Volume 22, Issue 1, Spring 2017
Hegel’s Phenomenology of Unhappy Consciousness
The Dialectic of the Phenomenology of Spirit as the Education of Consciousness
Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is a careful description of the progressive unfolding of Spirit. Its dialectic is the education of consciousness. There are three stages of unhappy consciousness: external beyond, changing individual, and achieved reconciliation. Being aware of its own mutability, the self yearns for reconciliation, which can only come from the external beyond, from the unchanging. The quest of unhappy consciousness for reconciliation is characterized by the three stages of devotion, sacramental desire and labour, and self-mortification. The self, constituted by what is other, is never able to achieve lasting satisfaction; it desires the unity of self-consciousness. Through the experience of itself, the self comes to a clearer self-awareness and transgresses its own limits.