Anthroposophy, A Fragment
VI. The I-Experience
Within 1An alternate version of this chapter appears in Appendix 2 the human being's experience of the I itself lies nothing that is incited by a sensory process. On the other hand, the I assimilates the outcomes of the sensory processes into its field of experience, fashioning from them its particular structure of inwardness, the actual I-human being. This I-human being thus consists wholly of experiences that have their origin outside the I, yet outlast the corresponding sensory experiences by persisting within the I. These experiences can therefore be transformed into I-experiences.
We can acquire an idea of how this happens by observing the experiences of our so-called sense of touch. Here, nothing belonging to an object in the external world enters the I's experiences. The I sends its own being raying outward, so to speak, to the point of contact with the outer object, and then allows it to ray back into itself with the quality of what it touched. The I's own being — raying back — constitutes the content of the perception of touch. Now why does the I not immediately recognize this perception of touch as its own content? Because this content has received a counterthrust from the other side, from outside, and now returns corresponding to the imprint it has received through the outer world's impact. The I content returns bearing an imprint that it has received from outside. The I thus receives into the structure of its own particular content a certain particularity of the outer world. That these are actually inner I-experiences that have merely received the imprint of the outer world's particularity can be ascertained only by means of a judgment.
Let us now assume that the I's experience could not accomplish making contact with the outer object. The object would send its own being raying outward, and the I's experience would have to recoil before touching the object. In this case, an experience similar to the experience of touch would come about within the I; but because of the weaker resistance that the I asserts in its experience, something like a flowing in of the outer will occur. The experience of smell, in fact, can be characterized as just such a process.
If the impact from outside is so strong that the object raying in from the outside digs into the I's experience, then an influx from outside can occur. Only when the inner experience begins — so to speak — to defend itself, can it "close itself up" against the particularity of the outer world. It has then, however, absorbed the influx from outside and now carries it within itself as proper inner being. The sense of taste can be characterized in this way.
If, however, the I confronts outer existence not with its primary self-experience, but with the essence of what it has assimilated from the outside, then a particularity from the outside can be imprinted into an inner experience that was itself originally taken in from outside. The outer world then makes its imprint on an inner experience which is itself an interiorized outer experience. This is how the sense of sight presents itself. In the sense of sight, it is as if the outer world were dealing with itself within the I's experiences. It is as if it had first sent a member of its own being into the human being, in order to then imprint its own particularity on this member.
Let us now further assume that the outer world fully fills, as it were, the I's experience with what it has sent inward as a sense organ; then the particularity of an outside will in sense experience reverberate in the inner, even though inner experience and outer world stand opposite one another. When the outer world then rays in, it reveals itself as equivalent to an inside. The I will experience outside and inside as equivalent in character. This is the case with the sense of warmth. Let us compare the experiences of the sense of warmth with the life process of warming. An impression of warmth must be recognized as something equivalent in character to the inwardly experienced warmth that fills the inside.
With the senses of smell, taste, and sight we can speak of a streaming in of the outer world into the I's experiences. Through the sense of warmth, the inner life is filled With the character of the outer world. A sense perception from within manifests through the senses of balance,self-movement, and life. Through them, the I experiences its inner physical fullness. 2See below for alternate version of preceding two paragraphs.
Something different transpires in the case of the sense of hearing. There, the outer being does not merely allow our I-experiences to approach it as it does in the sense of touch, nor does it bore into our I-experiences as it does in the senses of smell, taste, and sight, but rather it lets itself be shone upon, as it were, by our I-experiences; it allows these to approach itself. Only then does it counter with its own forces. The I thereby experiences something like an expansion into the outer world, like a placing of the I-experiences outside. We can recognize a relationship like this in the case of the sense of hearing. (Only those given to abstract comparisons will object that such an expansion into the outer world also takes place in the sense of sight, for example. Our perception of sound is essentially different in character from our sense of sight. In color, I-experience as such is not present in the same sense that it is present in sound.) To an even greater extent, the expansion of I-experiences into the surroundings occurs through the sense of word and the sense of concept.
Alternate version of text beginning on page 129:
Let us now further assume that the outer world fully fills, as it were, the I's experience with what it has sent inward; then everything inside will have the particularity of an outside, even though it is inner experience. When the outer world rays in, it reveals itself as equivalent to the inside. The I will experience outside and inside as equivalent in character. This is the case with the sense of warmth. An impression of warmth must be recognized as owing its existence to something equivalent in character to the warmth that is produced within and fills the inside. (Anthropology must acknowledge this, since it must think of inner warmth as coming about through inner combustion just as outer warmth comes about through combustion.) If we reflect on the body-filling result of outer warmth processes, this appears as a second type of inner experience, as something that fills the I and takes on the nature of the I within the I itself. Thus, something inserts itself into our I-experiences, filling the first I like a second I. This second I is, indeed, an I-experience over against the experience of the first I. But to the extent that only the first I really feels itself to be itself, it must conceive of this second I as an image sensation of itself. And that outer world in which the second I has its roots has fully become an inner world.
If we can speak of how the outer world streams into our I-experiences in the senses of smell, taste, and sight, we can also imagine the case in which a piece of the outer world that we recognize as having been interiorized not only works to fill up our inner life, as it does in the sense of warmth, but goes beyond a mere filling up to an over-growing 3The German überwuchern means literally "to overgrow," and figuratively, "to take over" — TRANS. of our inner experiences. In this case, it would present itself like a sense perception from within. This, in fact, is the actual relationship with regard to the senses of balance, self-movement, and life. Through them, the I experiences its inner fullness.