We spend our lives protecting an elusive self - but does the self actually exist? Drawing on literature from Western philosophy, neuroscience and Buddhism (interpreted), the author argues that there is no self. The self - as unified owner and thinker of thoughts - is an illusion created by two tiers. A tier of naturally unified consciousness (notably absent in standard bundle-theory accounts) merges with a tier of desire-driven thoughts and emotions to yield the impression of a self. So while the self, if real, would think up the thoughts, the thoughts, in reality, think up the self.