The Autobiographical Self

From "The Quest to Understand Consciousness," by Antonio Damasio, TED Talks, March 2011:

There are three levels of self to consider -- the proto, the core and the autobiographical. The first two are shared with many, many other species, and they are really coming out largely of the brain stem and whatever there is of cortex in those species. It's the autobiographical self which some species have, I think. Cetaceans and primates have also an autobiographical self to a certain degree. And everybody's dogs at home have an autobiographical self to a certain degree. But the novelty is here.

The autobiographical self is built on the basis of past memories and memories of the plans that we have made; it's the lived past and the anticipated future. And the autobiographical self has prompted extended memory, reasoning, imagination, creativity and language. And out of that came the instruments of culture -- religions, justice, trade, the arts, science, technology. And it is within that culture that we really can get -- and this is the novelty -- something that is not entirely set by our biology. It is developed in the cultures. It developed in collectives of human beings.