«(…) When we say, “who am I?” we attend to certain bits of information or signs that represent the “I”, and these signs become an object of interpretation. One could never attend to all the feelings, memories, and thoughts that constitute what one is, instead, we use representations that stand for the vast range of experiences that make up and shape the self and enable one to infer what the object of self-awareness is. Because self-awareness is a process occurring in time, the self can never be known directly (…). Self-awareness, resulting from an act of inference, is always open to construction, change and development (…).»
Mihaly Csikszentnihalyi, Eugene Rochberg-Halton, The Meaning of Things, Domestic Symbols and the Self, Cambridge University Press, 1981, p. 3.