Ruminations on Vedic Philosophy

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Philosophy Physics Religion

What is a Machine?

A few articles ago, I discussed the nature of Personhood as six traits—self-awareness, intention, emotion, cognition, conation, and relation. Then we discussed Personalism vs. Depersonalization: A person is governed by free will and the depersonalized is governed by laws. As a follow-up, in this article, I will discuss what I mean by a machine in …

Advice

So, You Are Saying …

I have many amusing and yet frustrating exchanges where people tell me: So, you are saying <something which I never said>. Then I refute that claim and clarify it. But then I get even more amusing and frustrating answers: So, you are saying <some new concoction which I never said>. Can you confirm? Sometimes, the …

Philosophy

Differences Between Western and Eastern Personalism, Impersonalism, Voidism, and Materialism

Śrila Prabhupāda’s Praṇām Mantra describes the Western world as nirviśeśa and sūnyavāda, which are translated as impersonalism and voidism. This has always perplexed me because the West sees itself rooted in Christian theistic Personalism. In what sense can a society based on theistic Personalism be called impersonalism or voidism? The problem compounds if we consider …

Law

What is a Person?

In the last article, we briefly discussed the personhood of God and soul, and this one elaborates on that discussion. In modern societies, a person is defined as something that has rights. For example, forests, rivers, mountains, animals, and oceans are not considered persons and hence not given rights. Conversely, corporations have rights, therefore, they …

Religion

The Origins of Evil

The problem of evil has two distinct flavors. The first flavor says: There is famine, war, pestilence, and disease in this world and since God created an evil world, therefore, He must be evil. The second flavor says: So much suffering is caused by evil people, and since God created people, therefore, He must be …

Law

Nature is Governed by Persons Not Laws

A law is defined as things that could or could not happen, should or should not happen, and would or would not happen. The limitation of could and could not depends on a person’s ability; a more capable person can do more things and a less capable person cannot do those things. The limitation of …

Philosophy

Why Metaphysics is Pointless

Western philosophy has a famed distinction between appearance and reality. This distinction began with the idea that appearances are outward projection, while reality is the thing in itself. For example, consider a cheater, who talks suavely and pretends to have your best interests at heart, but in fact, he is trying to deceive you. Here, …

Logic

There is No Answer to Bad Questions

There is a widespread myth that all questions must be answered. Practical experience, however, shows that most questions go unanswered. Then the cynic says: Truth cannot be known. In this post, I will analyze this myth, to update it to something precise: All good questions can be answered and there is no answer to bad …

History

Why the West Rules the World—For Now

I recently came across a book with the same title as this post, by a British historian Ian Morris, that tells an obscurantist history of the West, attributing its successes to geography. There have been similar books (e.g., Collapse by Jared Diamond) that attribute the rise and fall of empires to climate changes, availability of …