Your thoughts, since I am going in circles here, or am I?
Since you posted this in Psychology/Sociology I would like to offer a potentially different perspective than you may be considering.
Thus far your concerns appear to be equating consciousness with the ego. You appear to believe (or assume
) that your memory and personal identity are a large part of your consciousness. They are, of course, a large part of your conscious experience, but they aren't necessarily a part of your actual consciousness
at all actually. This, of course, can all depend on how you personally view, define, and consider these concepts.
Consider the following:
In some religions your "soul" (or spirit) is indeed your ego (i.e. your sense and knowledge of your personal experience). In fact, in Christianity it is your ego that is judged, and either "saved" or condemned. And if your ego is "saved" then it's your ego that will live on for all of eternity. Clearly the Christians would object to this observation, but it's necessarily true based upon how their religious paradigm works. It is the human ego that Jesus has offered eternal life, or everlasting punishment to.
In those religions (which actually include all the Abrahamic religions) the ego is the soul (or spirit). Or certainly an inseparable part of the soul (or spirit). This necessarily must be the case since it is the ego that is being judged, then either condemned or "saved".
However, this is not the case in all religions. Many pantheistic religions, including Buddhism, reject the notion of the ego entirely. They don't claim that the ego does not "exist
". Of course it exists. It's nothing other than the sense of self that you experience as a human, along with all the experiences and memories that go along with that experience. So they recognize and teach that the ego is "just an illusion
" brought about via the physical experience in this world.
But the ego is not your "consciousness
". Your consciousness is the thing that is having the experience of being an ego momentarily.
Therefore, when you die there is no need for you to remember anything from your life, including your beliefs, preferences, personality, etc. All that is required is that you are able to experience existence again. For it is the experience of existence that is your consciousness, not the memories of what you might have experienced in a prior life.
This type of mystical pantheistic philosophy is not easy to comprehend. Nor can it be proven to be true or false anymore than something like solipsism can be proven to be true or false. None the less it is an interesting spiritual philosophy that many people (including many pantheists) do not fully understand. Yet it actually makes quite a bit of sense in many ways.
There are even rational scientific arguments that can be made in support of this type of mystical philosophy. In fact, some scientists are actually exploring this realm from a purely scientific and non-religious perspective see David Chalmers, and others.
The reason this is even required in modern science is because our current scientific structure can never explain exactly what it is that is having an experience. Science assumes the existence of particles, (or vibrating waves of energy) as the building blocks of the entire physical world. However, they do not assign any primal ability for these waves to "have an experience
". Therefore they have no way for experience to "emerge
" from fundamental constituents. The question always remains, "Just exactly what is it that is having an experience?". And science has no possibly answer to this question because that ability was never built-in to the original model. In fact this is the argument given by David Chalmers. So Chalmers is proposing that the ability to experience is a primal aspect of existence, and this is basically the same thing that the pantheists are suggesting. (or at least what some
pantheists are suggesting)
In any case, I mainly wanted to address the idea that you seem to be assuming here. And that is that our sense of ego is our consciousness. This is a common concept, but not one that is compatible with various spiritual and philosophical models such as Buddhism and other forms of pantheism.
It's mainly the Abrahamic religions that our focused on saving the ego as the heart and soul of human consciousness. The Buddhists renounce that view as being totally misguided.
Just my thoughts for whatever they are worth.