There are many schools of psychology and philosophy world over, which deal with this topic of the self, the ego, the transphenomenal and phenomenal world. Let us take the French (Existentialist) and Indian Philosophical ways of looking at these seemingly complex but extremely simple concepts, which have immense potential to explain who we are and what should our level of existence be!!
Sartre says there are three ways of looking at a person’s being.
The consciousness of a person has a way of responding to situations, in which the person behaves, of the self (en soi), for oneself (pour soi) and for others (pour autre).
He says if a waiter starts forgetting to connect with his inner self and behaves like a waiter for the duration he is working, his being is connected to what a waiter should do and what is expected of a waiter by others.The waiter should not be in a hurry to serve people with a dead pan face and get his tip, or he should not, only recommend the more expensive items on the menu to customers, as his commission is linked to the food he makes people order. He talks about such existence as living in 'Bad Faith'. Whereas the waiter should let his individuality surface in serving people with a smile and help them to not over order and waste food among other issues.
He goes on to explain that all human beings are nothing but a state of consciousness which has no being or form. Our consciousness in trying to achieve a form negates the consciousness of the person we are interacting with to a level of nothingness, and after doing so asserts our consciousness on to the other. This view put forward by Sartre and was made famous by his statement was, ‘Hell is the other’. The irony being he had a wonderful relationship with Madame Simon de Beauvoir.
The Indian view talks about the concept of Maya (Illusion) to explain both the transphenomenal and phenomenal world. It says both these are Maya and therefore unreal! The only reality being ‘ Atman’ or the immortal soul of an individual passing through this world and therefore one should take everything lightly.