Philosophies About the ‘I’

27 03 2011

In a lot of “new age” talk, and many other spiritual philosophies, the ‘ego’ is usually regarded as a constriction of Huwan Nature, a cage that must be forgiven, dissolved, and left behind, for full awareness to awaken.

In Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science philosophy of Anthroposophy, the ‘ego’ is one of the highest principles of a person, that must be realized and appreciated to awaken full awareness.

What makes the difference, in these two conceptions of the ‘ego’? Well, I reckon:

In ‘new age’ talk, the ego is viewed as a material object, like a table is an object. The idea is: through the ego, we see the ‘I’, the person, as if they were a ‘thing’, concrete, definite, an earth-bound, temporary object that has a beginning and an end, most commonly identified with the body… and when the body goes, we think the person, the ego, goes too. Death is the end of the ego, and thus, the end of the Huwan. The ‘I’ is a temporary, limited ‘thing’.

In Anthroposophy, the “I” is viewed as a vessel for an individuation of the spirit, and the spirit is the universal, infinite and eternal oneness.  Thus, Anthroposophy explains that when a body dies, the ego, the ‘I’, continues, and is eventually re-birthed into another body, as the dreamer passes from one dream to another. The ‘I’ is always united with the eternal, limitless and infinite potentiality of all that is.

New Age Ego: constricting ‘thing’ that must be transcended.
Anthroposophical Ego: gateway to limitless ______.

Any way, that’s just philosophy and word games. Nisargadatta Maharaj, author of I Am That, in which he continually advises people to ask the simple question “Who am I?” without attaching an answer to any ‘thing’, has said, ““You’ve been around long enough. You should know by now. There is no birth. There is no death. There is no person. It’s all a concept. It’s all an illusion… Now you know the Nothing, and now you can leave.”

In conflict, argument, disagreement, everything, I find it helpful and healthy to acknowledge that every thing has a little bit of truth in it.




One response

3 01 2012

I love your reflections, thanks! That question of the difference between Steiner’s and new age egos has been on my mind for quite some time. “I”, that limitless being in an individualized body, acknowledges “you” 🙂

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