling one's plea- 
sure and desire. What ought to exist has here essen- 
tiality only by its being known to be individuality 
giving itself expression. And its being thus known is 
the fact acknowledged and recognised by others, and 
is that which as such ought to have existence. 

The self enters existence as self. The spirit which is 
certain of itself exists as such for others ; its immediate 

Conscience 661 

act is not what is accepted and real ; what is acknow- 
ledged by others is, not the determinate element, not 
the inherent being, but solely and simply the self know- 
ing itself as such. The element which gives perma- 
nence and stability is universal self-consciousness. 
What enters this element cannot be the effect of 
the act : the latter does not last there, and maintains 
no permanence : only self-consciousness is what is 
recognised and gains concrete reality. 

Here again,* then, we see Language to be the form 
in which spirit finds existence. Language is the way 
self-consciousness exists for others ; it is self-conscious- 
ness which is there immediately present as such, and 
in the form of this actual universal self-consciousness. 
Language is self separating itself from itself, which 
comes objectively before itself as the pure ego identical 
with ego, which at once maintains itself in this objective 
form as this actual self, and at the same time fuses 
directly with others and is their self-consciousness. The 
self perceives itself at the same time that it is perceived 
by others : and this perceiving is just existence which 
has become a self. 

The content, which language has here obtained, is 
no longer the self we found in the world of culture, 
perverted, perverting, and distraught. It is spirit which, 
having returned to itself, is certain of itself, certain in 
itself of its truth, of its own act of recognition, and of 
being recognised as this knowledge. The language of 
the ethical spirit of society is law, and simple command 
and complaint, which is but a tear shed over necessity. 
Moral consciousness, on the other hand, remains dumb, 
shut up within its inner life ; for self has no existence 

* v.p. 512 ff. 

662 Phenomenology of Mind 

as yet in its case : rather existence and self there stand, 
in the first instance, in external relation to each other. 
Language, however, comes forward merely as the 
mediating element between independent self-conscious- 
nesses recognised and acknowledged ; and the existent 
self means immediately universal recognition, means 
recognition in manifold ways and in this very mani- 
foldness simple recognition. What the language of 
conscience contains is the self knowing itself as 
essential reality. This alone is what that language 
expresses, and this expression is the true realisation 
of " doing " anything, and renders the act valid 
and acceptable. Consciousness expresses its convic- 
tion : in this conviction alone is the action duty : it 
holds good as duty, too, solely by the conviction being 
expressed. For universal self-consciousness stands 
detached from the specific act which merely exists : 
the act qua existence means nothing to it : what 
it holds of importance is the conviction that the act is 
a duty ; and this appears concretely in language. 

To realise the act means here not translating its 
content from the form of purpose, or subjectivity, into 
the form of abstract reality : it means translating it 
from the form of immediate certainty of self, which 
takes its knowledge, its self-existence, to be the essential 
fact, into the form of the assurance that consciousness 
is convinced of its duty, and, being conscience, knows 
of itself what duty is. This assurance thus guarantees 
that it is convinced of its conviction being the essential 

Whether the assurance, that it acts from conviction 
of duty, is true, whether that really is duty which is 
done these questions or doubts have no meaning if 

Conscience 663 

directed against conscience. In the case of the ques- 
tion, whether the assurance is true, it would be assumed 
that the inner intention is different from the one put 
forward, i.e. that the willing of a particular self can 
be separated from duty, from the will of the universal 
and pure consciousness : the latter will would in that 
case be a matter of words, while the former would be 
strictly the real moving principle of the act. But such 
a distinction between the universal consciousness and 
the particular self is precisely what has been cancelled, 
and the superseding of it constitutes conscience. Im- 
mediate knowledge on the part of self which is certain 
of itself is law and duty. Its intention, by being its own 
intention, is what is right. All that is required is that 
it should know this, and state its conviction that its 
knowledge and will are the right. The expression of 
this assurance ipso facto cancels the form of its par- 
ticularity. It recognises thereby the necessary univer- 
sality of the self. In that it calls itself conscience, it 
calls itself pure self-knowledge and pure abstract will, 
i.e. it calls itself a universal knowledge and will which 
acknowledges and recognises others, is like them for 
they are just this pure self-knowledge and will and 
which is on that account also recognised by them. In 
the willing of the self which is certain of itself, in this 
knowledge of the self as the essential reality, lies the 
essence of the right. 

When any one says, therefore, he is acting from 
conscience, he is saying what is true, for his conscience 
is the self which knows and wills. He must, however, 
necessarily say so, for this self has to be at the same 
time universal self. It is not universal in the content 
o f the act : for this content is per se indifferent on 

664 Phenomenology of Mind 

account of its being specific and determinate. The 
universality lies in the form of the act. It is this form 
which is to be affirmed as real : the form is the self, 
which as such is actual in language, pronounces itself to 
be the truth, and just by so doing acknowledges all 
other selves, and is recognised by them. 

Conscience, then, in its majestic sublimity above any 
specific law and every content of duty, puts whatever 
content there is into its knowledge and willing. It 
becomes moral genius and originality, which takes the 
inner voice of its immediate knowledge to be a voice 
divine ; and since in such knowledge it directly knows 
existence as well, it is divine creative power, which 
contains living force in its very conception. It is in 
itself, too, divine worship, "service of God," for its 
action consists in beholding this its own proper 

This solitary worship, this " service of God " in soli- 
tude of soul, is at the same time essentially " service of 
God " in public, on the part of a religious community ; 
and pure inward self-knowledge and perception of self 
pass to being a moment of consciousness.* To behold 
itself is to exist objectively, and this objective element 
is the utterance of its knowledge and will in a universal 
way. Through such expression the self becomes estab- 
lished and accepted, and the act becomes an effective 
deed, a deed carrying out a definite result. What gives 
reality and subsistence to its deed is universal self- 
consciousness. When, however, conscience finds expres- 
sion, this puts the certainty of itself in the form of pure 
self and thereby as universal self. Others let the act 

* i.e. into a state which implies distinction and opposition of subject 
and object. 

The "Beautiful Soul" 665 

hold as valid, owing to the explicit terms in which the 
self is thus expressed and acknowledged to be the 
essential reality. The spirit and the substance of their 
community are, thus, the mutual assurance of their 
conscientiousness, of their good intentions, the rejoicing 
over this reciprocal purity of purpose, the quickening 
and refreshment received from the glorious privilege of 
knowing and of getting expression, of fostering and 
cherishing a state so altogether excellent and desirable. 

So far as this sphere of conscience still distinguishes 
its abstract consciousness from its self-consciousness, 
its life is merely hid in God. God is indeed imme- 
diately present to its mind and heart, to its self. But 
what is revealed, its actual consciousness and the 
mediating process of this consciousness, is, to it, some- 
thing other than that hidden inner life and the imme- 
diacy of God's presence. But, with the completion of 
conscience, the distinction between its abstract con- 
sciousness and its self-consciousness is done away. It 
knows that the abstract consciousness is just this self, 
this individual self-existence which is certain of itself : 
that the very difference between the terms is abolished 
in the immediateness of the relation of the self to the 
ultimate Being, which, when placed outside the self, is 
the abstract essence, and a Being concealed from it. 
For a relation is mediate when the terms related are 
not one and the same, but each is a different term for 
the other, and is one only with the other in some third 
term: an immediate relation, however, means, in fact, 
nothing else than the unity of the terms. Having 
risen above the meaningless position of holding these 
distinctions, which are not distinctions at all, to be 
still such, consciousness knows the immediateness of 

666 Phenomenology of Mind 

the presence of ultimate Being within it to be the unity 
of that Being and its self : it thus knows itself to be 
the living inherent reality, and takes its knowledge to 
be Religion, which, qua kno wedge viewed as an object 
or knowledge with an objective existence, is the utter- 
ance of the religious communion regarding its own 

We see then, here, self-consciousness withdrawn into 
the inmost retreats of its being, with all externality, as 
such, gone and vanished from it returned into the 
intuition of ego as altogether identical with ego, an 
intuition where this ego is all that is essential, and all 
that exists. It is absorbed in this conception of 
itself ; for it is driven to the extreme limit of its 
extreme positions, and in such a way that the moments 
distinguished, moments through which it is real or still 
consciousness, are not merely for us these bare ex- 
tremes; rather what it is for itself, and what, to it, 
is inherent, and what is, for it, existence all these 
moments evaporate into abstractions. They have no 
longer stability, no substantial existence for this phase 
of consciousness. Everything, that was hitherto for 
consciousness essential, has reverted into these abstrac- 
tions. When clarified to this degree of transparency, 
consciousness exists in its poorest form, and the 
poverty, constituting its sole and only possession, is 
itself a process of disappearance. This absolute cer- 
tainty into which the substance has been resolved is 
absolute untruth, which collapses within itself ; it is 
absolute self-consciousness, in which consciousness [with 
its relation of self and object] is submerged and goes 

Looking at this absorption and disappearance from 

The "Beautiful Soul" 667 

within, the inherent and essential substance is, for 
consciousness, knowledge in the sense of its knowledge. 
Being consciousness, it is split up into the opposition 
between itself and the object, which is, for it, the 
essentially real. But this very object is what is perfectly 
transparent, is its self ; and its consciousness is merely 
knowledge concerning itself. All life and all spiritual 
truth have returned into this self, and have lost their 
difference from the ego. The moments of conscious- 
ness are therefore these extreme abstractions, of which 
none holds its ground, but each loses itself in the 
other and produces it. We have here the process of 
the " unhappy soul/' * in restless change with self ; 
in the present case, however, this is a conscious ex- 
perience going on inside itself, fully conscious of being 
the notion of reason, while the " unhappy soul " above 
spoken of was only reason implicitly. The absolute 
certainty of self thus finds itself qua consciousness, 
converted directly into a dying sound, a mere objectifi- 
cation of its subjectivity or self-existence. But this 
world so created is the utterance of its own voice, which 
in like manner it has directly heard, and the echo of 
which only returns to it. This return does not therefore 
mean that the self is there in its true reality (an und 
fiir sick) : for the real is, for it, not an inherent being, is 
no per se, but its very self. Just as little has consciousness 
itself existence, for the objective aspect does not succeed 
in becoming something negative of the actual self, in the 
same way as this self does not reach complete actuality. 
It lacks force to externalise itself, the power to make 
itself a thing, and endure existence. It lives in dread of 
staining the radiance of its inner being by action and 

* v.p. 200 ff. 

668 Phenomenology of Mi 

existence. And to preserve the purity of its heart, it 
flees from contact with actuality, and steadfastly per- 
severes in a state of self-willed impotence to renounce a 
self which is pared away to the last point of abstraction, 
and to give itself substantial existence, or, in other 
words, to transform its thought into being, and commit 
itself to absolute distinction [that between thought and 
being]. The hollow object, which it produces, now 
fills it, therefore, with the feeling of emptiness. Its 
activity consists in yearning ; it merely loses itself in 
becoming an unsubstantial shadowy object, and, rising 
above this loss and falling back on itself, finds itself 
merely as lost. In this transparent purity of its moments 
it becomes a sorrow-laden " beautiful soul," as it is 
called ; its light dims and dies within it, and it vanishes 
as a shapeless vapour dissolving into thin air.* 

This silent fusion of the pithless unsubstantial ele- 
ments of evaporated life has, however, still to be taken 
in the other sense of the reality of conscience, and in 
the way its process actually appears. Conscience has 
to be considered as acting. The objective moment in 
this phase of consciousness took above the determinate 
form of universal consciousness. The knowing of self 
is, qua this particular self, different from another self. 
Language in which all reciprocally recognise and 
acknowledge each other as acting conscientiously 
this general equality breaks up into the inequality of 
each individual existing for himself ; each conscious- 
ness turns from its universality back into itself, each is 
just as much reflected absolutely into itself as it is 
universal. By this means there necessarily comes about 

* Cf. Hegel's remarks on Jacobi's conception of the " beautiful soul '' : 
WW X., 1, p. 303. 

Evil and Forgiveness 669 

the opposition of individuality to other individuals 
and to the universal. And this relation and its proce- 
dure we have to consider. 

Or, again, this universality and duty have the abso- 
lutely opposite significance ; they signify determinate 
individuality, exempting itself from what is universal, 
individuality which looks on pure duty as universality 
that has appeared merely on the surface and is turned 
on its outside : " duty is merely a matter of words/' 
and passes for that whose being is for something 
else. Conscience, which in the first instance takes up 
merely a negative attitude towards duty, qua a given 
determinate duty, feels itself detached from it. But 
since conscience fills empty duty with a determinate con- 
tent drawn from its own self, it is positively aware of 
the fact that it, qua this particular self, makes its own 
content. Its pure self, as it is empty knowledge, is 
without content and without definiteness. The content 
which it supplies to that knowledge is drawn from 
its own self, qua this determinate self, is drawn from 
itself as a natural individuality. In speaking of 
the conscientiousness of its action, it is doubtless 
aware of its pure self, but in the purpose of its action 
a purpose which brings in a concrete content it is 
conscious of itself as this particular individual, and is 
conscious of the opposition between what it is for itself 
and what it is for others, of the opposition of univer- 
sality or duty and its state of being reflected into self 
away from the universal. 

While in this way the opposition, into which con- 
science passes when it acts, finds expression in its inner 
life, the opposition is at the same time disparity on 
its outer side, in the sphere of existence the disparity 

670 Phenomenology of Mind 

or discordance of its particular individuality with 
reference to another individual. Its special peculiarity 
consists in the fact that the two elements constituting 
its consciousness viz. the self and the inherent nature 
(Ansich] are unequal in value and significance within 
it ; in being accepted as valid, they are so determined 
that certainty of self is the essential fact as against the 
inherent nature, or the universal, which is taken to be 
merely a moment. Over against this internal determina- 
tion there thus stands the element of existence, the 
universal consciousness ; and for this latter it is rather 
universality, duty, which is the essential fact, while 
individuality, which exists for itself and is opposed to 
the universal, has merely the value of a superseded 
moment. The first consciousness is held to be Evil by 
the consciousness which thus stands by the fact of duty, 
because of the lack of congruity or identity of its internal 
subjective life with the universal ; and since at the same 
time the first consciousness declares its act to be identity 
with itself, to be duty and conscientiousness, it is held 
by that universal consciousness to be Hypocrisy. 

The course taken by this opposition is, in the first 
instance, the formal reinstatement of the identity be- 
tween what the evil consciousness is in its own nature 
and what it declares itself to be. It has to be made 
manifest that it is evil, and its objective existence thus 
made congruent with its real nature ; the hypocrisy 
must be unmasked. This return of the disparity, 
present in hypocrisy, into the state of congruency or 
identity is not at once brought to pass by the mere 
fact that, as people usually say, hypocrisy just 
proves its reverence for duty and virtue through 
assuming the appearance of them, and using this as 

Evil and Forgiveness 671 

a mask to hide itself from its own consciousness 
no less than from another as if, in this acknow- 
ledgment and recognition in itself of its opposite, 
eo ipso congruency and agreement were implied and 
contained. Yet even then it is just as truly done with 
this recognition in words and is reflected into self ; 
and in the very fact of its using the inherent and 
essential reality merely as something which has a 
significance for another consciousness, there is really 
implied its own contempt for that inherent principle, 
and the demonstration of the worthlessness of that 
reality for all. For what lets itself be used as an 
external instrument shows itself to be a thing, which 
has within it no proper weight and worth of its own. 

Moreover, this congruency or identity, is not 
brought about either by the evil consciousness per- 
sisting onesidedly in its own state, or by the judgment 
of the universal consciousness. If the former disclaims 
the consciousness of duty, and maintains that what 
the latter pronounces to be baseness, to be absolute 
discordance with universality, is an action according 
to inner law and conscience, then, in this onesided 
assurance of identity and concord, there still remains 
its want of agreement with the other, since this other 
universal consciousness certainly does not believe the 
assurance and does not acknowledge it. In other 
words, since onesided insistence on one extreme 
destroys itself, evil would indeed thereby confess 
to being evil, but in so doing would at once cancel 
itself and cease to be hypocrisy, and so would not 
qua hypocrisy be unmasked. It confesses itself, in fact, 
to be evil by asserting that, while opposing what is 
recognised as universal, it is acting according to inner 

672 Phenomenology of Mind 

law and conscience. For were this law and conscience 
not the law of its particularity and caprice, it would 
not be something inward, something private, but what 
is universally accepted and acknowledged. When, 
therefore, any one says he acts towards others from a 
law and conscience of his own, he is saying, in point of 
fact, that he is abusing and wronging them. But actual 
conscience is not this insistence on a knowledge and a 
will which are opposed to what is universal ; the univer- 
sal is the element of its existence, and its very language 
pronounces its action to be recognised duty. 

Just as little, when the universal consciousness 
emphasises and persists in its own judgment, does this 
unmask and dissipate hypocrisy. When that universal 
consciousness stigmatises hypocrisy as bad, base, and 
so on, it appeals, in passing such a judgment, to 
its own law, just as the evil consciousness, on its side, 
does too. For the former law makes its appearance in 
opposition to the latter, and thereby is a particular law. 
It has, therefore, no antecedent claim over the other 
law; rather it legitimises this other law. Hence the 
universal consciousness, by thus emulating the other, 
does precisely the opposite of what it means to do : 
for it shows that its so-called " true duty," which 
ought to be universally acknowledged, is something 
not acknowledged and recognised, and consequently it 
grants the other an equal right of independently exist- 
ing on its own account. 

This judgment [of universal consciousness], however, 
has, at the same time, another side to it, from which it 
leads the way to the dissolution of the opposition in 
question. Consciousness of the universal does not 
proceed, qua real and qua acting, to deal with the evil 

Evil and Forgiveness 673 

consciousness ; for this latter, rather, is the real. 
In opposing the latter, it is a consciousness which is not 
entangled in the opposition of particular and universal 
involved in action. It stays within the universality of 
thought, takes up the attitude of an apprehending 
intelligence, and its first act is merely that of judgment. 
Through this judgment it now places itself, as was just 
observed, alongside the first consciousness, and the 
latter, through this identity, this likeness, between them, 
comes to see itself in this other consciousness. For 
in the attitude of apprehension consciousness of duty 
is passive. Thereby it is in contradiction with itself as 
the absolute will of duty, as the self that determines 
absolutely from itself. It may well preserve itself in its 
purity, for it does not act ; it is hypocrisy, which wants 
to see the fact of judging taken for the actual deed, 
and instead of proving its uprightness and honesty 
by acts does so by expressing fine sentiments. It is 
thus constituted entirely in the same way as that 
against which the reproach is made of putting its 
phrases in place of duty. In both cases alike the 
aspect of reality is distinct from the express statements 
in the one case owing to the selfish purpose of the 
action, in the other through failure to act at all, a 
result which is inevitable when there is mere talk about 
duty, for duty without deeds is altogether meaningless. 
The act of judging, however, has also to be looked 
at as a positive act of thought and has a positive con- 
tent : this aspect makes the contradiction present in 
the apprehending consciousness and its identity with 
the first consciousness still more complete. The active 
consciousness declares its specific deed to be its duty, 
and the consciousness that passes judgment cannot deny 


674 Phenomenology of Mind V 

this ; for duty as such is form void of all content and 
capable of any. In other words, concrete action, inher- 
ently implying diversity in its manysidedness, involves 
the universal aspect, which is that which is taken as 
duty, just as much as the particular, which constitutes 
the share and interest the individual has in the act. 
The consciousness expressing its judgment does not 
now stop at the former aspect of duty and rest content 
with the knowledge which the active agent has of this, 
viz. that this is its duty, the condition and the status 
of its reality. It holds on to the other aspect, diverts 
the act into the inner realm, and explains the act from 
selfish motives and from its inner intention, an inten- 
tion different from the act itself. As every act is 
capable of treatment in respect of its dutifulness, so, 
too, each can be considered from this other point of 
view of particularity ; for as an act it is the actuality 
of an individual. 

This process of judging, then, takes the act out of 
the sphere of its objective existence, and turns it back 
into that of the inner realm, into the form of specific 
and individual particularity. If the act carries glory 
with it, then the inner aspect is judged as love of fame. 
If it altogether fits in with the position and status of 
the individual, without going beyond this position, and 
is so constituted that the individuality in question does 
not have the position hanging on to it as an external 
appendage, but through itself supplies the content to 
this universality, and by that very process shows itself to 
be capable of a higher status then the inner nature 
of the act is judged as ambition ; and so on. Since, in 
the act in general, the individual who acts comes to 
see himself in objective form, or gets the feeling of his 

Evil and Forgiveness 675 

own being in his objective existence and thus attains 
enjoyment, the judgment on the act finds the inner 
nature of it to be an impulse towards personal and 
private happiness, even though this happiness were to 
consist merely in inner moral vanity, the enjoyment of 
a sense of personal excellence, and in the foretaste and 
hope of a happiness to come. 

No act can escape .being judged in such a way ; 
for " duty for duty's sake," this bare purpose, is some- 
thing unreal. What reality it has lies in the deed of 
some individuality, and the action thereby has in it the 
aspect of particularity. No hero is a hero to his valet, 
not, however, because the hero is not a hero, but because 
the valet is the valet, with whom the hero has to do, 
not as a hero, but as a man who eats, drinks, and dresses, 
who, in short, appears as a particular individual with 
certain personal wants and idiosyncrasies. In the same 
way, there is no act in which that process of judgment 
cannot oppose the particular aspect of the individuality 
to the universal aspect of the act, and set the valet of 
morality against the hero who does the act.* 

The consciousness, that so passes judgment, is in con- 
sequence itself base and mean, because it divides the 
act up, and brings out and holds on to its inherent in- 
consistency and self-discordance. It is, furthermore, 
hypocrisy, because it gives out this way of judging, not 
as another fashion of being wicked, but as the correct 
consciousness of the act ; sets itself up, in its unreality, 
in this vanity of knowing well and better, far above 
the deeds it decries ; and wants to find its mere words 
without deeds taken for an admirable kind of reality. 

On this account, then, putting itself on a level with 

* Cp. with above Philosophy of History, Intro. (Eng. trans., p. 32 ff.) 

676 Phenomenology of Mind 

the agent on whom it passes judgment, it is recognised 
by the latter as the same as himself. This latter does not 
merely find himself apprehended as something alien or 
external to, and unlike or discordant with that other : 
but rather finds the other in its peculiar constitutive 
character identical with himself. Seeing this similarity 
and giving this expression, he openly declares himself to 
the other, and expects in like manner that the other, 
having in point of fact put itself on the same level, will 
respond in the same terms on its side, will give voice to 
the likeness found within it, and that thus the state of 
mutual recognition will be brought about. His confes- 
sion is not an attitude of abasement or humiliation 
before the other, is not flinging himself away. For to 
give the matter expression in this way has not the 
one-sided character which would fix and establish his 
disparity with the other : on the contrary, it is solely 
because of seeing the likeness of the other to him that 
he gives himself utterance. In making his confession 
he announces, from his side, their common likeness, and 
does so for the reason that language is the existence of 
spirit as an immediate self. He thus expects that the 
other will make its own contribution to this manner of 

But the admission on the part of the one who is 
wicked, " I am so," is not followed by a reply making 
a similar confession. This was not what that way" 
of judging meant at all : far from it ! It repels 
this community of nature, and is the " hardhearted- 
ness," which keeps to itself and rejects all continuity 
with the other. By so doing the scene is changed. The 
one who made the confession sees himself thrust off, and 
takes the other to be in the wrong when he refuses to 

Evil and Forgiveness 677 

let his own inner nature go forth in the objective shape 
of an express utterance, opposes and contrasts the 
beauty of his own soul with the wicked individual, and 
opposes to the confession of the penitent the stiff- 
necked attitude of the self-consistent equable character, 
and the rigid silence of one who keeps himself to 
himself and refuses to throw himself away for some one 
else. Here we find asserted the highest pitch of revolt 
to which a spirit certain of itself can reach. For it 
beholds itself, qua this bare self-knowledge, in another 
conscious being, and in such a way that the external 
form of this other is not an unessential " thing," as 
in the case of an object of wealth, but thought ; 
knowledge itself is what is opposed to it. It is this 
absolutely unbroken continuity of pure knowledge 
which refuses to establish communication with an 
other, which had, ipso facto, by making its confession, 
renounced separate isolated self-existence, had affirmed 
its particularity to be cancelled, and thereby estab- 
lished itself as continuous with the other, i.e. estab- 
lished itself as universal. The other, however, retains 
in its own case and reserves to itself its uncom- 
municative, isolated independence : in the case of the 
individual making the confession it retains just the 
very thing which that individual has already cast 
away. It thereby proves itself to be a form of 
consciousness which has forsaken and denies the very 
nature of spirit ; for it does not understand that spirit, 
in the absolute certainty of itself, is master and lord 
over every deed, and over all reality, and can reject and 
cast them off and make them as if they had never been. 
At the same time, it does not see the contradiction it is 
committing in not allowing a rejection, which has been 

678 Phenomenology of Mind 

made in express language, to pass for genuine rejection, 
while itself has the certainty of its own spiritual life, not 
in a concrete real act, but in its inner nature, and 
finds the objective existence of this inner being in the 
mere utterance of its own judgment. It is thus its own 
self which checks that other's return from the act to the 
spiritual objectivity of spoken utterance, and to spiritual 
identity and agreement, and by its stiffness produces the 
discordance and dissimilarity which still remain. 

Now, so far as the spirit which is certain of itself, in the 
form of a " beautiful soul," does not possess the faculty of 
relinquishing the self-absorbed uncommunicative know- 
ledge of itself, it cannot attain to any identity with 
the consciousness that is repulsed, and so cannot suc- 
ceed in seeing the unity of its self in another life, cannot 
reach objective existence. The equality comes about, 
therefore, merely in a negative way, as a state of being 
devoid of spiritual character. The "beautiful soul/' 
then, has no concrete reality ; it subsists in the contra- 
diction between its pure self and the necessity felt by 
this self to externalise itself and turn into something 
actual; it exists in the immediacy of this rooted and 
fixed opposition, an immediacy which alone is the middle 
term mediating and reconciling an opposition which 
has arisen to its pure abstraction, and is pure being or 
empty nothingness. Thus the " beautiful soul," being 
conscious of this contradiction in its unreconciled 
immediacy, is unhinged, disordered, and runs to mad- 
ness, passes away in yearning, and is consumed in 
pining inanition.* Thereby it gives up, as a fa,ct, its 

* This was the actual fate of Novalis, the " St. John of Romanticism " 
(d. 1801, set. 29). Cp. Hegel's remarks on Novalis WW X., 1, p. 201 : 
XVI., p. 500. 

Evil and Forgiveness 679 

stubborn insistence on its own isolated self-existence, 
but only to bring forth the soulless, spiritless unity of 
abstract being. 

The true, that is to say the self-conscious and actual, 
balance or adjustment of the two sides is necessitated 
by, and already contained in the foregoing. Break- 
ing the hard heart and raising it to the level of uni- 
versality is the same process which appeared in the 
case of the consciousness that expressly made its 
confession. The wounds of the spirit heal and leave 
no scars behind. The deed is not something imperish- 
able ; the spirit takes it back into itself ; and the 
aspect of particularity present in it, whether in the 
form of an intention or of an existential negativity and 
limitation, immediately passes away. The process of 
actually realising self, the form of its act, is merely a 
moment of the whole ; and the same is true of the 
knowledge functioning through judgment, and estab- 
lishing and maintaining the distinction between the 
particular and universal aspects of action. The evil con- 
sciousness, spoken of, definitely yields up and relin- 
quishes itself, or sets itself down as a moment, being 
drawn into the way of express confession by seeing 
itself in another. This other, however, must have its 
onesided, unaccepted, and unacknowledged judgment 
broken down, just as the former has to abandon its 
onesided unacknowledged existence in a state of par- 
ticularity and isolation. And as the former displays 
the power of spirit over its reality, so this other must 
manifest the power of spirit over its constitutive and 
determinate notion. 

The latter, however, renounces thought that divides 
and separates, and the rigid imperviousness of uncom- 

680 Phenomenology of Mind 

municative self-existence, for the reason that, in point 
of fact, it sees itself in the first. That which, in this 
way, abandons its reality and makes itself into a 
superseded particular "this" (Diesen), shows itself 
thereby to be, in fact, universal. It turns away from 
its external reality back into itself as inner essence ; 
and there the universal consciousness thus knows and 
finds itself. 

