• Overview,  Research

    The Scientific Study of Consciousness

    Vedic texts divide experience into the seer, the seen, and the seeing. We can also call these the knower, the known, and the knowing. What we commonly call ‘consciousness’ is the process of seeing or knowing. This seeing or knowing is a property of the soul—the seer or the knower—but it operates under the knower’s control. Thus, the knower is distinct from consciousness, by which it knows. Then, the knower is called the ‘enjoyer’, the known is called the ‘enjoyed’, and knowing is called ‘enjoying’. Based on this, we can understand the technical nomenclature of sat, chit, and ānanda. The ānanda is the enjoyer, the chit is the enjoyed, and…

  • Philosophy,  Religion

    Consciousness Has a Gender

    In the previous post, we discussed how matter is also consciousness, although a different type of consciousness. We identified three types of consciousness—God, soul, and matter—and discussed their natures. This post extends that discussion and identifies three genders associated with the three types of consciousness—masculine, feminine, and neutral. God has a dominantly masculine gender; His Sakti has a dominantly feminine gender; and the soul has a dominantly neutral gender. These genders arise due to the differences in their desires. However, when the soul becomes subordinate to God, then it also develops a masculine desire and gender, and when the soul becomes subordinate to God’s Sakti, then it also develops a…

  • Philosophy

    Consciousness is Rooted in Inner Conflict

    This post discusses how choice arises from conflict, in the act of conflict resolution. The nature of this conflict, how conflict resolution leads to compromises in which one side goes dominant and the other subordinate, and how the dominant-subordinate structure is later reversed, producing a cyclic change, are interesting consequences of this idea. This also leads us to think of matter as the cause of inner conflict, and consciousness as the resolver of these conflicts. It helps us understand matter in a new way, as something that is always inconsistent rather than logically consistent. To describe matter as the substratum of conflict requires a fundamentally different way of thinking than…

  • Philosophy

    Study Consciousness in Science?

    In this post I will explore some philosophical ideas from Vedic philosophy and try to describe what consciousness is and argue that we cannot reduce consciousness to matter, but we can study matter using consciousness as the model. In short, we begin by assuming the soul, and then explain matter. This scientific study of matter—based on the understanding of the soul—can be theoretically and empirically confirmed, but consciousness itself (i.e. the axiom of this study) cannot be verified using science. The confirmation of the axiom needs spiritual experience. How the postulate of the soul changes material science is a very interesting topic, but the fact that knowing the soul helps…

  • Philosophy,  Religion

    The Four Tiers of Reality

    The previous post discussed the meaning of sat, chit, and ananda—i.e. consciousness or relation to things, the search for meaning, and the search for happiness. The search for meaning creates a personality—i.e. how others know you. The search or happiness creates an individuality—i.e. what kinds of pleasures one enjoys. The relationship to the world also creates our identity in the form of roles such as parent, child, employee, citizen, etc. These three types of identities create many conflicts, because what you enjoy may not be meaningful, and what is meaningful may not be enjoyable. Similarly, what your role demands may not be meaningful or enjoyable, but what is enjoyable and…

  • Philosophy,  Religion

    The Pursuit of Meaning and Happiness

    “The pursuit of happiness and meaning are two of our most central motivations in life” but “there can be substantial trade-offs between seeking happiness and seeking meaning in life,” writes Scott Barry Kaufman in a thought-provoking Scientific American post. In a stereotypical sense, the pursuit of meaning is one that involves connecting our lives to something larger than our life—e.g. society, nation, race, the universe, or God—thereby broadening our consciousness to what exists beyond our small, temporary, and irrelevant existence. The pursuit of happiness, however, in a stereotypical sense, narrows that focus to our body and mind, and often much smaller subsets of it—e.g. sexuality, romance, food, drink, or music.…

  • Overview,  Philosophy,  Psychology

    The Mechanisms of Choice

    When John von Neumann introduced the idea of the “conscious collapse” into quantum theory, he committed a heresy—or at least something that would have been considered a heresy up until that point—by introducing a causal agent called “consciousness” within science. Science until that point had worked explicitly to keep mind and consciousness out of the study of the material world, and were it not for the considerable reputation that John von Neumann already had, this idea would have been deemed a lunacy right away. After John von Neumann, the word “consciousness” is no longer regarded as crazy, and it has, in fact, in recent times, become the newest frontier for…

  • Philosophy,  Physics,  Research

    The Problem of Measurement in Science

    It is commonly assumed that science describes objective facts about the world, which are discovered through measurements of physical properties. The problems in this measurement are generally not understood, and this post describes them, highlighting two key issues of circularity and recursion in the definition of measurement. How these problems are addressed in Indian philosophy is also discussed.