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The Motivation Behind My Work

Science has, since its inception, suffered from the mind-body divide that Descartes created. The divide forced sciences to pursue an ideology of matter opposed to the existence of the mind, which makes an understanding of the mind impossible. Attempts in current science to explain sensations, mind and intelligence based on ...
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/ Overview, Research, Sankhya, Science

Innovator’s Dilemma in Science

The main goal of today’s academic research is to keep the pretense that the situation is, after all, not all that bad. I say this because, if you happen to take a closer look at the biggest outstanding problems facing academic research you will find problems that require not just a ...
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Areas of Semantic Research

There are many path-breaking areas of research at the nexus of meaning and matter. I am particularly interested in the following areas, with the specifics described below ...
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Is the Mind like the Fluidity of Water?

A common argument against the mind-body duality is that mind is an epiphenomenon of chemical reactions in the brain much like  the fluidity of water is a consequence of molecular interactions. This argument seems appealing because if we reduce water to its molecules, we don’t see fluidity in each molecule; ...
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Reason and Faith

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, a Vedic literature widely regarded as the culmination of Vedanta (which is in itself considered the conclusion of all knowledge), Sage Kapila elaborates the Sankhya theory of material nature to his mother Devahuti and concludes (SB 3.32.32): Philosophical research culminates in understanding the Supreme Personality of ...
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The Difference Between Matter and Spirit

Descartes created the mind-body divide and claimed these to be two different substances—the extended substance (res extensa) and the thinking substance (res cogitans). However,  with the progress in science (and attempts to subsume thinking under matter), the distinction between mind and body gets hazier by the day. What is the ...
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Perception in Indian Philosophy

How we perceive taste, smell, touch, sound and sight is a fact about our perception, but it has never been properly understood in biology, psychology, or philosophy. The problem is that we suppose material objects to be length, mass, charge, momentum, energy, temperature, etc. How these physical properties become taste, ...
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Three Responses to the Question of Reality

Every area of knowledge begins in the question: What is reality? If I see an apple, is it real? If I see some work of art and think it is beautiful, is it really beautiful? Is money real? Is power real? Is objectivity real? Does she really love me? The ...
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A Solution to the Problem of Hallucination

The problem in any kind of existence begins from a very old distinction between appearance and reality. Appearances are obviously how things seem to us in our perception although not everything that we perceive does really also exist. How things seem to us is a property of our perceptual apparatus—senses, ...
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The Mind-Body Problem in Indian Philosophy

The Mind-Body problem in Western philosophy concerns the difficulty in conceiving the nature of interaction between mind and body, considering that these two are supposed to be different substances—one physical and material while the other spiritual or mystical. In Indian philosophy, matter itself transforms into spirit and how this transformation ...
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The Scientific Method – Does it Deliver Truth?

The below is a modified version of a response I wrote recently on Google+ in response to a question about the conflict between reason and faith. The response is also detailed in my recent book Uncommon Wisdom. This essay will argue that the manner in which science has construed the use ...
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The Broken Watchmaker

Even a broken watch tells the right time twice a day.  However, to know that the watch is broken, we must observe it when it tells the time incorrectly rather than when it tells it correctly. This analogy is a useful way to understand the problem in modern science, because clearly ...
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Models and Reality

During recent online conversations with commentators, I heard a refrain about science: science is only a model, it has nothing to do with reality; our models may get closer to reality over time, but we have no way of knowing that they have gotten to reality, nor do we know ...
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Properties, Values, and Measurements

One of the problems that has repeatedly bothered me for the last decade is the distinction between physical properties, their measurements, and the values of properties that are discovered during measurement. I have flip-flopped in my understanding of the problem and what might be a solution. I will use this ...
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The Theological Problem of Falldown

I generally refrain from commenting on theological topics, and restrict myself to issues in science, but in this post I will make an exception. The issue of interest is whether a soul "falls down" into matter. There is often confusion around this topic, which, in my view, rests upon a misunderstanding about ...
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Do Life and Living Forms Present a Problem for Materialism?

This essay was written in response to the call for essays by the Royal Institute of Philosophy for their yearly essay contest. For the pleasure of readers, it is reproduced below ...
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Evolution’s Halting Problem

This post describes a problem in Evolutionary Theory that arises when we consider why all living beings eventually die. I will compare the death of a living being to a computer program that halts after completing execution. The issue of program halting is problematic in computing theory because current computing ...
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Evolution and Mechanism – Are They Compatible?

A computer is a canonical example of a machine. Every machine can be described by a mathematical theory, and every mathematical theory can be automated on a computer. Therefore if you could describe something mathematically, you could also automate it in a computer. People often suppose that this means if ...
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There is Only Form

Since the time of Greek philosophers—Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates—it has been believed that the present universe is comprised of two things: form and substance. Forms are the ideas that exist even when substances don't; the world of things combines form and substance, kind of like the form of a statue exists ...
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Numbers, Truth, Morality and God

What is a Number? Is it an idea or a thing? This question has been debated since Greek times, and it still remains unanswered in philosophy and science. This post examines the nature of the problem, and what its likely resolution will look like. It illustrates how the problem of numbers ...
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Do We Have Free Will?

