I must confess that there is one thing that cannot be doubted. Rene Descartes was nearly correct when he claimed that the self cannot be doubted in his famous formula, “cogito ergo sum,” or, “I think, therefore I am.” However, he made a mistake that is very easy to make, particularly in a culture where extreme importance is placed on the individual subject as experiencing agent. Actually, it is not the ego or self, but present awareness that cannot be doubted. The act of doubt is only possible within present awareness, but it does not follow from this that present awareness is a perceiving subject. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But maybe instead perceiving subject and perceived object are two binary poles that arise within a consciousness that exits prior to and is not identical to either one. Maybe the sense of self is just another object of some pure, unperturbed consciousness that lies beyond the world of experience. But no matter what the case may be, the fact of present awareness cannot be doubted, for the very act of doubt involves awareness of the doubt.

However, from this it does not necessary follow that present awareness is the supreme reality or more real than anything else. It does not even follow from this that any object or sense of subjectivity that arises after awareness is already present is less real than or comes into existence after present awareness. All that follows from this is that present awareness alone cannot be doubted. It tells us nothing of whether there is an origin of present awareness outside of and independent from it. Perhaps some entity experienced as an object of awareness is more real than present awareness and in fact created it. Perhaps present awareness exists prior to all other things, perhaps not. But it is impossible to say for sure.