Self According to Damasio
Self Comes to Mind
Leading theorists on self and consciousness Antonio Damasio has gathered certain concepts to explain self. Damasio delineates that the self is a process found in humanity, separated into two vantage points. He names these two self as knower and self as object. He states,
Combining the two vantage points produces the dual notion of self…the two notions correspond to two stages of evolutionary development of the self, the self-as-knower having had its origin in the self-as-object…. We can imagine that the self-as-subject-and-knower is stacked, so to speak, on top of the self-as-object, as a new layer of neural processes giving rise to yet another layer of mental processing. There is no dichotomy between self-as-object and self-as-knower; there is, rather, a continuity and progression. The self-as-knower is grounded on the self-as-object (213-228).
The Feeling of What Happens
Damasio explains the relationship between object and organism. He explains that consciousness and self for that matter is mutually attached to the experience of an object. The organism’s relationship to the object creates an image and this image is consciousness and self in relation to the object. Damasio states,
“…the organism in question is that within which consciousness occurs; the object in question is any object that gets to be known in the consciousness process; and the relationship between organism and object are the contents of the knowledge we call consciousness…the object in the relation causes a change in the organism” (Damasio 20).