But while i am willing to concede that the self changes, that is not to say that its changes are uncoordinated with its vital source. A hologram fades only if it does not receive multiple projections...the question i am pursuing is: what are the points originating that projection?
I am not certain about your question here. Are you asking for what makes up this self? How is it the self seems to be a real thing and if it is not a real thing then what is it? I am going to assume that this is what you are referring to with your question.
It really is simple. It comes down to how the mind functions. I actually think the best way to describe it is by removing the parts. For example if you had all of your senses damage or removed could you perceive the world or even your self? No because the senses are the only way we connect with reality, remove them and we have no way of determining anything at all.
Get rid of your eyes and you can no longer see objects. Get rid of your hearing and you can no longer hear sounds. Get rid of your sense of touch and you would not be able to feel anything from the body. Get rid of taste buds and you wouldn't be able to taste anything. Get rid of sense of smell and you wouldn't be able to smell anything. We would have no way of experiencing reality if we had lost all of these, however; we would still have the mind and the thoughts that fill the mind.
Now let's go really extreme with this. What if you were born without the five senses, no eye, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no ability to feel sensations? You would never develop an identity. You would never learn that the world even exists. You would never know your mother or father. You wouldn't know what a god was. You wouldn't even know what you are. Because it is only by our senses that we develop and learn and get conditioned for what things are that we are experiencing.
So what happens is. There is an object, which I call the sense data. Like the color red for the eyes is the sense data red. When our eyes sense the color red the data get's processed by our brains. Initially we don't see it as red yet, we just have a sense of the data, which comes in the form of a feeling or sensation within the brain. We find it pleasant, unpleasant or are indifferent to it. The sense data must exists first or else there is nothing to perceive at all. If nothing exists then your senses wouldn't even sense anything.
What comes next is perception. We perceive the color red but don't label it yet, all there is the data color in this example. What follows after perception is the impulse response to the color, these are usually habits that develop in response to the sense data interaction. At this point is where we create opinions, likes or dislikes about the sense data.
Finally we have consciousness or discernment of the sense data. This is where we solidify the sense data into something we think to be real. We label it, categorize it and store the data for future use into memory.
These five steps happen very quickly, almost too quick to actually discern but they can be examine and you can test weather or not I am right. It takes a bit of practice but it can be done.
However; after all that said, there is absolutely no where in any of this that shows there is something fundamentally under it all. All it is, is a culmination of parts. Break any one of these parts and the whole system stops. For example.
Destroy the eye and there is no eye consciousness. We would never be able to perceive the color red with destroyed eyes. The reason is because the sense data needs the sense organ to get to the brain. If it can not reach the brain the brain does not respond to the data at all.
This is true for all the senses. This is why there would be nothing if you were to remove all the senses. We wouldn't be able to determine anything. Some would try to argue that we would but it is because they haven't actually investigated the process to see and verify for themselves that this is actually how it works.
Agency does not seem to me to be a product of "consciousness", or even "self-consciousness". In other words, agency precedes consciousness/ ego. What say you?
From my previous description, there is no place for agency at all. It is a mistaken illusion that arises only because of this process. These five steps once they come together give the impression that there is agency but there is none. The reason I can say this, is because if you remove any one of the steps where is the agency? It is no where to be found at all. Not even in the smallest portion can it be found.
It is like a cloud in the sky. What is a cloud? It is the coming together of water vapor which have become tiny pieces of ice that are light enough to remain in the air. They tend to clump together and this is why clouds appear to have shapes. But really a cloud isn't anything. It is just a combination of parts and if you remove any of the parts, it no longer is a cloud. The self is just like this. In fact is is bad to say, the self is just like that when there really is no agency to begin with. It is just the coming together of five parts to give the appearance of a self.