In a famous letter . . . Hegel says that having finished the Phenomenology, he saw at dawn the "soul of the world" ride on horseback under his window. This text is revealing. The victor of Jena is called in it the "soul of the world": he is Welt-seele, and not Volks-seele; he incorporates not the history of the French people, but that of the whole of humanity. But he is Welt-seele and not Welt-geist. He is not Spirit, because he is not fully self-conscious; through his actions he in fact completes history, but he does not know that he is doing this and that he realizes absolute Spirit by doing it. It is Hegel who knows this and who says it in the Phenomenology. Absolute Spirit or "God" is therefore neither Napoleon nor Hegel, but Napoleon-understood-by-Hegel or Hegel-understanding-Napoleon.

André Kojève
Hegel, Marx and Christianity
translated by Hilail Gildin