Attacks on free will have become fairly common. While the attackers often recognize what is at risk — namely the sense of responsibility and accountability — they are motivated by establishing the primacy of what science seems to be telling us over what we have commonsensically believed over the centuries. This post examines the ...
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What is Free Will, Really?

The previous post examined the materialist critique of freewill, and showed why the reduction of free will to rationality (and then to mechanization of rationality) is flawed because rationality itself involves choices of axioms which themselves cannot be rationalized―i.e. reduced to more fundamental axioms. The only way to solve the ...
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The Vedic Perspective on Free Will

My two previous posts explored the flaws in the materialist reduction of free will to rationality and discussed the use of free will in science. The second post concluded by arguing that every conscious experience involves choices, and these may be good or bad―depending on whether they are successful. This ...
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The Twin Paradox and Conscious Experience

The Twin Paradox in Einstein's Relativity Theory describes a thought experiment in which there are two identical twins, one of whom makes a journey into space in a high-speed rocket and returns home to find that the twin who remained on Earth has aged more. This post analyzes the paradox ...
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The Structure-Function Debate in Biology

Modern science grew out of the idea that the universe is comprised of independent parts, and a complex system can be reduced to these parts without loss of completeness. The independence of parts became the basis of reductionism―the idea that the whole is simply a linear sum of parts. Sometimes, ...
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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 ...
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Advaita – The Partial Truth

Many people who look at Vedic philosophy in current times, understand it as Advaita, which is an interpretation of Vedanta, that claims that the ultimately reality is a singular, unified existence called Brahman, from which the world is produced as māyā or illusion. The Brahman is equated with consciousness, although ...
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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 ...
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Mystic Universe – An Introduction

Last year, I wrote a post on the Twin Paradox in relativistic theory, followed by another post on the nature of Dark Energy and Dark Matter, which I never published. The reason I never published the latter post is that I felt that this could be developed into a full-fledged ...
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How Meanings Change the Use of Logic

Anyone who has even a preliminary encounter with logic believes that if A = B, then B = A. This is commonly expressed as the belief that if A is B, then B is A. This widespread use of logic is easily shown to be false when we employ two ...
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Quantum Theory and Evolution

Darwinian evolution or evolutionary theory predates the development of modern physics—e.g. quantum theory. The time at which the theory was developed, the best known theory of matter was classical physics, in which matter always exists in definite states. Ideas such as random mutation and natural selection in evolution were incompatible ...
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Information, Uncertainty and Choice

In the previous post, I described how modern science employs two contradictory ideas—possibility and choice—although in practice only one of them can be used, resulting in incompleteness. An example of that incompleteness is that quantum theory describes the world as a possibility which needs to be completed by a choice, ...
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Computers and the Mind – What’s the Difference?

This post discusses the widespread notion that the mind is some kind of computer; that the computer is able to represent knowledge, and this knowledge can be about the world. As we shall see, this notion is quite silly, although people—who are either not physicists, mathematicians, or computer engineers, or ...
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The Semantic Interpretation of Quantum Theory

I'm always looking to formulate new ways of describing a problem and its solution; this not only helps us understand what is missing, but why the solution is necessary. This post presents a different way of understanding my Semantic Interpretation of Quantum Theory previously described at length in the book ...
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Causality ― Outside or Inside?

If you have had a difficult life―like some people around us―you might have asked yourself: Why does it happen to me and not to others? If you are a good person, but have still suffered at the hands of others, you might ask yourself: Do I really control my life? ...
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Quantum Motion – Elevators vs. Escalators

While going down in an elevator, it recently occurred to me that the elevator doesn't move unless we indicate the floor it has to go to, quite different from an escalator which keeps moving regardless of whether anyone has anywhere to go to. This difference is a useful way to ...
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What is Fixed and What is Free?

If the universe was not determined in some sense, then we could not make any scientific predictions. If, however, we did not have free will to choose among alternatives, there could be no moral judgments. This contentious issue confuses many of us, as we tend to either capitulate to free ...
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How is Space in Śrimad Bhāgavatam Different from Space in Modern Science?

Many people currently believe that the things that science is currently discovering were known to Vedic philosophers and sages in the past. This notion is false because the concepts of matter in Vedic philosophy are radically different from those in modern science. This post discusses the issue from the standpoint ...
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What are Manifest and Unmanifest States of Matter?

