What Is It To Be First Person Singular?

I find myself… more important to myself than anything I see. And when I ask where does all this throng and stack of being, so rich, so distinctive, so important, come from, nothing I see can answer me… Nothing else in nature comes near this unspeakable stress of pitch, distinctiveness, and selving, this selfbeing of my own. Nothing explains or resembles it… Searching nature I taste self but at one tankard, that of my own being. The development, refinement, condensation of nothing shews any sign of being able to match this to me or give me another taste of it, a taste even resembling it.

One may dwell on this further. We say that any two things however unlike are in something alike. This is the one exception: when I compare myself, my being-myself, with anything else whatever, all things alike, all in the same degree rebuff me with blank unlikeness; so that my knowledge of it, which is so intense, is from itself alone, and they in no way help me to understand it.  Gerard Manley Hopkins

By alienation is meant a mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the centre of his world, as the creator of his own acts… The alienated person is out of touch with himself as he is out of touch with any other person. He, like the others, is experienced as things are experienced.  Erich Fromm

One becomes a man by imitating others. One does not know instinctively that one is a man, but as a result of a deduction: one is like the others - ergo one is a man.

The in-and-for-itself, the absolute, has not only gone out of life, but has become something ridiculous in the eyes of men.

The majority of men are curtailed 'I's; what was planned by nature as a possibility capable of being sharpened into an 'I' is soon dulled into a third person.  Kierkegaard

The Brahmin Drona, seeing the Blessed One sitting at the foot of a tree, asked him, "Are you a deva?"
The Exalted One answered, "I am not."
"Are you a gandharva?"
"I am not."
"Are you a yaksha?"
"I am not."
"Are you a man?"
"I am not a man."  Pali Canon


Man, proud man!
Drest in a little brief authority, -
Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep.  Shakespeare

 
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