The forgiveness it extends to the first is the renuncia- 
tion of self, of its unreal being, since it identifies this 
unreal nature and that other element of real action, 
and recognises what was called bad a determination 
assigned to action by thought to be good ; or rather it 
lets go and gives up this distinction of determinate 
thought with its self -determining isolated judgment, just 
as the other foregoes determining the act in isolation and 
for its own private behoof. The word of reconciliation is 
the objectively existent spirit, which sees and imme- 
diately apprehends the pure knowledge of itself qua 
universal being in its opposite, in the pure knowledge 
of itself qua absolutely self-confined single individual 
a reciprocal recognition which is Absolute Spirit. 

Absolute Spirit enters existence merely at the cul- 
minating point at which its pure knowledge about itself 
is the opposition and interchange with itself. Know- 
ing that its pure knowledge is the abstract essential 
reality, Absolute Spirit is this knowing duty in absolute 
opposition to the knowledge which knows itself, qua 
absolute singleness of self, to be the essentially real. 
The former is the pure continuity of the universal, 
which knows the individuality, that thinks itself the 
real, to be inherently null and naught, to be evil. The 
latter, again, is absolute discreteness, which thinks 

Evil and Forgiveness 681 

itself absolute in its pure oneness, and thinks the 
universal is the unreal which exists only for others. 
Both aspects are refined and clarified to this degree of 
purity, where there is no self- less existence left, no nega- 
tive of consciousness in either of them, where, instead, 
the one element of " duty " is the self -identical character 
of its self-knowledge, and the other element of "evil" 
equally has its purpose in its own inner being and its 
reality in its own mode of utterance. The content of 
this utterance is the substance that gives it subsistence ; 
the utterance is the assurance and asseveration of the 
certainty of spirit within its own self. 

These spirits, both certain of themselves, have each 
no other purpose than its own pure self, and no other 
reality and existence than just this pure self. But they 
are still different, and the difference is absolute, because 
holding within this element of the pure notion. The 
difference is absolute, too, not merely for its [tracing the 
experience], but for the notions themselves which stand 
in this opposition. For while these notions are indeed 
determinate and specific relatively to one another, 
they are at the same time in themselves universal, so 
that they compass the whole range of the self ; and this 
self can have no other content than this its own deter- 
minate constitution, which neither transcends the self 
nor is more restricted than it. For the one aspect, the 
absolutely universal, is pure self-knowledge as well as the 
other, the absolute discreteness of single individuality, 
and both are merely this pure self-knowledge. Both 
determinate aspects, then, are cognitive pure notions 
which know qua notions, whose very constitution con- 
sists in immediately knowing, or, in other words, whose 
relationship and opposition is the Ego. Because of this 

682 Phenomenology of Mind 

they are for one another these absolutely opposed 
elements ; it is what is completely inner that has in this 
way come into opposition to itself and entered objective 
existence ; they constitute pure knowledge, which, owing 
to this opposition, takes the form of consciousness. But 
as yet it is not self -consciousness. It obtains this actuali- 
sation in the course of the process through which this 
opposition passes. For this opposition is really itself the 
indiscrete continuity and identity of ego = ego ; and each 
by itself inherently cancels itself just through the 
contradiction in its pure universality, which, while 
implying continuity and identity, at the same time still 
resists its identity with the other, and separates itself 
from it. Through this relinquishment of separate self- 
hood, the knowledge, which in its existence is in a state 
of diremption, returns into the unity of the self ; it is the 
concrete actual Ego, universal knowledge of self in its 
absolute opposite, in the knowledge which is internal 
to and within the self, and which, because of the very 
purity of its separate subjective existence, is itself 
completely universal. The reconciling affirmation, the 
" yes," with which both egos desist from their existence 
in opposition, is the existence of the ego expanded into 
a duality, an ego which remains therein one and iden- 
tical with itself, and possesses the certainty of itself 
in its complete relinquishment and its opposite : it is 
God appearing in the midst of those who know them- 
selves in the form of pure knowledge. 


[The appearance of Absolute Spirit as a principle constituting on its 
own account a distinctive stage of experience is at once a demand of 
the preceding development and a condition of making experience self- 
complete. Finite or socialised spiritual existence is at its best incapable 
of establishing the truth that " Spirit is the only reality " ; for the more 
finite spirit approximates to the state of claiming to be self-contained the 
more is it dependent on universal self-consciousness. A trans-finite or 
Absolute Spiritual Being as such is thus necessary to realise and sustain 
the fullness of meaning which finite spirit possesses. Moreover, if " the 
truth is the whole," and only so is truth self-complete and self -explaining, 
and, if reality is essentially spiritual then experience only finds its 
complete meaning realised in the principle of Absolute Spirit. Hence 
the final stage of the Phenomenology of experience is the appearance 
therein of Absolute Spirit. Moreover, Absolute Spirit, in its own 
distinctive existence, could only appear at the end of the process of 
experience, for the whole of that process is required to reveal and to 
constitute the substance of which the Absolute consists. But the pecu- 
liarity of the stage now reached is that here the Absolute operates in its 
undivided totality to form a definite type of experience ; or, in the 
language of the text, we have the Absolute here " conscious of its self." No 
doubt, in all the previous stages, "consciousness," "self-consciousness," 
" reason," " spirit," the Absolute has been implied as a limiting principle, 
at once substantiating and determining the boundaries of each stage : 
hence each stage had an Absolute of its own, the character of which was 
derived in each case from the peculiarity of the stage in question. Now, 
however, we have the Absolute by itself, in its single self-completeness, as 
the sole formative factor of a certain type of experience. 

The Absolute, then, in its own self-complete reality appears as the 
constitutive principle of experience. The experience here is the self- 
consciousness of Absolute Spirit ; it appears to itself in all its objects. 
Since all the modes of finitude hitherto considered (consciousness, self- 
consciousness, etc.) are embraced in its single totality, it may use each and 
all of these various modes as the media through and in which to appear. 


684 Phenomenology of Mind 

When it appears in and through these modes of finitude we have the 
attitude of Religion. Since these modes, as we saw, differ, the religious 
attitude differs ; and accordingly we have various types or forms of 

Each of these forms, in and through which the Absolute appears, is 
circumscribed in its nature and process ; each is per se inadequate to the 
revelation of complete absolute self-consciousness : hence the variety of 
religions is necessitated by and is indirectly due to the failure of any one 
type and the inadequacy of every single type to reveal the Absolute com- 
pletely. A form of appearance or self-manifestation of the Absolute is 
therefore demanded which will reveal Absolute Spirit adequately to itself 
as it essentially is in itself. Here it will know itself, so to say, face to 
face, and with perfect completeness. This form is Absolute Knowledge- 
Hence Religion and Absolute Knowledge are the final stages in the 
argument of the Phenomenology. The former is dealt with in the im- 
mediately succeeding section (VII) and its various subsections ; the latter 
forms the subject of the concluding section (VIII) of the work.] 



IN the forms of experience hitherto dealt with 
which are distinguished broadly as Consciousness, 
Self-consciousness, Reason, and Spirit Religion also, 
the consciousness of Absolute Being in general, has no 
doubt made its appearance. But that was from the 
point of view of consciousness, when it has the Absolute 
Being for its object. Absolute Being, however, in its 
own distinctive nature, the Self-consciousness of Spirit, 
has not appeared in those forms. 

Even at the plane of Consciousness, viz. when this 
takes the shape of " Understanding/' there is a con- 
sciousness of the supersensuous, of the inner being 
of objective existence. But the supersensible, the 
eternal, or whatever we care to call it, is devoid of 
selfhood. It is merely, to begin with, something uni- 
versal, which is a long way still from being spirit knowing 
itself as spirit. 

Then there was Self-consciousness, which came to 
its final shape in the " bereft soul," the " unhappy 
consciousness " ; that was merely the pain and sorrow 
of spirit wrestling to get itself out into objectivity 
once more, but not succeeding. The unity of individual 
self-consciousness with its unchangeable Being, which 
is what this stage arrives at, remains, in consequence, 
a " beyond," something afar off. 


686 Phenomenology of Mind 

The immediate existence of Reason (which we found 
arising out of that state of sorrow), and the special 
shapes which reason assumes, have no form of religion, 
because self-consciousness in the case of reason knows 
itself or looks for itself in the direct and immediate 

On the other hand, in the world of the Ethical Order, 
we met with a type of religion, the religion of the 
nether world. This is belief in the fearful and un- 
known darkness of Fate, and in the Eumenides of 
the spirit of the departed : the former being pure 
negation taking the form of universality, the latter 
the same negation but in the form of particularity. 
Absolute Being is, then, in the latter shape no doubt 
the self and is present, as there is no other way for 
the self to be except present. But the particular 
self is this particular ghostly shade, which keeps the 
universal element, Fate, separated from itself. It is 
indeed a shade, a ghost, a cancelled and superseded 
particular, and so a universal self. But that negative 
meaning has not yet turned round into this latter 
positive significance, and hence the self, so cancelled 
and transcended, still directly means at the same time 
this particular being, this insubstantial reality. Fate, 
however, without self remains the darkness of night 
devoid of consciousness, which never comes to draw 
distinctions within itself, and never attains the clear- 
ness of self-knowledge. 

This belief in a necessity that produces nothing- 
ness, this belief in the nether world, becomes belief 
in Heaven, because the self which has departed must 
be united with its universal nature, must unfold what 
it contains in terms of this universality, and thus 

Religion 687 

become clear to itself. This kingdom of belief, how- 
ever, we saw unfold its content merely in the element 
of reflective thought (Denkeri), without bringing out 
the true notion (Begriff) ; and we saw it, on that ac- 
count, perish in its final fate, viz. in the religion of 
enlightenment. Here in this type of religion, the super- 
sensible beyond, which we found in " understanding/' 
is reinstated again, but in such a way that self-conscious- 
ness rests and feels satisfied in the mundane present, 
not in the " beyond," and thinks of the supersensible 
beyond, void and empty, unknowable, and devoid of 
all terrors, neither as a self nor as power and 

In the religion of Morality it is at last reinstated 
that Absolute Reality is a positive content ; but that 
content is bound up with the negativity characteristic 
of the enlightenment. The content is an objective 
being, which is at the same time taken back into the 
self, and remains there enclosed, and is a content with 
internal distinctions, while its parts are just as imme- 
diately negated as they are posited. The final destiny, 
however, which absorbs this contradictory process, is 
the self conscious of itself as the controlling necessity 
(Schicksal) of what is essential and actual. 

Spirit knowing its self is in religion primarily and im- 
mediately its own pure self-consciousness. Those modes 
of it above considered " objective spirit," " spirit 
estranged from itself " and " spirit certain of its self ' : 
together constitute what it is in its condition of 
consciousness, the state in which, being objectively 
opposed to its own world, it does not therein apprehend 
and consciously possess itself. But in Conscience it 
brings itself as well as its objective world as a whole 

688 Phenomenology of Mind 

into subjection, as also its idea * and its various specific 
conceptions ; f and is now self-consciousness at home 
with itself. Here spirit, represented as an object, 
has the significance for itself of being Universal Spirit, 
which contains within itself all that is ultimate and 
essential and all that is concrete and actual ; yet is 
not in the form of freely subsisting actuality, or of the 
detached independence of external nature. It has a 
shape, no doubt, the form of objective being, in that 
it is object of its own consciousness ; but because 
this being is put forward in religion with the essential 
character of being self-consciousness, the form or shape 
assumed is one perfectly transparent to itself ; and 
the reality spirit contains is enclosed in it, or transcended 
in it, just in the same way as when we speak of " all 
reality " ; its reality is universal reality in the sense 
of a product of thought. 

Since, then, in religion, the peculiar characteristic 
of what is properly consciousness of spirit does not 
have the form of detached and external otherness, 
the existence of spirit is distinct from its self-conscious- 
ness, and its actual reality proper falls outside religion. 
There is no doubt one spirit in both, but its conscious- 
ness does not embrace both together ; and religion 
appears as a part of existence, of acting, and of striving, 
whose other part is the life lived within its own actual 
world. As we now know that spirit in its own world 
and spirit conscious of itself as spirit, i.e. spirit in the 
sphere of religion, are the same, the completion of 
religion consists in the two forms becoming identical 
with one another : not merely in its reality being grasped 
and embraced by religion, but conversely it, as spirit 

* Vorstellung. t Begriff. 

Religion 689 

conscious of itself, becomes actual to itself, and real 
object of its own consciousness. 

So far as spirit in religion presents itself to itself, 
it is indeed consciousness, and the reality enclosed 
within it is the shape and garment in which it clothes 
its idea of itself. The reality, however, does not in 
this presentation get proper justice done to it, that 
is to say, it does not get to be an independent and free 
objective existence and not merely a garment. And 
conversely, because that reality lacks within itself its 
completion, it is a determinate shape or form, which 
does not attain to what it ought to reveal, viz. spirit 
conscious of itself. That its form might express spirit 
itself, the form would have to be nothing else than spirit, 
and spirit would have to appear to itself, or to be actual, 
as it is in its own essential being. Only thereby, too, 
would be attained what may seem to demand the 
opposite that the object of its consciousness has, at 
the same time, the form of free and independent reality. 
But only spirit which is object to itself in the shape 
of Absolute Spirit, is as much aware of being a free and 
independent reality as it remains therein conscious of 

Since in the first instance self-consciousness and con- 
sciousness simply, religion, and spirit as it is externally in 
its world, or the objective existence of spirit, are distinct, 
the latter consists in the totality of spirit, so far as its 
moments are separated from each other and each is 
set forth by itself. These moments, however, are 
consciousness, self-consciousness, reason, and spirit 
spirit, that is, qua immediate spirit, which is not yet 
consciousness of spirit. Its totality, taken all together, 
constitutes the mundane existence of spirit as a whole ; 


690 Phenomenology of Mind 

spirit as such contains the previous separate embodi- 
ments in the form of universal determinations of its 
own being, in those moments just named. Religion 
presupposes that these have completely run their 
course, and is their simple totality, their absolute Self 
and soul. 

* The course which these traverse is, moreover, in 
relation to religion, not to be pictured as a temporal 
sequence. It is only spirit in its entirety that is in 
time, and the shapes assumed, which are specific 
embodiments of the whole of spirit as such, present 
themselves in a sequence one after the other. For 
it is only the whole- which properly has reality, and 
hence the form of pure freedom relatively to any- 
thing else, the form which takes expression as 
time. But the moments of the whole, consciousness, 
self-consciousness, reason, and spirit, have, because they 
are moments, no existence separate from one another. 

Just as spirit was distinct from its moments, 
we have further, in the third place, to distinguish 
from these moments their specific individuated char- 
acter. Each of those moments, in itself, we saw 
broke up again in a process of development all 
its own, and took various shapes and forms : as 
e.g. in the case of consciousness, sensuous certainty 
and perception were distinct phases. These latter 
aspects fall apart in time from one another, and belong 
to a specific particular whole. For spirit descends 
from its universality to assume an individual form 
through specification, by determination. This deter- 
mination, or mediate element, is consciousness, self- 

* The two following paragraphs form a break in the analysis, and 
may be regarded as an explanatory note. 

Religion 691 

consciousness, and so on. Now the forms assumed by 
these moments constitute individuality. Hence these 
exhibit and reveal spirit in its individuality or con- 
crete reality, and are distinguished in time from one 
another, though in such a way that the succeeding re- 
tains within it the preceding. 

While, therefore, religion is the completion of the 
life of spirit, its final and complete expression, into 
which, as being their ground, its individual moments, 
consciousness, self-consciousness, reason, and spirit, 
return and have returned, they, at the same time, 
together constitute the objectively existing realisation 
of spirit in its totality ; as such spirit is real only as the 
moving process of these aspects which it possesses, a 
process of distinguishing them and returning back into 
itself. In the process of these universal moments is con- 
tained the development of religion generally. Since, 
however, each of these attributes was set forth and 
presented, not only in the way it in general determines 
itself, but as it is in and for itself, i.e. as, within its 
own being, running its course as a distinct whole there 
has thus arisen not merely the development of religion 
generally ; those independently complete processes pur- 
sued by the individual phases and stages of spirit 
contain at the same time the determinate forms of 
religion itself. Spirit in its entirety, spirit in religion, 
is once more the process from its immediacy to the 
attainment of a knowledge of what it implicitly or 
immediately is ; and is the process of attaining the state 
where the shape and form, in which it appears as an 
object for its own consciousness, will be perfectly 
identical with and adequate to its essential nature, 
and where it will behold itself as it is. 

692 Phenomenology of Mind 

In this development of religion, then, spirit itself as- 
sumes definite forms, which constitute the distinctions 
involved in this process : and at the same time a deter- 
minate or specific form of religion has likewise an actual 
spirit of a specific character. Thus, if consciousness, 
self-consciousness, reason, and spirit belong to self- 
knowing spirit in general, in a similar way the specific 
shapes, which self-knowing spirit assumes, appropriate 
and adopt the distinctive forms which were specially 
developed in the case of each of the stages con- 
sciousness, self-consciousness, reason, and spirit. The 
determinate shape, assumed in a given case by re- 
ligion, appropriates, from among the forms belonging 
to each of its moments, the one adapted to it, and makes 
this its actual spirit. This one determinate attitude 
of religion pervades and permeates all aspects of its 
actual existence, and stamps them with this common 

In this way the arrangement now assumed by the 
forms and shapes which . have thus far appeared, is 
different from the way they appeared in their own 
order. On this point we may note shortly at the out- 
set what is of chief importance. In the series we con- 
sidered, each moment, exhaustively elaborating its 
entire content, evolved and formed itself into a single 
whole within its own peculiar principle. And knowledge 
was the inner depth, or the spirit, wherein the elements, 
having no subsistence of their own, possessed their 
substance. This substance, however, has now at 
length made its appearance ; it is the deep life of spirit 
certain of itself ; it does not allow the principle be- 
longing to each individual form to get isolated, and 
become a whole within itself : rather it collects all 

Religion 693 

these moments into its own content, keeps them to- 
gether, and advances within this total wealth of 
its concrete actual spirit ; while all its particular 
moments take into themselves and receive together 
in common the like determinate character of the whole. 
This spirit certain of itself and the process it goes 
through this is their true reality, the independent 
self -subsistence, which belongs to each individually. 

Thus while the previous linear series in its advance 
marked the retrogressive steps in it by knots, but 
thence went forward again in one linear stretch, 
it is now, as it were, broken at these knots, these 
universal moments, and radiates into many lines, 
which, being bound together into a single bundle, 
combine at the same time symmetrically, so that the 
similar distinctions, in which each separately took 
shape within its own sphere, meet together. 

For the rest, it is self-evident from the whole argu- 
ment, how this co-ordination of universal directions, 
just mentioned, is to be understood; so that it be- 
comes superfluous to remark that these distinctions 
are to be taken to mean essentially and only moments 
of the process of development, not parts. In the case 
of actual concrete spirit they are attributes of its 
substance ; in religion, on the other hand, they are 
only predicates of the subject. In the same way, 
indeed, all forms in general are, in themselves or for 
us, contained in spirit and contained in every spirit. 
But the main point of importance, in dealing with its 
reality, is solely what determinate character it has in 
its consciousness, in which specific character it has 
expressed its self, or in what shape it knows its essential 

694 Phenomenology of Mind 

The distinction made between actual spirit and that 
same spirit which knows itself as spirit, or between 
itself qua consciousness and qua self-consciousness, is 
transcended and done away with in the case where spirit 
knows itself in its real truth. Its consciousness and 
its self-consciousness have come to terms. But, as 
religion is here to begin with and immediately, this 
distinction has not yet reverted to spirit. It is merely 
the conception, the principle, of religion that is es- 
tablished at first. In this the essential element is 
self-consciousness, which is conscious of being all 
truth, and which contains all reality within that truth. 
This self-consciousness, being consciousness [and so 
aware of an object], has itself for its object. Spirit, 
which knows itself in the first instance immediately, 
is thus to itself spirit in the form of immediacy ; and 
the specific character of the shape in which it appears 
to itself is that of pure simple being. This being, this 
bare existence, has indeed a filling drawn neither 
from sensation or manifold matter, nor from any other 
one-sided elements, purposes, and determinations ; its 
filling is solely spirit, and is known by itself to be all 
truth and reality. Such filling is in this first form not 
in agreement or identity with its own shape ; spirit qua 
ultimate Reality is not in accord with its consciousness. 
It is actual only as Absolute Spirit, when it is also 
to itself in its truth as it is in its certainty of itself, 
or, when the extremes, into which spirit qua conscious- 
ness falls, exist for one another in spiritual shape. 
The embodiment adopted by spirit qua object of its 
own consciousness, remains filled by the certainty of 
spirit, and this self-certainty constitutes its substance. 
Through this content, the degrading of the object to 

Religion 695 

bare objectivity, to the form of something that negates 
self-consciousness, disappears. The immediate unity of 
spirit with itself is the fundamental basis, or pure 
consciousness, inside which consciousness breaks up 
into its constituent elements [viz. an object with subject 
over against it]. In this way, shut up within its pure 
self-consciousness, spirit does not exist in religion as 
the creator of a nature in general; rather what it 
produces in the course of this process are its forms and 
shapes qua spirits, which together constitute all that it 
can reveal when it is completely manifested. And this 
process itself is the development of its perfect and com- 
plete actuality through the individual aspects thereof, 
i.e. through its imperfect modes of realisation. 

The first realisation of spirit is just the principle 
and notion of religion itself religion as immediate 
and thus Natural Religion. Here spirit knows itself 
as its object in a " natural " or immediate shape. The 
second realisation, is, however, necessarily that of 
knowing itself in the shape of transcended and super- 
seded natural existence, i.e. in the form of self. This 
is the Religion of Art or productive activity. For the 
shape it adopts is raised to the form of self through 
the productive activity of consciousness, by which 
this consciousness beholds in its object its own action, 
i.e. sees the self. The third realisation, finally, cancels 
the one-sidedness of the first two : the self is as much an 
immediate self as the immediacy is a self. If spirit 
in the first is in the form of consciousness, and in 
the second in that of self-consciousness, it is in the 
third in the form of the unity of both ; it has then the 
shape of what is completely self-contained (An-und 
Fursichseyns) ; and since it is thus presented as it 

696 Phenomenology of Mind 

is in and for itself, this is the sphere of Revealed Re- 
ligion. Although spirit, however, here reaches its 
true shape, the very shape assumed and the conscious 
presentation are an aspect and phase still unsurmounted ; 
and from this spirit has to pass over into the life of the 
Notion, in order therein completely to resolve the form 
of objectivity, in the notion, which embraces within 
itself this its own opposite. 

It is then that spirit has grasped its own principle, 
the notion of itself, as so far only we [who analyse 
spirit] have grasped it ; and its form, the element of 
its existence, since this form is the notion, is then 
spirit itself. 


[The arrangement of the analysis of Religion and the divisions into 
the various subsections are, as indicated in the preceding note (p. 683), 
determined by the general development of experience. That development 
is from the immediate through mediation to the fusion of immediacy and 
mediation. The stages of the development of experience are Consciousness, 
Self-consciousness, Reason, the latter leading to its highest level finite 
Spiritual existence. The development of Religion follows these various 
ways in which objects are given in experience, and the three chief divisions 
of Religion are determined accordingly : Natural Religion is religion at 
the level of Consciousness; Art, Religion at the level of Self-conscious- 
ness ; Revealed Religion is Religion at the level of Reason and Spirit. 
Each of these is again subdivided, and the subdivision follows more or 
less closely the various subdivisions of these three ultimate levels of ex- 
perience Consciousness, Thus, in Natural Religion, we have Religion 
at the level of Sense-certainty " Light " : Religion at the level of Percep- 
tion " Life " : and Religion at the level of Understanding the reciprocal 
relation constituted by the " play of forces " appears as the relation of the 
" Artificer " to his own product. 

The general principle is not worked out in detail, with the same 
obviousness, in the case of the other two primary types of Religion Art 
and Revealed Religion. But the same general method of development is 
pursued in these cases. 

The historical material before the mind of the writer is, as might be 
expected, the various religions which have historically appeared amongst 
mankind. These religions are treated, however, as illustrations of prin- 
ciples dominating the religious consciousness in general, rather than 
as merely historical phenomena. 

With the succeeding argument should be read Hegel's Philosophy of 
Religion, Part II, Sections I and II, and Part III.] 



Spirit knowing spirit is consciousness of itself ; 
and is to itself in the form of objectivity. It is ; 
and is at the same time self -existence (Fursichseiri). 
It is for self ; it is the aspect of self-consciousness, 
and is so in contrast to the aspect of its consciousness, 
the aspect by which it relates itself to itself as object. 
In its consciousness there is the opposition and in 
consequence the specificity of the form in which it 
appears to itself and knows itself. It is with this 
specificity that we have alone to do in considering 
religion ; for its essential unspecified principle, its 
abstract notion, has already come to light. The 
distinction of consciousness and self-consciousness, 
however, falls at the same time within this notion. 
The form or shape of religion does not contain the 
existence of spirit in the sense of its being nature 
detached and free from thought, nor in the sense 
of its being thought detached from existence. The 
shape assumed by religion is existence contained and 
preserved in thought, as well as a thought-content 
which is consciously existent. 

It is by the determinate character of this form, 
in which spirit knows itself, that one religion is dis- 
tinguished from another. But we have at the same 
time to note that the systematic exposition of this 
knowledge about itself, in terms of this particular 
specific character, does not as a fact exhaust the whole 

* Primarily Oriental religion. 

Natural Religion 699 

meaning of a given actual religion. The series of 
different religions, which will come before us, just as 
much sets forth again merely the different aspects of a 
single religion, and indeed of every particular religion, 
and the ideas, the conscious processes, which seem to 
mark off one concrete religion from another, make their 
appearance in each. All the same the diversity must 
also be looked at as a diversity of religion. For while 
spirit lives in the distinction of its consciousness and 
its self-consciousness, the process it goes through 
finds its goal in the transcendence of this fundamental 
distinction and in giving the form of self-consciousness 
to the given shape which is object of consciousness. 
This distinction, however, is not eo ipso transcended 
by the fact that the shapes, which that consciousness 
contains, have also the element of self in them, and that 
God is represented as self -consciousness. The consciously 
presented self is not the actual concrete self. In order 
that this, like every other more specific determination 
of the form, may in truth belong to this form, it has 
partly to be put into this form by the action of self- 
consciousness, and partly the lower determination must 
show itself to be cancelled and transcended and com- 
prehended by the higher. For what is consciously 
presented (Vorgstellt) only ceases to be something 
" presented " and alien, external, to its knowledge, by 
the self having produced it, and so viewing the deter- 
mination of the object as its own determination, and 
hence seeing itself in that object. By this operation, 
the lower determination [that of being something " pre- 
sented "] has at once vanished ; for doing anything is a 
negative process which is carried through at the expense 
of something else. So far as that lower determination 

- 700 Phenomenology of Mind 

still continues to appear, it has withdrawn into what is 
without any essential significance : just as, on the other 
hand, where the lower still predominates, while the 
higher is also present, the one co-exists in a self-less 
way alongside of the other. While, therefore, the 
various ideas falling within a particular religion no 
doubt exhibit the whole course its forms take, the 
character of each is determined by the particular unity 
of consciousness and self-consciousness ; that is to 
say, by the fact that self-consciousness has taken 
into itself the determination belonging to the object 
of consciousness, has, by its own action, made that 
determination altogether its own, and knows it to be 
the essential one as compared with the others. 

The truth of belief in a given determination of the 
religious spirit shows itself in this, that the actual spirit 
is constituted after the same manner as the form in 
which spirit beholds itself in religion ; thus e.g. the in- 
carnation of God, which is found in Eastern religion, 
has no truth, because the concrete actual spirit of this re- 
ligion is without the reconciliation this principle implies. 

It is not in place here to return from the totality 
of specific determinations back to the particular deter- 
mination, and show in what shape the plenitude of all 
the others is contained within it and within its par- 
ticular form of religion. The higher form, when put 
back under a lower, is deprived of its significance for 
self-conscious spirit, belongs to spirit merely in a super- 
ficial way, and is for it at the level of a presentation. 
The higher form has to be considered in its own peculiar 
significance, and dealt with where it is the principle of 
a particular religion, and is certified and approved by 
its actual spirit. 