This is a follow-up to the previous post, which discussed the nature of space in Śrimad Bhāgavatam (SB). The goal of this one is to describe the ideas of “manifest” and “unmanifest” states of matter. Matter in the Śrimad Bhāgavatam (and indeed in many other Vedic literatures) is described as ...
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The Problem of Meaning in Artificial Intelligence

Since the 1960s, when computers first appeared, a machine that can think just like humans was claimed to be just a few years away. This idea has been called Artificial Intelligence (AI) and it reappears every few years in a new form, the latest being the brouhaha around “Machine Learning”, ...
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The Phonosemantics Thesis

In earlier posts—such as here—I described the notion of space in which words are identical to their meanings, and connected it to a tree-like structure of space. In the last post I described how this tree like structure of space appears in all languages in trying to decode their meanings ...
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Do Supply and Demand Define Economic Value?

Economists have taught us that nothing by itself has intrinsic value. The value, according to them, rather depends on supply and demand for that thing. If the supply is high and the demand is low, then the value automatically decreases. Conversely, if the demand is high and the supply low, ...
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What the New World Order Could Be

The term “New World Order” often refers to a system of global governance and economics, including the system of monetary exchanges and trade established through institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and the balance of power between the nations through organizations such as the United ...
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Why Intellectual Property is a Flawed Notion

If you talk to a mathematician about their theories, they will say that mathematics is a discovery rather than invention. If you ask a physicist about their theory, they will claim that they are discovering the nature of reality rather than inventing it. But if you talk to a technologist ...
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Why My Website Has a Copyright Claim

Some readers noted after my previous post (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) that my website has a copyright sign (©) at the bottom of each page. So it seems that I’m protesting the existence of patents but I indicate that the protest itself (my article) is copyrighted. That would seem hypocritical. Would I ...
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/ Economic Theory, Economics

The Varna System of Social Organization

Several of my previous posts articulated the conceptual basis of an economic system different than the one that presently exists. These foundations include: (1) the real economic value lies in the objective properties of matter rather than in its human perception, and an economic system when organized around this objective ...
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Why Sāńkhya Is Important for Quantum Theory

This post discusses the relevance of the idea of “gross” and “subtle” matter in Sāńkhya to the problems of prediction in quantum theory, highlighting the solution using everyday examples. I also discuss how the attempts to divorce “gross” and “subtle” matter, or reduce “subtle” matter to “gross” matter, lead to ...
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What is Prāna?

Sāńkhya divides matter into manas (mind), prāna (life force), and vāk. In the previous post, we discussed the nature of vāk and manas as the relation between word and meaning, or between matter and mind. This post elaborates on the third aspect of matter called prāna. The post discusses the ...
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The Four Ethers of Sāńkhya Philosophy

Sāńkhya describes four ethers—vaikhari, madhyama, pasyanti, and para—which are successively deeper descriptions of reality. The understanding of the successive ethers depends on the understanding of the previous ether. In that sense, there are four tiers of causality and each such tier must be fully understood to obtain a complete understanding ...
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Why the Controversy on Flat Earth is Misplaced

It is not hard to find debates today between “flat” and “round” Earths. Many of these debates are founded on conspiracy theories, but discussing those conspiracy theories isn’t the intent of this post. This post discusses a completely different notion of flat Earth which is found in Vedic cosmology texts, ...
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Why Sāńkhya Doesn’t Have Objects of Action

Even a casual look at Sāńkhya reveals an apparent asymmetry in its ontology, namely that there are five sense-objects called Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether, corresponding to the five senses of knowledge Nose, Tongue, Eyes, Skin, and Ears respectively, but there aren’t corresponding sense-objects for the five senses of ...
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Can We Know Reality Without Changing It?

Modern atomic theory describes perception as a change both to reality and to our perception. For instance, when we see the redness of an apple, light impinges on the apple, is absorbed by the atoms in the apple, and then emitted. The color perceived by the eyes is due to ...
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What is the Power of Kundalini?

In an earlier post, I discussed how the Sāńkhya notion of manifest and unmanifest matter addresses some fundamental problems related to perception and realism. In a later post, I discussed how the unmanifest becomes manifest through several stages—para, pasyanti, madhyama and vaikhari. In a subsequent post, we talked about how ...
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When Shankarāchārya Composed Erotica

Shankarāchārya's life is full of amazing incidents, but there is one incident that I find particularly interesting. It is the story of how Shankarāchārya debated the husband-wife couple— Maṇḍana Miśra and Ubhaya Bhārati—on the primacy of Mimānsa vs. Vedanta. Aside from the significant philosophical shift that Shankarāchārya's victory in this ...
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/ Advaita, Mimansa, Religion

How Culture Influences Religion

We generally think of religion as something that pertains to transcendence beyond the current material existence. The reality, however, is that the day-to-day practice of religion involves societies whose cultural norms must be compatible with the tenets of the religion. If there is a misfit between culture and religion, then ...
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The Inception of Bhaktivedānta Institute

In late 1997, H.H. Bhaktisvarūpa Dāmodara Maharaja told me that he wanted to compile Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions on Bhaktivedānta Institute into a book. With that intent, he and I made some recordings, where Maharaja narrated the early history of Institute and I transcribed the tapes. Following this, I searched for ...
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Why God is a Scientific Construct

