— Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel German philosopher 1770 - 1831
Context: The enquiry into the essential destiny of Reason as far as it is considered in reference to the World is identical with the question, what is the ultimate design of the World? And the expression implies that that design is destined to be realised! Two points of consideration suggest themselves: first, the import of this design its abstract definition; and secondly, its realization. It must be observed at the outset, that the phenomenon we investigate Universal History belongs to the realm of Spirit. The term “World" includes both physical and psychical Nature. Physical Nature also plays its part in the World's History, and attention will have to be paid to the fundamental natural relations thus involved. But Spirit, and the course of its development, is our substantial object. Our task does not require us to contemplate Nature as a Rational System in itself though in its own proper domain it proves itself such but simply in its relation to Spirit. On the stage on which we are observing it, Universal History Spirit displays itself in its most concrete reality. Notwithstanding this (or rather for the very purpose of comprehending the general principles which this, its form of concrete reality, embodies) we must premise some abstract characteristics of the nature of Spirit. Such an explanation, however, cannot be given here under any other form than that of bare assertion. The present is not the occasion for unfolding the idea of Spirit speculatively; for whatever has a place in an Introduction, must, as already observed, be taken as simply historical; something assumed as having been explained and proved elsewhere; or whose demonstration awaits the sequel of the Science of History itself.
Lectures on the History of History Vol 1 p. 17 John Sibree translation (1857), 1914