Spirit, as the absolute Being, which is self-conscious- 
ness or the self-conscious absolute Being, which 
is all truth and knows all reality as itself is, to begin 
with, merely its notion and principle in contrast to 
the reality which it acquires in the process of its con- 
scious activity. And this conception is, as contrasted 
with the clear daylight of that explicit development, 
the darkness and night of its inner life ; in contrast to 
the existence of its various moments as independent 
forms and shapes, this notion is the creative secret of 
its birth. This secret has its revelation within itself ; 
for existence has its necessary place in this notion, 
because this notion is spirit knowing itself, and thus 
possesses in its own nature the moment of being con- 
sciousness and of presenting itself objectively. We have 
here the pure ego, which, in externalising itself, in 
seeing itself qua universal object, has the certainty of 
self ; in other words, this object is, for the ego, the 
fusion of all thought and all reality. v 

When the first and immediate cleavage is made withinX 
self-knowing Absolute Spirit, its form assumes that 
character which belongs to immediate consciousness 
or to sense-certainty. It beholds itself in the form of / 
being ; but not being in the sense of what is without 

* Parsee religion. 

702 Phenomenology of Mind 

spirit, containing only the contingent qualities of sensa- 
tion the kind of being that belongs solely to sense- 
certainty. Its being is filled with the content of spirit. 
It also includes within it the form which we found in 
the case of immediate self-consciousness, the form of 
lord and master,* with reference to the self -consciousness 
of spirit which retreats from its object. 

This being, having as its content the notion of 
spirit, is, then, the mode of spirit in relation simply 
to itself the form of having no special form at all. 
In virtue of this characteristic, this mode is the pure 
all-containing, all-suffusing Light of the East, which 
preserves itself in its formless indeterminate substanti- 
ality. Its counterpart, its otherness, is the equally 
simple negative Darkness. The processes of its own 
self-abandonment, its creations in the unresisting 
element of its counterpart, are bursts of Light. At the 
same time in their ultimate simplicity they are its 
way of becoming something for itself, its return from 
its objective existence, streams of fire consuming its 
embodiment. The distinction, which it gives itself, no 
doubt thrives abundantly on the substance of existence, 
and grows into and assumes the diverse forms of nature. 
But the essential simplicity of its thought rambles 
and roves about inconstant and inconsistent, enlarges 
its bounds to measureless extent, and its beauty 
heightened to splendour is lost in its sublimity. f 

The content, which this state of mere being involves, 
its perceptive activity, is, therefore, an unreal by- 
play on this substance which merely rises, without 
descending into itself to become subject and secure 

* Term applied in e.g. Judaism and Mohammedanism, 
t Cp. Philos. ofRelig., W.W., XI, 403, 404, 411. 

God as Light 703 

firmly its distinctions through the self. Its deter- 
minations are merely attributes, which do not succeed 
in attaining independence ; they remain merely names 
of the One, called by many names. This One is clothed 
with the manifold powers of existence and with the 
shapes of reality, as with a soulless, selfless ornament ; 
they are merely messengers of its mighty power,* 
claiming no will of their own, visions of its glory, voices 
in its praise. 

This revel of heaving lifef must, however, assume 
the character of distinctive self-existence, and give 
enduring subsistence to its fleeting forms. Immediate 
being, in which it places itself over against its own 
consciousness, is itself the negative destructive agency 
which dissolves its distinctions. It is thus in truth 
the Self ; and spirit therefore passes on to know itself 
in the form of self. Pure Light scatters its simplicity 
as an infinity of separate forms, and presents itself as 
an offering to self-existence, that the individual may 
have sustainment in its substance. 

* Angels. t Cp. Ency. , 389. 


Self-conscious spirit, passing away from abstract, 
formless Essence and going into itself or, in other 
words, having raised its immediacy to the level of 
Self makes its simple unity assume the character 
of a manifold of self-existing entities, and is the Religion 
of spiritual Sense-Perception. Here spirit breaks up into 
an innumerable plurality of weaker and stronger, richer 
and poorer spirits. This Pantheism, which, to begin 
with, consists in the quiescent stability of these spiritual 
atoms, passes into a process of active internal hostility. 
The innocence, which characterises the flower and plant 
religions, and which is merely the selfless idea of Self, 
gives way to the seriousness of struggling warring life, 
to the guilt of animal religions ; the quiescence and 
impotence of merely contemplative individuality pass 
into the destructive violence of separate self-existence. 

It is of no avail to have removed the lifelessness 
of abstraction from the things of perception, and to 
have raised them to the level of realities of spiritual 
perception : the animation of this spiritual kingdom 
has death in the heart of it, owing to the fact of deter- 
minateness and the inherent negativity, which invades 
and trenches upon their innocent and harmless indiffer- 
ence to one another. Owing to this determinateness 

* Primarily religions of India. 

Plants and Animals as Objects of Religion 705 

and negativity, the dispersion of passive plant-forms 
into manifold entities becomes a hostile process, in 
which the hatred stirred up by their independent self- 
existence rages and consumes. 

The actual self-consciousness at work in this dis- 
persed and disintegrated spirit, takes the form of a 
multitude of individualised mutually-antipathetic folk- 
spirits, who fight and hate each other to the death, and 
consciously accept certain specific forms of animals as 
their essential reality, their god * : for they are nothing 
else than spirits of animals, their animal life separate 
and cut off from one another, and with no universality 
consciously present in them. 

The characteristic of purely negative independent 
self-existence, however, consumes itself in this active 
hatred towards one another ; and through this pro- 
cess, involved in its very principle, spirit enters 
into another shape. Independent self-existence can- 
celled and abolished is the form of the object, a form 
which is produced by the self, or rather is the self 
produced, the self-consuming self, i.e. the self that 
becomes a " thing." The agent at work, therefore, 
retains the upper hand over these animal spirits 
merely tearing each other to pieces ; and his action is 
not merely negative, but composed and creative. 
The consciousness of spirit is, thus, now the process 
which is above and beyond the immediate inherent 
[universal] nature, as well as transcends the abstract 
self-existence in isolation. Since the implicit inherent 
nature is relegated, through opposition, to the level of 
a specific character, it is no longer the proper form of 
Absolute Spirit, but a reality which its consciousness 

* Sacred animals in Indian religion, 
VOL. H. V 

706 Phenomenology of Mind 

finds lying over against itself as an ordinary existing 
fact and cancels; at the same time this consciousness 
is not merely this negative cancelling self-existent being, 
but produces its own objective idea of itself, self- 
existence put forth in the form of an object. This 
process of production is, all the same, not yet perfect 
production ; it is a conditioned activity, the forming 
of a given material. 


Spirit, then, here takes the form of the artificer, 
and its action, when producing itself as object, but 
without having as yet grasped the thought of itself, 
is an instinctive kind of working, like bees building 
their cells. 

The first form, because immediate, has the abstract 
character of " understanding," and the work accom- 
plished is not yet in itself endued with spirit. The 
crystals of Pyramids and Obelisks, simple combinations 
of straight lines with even surfaces and equal relations 
of parts in which incommensurability of curvature is 
set aside these are the works produced in strict geo- 
metrical form by this artificer. Owing to the purely 
abstract intelligible nature of the form, it is not in itself 
the true significance of the form ; it is not the spiritual 
self. Thus, either the works produced only receive 
spirit into them as an alien, departed spirit, one that 
has forsaken its living suffusion and permeation with 
reality, and, being itself dead, enters into these lifeless 
crystals ; or they take up an external relation to spirit 
as something which is itself external and not there as 
spirit they are related to it as to the orient Light, 
which throws its significance on them. 

The separation of elements from which spirit as 

* Egyptian religions. 

708 Phenomenology of Mind 

artificer starts the separation of the implicit essential 
nature, which becomes the material it works upon, 
and independent self-existence, which is the aspect 
of self-consciousness at work this division has become 
objective in the result achieved. Its further endeavour 
has to be directed to cancelling and doing away with 
this separation of soul and body ; it must strive to 
clothe and give embodied shape to soul per se, and 
endow the body with soul. The two aspects, since 
they are brought closer to one another, bear towards 
each other, in this condition, the character of ideally 
presented spirit and of enveloping shell. Spirit's 
oneness with itself contains this opposition of indi- 
viduality and universality. Since the aspects of the 
work produced become closer by performance of it, there 
comes about thereby at the same time the other fact, 
that the work gets nearer to the self-consciousness 
performing it, and that the latter attains in the work 
knowledge of itself as it truly is. In this way, however, 
the work merely constitutes to begin with the abstract 
side of the activity of spirit, which does not yet per- 
ceive the content of this activity within itself but in its 
work, which is a " thing." The artificer as such, spirit 
in its entirety, has not yet appeared ; the artificer is 
still the inner, hidden reality, which qua entire is 
present only as broken up into active self-consciousness 
and the object it has produced. 

The surrounding habitation, external reality, which 
to begin with is raised merely to the abstract form of 
the understanding, is worked up by the artificer and 
made into a more animated form. The artificer em- 
ploys plant life for this purpose, which is no longer 
sacred, as in the previous case of inactive impotent 

The Artificer 709 

pantheism ; rather, the artificer, who holds ' himself 
to be the self-existent reality, takes that plant life 
as something to be used and degrades it to an ex- 
ternal aspect, to the level of an ornament. But it is 
not turned to use without some alteration: for the 
worker producing the self-conscious form destroys at the 
same time the transitoriness, inherently characteristic 
of the immediate existence of this life, and brings its 
organic forms nearer to the more exact and more uni- 
versal forms of thought. The organic form, which, 
left to itself, grows and thrives in particularity, being 
on its side subjugated by the form of thought, elevates 
in turn these straight-lined and level shapes into more 
animated roundedness a blending which becomes the 
root of free architecture.* 

This dwelling, (the aspect of the universal element 
or inorganic nature of spirits), also includes within it 
now a form of individuality, which brings nearer to 
actuality the spirit that was formerly separated from 
existence and external or internal thereto, and thus 
makes the work to accord more with active self-con- 
sciousness. The worker lays hold, first of all, on the 
form of self-existence in general, on the forms of animal 
life. That he is no longer directly aware of himself in 
animal life, he shows by the fact that in reference to 
this he constitutes himself the productive force, and 
knows himself in it as being his own work, whereby the 
productive force at the same time is one which is super- 
seded and becomes the hieroglyphic symbol of another 
meaning, the hieroglyph of a thought. , Hence also 
this force is no longer solely and entirely used by the 
worker, but becomes blended with the shape embody- 

* The Egyptian columns and architecture. 

710 Phenomenology of Mind 

ing thought, with the human form.* Still, the work 
lacks the form and existence where self as self appears : 
it also fails to express in its very nature that it includes 
within itself an inner meaning ; it lacks language, 
the element in which the sense and meaning contained 
are actually present. The work done, therefore, even 
when quite purified of the animal aspect, and bearing 
the form and shape of self-consciousness alone, is 
still the silent soundless form, which needs the rays 
of the rising sun in order to have a sound which, when 
produced by light, is even then merely noise and not 
speech, shows merely an outer self, not the inner self.f 

Contrasted with this outer self of the form and shape, 
stands the other form, which indicates that it has in 
it an inner being. Nature, turning back into its essen- 
tial being, degrades its multiplicity of life, ever 
individualising itself and confounding itself in its 
own process, to the level of an external encasing shell, 
which is the covering for the inner being. And still 
this inner being is primarily mere darkness, the un- 
moved, the black formless stone. $ 

Both representations contain inwardness and ex- 
istence the two moments of spirit : and both kinds 
of manifestation contain both moments at once in a 
relation of opposition, the self both as inward and as 
outward. Both have to be united. The soul of the 
statue in human form does not yet come out of the 
inner being, is not yet speech, objective existence of 
self which is inherently internal, and the inner being 
of multiform existence is still without voice or sound, 

* The representations of the gods with forms half animal, half human. 

t The statues of Memnon. 

J The Black Stone of Mecca : a fetish still worshipped by the faithful. 

The Artificer 711 

still draws no distinctions within itself, and is still 
separated from its outer being, to which all distinctions 
belong. The artificer, therefore, combines both by 
blending the forms of nature and self-consciousness ; 
and these ambiguous beings, a riddle to themselves 
the conscious struggling with what has no consciousness, 
the simple inner with the multiform outer, the darkness 
of thought mated with clearness of expression these 
break out into the language of a wisdom that is 
darkly deep and difficult to understand.* 

With the production of this work, the instinctive 
method of working ceases, which, in contrast to self- 
consciousness, produced a work devoid of consciousness, 
For here the activity of the artificer, which constitutes 
self-consciousness, comes face to face with an inner 
being equally self-conscious and giving itself ex- 
pression. He has therein raised himself by his work 
up to the point where his conscious life breaks asunder, 
where spirit greets spirit. In this unity of self-conscious 
spirit with itself, so far as it is aware of being embodi- 
ment and object of its own consciousness, its blending 
and mingling with the unconscious condition of im- 
mediate forms of nature become purified. These 
monsters in form and shape, word and deed, are resolved 
and dissolved into a shape which is spiritual an outer 
which has entered into itself, an inner which ex- 
presses itself out of itself and in itself, they pass into 
thought, which brings forth itself, preserves the shape 
and form suited to thought, and is transparent exist- 
ence. Spirit is Artist. 

* Sphinxes 


Spirit has raised the shape in which it is object 
for its own consciousness into the form of conscious- 
ness itself ; and spirit sets such a form before itself. 
The artificer has given up the external synthesising 
activity, that blending of the heterogeneous forms of 
thought and nature. When the shape has gained the 
form of self-conscious activity, the artificer has 
become a spiritual workman. 

If we next ask, what the actual spirit is, which finds 
in the religion of art the consciousness of its Absolute, 
it turns out that this is the ethical or objective spirit. 
This spirit is not merely the universal substance of 
all individuals ; but when this substance is said to 
have, as an objective fact for actual consciousness, 
the form of consciousness, this amounts to saying that 
the substance, which is individualised, is known by 
the individuals within it as their proper essence and 
their own achievement. It is for them neither the 
Light of the World, in whose unity the self-existence 
of self-consciousness is contained only negatively, 
only transitorily, and beholds the lord and master 
of its reality ; nor is it the restless waste and destruction 
of hostile nations ; nor their subjection to " casts," 
which together constitute the semblance of organisation 

* Greek religion. 

'Religion in the form of Art 713 

of a completed whole, where, however, the universal 
freedom of the individuals concerned is wanting. 
Rather this spirit is a free nation, in which custom 
and order constitute the common substance of all, 
whose reality and existence each and every one knows 
to be his own will and his own deed. 

The religion of the ethical spirit, however, raises 
it above its actual realisation, and is the return from 
its objectivity into pure knowledge of itself. Since an 
ethically constituted nation lives in direct unity with its 
own substance, and does not contain the principle 
of pure individualism of self-consciousness, the religion 
characteristic of its sphere first appears in com- 
plete form in severance from its stable security. 
For the reality of the ethical substance rests partly 
on its quiet unchangeableness as contrasted with 
the absolute process of self-consciousness ; and con- 
sequently on the fact that this self-consciousness has 
not yet left its serene life of customary convention 
and its confident security therein, and gone into itself. 
Partly, again, that reality rests on its organisation into 
a plurality of rights and duties, as also on its organised 
distribution into groups of stations and classes, each 
with its particular way of acting which co-operates 
to form the whole ; and hence rests on the fact that 
the individual is contented with the limitation of his 
existence, and has not yet grasped the unrestricted 
thought of his free self. But that serene immediate 
confidence in the substance of this ethical life returns 
to trust in self and to certainty of self ; and the plurality 
of rights and duties, as well as the restricted particular 
action this involves, is the same dialectic process in 
the sphere of the ethical life as the plurality of " things " 

714 Phenomenology of Mind 

and their various " qualities " a process which only 
comes to rest and stability in the simplicity of spirit 
certain of self. 

The complete fulfilment of the ethical life in free 
self-consciousness, and the destined consummation 
(Schicksal) of the ethical world, are therefore found when 
individuality has entered into itself ; the condition is 
one of absolute levity on the part of the ethical spirit ; 
it has dissipated and resolved into itself all the firmly 
established distinctions constituting its own stability, 
and the separate components of its own articulated 
organisation, and, being perfectly sure of itself, has 
attained to boundless cheerfulness of heart and the 
freest enjoyment of itself. This simple certainty of 
spirit within itself has a double meaning ; it is quiet 
stability and solid truth, as well as absolute unrest, and 
the disappearance of the ethical order. It turns round, 
however, into the latter ; for the truth of the ethical 
spirit lies primarily just in this substantial objectivity 
and trust, in which the self does not think of itself as 
free individual, and where the self, therefore, in this 
inner subjectivity, in becoming a free self, falls to the 
ground. Since then its trust is broken, and the sub- 
stance of the nation cracked, spirit, which was the 
connecting medium of the unstable extremes, has now 
come forward as an extreme that of self-consciousness 
taking itself to be essential and ultimate. This is spirit 
certain within itself, which mourns over the loss of its 
world, and now produces out of the abstraction of self 
its own essential being, raised far above actual reality. 

At such an epoch art in absolute form* comes on the 
scene. At the earlier stage it is instinctive in its 

* The religion of pure beauty. * 

Religion in the Form of Art 715 

operation ; being absorbed and steeped in existence, it 
works out of and works into this element ; it does not 
find its substance in the free life of an ethical order, 
and hence, too, the self operating does not consist of 
free spiritual activity. 

Later on, spirit goes beyond art in order to gain its 
higher manifestation, viz. that of being not merely 
the substance born and produced out of the self, but 
of being in its manifestation object of this self ; it 
seeks at that higher level not merely to bring forth 
itself out of its own notion, but to have its very notion 
as its form, so that the notion and the work of art pro- 
duced may know each other reciprocally as one and 
the same.* 

Since, then, the ethical substance has withdrawn 
from its objective existence into its bare self -conscious- 
ness, this is the aspect of the notion, or the activity 
with which spirit brings itself forward as object. It 
is pure form, because the individual in ethical obedience 
and service has so worked off every unconscious 
existence and every fixed determination, as the sub- 
stance has itself become this fluid and undifferentiated 
entity. This form is the night in which the substance 
was betrayed, and made itself subject. It is out of 
this night of pure certainty of self that the ethical 
spirit rises again in a shape freed from nature and its 
own immediate existence. 

The existence of the pure notion into which spirit 
has fled from its bodily shape, is an individual, which 
spirit selects as the vessel for its sorrow. Spirit acts 
in this individual as his universal and his power, from 
which he suffers violence, as his element of "Pathos," 

* This paragraph may be regarded as an interpolated note. 

716 Phenomenology of Mind 

by having given himself over to which his self- 
consciousness loses freedom. But that positive power 
belonging to the universal is overcome by the pure 
self of the individual, the negative power. This pure 
activity, conscious of its inalienable force, wrestles 
with the unembodied essential being. Becoming its 
master, this negative activity has turned the element of 
pathos into its own material, and given itself its content ; 
and this unity comes out as a work, universal spirit 
individualised and consciously presented. 


The first work of art is, because immediate, abstract 
and particular. On its own side it has to move away 
from this immediate and objective phase towards self- 
consciousness, while, on the other side, the latter for 
itself endeavours in the " cult " to do away with the 
distinction, which it at first gave itself in contrast to its 
own spirit, and by so doing to produce a work of art 
inherently endowed with life. 

The first way in which the artistic spirit keeps as far 
as possible removed from each other its form and its 
active consciousness, is immediate in character the 
form assumed is there as a " thing " in general. It 
breaks up into the distinction of particularity, which 
contains the form of the self, and universality, which 
represents the inorganic elements in reference to the 
form adopted, and is its environment and habitation. 
This shape assumed obtains its pure form, the form 
belonging to spirit, by the whole being raised into the 
sphere of the pure notion. It is not the crystal, belong- 
ing as we saw to the level of understanding, a form 
which housed and covered a lifeless element, or is shone 
upon externally by a soul. Nor, again, is it that com- 
mingling of the forms of nature and thought, which first 
arose in connection with plants, thought's activity here 
being still an imitation. Rather the notion strips off 


718 Phenomenology of Mind 

the remnant of root, branches and leaves, still clinging 
to the forms, purifies the forms and makes them into 
figures in which the crystal's straight lines and surfaces 
are raised into incommensurable relations, so that the 
animation of the organic is taken up into the abstract 
form of understanding, and, at the same time, its 
essential nature incommensurability is preserved for 

The indwelling god, however, is the black stone 
extracted from the animal encasement,* and suffused 
with the light of consciousness. The human form strips 
off the animal character with which it was mixed up. 
The animal form is for the god merely an accidental 
vestment ; the animal appears alongside its true form,t 
and has no longer a value on its own account, but has 
sunk into being a significant sign of something else, has 
become a mere symbol. By that very fact, the form 
assumed by the god in itself casts off even the need for 
the natural conditions of animal existence, and hints 
at the internal arrangements of organic life melted down 
into the surface of the form, and pertaining only to this 

The essential being of the god, however, is the unity of 
the universal existence of nature and of self-conscious 
spirit which in its actuality appears confronting the 
former. At the same time, being in the first instance 
a particular form, its existence is one of the elements 
of nature, just as its self-conscious actuality is a par- 
ticular national spirit. But the former is, in this 
unity, that element reflected back into spirit, nature 
made transparent by thoughts and united with self- 

* v. sup., p. 710. t e.g. the eagle as the "bird of Zeus." 

J e.g. Athene. 

The Abstract Work of Art 719 

conscious life. The form of the gods retains, therefore, 
within it its nature-element as something transcended, 
as a shadowy, obscure memory. The utter chaos and 
confused struggle amongst the elements existing free 
and detached from each other, the non-ethical dis- 
ordered realm of Titans, is vanquished and banished 
to the outskirts of self-transparent reality, to the 
cloudy boundaries of the world which finds itself in 
the sphere of spirit and is at peace. These ancient 
gods, first-born children of the union of Light with 
Darkness, Heaven, Earth, Ocean, Sun, earth's aimless 
typhonic Fire, and so on, are supplanted by forms and 
shapes, which do but darkly recall those earlier titans, 
and which are no longer things of nature, but spirits 
clarified by the ethical life of self-conscious nations. 

This simple form has thus destroyed within itself 
restless endless individuation, the individuation both 
in the life of nature, which operates with necessity 
only qua universal essence, but is contingent in its 
actual existence and process ; and also in the life of 
a nation, which is scattered and broken into parti- 
cular spheres of action and into individual centres 
of self-consciousness, and has an existence mani- 
fold in action and meaning. All this individuation 
the simplicity of this form has abolished, and brought 
together into an individuality at peace with itself. 
Hence the condition of unrest stands contrasted with 
this form; confronting quiescent individuality, the 
essential reality, stands self-consciousness, which, being 
its source and origin, has nothing left over for itself 
except to be pure activity. What belongs to the sub- 
stance, the artist gave entirely along with his work ; 
to himself, however, as a specific individuality there 

720 Phenomenology of Mind 

belongs in his work no reality. He could only have 
conferred completeness on it by relinquishing his 
particular nature, divesting himself of his own being, 
and rising to the abstraction of pure action. 

With the first and immediate act of production, the 
separation of the work and his self-conscious activity 
is not yet healed again. The work is, therefore, 
not by itself really a spiritual entity ; it is a whole only 
when its process of coming to be is taken along with it. 
The obvious and common element in the case of a 
work of art, that it is produced in consciousness and 
is made by the hand of man, is the aspect of the 
notion existing qua notion, and standing in contrast 
to the work produced. And if this notion, qua the 
artist or spectator, is unselfish enough to declare the 
work of art to be per se absolutely spiritual, and to 
forget himself qua agent or onlooker, then, as against 
this, the notion of spirit has to be insisted on ; spirit 
cannot dispense with the moment of being conscious of 
itself. This moment, however, stands in contrast 
to the work, because spirit, in this its primary dis- 
ruption, gives the two sides their abstract and specific- 
ally contrasted characteristics of " doing " something 
and of being a " thing " ; and their return to the unity 
they started from has not yet come about. 

The artist finds out, then, in his work, that he did 
not produce a reality like himself. No doubt there 
comes back to him from his work a consciousness in 
the sense that a wondering multitude honours it as the 
spirit, which is their own true nature. But this way 
of animating or spiritualising his work, since it renders 
him his self-consciousness merely in the form of ad- 
miration, is rather a confession that the work is not 

The Abstract Work of Art 721 

animated in the same manner as the artist. Since 
the work comes back to him in the form of gladness 
in general, he does not find in it the pain of his 
self-discipline and the pain of production, nor the 
exertion and strain of his own toil. People may, 
moreover, judge the work, or bring him offerings and 
gifts, or endue it with their consciousness in whatever 
way they like if they with their knowledge set them- 
selves over it, he knows how much more his act is than 
what they understand and say ; if they put themselves 
beneath it, and recognise in it their own dominating 
essential reality, he knows himself as the master of this. 
The work of art hence requires another element 
for its existence ; God requires another way of going 
forth than this, in which, out of the depths of his 
creative night, he drops into the opposite, into ex- 
ternality, to the character of a " thing " with no self- 
consciousness. This higher element is that of Language 
a way of existing which is directly self-conscious 
existence. When individual self-consciousness exists 
in that way, it is at the same time directly a form of 
universal contagion ; complete isolation of indepen- 
dent self-existent selves is at once fluent continuity 
and universally communicated unity of the many 
selves ; it is the soul existing as soul. The god, 
then, which takes language as its medium of em- 
bodiment, is the work of art inherently spiritualised, 
endowed with a soul, a work which directly in 
its existence contains the pure activity which was 
apart from and in contrast to the god when existing 
as a " thing." In other words, self -consciousness, when 
its essential being becomes objective, remains in direct 
relation with itself. It is, when thus at home with 


722 Phenomenology of Mind 

itself in its essential nature, pure thought or devotion, 
whose inwardness gets at the same time express ex- 
istence in the Hymn. The hymn keeps within it 
the individuality of self-consciousness, and this in- 
dividual character is at the same time perceived to 
be there universal. Devotion, kindled in every one, 
is a spiritual stream which in all the manifold self-con- 
scious units is conscious of itself as one and the same 
function in all alike and a simple state of being. Spirit, 
being this universal self-consciousness of every one, 
holds in a single unity its pure inwardness as well as 
its objective existence for others and the independent 
self-existence of the individual units. 

This kind of language is distinct from another 
way God speaks, which is not that of universal self- 
consciousness. The Oracle, both in the case of the 
god of the religions of art as well as of the pre- 
ceding religions, is the necessary and the first form 
of divine utterance. For its very principle implies 
that God is at once the essence of nature and of 
spirit, and hence has not merely natural but spiritual 
existence as well. In so far as this moment is implied 
primarily in its principle and is not yet realised in 
religion, the language used is, for the religious self- 
consciousness, the speech of an alien and external 
self-consciousness. The self-consciousness which re- 
mains alien and foreign to its religious communion, 
is not yet there in the way its essential principle re- 
quires it should be. The self is simple self-existence, 
and thereby is altogether universal self-existence ; 
that self, however, which is cut off from the self-con- 
sciousness of the communion, is primarily a mere par- 
ticular self. 

The Abstract Work of Art 723 

The content of this its own peculiar and individual 
form of speech is supplied from the general determinate 
character which the Absolute Spirit as such adopts 
in its religion. Thus the universal spirit of the East, 
which has not yet particularised its existence, utters 
about the Absolute equally simple, abstract, and 
universal statements, whose substantial content is 
sublime in the simplicity of its truth, but at the same 
time appears, because of this universality, trivial to 
the self-consciousness developing further. 

The further developed self, which advances to being 
distinctively for itself, rises above the pure " pathos " 
of [unconscious] substance, gets the mastery over the 
objectivity of the principle of Light in Eastern religion, 
and knows that simplicity of abstract truth to be the 
inherent reality (das Ansichseyende) which does not 
possess the form of contingent existence through an 
utterance of an alien self, but is the sure and unwritten 
law of the gods, a law that " lives for ever, and no man 
knows what time it came." 

