Who am I? Understanding the “Knower” and the “Known”

Who am I? Understanding the “Knower” and the “Known”

If you are looking to understand “Who am I”, I hope, in this article you will get to know the “I” by self-introspection based on available scientific evidence and spiritual experience as well.

In this article, I shall illustrate the “I” with a different context in accordance with the physical dimensions we live. At the end of this article, I hope you will understand my analysis of the “I” or “Me” and the “Mine” at the atomic level.

The “Me” or “I” is the “Knower” of the physical dimension and the “Mine” is the “Known” by the knower in the physical dimensions we live in.

Self-introspection is the key to understand the question “Who am I?”

In this article, I shall help you to introspect the “I” or “Me” by yourself in three different dimensions of physical reality.

Without further delay, let’s get started.

The “I” and the Surroundings

In this stage, consider yourself as the body you have, that body you can see through your eyes as its image; i.e. the reflected image on a mirror or its photographed image. You can never see your face or the whole body without the help of tools. Am I right?

Our body is surrounded by trees, air, houses, animals, stars, planet etc. In reference to the surroundings, we may say

  • This is my universe
  • That’s my planet
  • This is my country
  • It is my city
  • That is my house
  • This is my dog

In the above example, I have started from the highest dimension of the physical reality and ended with the one of the lowest dimension of the surroundings. But wait, stick to the end to know the lowest dimension is the atomic level.

In all of the examples, the body is the “Knower” and all examples of the surroundings such as the universe, planet, house, dog etc. are “Known” to the body.

For example, you can see your “Known” dog through your eyes, you can know the “Known” sound through your ears.

In essence, the “Knower “body knows the “Known” through the sensory organs.

I hope you have understood the question “Who am I” for the surroundings with respect to the physical body you have.

In the next dimension of the physical reality, I shall let you introspect further within your physical body.

The "I" and the Physical Body

In this stage, you will need to introspect yourself by your intellect and few sensory organs.

For example, when you say “I have a hand”; you can see your hand through eyes.

Similarly, when you say “I have a nose”, you may be the knower of your nose by looking at its images on a mirror or in a photo, you may also feel it by your hand or by visualizing through your intellect.

Now, let’s go deeper into the self-introspection. In all of the above examples, you are the knower through your brain. Am I right?

The brain is the “Knower” of everything that we know. But the big question is when you say “I have a brain”, who is the “I” or the “Me” of the “Known” “Brain”.

Do you believe that you have a brain or you know that you have a brain? You know it right.

But who is the knower of this brain? Then we come up with the idea of mind.

When you say “I have an intellect”. The “Known” intellect is known by the “Knower” mind.

So, In essence, we can conclude that the mind is the knower or “I” or the “Me” for the known body.

Now the toughest question is if you say “I have a mind”. In this case who is the knower  “I” or “Me” for the known “Mind”.

Someone might think, the body knows the mind. The body is the knower of the known mindBut, does anybody has seen/sensed/heard/tasted/smelled the mind?

I think no, the mind can only be perceived, it is like a software program that is running in a hardware called the brain.

Stick to the next section know the “Knower” “I” when you say- “I have a mind”,

The “I” and the Mind

Have you ever said or experienced that you lost your mind. I think we everybody have faced it.

The question is who was ruling your mind when you lost it?

For that, you have to understand the conscious mind, subconscious mind and the external stimuli of the mind. In another article on how to understand the mind, I have explained about the working of the human mind.

Let me tell you  in brief about the mind in the context of losing it.

The processing unit of the mind can process conscious thought, subconscious thoughts or external sensory inputs. For example, John was watching a movie based on the life of firefighters. His mind was processing external sensory inputs, i.e. from the movie. But in the meantime, he got the motivation to become a firefighter as the movie was projecting the firefighter as live savior. The motivation is a mixture of conscious and subconscious thoughts. 

He was full of motivation as he was watching the TV, that repetition of motivation made him attached to the lifestyle of the firefighters, that attachment leads to emotional desire. Finally, when he expressed his desire to his parents, his parents said, you can’t be a firefighter, we will never let you be a firefighter. That unfulfilled desire of John made him angry. That anger leads to popping up of many thoughts of unfulfilled desires he already has, and all those unwanted subconscious thoughts hijacked his intellect and finally, he lost his mind.

In the above example, John was unable to recognize when he lost his mind. But there are few, probably you are one of them or you can be, to recognize whenever you lost the mind. 

“I lost my mind”, again the same loop, who is the “Knower”? Who is that “Knower” “I” who lost his “Known” “Mind”.

There are no scientific deductions about the mind or the so-called “I”. But we have some scientific facts. The facts are

  • 99.99% of an atom is empty
  • 99.99% of the universe is empty

Now consider a hypothetical scenario, suppose you are that 99.99% empty space of the atom and you say, “This is my proton, this is my electron, this is my neutron.” Here the “Knower” is the empty space and the “Known” can be the electron, proton or the neutron.

Similarly, if we consider that the 99.99% empty space of the universe as the knower, the known is the universe.

There are certain philosophical quotes of the nothingness of the “I”. Here are a few examples;

“I am nothing yet I am everything”—Sri Krishna

“I am nothing but I must be everything”— Karl Marx

A religious or spiritual person might say, the knower is the soulBut who knows what is soul, how does it look like. I don’t know. Do you know what a soul is?

Some of the spiritual people tell us that the soul only can be only experienced through self-introspection. This is not false at all. The “I” of the sentence “I have a mind” can be experienced through meditation.

So, as per my conclusion, if “I” or the “Knower” is the empty space i.e. nothingness, the nothingness knows the electrons, protons, and neutron of an atom. Similarly, the nothingness knows the mind, body, and the universe.

We all of the creatures of this planet are made up of atoms, it is a scientific fact. All the creatures are designed differently for different purposes. But, all those atoms are clustered in the human body in such a way that human can be conscious, that creates the difference of humans from others

Finally, I am waiting for the moment when the scientific community defines what exactly the empty space or nothingness of an atom is, do you agree?  Till then, we can’t have a concise definition of the question “Who am I?”

I am concluding a wise quote of recognizing yourself as nothing, here it is:

“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.”- Nisargadatta Maharaj

Do you agree with this wise quote? Do let me know in the comment section.

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