Vaishnava literature describes four forms of God—Vasudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. These four forms are also said to be the masters of mind (Aniruddha), intelligence (Pradyumna), ego (Saṅkarṣaṇa) and mahattattva (Vasudeva), which are material elements in Sāńkhya. This leads us to ask: how is God the “master” of a material ...
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Absolute and Relative Space

Hierarchical space brings a problem of having to reconcile a fixed hierarchy of material elements in an observer with the fixed hierarchy of the different planetary systems in the universe. The problem is that every living being in the universe has a morality, ego, intelligence, mind, senses, properties, and sense ...
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The Construction of Semantic Space

This post discusses how points in a conceptual space are defined differently than in a physical space. The difference is that a physical space defines locations in relation to an origin, whereas a conceptual space defines locations in relation to a boundary. In a physical space, points are constructed through ...
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Space as a Model of Society and Ecosystems

In Vedic cosmology space is meant for living beings, because the material universe exists for the purposes of such beings. When space is the canvas on which we describe living phenomena, then macroscopic phenomena in the space constitute the evolution of society, while the microscopic phenomena indicate the evolution of ...
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The Illusion of Nationhood

An earlier post outlined the differences between physical space and conceptual space. The next post then outlined how the conceptual space is suited to describe societies and ecosystems. This post discusses how the conceptual space creates the phenomena and the illusion of physical space. In this illusion, the weakly interacting ...
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Dialectical Materialism and Sāńkhya

The world around us is filled with dualities or oppositions. There are two main resolutions of this duality as we have seen earlier—(1) finding the relation between the opposing ideas and the next “higher level” idea from which these oppositions were created, and (2) finding a quantitative balance between the ...
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Personalist and Impersonalist Societies

There is one fundamental cultural difference between the West and India—the West is a flat, egalitarian society, while India is still, to an extent, a hierarchical society. In the stereotyped view of the West, children do not respect parents, students do not respect teachers, and citizens do not respect politicians ...
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What is Daivī Varna System?

The previous post identified two impersonalist tendencies—i.e. "we are one" and "we are equal"—and discussed their respective impacts on Indian and Western societies. The post also discussed how a personalist system based in hierarchical thinking (rather than equality or oneness) is necessary for social organization. This post carries forward that ...
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The Ayurveda Model of a Living Body

Vedic knowledge provides detailed information about many aspects of material nature such as cosmology, sociology, psychology, and biology. For example, the Śrimad Bhāgavatam provides a detailed cosmic model. Varṇāśrama is a sociological model. Sāńkhya is a cognitive model. And Ayurveda is a biological model. All these models have structural resemblances ...
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Lessons of Ayurveda for Vedic Cosmology

The previous post discussed the model of the human body in Ayurveda. If you haven’t noticed, the most surprising aspect of Ayurveda is that it remains silent on what modern medicine calls heart, lungs, intestines, brain, pancreas, spleen, etc. It is surprising because modern medical education begins with anatomy and ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Reasoning and Semantic Computation

Since the advent of computers, it has been widely believed that the human mind is just like a computer. I have previously described why this is a false analogy due to two problems: (1) the problem of meaning, and (2) the problem of choice. I have also discussed the problem ...
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What is Vedic Science, Really?

In the introduction to the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes, “The subject of the Bhagavad-gītā entails the comprehension of five basic truths. First of all the science of God is explained, and then the constitutional position of the living entities, jīvas. Prakriti (material nature) and time (the duration ...
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The Hierarchy of Yoga Systems

The Bhagavad-Gita describes various yoga systems called karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, dhyāna-yoga, and bhakti-yoga. Each of these yoga processes is based on a scientific understanding of reality, but since this view of reality is not widely understood, there is often a misconception that there are “many paths” to the same truth, which ...
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The Vedic Theory of Aesthetics

All texts like books, magazines, and papers for instance have two components: cognitive and aesthetic. The distinction between the cognitive and the aesthetic is apparent if we distinguish between prose and poetry. They can both convey the same meaning, but poetry says it more aesthetically. Similarly, you can talk in ...
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Society is Defined by Heroes

In the previous post, I alluded to the idea that society is built on the stories of heroes, which are produced through a combination of two of the six qualities—knowledge and fame—of Lord Viṣṇu. These heroes can be renowned due to other four qualities—i.e. renunciation, power, wealth, and beauty. Thus, ...
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The Paradox of Natural Laws and Its Resolution

In an earlier post, I described the problem of computing in nature, namely that scientific laws employ mathematical formulae, but it is not clear how these formulae are being calculated in nature. The reasons for this are historical and date back to Newton’s formulation of the three laws of motion ...
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The Sāńkhya Theory of Five Elements

