• 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.