As the universal truth, revealed by the " Light " 
of the world, has here returned into what is within or 
what is beneath, and has thus got rid of the form of 
contingent appearance; so too, on the other hand, in 
the religion of art, because God's form or shape has 
taken on consciousness and hence particularity in 
general, the peculiar utterance of God, who is the 
spirit of an ethically constituted nation, is the Oracle, 
which knows its special circumstances and situation, 
and announces what is serviceable to its interests. 
Reflective thought, however, satisfies itself as to the 
universal truths enunciated, because these are known 
as the essential implicit reality of the nation's life ; 

724 Phenomenology of Mind 

and the utterance of them is thus for such reflection 
no longer a strange and alien speech, but is its very 
own. Just as that wise man of old * searched in 
his own thought for what was worthy and good, but 
left it to his " Daimon " to find out and decide the 
petty contingent content of what he wanted to know 
whether it was good for him to keep company with 
this or that person, or good for one of his friends to 
go on a journey, and such like unimportant things ; 
in the same way the universal consciousness draws the 
knowledge about the contingent from birds, or trees, 
or fermenting earth, the steam from which deprives 
the self-conscious mind of its powers of discrimination. 
For what is accidental is something undiscerned, un- 
discriminated, and extraneous; and hence the ethical 
consciousness lets itself, as if by a throw of the dice, 
settle the matter in a manner that is similarly undis- 
criminating and extraneous. If the individual, by his 
understanding, determines on a certain course, and 
selects, after consideration, what is useful for him, it 
is the specific nature of his particular character which 
is the ground of this self-determination. This basis is 
just what is contingent ; and that knowledge which his 
understanding supplies as to what is useful for the 
individual, is hence just such a knowledge as that of 
" oracles " or of the " lot " ; only that he who questions 
the oracle or lot, thereby shows the ethical sentiment 
of indifference to what is accidental, while the former, 
on the contrary, treats the inherently contingent as an 
essential concern of his thought and knowledge. Higher 
than both, however, is to make careful reflection the 
oracle for contingent action, but yet to recognise that 

* Socrates. 

The Abstract Work of Art 725 

this very act reflected on is something contingent, be- 
cause it refers to what is opportune and has a relation 
to what is particular. 

The true self-conscious existence, which spirit receives 
in the form of speech, which is not the utterance of 
extraneous and so accidental, i.e. not universal, self- 
consciousness, is the work of art which we met with 
before. It stands in contrast to the statue, which 
has the character of a " thing." As the statue is ex- 
istence in a state of rest, the other is existence in a state 
of transience. In the case of the former, objectivity 
is set free and dispenses with the immediate presence 
of the self proper ; in the latter, on the other hand, 
objectivity is too much bound up with the self, attains 
insufficiently to definite embodiment, and is, like time, 
no longer there just as soon as it is there. 

The religious Cult constitutes the process of the two 
sides a process in which the divine embodiment in 
motion within the pure feeling-element of self-con- 
sciousness and its embodiment at rest in the element of 
thinghood, reciprocally abandon the different character 
each possesses, and the unity, which is the underlying 
principle of their being, becomes an existing fact. Here 
in the Cult, the self gives itself a consciousness of the 
Divine Being descending from its remoteness into it, 
and this Divine Being, which was formerly the unreal 
and merely objective, thereby receives the proper 
actuality of self-consciousness. 

This principle of the Cult is essentially contained 
and present already in the flow of the melody of the 
Hymn. These hymns of devotion are the way the 
self obtains immediate pure satisfaction through and 
within itself. It is the soul purified, which, in the 

726 Phenomenology of Mind 

purity it thus attains, is immediately and only absolute 
Being, and is one with absolute Being. The soul, 
because of its abstract character, is not consciousness 
distinguishing its object from itself, and is thus merely 
the night of its existence and the place prepared for its 
form. The abstract Cult, therefore, raises the self into 
being this pure divine element. The soul brings about 
the attainment of this purity in a conscious way. 
Still it is not yet the self, which has descended to the 
depths of its being, and knows itself as evil. It is 
something that merely is, a soul, which cleanses its 
exterior with the washing of water, and robes it in 
white, while its innermost traverses the path set before 
itself of labour, punishment, and reward, the way of 
spiritual discipline, of altogether relinquishing its par- 
ticularity the road by which it reaches the mansions 
and the fellowship of the blest. 

This ceremonial cult is, in its first form, merely in 
secret, i.e. is merely a performance accomplished sub- 
jectively in idea, and unrealised. It has to become a 
real act, for an unreal act is a contradiction in terms. 
Consciousness proper, thereby, rises to the level of its 
pure self-consciousness. The essential Being has in it 
the significance of a free object ; through the actual 
cult this object turns back to the self ; and in so far as, 
in pure consciousness, it has the significance of absolute 
Being dwelling in its purity beyond actual reality, 
this Being descends, through this mediating process 
of the cult, from its universality into individual form, 
and thus combines and unites with actual reality. 

The way the two sides make their appearance in the 
act is of such a character that the self-conscious aspect, 
so far as it is actual consciousness, finds the absolute 

The Abstract Work of Art 727 

Being manifesting itself as actual nature. On the one 
hand, nature belongs to self - consciousness as its 
possession and property, and stands for what has no 
existence per se. On the other hand, nature is its 
proper immediate reality and particularity, which 
is equally regarded as not truly real and essential, 
and is abrogated. At the same time, that external 
nature has the opposite significance for its pure 
consciousness viz. the significance of being the in- 
herently real, for which the self sacrifices its own 
[relative] unreality, just as, conversely, the self sacrifices 
the unessential aspect of nature to itself. The act is 
thereby a spiritual movement, because it is this double- 
sided process of cancelling the abstraction of absolute 
Being (in the way devotion determines the object), and 
making it something concrete and actual, and, on the 
other hand, of cancelling the actual (in the way the 
agent determines the object and the self acting), and 
raising it into universality. 

The practice of the religious Cult begins, therefore, 
with the pure and simple " offering up " or " sur- 
render " of a possession, which the owner apparently 
considers quite useless for himself and spills on the 
ground or lets rise up in smoke. By so doing he re- 
nounces before the ultimate Being of his pure conscious- 
ness all possession and right of property and enjoyment 
thereof ; renounces personality and the reversion of 
his action to his self ; and instead, reflects the act 
into the universal, into the absolute Being rather 
than into himself. Conversely, however, the objective 
ultimate Being too is annihilated in that very pro- 
cess. The animal offered up is the symbol of a god ; 
the fruits consumed are the actual living Ceres and 

728 Phenomenology of Mind 

Bacchus. In the former die the powers of the upper 
law [the Olympians] which has blood and actual life, 
in the latter the powers of the lower law [the Furies] 
which possesses in bloodless form secret and crafty 

The sacrifice of the divine substance, so far as it is 
active, belongs to the side of self-consciousness. That 
this concrete act may be possible, the absolute Being 
must have from the start implicitly sacrificed itself. This 
it has done in the fact that it has given itself definite 
existence, and made itself an individual animal and fruit 
of the earth. The self actively sacrificing demonstrates 
in actual existence, and sets before its own conscious- 
ness, this already implicitly completed self-renunciation 
on the part of absolute Being ; and replaces that im- 
mediate reality, which absolute Being has, by the 
higher, viz. that of the self making the sacrifice. For 
the unity which has arisen, and which is the outcome 
of transcending the particularity and separation of the 
two sides, is not merely negative destructive fate, but 
has a positive significance. It is merely for the abstract 
Being of the netherworld that the sacrifice offered to it is 
wholly surrendered and devoted ; and, in consequence, 
it is only for that Being that the reflection of personal 
possession and individual self-existence back into the 
Universal is marked distinct from the self as such. At 
the same time, however, this is only a trifling part ; 
and the other act of sacrifice is merely the destruction 
of what cannot be used, and is really the preparation 
of the offered substance for a meal, the feast that 
cheats the act out of its negative significance. The 
person making the offering at that first sacrifice re- 
serves the greatest share for his own enjoyment ; 

The Abstract Work of Art 729 

and reserves from the latter sacrifice what is useful 
for the same purpose. This enjoyment is the negative 
power which supersedes the absolute Being as well as 
the unity; and this enjoyment is, at the same time, the 
positive actual reality in which the objective existence 
of absolute Being is transmuted into self-conscious 
existence, and the self has consciousness of its unity 
with its Absolute. 

This cult, for the rest, is indeed an actual act, although 
its meaning lies for the most part only in devotion. 
What pertains to devotion is not objectively produced, 
just as the result when confined to the feeling of enjoy- 
ment* is robbed of its external existence. The Cult, 
therefore, goes further, and replaces this defect, in the 
first instance by giving its devotion an objective subsist- 
ence, since the cult is the common task or the indi- 
vidual task for each and all to do which produces 
for the honour and glory of God a House for Him 
to dwell in and adornment for His presence. By 
so doing the external objectivity of statuary is 
partly cancelled ; for by thus dedicating his gifts and 
his labours the worker makes God well disposed to- 
wards him and looks on his self as attached and apper- 
taining to God. Furthermore, this course of action is 
not the individual labour of the artist ; this particu- 
larity is dissolved in universality. But it is not only 
the honour of God which is brought about, and the 
blessing of His countenance and favour is not only 
shed in idea and imagination on the worker ; the 
work has also a meaning the reverse of the first which 
was that of self-renunciation and of honour done to 
what is alien and external. The Halls and Dwellings 

* i.e. at the feast. 

730 Phenomenology of Mind 

of God are for the use of man, the treasures preserved 
there are in time of need his own ; the honour which 
God enjoys in his decorative adornment, is the honour 
and glory of a refined artistic and high-spirited nation. 
At the festival season, the people adorn their own 
dwellings, their own garments, and their establish- 
ments too with the furnishings of elegance and grace. 
In this manner they receive a return for their gifts 
from a responsive and grateful God ; and receive the 
proofs of His favour wherewith the nation became 
bound to the God because of the work done for Him 
not as a hope and a deferred realisation, but rather, 
in testifying to His honour and in presenting gifts, the 
nation finds directly and at once the enjoyment of its 
own wealth and adornment. 


That nation which approaches its god in the cult of 
the religion of art is an ethically constituted nation, 
knowing its State and the acts of the State to be the 
will and the achievement of its own activity. This 
universal spirit, confronting the self-conscious nation, 
is consequently not the " Light " of the world, which, 
being selfless, does not contain the certainty of the 
individual selves, but is only their universal ultimate 
Being and the dominating imperious power, wherein 
they disappear. The religious cult of this simple un- 
embodied ultimate Being gives back, therefore, to its 
votaries in the main merely this : that they are the 
nation of their god. It secures for them merely their 
stable subsistence, and their bare substance as a whole ; 
it does not secure for them their actual self ; this is 
indeed rejected. For they revere their god as the 
empty profound, not as spirit. The cult, however, of 
the religion of art, on the other hand, dispenses with 
that abstract simplicity of the absolute Being, and 
therefore with its ''' profundity." But that Being, 
which is directly at one with the self, is inherently 
spirit and comprehending truth, although not yet 
known explicitly, in other words it does not know the 
" depths " of its nature. Because this Absolute, then, 
implies self, consciousness finds itself at home with it 


732 Phenomenology of Mind 

when it appears ; and, in the cult, this consciousness 
receives not merely the general title to its own sub- 
sistence, but also its self-conscious existence within it : 
just as, conversely, in a despised and outcast nation 
whose mere substance is acknowledged, the absolute 
Being has not a selfless reality, but in the nation whose 
self is acknowledged as living in its substance. 

From the ceremonial cult, then, self-consciousness 
that is at peace and satisfied in its ultimate Being 
turns away, as also does the god that has entered into 
self-consciousness as into its place of habitation. This 
place is, by itself, the night of mere " substance," or 
its pure individuality ; but no longer the strained and 
striving individuality of the artist, which has not yet 
reconciled itself with its essential Being that gradually 
becomes objective ; it is substance satisfied, having 
its "pathos" within it and in want of nothing, because 
it comes back from mere intuition, from objectivity 
which is overcome and superseded. 

This " pathos " is, by itself, the Being of the 
Orient,* a Being, however, which has now " set" and 
disappeared within itself, and has its own "setting," 
self-consciousness, within it, and so contains existence 
and reality. 

It has here traversed the process of its actualisation. 
Descending from its pure essentiality and becoming 
an objective force of nature and the expressions of this 
force, it is an existence relative to an other, an objective 
existence for the self by which it is consumed. The 
silent inner being of selfless nature attains in its fruits 
the stage where nature, duly prepared and digested, 
is offered as material for the life which has a self. In 

* The "Light" of the world. 

The Living Work of Art 733 

its being useful for food and drink it reaches its highest 
perfection. For therein it is the possibility of a higher 
existence, and comes in touch with spiritual existence. 
In its metamorphosis the spirit of the earth has de- 
veloped and become partly a silently energising sub- 
stance, partly spiritual ferment ; in the first case it is 
the feminine principle, the nursing mother, in the other 
the masculine principle, the self-driving force of self- 
conscious existence. 

In this enjoyment, then, that orient " Light " of the 
world is discovered for what it really is : Enjoyment 
is the Mystery of its being. For mysticism is not 
concealment of a secret, or ignorance ; it consists 
in the self knowing itself to be one with absolute Being, 
and in this latter, therefore, becoming revealed. Only 
the self is revealed to itself ; or what is manifest is 
so merely in the immediate certainty of itself. But 
it is just in such certainty that simple absolute Being 
has been placed by the cult. As a thing that can be 
used, it has not only existence which is seen, felt, smelt, 
tasted ; it is also object of desire, and, by actually 
being enjoyed, it becomes one with the self, and 
thereby disclosed completely to this self, and made 

When we say of anything, " it is manifest to reason, to 
the heart," it is in point of fact still secret, for it still 
lacks the actual certainty of immediate existence, both 
the certainty regarding what is objective, and the 
certainty of enjoyment, a certainty which in religion, 
however, is not only immediate and unreflecting, but 
at the same time fully cognitive certainty of self. 

What has thus been, through the cult, revealed to 
self-conscious spirit within itself, is simple absolute 

734 Phenomenology of Mind 

Being ; and this has been revealed partly as the process 
of passing out of its dark night of concealment up to the 
level of consciousness, to be there its silently nurturing 
substance ; partly, however, as the process of losing 
itself again in nether darkness, in the self, and of 
waiting above merely with the silent yearning of mother- 
hood. The more conspicuous moving impulse, however, 
is the variously named " Light " of the East and its 
tumult of heaving life, which, having likewise desisted 
from its abstract state of being, has first embodied 
itself in objective existence in the fruits of the earth,* 
and then, surrendering itself to self-consciousness,")" 
attained there to its proper realisation ; and now it 
curvets and careers about in the guise of a crowd of 
excited, fervid women, the unrestrained revel of nature 
in self-conscious form.J 

Still, however, it is only Absolute Spirit in the sense 
of this simple abstract Being, not as spirit per se, that 
is discovered to consciousness : i.e. it is merely im- 
mediate spirit, the spirit of nature. Its self-conscious 
life is therefore merely the mystery of the Bread and 
the Wine, of Ceres and Bacchus, not of the other, the 
strictly higher, gods [of Olympus], whose individuality 
includes, as an essential moment, self-consciousness as 
such. Spirit has not yet qua self-conscious spirit offered 
itself up to it, and the mystery of bread and wine is 
not yet the mystery of flesh and blood. 

This unstable divine revel must come to rest as 
an object, and the enthusiasm, which did not reach 
consciousness, must produce a work which confronts 

* As found in the mysteries of Demeter. 

f As found in the mysteries of Bacchus and Dionysus. 

J The Maenads ; cp. Euripides, Bacchae. 

The Living Work of Art 735 

it as the statue stands over against the enthusiasm of 
the artist in the previous case, a work too that is 
equally complete and finished, yet not as an inherently 
lifeless but as a living self. Such a cult is the Festival 
which man makes in his own honour, though not im- 
parting to a cult of that kind the significance of 
the Absolute Being ; for it is the ultimate Being that 
is first revealed to him, not yet Spirit not such a 
Being as essentially takes on human form. But this 
cult provides the basis for this revelation, and lays 
out its moments individually and separately. Thus 
we here get the abstract moment of the living em- 
bodiment of ultimate Being, just as formerly we had 
the unity of both in the state of unconstrained emo- 
tional fervency. In the place of the statue man thus 
puts himself as the form elaborated and moulded 
for perfectly free movement, just as the statue is the 
perfectly free state of quiescence. If every individual 
knows how to play the part at least of a torchbearer, 
one of them comes prominently forward who is the 
very embodiment of the movement, the smooth elabora- 
tion, the fluent energy and force of all the members. 
He is a lively and living work of art, which matches 
strength with its beauty ; and to him is given, as a 
reward for his force and energy, the adornment, with 
which the statue was decorated [in the former type of 
religion], and the honour of being, amongst his own 
nation, instead of a god in stone, the highest bodily 
representation of what the essential Being of the 
nation is. 

In both the representations, which have just come 
before us, there is present the unity of self-consciousness 
and spiritual Being ; but they still lack their due balance 

736 Phenomenology of Mind 

and equilibrium. In the case of the bacchic * revelling 
enthusiasm the self is beside itself ; in bodily beauty of 
form it is spiritual Being that is outside itself. The 
gloominess of consciousness in the one case and its 
wild stammering utterance, must be taken up into the 
transparent existence of the latter ; and the clear but 
spiritless form of the latter, into the emotional inward- 
ness of the former. The perfect element in which the 
inwardness is as external as the externality is inward, is 
once again Language. But it is neither the language of 
the oracle, entirely contingent in its content and alto- 
gether individual in character ; nor is it the emotional 
hymn sung in praise of a merely individual god ; nor 
is it the meaningless stammer of delirious bacchantic 
revelry. It has attained to its clear and universal 
content and meaning. Its content is clear, for the 
artificer has passed out of the previous state of entirely 
insubstantial enthusiasm, and worked himself into a 
definite shape, which is his own proper existence, per- 
meated through all its movements by self-conscious 
soul, and is that of his contemporaries. Its content is 
universal, for in this festival, which is to the honour 
of man, there vanishes the onesidedness peculiar to 
figures represented in statues, which merely contain a 
national spirit, a determinate character of the godhead. 
The finely built warrior is indeed the honour and glory 
of his particular nation; but he is a physical or cor- 
poreal individuality in which are sunk out of sight the 
expanse and depth of meaning, the seriousness of sig- 
nificance, and the inner character of the spirit which 
underlies the particular mode of life, the cravings, 
the needs and the customs of his nation. In re- 

* As distinct from the worship of Apollo. 

The Living Work of Art 737 

linquishing all this for complete corporeal embodi- 
ment, spirit has laid aside the particular impressions, 
the special tones and chords of that nature which it, 
as the actual spirit of the nation, includes. Its nation, 
therefore, is no longer conscious in this spirit of its 
special particular character, but rather of having laid 
this aside, and of the universality of its human 



The national spirits, which find their being in the 
form of some particular animal, coalesce into one single 
spirit.* Thus it is that the separate artistically beau- 
tiful national spirits combine to form a Pantheon, 
the element and habitation of which is Language. 
Pure intuition of self in the sense of universal human 
nature takes, when the national or tribal spirit is 
actualised, this form : the national spirit combines with 
the others (which together with it constitute, through 
nature and natural conditions, one people), in a common 
undertaking, and for this task builds up a collective 
nation, and, with that, a collective heaven. This 
universality, to which spirit attains in its existence, 
is, nevertheless, merely this first universality, which, 
to begin with, starts from the individuality of ethical 
life, has not yet overcome its immediacy, has not yet 
built up a single state out of these separate national 
elements. The ethical life of an actual national spirit 
rests partly on the simple confiding trust of individuals 
in the whole of their nation, partly in the direct share 
which all, in spite of differences of position, take in the 
decisions and acts of its government. In the union, not 
in the first instance to secure a permanent order but 
merely for a common act, that freedom of participation 

* v. sup., A., b. 

The Spiritual Work of Art 739 

on the part of each and all is for the nonce set aside. 
This first community of life is, therefore, an assemblage 
of individualities rather than the dominion and control of 
abstract thought, which would rob the individuals of 
their self-conscious share in the will and act of the 

The assembly of national spirits constitutes a circle 
of forms and shapes, which now embraces the whole of 
nature, as well as the whole ethical world. They are too 
under the supreme command rather than the supreme 
dominion of one. By themselves, they are the universal 
substances embodying what the self-conscious essential 
reality inherently is and does. This, however, con- 
stitutes the moving force, and, in the first instance, 
at least the centre, with which those universal entities 
are concerned, and which, to begin with, seems to unite 
in a merely accidental way all that they variously 
accomplish. But it is the return of the divine Being to 
self-consciousness which already contains the reason 
that self -consciousness forms the centre for those divine 
forces, and conceals their essential unity in the first 
instance under the guise of a friendly external relation 
between both worlds. 

The same universality, which belongs to this content, 
has necessarily also that form of consciousness in which 
the content appears. It is no longer the concrete acts 
and deeds of the cult; it is an action which is not 
indeed raised as yet to the level of the notion, but 
only to that of ideas, the synthetic connection of self- 
conscious and external existence. The element in 
which these presented ideas exist, language, is the 
earliest language, the Epic as such, which contains 
the universal content, at any rate universal in the sense 


740 Phenomenology of Mind 

of completeness of the world presented, though not 
in the sense of universality of thought. The Minstrel 
is the individual and actual spirit from whom, 
as a subject of this world, it is produced, and by whom 
it is borne. His " pathos " is not the deafening powers 
of nature, but Mnemosyne, Kecollection, a gradually 
evolved inwardness, the memory of an essential 
mode of being once directly present. He is the organ 
and instrument whose content is passing away ; 
it is not his own self which is of any account, 
but his muse, his universal song. What, however, is 
present in fact, has the form of an inferential process, 
where the one extreme of universality, the world of 
gods, is connected with individuality, the minstrel, 
through the middle term of particularity. The middle 
term is the nation in its heroes, who are individual 
men like the minstrel, but only ideally presented, and 
thereby at the same time universal like the free extreme 
of universality, the gods. 

In this Epic, then, what is inherently established in 
the cult, the relation of the divine to the human, is 
set forth and displayed as a whole to consciousness. 
The content is an ''act"* of the essential Being con- 
scious of itself. Acting disturbs the peace of the sub- 
stance, and awakens the essential Being ; and by 
so doing its simple unity is divided into parts, 
and opened up into the manifold world of natural 
powers and ethical forces. The act is the violation 
of the peaceful earth; it is the trench which, vivified 
by the blood of the living, calls forth the spirits of the 
departed, who are thirsting for life, and who receive 
it in the action of self-consciousness.t There are two 

* A "drama. 75 t The Epic exorcises the dead past ; v. Odyssey, XI. 

The Spiritual Work of Art 741 

sides to the business the universal activity is concerned 
to accomplish : the side of the self in virtue of which 
it is brought about by a collection of actual nations 
with the prominent individualities at the head of them ; 
and the side of the universal in virtue of which it is 
brought about by their substantial forces. The re- 
lation of the two, however, took formerly the character 
of being the synthetic connection of universal and 
individual, i.e. of being the process of ideal presentation. 
On this specific character depends the judgment re- 
garding this world. 

The relation of the two is, by this means, a com- 
mingling of both, which illogically divides the unity of 
the action, and in a needless fashion throws the act 
from one side over to the other. The universal powers 
assume the form of individual beings, and thus have in 
them the principle from which action comes ; when 
they effect anything, therefore, this seems to pro- 
ceed as entirely from them and to be as free as in 
the case of men. Hence both gods and men have 
done one and the same thing. The seriousness with 
which those divine powers go to work is ridiculously 
unnecessary, since they are in point of fact the moving 
force of the individualities engaged in the acts; while 
the strain and toil of the latter again is an equally use- 
less effort, since the former direct and manage every- 
thing. Over-zealous mortal creatures, who are as 
nothing, are at the same time the mighty self that 
brings into subjection universal beings, violates the 
gods, and procures for them actual reality and an in- 
terest in acting. Just as, conversely, these powerless 
gods, these impotent universal beings, which procure 
their sustenance from the gifts of men and, through 

742 Phenomenology of Mind 

men, first get something to do, are the natural inner 
principle and the substance of all events, as also the 
ethical material, and the " pathos " of action. If their 
cosmic natures first get reality and a sphere of effectual 
operation through the free self of individuality, it is also 
the case that they are the universal, which withdraws 
from and avoids this connection, remains unrestricted 
and unconstrained in its own character, and, by the 
inexhaustible elasticity of its unity, extinguishes the 
atomic singleness of the individual acting and his 
various aspects, preserves itself in its purity, and dis- 
solves all that is individual in the current of its own 

Just as the gods fall into this contradictory relation 
with the antithetic nature having the form of self, in 
the same way their universality comes into conflict 
with their own specific character and the relation in 
which it stands to others. They are the eternal and 
resplendent individuals, who exist in their own calm, 
and are removed from the changes of time and the 
influence of alien forces. But they are at the same 
time determinate elements, particular gods, and thus 
stand in relation to others. But that relation to others, 
which, in virtue of the opposition it involves, is one of 
strife, is a comic self-forgetfulness of their eternal 
nature. The determinateness they possess is rooted 
in the divine subsistence, and, in its specific limitation, 
has the independence of the whole individuality ; owing 
to this, their characters at once lose the sharpness of 
their distinctive peculiarity, and in their ambiguity 
blend together. 

One purpose of their activity and their activity 
itself, being directed against an " other " and so against 

The Spiritual Work of Art 

an invincible divine force, are a contingent and futile 
piece of bravado, which passes away at once, and trans- 
forms the pretence of seriousness in the act into a 
harmless, self-confident piece of sport with no result 
and no issue. If, however, in the nature of their divinity, 
the negative element, the specific determinateness of 
that nature, appears merely as the arbitrariness of 
their activity, and as the contradiction between the 
purpose and result, and if that independent self-confi- 
dence outweighs and overbalances the element of deter- 
minateness, then, by that very fact, the pure force of 
negativity confronts and opposes their nature, and more- 
over with a power to which it must finally submit, and 
over which it can in no way prevail. They are the uni- 
versal, and the positive, as against the individual self of 
mortals, which cannot hold out against their power and 
might. But the universal self, for that reason, hovers 
over these mortal selves, and over this whole world of 
ideal presentation to which the entire content belongs ; 
and is for them the empty form of bare Necessity, not 
determined conceptually a mere event to which they 
stand related selfless and sorrowing, for these deter- 
minate natures do not find themselves in this purely 
formal necessity. 

This necessity, however, is the unity of the notion, 
a unity dominating and controlling the contradic- 
tory independent subsistence of the individual moments, 
a unity in which the inconsistency and fortuitousness 
of their action is coherently regulated, and the spor- 
tive character of their acts receives its serious value 
in those moments themselves. The content of the 
world of ideal presentation carries on its process in the 
midst unrestrained and detached by itself, gathering 

744 Phenomenology of Mind 

round the individuality of some hero, who, however, 
feels the strength and splendour of his life broken, 
and mourns the early death he sees ahead of him. For 
the actual individuality, firmly fixed in itself, is isolated 
and excluded to the utmost point, and severed into its 
elements, which have not yet found each other and 
united. The one individual element, the abstract unreal 
moment, is necessity which takes no share in the life 
of the mediating term just as little as does the other, 
the concrete real individual element, the minstrel, 
who keeps himself outside it, and disappears in what 
he ideally presents. Both extremes must get nearer 
the content ; the one, necessity, has to get filled with 
it, the other, the language of the minstrel, must have 
a share in it. And the content formerly left to itself 
must preserve in it the certainty and the fixed character 
of the negative. 

This higher language, that of Tragedy, gathers and 
keeps more closely together the dispersed and disin- 
tegrated moments of the inner essential world and the 
world of action. The substance of the divine falls 
apart, in accordance with the nature of the notion, into 
its shapes and forms, and their movement is likewise in 
conformity with that notion. In regard to form, the lan- 
guage here ceases to be narrative, in virtue of the fact 
that it enters into the content, just as the content 
ceases to be merely one that is ideally presented. The 
hero is himself the spokesman, and the representation 
given brings before the audience who are also spec- 
tators self-conscious human beings, who know their 
own rights and purposes, the power and the will be- 
longing to their specific nature, and who know how to 
state them. They are artists who do not express with 

The Spiritual Work of Art 745 

unconscious naivete and naturalness the merely ex- 
ternal aspect of what they begin and what they decide 
upon, as is the case in the language accompanying 
ordinary action in actual life ; they make the very 
inner being external, they prove the righteousness of 
their action, and the "pathos" controlling them is 
soberly asserted and definitely expressed in its universal 
individuality, free from all accident of circumstance 
and the particular peculiarities of personalities. Lastly, 
it is in actual human beings that these characters get 
existence, human beings who impersonate heroes, 
and represent them in actual speech, not in the form 
of a narrative, but speaking in their own person. Just 
as it is essential for a statue to be made by human 
hands, so is the actor essential to his mask not as an 
external condition, from which, artistically considered, 
we have to abstract ; or so far as abstraction must 
certainly be made, we thereby state just that art does 
not yet contain in it the true and proper self. 