This post elaborates on the Sāńkhya theory of the five “gross” elements. The theory is rather complicated, and not well-understood today. One primary source of confusions is a comparison between the Sāńkhya elements and the Greek elements going by the same name. This post will hopefully illustrate how the Sāńkhya ...
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The Cycle of Guna and Karma

The term guna indicates what we desire, and the term karma indicates what we deserve; both exist as possibilities, but their combination in time produces the cycle of birth and death. This is the essence of the Vedic science discussed in an earlier post where guna, karma, and kāla were described ...
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The Problem of Scriptural Exegesis

Exegesis, according to Wikipedia, is “a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, particularly a religious text”. In the Vedic tradition, it exists as the commentaries by previous āchāryās who have explained the scriptures in various ways according to time, place, and circumstances. Such commentaries are essential for one key reason—the ...
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The Unity of Vedic Philosophy

At the present, most people view Gauḍiya Vaishnavism as one among the many sects of Vaishnavism, with the others being Viśiṣṭādvaita, Dvaita, Dvaitādvaita, and Śuddhādvaita. Vaishnavism is itself considered one of the three sects—namely, Shaiva, Shakta, and Vaishnava. The three sects are together believed to constitute personalism as opposed to ...
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Guru and Non-Locality

Many people currently view a guru as a classical particle, which interacts with other classical particles through a physical contact like a billiard ball collides with another billiard ball. The advocates of such a theory claim that it is necessary for a person to be physically in touch with a ...
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The Balanced Organization

Vedic philosophy describes the body as a universe and the universe as a body. Since the world is intended for living beings, there is no fundamental divide between "physical sciences", "life sciences", and "social sciences". Thus, the cosmic structure, the social structure, the biological structure, and the psychological structure are ...
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Sāńkhya and Modern Atomism

Sāńkhya has a theory of atomism, which is quite different than the theory of modern atomism. The modern description of atoms is based on the distinction between matter and force whereas the Sāńkhya description is based on the distinction between words and meanings. Clearly, we cannot expect the two descriptions ...
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The Universe in a Lotus Stem

One of the most enduring images in the Vedic scriptures is that of Lord Brahma sitting on a lotus the stem of which goes down to the navel of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who is also praised as Hiranyagarbha. The fourteen planetary systems in Vedic cosmology are described to reside inside the ...
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The Philosophy of Masculine and Feminine

As we have seen earlier, a soul has three tendencies called sat (consciousness), chit (meaning), and ananda (pleasure), such that the essence of choice is that between meaning and pleasure. We have also discussed previously, how the original sat-chit-ananda Absolute Truth creates five forms—Kṛṣṇa, Rāma, Hara, Ramā, and Jīvā, which ...
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Men Are From Sun, Women Are From Moon

“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” says that bestseller book from John Gray. This book has become a classic, although it stereotypes both men and women, disregarding the fact that each person has both masculine and feminine tendencies in them to varying degrees. We can clearly speak about ...
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Vedic Knowledge and Modern Education

Vedic knowledge was previously imparted in a systematic manner, covering spirituality, social roles and responsibilities, as well as vocational education on a person’s role in society. For example, Mahabharata describes how the Pāndava and the Kaurava were sent for education to Dronacharya where they were taught spiritual topics, their duties ...
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The Freudian vs. the Vedic Unconscious

The initial thesis of Freudian psychoanalysis and that of Vedic philosophy are similar—namely, that our surface behaviors are the result of a deeper “unconscious” reality. The person in both cases is described hierarchically—e.g. as an iceberg, with only the tip visible, while most of its reality is invisible. Nevertheless, there ...
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The Meaning of Yajña

In practically all Vedic texts a concept called yajña is employed, which is loosely translated as a “sacrifice” and the performance of the yajña is said to be the means to advance spiritually. For most people, yajña is understood as a fire lit in a pot into which food grains ...
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How Guna and Karma Create the Body

Vedic texts describe how the body of a soul is created due to guna and karma. This seems unintuitive if we think that the body is created by eating food. But how do we eat food? Food consumption is, in Vedic philosophy, influenced by two factors, called guna (plural) and karma. This ...
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Can Biology Be Based on the Nature of the Soul?

In Vedic philosophy, the soul has three properties—sat or consciousness, chit or meanings, and ananda or pleasure. These three aspects of the soul are also reflected in matter and pervade throughout the body—the parts of the body are due to chit, the functions of each of the parts is due ...
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Free Market Economics vs. Capitalism

Free market economics is about competition between businesses, and it operates under the assumptions of a closed system in which wealth can be redistributed, but the total wealth must remain constant. Capitalism is the contrary idea that the economy is an open system in which wealth can be infused, in ...
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The Six Systems of Vedic Philosophy

Vedic knowledge comprises the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sāma, and Atharva) with their numerous Samhita, 108 Upanishad, 18 Purāna, Mahabharata, dozens of Tantra texts, and so forth. The above texts, however, are not exhaustive; for example, they don’t contain meticulous details on astronomy, linguistics, grammar, logical reasoning, life sciences, architecture, ...
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Does Prayer Alleviate Suffering?

