Neurology is closing in on answers to this ancient question. Novelists are in the business of inventing, refining and explaining the “self” found in characters. But do we really have a grasp of the mechanisms that create a sense of self?
In an article titled The Neurology of Self-Awareness, V.S. Ramachandran discusses the current theories and research.
“There are many aspects of self. It has a sense of unity despite the multitude of sense impressions and beliefs. In addition it has a sense of continuity in time, of being in control of its actions ("free will"), of being anchored in a body, a sense of its worth, dignity and mortality (or immortality). Each of these aspects of self may be mediated by different centers in different parts of the brain and its only for convenience that we lump them together in a single word.”