His Own Account

Caleb Gattegno wrote his own obituary before he died.

Here is his account:

My death is placed here last among the achievements of this life of mine, though it could be given an earlier spot.

By shifting from death to my death, in the effort of understanding that phenomenon which looms so large in pre-human consciousness, I gave myself both an epistemological edge and the chance to find something important and essential for those concerned with that challenge. Indeed, I brought together the two ends of the duration of a life; its beginning and its end-making each illumine the other. To account for my awareness of myself at any age and at this moment of this life, I had to give the self a sufficiently small energy to lodge it in the initial microscopic fertilized cell which became my soma that accompanied me in this life. I called it a quantum and was able to see it at work, first in utero, to produce the working soma and the accompanying psyche which will keep it going all through life and then, ex-utero, to produce all these facts of awareness needed to furnish my rich and varied life. My self aware of itself, discovers what it can do with the energies which are latent in the environment and are taken to one’s "bag" to keep one’s life thus generated so as to make it one’s OWN life. During this process of living a specific and unique human life, the self can become aware of the evolution allowed by one’s gifts and the evolution precluded by one’s lacks. My death will allow me to do once more what I did at the very beginning of this life, give myself a soma and a psyche as well as a different environment, which will provide new opportunities to give myself a new stretch of human life in which what I could not evolve this time will be possible, and what I did do in this life which helped my evolution, be done more thoroughly. So my death is the gate to my rebirth and the start of a new life for my quantum to direct and energize, integrating in its attributes all my specific evolutions which translate themselves that way. So, when I return I need not remember anything of this life, in the manner a new species does in the third realm where it lives its new instinct, this integrates the previous one without acknowledgment of the old instinct as an entity in itself. In fact, this understanding of my death has had the effect of making me understand this life and some of my previous lives WITHOUT ANY MEMORY OF THEM. To the point that, like most people, I did not suspect my previous lives until I asked about what it was not possible to have learned in this life but is an integral part of me. For instance, my will, my sensitivity, my presence in awareness, my patience, my ability at being myself at any age. At the same time, I felt the well of being someone who knows something very important about himself, something only very few are lucky enough to meet without paying the price of dedicating every moment and for years to such a quest. Understanding my death has been understanding my life and what went to make it what it has been. It also tells me that this is the question everyone should ask of oneself and not see death as a frightening abyss whose contemplation can create panic.

To close - what one of my friends who read this manuscript called my obituary - I wish to add that I restricted myself to what today seems to me to be my main achievements in this long and varied life. There is much that others may have chosen instead of what stands out for me. I have been a man of action and worked with thousands of people for many years; I have started working groups which developed into social forces; I let thwarted individuals who were brought to me for remediation, blossom under my very eyes and go on becoming persons with confidence and a purpose for their lives; I thrashed out, in many long seminars and workshops, challenges to our generation(s) and seen them yield something important to our scrutiny; I have found that the charging environments in which I lived could become sources of limitless investigations which would help evolution at this juncture; I have encountered my strengths and given them full rein while recognizing my many weaknesses which needed attendance in my next lives; in particular, I saw clearly that a bright future awaits humanity if we can cooperate in its descent among us, and that summarizes indeed my whole life.