Erwin Schrodinger - Nobel prize winner, contributor to the founding of quantum physics.
"Yet each of us has the indisputable impression that the sum total of his own experience and memory forms a unit, quite distinct from that of any other person. He refers to it as 'I' and What is this 'I'? If you analyze it closely you will, I think, find that it is just the facts little more than a collection of single data (experiences and memories), namely the canvas upon which they are collected. And you will, on close introspection, find that what you really mean by 'I' is that ground-stuff upon which they are collected.
Albert Einstein - Nobel prize winner, best known for his theories of relativity.
'A human being... experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison ...'
Stanley Sobottka - Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia. Stanley has an excellent paper available on his website for free, titled "A Course in Consciousness".
From the Summary...
"The following concepts, like all concepts, cannot describe Reality, but, unlike most concepts, they point to Reality.
1. The premise: Consciousness is all there is. Another word for Consciousness is the impersonal, yet intimate, I.
2. The conclusions:
I am not an object or entity.
Objects and entities are never real.
Whatever is supposed to happen will happen. Whatever is not supposed to happen will not happen. There is no doer, so there is no choice.
The entire manifestation is an expression of Love.
3. The practice: Don’t believe this—look and see it for yourself!
"But what exactly is this sense of "I-ness?" I use the word "I" hundreds of times a day without hesitation. I say that I am thinking or seeing something, that I have a feeling or desire, that I know or remember something. It is the most familiar, most intimate, most obvious aspect of myself. I know exactly what I mean by "I." Until, that is, I try to describe it or define it. Then I run into trouble.
Although the self may never be known as an object of experience, it can be known in another, more intimate and immediate, way. When the mind is silent, when all the thoughts, feelings, perceptions and memories with which we habitually identify have fallen away, then what remains is the essence of self, the pure subject without an object. What we then find is not a sense of "I am this" or "I am that;" but just "I am"."