Is there a difference between “I” and “me”

It’s something that worked into my head. I know of the self and I’m pretty sure that exists but when we talk about it we use words like “I” and “me” (or myself). Like how we say we don’t like certain thing about ourselves or some ways that we react. When phrased like that it makes it sound like there are two people inside the body and not just one. I know they refer to the same being but I found it puzzling to hear say that almost like talking about a specimen in a jar or another person, almost like it’s someone else. And when we speak about it to others then is it the part we aren’t proud of or the reflective side that notices these? Is one more real than the other? My head just spins the more I think about it. I’m curious what others think.

Think what you will of Sam Harris, but I like his description of what happens when you meditate. We start with the sense of “self” as you describe, it floats around our head somewhere, maybe slightly above it, but if you meditate, which involves some techniques to stop yourself from following thoughts and stop the internal conversation that occurs as voices in your head, that self quickly becomes something that can’t be located. I like that Sam also exposes that most people who talk about their meditations tend to exaggerate how well they can “stop thinking”. I haven’t tried it much, but I’ve barely been able to get to a few breaths where I sense that my body is just doing it’s thing without any need for a “me” in charge of it. Sam says he has worked with Buddhist masters and they report similar results. I’m sure I’d get something out of a multiple day meditation retreat, but it’s not something high on my list.

I read that Sam is out of his depth when it comes to Buddhism or such talk about the self. But I don’t think that meditation really teaches us anything so much as it creates something. Kind of like Buddhism saying it gives insights but I think it’s more likely just creating something else.

As for the self during meditation, there appear to be mixed results on that one. I don’t buy the “body just doing its thing” because there is still a brain in charge and a thought process we aren’t exactly privy to.

I read that Sam is out of his depth when it comes to Buddhism
Yeah, it's the internet. You can read something that says just about anything. I read the earth is flat.

When I said “body just doing it”, I included the nervous system. You’ve argued against the brain being in charge before, but now you you say it is. If you are going to talk about something like “self”, you are talking about a “sense”. The whole point of discussing is because we don’t fully understand it. This is how you keep your obsession going. You don’t allow for the unknowns. You want answers, then you reject answers, then you use an answer you once rejected to reject someone’s opinion.

Why do I answer your posts? I don’t know.

I’m sorry, reflex.

You’re right though about the sense of it all, which is what puzzles me. I mean I know I am a body, not the “universe”. And like the physicist said that the pattern we have is what makes consciousness and what is what we call “life”. But I’m not sure if that answers the “I” or “me” bit.


But then I have others trying to demonize thinking or the self like:

I understand if you're a bot that matters of the spirit are non existent. If you're a human then you're stuck at the halfway house and pretty much dead to the universal spirit. If you are aware then there is still the sense of self ,your self image, thought operating. With attention there is none of that , there is only the primal state and what is being observed. What you do have is your eyes ,ears ,nose , sense of touch and taste; they still operate but not thought because that is your total past butting in. Can you look at the full moon without talking to your self ? Maybe you confuse Attention with concentration. One has the horse eye blinders on the other doesn't. If you're gonna ''make'' something new then of course you need some thought. With your thinking you will be still be talking the same stuff in another 2000 yrs. And psychologically you will still be in the same space. stuck in the land of thought at the halfway house. And so you will never know what freedom actually means
Glossing over that I can’t truly know if I am “free” and not that it matters I thought the goal wasn’t to stop thinking but to give the thoughts space without engaging?

It seems our “mechanical” part has some programming hard wired into it. It does not seem that the mechanical part has the capacity for re-programming (learning). Those things the body can’t do at birth but can do upon maturity don’t seem to be the result of experience causing re-programming (learning) but rather the result of the original programming continuing to develop the body.

The conscious part of us seems to not require the nourishment needed by the body. What it does seem to need is access to to memory. The need for sleep seems to be more a need of the body than a need of the consciousness to disengage. Indeed, the consciousness seems to wander about in a “sub” sort of state when the body shuts down.

