chapter  10
35 Pages

Personal identity and the stages of life

The crucial fact on which the whole experience of life rests is a sense of continuing personal identity: ‘I am me; I have been me since the moment I was born and I shall go on being me till the day I die.’ This central conviction of ‘ego’ as a unique continuum through mortal existence is the indispensable condition of human awareness, and it is also a miracle-especially when you consider that many body cells are periodically renewed in the course of the life-cycle, so that whole chunks of you as you sit reading this book were not in existence ten years ago. Moreover, you will have lived a number of different ‘lives’ before you reached the present stage on your life’s journey-infant, school child, soul-mate, parent, ‘professional’, etc. Yet through all the years of physical, psychic and social transformation the golden thread of personal identity persists.