The general ground, on which the movement of these 
shapes produced from the notion takes place, is the con- 
sciousness of the first form of language, where the 
content is ideally presented, and its detail spread 
out without reference to self. It is the commonalty 
in general, whose wisdom finds utterance in the Chorus 
of the Elders ; in the powerlessness of this chorus the 
generality finds its representative, because the common 
people itself compose merely the positive and passive 
material for the individuality of the government 
confronting it. Lacking the power to negate and 
oppose, it is unable to hold together and keep within 
bounds the riches and varied fullness of divine life ; 
it allows each individual moment to go off its own way, 

746 Phenomenology of Mind 

and in its hymns of honour and reverence praises each 
individual moment as an independent god, now this 
god and now again another. Where, however, it 
detects the seriousness of the notion, and perceives 
how the notion proceeds to deal with these forms, 
shattering them as it goes along; and where it comes 
to see how badly its praised and honoured gods come 
off when they venture on the ground where the notion 
holds sway; there it is not itself the negative power 
actively setting to work, but keeps itself within 
the abstract selfless thought of such power, confines 
itself to the consciousness of alien and external destiny, 
and produces the empty wish to tranquillize, and feeble 
ineffective talk intended to appease. In its terror 
before the higher powers, which are the immediate 
arms of the substance ; in its terror before their struggle 
with one another, and before the simple and uniform 
action of that necessity, which crushes them as 
well as the living beings bound up with them ; in its 
compassion for these living beings, whom it knows at 
once to be the same with itself it is conscious of 
nothing but ineffective horror of this whole process, 
conscious of equally helpless pity, and, in fine, the mere 
empty peace of surrender to necessity, whose work is 
apprehended neither as the necessary act of character, 
nor as the action of the absolute Being within itself. 

Spirit does not appear in its dissociated multiplicity 
on the plane of this spectacular consciousness, the in- 
different ground, as it were, of presentation; it comes 
on the scene in the simple diremption of the notion. Its 
substance manifests itself, therefore, merely torn asunder 
into its two extreme powers. These elementary universal 
beings are, at the same time, self-conscious individu- 

The Spiritual Work of Art 747 

alities heroes who put their conscious life into one 
of these powers, find therein determinateness of cha- 
racter, and procure their effective activity and reality. 
This universal individualisation descends again, as 
will be remembered, to the immediate reality of existence 
proper, and is presented before a crowd of spectators, 
who find in the chorus their image and counterpart, 
or rather their own thought giving itself expression. 

The content and movement of spirit, which is object 
to itself here, have been already considered as the nature 
and realisation of the substance of ethical life. In its 
form of religion spirit attains to consciousness about 
itself, or reveals itself to its consciousness in its purer 
form and its simpler mode of embodiment. If, then, the 
ethical substance by its very principle broke up, as re- 
gards its content, into two powers which were defined 
as divine and human law, law of the nether world and 
law of the upper world, the one the family, the other 
state sovereignty, the first bearing the impress and 
character of woman, the other that of man in the 
same way, the previously multiform circle of gods, 
with its wavering and unsteady characteristics, con- 
fines itself to these powers, which owing to this feature 
are brought closer to individuality proper. For the 
previous dispersion of the whole into manifold abstract 
forces, which appear hypostatised, is the dissolution 
of the subject which comprehends them merely as 
moments in its self ; and individuality is therefore only 
the superficial form of those entities. Conversely, 
a further distinction of characters than that just named 
is to be imputed to contingent and inherently external 

At the same time, the essential nature [in the case of 

748 Phenomenology of Mind 

ethical substance] gets divided in its form, i.e. with re- 
spect to knowledge. Spirit when acting, appears, qua 
consciousness, over against the object on which its 
activity is directed, and which, in consequence, is deter- 
mined as the negative of the knowing agent. The agent 
finds himself thereby in the opposition of knowing and not 
knowing. He takes his purpose from his own character, 
and knows it to be essential ethical fact ; but owing to 
the determinateness of his character, he knows merely 
the one power of substance ; the other remains for him 
concealed and out of sight. The objectively present 
reality, therefore, is one thing in itself, and another 
for consciousness. The higher and lower right come to 
signify in this connection the power that knows and 
reveals itself to consciousness, and the power concealing 
itself and lurking in the background. The one is the 
aspect of light, the god of the Oracle, who as regards 
its natural aspect [Light] has sprung from the all- 
illuminating Sun, knows all and reveals all, Phcebus 
and Zeus, who is his Father. But the commands of 
this truth-speaking god, and his proclamations of what 
is, are really deceptive and fallacious. For this know- 
ledge is, in its very principle, directly not knowledge, 
because consciousness in acting is inherently this 
opposition. He,* who had the power to unlock the 
riddle of the sphinx, and he too who trusted with 
childlike confidence,! are, therefore, both sent to 
destruction through what the god reveals to them. 
The priestess, through whose mouth the gracious god 
speaks, J is in nothing different from the equivocal 
sisters of fate, who drive their victim to crime by 

* Oedipus. t Orestes. 

J In the Delphic Oracle. The witches in " Macbeth." 

The Spiritual Work of Art 749 

their promises, and who, by the double-tongued, 
equivocal character of what they give out as a certainty, 
deceive the King when he relies upon the manifest 
and obvious meaning of what they say. There is a 
type of consciousness that is purer than the latter* which 
believes in witches, and more discriminating, more 
thorough and more solid than the former which puts its 
trust in the priestess and the gracious god. This 
type of consciousness,! therefore, lets his revenge tarry 
for the revelation * which the spirit of his father makes 
regarding the crime that did him to death, and institutes 
other proofs in addition for the reason that the spirit 
giving the revelation might possibly be the devil. 

This mistrust has good grounds, because the knowing 
consciousness takes its stand on the opposition between 
certainty of itself on the one hand, and the objective 
essential reality on the other. Ethical Tightness, 
which insists that actuality is nothing per se in opposi- 
tion to absolute law, finds out that its knowledge is 
onesided, its law merely a law of its own character, and 
that it has laid hold of merely one of the powers of 
the substance. The act itself is this inversion of what 
is subjectively known into its opposite, into objective 
existence, turns round what is right from the point of 
view of character and knowledge into the right of the 
very opposite with which the former is bound up in 
the essential nature of the substance turns it into the 
" Furies " who embody the right of the other power 
and character awakened into hostility. The lower 
right sits with Zeus enthroned, and enjoys equal respect 
and homage with the god revealed and known. 

To these three supernatural Beings the world of the 

* Macbeth, t Hamlet. 

750 Phenomenology of Mind 

gods of the chorus is limited and restricted by the act- 
ing individuality. The one is the substance, the power 
presiding over the hearth and home and the spirit 
worshipped by the family, as well as the universal 
power dominating state and government. Since this 
distinction belongs to the substance as such, it is, when 
ideally presented, not individualised as two distinct 
forms [of the substance], but has in actual reality 
the two persons of its characters. On the other hand, 
the distinction between knowing and not knowing 
f alls within each of the actual self -consciousnesses ; and 
only in abstraction, in the element of universality, does 
it get divided into two individual shapes. For the self 
of the hero only exists as a whole consciousness, and 
hence includes essentially the whole of the distinction be- 
longing to the form; but its substance is determinate, 
and only one side of the content distinguished belongs 
to him. Hence both sides of consciousness, which have 
in concrete reality no separate individuality peculiarly 
their own, receive, when ideally represented, each its 
own particular form : the one that of the god revealed, 
the other that of the Furies keeping themselves con- 
cealed. In part both enjoy equal honour, while again, 
the form assumed by the substance, Zeus, is the ne- 
cessity of the relation of the two to one another. The 
substance is the relation [1] that knowledge is for itself, 
but finds its truth in what is simple; [2] that the 
distinction, through and in which actual consciousness 
exists, has its basis in that inner being which destroys 
it; [3] that the clear conscious assurance of certainty 
has its confirmation in forgetfulness. 

Consciousness disclosed this opposition by action, 
through doing something. Acting in accordance with 

The Spiritual Work of Art 751 

the knowledge revealed, it finds out the deceptiveness 
of that knowledge, and being committed, in view of the 
inner meaning, to one of the attributes of substance, 
it did violence to the other and thereby gave the latter 
right as against itself. When following that god who 
knows and reveals himself, it really seized hold of what 
is not revealed, and repents of having trusted the 
knowledge, whose equivocal character (since this is its 
very nature) had to come also before it, and admoni- 
tion thereanent to be found. The frenzy of the priestess, 
the inhuman shape of the witches, the voices of trees 
and birds, dreams, and so on, are not ways in which 
truth appears; they are admonitory signs of decep- 
tion, of want of discernment, of the individual and 
accidental character of knowledge. Or, what comes to the 
same thing, the opposite power, which consciousness has 
violated, is present as express law and authentic right, 
whether law of the family or law of the state ; while 
consciousness, on the other hand, pursued its own proper 
knowledge, and hid from itself what was revealed. 
The truth, however, of the opposing powers of content 
and consciousness is the final result, that both are 
equally right, and, hence, in their opposition (which 
comes about through action) are equally wrong. The 
process of action proves their unity in the mutual over- 
throw of both powers and the self-conscious characters. 
The reconciliation of the opposition with itself is the 
Lethe of the netherworld in the form of Death or 
the Lethe of the upper world in the form of absolution, 
not from guilt (for consciousness cannot deny its guilt, 
because the act was done), but from the crime, and of the 
atoning consolation and peace of soul which absolution 
gives. Both are forgetfulness, the disappearance of the 

752 Phenomenology of Mind 

reality and action of the powers of the substance, its com- 
ponent individualities, and of the powers of the abstract 
thought of good and evil. For none of them by itself 
is the real essence ; this consists in the undisturbed 
calm of the whole within itself, the immovable unity of 
Fate, the quiescent existence and hence want of activity 
and vitality in the family and government, and the 
equal honour and consequent indifferent unreality 
of Apollo and the Furies, and the return of their spiritual 
life and activity into Zeus solely and simply. 

This destiny completes the depopulation of Heaven 
of that unthinking mixture of individuality and 
ultimate Being a blending whereby the action of 
this absolute Being appears as something incoherent, 
inconsistent, contingent, unworthy of itself ; for in- 
dividuality, when attaching in a merely superficial 
way to absolute Being, is unessential. The expulsion 
of such unreal insubstantial ideas, which was demanded 
by the philosophers of antiquity, thus already has its 
beginning in tragedy in general, through the fact that 
the division of the substance is controlled by the notion, 
and hence individuality is the essential individuality, 
and the specific determinations are absolute characters. 
The self-consciousness represented in tragedy knows 
and acknowledges on that account only one highest 
power, Zeus. This Zeus is known and acknowledged 
only as the power of the state or of the hearth and home, 
and, in the opposition falling inside knowledge, merely 
as the Father of the particular knowledge assum- 
ing a definite shape ; he is the Zeus acknowledged 
in the taking of oaths, the Zeus of the Furies, the Zeus 
of what is universal, of the inner being dwelling in 
concealment. The further moments taken from the 

The Spiritual Work of Art 753 

notion (Begriff) and dispersed in the form of ideal 
presentation (Vorstellung), moments which the chorus 
permits to hold good one after the other, are, on the 
other hand, not the " pathos " of the hero ; they sink to 
the level of passions in the hero to the level of acci- 
dental, insubstantial moments, which the impersonal 
chorus no doubt praises, but which are not capable of 
constituting the character of heroes, nor of being 
expressed and regarded by them as their real nature. 

But, further, the persons of the divine Being itself, 
as well as the characters of its substance, coalesce into 
the simplicity of what is devoid of consciousness. This 
necessity has, in contrast to self-consciousness, the char- 
acteristic of being the negative power of all the forms 
that appear, a power in which they do not recognise 
themselves, but perish therein. The self appears as 
merely allotted amongst the different characters, and 
not as the mediating factor of the process. But self-con- 
sciousness, the simple certainty of self, is in point of fact 
the negative power, the unity of Zeus, the unity of the 
substantial essence and abstract necessity ; it is the 
spiritual unity into which everything returns. Because 
actual self-consciousness is still distinguished from the 
substance and Fate, it is partly the chorus, or rather 
the crowd looking on, whom this movement of the 
divine life fills with fear as being something alien and 
strange, or in whom this movement, as something 
closely touching themselves, produces merely the emo- 
tion of passive pity. Partly again, so far as conscious- 
ness co-operates and belongs to the various characters, 
this alliance is of an external kind, is a hypocrisy 
because the true union, that of self, fate, and substance, 
is not yet present. The hero, who appears before the 


754 Phenomenology of Mind 

onlookers, breaks up into his mask and the actor, into 
the person of the play and the actual self. 

The self-consciousness of the heroes must step forth 
from its mask and be represented as knowing itself to 
be the fate both of the gods of the chorus and of the 
absolute powers themselves, and as being no longer 
separated from the chorus, the universal consciousness. 

Comedy has, then, first of all, the aspect that actual 
self-consciousness represents itself as the Fate of the 
gods. These elemental Beings are, qua universal 
moments, no definite self, and are not actual. They 
are, indeed, endowed with the form of individuality, 
but this is in their case merely put on, and does not 
really and truly suit them. The actual self has no 
such abstract moment as its substance and content. 
The subject, therefore, is raised above such a moment, 
as it would be above a particular property, and when 
clothed with this mask gives utterance to the irony 
of such a property trying to be something on its own 
account. The pretentious claims of the universal 
abstract nature are shown up and discovered in the 
actual self ; it is seen to be caught and held in a con- 
crete reality, and lets the mask drop, just when it wants 
to be something right. The self, appearing here in its 
significance as something actual, plays with the mask 
which it once puts on, in order to be its own person ; 
but it breaks away from this seeming and pretence 
just as quickly again, and comes out in its own naked- 
ness and usual character, which it shows not to be 
distinct from the proper self, the actor, nor again from 
the onlooker. 

This general dissolution, which the formally em- 
bodied essential nature as a whole undergoes when it 

The Spiritual Work of Art 755 

assumes individuality, becomes in its content more 
serious, and hence more petulant and bitter, in so far 
as the content possesses its more serious and necessary 
meaning. The divine substance combines the meaning 
of natural and ethical essentiality. 

As regards the natural element, actual self-conscious- 
ness shows, in the very fact of applying elements of 
nature for its adornment, for its abode and so on, and 
again in feasting on its own offering, that itself is the 
Fate to which the secret is disclosed, no matter what 
its position with regard to the independent substanti- 
ality of nature. In the mystery of the bread and 
wine it makes its very own this self-subsistence of 
nature together with the significance of inner reality ; 
and in Comedy it is conscious of the irony lurking in 
this meaning. 

So far, again, as this meaning contains the essence 
of ethical reality, it is partly the nation in its two 
aspects of the state, or Demos proper, and individual 
family life ; partly, however, it is self-conscious pure 
knowledge, or rational thought of the universal. Demos, 
the general mass, which knows itself as master and 
governor, and is also aware of being the insight 
and intelligence which demand respect, exerts com- 
pulsion and is befooled through the particularity of 
its actual life, and exhibits the ludicrous contrast 
between its own opinion of itself and its immediate 
existence, between its necessity and contingency, its 
universality and its vulgarity. If the principle of its 
individual existence, cut off from the universal, breaks 
out in the proper form of actual reality and openly 
usurps and administers the commonwealth, to which it 
is a secret harm and detriment, then immediately there 

756 Phenomenology of Mind 

is disclosed the contrast between the universal in the 
sense of an abstract theory, and that with which 
practice is concerned ; there stands exposed the entire 
emancipation of the ends and aims of the mere in- 
dividual from all universal order, and the scorn the 
mere individual shows for such order.* 

Kational thinking removes contingency of form and 
shape from the divine Being ; and, in opposition to 
the uncritical wisdom of the chorus a wisdom, 
giving utterance to all sorts of ethical maxims and 
stamping with validity and authority a multitude of 
laws and specific conceptions of duty and of right 
rational thought lifts these into the simple Ideas of 
the Beautiful and the Good. The process of this 
abstraction is the consciousness of the dialectic in- 
volved in these maxims and laws themselves, and hence 
the consciousness of the disappearance of that absolute 
validity with which they previously appeared. Since 
the contingent character and superficial individuality 
which mere presentation lent to the divine Beings, 
vanish, they are left, as regards their natural aspect, 
with merely the nakedness of their immediate existence ; 
they are Clouds, f a passing vapour, like those presenta- 
tions. Having passed in accordance with their essential 
character, as determined by thought, into the simple 
thoughts of the Beautiful and the Good, these latter 
submit to being filled with every kind of content. The 
force of dialectic knowledge J puts determinate laws 
and maxims of action at the mercy of the pleasure and 
levity of youth, led astray therewith, and gives weapons 

* cp. Cleon in Aristophanes, Knights. 
t cp. Aristophanes, Clouds. 
J The age of the Sophists. 

The Spiritual Work of Art 757 

of deception into the hands of solicitous and apprehen- 
sive old age, restricted in its interests to the individual 
details of life. The pure thoughts of the Beautiful 
and the Good thus display a comic spectacle : through 
their being set free from opinion, which contains both 
their determinateness in the sense of content and also 
their absolute determinateness, the firm hold of con- 
sciousness upon them, they become empty, and, on that 
very account, the sport of the private opinion and 
caprice of any chance individuality. 

Here, then, the Fate, formerly without conscious- 
ness, consisting in mere rest and forgetfulness, and 
separated from self-consciousness, is united with self- 
consciousness. The individual * self is the negative 
force through which and in which the gods, as also 
their moments, (nature as existent fact and the 
thoughts of their determinate characters), pass away 
and disappear. At the same time, the individual self 
is not the mere vacuity of disappearance, but preserves 
itself in this very nothingness, holds to itself and is 
the sole and only reality. The religion of art is ful- 
filled and consummated in it, and is come full circle. 
Through the fact that it is the individual conscious- 
ness in its certainty of self which is shown to be 
this absolute power, this latter has lost the form of 
something ideally presented (vorgestellt), separated from 
and alien to consciousness in general as were the 
statue and also the living embodiment of beauty or 
the content of the Epic and the powers and persons 
of Tragedy. Nor again is the unity the uncon- 
scious unity of the cult and the mysteries; rather 
the self proper of the actor coincides with the part 

* Iu comedy. 

"75& Phenomenology of Mind 

he impersonates, just as the onlooker is perfectly 
at home in what is represented before him, and sees 
himself playing in the drama before him. What this 
self-consciousness beholds is that that, which assumes 
the form of essentiality as against self-consciousness, is 
resolved and dissolved within its thought, its existence 
and action, and is quite at its mercy. It is the return 
of everything universal into certainty of self, a cer- 
tainty which, in consequence, is this complete loss of 
fear of everything strange and alien, and complete 
loss of substantial reality on the part of what is alien 
and external. Such certainty is a state of spiritual 
good health and of self-abandonment thereto, on the 
part of consciousness, in a way that, outside this kind 
of comedy, is not to be found anywhere.* 

* Cp. Hegel's Aesthetik, W W., X., 3, 560. 



Through the Religion of Art spirit has passed from 
the form of Substance into that of Subject ; for art 
brings out its shape and form, and imbues it with 
the nature of action or establishes in it the self- 
consciousness which merely disappears in the awe- 
some substance and in the attitude of simple trust 
does not itself comprehend itself. This incarnation in 
human form of the Divine Being begins with the 
statue, which has in it only the outward shape of 
the self, while the inner life thereof, its activity, falls 
outside it. In the case of the cult, however, both 
aspects have become one ; in the outcome of the re- 
ligion of art this unity in being completely attained 
has at the same time also passed over to the extreme 
of self ; in the type of spirit, which becomes perfectly 
certain of itself in the individual existence of con- 
sciousness, all essential content is swallowed up and 
submerged. The proposition, which gives this light- 
hearted action expression, runs thus : ' The Self is 
Absolute Being." The Being which was substance, and 
in which the self was the accidental element, has dropped 
to the level of a predicate ; and in this self -consciousness, 
over against which nothing appears in the form of objec- 
tive Being, spirit has lost its aspect of consciousness.! 

* Christianity. t Which implies such opposition. 


760 Phenomenology of Mind 

This statement, " The Self is Absolute Being/' 
belongs, as is evident on the face of it, to the non- 
religious, the concrete actual spirit ; and we have to 
recall what the form thereof is which gives expression 
to it. This form will contain at once the movement of 
that spirit and its conversion, which lowers the self 
to the note of a predicate and raises substance into 
subject. This we must understand to take place in 
such a way that the converse statement does not 
per se, or for us, make substance into subject, or, 
what is the same thing, does not reinstate substance 
again so that the consciousness of spirit is carried back 
to its commencement in natural religion ; but rather 
in such a way that this conversion is brought about 
for and through self-consciousness itself. Since this 
latter consciously gives itself up, it is preserved and 
maintained in thus relinquishing itself, and remains 
the subject of the substance; but as being likewise 
^/-relinquished, it has at the same time the con- 
sciousness of this substance. In other words, since 
by thus offering itself up, it produces substance as 
subject, this subject remains its own very self. If, 
then, taking the two propositions, in the first the 
subject merely disappears in substantiality, and in the 
second the substance is merely a predicate, and both 
sides are thus present in each with contrary inequality 
of value the result hereby effected is that the union 
and transfusion of both natures [subject and sub- 
stance] become apparent. In this union both, with 
equal value and worth, are at once essential and also 
merely moments. Hence it is that spirit is equally 
consciousness of itself as its objective substance, as 
well as simple self-contained self-consciousness. 

Revealed Religion 761 

The religion of art belongs to the spirit animating 
the ethical sphere,* the spirit which we formerly saw 
sink and disappear in the condition of right, i.e. in 
the proposition : " The self as such, the abstract person, 
is absolute Being." In ethical life the self is absorbed 
in the spirit of its nation, it is universality filled 
to the full. Simple abstract individuality, however, 
rises out of this content, and its lightheartedness clarifies 
and rarifies it till it becomes a " person " and attains 
the abstract universality of right. Here the substantial 
reality of the ethical spirit is lost, the abstract insub- 
stantial spirits of national individuals are gathered 
together into a pantheon; not into a pantheon repre- 
sented in idea (Vorstellung), whose impotent form lets 
each alone to do as it likes, but into the pantheon of 
abstract universality, of pure thought, which disem- 
bodies them, and bestows on the spiritless self, on the 
individual person, complete existence on its own ac- 

But this self, through its being empty, has let the 
content go; this consciousness is Being merely with- 
in itself. Its own very existence, the legal recognition 
of the person, is an unfulfilled empty abstraction. 
It thus really possesses merely the thought of itself; 
in other words, as it there exists and knows itself as 
object, it is something unreal. Consequently, it is 
merely stoic independence, the independence of thought ; 
and this finds, by passing through the process of 
scepticism, its ultimate truth in that form we called 
the " unhappy self -consciousness " the soul of despair. 

This knows how the case stands with the actual 
claims to validity which the abstract [legal] person puts 

* The Roman State. 

762 Phenomenology of Mind 

forward, as also with the validity of these claims in 
pure thought [in Stoicism]. It knows that a vindica- 
tion of such claims means really being altogether lost ; 
it is just this loss become conscious of itself, and is the 
surrender and relinquishment of its knowledge about 
itself. We see that this " unhappy consciousness " con- 
stitutes the counterpart and the complement of the per- 
fectly happy consciousness, that of comedy. All divine 
reality goes back into this latter type of consciousness ; 
it means, in other words, the complete relinquishment 
and emptying of substance. The former, on the con- 
trary, is conversely the tragic fate that befalls certainty 
of self which aims at being absolute, at being self- 
sufficient. It is consciousness of the loss of everything 
of significance in this certainty of itself, and of the loss 
even of this knowledge or certainty of self the loss of 
its substance as well as of self ; it is the bitter pain 
which finds expression in the cruel words, " God is 

In the condition of right or law, then, the ethical 
world has vanished, and its type of religion has 
passed away in the mood of Comedy. The " un- 
happy consciousness " the soul of despair, is just the 
knowledge of all this loss. It has lost both the worth 
and dignity it attached to its immediate personality 
[as a legal person] as well as that attaching to its per- 
sonality when reflected in the medium of thought [in 
the case of Stoicism]. Trust in the eternal laws of the 
Gods is silenced, just as the oracles are dumb, whose 
work it was to know what was right in particular 
cases. The statues set up are now corpses in stone 
whence the animating soul has flown, while the hymns 

* From a hymn of Luther. 

Revealed Religion 763 

of praise are words from which all belief has gone. 
The tables of the gods are bereft of spiritual food and 
drink, and from his games and festivals man no 
more receives the joyful sense of his unity with the 
divine Being. The works of the muse lack the force 
and energy of the spirit which derived the certainty and 
assurance of itself just from the crushing ruin of gods and 
men. They are themselves now just what they are for 
us beautiful fruit broken off the tree ; a kindly fate 
has passed on those works to us, as a maiden might offer 
such fruit off a tree. It is not their actual life as they 
exist, that is given us, not the tree that bore them, 
not the earth, and the elements, which constituted 
their substance, nor the climate that determined their 
constitutive character, nor the change of seasons which 
controlled the process of their growth. So too it is 
not their living world that Fate preserves and gives 
us with those works of ancient art, not the spring and 
summer of that ethical life in which they bloomed and 
ripened, but the veiled remembrance alone of all this 
reality. Our action, therefore, when we enjoy them 
is not that of worship, through which our conscious 
life might attain its complete truth and be satisfied to 
the full : our action is external ; it consists in wiping 
off some drop of rain or speck of dust from these fruits, 
and in place of the inner elements composing the 
reality of the ethical life, a reality that environed, 
created and inspired these works, we erect in prolix 
detail the scaffolding of the dead elements of their 
outward existence, language, historical circumstances, 
etc. All this we do, not in order to enter into their 
very life, but only to represent them ideally or pic- 
torially (vorstelleri) within ourselves. But just as the 

764 Phenomenology of Mind 

maiden who hands us the plucked fruits is more than 
the nature which presented them in the first instance 
the nature which provided all their detailed conditions 
and elements, tree, air, light and so on since in a higher 
way she gathers all this together into the light of her 
self-conscious eye, and her gesture in offering the 
gifts ; so too the spirit of the fate, which presents us 
with those works of art, is more than the ethical life 
realised in that nation. For it is the inwardising in 
us, in the form of conscious memory (Er-innerung), 
of the spirit which in them was manifested in an 
outward external way ; it is the spirit of the tragic 
fate which collects all those individual gods and at- 
tributes of the substance into the one Pantheon, into 
the spirit which is itself conscious of itself as spirit. 