It seems pretty clear to me that in the moment of conception there are two entities formed, a body and a consciousness, and that they are linked somehow. The body appears to be able to do its thing pretty well as long as the consciousness does not interfere. Trauma, fast or slow, to one or the other seems to be what breaks the link and we die.

The body decomposes following death but we cannot determine what happens to the consciousness. Some hope for continuation of consciousness after death. I believe it is the fact that we think we can recognize our consciousness separately from our body that gives rise to the notion “I am”.

Note for those who maybe don’t know: “I am” is the name of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic God. That recognition of self is present in all living creatures. And so with all that, I don’t see any difference in meaning between “I” and “me”.


That’s actually wrong as consciousness seems tied to our body and physiology. When the body dies so does awareness as the mechanisms that produce it are no longer around. It’s not a separate part of us like you think. There aren’t two entities at birth, just the one.

Consciousness is something we do. e.g. like walking is something we do. No body - no walking. No body - no consciousness.


Also the body can do things as the result of experience.

and consciousness does in fact require the nourishment of the body. No body no consciousness. General anesthesia for me disproved the consciousness survives death, since all I can remember was closing my eyes and then opening them and I was done. It was creepy because there is a block of time where I was totally unaware of anything. No dreams, no blackness, nada. So consciousness is just another aspect of the body that is us.


When i I asked around the “I” and “me” seem to just be semantics and not proof of anything.

Also we can’t say all living things are conscious. Plants for one seem dubious.

I did a search: “Do plants communicate?” First hit among many results was one from The Scientist magazine, Jan 2014. In an article titled “Plant Talk” was this:

“Researchers are unearthing evidence that, far from being unresponsive and uncommunicative organisms, plants engage in regular conversation. In addition to warning neighbors of herbivore attacks, they alert each other to threatening pathogens and impending droughts, and even recognize kin, continually adapting to the information they receive from plants growing around them. Moreover, plants can “talk” in several different ways: via airborne chemicals, soluble compounds exchanged by roots and networks of threadlike fungi, and perhaps even ultrasonic sounds. Plants, it seems, have a social life that scientists are just beginning to understand.”

I can agree that one-way communication (either emitting or receiving, but not both) is insufficient to infer consciousness, but I think we have to question why a plant would emit any signal which would cause other plants to take action unless there is some expectation of another plant receiving that signal. For example, I question why a fruit tree would do what it does to attract pollinators if it is not aware of those pollinators and the service they perform.

It would be a huge stretch to suggest consciousness since this seems more like stimulus response stuff and more like a computer than what we take to be humans. It’s fascinating yes, but I wouldn’t infer consciousness just yet. All this just seems to fall into the same line of “evolution”, flowers and the like were an adaptation that evolved in response to externals. Also I wouldn’t call this talking, it’s more of an automatic response like that of danger or some kind of hive mind. None of this implies consciousness though, and even if it did it still doesn’t change that consciousness is essentially tied to biology.

Bob queried: For example, I question why a fruit tree would do what it does to attract pollinators if it is not aware of those pollinators and the service they perform.

Reply: My thermos bottle keeps cold liquids cold and hot liquids hot. How does it know which to keep hot and which to keep cold?

Iow, non-conscious things can function in the ways they function, without any sort of what we call “awareness”.

Good way to verbalize the notion I had in my head.

Why is it that I get this message when I replt to a post: ERROR: Duplicate reply detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that.


I have not replied to the post before, there is no way “I have already said that”. If I try sending it later I get the same message.

CFI Forums has so many glitches it’s not worth participating. Every time I sign in there is another one. In addition, every time I sign in I have to write in my email and password. I belong to several online discussion groups and none require this. Is anyone in charge here?

Things have improved a bit, but we are at the mercy of software vendors. I haven’t heard that complaint in a while. Thanks for reporting it.

Things have improved a bit, but we are at the mercy of software vendors. I haven’t heard that complaint in a while. Thanks for reporting it.