As my life passes, I may begin to suspect that I am not what I believe. I am a being who is asleep, a being with no consciousness of himself. In this sleep I confuse intellect— the thought functioning independently from feeling— with intelligence, which includes the capacity to feel what is being reasoned.
My functions— my thoughts, feelings and movements— work without direction, subject to random shocks and habits. It is the lowest state of being for man. I live in my own narrow, limited world commanded by associations from all my subjective impressions. This is a prison to which I always return— my prison.
The search for myself begins with questioning where “I” am.
I have to feel the absence, the habitual absence, of “I.” I must know the feeling of emptiness and see the lie in always affirming an image of myself, the false “I.” We are all the time saying “I,” though we do not really believe in it. In fact, we have nothing else in which we can believe. It is the wish to be that pushes me to say “I.” It is behind all my manifestations.
But this is not a conscious impulse. Usually I look to the attitude of others in order to be convinced of my being. If they reject or ignore me, I doubt myself. If they accept me, I believe in myself. ~ J de S