What about the need for identity at all? Does that also dissolve? Is "Amness" closer to the truth than "I Am?"
Interesting musings Andy. As I see it, identity is purely functional - and in its own domain, necessary. Wouldn't you agree?
I like to think of it as a series of nested circles.
For instance, draw a small circle and in that write 'I am a father' (mother, brother, sister etc.) Draw a larger circle around that and in it write 'I am a man'. In a larger circle around that write I am a 'human being'...
Realisation is the recognition of the page on which these circles are drawn.
As you can see, these categories are not exclusive - one doesn't exclude the other. They are nested - each is encompassed within a wider reality. There is no duality in acknowledging a functional/practical role while being aware of true identity - these functional roles can be said to be expressions within that.
Great reply, rob x. I do like the analogy. So after realization, all those nested identities remain as facts (father, man, human) that still exist, of course. Is there an "I" left to identify with any of them? Is there an "I" left to "identify with Self/Brahman?" Does Atman become an artifact of form, and really have no agency any longer? Is "I" not a meaningful concept anymore? Is my new "identity" so nonlocal that any attempt to distill it, even into "my body" becomes a temporal dualistic manifestation and profoundly incomplete?
Not to say that the perceived uniqueness in each individual human personality is not real within the plane of relativity. Of course they are real. Ramana was not Barry Long, by any stretch! So "I" can remain as "Andy" for all sorts of interactions with "other people" and the tax man. But my claim as an absolute identity as "Andy" is provisional at best. As individual "people" we are the gamepieces for lila in maya. And vehicles for the expression of unconditional love (or worse.)
My original question, though, had to do with need. Egos need to be robust and invincible, and the egoic life is an impossible struggle to achieve that status. They are "need-driven'" fragile and paranoid. But after awakening, after realization, does anything remain that "needs" anything, really? Unmet perceived needs are a primary cause of suffering. I chatted recently with Colin Drake and he felt that there is no longer even a need for identity. Now that is freedom! Of course the DSM-V would classify it as mental illness.