23 Mar

The Four Tiers of Reality

The previous post discussed the meaning of sat, chit, and ananda—i.e. consciousness, the search for meaning, and the search for happiness. The search for meaning creates an individuality—i.e. what you are by yourself. The search or happiness creates a personality—i.e. what you are in relation to others. The individuality and personality create many conflicts, because what you need to do for yourself is often in conflict with what you need to do for others. Should you prioritize your needs? Or should you prioritize the demands of others? We all know that this is a pointless debate because we need both meaning and happiness, and doing one or the other would not suffice. The conflict between meaning and happiness is resolved by a third category—consciousness—which, as we have seen before, exists as choice. The resolution is that sometimes we prefer meaning over happiness, and at other times we prioritize happiness over meaning. This post discusses the implications of these categories and how a three-fold distinction within transcendence not only creates different tiers within a spiritual reality, but is also the basis of the three modes of material nature.

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22 Mar

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, music, and movies. In these stereotypical ways, the pursuit of meaning is selfless, while that of happiness selfish. And yet, we could not live without both. How should we reconcile them? This post discusses this question from the perspective of Vedic philosophy where meaning and happiness are two different aspects of consciousness (sat)—called chit (meaning) and ananda (happiness).

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22 Mar

Sāńkhya, Reductionism, and New Science

Many people believe modern science is reductionist and an alternative anti-reductionist science must replace it. This post discusses why Sāńkhya is reductionist—because it reduces everything to only three modes of nature (sattva, rajas, and tamas). It also discusses why Sāńkhya is anti-reductionist—because the first mode of nature in this reductionist theory (sattva) represents the whole, which precedes the contradictory parts (rajas and tamas). Sāńkhya becomes anti-reductionist because the whole precedes the parts. And yet it remains reductionist because there are only three states in nature. The post discusses Gödel’s Incompleteness and how incompleteness arises from the problem of opposites. It then argues why the Sāńkhya anti-reductionist model of reduction can be made to work—because the opposition between rajas and tamas is a feature of the logical system, not a bug. In the process, we can see how a shift from bi-stable to tri-stable logic changes science so fundamentally. This shift (in logic itself) constitutes the essence of what we might call “Vedic science”: it is not pseudo-science, and it is not just philosophy; it is science in every sense of the word, just based on a different kind of logic. Just as binary logic is the basis of all modern science (because any law of modern science can be computed on a binary digit computer), “Vedic science” is based on a ternary logic computation.

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