Ego Awareness

Here in physical life we realise our Ego through the fact — which I have often pointed out — that we stand in a certain relation to our body. Consider: if you reflect closely on a dream you will say: In the dream you have no clear feeling of the Ego, but often a feeling of separation. That is because man here on the physical plane only really feels his Ego through contact with his body. You can represent it very crudely thus: If you move your finger through the air — there is nothing there! Move it further — there is still nothing. When you touch something, however, in coming against something, you know of yourself, you become aware of yourself. We are thereby made aware of our Ego. Not the Ego itself is aroused — the Ego is a Being — but the consciousness of the Ego. The opposition makes us aware of our Self. Thus we are Ego-conscious in the physical body because of our living in it. For this reason we have received the physical body. In the life between death and rebirth we have an Ego-consciousness, because we have received the forces which proceed from the vision of the previous life. We come to a certain extent in contact with that which the world of space gives us and thereby win our Ego-consciousness for the life between birth and death. We come in contact with that which we ourselves have experienced between birth and death in the last life, and thereby have our Ego-consciousness for the life between death and rebirth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – THE FORMING OF DESTINY AND LIFE AFTER DEATH: 2. On the forming of Destiny – Berlin,18 November 1915

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PORTRAIT BUST BY DAVID DOZIER

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Here, on earth, death has a terrifying aspect 

Here, on earth, death has a terrifying aspect only because we look upon it as a kind of dissolution, as an end. But when we look back upon the moment of death from the other side, from the spiritual side, then death continually appears to us as a victory of the spirit, as the Spirit that is extricating itself from the physical. It then appears as the greatest, most beautiful and significant event.

Moreover, this experience kindles that which constitutes our ego-consciousness after death. Throughout the time between death and a new birth we have an ego-consciousness that not only resembles but far exceeds that which we have here during our physical life. We would not have this ego-consciousness if we could not look back incessantly, if we would not always see — but from the other side, from the spiritual side — that moment in which our spiritual part extricated itself from the physical. We know that we are an ego only because we know that we have died, that our spiritual has freed itself from our physical part.

When we cannot contemplate the moment of death, beyond the portal of death, then our ego-consciousness after death is in the same case as our physical ego-consciousness here upon the earth when we are asleep. Just as we know nothing of our physical ego-consciousness when we are asleep, so we know nothing concerning ourselves after death if we do not constantly have before us the moment of death. It stands before us as one of the most beautiful and loftiest moments.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – The Moment of Death and the Period Thereafter – Leipzig, February 22nd, 1916

Previously posted on January 19, 2019 

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An entity that contacts nothing can have no knowledge of itself 

A simple observation can convince everyone how ego-consciousness develops and becomes strong in a child. Suppose he knocks his head against the corner of a table. If you observe closely you will find that the feeling of “I” is intensified after such a thing happens. In other words, the child becomes aware of himself, is brought nearer to a knowledge of self. 

Of course, it need not always amount to an actual injury or scratch. Even when the child puts his hand on something there is an impact on a small scale that makes him aware of himself. You will have to conclude that a child would never develop ego-consciousness if resistance from the world outside did not make him aware of himself. The fact that there is a world external to himself makes possible the unfolding of ego-consciousness, the consciousness of the “I.” […]

An entity that contacts nothing can have no knowledge of itself, not, at least, in the world in which we live! 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth: III: Man’s Journey Through the Planetary Spheres and the Significance of a Knowledge of Christ – Hanover, November 18, 1912

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on November 22, 2016

Here, on earth, death has a terrifying aspect

Here, on earth, death has a terrifying aspect only because we look upon it as a kind of dissolution, as an end. But when we look back upon the moment of death from the other side, from the spiritual side, then death continually appears to us as a victory of the spirit, as the Spirit that is extricating itself from the physical. It then appears as the greatest, most beautiful and significant event. Moreover, this experience kindles that which constitutes our ego-consciousness after death. Throughout the time between death and a new birth we have an ego-consciousness that not only resembles but far exceeds that which we have here during our physical life. We would not have this ego-consciousness if we could not look back incessantly, if we would not always see — but from the other side, from the spiritual side — that moment in which our spiritual part extricated itself from the physical. We know that we are an ego only because we know that we have died, that our spiritual has freed itself from our physical part. When we cannot contemplate the moment of death, beyond the portal of death, then our ego-consciousness after death is in the same case as our physical ego-consciousness here upon the earth when we are asleep. Just as we know nothing of our physical ego-consciousness when we are asleep, so we know nothing concerning ourselves after death if we do not constantly have before us the moment of death. It stands before us as one of the most beautiful and loftiest moments.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – The Moment of Death and the Period Thereafter – Leipzig, February 22nd, 1916

An entity that contacts nothing can have no knowledge of itself

A simple observation can convince everyone how ego-consciousness develops and becomes strong in a child. Suppose he knocks his head against the corner of a table. If you observe closely you will find that the feeling of “I” is intensified after such a thing happens. In other words, the child becomes aware of himself, is brought nearer to a knowledge of self.

Of course, it need not always amount to an actual injury or scratch. Even when the child puts his hand on something there is an impact on a small scale that makes him aware of himself. You will have to conclude that a child would never develop ego-consciousness if resistance from the world outside did not make him aware of himself. The fact that there is a world external to himself makes possible the unfolding of ego-consciousness, the consciousness of the “I.” […]

An entity that contacts nothing can have no knowledge of itself, not, at least, in the world in which we live!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth: III: Man’s Journey Through the Planetary Spheres and the Significance of a Knowledge of Christ – Hanover, November 18, 1912

Translated by Rene Querido