Topic: Self, see also Soul, Atma, Spirit

Reading Complexity: Easy
The distinquished British scientist Michael Polanyi speaks of something he finds “unbelievable.” What is that? For three hundred years, he says, writers who contested the idea that life can be explained by physics and chemistry “argued by affirming that living things are not, or not wholly, machinelike.” What’s wrong with that? Instead, Polanyi says, those writers should have been “pointing out...
Reading Complexity: Easy
“There is no ‘real’ me—a tiny homunculus hidden beneath layers of frozen feelings. … It is not an isolated ‘object,’ a ghost locked in a machine or a mere consciousness located within the body. … You are inextricably enmeshed in the web of meanings shaped by the psychoculture that you helped to form and that, in turn, helps to form you.” (Daniel Yankelovich, in New Rules: Searching for Self-...
Reading Complexity: Easy
We conditioned souls are originally Krishna conscious living entities, but owing to a desire to be independent of God and to be the Supreme ourselves, we have fallen from our original position and become covered by maya (illusion), who provides us with false identities of gross and subtle matter. By the grace of Krishna and His pure devotees we fallen souls can regain our original Krishna...
Reading Complexity: Medium
The deeper scientists probe into the nature of perception, the farther away their subject recedes. The idea that now dominates the life sciences is that life can be completely understood within the framework of chemistry and physics. Those who subscribe to this viewpoint say that we can explain all features of life—from the metabolic functioning of cells up to the mental phenomena of thinking,...
Reading Complexity: Medium
A NUMBER OF readers have written—several at formidable length—to express doubts or objections concerning the essay “On Conceiving the Inconceivable.” I hope it will be helpful for me to respond to the more significant points raised. You may recall that the essay addressed the conceptually vexing question, "How did the conditioned soul—the jiva—get that way?" Upon this topic—“the jiva issue”—a...
Reading Complexity: Medium
In her book Mightier Than the Sword, Kathleen Adams has a chapter called “Authenticity.” She writes, “The discrepancy between image/being, external/internal, acculturated self/authentic self—the maintenance of the lie—reverberates in the journals of men like an echo bouncing off canyon walls. The search for authenticity is a modern-day grail quest. It is the beating heart of many men’s writings...