All the conditions for its production are present, 
and this totality of its conditions constitutes the de- 
velopment of it, its notion, or the inherent produc- 
tion of it. The cycle of the creations of art embraces 
in its scope all forms in which the absolute sub- 
stance relinquishes itself. The absolute substance is 
in the form of individuality as a thing ; as an object 
existing for sense experience ; as mere language, or 
the process of that form whose existence does not 
get away from the self, and is a purely evanescent 
object ; as immediate unity with universal self-con- 
sciousness when inspired with enthusiasm ; as mediated 
unity when performing the acts of the cult ; as 
corporeal embodiment of the self in a form of 
beauty ; and finally as existence lifted into ideal 
representation (Vorstellung) and the expansion of this 
existence into a world which at length gathers its 
content together into universality, a universal which 

Revealed Religion 765 

is at the same time pure certainty and assurance 
of itself. These forms, and, on the other side, the 
world of personality and legal right, the wild and 
desert waste of content with its constituent elements 
set free and detached, as also the thought-constituted 
personality of Stoicism, and the unresting disquiet of 
Scepticism these compose the periphery of the circle 
of shapes and forms, which attend, an expectant and 
eager throng, round the birthplace of spirit as it 
becomes self-consciousness. Their centre is the yearn- 
ing agony of the unhappy despairing self-consciousness, 
a pain which permeates all of them, and is the com- 
mon birthpang at its production, the simplicity of 
the pure notion, which contains those forms as its 

Spirit, here, has in it two sides, which are above re- 
presented as the two converse statements : one is this, 
that substance empties itself of itself, and becomes self- 
consciousness ; the other is the converse, that self- 
consciousness empties itself of itself and makes itself 
into the form of " thing," or makes itself universal 
self. Both sides have in this way met each other, 
and, in consequence, their true union has arisen. The 
relinquishment or " kenosis " on the part of the 
substance, its becoming self-consciousness, expresses 
the transition into the opposite, the unconscious 
transition of necessity, in other words, that it is 
implicitly self-consciousness. Conversely, the emptying 
of self-consciousness expresses this, that implicitly it 
is Universal Being, or because the self is pure self- 
existence, which is at home with itself in its opposite 
that the substance is self-consciousness explicitly for 
the self, and, just on that account, is spirit. Of this spirit, 

766 Phenomenology of Mind 

which has left the form of substance behind, and enters 
existence in the shape of self-consciousness, we may 
say, therefore if we wish to use terms drawn from 
the process of natural generation that it has a real 
mother but a potential or an implicit father. For 
actual reality, or self-consciousness, and implicit being 
in the sense of substance, are its two moments ; and 
by the reciprocity of their kenosis, each relinquishing 
or " emptying " itself of itself and becoming the other, 
spirit thus comes into existence as their unity. 

In so far as self-consciousness in a one-sided way 
grasps only its own relinquishment, although its object 
is thus for it at once both existence and self and it 
knows all existence to be spiritual in nature, yet true 
spirit has not become thereby objective for it. For, 
so far, being in general or substance, would not 
necessarily from its side be also emptied of itself, and 
become self-consciousness. In that case, then, all exist- 
ence is spiritual reality merely from the standpoint of 
consciousness, not inherently in itself. Spirit in this 
way has merely a fictitious or imaginary existence.* 
This fanciful imagination is fantastic extravagance 
of mind, which introduces into nature as well as 
history, the world and the mythical ideas of early 
religions, another inner esoteric meaning different 
from what they, on the face of them, bear directly to 
consciousness, and, in particular, in the case of reli- 
gions, another meaning than the self-consciousness, 
whose religions they were, could find and admit to 
be there. But this meaning is one that is borrowed, 
a garment, which does not cover the nakedness of the 
outer appearance, and secures no belief and respect ; 

* As in neo-Platonism. 

Revealed Religion 767 

it is no more than murky darkness and a peculiar 
crazy twist of consciousness. 

If then this meaning of the objective is not to be bare 
fancy and imagination, it must be inherent and essential 
(an sich), i.e. must at once arise in consciousness as 
springing from the very notion, and must come forward 
in its necessity. It is thus that self-knowing spirit has 
arisen ; it has arisen by means of its necessary process 
through the knowledge of immediate consciousness, 
i.e. of consciousness of the immediately existing ob- 
ject. This notion, which, being immediate, had also, 
for consciousness, the form of immediacy, has, in 
the second place, taken on the form of self-conscious- 
ness essentially and inherently, i.e. by just the same 
necessity of the notion by which being or immediacy, the 
abstract object of sense-consciousness, renounces itself 
and becomes, for consciousness, Ego. The immediate 
entity (Ansich), or objectively existent necessity, is, how- 
ever, different from the subjective thinking entity, 
or the knowledge of necessity a distinction which, 
at the same time, does not he outside the notion, for the 
simple unity of the notion is itself immediate being. 
The notion is at once what empties or relinquishes itself, 
or the explicit unfolding of directly apprehended (ange- 
schaut) necessity, and is also at home with itself in that 
necessity, knows it and comprehends it. The immediate 
inherent nature of spirit, which takes on the form of 
self-consciousness, means nothing else than that the 
concrete actual world-spirit has reached this knowledge 
of itself. It is then too that this knowledge first enters 
its consciousness, and enters it as truth. How that 
came about has already been explained. 

That Absolute Spirit has taken on the form of self- 

768 Phenomenology of Mind 

consciousness inherently and necessarily, and has done 
so too as a conscious fact this position appears now 
as the belief of the world, the belief that spirit exists 
in fact as a definite self-consciousness, i.e. as an actual 
human being, that spirit is an object for immediate 
experience, that the believing mind sees, feels, and hears 
this divinity.* Taken thus it is not an imagination, 
not a fancy ; it is actual in the believer. Consciousness 
in that case does not set out from its own inner life, 
does not start from thought, and enclose the thought of 
God along with existence; rather it sets out from im- 
mediate present existence, and finds God there. 

The moment of immediate existence is present as an 
element in the notion, and present in such a way that 
the religious spirit, on the return of all ultimate reality 
into consciousness, has become simple positive self, just 
as the actual spirit as such, in the case of the " unhappy 
consciousness, " was just this simple self-conscious nega- 
tivity. The self of the definitely existent spirit has in 
that way the form of complete immediacy. It is neither 
set up as something thought, or imaginatively repre- 
sented, nor as something produced, as is the case with 
the immediate self both in natural religion, and in 
religion as art. Rather, this concrete God is beheld 
sensuously and immediately as a self, as a real indi- 
vidual human being ; only so is it a self-consciousness. 

This incarnation of the Divine Being, its having 
essentially and directly the form of self-consciousness, 
is the simple content of Absolute Religion. Here the 
Divine Being is known as spirit ; this religion is the 
Divine Being's consciousness concerning itself that 
it is Spirit. For spirit is knowledge of itself in 

* e.g. in Christianity. 

Revealed Religion 769 

its state of self-relinquishment, the absolute Reality, 
which is the process of retaining its harmony and 
identity with itself in its otherness. This, however, 
is Substance, so far as in its accidents substance at the 
same time turns back into itself ; and does so, not as 
being indifferent towards something unessential and, con- 
sequently, finding itself in some alien element, but as 
being there within itself, i.e. so far as it is subject or 

In this form of religion the Divine Being is, on that 
account, revealed. Its being revealed obviously consists 
in this, that what it is, is consciously known. It is, 
however, known just in its being known as spirit, as a 
Being which is essentially self-consciousness. 

There is something in the object always concealed 
from consciousness when the object is for consciousness 
an " other," something alien and extraneous, and when 
consciousness does not know the object as its self. This 
concealment, this secrecy, ceases when the Absolute 
Being qua spirit is object of consciousness. For here in 
its relation to consciousness the object is in the form of 
self ; i.e. consciousness at once and immediately knows 
itself there, or is manifest, revealed, to itself in the 
object. Itself is manifest to itself merely in its own 
certainty of self; the object it has is the self; self, how- 
ever, is nothing alien and extraneous, but inseparable 
unity with itself, the immediate universal. It is the pure 
notion, pure thought, or self-existence, being-for-self, 
which is immediately being, and, therewith, being-for- 
another, and, qua this being-for-another, is immedi- 
ately turned back into itself and is at home with itself 
(bei sick). It is thus the truly and solely revealed. 
The Good, the Righteous, the Holy, Creator of Heaven 

VOL. II. 2 A 

770 Phenomenology of Mind 

and Earth, etc. all these are predicates of a subject, 
universal moments, which have their hold on this 
central point, and only are when consciousness goes 
back into thought. 

As long as it is they that are known, their ground and 
essential being, the Subject itself is not yet revealed ; 
and in the same way the specific determinations of the 
universal are not this universal itself. The Subject itself, 
and consequently this pure universal too, is, however, 
revealed as self ; for this self is just this inner being 
reflected into itself, the inner being which is immediately 
given and is the proper certainty of that [other] self, for 
which it is object. To be in its notion that which reveals 
and is revealed this is, then, the true form of spirit ; and 
moreover, this form, its notion, is alone its very essence 
and its substance. Spirit is known as self-consciousness, 
and to this self-consciousness it is directly revealed, for 
it is this self-consciousness itself. The divine nature 
is the same as the human, and it is this unity which is 
intuitively apprehended (angeschaut). 

Here, then, we find as a fact consciousness, or the 
general form in which Being is aware of Being the 
shape which Being adopts to be identical with its self- 
consciousness. This shape is itself a self-consciousness ; 
it is thus at the same time an existent object ; and this 
existence possesses equally directly the significance of 
pure thought, of Absolute Being. 

The absolute Being existing as a concrete actual self- 
consciousness, seems to have descended from its eternal 
pure simplicity ; but in fact it has, in so doing, attained 
for the first time its highest nature, its supreme reach of 
being. For when the notion of Being has reached its 
simple purity of nature, it is then both the absolute 

Revealed Religion 771 

abstraction, which is pure thought and hence the pure 
singleness of self, and immediacy or objective being, on 
account of its pure simplicity. 

What is called sense-consciousness is also just this pure 
abstraction ; it is this kind of thought for which being is 
the immediate. The lowest is thus at the same time the 
highest ; the revelation which has appeared entirely on 
the surface is just therein the deepest that can be 
made. That the Supreme Being is seen, heard, etc., as 
an existent self-consciousness, this is, in very truth, 
the culmination and consummation of its notion. And 
through this consummation, the Divine Being is given 
to sense, exists immediately, in its character as Divine 

This immediate existence is at the same time not 
solely and simply immediate consciousness ; it is re- 
ligious consciousness. This immediacy means not only 
an existent self-consciousness, but also the purely 
thought-constituted or Absolute Being; and these 
meanings are inseparable. What we [the philosophers] 
are conscious of in our conception, that objective 
being is ultimate essence, is the same as what the 
religious consciousness is aware of. This unity of being 
and essence, of thought which is immediately exist- 
ence, is immediate knowledge on the part of this re- 
ligious consciousness just as it is the inner thought or 
the mediated reflective knowledge of this consciousness. 
For this unity of being and thought is self-consciousness 
and actually exists; in other words, the thought-con- 
stituted unity has at the same time this concrete shape 
and form of what it is. God, then, is here revealed, as 
He is ; He actually exists as He is in Himself ; He is real 
as Spirit. God is attainable in pure speculative know- 

772 Phenomenology of Mind 

ledge alone, and only is in that knowledge, and is merely 
that knowledge itself, for He is spirit ; and this specula- 
tive knowledge is the knowledge furnished by revealed 

<j <j / 

religion. That knowledge knows God to be thought, 
or pure Essence ; and knows this thought as actual 
being and as real existence, and existence as the nega- 
tivity, the reflexion, of itself, hence as Self, a particular 
" this/' and a universal self. It is just this that revealed 
religion knows. 

The hopes and expectations of preceding ages pressed 
forward to, and were solely directed towards this revela- 
tion, the vision of what Absolute Being is, and the dis- 
covery of themselves therein. This joy, the joy of seeing 
itself in Absolute Benig, becomes realised in self-con- 
sciousness, and seizes the whole world. For the Absolute 
is Spirit, it is the simple movement of those pure 
abstract moments, which expresses just this that 
Ultimate Keality is then eo ipso known as Spirit when it 
is seen and beheld as immediate self-consciousness. 

This conception of spirit knowing itself to be spirit, 
is still the immediate notion ; it is not yet developed. 
The ultimate Being is spirit ; in other words, it has 
appeared, it is revealed. This first revelation is itself 
immediate ; but the immediacy is likewise thought, 
or pure mediation, and must therefore exhibit and set 
forth this moment in the sphere of immediacy as such. 

Looking at this more precisely, spirit, when self- 
consciousness is immediate, is a particular "this"; it is 
an individual self-consciousness set up in contrast to the 
universal self-consciousness. It is a one, a repelling and 
excluding unit, which appears to that consciousness, for 
which it exists, in the impervious form of a sensuous 
other, an unreduced opposite in the sphere of sense. 

Revealed Religion 773 

This other does not yet know spirit to be its own; in 
other words, spirit, in its form as an individual self, 
does not yet exist as equally universal self, as all self. 
Or again, the shape it assumes has not as yet the form 
of the notion, i.e. of the universal self, of the self which 
in its immediate actual reality is at once transcended, 
is thought, universality, without losing its reality in 
this universality. 

The preliminary and similarly immediate form of this 
universality is, however, not at once the form of thought 
itself, of the notion as notion ; it is the universality of 
actual reality, it is the " ajlness," the collective totality, 
of the selves, and is the elevation of existence into the 
sphere of presentative or figurative thought (Vorstel- 
lung) ; just as in general, to take a concrete example, 
the " this " of sense, when transcended, is first of all 
the "thing" of ''perception/' and is not yet the 
"universal" of "understanding." 

This individual human being, then, which Absolute 
Being is revealed to be, goes through in its own case as 
an individual the process found in sense existence. He 
is the immediately present God ; in consequence His 
being passes over into His having been. Consciousness, 
for which God is thus sensuously present, ceases to see 
Him, to hear Him : it has seen Him, it has heard Him. 
And it is by the mere fact that it has seen and heard 
Him, that it first becomes itself spiritual consciousness* ; 
or, in other words, He has now arisen in the life of 
Spirit, as He formerly rose before consciousness as an 
object existing in the sphere of sense. For, a conscious- 
ness which sees and hears Him by sense, is one which is 

* cp. " He that has seen me has seen the Father " (John xiv.). " If I 
go not away the Comforter will not come unto you " (ibid. xvi.). 

774 Phenomenology of Mind 

itself merely an immediate consciousness, which has not 
cancelled and transcended the disparateness of objec- 
tivity, has not withdrawn it into pure thought, but 
accepts this objectively presented individual, and not 
itself, as spirit. In the disappearance of the immediate 
existence of what is known to be Absolute Being, im- 
mediacy preserves its negative moment. Spirit remains 
the immediate self of actual reality, but in the form 
of the universal self-consciousness of a religious com- 
munion,* a self -consciousness which rests in its own 
proper substance, just as in it this substance is uni- 
versal subject : it is not the individual subject by 
himself, but the individual along with the consciousness 
of the communion, and what he is for this communion 
is the complete whole of the individual spirit. 

The terms " past " and " distance " are, however, 
merely the imperfect form in which the immediateness 
gets mediated or made universal ; this is merely dipped 
superficially in the element of thought, is kept there 
as a sensuous mode of immediacy, and not made one 
with the nature of thought itself. It is lifted out of 
sense merely into the region of ideation, of pictorial 
presentation ; for this is the synthetic [external] con- 
nexion of sensuous immediacy and its universality or 

Imaginative presentation constitutes the characteristic 
form in which spirit is conscious of itself in this religious 
communion. This form is not yet the self -consciousness 
of spirit which has reached its notion as notion ; the 
mediating process is still incomplete. In this connexion 
of being and thought, then, there is a defect ; spiritual 

* " Lo, I am with you alway even to the end of the world " (Matt, 
xxviii. ; also xviii. 20). 

Revealed Religion 775 

life is still cumbered with an unreconciled diremption into 
a " hither " and a " yonder/' a " here " and a " beyond." 
The content is the true content ; but all its moments, 
when placed in the element of mere presentation, have 
the character, not of being conceptually comprehended, 
but of appearing as completely independent aspects, 
externally related to one another. 

*In order that the true content may also preserve its 
true form when before consciousness, the latter must 
necessarily pass to a higher plane of mental develop- 
ment, where the Absolute Substance is not intuitively 
apprehended but conceptually comprehended and where 
consciousness is for itself brought to the level of its 
self-consciousness ; in the way this has already taken 
place objectively or for us [who have analysed the pro- 
cess of experience]. 

We have to consider this content as it exists in its 
consciousness. Absolute Spirit is content ; that is how 
it exists in the form of its truth. But its truth consists 
not merely in being the substance or the inherent 
reality of the religious communion ; nor again in coming 
out of this inwardness into the objectivity of per- 
ceptual and presentational thought; but in becoming 
concrete actual self, reflecting itself into self, and 
being Subject. This, then, is the process which Spirit 
realises in its communion ; this is its life. What this 
self-revealing spirit is in and by itself, is therefore not 
brought out by the rich and full content of its lif e being, 
so to say, untwined and reduced to its original and 
primitive strands, to the ideas, for instance, presented 
before the minds of the first imperfect religious com- 
munion, or even to what the actual human being 

* This paragraph is explanatory. 

776 Phenomenology of Mind 

[incarnating the Divine Spirit] * has spoken. This 
reversion to the primitive and elementary is based on 
the instinct to get at the notion and ultimate principle ; 
but it confuses the origin, in the sense of the immediate 
existence of the first historical appearance, with the 
pure simplicity of the notion. By thus impoverishing 
the life of spirit, by clearing away the idea of the 
communion and its action with regard to its idea, 
there arises, therefore, not the notion, but bare exter- 
nality and particularity, merely the historical manner 
in which spirit once upon a time appeared, the soulless 
recollection of an ideally presented historical figure and 
its past.f 

Spirit is content of its consciousness to begin with in 
the form of pure substance ; in other words, it is content 
of its pure consciousness. This element of thought is 
the process of descending into existence, the sphere of 
particularity. The middle term between these two is 
their synthetic connexion, the consciousness of passing 
into otherness, the process of ideal presentation as such. 
The third stage is the return from representation in idea 
and from that otherness ; in other words, it is the ele- 
ment of self-consciousness itself. 

These three movements constitute the life of spirit. 
Its resolution into separate parts, when it enters the 
form of presentation, consists in its taking on a deter- 
minate mode of being ; this determinateness, however, 
is nothing but one of its moments. Its detailed process 
thus consists in spreading its nature over its various 
moments, entering every one, each being an element in 
its composition : and since each of these spheres is 

* e.g. Christ. 

t The life aud work of the historical Jesus. 

Revealed Religion 777 

self-complete, this reflexion into itself is at the same 
time the transition into another sphere of its being. 
Ideal presentation constitutes the middle term between 
pure thought and self-consciousness as such, and is 
merely one of the determinate forms. At the same tune 
however, as has been shown, the character belonging 
to such presentation that of being " synthetic con- 
nexion " is spread over all these elements and is their 
common characteristic. 

The content itself, which we have to consider, has 
partly been met with already, as the idea or presenta- 
tion of the " unhappy " and the " believing " types of 
consciousness. In the case of the " unhappy " despairing 
consciousness, however, the peculiarity lies in the con- 
tent being produced from consciousness and longingly 
desired, wherein the spirit can never be satiated nor 
find rest because the content is not yet its own content 
inherently and essentially, or in the sense of being its 
substance. In the case of the "believing" conscious- 
ness, again, this content has been regarded as the im- 
personal Being of the World, as the essentially objective 
content of presentative thought a pictorial thinking 
that seeks to escape the actual world altogether, and 
consequently has not the certainty of self-consciousness, 
a certainty which is cut off from it, partly as being 
conceit of knowledge, partly as being pure insight. 
The consciousness of the religious communion, on the 
other hand, possesses the content as its substance, just 
as the content is the certainty the communion has of 
its own spiritual life. 

Spirit, represented at first as substance in the ele- 
ment of pure thought, is, thus, primarily the eternal 
Being, simple, self-identical, which does not, however, 

778 Phenomenology of Mind 

have this abstract meaning of Being, but the meaning of 
Absolute Spirit. Yet spirit consists, not in being a mean- 
ing, not in being the inner, but in being the actual, the 
real. " Simple eternal Being " would, therefore, be spirit 
merely in empty phrase, if it stopped at ideational pic- 
torial thought, and went no further than the expression 
of " simple eternal Being/' " Simple Being," however, 
because it is abstraction, is in point of fact the inherently 
negative, is indeed the negativity of reflective thought, 
or negativity as found in Being per se ; i.e. it is absolute 
distinction from itself, its pure process of becoming 
its other. Qua essential Being, it is merely in itself, 
purely implicit, or for us : but since this purity of form 
is just abstraction or negativity, it is for itself, it is the 
self, the notion. It is thus objective; and since pre- 
sentational thinking apprehends and expresses as an 
event what has just been expressed as the necessity of 
the notion, it will be said that the eternal Being pro- 
duces for itself an other. But in this otherness it has 
likewise, ipso facto, returned into itself again; for the 
distinction is distinction in itself, i.e. the distinction is 
directly distinguished merely from itself, and is thus the 
unity returned into itself. 

There are thus three moments to be distinguished : 
immanent absolute Being ; explicit Self-existence, which 
is the antithesis, the express otherness, of Being, and 
for which that Being is object ; and Self -existence 
or Self-knowledge in that other, in that antithetic 
expression. The absolute Being beholds only itself 
in its Self -existence, in its objective otherness. In 
thus emptying itself, in this kenosis, it is merely 
within itself : the independent Self-existence which 
excludes itself from absolute Being is the knowledge of 

Revealed Religion 779 

itself on the part of absolute Being. It is the " Word/' 
the Logos, which when spoken empties the speaker of 
himself, outwardises him, and leaves him behind emptied, 
but is at the same time immediately heard and under- 
stood, and only this act of hearing or perceiving himself 
is the actual existence of the " Word." Hence, then, the 
distinctions which are set up are immediately resolved 
just as they are made, and are directly made just as they 
are resolved, and the truth and the reality consist 
precisely in this self-closed circular process. 

This movement within itself is what the absolute Being 
qua Spirit expresses. Absolute Being, when not grasped 
as Spirit, is merely an empty abstraction, just as 
spirit which is not grasped as a process in this way is 
merely an empty word. Since its moments are taken 
purely as moments, they are notions in restless activity, 
which are merely in being inherently their own opposite, 
and in finding their rest in the whole. But the pre- 
sentative pictorial thought of the religious communion 
is not this conceptual thinking ; it has the content 
without its necessity ; and instead of the form of the 
notion it brings into the realm of pure consciousness the 
natural relations of Father and Son. Since it thus, even 
when thinking, proceeds by way of figurative ideas, abso- 
lute Being is indeed revealed to it, but the moments of 
this Being, owing to this [externally] synthetic presenta- 
tional thinking, fall of themselves apart from one another, 
so that they are not related to each other through their 
own very notion, while, again, this figurative thinking 
retreats from the pure object it deals with, and takes up 
a merely external relation towards it. The object is 
externally revealed to it from an alien source, and in 
this thought of Spirit it does not find its own self, does 

780 Phenomenology of Mind 

not recognise the nature of pure self-consciousness. In 
so far as the form of presentative thinking and that way 
of thinking by means of relationships derived from nature 
have to be transcended, and especially the method of 
taking the moments of the process, in which the life of 
Spirit consists, as isolated fixed immovable substances 
or subjects, instead of transient moments this trans- 
cendence is to be looked at as a compulsion on the part 
of the notion, in the way we formerly pointed out when 
dealing with another aspect.* But since it is only an 
instinct, it mistakes its own real character, rejects the 
content along with the form, and, what comes to the 
same thing, degrades the content into a historical 
imaginative idea and an heirloom handed down by 
tradition. In this way there is retained and preserved 
only what is purely external to the sphere of belief , and 
hence a lif eless entity devoid of knowledge ; while the 
inner element in belief has passed away, because this 
would be the notion knowing itself as notion. 

The Absolute Spirit, ideally presented in pure ultimate 
Being, is indeed not the abstract pure Being ; rather, 
just by the fact that this is merely a moment in 
the life of Spirit, it is lowered to the level of con- 
stituent element. The representation of Spirit in this 
element, however, has inherently the same defect, as 
regards form, which ultimate Being as such has. Ulti- 
mate Being is abstraction, and, therefore, the negative 
of its simplicity, is an other : in the same way, 
Spirit in the element of ultimate Being is the form of 
simple unity, which, on that account, is essentially and 
at the same time a process of turning to otherness. 
Or, what is the same thing, the relation of the eternal 

* v. p. 775. 

Revealed Religion 781 

Being to its self -existence, its objective existence for 
Itself, is that of pure thought, a directly simple relation. 
In this simple beholding of itself in the Other, otherness 
is not as such set up independently ; it is distinction 
in the way distinction, in pure thought, is immediately 
no distinction a recognition of Love, where lover and 
beloved are not in their very being opposed to each other 
at all. Spirit, which is expressed in the element of pure 
thought, is essentially just this : not to be merely in 
that element, but to be concrete, actual ; for otherness, i.e. 
cancelling and superseding pure conception, thought- 
constituted conception, lies in the very notion of Spirit. 

The element of pure thought, because it is an abstract 
element, is itself rather the other of its own simplicity, 
and hence passes over into ideal presentation proper 
the element where the moments of the pure notion 
at once preserve a substantial existence in opposition 
to each other and are subjects as well, which do not 
exist for a third thing in indifference towards each other, 
but being reflected into themselves, break away from 
one another, and stand confronting each other. 

Merely eternal, or abstract Spirit, then, becomes 
an other to itself : it enters existence, and, in the first 
instance, enters immediate existence. It creates a World. 
This " Creation " is the word which pictorial presen- 
tative thought uses to convey the absolute movement 
which the notion itself goes through ; or to express 
the fact that the absolutely simple or pure thought, 
because it is abstract thought, is really the negative, and 
hence opposed to itself, the other of itself ; or because, 
to state the same in another way, what is put forward 
as ultimate Being is simple immediacy, bare objective 
existence, but qua immediacy or existence, is without 

782 Phenomenology of Mind 

Self, and, lacking thus inwardness, is passive, or has 
a relative existence, exists for another. This relative 
existence is at the same time a world. Spirit, in the 
character of existing for another, is the undisturbed 
separate subsistence of those moments formerly enclosed 
within pure thought, is, therefore, the dissolution of 
their simple universality, and their dispersion into their 
own particularity. 

The world, however, is not merely Spirit thus thrown 
out and scattered in all its plenitude with an external 
order imposed on it ; for since Spirit is essentially simple 
Self, this self is likewise present therein. It is objectively 
existent spirit which is individual self, that has con- 
sciousness and distinguishes itself as other, as world, 
from itself. In the way this individual self is thus 
immediately established at first, it is not yet conscious 
of being Spirit ; it thus does not exist as Spirit ; it may 
be called " innocent," but not strictly " good." In 
order that in fact it may be self and Spirit, it has 
first to become objectively an other to itself, in the 
same way that the Eternal being manifests itself as the 
process of being self-identical in its otherness. Since 
this spirit is determined as only immediately existing, 
or dispersed in the diverse multiplicity of its conscious 
life, its becoming " other " means that knowledge is 
centred on itself, concentrates itself upon its subjective 
content. Immediate existence turns into thought, or 
merely sense-consciousness turns round into conscious- 
ness of thought; and, moreover, because that thought 
has coie from immediacy or is conditioned thought, it is 
not pure knowledge, but thought which contains other- 
ness, and is, thus, the self-opposed thought of good 
and evil. Man is pictorially represented by the religious 

Revealed Religion 783 

mind in this way : it happened once as an event, with 
no necessity about it, that he lost the form of harmonious 
unity with himself by plucking the fruits of the tree of 
the knowledge of good and evil, and was driven from the 
state of conscious innocence, from Paradise, from the 
garden with all its creatures, and from nature offering 
its bounties without man's toil. 

Since this self-centredness on the part of the existent 
consciousness directly gives rise to disharmony with 
itself, Evil appears as the first actual expression of the 
self-centred consciousness. And because the thoughts of 
good and evil are utterly opposed, and this opposition is 
not yet broken down, this consciousness is essentially and 
merely evil. At the same time, however, owing to just 
this very opposition, there is present also the good con- 
sciousness opposing the one that is evil, and again their 
relation to each other. In so far as immediate existence 
turns round into thought, and self-absorption, self- 
centredness, is just thought, while again the transi- 
tion to otherness on the part of Being is thereby 
more precisely determined, the fact of becoming evil 
can be removed further backwards away out of the 
actually existing world and transferred to the very 
earliest realm of thought. It mav thus be said that it 


was the very first-born Son of Light [Lucifer] who, by 
becoming self-centred, fell, but that in his place another 
was at once created. Such a form of expression as 
" fallen," belonging merely to figurative thought, and 
not to the notion, just like the term " Son," once more 
transmutes and lowers the moments of the notion to 
the level of imaginative thought, or, in other words, 
drags pictures and presentations into the realm of 

784 Phenomenology of Mind 

In the same way, it is matter of indifference to co- 
ordinate a multiplicity of other angelic shapes and forms 
with the simple thought of otherness in the Being of the 
Eternal, and transfer to them that condition of self- 
centredness. This co-ordination must, all the same, 
win approval, for the reason that, through it, this 
moment of otherness does express diversity, as it 
should do : not indeed as plurality in general, but as 
determinate diversity, so that one part is the Son, 
that which is simple and knows itself to be ultimate 
Being, while the other part involves the abandonment, 
the emptying, of self -existence, and merely lives to praise 
that Being. To this part may then also be assigned the 
resumption once again of the self-existence relinquished, 
and that " self-centredness " characteristic of evil. In 
so far as this condition of otherness falls into two parts, 
Spirit might, as regards its moments, be more exactly 
expressed numerically as a Quaternity, a four in one, or 
(because the multiplicity breaks up itself again into two 
parts, viz. one part which has remained good, the 
other which has become evil), might be expressed as 
a Quinity. 

