Whilst it can be of some help to study the psyche along reductionist principles, the holistic and dynamic structure of the psyche can never be completely ignored or forgotten. In a sense, that proximity to the ever changing nature of one's inner being throws a spotlight on the apparent fragility and powerlessness of the "I", that inwardly observing self. The real sense of deep unease that arises from one's Selfness (ego, or false self) is that it is not entirely in the realm of consciousness. Some part of it, and maybe the larger part, lies in the unconscious mind beyond the relatively weak control of the conscious will. I cannot be unaware of the predatory nature of my Selfness as it forever seeks to control and manipulate every aspect of my conscious life. Trying to fight that psychic predatoriness is like trying, single-handedly, to clear virgin ground only to see Nature move back in with all the urgent and willing power at her command. Similarly, my sense of Selfness refuses to be denied its assumed divine rights. So, also, it seems to be with my soul, my most inner and Higher Self. I am a house divided against itself. "I" desire to rest in silence; my Selfness wants the opposite, to be filled with anything but silence.
Although I have become accustomed to talking about the ego, and also the Higher Self, almost as separate entities, they are, each one, states of being that exist in part or wholly in the unconscious mind. Furthermore, although there is a different feel about the experience of these states, it is impossible for me to draw a line of demarcation between them, for that would be an action appropriate only to my conscious sense of Selfness, a flawed reality. Thus I can see no way that reductionist principles can be applied to my unconscious mind in order to gain enlightenment. Only the language of imagery and an intuitive sensing beyond the physical senses are of any assistance. It is a source of great wonder to me that the unconscious mind is able to 'speak' to consciousness in this way; and on occasions insists on so doing.
For all its power to consume and control, I think it would be a mistake to call Selfness either bad or even good for that matter. Judgementalism can play no part in this assessment. Selfness simply 'Is'. The difficulty that I need continually to confront arises from its assumption of Godlike importance and sense of rightness, for therein lies its fundamental flaw. But who or what within my awareness makes this assessment? Maybe this and other questions should be left alone, because they simply draw me back onto the merry-go-round designed to establish the sovereignty of my false self, my Selfness. The paramount task in the search for the true self is to disengage, detach, allow to slip out of focus, break concentration on egoistic traits, and allow timeless silence into my being. And that is what my Selfness least desires.
If I could see the total reality of the power of my ego I would be terrified. It seems to leave my consciousness just the bare minimum I need to survive. I have no real power, no real control. It is like being the most insignificant of human beings caught up in a war of the gods; or Jacob fighting with an opponent that is variously a man, an angel, or God. Even so, "I" must be of some importance in the inner grand scheme of things. That I do not know why the observing "I" is important is a direct result of the fact that I do not yet know myself, do not yet know what I truly am.