According to Buddhism, the deepest, most pernicious erroneous view held by sentient beings is the view that a permanent, eternal, immutable, independent self exists. There is not such self, and deep down we know that. This makes us anxious, since it entails that no self or identity endures forever. In order to assuage that anxiety, we attempt to construct a self, to fill the anxious void, to do something enduring. The projection of cognitive objects for appropriation is consciousness's main tool for this construction. If I own things (ideas, theories, identities, material objects), then "I am." If there are permanent objects that I can possess, then I too must be permanent. If I can be identified with something permanent, the I too must have a permanent identity. To undermine this desperate and erroneous appropriative grasping, Yogacara texts say: Negate the object , and the self is also negated.
Source: Buddhist Phenomeonlogy: 538-539
Contributed by: Ryan