All human thought depends to a degree on universally recognized axioms that are used not only in philosophical circles but also in everyday life. These are the First Principles of Knowledge that make all understanding possible. Without them, all meaningful communication ceases.
The three primary axioms are the Principles of Consciousness, Existence, and Identity. The act of asserting something is an implicit assumption that I am Conscious, i.e. Aware, that I know something. The proof for this principle is in the self-evident thought itself; merely pointing to my consciousness is enough to assert that at least the “Self” has Consciousness. This does not yet extend to other Conscious beings outside the Self, but is limited merely to the Self-referent. At this point, the only thing that I can be sure of is that I am. At the most basic level Consciousness can be defined as awareness of the Existence of a Self and its relation to the external world.
And thus enters the Principle of Existence, for the Self must be or exist in order to know that it is. That the Self “exists” is assumed in the statement, just as Consciousness is assumed in asserting anything about Existence; the Self also experiences and observes an external world that seems to exist; based on a subjective understanding of what “being” means, the Self can then extrapolate the meaning of the existence of external entities. In the same way that the Self exists, and external world hereby labeled “Reality” exists.
Implicit in these two principles, the Axiom of Identity assures that that which exists does so in one particular form at one particular time. Each entity has one and only one form of existence at any given moment. The most basic of these Identity characteristics is Existence itself: an entity either exists or it doesn’t; there is no in-between.
These three are intimately tied together and are undeniable in the literal sense. Deny Consciousness and you deny your ability to assert anything; the denial disproves the statement’s content. Deny Existence and you deny that you exist to make a statement; your assertion disproves itself. Also, even if there were nothing, “nothing” is a “something,” a form of existence; a void must “be.” Deny Identity and any statement you make about anything loses meaning, for language would be torn away from its singular significance. The act of denying any of the principles is the act of asserting all three. This is because they are the most obvious, ostensible, self-evident assertions to prove. They are internal, in the Self, subjectively experienced by us all. Without these principles there is no possible thought or comprehension.
Thus I am aware that I exist and that I am myself; the observance of an external world implies that it exists as well in the way I experience existence.
These three are indeed circular, mutually dependent axioms. Yet so central are they to the human mind that they are the necessary and objective conclusions that to which all rational people must come.