Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. Rene Descartes came up with this piece of brilliance.
It's also wrong.
It has to do with the language. The Latin has no pronoun representative for the self, other than the conjugal form, so "cogito, ergo sum" translates to (I) think, therefore (I) exist. Or thought, therefore existence.
But the first part of this little equation, "I think", presupposes 'I'. There is an implicit declaration of existence, because in order for there to be an 'I' to think, 'I' must exist in the first place. It's like saying "car, therefore car".
So we have to go a bit deeper.
In order for there to be an 'I', there must be a 'non-I'. Definition by exclusion.
I call the 'I' self and the 'non-I' other.
In the metaphysical sense, the border between the self and the other is where consciousness begins. It is what defines the conscious entity that I define as being "me". In the purely physical sense, I am the flesh-bag that stops at my skin. In a more esoteric sense, I create electromagnetic waves that extend beyond my flesh, and gravity inherent from my mass affects the bodies around me. And the things that I do affect others lives in some ways, which makes it the hardest to define: do we go back into the past to look at everything I've ever done, every choice I've made as a part of who I am? Because to do that leads to a complex thready mass that is so completely intertwined with others as to be inseparable.
Everyone's reality is different. Reality to any one individual is a model, a representation created in their own mind based on their sensory input and filtered through their perceptions. I can no more realize what your reality is like than you can mine. I may see colors differently than you, or hear things that you can't. I may have one foot in the invisible world, you may think I'm insane. I may see a six-foot-tall rabbit, you may be a six-foot-tall rabbit.
In that sense, There may not be anything other than the self and the other. Every thing and everyone else that I believe "exists" may purely be a construct that I have generated.
But if that is the case, then I am responsible for the construct; in fact, I am one with the construct, for there is nothing else: there is no other, and therefore no possibility of an 'I'. Yet even within that construct, I am aware of a sense of self, or more properly, a sense of the division between self and other.
Why self-awareness? what purpose would it serve if there were no self? Does there need to be a purpose, or does self-awareness come as a side effect of existence?
The language that I know and understand doesn't allow me to express the concepts properly. It doesn't allow me to expand my self and eliminate the border between myself and everything else out there.
I need an unbound language.