The Iceberg Model of Identity

Every person in the world is named “i”—all 7.7 billion of us. Yet, despite the fact that we all call ourselves by the same name, we don’t seem to find it strange or suggestive. We may explain it away by saying ‘i’ is not a name, but simply a pronoun. In fact, there is more to this ‘i’ than the pronoun and the individual personality. “i” falls along a broad spectrum of identity, from the First to the Second to the Third Mind.

The Iceberg Model of Identity

The Iceberg Model of Identity

There are 7.7 billion First Minds on Earth, each a peak of the iceberg. The First Minds don’t recognize the Second Mind which is appearing as them, as the Second Mind is hidden beyond the First Mind level of awareness (the level of the water). To the extent the First Minds feel familiarity and commonness with other First Minds and experiences in general, the Second Mind is being recognized. This occurs along a gradient, as the arrows indicate.

The model depicts that the connection we feel isn’t only a feeling. It’s the expression of the fact that we are the expressions of a single organism, the Second Mind, the second i.

Beyond this Second Mind, which is the dimensions of space-time and its modification as all discrete things, is the Third Mind—the third i. The third i fluxes as the second i, which organizes as the first i’s.

Therefore, when each of us as individuals speaks of i, we are speaking of a vast terrain, beginning from the tips of our awareness to the depths of dimensional space-time and beyond, like blades of grass on a vast bed—or, like the peaks of an iceberg.

Anoop Kumar, MD, MM is board certified in Emergency Medicine and holds a Master’s degree in Management with a focus in Health Leadership. He practices in the Washington, DC metro area, where he also leads meditation gatherings for clinicians. He is the author of Michelangelo’s Medicine and the upcoming book Is This a Dream? He tweets @DrAnoopKumar.