• Management,  Psychology,  Sociology

    Mob Psychology—Does a Group Have a Mind?

    It is common to think that a person has a body and a mind. But when groups of people act in concerted ways, it seems that they are a singular body controlled by a mind. How is a random collection of people (who act in individual ways) different from one in which they act as if they were a single body controlled by a single mind? This post discusses the emergence of organization in a random collection of individuals, and the main idea is that two invisible constructs—structure and purpose—rather than the physical bodies create organization.

  • Philosophy,  Psychology

    A Random Walk Through Perception

    I have recently received several questions about Sāñkhya. These include the differences between senses and organs, that between inert matter and a living body, how desires influence perception, how Sāñkhya elements could be understood in analogy to motion, and the relation between yoga and the control of senses and the mind. These are not tightly interconnected topics, but I found a way on how to weave the answers together into a progressive ‘random walk’.

  • Psychology

    The Mechanisms of Depression

    As mental illnesses become prominent in today’s world, and science doesn’t believe in the existence of anything that cannot be sensually perceived, the cure of such illnesses suffers from a conceptual poverty inherited from the legacy of the physical sciences. While the understanding of the mind is receiving renewed focus owing to the growth in mental illnesses, the cures struggle to straddle the internal world of thoughts and emotions along with the external world of chemicals and empirical observation, although the mind-body duality remains till date an unsolved problem in science. This post discusses the conceptual framework drawn from Vedic philosophy, which can help us comprehend depression in a new…

  • Girl Crossroads Choice Way  - Pixource / Pixabay
    Philosophy,  Psychology,  Religion

    Happiness is a Choice

    I used to think that happiness is caused by other people, situations, and things. If only they would just behave, I would be happy. As silly as it sounds, it is indeed a deep-seated belief in each one of us. I have now realized that happiness is a cause rather than an effect. When I am unhappy I gravitate toward the useless things—e.g. news, economics, entertainment—hoping that these things will make me happy but they make me feel worse. When I’m happy I gravitate toward writing, teaching, and meditation, which make me happier. Thus, my unhappiness brings more unhappiness, and my happiness increases my happiness. Under happiness, I have an…

  • Psychology

    Divine and Demonic Natures

    This post offers some practical advice on how to deal with different kinds of people in this world based on some ideas drawn from Vedic philosophy—namely, divine and demonic natures—which are separated into the upper and lower parts of the universe. In the present world, which lies in between the upper and lower extremes, these natures are mixed. That means some people have divine nature, others have demonic nature, and yet others have a mixture of these natures. By learning to spot them through a philosophical understanding, we can understand how to relate to different people.

  • Psychology,  Religion

    The Freudian vs. the Vedic Unconscious

    The initial thesis of Freudian psychoanalysis and that of Vedic philosophy are similar—namely, that our surface behaviors are the result of a deeper “unconscious” reality. The person in both cases is described hierarchically—e.g. as an iceberg, with only the tip visible, while most of its reality is invisible. Nevertheless, there are numerous differences in the process of how the unconscious is created—the process is repression in Freudian theory and it is expression in Vedic philosophy. But the biggest difference lies in their description of fear and desire. In Freudian theory, desire is internal and fear is external. In Vedic philosophy, fear is even deeper than desire, and causes that desire. In other…

  • Cosmology,  Politics,  Psychology

    The Illusion of Nationhood

    An earlier post outlined the differences between physical space and conceptual space. The next post then outlined how the conceptual space is suited to describe societies and ecosystems. This post discusses how the conceptual space creates the phenomena and the illusion of physical space. In this illusion, the weakly interacting locations (in conceptual space) appear to be far in the physical space while the strongly interacting locations (in conceptual space) appear to be near in the physical space. Thus, we can change our distance to an object without motion by changing the part of the world we interact with. One consequence of this fact is that nationhood—based on physical proximity—is…

  • Philosophy,  Psychology

    What is the Power of Kundalini?

    In an earlier post, I discussed how the Sāńkhya notion of manifest and unmanifest matter addresses some fundamental problems related to perception and realism. In a later post, I discussed how the unmanifest becomes manifest through several stages—para, pasyanti, madhyama and vaikhari. In a subsequent post, we talked about how the agency to cause this manifestation is prāna, which acts as the “force” of nature, under the control of free will, time, karma, and God. This description leads to a natural doubt: is prāna an objective entity by itself, or is it simply a combined effect of other entities (soul’s choice, time, karma and God)? This post discusses how prāna…

  • Philosophy,  Psychology

    Can We Know Reality Without Changing It?

    Modern atomic theory describes perception as a change both to reality and to our perception. For instance, when we see the redness of an apple, light impinges on the apple, is absorbed by the atoms in the apple, and then emitted. The color perceived by the eyes is due to the light that is emitted. This model of perception requires a physical particle (a photon) traveling from the apple to the eyes, which presents a deep philosophical problem of perception in that we cannot know the world without changing it. In the case of seeing an apple, the electrons in the atoms must first absorb light and then emit it,…

  • Biology,  Linguistics,  Psychology

    The Phonosemantics Thesis

    In earlier posts—such as here—I described the notion of space in which words are identical to their meanings, and connected it to a tree-like structure of space. In the last post I described how this tree like structure of space appears in all languages in trying to decode their meanings. In this post I will briefly discuss the empirical evidence that supports the notion that meanings are derived from the sounds of phonemes. In contrast to the conventional wisdom in linguistics which claims that the connection between sounds and meanings is arbitrary, this post describes how a closer analysis of linguistic roots suggests otherwise. This topic is broadly called Phonosemantics or “sound symbolism”.