Counting the moments, however, can be regarded as 
altogether useless, since, for one thing, what is dis- 
tinguished is itself just as truly one and single viz. 
the thought of distinction which is only one thought 
as the thought is this element distinguished, the second 
over against the first. For another thing it is use- 
less to count, because the thought which grasps the 
many in one has to be dissolved out of its universality 
and must be distinguished into more than three or 
four distinct components. This universality appears, in 
contrast to the absolute determinateness of the abstract 

Revealed Religion 785 

unit the principle of number as indeterminateness in 
relation to number as such ; so that we can only speak in 
this connexion of numbers in general, i.e. not of a 
specific number of distinctions. Hence, in general, it is 
here quite superfluous to think of number and counting, 
just as, in other connexions, the bare difference of 
magnitude and multitude says nothing at all and falls 
outside conceptual thought. 

Good and Evil were the specific distinctions of 
thought which we found. Since their opposition is not 
yet broken down, and they are represented as essential 
realities of thought, each of them independent by itself, 
man is the self with no essential reality of his own and 
the mere ground which keeps them together, and on 
which they exist and war with one another. But these 
universal powers of good and evil belong all the same 
to the self, or the self is their actualising principle. From 
this point of view it thus comes about that, as evil is 
nothing else than the natural existence of spirit be- 
coming self-absorbed and self-centred, conversely, good 
enters into actual reality and appears as an objectively 
existing self-consciousness. The idea of the transition 
of the Divine Being into otherness is in general merely 
indicated and hinted at when Spirit is interpreted in 
terms of pure thought ; for figurative thinking this idea 
here comes nearer its realisation : the realisation is 
taken to consist in the Divine Being " humbling " It- 
self, and renouncing its abstract nature and unreality. 
The other aspect, that of evil, is taken by imagination 
as an event extraneous and alien to the Divine Being : 
to grasp evil in the Divine Being as the wrath of God 
that is the supreme effort, the severest strain, of 
which figurative thought, wrestling with its own limita- 

VOL. II. 2 B 

786 Phenomenology of Mind 

tions, is capable, an effort which, since it dispenses with 
the notion, remains a fruitless struggle. 

The alienation of the Divine Nature is thus set up in 
its double- sided form : the self of Spirit, and its simple 
thought, are the two moments whose absolute unity is 
Spirit itself. Its alienation with itself consists in the 
two falling apart from each other, and in the one having 
an unequal value as against the other. This disparateness 
is, therefore, twofold in character, and two connections 
arise, which have in common the moments just given. 
In the one, the Divine Being stands for what is essential, 
while natural existence and the self are unessential 
and are to be cancelled. In the other, on the contrary, it 
is self-existence which passes for what is essential and the 
Divine pure and simple for unessential. Their mediating, 
though empty ground is existence in general, the bare 
community of their two moments. 

The dissolution of this opposition does not take 
effect through the struggle between the two elements, 
which are represented as separate and independent 
Beings. Just in virtue of their independence each must 
inherently, through its own notion, dissolve itself in 
itself. The struggle takes place first in that quarter 
where both cease to be this mixture of thought and 
independent existence, and confront each other merely 
as thoughts. For in that case, being determinate notions, 
they essentially exist merely in the relation of opposi- 
tion; qua independent, on the other hand, they have 
their essential nature outside opposition; their move- 
ment is thus free, self-determined, and peculiar to 
themselves. Just as the movement, then, of both is 
inherently movement because it has to be regarded 
in themselves, it is set going only by that element of 

Revealed Religion 787 

the two which has the character of being inherently 
essential as contrasted with the other. This is repre- 
sented as a spontaneous action ; but the necessity for 
its self-abandonment lies in the notion that what is 
inherently essential, and gets this specific character 
merely through opposition, has just on that account 
no real independent subsistence. Therefore that ele- 
ment which has for its essence, not independent self- 
existence, but simple being, is what empties and abandons 
itself, gives itself unto death, and so reconciles Absolute 
Being with its own self. For in this process it manifests 
itself as spirit: the abstract Being is estranged from 
itself, it has natural existence and actual individual 
reality. This its otherness, or its being sensuously 
present, is taken back again by the second process of 
self-abandonment, of becoming " other," and is affirmed 
as superseded, as universal. Thereby the Divine 
Being has come to itself in the sphere of the sensu- 
ous present; the immediate existence of actual reality 
has ceased to be something alien or external to the 
Divine, by being sublated, by its becoming universal : 
this death of immediacy is therefore its rising anew 
as Spirit. When the self-conscious Being cancels and 
transcends its immediate present, it is universal self- 
consciousness. This notion of the transcended in- 
dividual self which is Absolute Being, immediately 
expresses therefore the establishment of a communion 
which, while hitherto having its abode in the sphere of 
pictorial presentation, now returns into itself as the Self : 
and Spirit thus passes from the second element consti- 
tuting it, figurative presentation and goes over to the 
third self-consciousness as such. 

If we further consider the kind of procedure that pre- 

788 Phenomenology of Mind 

sentative thinking adopts as it goes along, we find in 
the first place the expression that the Divine Being 
" puts on " human nature. Here it is eo ipso asserted 
that implicitly and inherently the two are not separate : 
just as in the statement, that the Divine Being from 
the beginning empties Itself of Itself, that its objective 
existence is self-absorbed, centres in Itself and becomes 
evil, it is not asserted but implied that per se this evil 
existence is not something alien to the Divine nature. 
Absolute Being would be merely an empty name if in 
very truth there were any other being external to it, if 
there were an absolute " fall " from it. The aspect of 
self-centredness, self-absorption, really constitutes the 
essential moment of the self of Spirit. 

That this self-centredness, whence primarily comes 
its reality, belongs to the Divine Being while this is 
for us a notion, and so as far as it is a notion, appears 
to presentative thinking as an inconceivable historical 
fact. The inherent and essential nature assumes for 
figurative thought the form of a bare objective fact 
external and indifferent to God. The thought, however, 
that those apparently mutually repugnant moments, 
absolute Being and self-existent Self, are not inseparable, 
comes also before this figurative way of thinking (since 
it does possess the real content), but that thought appears 
afterwards, in the form that the Divine Being empties 
Itself of Itself and is made flesh. This figurative idea, which 
in this way is still immediate and hence not spiritual, i.e. 
it takes the human form assumed by the Divine to be 
merely in the first instance a particular form, not yet a 
universal form becomes spiritual for this consciousness 
in the process whereby God, who has assumed shape 
and form, surrenders again His external, His immediate 

Revealed Religion 789 

existence, and returns to His inner Being. The Divine 
Being is then Spirit when it is reflected into itself. 

The reconciliation of the Divine Being with its 
antithesis as a whole, and, specifically, with the thought 
of this other evil is thus presented here in a figurative 
way. When this reconciliation is expressed conceptu- 
ally, by saying it consists in the fact that evil is 
inherently the same as what goodness is, or again 
that the Divine Being is the same as nature in its entire 
extent, just as nature separated from God is simply 
nothingness, then this must be looked at as an un- 
spiritual mode of expression which is bound to give 
rise to misunderstandings. When evil is the same as 
goodness, then evil is just not evil nor goodness good ; 
on the contrary, both are really done away with evil 
in general, self-centred self-existence, and goodness, self- 
less simple abstraction. Since in this way they are both 
expressed in terms of their notion, the unity of the two 
is at once apparent ; for self-centred self-existence is 
simple knowledge ; and what is self-less simple abstrac- 
tion is as much pure self-existence centred within itself. 
Hence, if it must be said that good and evil in their 
conception, i.e., so far as they are not good and evil, are 
the same, just as certainly it must be said that they are 
not the same, but absolutely different ; for simple self- 
existence, or again pure knowledge, is equally pure 
negativity or per se absolute distinction. It is only 
these two propositions that make the whole com- 
plete; and when the first is asserted and asseverated, 
it must be met and opposed by insisting on the other 
with immovable obstinacy. Since both are equally 
right, they are both equally wrong, and their wrong 
consists in taking such abstract forms as " the same " 

790 Phenomenology of Mind 

and " not the same," " identity " and " non-identity/' to 
be something true, fixed, real, and in resting on them. 
Neither the one nor the other has truth ; their truth is 
just their movement, the process in which simple 
sameness is abstraction and thus absolute distinction, 
while this again, being distinction per se, is distinguished 
from itself and so is self-identity. Precisely this is 
what we have in the case of the sameness of the Divine 
Being and Nature in general and human nature in 
particular : the former is Nature so far as it is not essen- 
tially Being; Nature is divine in its essential Being. 
But it is in Spirit that we find both abstract aspects 
affirmed as they truly are, viz. as cancelled and pre- 
served at once : and this way of affirming them cannot 
be expressed by the judgment, by the soulless word 
" is," the copula of the judgment. In the same way 
Nature is nothing outside its essential Being [God] ; but 
this nothing itself is all the same ; it is absolute abstrac- 
tion, pure thought or self-centredness, and with its 
moment of opposition to spiritual unity it is the principle 
of Evil. The difficulty people find in these conceptions 
is due solely to sticking to the term "is," and forgetting 
the character of thought, where the moments as much 
are as they are not, are the process which is Spirit. 
It is this spiritual unity, unity where the distinctions are 
merely in the form of moments, or are transcended and 
maintained which became known to presentative 
thinking in that atoning reconciliation spoken of 
above. And since this unity is the universality of 
self-consciousness, self-consciousness has ceased to be 
figurative or pictorial in its thinking; the process has 
turned back into it. 

Spirit thus takes up its position in the third element, 

Revealed Religion 791 

in universal self-consciousness : Spirit is its own com- 
munity. The movement of this community being that 
of self-consciousness, which distinguishes itself from its 
figurative idea, consists in explicitly bringing out what 
has implicitly become established. The dead Divine 
Man, or Human God, is implicitly universal self- 
consciousness ; he has to become explicitly so for this 
self - consciousness. Or, since this self - consciousness 
constitutes one side of the opposition involved in 
ideal presentation, viz. the side of evil, which takes 
natural existence and individual self-existence to be 
the essential reality this aspect, which is presented as 
independent, and not yet as a moment, has, on account 
of its independence, to raise itself in and for itself, to the 
level of Spirit ; it has to reveal the process of Spirit in 
this aspect. 

This particular self-consciousness is Spirit in natural 
form, natural spirit : self has to withdraw from this 
natural existence and enter into itself, become self- 
centred ; that means, it has to become evil. But this 
aspect is already per se evil : entering into itself 
consists, therefore, in persuading itself that natural 
existence is what is evil. By presentational picture- 
thinking the world is supposed actually to become 
evil and be evil as an actual fact, and the atoning 
reconcilement of the Absolute Being is viewed as an 
actual existent phenomenon. By self-consciousness as 
such, however, this figurative presentation of the 
truth, as regards its form, is considered to be merely 
a moment that is already superseded and transcended ; 
for the self is the principle of negation, and hence 
knowledge a knowledge which is a pure act of con- 
sciousness within itself. This moment of the nega- 

792 Phenomenology of Mind 

tive must in like manner find expression as regards 
the content. Since, that is to say, the Absolute Being 
is inherently and from the start reconciled with itself 
and is a spiritual unity, in which the parts constituting 
the presentation are sublated, are moments, what we 
find is that each element of the presentation receives 
here the opposite significance to that which it had before. 
By this means each meaning finds its completion in the 
other, and the content is then and thereby a spiritual 
content. Since the specific determinateness of each is 
just as much its opposite, unity in otherness spiritual 
reality is achieved and completed : just as formerly we 
saw opposite meanings combined and united objectively, 
or in themselves, and even the abstract forms of " the 
same " and " not- the- same," " identity " and " non- 
identity " cancelled one another and were transcended. 
If, then, from the point of view of figurative thought, 
the natural self-consciousness rooted and fixed in itself 
was the real evil, that process of becoming fixed in 
itself is in the sphere of self-consciousness, the knowledge 
of evil as something that per se belongs to existence. 
This knowledge is certainly a process of becoming evil, 
but merely of the thought of evil, and is therefore recog- 
nised as the first moment of reconciliation. For, being a 
return into self out of the immediacy of nature which is 
specifically the principle of evil, it is a forsaking of that 
immediacy, and a dying to sin. It is not natural exist- 
ence as such that consciousness forsakes, but natural 
existence that is at the same time known to be evil. 
The immediate process of fixing itself within itself, of 
becoming self-centred, is just as much a mediate 
process : it presupposes itself, i.e. is its own ground 
and principle : the reason for fixing itself in self is 

Revealed Religion 793 

because nature has per se already done so. On 
account of evil man must be turned back into himself, 
but evil is itself the process of doing so, of "fixing 
himself in self." This first movement is just on that 
account itself merely immediate, is its bare and simple 
notion, because it is the same as what its ground or 
reason is. The movement, or the process of passing 
into otherness, must therefore come out afterwards in 
its own more peculiar form. 

Beside this immediacy, then, the mediation of ideal 
presentation is necessary. Implicitly and essentially, 
the knowledge of nature as the untrue inadequate ex- 
pression of spirit's existence, and this universality of self 
which has thereby arisen within the life of the self 
these constitute the reconciliation of spirit with itself. 
This implicit state is apprehended by the self-conscious- 
ness that does not think conceptually, in the form of an 
objective existence, and as something presented to it 
figuratively. Conceptual comprehension (Begreiferi), 
therefore, does not mean for it a grasping (Ergreifen) of 
this conception (Begriff) which knows natural existence 
when cancelled and transcended to be universal and thus 
reconciled with itself ; but rather a laying hold of that 
ideal presentation, the imaginative idea ( Vorstellung) that 
the Divine Being is reconciled with its existence through 
an event, the event of God's emptying Himself of Him- 
self, relinquishing His Divine Being, through His factual 
Incarnation and His Death. The laying hold of this 
idea now expresses more specifically what was formerly 
called in figurative thinking spiritual resurrection, or the 
process by which God's individual self - consciousness * 
becomes the universal, becomes the religious communion. 

* The Christ. 

794 Phenomenology of Mind 

The death of the Divine Man, qua death, is abstract 
negativity, the immediate result of the process which 
terminates only in the universality belonging to nature. 
In spiritual self-consciousness death loses its natural 
significance ; it passes into its true principle or con- 
ception, the conception just mentioned. Death then 
ceases to signify what it means directly the non- 
existence of this particular individual and becomes 
transformed and transfigured into the universality 
of spirit, which lives in its own communion, dies there 
daily, and daily rises again. 

That which belongs to the sphere of pictorial thought 
viz., that Absolute Spirit, qua individual or rather qua 
particular, embodies and presents in its objective exist- 
ence the nature of spirit is thus here transferred to self- 
consciousness itself, to the sphere where knowledge main- 
tains itself in its otherness, in its opposite. This self-con- 
sciousness does not therefore really die, as the particular 
person * is represented to have really died ; its particu- 
larity succumbs and expires in its universality, i.e. in its 
knowledge, which is true Being reconciling itself with 
itself. That primary and prior element of presentative 
thinking is thus here set forth as transcended, has, in 
other words, returned into the self, into its notion. 
What was in the former merely an existent entity has 
come to assume the form of Subject. By that very fact 
the first element too, pure thought and the spirit eternal 
therein, are no longer away beyond and outside the 
mind thinking pictorially nor beyond the self ; rather 
the return of the whole into itself consists just in con- 
taining all moments within itself. When the death 
of the mediator is laid hold of by the self, brought 

* Christ. 

Revealed Religion 795 

within its grasp, this means the sublation and trans- 
cendence of his factuality, of his particular independent 
existence : this particular self-existence has become 
universal self-consciousness. 

On the other side, the universal, just because of this, 
is self-consciousness, and the pure or abstract unreal 
Spirit of bare thought has become concrete and actual. 
The death of the mediator is death not merely of his 
natural aspect, of his particular self -existence : what dies 
is not merely the outer encasement, which, being 
stripped of true Being, is eo ipso dead, but also the 
abstraction of the Divine Being. For the mediator, as 
long as his death has not yet accomplished the reconcilia- 
tion, is something one-sided, which takes as true Being 
the simple abstract element of thought, not concrete 
reality. This one-sided extreme of self has not yet 
equal worth and value with ultimate Being ; the self first 
gets this as Spirit. When the mediator as imaginatively 
presented dies, his death implies at the same time the 
death of the mere abstraction of Divine Being, which is 
not yet affirmed as a self. That death is the bitterness 
and pain of the " unhappy consciousness," when it feels 
that God himself is dead. This harsh utterance is the 
expression of inmost self-knowledge which has self bare 
and simple for its content ; it is the return of con- 
sciousness into the depth of darkness where Ego is no- 
thing but bare identity of Ego, a darkness distinguishing 
and knowing nothing more outside it. This feeling thus 
means, in point of fact, the loss of the Substance and of 
its objective existence over against consciousness. But 
at the same time it is the pure subjectivity of Substance, 
the pure certainty and inner assurance of itself, which 
it lacked when it was object or immediacy, pure ultimate 

796 Phenomenology of Mind 

Being. This knowledge is thus the process of spiritualisa- 
tion, whereby Substance becomes Subject, by which its 
abstraction and hfelessness have expired, and Substance 
therefore has become concrete and real, simple universal 

In this way, then, Spirit is Spirit knowing its own self. 
It knows itself ; that, which is for it object, exists, or, 
in other words, its objectively presented idea is the true 
absolute content. As we saw, the content expresses 
just Spirit itself. It is at the same time not merely 
content of self -consciousness, and not merely object for 
self-consciousness ; it is also concrete actual Spirit. 
It is this by the fact of its passing through and realising 
the three elements of its nature : this movement 
through the content of its whole self in this way con- 
stitutes its actual reality. What moves itself, that is 
Spirit; it is the subject of the movement, and it is 
likewise the moving process itself, or the substance 
through which the subject makes its way. We saw 
how the notion of spirit arose when we entered the 
sphere of religion : it was the process of self-assured 
spirit, which forgives and pardons evil, and in so doing 
puts aside its own simplicity of nature and rigid un- 
changeableness : it was, to state it otherwise, the 
process, in which what is absolutely in opposition 
recognises itself as the same as its opposite, and this 
knowledge breaks out into the " yea, yea " with which 
one extreme meets the other. The religious conscious- 
ness, to which the Absolute Being is revealed, sees this 
notion, and does away with the distinction of its self 
from what it beholds ; and as it is Subject, so it is also 
Substance ; and is thus itself Spirit just because and in 
so far as it is this process. 

Revealed Religion 797 

This religious communion, however, has not yet 
achieved its complete self-consciousness. Its content, 
in general, is put before it in the form of an objec- 
tive pictorial idea; so that this disruption or opposi- 
tion* still attaches even to the actual spiritual character 
of the communion to its return out of its presentative 
way of thinking; just as the element of pure thought 
itself was also hampered with that opposition. This 
spiritual communion, too, is not aware what it is ; it is 
spiritual self-consciousness, which is not object to itself 
in this form, or does not develop into clear conscious- 
ness of itself. Eather, so far as it is consciousness, it 
has before it ideal presentations, those picture-thoughts 
which w r ere considered. 

We see self-consciousness at its last turning-point 
become inward to itself and attain to knowledge of its 
inner being, of its self-centredness. We see it relinquish 
and empty itself of its natural existence, and reach pure 
negativity. But the positive significance viz. that this 
negativity, or pure inwardness of knowledge is just as 
much the self -identical Absolute Being : put otherwise, 
that Substance has here attained to being absolute 
self-consciousness this is, for the devotional con- 
sciousness, an objective other, something external. It 
grasps this aspect that the knowledge which becomes 
purely inward is inherently absolute simplicity, or 
Substance as the idea of something which is not 
thus by its very conception, but as the act of satis- 
faction obtained from an other. In other words, it 
is not really aware as a fact that this depth of 
pure self is the power by which the abstract Ulti- 
mate Being is drawn down from its abstractness and 

* i.e. between spiritual consciousness and objective idea. 

798 Phenomenology of Mind 

raised to the level of self by the strength and force 
of this pure devotion. The action of the self hence 
retains towards it this negative significance, because 
the relinquishment of itself on the part of substance 
is for the self an ultimate reality, something per se ; 
the self does not at once grasp and comprehend it, 
or does not find it in its own action as such. 

Since this unity of Ultimate Being and Self has been 
essentially and inherently brought about, consciousness, 
too, has this idea of its reconciliation, but in the form 
of an imaginative idea. It obtains satisfaction by 
attaching, in an external way, to its pure negativity the 
positive significance of the unity of itself with absolute 
Being. Its satisfaction thus itself remains hampered with 
the opposition of an external beyond. Its own peculiar 
reconciliation therefore enters its consciousness as 
something remote, something far away in the future, 
just as the reconciliation, which the other self achieved, 
appears as away in the distance of the past. Just 
as the individual god-man * has an implicit, a potential 
father and only an actual mother, in like manner 
we may say the universal god-man, the spiritual com- 
munion, has as its father its own proper action and 
knowledge, while its mother is eternal Love, which it 
merely feels, but does not behold as an actual immediate 
object present in its consciousness. Its reconciliation, 
therefore, is in its heart, but still with its conscious life 
sundered in twain and its actual reality shattered. 
What falls within its consciousness as the inherent 
and essential element, the aspect of pure mediation, 
is the reconciliation that lies beyond : while what 
appears as actually present in its consciousness, as the 

* The historical Christ. 

Revealed Religion 799 

aspect of immediacy and of existence, is the world 
which has yet to await transfiguration. The world is 
no doubt implicitly reconciled with the Divine Being ; 
and that Being no doubt knows that it no longer regards 
the object as alienated from itself, but as one with itself 
in its Love. But for self-consciousness this immediate 
presence has not yet the form and shape of spiritual 
reality. Thus the spirit of the communion is, in its 
immediate consciousness, separated from its religious 
consciousness, which declares indeed that these two 
modes of consciousness implicitly and inherently are 
not separated, but this is an implicitness which is not 
realised, or has not yet become an absolute explicit 
self-existence as well. 




Spirit manifested in revealed religion has not as 
JL yet surmounted its attitude of consciousness as 
such; or, what is the same thing, its concrete self-con- 
sciousness is not at this stage the object it is aware of. 
Spirit as a whole and the moments distinguished in 
it fall within the sphere of presentative thinking, are 
presentations with the form of objectivity. The content 
of this presentational thought is Absolute Spirit. All 
that remains to be done now is to cancel and trans- 
cend this bare form ; or better, because the form 
appertains to consciousness as such its true meaning 
must have come out in the shapes and modes conscious- 
ness has already assumed. 

The surmounting of the object of consciousness in this 
way is not to be taken one-sidedly as meaning that the 
object shows itself returning into the self. It has a more 
definite and specific meaning: it means that the object 
as such presents itself to the self as a vanishing factor ; 
and, furthermore, that the emptying, the relinquish- 
ment, of self-consciousness itself establishes thing- 
hood, and that this laying aside of self-consciousness 

* v. sup. p. 684. "Absolute Knowledge" is at once the consumma- 
tion of experience and, on the historical side, constructive philosophy: 
v. infra, p. 815 ff. 


Absolute Knowledge 801 

has not merely negative, but positive significance, a 
significance not merely for us or per se, but for self- 
consciousness itself. The negative of the object, its 
cancelling its own existence, gets, for self-consciousness, 
a positive significance ; or, self-consciousness knows this 
nothingness of the object because on the one hand 
self-consciousness itself relinquishes itself ; for in doing 
so it establishes itself as object, or, by reason of the 
indivisible unity characterising its self-existence, sets up 
the object as its self. On the other hand, there is also 
this other moment in the process, that self-consciousness 
has just as really cancelled and done away with this 
self-relinquishment and objectification, and has resumed 
them into itself, and is thus at home with itself in its 
otherness. This is the movement of consciousness, 
and in this process consciousness is the totality of its 

Consciousness, at the same time, had to take up a 
relation to the object in all its aspects and phases, and 
grasp its meaning from the point of view of each of 
them. This totality of its determinate characteristics 
makes the object per se and inherently a spiritual 
reality; and it becomes so in truth for consciousness, 
when the latter apprehends every individual one of 
them as self, i.e. when it takes up towards them the 
spiritual relationship just spoken of. 

The object is, then, partly immediate existence, a 
thing in general corresponding to immediate con- 
sciousness ; partly an alteration of itself, its relatedness, 
(or existence-for-anotherand existence-for-self ) ) determin- 
ateness corresponding to perception ; partly essential 
being or in the form of a universal corresponding to 
intelligence or understanding. The object as a whole is 

VOL. II. 2 C 

802 Phenomenology of Mind 

the mediated result [the conclusion] or the passing of 
universality into individuality through specification, 
as also the reverse process from individual to universal 
through cancelled individuality or specific determination. 
These three specific aspects, then, determine the ways 
in which consciousness must get to know the object in 

/the form of self. This knowledge of which we are 
speaking is, however, not knowledge in the sense of 
pure conceptual comprehension of the object; here this 
knowledge is to be taken as a developing process, has 
to be taken in its various moments and set forth 
in the manner appropriate to consciousness as such ; 
and the moments of the notion proper, of pure and 
absolute knowledge, are to assume the form of modes 
or attitudes of consciousness. For that reason the 
object does not yet, when present in consciousness as 
such, appear as the inner essence of Spirit in the way 
this has just been expressed. The procedure conscious- 
ness adopts in regard to the object is not that of 
considering it either in this totality as such or in the 
pure conceptual form ; it is partly that of a mode or 
attitude of consciousness in general, partly a multitude 
of such modes which we [who analyse the process] gather 
together, and in which the totality of the moments of 
the object and of the procedure of consciousness can 
be shown merely resolved into their separate elements. 

To understand this method of grasping the object, 
where apprehension is a form or mode of consciousness, 
we have here only to recall the previous forms of con- 
sciousness which came before us earlier in the argument. 

As regards the object, then, so far as it is immediate, 
an indifferent objective entity, we saw Reason, at the 
stage of "Observation," seeking and finding itself in 

Absolute Knowledge 803 

this indifferent thing i.e. we saw it conscious that its 
activity is there of an external sort, and at the same 
time conscious of the object merely as an immediate 
ob j ect. We saw, too, its specific character take expression 
at its highest stage in the infinite judgment : " the 
being of the ego is a thing." And, further, the ego is an 
immediate thing of sense. When ego is called a soul, 
it is indeed represented also as a thing, but a thing in the 
sense of something invisible, impalpable, etc., i.e. in fact 
not as an immediate entity, and not as that which is 
generally understood by a thing. That judgment, then, 
" ego is a thing " taken at first glance, has no spiritual 
content, or rather, is just the absence of spirituality. 
In its conception, however, it is in fact the most 
luminous and illuminating judgment ; and this, its inner 
significance, which is not yet made evident, is what 
the two other moments to be considered express. 

The thing is ego. In point of fact, thing is transcended 
in this infinite judgment. The thing is nothing in itself : 

v O O * 

it only has significance in a relation, only through the 
ego and its reference to the ego. This moment came 
before consciousness in pure insight and enlightenment. 
Things are simply and solely useful, profitable, and only 
to be considered from the point of view of their utility. 
The trained and cultivated self-consciousness, which 
has traversed the region of spirit in self-alienation, 
has, by giving up itself, produced the thing as its self ; 
it retains itself, therefore, still in the thing, and knows 
the thing to have no independence, in other words 
knows that the thing has essentially and solely a relative 
existence. Or again to give complete expression to the 
relationship, i.e. to what here alone constitutes the 
nature of the object the thing stands for something that 

804 Phenomenology of Mind 

is self-existent ; sense-certainty, sense-experience, is an- 
nounced as absolute truth; but this self-existence is 
itself declared to be a moment which merely disappears, 
and passes into its opposite, into a being at the mercy 
of an " other." 

