“..we have all sorts of representations of ourselves which are really rather superficial. And we try to identify with them. But then once we do that, we have this quality of thought which infuses it into perception. We apparently perceive the thing we are representing – it seems to be there. It’s like the rainbow; we see a rainbow, but what we have is drops of rain and light – a process. Similarly, what we ‘see’ is a self; but what we actually have is a whole lot of thoughts going on in consciousness. Against the backdrop of consciousness we are projecting a self, rather than a rainbow. If you walk toward the rainbow you will never get there. The image of the table is produced in the same way, but if you walk toward the table you will get there and touch it.
“I’m suggesting that if you try to touch the self, it will be the same difficulty as trying to touch the rainbow. We have a representation of the self, which is really arising in a process. We don’t know this process very well; but the attempt to treat the self as an object is just not going to mean anything. So instead, suppose we say that this self is unknown. Its origin, its ground is unknown. And it is constantly revealing itself through each person or through nature or through various other ways.” David Bohm – Thought As A System