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I am always thinking of me, myself, and I

The Persistent Mental Model I Call Me

Our most prevalent mental model is our sense of self, our thought of psychological continuity, the strange loop of self-reference that we refer to as “I.”

The self has been called an illusion, but our first-person being that we refer to as “I” is necessary to get us through the day. It is better to think of I as a program, something essential to our operating system, an iKernal that loops back around to capture important subroutines’ outputs—the pleasure of stomach fullness from our lizard brain, all the way up the modular mind to our narrative reconstruction of our selves in the day’s events—but not the main program.

Try this, close your eyes, and become very aware of yourself. Associate what you feel on your body or in your body with how it makes you feel—calm, agitated, or something else. Where are these sensations arising, these feelings, or the thought that they define you? They are arising, along with your self, in consciousness—the only place any mental-models, feelings, perceptions, or sensation can ever arise.


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