Fragments: Salience and Self-Knowledge

It is very uncommon to notice anything that is not coloured with feeling-tone. In this way, reality confronts us as a colouring-book whose colours we pre-consciously administered. In other words, salience is generally contingent on the sympathy or antipathy that a given perception evokes. The world is perennially there for us, but we are not always there for it. In this way, perceptions are like mirrors in which we behold aspects our own souls in reflection, and all knowledge is self-knowledge, though not about the “self” we usually conceive. Oh, you are curious about that self? The difficulty is that the eye cannot see itself and neither can the I. To get an idea of this I, we can quote the words of the philosopher Franz Brentano: “And I understand here by ‘idea’ not that which is conceived but the act of conceiving.” Self-knowledge is the mystery of mysteries because we seek it everywhere other than the place it may be found.

 Willst du deinen Selbst erkennen
Schaue hinaus in der Weltenweiten
Willst du die Weltenweiten durchschauen
Blicke hinein in das eigene Selbst.

“If thou wouldst know thyself
Look outward into cosmic spaces
If thou wouldst fathom cosmic spaces
Look within thine inmost self.”

—A verse from the inestimable Rudolf Steiner


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