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""Me"" is the concept of an individual's recognition of themselves as a single agent among, but separate from, others - a distinct individuality. The concept of ""self"" defines the particular way in which we understand that individuality. The distinction between the sense of 'me' and our concept of 'self' has evolved over time. (Malik, 2000, 42 - 46)

  • Ancient Greeks prior to Plato had little conception of a self as a single entity within the body.
  • Plato (300s BC) had the notion of a unified soul as a single locus of all our thinking and feeling, but this unification of the soul did not lead to a distinction between the internal world and the external world as we understand it. The Platonic and Aristotelian concept of thought referred to both an internal process by which humans come to understand the world and to the external order of things which must be understood. Aristotle wrote, ""Actual knowledge is identical to its object."" Ideas are not representations of the world confined to the mind, but are located in the world itself. For Plato, in particular, the process of thinking was the process of coming to realize the rational order in the world.
  • Descartes (1600s) provided the origins of the modern concept of self and of the distinction between the inner self and the outer world. Descartes established the self as the only certainty 'I think, therefore I am.'
  • After Descartes, thought and knowledge are not properties of the world but are confined to the head. In the Cartesian world, to know reality is to have a correct representation of things - a correct picture within of outer reality. Thus reason is no longer defined as existing in the objective order of things, but becomes a method, or procedure, to discover truth.
  • Descartes' method of beginning with the self as the only certainty, and moving outwards to the objective world, became central to the science of mind over the next three centuries (1700s - 1900s). This led to the isolated individual as the source of knowledge about what it means to be human. This established the 'I' as the central 'subject' - and object - of debate in the science of Man.

Self and identity (Stacey, 2001, pp 103) --
A bodily sense of self, an identity, is actualized through the way in which others respond to that person's unique bodily time contours, i.e. feelings, and the way in which such responses are experienced. The bodily sense of self emerges in a social process, one in which a self is co-created. It seems that these time contours, no mater what their sensing modality (method), are directly perceived by others. The capacity for cross-modal perception seems to be what enables humans to yoke together sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste into the experience of some whole person or thing (Barrie et al., 1994; Stern, 1995). This capacity is evident in music where the rhythms of sound are experienced in the body as feeling dynamics such as calmness or excitement. Similarly, one person's experience of being with another person has to do with the first's perception of the other's feeling dynamics through a process of transmutation from perceptions of timing, intensity and shape via cross-modal fluency into feeling dynamics in the first.

The key point is that humans seem to be biologically capable of selecting from an array of stimuli (images, sounds, touches, smells and tastes) impinging on the body, directly perceiving the amodal time/space qualities of that selection, and combining, matching, or even fusing these qualities with the time/space qualities experienced in the body. It seems, therefore, that it is the equivalence between the time/space contours of the stimuli and the time/space contours of feeling in the body that make possible the emergence of meaning in the stimuli that are being integrated. Indeed, it may not be going too far to say that the very possibility of mental development is based upon this temporal/spatial contour equivalence between inner physiologically based feeling dynamics and externally presented stimuli.