Searching for the high-I

Asian Philosophy 15 (3):247 – 264 (2005)
Abstract
This paper questions the nature and existence of the ego and I from a Western and Eastern viewpoint, which has been a question for 2,500 years when the Buddha rejected the Brahman idea of ātman. The answer for an ego depends partly on the state of consciousness; the existence of the Western objectifying ego is undeniable in ordinary consciousness, but not in extraordinary consciousness with no objectifying. The subtle question remains about the existence of an I that is distinct from the ego and that is best represented by most meditative or contemplative states. Here a subjectified, witnessing, consciousness-maintaining I still seems to exist. This may be called the "High-I," which appears to provide for all states of consciousness a constancy and awareness not provided by the ego. This finding has implications for psychology and religion as well as philosophy.
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