Nearly every religion employs the idea of prayer, and most people view prayers as a way to alleviate their suffering. If such a thing were possible, it would encourage the sinner to continue sinning and use prayer to be pardoned. Conversely, if such a thing were impossible, then the skeptic ...
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Universalism and Personalism in Science

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 ...
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Economics and Reductionism

Profits require that the whole must be greater than the sum of the parts. For example, half a chair is not half price of the full chair; most times you cannot sell two halves of a chair separately, or price them separately, even when you assemble the chair yourself from ...
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How is Semantics Related to Religion?

I focus on the problem of meaning in science. A lot of people ask me why. What does semantics have to do with religion? There are many levels at which this question can be answered, which are deeply enmeshed with the nature of the soul and God in Vedic philosophy, ...
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/ Religion, Semantics

The Four Legs of Dharma

The word ‘dharma’ means duty. In the Śrimad Bhāgavatam, dharma is described as a ‘bull’ who stands on four ‘legs’—austerity, cleanliness, truthfulness, and kindness. These principles are common to all aspects of human life, including that which is not directly associated with a ‘religion’. Indeed, ‘religion’ in the Vedic context ...
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/ Dharma, Law, Religion

Human Choice and Responsibility

Anthropology is the study of what it means to be human. Some of the factors that have been offered as distinguishing characteristics of humans include language, religion, and social laws. Evolutionists, such as Charles Darwin, believed that humans are similar to animals, although incrementally more intelligent due to their state ...
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The Contradictions of Being

In the previous post, I talked about how choice and responsibility are essential features of human life, and thereby of the soul. In this post, I will discuss how both choice and responsibility often present a paradox when the three aspects of the soul—pleasure, ability, and responsibility—are differentiated and what ...
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/ contradictions, Religion, soul

Divine and Demonic Natures

This post offers some practical advice on how to deal with different kinds of people in this world based on some ideas drawn from Vedic philosophy—namely, divine and demonic natures—which are separated into the upper and lower parts of the universe. In the present world, which lies in between the ...
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The Epistemology of Happiness

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 ...
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A Brief Guide to My Books

Over the years as I have written many books, and new readers often want to know where to begin, how to proceed systematically, so that understanding them would become easier. Implicit in this request is the problem that the books are not easy reading, especially if you don’t read them ...
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/ books, Overview

Happiness is a Choice

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 ...
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Did We Land on the Moon?

According to a Gallup poll, about 6% of Americans believe that man never went to the moon; they endorse conspiracy theories in which these landings were supposedly staged in a studio. This post is not about such conspiracy theories. I will discuss why we cannot go to the moon, although ...
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The Arithmetic of Concepts

In all religious philosophies, God is the original person, Who creates all else. If we were to count things, then God would represent 1. In Vedic philosophy, additionally, all that is created is also a part of God, Who is then described as the complete truth. In effect, since God ...
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The Mechanisms of Depression

As mental illnesses become prominent in today’s world, and science doesn’t believe in the existence of anything that cannot be sensually perceived, the cure of such illnesses suffers from a conceptual poverty inherited from the legacy of the physical sciences. While the understanding of the mind is receiving renewed focus ...
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/ Depression, Psychology

Competition and Cooperation

The debate between individualism and collectivism lies at the heart of all modern political debates, but it is obvious that we could not live without both. If everyone acted individualistically, society—which hinges on cooperation—could not exist; there could be no common agreement on social laws that aim for the greater ...
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Species – The Vedic Perspective

Species in modern science are defined by the type of body and often by their DNA, and they evolve through random mutations and natural selection by the environment. Cracks in this notion of evolution appear when one zooms out to look at ecosystems. An ecosystem is defined by interrelations between ...
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From Science to Religion and Back

This is the edited transcript of the first episode on my podcast. The episode discusses the relation between religion and science from the perspective of Vedic philosophy, and how an original meaning embodied by God expands into symbols which include both the soul and their material experiences. This relation between meaning ...
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The Tree of Meanings

This is the edited transcript of the second episode of my podcast. This episode discusses how space and time are treated as trees of three kinds of meanings in Vedic philosophy. The idea of tree of meaning has been described at various places in Vedic texts, as well as in ...
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The Incompleteness of Science

This is the edited transcript of the third episode of my podcast. In this episode we talk about the problem of incompleteness in science and how this problem is not limited to physical theories but goes way deeper into mathematics and logic itself. The root cause of this problem is ...
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/ Incompleteness, Overview

The Vedic Evolutionary Model

The following is the transcript of the fourth episode of my podcast. This episode talks about an alternative model of evolution based upon the notions of matter derived from quantum physics rather than classical physics. In classical physics, a particle established continuity between successive states, but in quantum physics there ...
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What is Morphic Resonance?

