What Is Self?
Self is an illusory identity adopted by consciousness.
Consciousness has been convinced that as long as it believes whatever others believe, it is safe. This is exactly what Solomon Asch’s experiment on conformity was about. Self is a conjuring* trick, an image that consciousness unwittingly adopts by taking an unspoken oath in infancy to believe everything it is told, and then repeats that to others; this causes consciousness to direct its attention away from its actual reality.
Nothing comes out of the blue. Memories and judgements lie in ambush, waiting for the moment to assert themselves, and for us to replay our illusion.
To see our self in action,
we watch our reactions which have become second nature.
Second nature: a habit that has become characteristic or instinctive.
Our first nature is consciousness,
which is aware of those reactions.
*Conjure: make something appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere. To call an image to the mind.
Middle English (also in the sense ‘oblige by oath’): from Old French conjurer ‘to plot or exorcise’, from Latin conjurare ‘to band together by an oath, conspire’ (in medieval Latin, ‘invoke’).