How does the concept of personal identity relate to the subject of the Phenomenology of Spirit? Throughout this “Bildungsroman,” the intersubjective, social, and institutional layers essential for the self become apparent. Tereza Matějčková proposes that the identity of the self rests in the person's ability to reappropriate norms, rituals, and intersubjective settings that he or she is a part of. However, identity is not essential at the level of consciousness since substantially, consciousness is negativity. As a person, the human being is a consciousness of the self, where the self relates to the social and intersubjective realm and to consciousness as the negativity that makes meaning possible. Consequently, personal identity is conceived of as “personal difference,” which is the active relating of self and consciousness. Matějčková argues that Hegel's Phenomenology is not exclusively a Bildungsroman and that on the margins of the Bildungsroman, a “Kollapsgeschichte” evolves, which is a story where the protagonist learns that an essential part of one's personality is the ability to break with one's environment, occasionally even with one's self.

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