Biologist Rupert Sheldrake coined the term Morphic Resonance to describe the idea that the occurrence of events in one place seems to recreate those same events in other places. For example, he notes that once a crystal has been synthesized in one place, synthesizing crystals in other places subsequently becomes ...
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/ Biology, Morphic Resonance

The Tortoise Model of Perception

We normally think that the world comes to us during perception. For example, light enters your eyes; the electrical impulses go into the brain, where an image is created. Owing to this model of perception, John Locke claimed that the mind is tabula rasa or a blank slate at birth ...
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Karma, Reincarnation, and Divine Justice

This is the transcript of the fifth episode of my podcast. In this episode we talk about the nature of karma and how it is created. We discuss how karma is created as a consequences of actions, different from cause and effect, and to the extent that science only deals with causes and ...
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Karma and Altruism

Some people argue that because we are predestined to suffer and enjoy due to karma therefore there is no point in helping people. This view of karma is interpreted to mean that Vedic philosophy is opposed to altruism and charity. In fact, practitioners of some religions such as Christianity claim that ...
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/ Altruism, Karma, Philosophy

Semantic Atomic Theory

This is the transcript of this sixth episode of my podcast. Semantic atomic theory or the semantic interpretation of atomic theory is the idea that atoms are symbols of meaning and instead of the classical physical properties such as energy, momentum, angular momentum and spin, these atoms possess semantic properties which ...
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Knowledge by Reason, Experiment and Authority

This is the transcript of the seventh episode of the Shabda Podcast. In this episode, we will talk about the problem of epistemology or how do we know. We will go over some historical material regarding the methods of knowledge prevalent in Western philosophy and then look at the same ...
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Mathematical Novelties in Vedic Philosophy

This is the transcript of the eighth episode of my podcast. In this episode we talk about a number of unique problems that arise in trying to make Vedic philosophy more rigorous in a logical and mathematical sense. I have been presenting some of these ideas while discussing the theories of ...
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Do Negative and Imaginary Numbers Exist?

Numbers for the greater part of history have been viewed alternately as concepts and as quantities. Now, this raises problems about many types of numbers, which include negative numbers and imaginary numbers, because these cannot be viewed as quantities although there are compelling theories that can treat them logically as ...
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The Reality of Rational and Irrational Numbers

In the previous post we talked about the problem of mathematical realism of negative and complex numbers; the issue was that you can construct these numbers logically and conceptually, but you will never find them in the real world. The problem of irrational numbers is the opposite: you can easily ...
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Why the Genome Incompletely Describes the Body

Genetic determinism—or the idea that we are fully determined by our genes taken from our parents—is now a thing of the past. Empirical evidence now shows that genes may exist but may not be expressed. The expression is controlled by some ‘epigenetic’ factors (which are also molecules) but enabled and ...
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Can We Study Consciousness Within 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 ...
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The Cyclic Model of Causality

In modern science, causes are equated to forces. These forces represent how change occurs; it involves explaining the creation of a trajectory. However, forces don’t explain why change occurs, which involves the goal or destination along with a moral justification of the goal. For example, if someone asks you, “How ...
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The Conundrum of Free Will

Since the beginning of science, nature was believed to be controlled by some laws which can be used to make predictions about the future independent of the individual observers. The observers cannot have choices because through these choices the future could be changed, in contradiction to the laws of nature ...
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Atomic Reality and the Crisis of Realism

It is commonplace for people to assert that quantum theory indicates a lack of objectivity or reality, when all it indicates is the failure of the classical conception of reality. In the classical conception, when you cut an apple, you get smaller pieces of apple. In this post, I will ...
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A Random Walk Through Perception

I have recently received several questions about Sāñkhya. These include the differences between senses and organs, that between inert matter and a living body, how desires influence perception, how Sāñkhya elements could be understood in analogy to motion, and the relation between yoga and the control of senses and the ...
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Mob Psychology—Does a Group Have a Mind?

It is common to think that a person has a body and a mind. But when groups of people act in concerted ways, it seems that they are a singular body controlled by a mind. How is a random collection of people (who act in individual ways) different from one ...
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Secularism in Vedic Philosophy

Secularism arose during the era of Enlightenment in Europe with the aim to relegate religion to the private realm and determine the public sphere by reason and experience. Europe wasn’t arguing for the equality of all religions in the eyes of the government. It was arguing for the rejection of ...
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How Living Systems Violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics

When James Clerk Maxwell proposed the second law of thermodynamics, he envisioned a thought experiment in which two chambers of gas were joined by a small door under the control of a ‘demon’ who would selectively open the door depending on which direction the gas molecules were moving. If we ...
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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 ...
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Three Aspects of Love

What is love? Is it one thing or many? Is there anything in common between brotherly love and motherly one? Why is love so elusive to understand, even though many of us may have felt it? Why is love often equated to sacrifice, service, and dedication? This post deconstructs the ...
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Books

