And unwisely he considers thus: ‘Have I been in the past? Or, have I not been in the past? What have I been in the past? How have I been in the past? From what state into what state did I change in the past?
Shall I be in the future? Or, shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? From what state into what state shall I change in the future?’
And the present also fills him with doubt; ‘Am I? Or, am I not? What am I? How am I? This being, whence has it come? Whither will it go?’
And with such unwise considerations, he adopts one or other of the six views, and it becomes his conviction and firm belief: ‘I have a Self’, or: ‘I have no Self’, or: ‘With the Self I perceive the Self’, or: ‘With that which is no Self, I perceive the Self’; or: ‘With the Self I perceive that which is no Self’. Or, he adopts the following view: ‘This my Self, which can think and feel, and which, now here, now there, experiences the fruit of good and evil deeds: this my Self is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and will thus eternally remain the same’.
If there really existed the Self, there would also exist something which belonged to the Self. As, however, in truth and reality neither the Self, nor anything belonging to the Self, can be found, is it not therefore really an utter fools’ doctrine to say: ‘This is the world, this am I; after death I shall be permanent, persisting, and eternal’?
These are called mere views, a thicket of views, a puppet- show of views, a toil of views, a snare of views; and ensnared in the fetter of views the ignorant worldling will not be freed from rebirth, from decay, and from death, from sorrow, pain, grief and despair; he will not be freed, I say, from suffering.
(Buddha, taken from Majjhima Nikaya 2 & Majjhima Nikaya 22)