But knowledge of the thing is not yet finished at this 
point. The thing must become known as self not merely 
in regard to the immediateness of its being and as 
regards specific determinateness, but also in the sense 
of essence or inner reality. This is found in the case 
of Moral Self -consciousness. This mode of experience 
thinks of its knowledge as the absolute essential element, 
knows no other objective being than pure will or pure 
knowledge. It is nothing but merely this will and this 
knowledge. Any other possesses merely non-essential 
being, i.e. being that has no inherent nature per se, 
but only its empty husk. In so far as the moral 
consciousness, in its view of the world, lets existence 
drop out of the self, it just as truly reclaims and takes 
this existence back again into the self. In the form of 
conscience, finally, it is no longer this incessant alterna- 
tion between the " placing " and the " displacing " [dis- 
sembling] of existence and self ; it knows that its 
existence as such is this pure certainty of its own self ; 
the objective element, into which qua acting it puts forth 
itself, is nothing else than pure knowledge of itself by 

These are the moments which compose the reconcilia- 
tion of spirit with its own consciousness proper. By 
themselves they are particular and separate ; and it is 
their spiritual unity alone which furnishes the power 
for this reconciliation. The last of these moments is, 
however, necessarily this unity itself, and, as we see, 

Absolute Knowledge 805 

binds them all in fact into itself. Spirit certain of itself 
in its objective existence takes as the element of its 
existence nothing else than this knowledge of self. 
The declaration that what it does it does in accordance 
with the convictions of duty this statement is the 
warrant for its own action, and makes good its conduct. 

Action is the first inherent division of the simple unity 
of the notion, and the return out of this division. 
This first movement turns round into the second, since 
the element of recognition is put forward as simple 
knowledge of duty in contrast to the distinction and 
diremption that He in action as such and, in this way, 
form a rigid reality confronting action. In pardon, 
however, we saw how this rigid fixity gave way and 
renounced its claims. Reality has here, qua immediate 
existence, no other significance for self-consciousness 
than that of being pure knowledge ; similarly, qua 
determinate existence, or qua relation, what is self -opposed 
is a knowledge partly of this purely individual self, partly 
of knowledge qua universal. Herein it is established, 
at the same time, that the third moment, universality, 
or the essence, means for each of the two opposite factors 
merely knowledge. Finally they also cancel the empty 
opposition that still remains, and are the knowledge of 
ego as identical with ego : this individual self which is 
immediately pure knowledge or universal. 

This reconciliation of consciousness with self-con- 
sciousness thus proves to be brought about in a double- 
sided way ; in the one case, in the religious mind, in the 
other case, in consciousness itself as such. They are 
distinguished inter se by the fact that the one is 
this reconciliation in the form of implicit immanence, 
the other in the form of explicit self-existence. As 

806 Phenomenology of Mind 

we have considered them, they at the beginning fall 
apart. In the order in which the modes or types of 
consciousness came before us, consciousness has reached 
the individual moments of that order, and also their 
unification, long before ever religion gave its object 
the shape and mould of actual self-consciousness. The 
unification of both aspects is not yet brought to light ; 
it is this that winds up this series of embodiments of 
spiritual life, for in it spirit gets to the point where it 
knows itself not only as it is inherently in itself, or in 
terms of its absolute content, nor only as it is objectively 
for itself in terms of its bare form devoid of content, or 
in terms of self-consciousness, but as it is in its self-com- 
pleteness, as it is inherently and explicitly, in itself and 
for itself. 

This unification has, however, already taken place by 
implication, and has done so in religion, in the return 
of the objective presentation (Vorstellung) into self -con- 
sciousness, but not according to the proper form, for the 
religious aspect is the aspect of the essentially indepen- 
dent (Ansich) and stances in contrast to the process of 
self-consciousness. The unification therefore belongs to 
this other aspect, which by contrast is the aspect of re- 
flection into self, is that side which contains its self and 
its opposite, and contains [ them not only implicitly (an 
sick) or in a general way, but explicitly (fur sicli) or 
expressly developed and distinguished. The content, 
as well as the other aspect of self-conscious spirit, so far 
as it is the other aspect, have been brought to light 
and are here in their completeness : the unification 
still a-wanting is the simple unity of the notion. This 
notion is also already given with the aspect of self- 
consciousness ; but as it previously came before us 

Absolute Knoivtedge 807 

above, it, like all the other moments, has the form of 
being a particular mode or type of consciousness. It is 
that part of the embodiment of self-assured spirit which 
keeps within its essential principle and was called the 
" beautiful soul." That is to say, the " beautiful soul " is 
its own knowledge of itself in its pure transparent unity 
self-consciousness, which knows this pure knowledge 
of pure inwardness to be spirit, is not merely intuition 
of the divine, but the self-intuition of God Himself. 

Since this notion keeps itself fixedly opposed to its 
realisation, it is the one-sided form which we saw before 
disappear into thin air, but also take a positive ex- 
ternal embodiment and advance further. Through the 
process of realisation, this self-consciousness bereft of 
objective content ceases to hold fast by itself, the 
abstract determinateness of the notion over against its 
fulfilment is cancelled and done away with. Its self- 
consciousness attains the form of universality ; and what 
remains is its true notion, the notion that has attained 
its realisation the notion in its truth, i.e. in unity with 
its externalisation. It is knowledge of pure knowledge, 
not in the sense of an abstract essence such as duty is, 
but in the sense of an essential being which is this 
particular knowledge, this individual pure self-con- 
sciousness which is at the same time an object ; for the 
object is the self -existing self. 

This notion obtained its fulfilment partly from the 
acts performed by the spirit that is sure of itself, partly 
from religion. In the latter it obtained the absolute 
content qua content, or in the form of an ideal pre- 
sentation or of otherness for consciousness. On the 
other hand, in the first the form is just the self, for 
that mode contains the active practical spirit sure of 

808 Phenomenology of Mind 

itself ; the self accomplishes the life of Absolute Spirit. 
This mode, as we see, is that simple notion, which 
however gives up its eternal inner Being, takes upon 
itself objective existence, or acts. The power of diremp- 
tion or of coming forth out of its inwardness lies in the 
purity of the notion, for this purity is absolute abstrac- 
tion or negativity. In the same way the notion finds 
its element of reality, or the objective being it contains, 
in pure knowledge itself ; for this knowledge is simple 
immediacy, which is being and existence as well as 
essence, the former negative thought, the latter positive 
thought. This existence, finally, is just as much that 
state of reflection into self which comes out of pure 
existence both qua existence and qua duty and this 
is the state of evil. This process of " going into self " 
constitutes the opposition lying in the notion, and is 
thus the appearance on the scene of pure knowledge of 
the essence, a knowledge giving rise to no action and 
no reality. But to make its appearance in this oppo- 
sition is to participate in it ; pure knowledge of essence 
has inherently relinquished its simplicity, for it is the 
diremption or negativity which constitutes the notion. 
So far as this process of diremption is the process of 
becoming self-centred, it is the principle of evil : so far 
as it is the inherently essential, it is the principle of 
constant goodness. 

Now what in the first instance takes place implicitly 
and inherently is at once objectively for consciousness, 
and is duplicated as well is both for consciousness 
and is its self-existence or its own proper action. The 
same thing that is already inherently established, thus 
repeats itself now as knowledge thereof on the part 
of consciousness and as conscious action. Each finds 


the other lay aside the independence of character 
with which each appears confronting the other. This 
waiving of independence is the same renunciation of 
the one-sidedness of the notion as constituted implicitly 
the beginning ; but it is now its own act of renuncia- 
tion, just as the notion renounced is its own notion. 
That implicit nature of the beginning is in truth 
as much mediated, because it is negativity; it now 
establishes itself as it is in its truth ; and the negative 
element exists as a determinate quality which each has 
for the other, and is inherently and essentially self- 
cancelling, self-transcending. The one of the two parts 
of the opposition is the disparity between existence 
within itself in its individuality and universality ; the 
other, disparity between its abstract universality and 
the self. The former lets its self-existence perish, and 
relinquishes itself, makes confession ; the latter renounces 
the rigidity of its abstract universality, and thereby puts 
away its lifeless self and its inert universality ; so 
that the former is completed through the moment of 
universality, which is the essence, and the latter through 
universality, which is self. By this process of action 
spirit has come to light in the form of pure universality 
of knowledge, which is self-consciousness as self-con- 
sciousness, which is simple unity of knowledge. It is 
through action that spirit is spirit so as definitely to 
exist ; it raises its existence into the sphere of thought 
and hence into absolute opposition, and returns out of 
it through and within this very opposition. 

Thus, then, what was in the case of religion objective 
content, or a way of ideally presenting an other, is here 
the action proper of the self. The notion is the connect- 
ing principle securing that the content is the action 

810 Phenomenology of Mind 

proper of the self. For this notion is, as we see, the 
knowledge that the action of the self within itself is all 
that is essential and all existence, the knowledge of this 
Subject as Substance and of the Substance as this 
knowledge of its action. What we have done here, in 
addition, is simply to gather together the particular 
moments, each of which in principle exhibits the life 
of spirit in its entirety, and again to fix and secure 
the notion in the form of the notion, whose content 
was disclosed in those moments and had already pre- 
sented itself in the form of a mode or type of con- 

This last embodiment of spirit spirit which at once 
gives its complete and true content the form of self, 
and thereby realises its notion, and in doing so 
remains within its own notion this is Absolute Know- 
ledge. It is spirit knowing itself in the form of spirit, 
it is conceptual comprehensive knowledge through 
notions. Truth is here not merely in itself absolutely 
identical with certainty ; it has also the typical form of 
certainty of self, or in its existence i.e. for spirit 
knowing it it is in the form of knowledge of itself. 
Truth is the content, which in the case of religion is 
not as yet at one with its certainty. This identifica- 
tion, however, is secured when the content has received 
the form and character of self. By this means, what 
constitutes the very essence, viz. the notion, comes to 
have the nature of existence, i.e. assumes the form of 
what is objective to consciousness. Spirit, appearing 
before consciousness in this element of existence, or, 
what is here the same thing, produced by it in this 
element, is systematic Science. 

The nature, moments, and process of this type of 

Absolute Knowledge 811 

knowledge have then come about in such a way that this 
knowledge is pure self-existence of self-consciousness. 

It is ego, which is this concrete ego and no other, 
and at the same time, from its very, nature, is mediated, 
or sublated universal ego. It has a content, which it 
distinguishes from itself ; for it is pure negativity, or 
self-diremption ; it is consciousness. This content in its 
distinction is itself the ego, for it is the process of super- 
seding itself, or the same pure negativity which consti- 
tutes ego. Ego is in it, qua distinguished, reflected into 
itself; only then is the content conceptualy compre- 
hended (begriffen) when ego in its otherness is still at 
home with itself. More precisely stated, this content 
is nothing else than the very process just spoken of; 
for the content is the spirit which traverses the whole 
range of its own being, and does this for itself qua 
spirit, by the fact that it possesses the form of the 
notion in its objectivity. 

As to the actual existence of this notion, science 
does not appear in time and in reality till spirit has 
arrived at this stage of being conscious regarding itself. 
Qua spirit which knows what it is, it did not exist before, 
and is not to be found at all till after the completion 
of the task of mastering and overcoming the imperfection 
of its form the task of procuring for its consciousness 
and making itself aware of the shape of its inmost 
essence, and in this manner squaring its self-conscious- 
ness with its consciousness. Spirit in and for itself, 
spirit in its self-contained reality, is, when distinguished 
into its separate moments, self-existent knowledge, 
conceptual comprehension in general, which as such has 
not yet reached the substance, or is not in itself absolute 

Phenomenology of Mind 

Now in actual reality the knowing substance is 
arrived at earlier than its form, earlier than the form 
of the notion. For the substance is the undeveloped 
inherent nature, the fundamental notion in its inert 
simplicity, the state of inwardness or the self of spirit 
not yet objectivified. What is there, what does exist, 
is in the shape of unexpressed simplicity, the un- 
developed immediate, or the object of presentative 
consciousness in general. Because knowledge (Erkennen) 
is a spiritual state of consciousness, which is only aware 
of what implicitly and inherently is so far as this is a 
being for the self and a being of the self or a notion- 
knowledge has on this account merely a barren object 
to begin with, in contrast to which the substance and the 
consciousness of this substance are richer in content. 
Revelation in such a case is, in fact, concealment ; for 
the substance is here still self-less existence and nothing 
but certainty of self is manifest or revealed to it. To 
begin with, therefore, it is only the abstract moments 
that fall to self-consciousness when dealing with the 
substance. But since these moments are pure activities 
and must move forward by their very nature, self- 
consciousness enriches itself till it has torn from con- 
sciousness the entire substance, and absorbed into itself 
the entire structure of the substance with all its 
constituent elements. Since this negative attitude 
towards objectivity is positive as well, establishes and 
fixes the content, it goes on till it has produced these 
elements out of itself and thereby reinstated them once 
more as objects of consciousness. In the notion, 
knowing itself as notion, the moments thus make their 
appearance prior to the whole in its complete fulfilment ; 
the movement of these moments is the process by which 

Absolute Knowledge 813 

the whole comes into being. In consciousness, on the 
other hand, the whole but not as comprehended con- 
ceptually is prior to the moments. 

Time is just the notion definitely existent, and pre- 
sented to consciousness in the form of empty pure 
intuition. Hence spirit necessarily appears in time, 
and it appears in time so long as it does not grasp its 
pure notion, i.e. so long as it does not annul time. 
Time is the pure self in external form, apprehended in 
intuition, and not grasped and understood by the 
self, it is the notion directly apprehended through 
intuition. When this notion grasps itself, it supersedes 
the time character, conceptually comprehends intuition, 
and is intuition comprehended and comprehending 
through conceptions. Time therefore appears as spirit's 
destiny and necessity, where spirit is not yet complete 
within itself ; it is the necessity compelling spirit to 
increase and enrich the share self-consciousness has in 
consciousness, to put into motion the immediacy of 
the inherent nature (which is the form in which the 
substance is present in consciousness) ; or, conversely, to 
realise and make manifest what is inherent, regarded 
as inward and immanent, to make manifest that which 
is at first within i.e. to vindicate and secure for it the 
certainty of self. 

For this reason it must be said that nothing is con- 
sciously known which does not fall within experience, 
or (as it is also expressed) which is not felt to be true, 
which is not given as an inwardly revealed eternal 
verity, as a sacred object of belief, or whatever other 
expressions we care to employ. For experience just 
consists in this, that the content and the content is 
spirit in its inherent nature is substance and so object 

814 Phenomenology of Mind 

of consciousness. But this substance in which spirit 
consists, is the development of itself explicitly to what 
it is inherently and implicitly ; and only by this process 
of reflecting itself into itself is it then essentially and 
in truth spirit. It is inherently the movement which 
constitutes the process of knowledge the transforming 
of that implicit inherent nature into explicitness and 
objectivity, of Substance into Subject, of the object of 
consciousness into the object of self-consciousness, i.e. 
into an object that is at the same time superseded and 
transcended in other words, into the notion. This 
transforming process is a cycle that returns into itself, 
a cycle that presupposes its beginning, and reaches its 
beginning only at the end. So far as spirit, then, is of 
necessity this process of self-distinction, it appears as a 
single whole, intuitively apprehended, over against its 
simple self-consciousness. And since that whole is 
the aspect distinguished, it is distinguished into the 
intuitively apprehended pure notion, Time, and the 
content, the inherent implicit nature. Substance, qua 
subject, involves the necessity, at first an inner necessity, 
to set forth in itself what it inherently is, to show itself 
to be spirit. The completed systematic expression in 
objective form becomes, then, at the same time the re- 
flection of substance, the development of it into a 
self or subject. Consequently, until and unless spirit 
is inherently completed, completed as a world-spirit, 
it cannot reach its completion as self-conscious spirit. 
The content of religion therefore expresses earlier in 
time than speculative science what spirit is ; but science 
alone is the perfect form in which spirit truly knows 
;The process of carrying forward this form of know- 

Absolute Knowledge 815 

ledge of itself constitutes the task which spirit accom- 
plishes in the concrete actual shape of History. The 
religious communion, in so far as it is at the outset the 
substance of Absolute Spirit, is the crude form of con- 
sciousness, which has an existence all the harsher and 
more barbaric the deeper is its inner spirit ; and its 
inarticulate stolid self has all the harder task in dealing 
with its essence, the unconceived content alien to its 
consciousness. Not till it has surrendered the hope of 
cancelling that foreignness by an external, i.e. alien 
method, does it turn to itself, to its own peculiar world 
in the actual present. It turns thither because to 
supersede that alien method means returning into 
self-consciousness. It thus discovers this world in the 
living present to be its own property ; and so has 
taken the first step to descend from the ideal in- 
telligible world, the world of the intellect, or rather 
to endue the abstract element of the intellect with 
concrete self-hood. Through " observation/' on the 
one hand, it finds existence in the shape of thought, 
and comprehends existence ; and, conversely, it finds 
in its thought existence.* When, in the first in- 
stance, it has thus itself expressed in an abstract way 
the immediate unity of thought and existence, of 
abstract Being and Self ; and when it has expressed the 
primal principle of "Light" in a purer form, viz. as 
unity of extension and existence for " existence " is 
an ultimate simple term more akin to thought than 
" Light " - and in this way has revived again in 
thought the Substance of the Orient, f the Absolute 
Substance of Eastern Religions ; thereupon spirit at 
once recoils in horror from this abstract unity, from this 

* Descartes. t Spinoza. 

816 Phenomenology of Mind 

self-less substance, and maintains as against it the 
principle of subjective Individuality.* But after spirit 
has relinquished this principle and brought it under 
the ordeal of culture, has thereby made it an objective 
existence and established it throughout the whole 
of existence, has arrived at the idea of "Utility"! and 
in the sphere of absolute freedom has found the key to 
existence to be Individual Will,J after these stages 
spirit then brings to light the thought that lies in its 
inmost depths, and expresses ultimate Reality in the 
form Ego = Ego. 

This "Ego identical with Ego" is, however, an 
inward, self-reflecting process ; for since this identity 
qua absolute negativity is absolute distinction, the self- 
identity of the Ego stands in contrast to this absolute 
distinction, which being pure distinction and at the 
same time objective to the self that knows itself 
has to be expressed as Time. In this way, just as 
formerly ultimate Eeality was expressed as unity of 
thought and extension, it would here be interpreted as 
unity of thought and time. But distinction left to itself, 
unresting, unhalting time, really collapses upon itself ; it 
is the objective quiescence, the stable continuity of 
extension ; while this latter is pure identity with self 
is Ego. 

Again, Ego is not merely self, it is identity of self 
with itself. This identity, however, is complete and im- 
mediate unity with self ; in other words this Subject is 
just as much Substance. Substance by itself alone 
would be void and empty Intuition (Anschaueri), or 
the intuition of a content which qua specific would 

* Leibnitz. t The principle of the (C Aufklurung. 3 ' 

I Kant. Fichte. 

Absolute Knowledge 817 

have merely a contingent character and would be 
devoid of necessity. Substance would only stand for 
the Absolute in so far as Substance was thought of or 
" intuited " as absolute unity ; and all content would, 
as regards its diversity, have to fall outside the Sub- 
stance and be due to reflection, a process which does 
not belong to Substance, because Substance would not 
be Subject, would not be conceived as Spirit, as re- 
flecting about self and reflecting itself into self. If, 
nevertheless, a content were to be spoken of, then on 
the one hand, it would only exist in order to be 
thrown into the empty abysm of the Absolute, while 
on the other it would be picked up in external fashion 
from sense perception. Knowledge would appear to 
have come by things, by what is distinct from knowledge 
itself, and to have got at the distinctions between the 
endless variety of things, without any one understanding 
how or where all this came from.* 

Spirit, however, has shown itself to be neither the 
mere withdrawal of self-consciousness into its pure 
inwardness, nor the mere absorption of self-conscious- 
ness into blank Substance devoid of all distinctions. 
Spirit is the movement of the self which empties itself 
of self and sinks itself within its own substance, and 
qua subject, both goes out of that substance into itself, 
making its substance an object and a content, and also 
supersedes this distinction of objectivity and content. 
That first reflection out of immediacy is the subject's 
distinction of self from its substance, the notion in a 
state of self-diremption, the subjectification of the self, 
and the coming of the pure ego into being. Since this 
distinction is the action pure and simple of Ego = Ego, 

* Schelling'. 
VOL. II. 2 D 

818 Phenomenology of Mind 

the notion is the necessity for and the uprising of 
existence, which has the substance for its essential 
nature and subsists on its own account. But this 
subsisting of existence for itself is the notion established 
and realised in determinate form, and is thereby the 
notion's own inherent movement that of descending 
into the bare and simple substance, which is only sub- 
ject by being this negativity and going through this 

Ego has not to take its stand on the form of self- 
consciousness in opposition to the form of substantiality 
and objectivity, as if it were afraid of emptying itself 
and becoming objective. The power of spirit lies rather 
in remaining one with itself when giving up itself, 
and, because it is self-contained and self-subsistent, in 
establishing as mere moments its explicit self-existence 
as well as its implicit inherent nature. Nor again is 
Ego a tertium quid which casts distinctions back into the 
abysm of the Absolute, and declares them all to mean 
the same there. On the contrary, true knowledge 
lies rather in the seeming inactivity which merely 
watches and considers how the element distinguished 
proceeds, how it is self-moved by its very nature and 
returns again into its own unity. 

With absolute knowledge, then, Spirit has wound up 
the process of its various forms and modes, so far as in 
assuming these various shapes and forms it is affected 
with the insurmountable distinction which consciousness 
implies [i.e. the distinction of consciousness from its 
object or content]. Spirit has attained the pure element 
of its existence, the notion. The content is, in view of the 
freedom of its own existence, the self that empties and 
gives up itself to objectivity ; in other words, that 

Absolute Knowledge 819 

content is the immediate unity of self-knowledge. The 
pure process of thus relinquishing itself to externality 
constitutes when we consider this process in its bearing 
on the content the necessity of this content. The 
diversity of content is, qua determinate and specific, 
due to relation, and is not inherent ; it is its restless 
activity of cancelling and superseding itself, or its 
negativity. Thus the necessity or diversity, like its free 
existence, is the self too ; and in this self-form, in 
which existence is immediately thought, the content 
is a notion. Seeing, then, that Spirit has attained 
the notion, it unfolds its existence and develops its 
processes in this ether of its life and is Systematic 
Science. The moments of its process are set forth in 
Science no longer as determinate modes or forms of 
consciousness, but since the distinction, which con- 
sciousness implies, has reverted to and has become a 
distinction within the self as determinate notions, 
and as the organic self-explaining and self-constituted 
process of these conceptions. While in the Phenomen- 
ology of Mind each moment is the distinction of know- 
ledge and truth, and the process in which that distinction 
is cancelled and transcended, on the other hand System- 
atic Science does not contain this distinction and 
supersession of distinction. Rather, since each moment 
has the form of the notion, it unites the objective form of 
truth and the knowing self in an immediate unity. In 
Science the individual moment does not appear as the 
process of passing back and forward from consciousness 
or presentation to self-consciousness and conversely : 
there the pure form, liberated from the condition of being 
an appearance in mere consciousness, the pure notion 
with its further development, depends solely and purely 

820 Phenomenology of Mind 

on its characteristic and specific nature. Conversely, 
again, there corresponds to every abstract moment of 
absolute Science a form or mode in which mind as a 
whole makes it appearance. As the mind that actually 
exists and historically appears is not richer than Science, 
so, too, mind in its actual content is not poorer. To 
know the pure notions of Science in the form in which 
they are modes or types of consciousness this consti- 
tutes the aspect of their reality, in which its essential 
element, the notion, appearing there in its simple 
mediating activity as thinking, breaks up and separ- 
ates the moments of this mediation, and exhibits its 
content by reference to the internal and immanent 
opposition of its elements. 

Science contains within itself this necessity of re- 
linquishing and divesting itself of the form of the pure 
notion, and necessarily involves the transition of the 
notion into consciousness. For Spirit that knows itself 
is, just for the reason that it grasps its own notion, 
immediate identity with itself ; and this, in the distinc- 
tion it implies, is the certainty of what is immediate or is 
sense-consciousness the beginning from which we 
started. This process of releasing itself from the form of 
its self is the highest freedom and security of its know- 
ledge of itself. 

All the same, this relinquishment of self and aban- 
donment to externality are still incomplete. This 
process expresses the relation of the certainty of 
its self to the object, an object which, just by 
being in relation, has not yet attained its full 
freedom. Systematic knowledge is aware not only 
of itself, but also of the negative of itself, or 
its limit. Knowing its limit means knowing how 

Absolute Knowledge 821 

to sacrifice itself. This sacrifice is the emptying of 
self, the self-abandonment, in which Spirit sets forth, in 
the form of free and unconstrained fortuitous con- 
tingency, its process of becoming Spirit, intuitively 
apprehending outside it its pure self as Time, and like- 
wise its existence as Space.* This last form into which 
Spirit passes, Nature, is its living immediate process of 
development. Nature Spirit divested of self and given 
over to externality is, in its actual existence, nothing 
but this eternal process of abandoning its own indepen- 
dent subsistence, and the movement which reinstates 

The other aspect, however, in which Spirit comes into 
being, History, is process in terms of knowledge, a con- 
scious self-mediating process Spirit given over to and 
emptied into Time. But this form of abandonment is, 
similarly, an emptying of itself by itself.; the negative 
is negative of itself. This way of becoming presents a 
tardy procession and succession of spiritual shapes and 
forms, a gallery of pictures, each of which is endowed 
with the entire wealth of Spirit, and moves so tardily 
just for the reason that the self has to permeate and 
assimilate all this wealth of its substance. Since its 
accomplishment consists in Spirit knowing what it is, 
in fully comprehending its substance, this knowledge 
means its subjectification, a state in which Spirit leaves 
its external existence behind and gives itself over to the 
attitude of Recollection (Erinnerung). In this subjectifi- 
cation, Spirit is engulfed in the darkness and night of 
its own self-consciousness ; its vanished existence is, 
however, conserved therein; and this superseded ex- 
istence the previous state, but born anew from the 

* Cp. Ency. 244 ; also Nuturphilos., Introd. 

822 Phenomenology of Mind 

womb of knowledge is the new stage of existence, a 
new world, and a new type and mode of Spirit. Here it 
has to begin all over again at its immediacy,* as freshly 
as before, and thence rise once more to the measure of 
its stature, as if, for it, all that preceded were lost, 
and as if it had learned nothing from the experience 
of the spirits that preceded. But re-collection (Er- 
innerung) has conserved that experience, and is the inner 
being, and, in fact, the higher form of the substance. 
While, then, this phase of Spirit begins all over again 
its formative development, apparently starting solely 
from itself, yet at the same time it commences at a 
higher level. The realm of spirits developed in this way, 
and assuming definite shape in existence, constitutes a 
succession, where one detaches and sets loose the other, 
and each takes over from its predecessor the empire 
of the spiritual world. The goal of the process is 
the revelation of the depth of spiritual life, and this is 
the Absolute Notion. This revelation consequently 
means superseding its " depth/' is its " extension " or 
spatial embodiment, the negation of this subjectivity 
of the ego a negativity which is its self-relinquishment, 
its externalisation, or its substance : and this revelation 
is also its temporal embodiment, in that this external- 
isation in its very nature relinquishes, externalises itself, 
and so exists at once in its spatial " extension " as well 
as in its " depth " or the self. The goal, which is Absolute 
Knowledge or Spirit knowing itself as Spirit, finds its 
pathway in the recollection of spiritual forms as they are 
in themselves and as they accomplish the organisation 
of their spiritual kingdom. Their conservation, looked 

* Cp. Aristotle, Metap., 10716, " Movement can neither come into 
being, nor cease to be ; nor can time come into being or cease to be." 

Absolute Knowledge 823 

at from the side of their free phenomenal existence in the 
sphere of contingency, is History ; looked at from the 
side of their conceptually comprehended organisation, 
it is the Science of phenomenal knowledge, of the ways 
in which knowledge appears.* Both together, or History 
comprehended conceptually, form at once the recollection 
and the golgotha of Absolute Spirit, the reality, the 
truth, the certainty of its throne, without which it were 
lifeless, solitary, and alone. Only 

This chalice of God's plenitude 
Yields foaming His Infinitude, f 

* "Phenomenology." 

t Adaptation of Schiller's Die Freundschaft ad fin. ; cp. also Schiller's 
Philos. Brief e, " Gott."