Cosmic Theogony

Nature is viewed at present, through the lens of modern science, impersonally. In the scientific picture, nature is comprised of particles and forces which cause the particles to move and change, governed by mathematical laws. The same world is described differently in Vedic texts as being ‘controlled’ by persons. I call this the personalization of nature which replaces the impersonalism of modern science. That a personalized description of nature is possible as ...
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Emotion

The topic of emotion is of deep interest to many people, but its relation to reason and cognition, when emotion controls reason, and why emotion can be controlled by reason, are not well understood. Similarly, when situations change our emotions, should we attribute the emotion to the situation, or to the person, because another person could have reacted in a different way in the same situation? These questions lie at the heart ...
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Gödel’s Mistake

This book connects Gödel's and Turing's theorems to differences between ordinary language and mathematics. Ordinary language allows distinctions between things, names, concepts, programs, algorithms and problems but mathematics does not. Gödel's proof arises due to category mistakes between things, names and concepts while Turing's proof results from a categorical confusion between programs and descriptions. If mathematics and computing could distinguish between things, names, concepts, programs, algorithms and problems, paradoxes in logic, mathematics and ...
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Is the Apple Really Red?

The clash of ideologies between science and religion - this book argues - is based on an incorrect understanding of matter, disconnected from consciousness, and an incorrect notion of God, disconnected from matter, space and time. The ideas of soul, morality, God and afterlife can also be scientific, but in a new science that studies meanings instead of objects. Informed by Vedic philosophy, this book is structured into 10 short essays: Is ...
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Moral Materialism

The everyday notions of causality involve choices but the causal model in science doesn’t. For instance, we know that if we consume an analgesic then our pain would be relieved, if we eat food the body will get strength, if you pull the trigger on a loaded gun then a shot will be fired. The everyday notion of causality does not necessitate that a painkiller would be consumed, that food would be ...
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Mystic Universe

Unlike previous works on Vedic cosmology, which discuss the model of the universe without describing its connection to a theory of nature, this book discusses the theory before it describes the model. A deep understanding of the theory is essential if the model has to be understood, because there are numerous differences between modern and Vedic cosmology, such as a geocentric vs. a heliocentric solar system, round vs. flat descriptions of the ...
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Quantum Meaning

Quantum Meaning presents a Semantic Interpretation of Quantum Theory in which atomic objects are treated as symbols instead of things. Classical physics treated reality as things and the quantum-classical conflict is traced to this difference between symbols and things. The interpretation argues that current quantum theory is incomplete because it describes symbols in terms of the symbol's physical properties rather than their information content. The Semantic Interpretation shows that by treating quanta ...
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Sāńkhya and Science

Sāńkhya is the name of the Vedic theory of objectivity. Objects, in Sāńkhya, are not a priori real. Rather, objects are created when consciousness adds meaning to matter. Matter, therefore, prior to addition of meaning, is undifferentiated, and we can liken it to an empty space-time container. In both modern science and Sāńkhya, objects are created from this empty container. However, unlike modern science where the creation of objects is supposed to be random, in Sāńkhya, the ...
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Signs of Life

The critiques of evolution based on the issue of transitional forms, whether the theory can describe the origin of life besides its evolution, and if genetic information sufficiently describes all biological properties, are well-known. This book critiques evolution from a completely different angle—it brings ideas well-known in mathematics, physics, computing theory, game theory, and non-linear system theory to bear upon evolution in a way that has never been done before. The crux ...
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Six Causes

The development of science has generated a strong debate between creationists and evolutionists. While evolutionists claim to have reason and empirical data on their side, the creationist view is based on revelation and hence often decried as regressive. This book hopes to undo some of that misunderstanding especially with regard to Vedic theories of creation by describing how the Vedic ideas are not just modern, but also relevant to current scientific problems ...
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The Yellow Pill

The term “Yellow Pill” derives from the popular designation of socio-economic-political positions by names like the “Blue Pill” (surrender your individuality to the system), “Red Pill” (fight the system to get your individuality), “Green Pill” (replace the current system by a new one), etc. In the cacophony of ideologies, the discussion about the moral purpose of life and how it is achieved through society is missing. This book hopes to fill that ...
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Uncommon Wisdom

This book discusses some fundamental differences between Abrahamic religions and Vedic philosophy with regard to their views about religion and God. God in Abrahamic religions is a controller of nature, and this control appears to be different from the kind of order discovered by science. God in Vedic philosophy is the most primordial idea from which all other ideas are created, and this view indicates a view of matter in which material ...
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Western Questions, Eastern Answers

Philosophy and science in the West have been practiced primarily with the aim to understand the present world. A number of theories have been propounded, none of which are free of problems. Philosophy and science in the East (specifically the Vedic tradition) has always been practiced with the aim to transcend the world. Vedic texts provide many theories, but always in answer to a transcendental question. On one hand, therefore, we have ...
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