“But it’s me!”. The caller sounds very self-assured. “Who are you?” I ask getting more annoyed. Is there someone who knows me and whom I don’t know? And indeed immediately the question follows: “Don’t you know me anymore?” I race through all the recesses of my mind. Nothing doing! I do not recognise the caller, feel caught out. My interlocutor treats me with a familiarity to which I cannot respond.
But she is about to tell me her name, the mystery will b cleared up: “It’s me, Karin,” she says. Karin ...?, I think and pause, I don’t know any Karin. Now it really is getting a bit embarrassing, I haven’t got the faintest idea. “There must be a mistake...,” I venture, in the knowledge that I am probably wrong. Pause on the other side. Then: “Don’t you remember the class trip to Tyrol, class 10...?” Abruptly I flush as I remember: Karin, she was that odd girl whom we always made fun of. We lathered her in snow so that she was soaked through ... and then the pneumonia ... I had completely blocked that out, even if I was occasionally stricken by conscience even then. And here it struck again after such a long time.
Encounters can bring up memories, stimulated from outside, and lead us to self-knowledge – not always in a way that flatters us. My I is connected with the other I. Through the other I a part of my own self comes towards me and mirrors my own – not my everyday but my higher, timeless I which is connected with my innermost moral core. Sooner or later all accounts are settled here. Conscience stirs, its voice is a call to my I.
Rudolf Steiner speaks about a proper “ego sense” of human beings. He means by that the ability it gives us to perceive the I of another person. And the organ for that is distributed across everything that makes us human like a sleeping will. If my I is perceived by another human being I can recognise myself in that.
For Karin there is no issue. She behaves towards me without any resentfulness and is completely relaxed: “You’re difficult to get hold of. Finally I’ve caught you ...” She feels closely connected with her “brilliant” class to the present day and only wants my email address for the invitation to the class reunion.
The call was bang on. It struck me.