You and I are mirages who perceive themselves, and the sole magical machinery behind the scenes is perception -- the triggering, by huge flows of raw data, of a tiny set of symbols that stand for abstract regularities in the world...We human beings are macroscopic structures in a universe whose laws reside at a microscopic level. As survival-seeking beings, we are drive to seek efficient explanations that make reference only to entities at our own level. We therefore draw conceptual boundaries around entities that we easily perceive, and in so doing we carve out what seems to us to be reality. The "I" we create for each of us is a quintessential example of such a perceived or invented reality, and it does such a good job of explaining our behavior that it becomes the hub around which the rest of the world seems to rotate. But this "I" notion is just a shorthand for a vast mass of seething and churning of which we are necessarily unaware...But our own unfathomability is a lucky thing for us! Just as we might shrivel up and die if we could truly grasp how miniscule we are in comparison to the vast universe in which we live, so we might also explode in fear and shock if we were privy to the unimaginably frantic goings-on inside our bodies. We live in a state of blessed ignorance, but it is also a state of marvelous enlightenment, for it involves floating in a universe of mid-level categories of our our creation -- categories that function incredibly well as survival enhancers.
-- Douglas Hofstadter (2007)