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 optimistic view of the world; when I’m unhappy the same things are seen pessimistically. Therefore, I now hope not to get happiness, but to choose happiness. This post shares some insights on this choice.
How do we know something to be true? This question has preoccupied philosophy for as long as we can remember. Many answers are offered to solve the problem, but each one suffers from a different problem. For example, reason is a useful method of knowing, but reason only compares a claim with the axioms or assumptions; how do you know that your assumptions are indeed correct? Sense perception too doesn’t certify our assumptions because the same perception can be explained by alternative assumptions. This post offers an introspective view of knowledge under which what convinces us of the truth is not reason or perception, but the happiness that we experience as a consequence of that knowing. Under that happiness, all doubts are destroyed, and certainty is established.
The laws of nature in current science are mathematical formulae that predict the behavior of objects deterministically, which precludes any role for choice and morality in nature. Therefore, if nature permitted choices, how would we reconceive natural laws? In Vedic philosophy, the law is a material entity called a role which defines the expected behaviors but doesn’t preclude choice. The interaction between choice and expectation creates a consequence, which moves the actor into new roles. There is determinism as far as the outcome of the choice-expectation interaction is concerned but the determinism is based on the local conditions or role without precluding choices. The current contradiction between choice and determinism in science is actually reflective of a mistaken notion of material reality and its laws. This post discusses how natural laws can be reconceived compatible with the existence of choices.