Consciousness Of The Ego

3. This unified self-consciousness is consciousness of the ego. It is only

by means of an artificial abstraction that we can leave out of account in

the consideration of processes of thought the peculiar factor of personal

relationship that absolutely attaches to every thought within us. There

are no thoughts in general that play their part of themselves alone. "It"

never "thinks" in me. On the contrary, all sensation, thought, and

has in every human being a peculiar central relationship to which we refer

when we say "my idea," "my sensation." What the "I" is cannot be defined.

It is that through which the relation of all experiences and actions is

referred to a point, and through which the treasuring of them for good or

ill, the appreciation, the valuation of them is accomplished. And it plays

its part even in the case of cold and indifferent items of knowledge. For

instance, that twice two are four is not simply a perception, it is my

perception. Of the ego itself nothing more can be said than that it is the

thought of me as the subject of all experience, willing, and action, and

if we try to take hold of it nothing more than this formula remains. Yet

the fact that the ego is the subject of all this, gives conduct, will, and

experience that peculiar character which distinguishes them from mere

action and reaction. For it is directly certain that all the psychical

contents are not only co-existences in one consciousness but that they are

possessed by it.

Thus in summing up we have to say, that it is through the ego that all

psychical activities and experiences are centred and related, that the ego

is itself the point of relation, that it is the reason of the unity of

consciousness and of the possibility of self-consciousness, and that in

all this it is the most certain reality, without which the simplest

psychical life would be impossible. At the same time, it is difficult to

state what the "ego" is in itself, apart from the effects in which it

reveals itself.