The puzzlement caused by the question ‘Who am I?’ is not due only to the impossibility of pointing to a definite self, but because of the difficulty of thinking of us as somebody who is living in the present time.
Though we commonly speak about ourselves using the phrase ‘I am’, we understand it with reference to a past existence which is still powerful in the present time or to a promise of being in the future exactly as we think we are now. [For instance, ‘I am wise’ means that I have lived acquiring wisdom and that I will prove its possession in the future time]
The future cannot be charged of blurring the perception of our present, since the future does not really exist. The cause is the past which is embodied by our parents or other ancestors. Their visible oldness provides to our eyes and so to our main source of knowledge the image of the humans as old beings. Therefore, the desire of reaching the completion as a man or a woman comes to mean an aspiration for becoming someone about which we can discuss as we would do about a person from the past. Finally, the child perceives its sexual organs as a sign of belonging to the world of adults in still an imperfect manner. The child cannot be aware that its sexuality is meant for the future time and primarily tests it with the parents ( if a child got the idea that the sexuality is meant for a future time, still it cannot form any clear image about it, since that future would bring in its life persons who are totally unknown).
In the modern times, there are many ways by which the old persons can hide their real age, so that the young hardly can see in them the truth about the past time, namely that it is a time of decaying. Moreover, the parents are generally accepted and loved, so that the children do not notice the negative side of the state of oldness. As a consequence, the past continues to dominate our self-perception.