Author Topic: Classification of the Mind Part 3  (Read 1248 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Classification of the Mind Part 3
« on: February 17, 2010, 11:30:13 PM »
Classification of the Mind Part 3

The second level of the mind is the 'intellect' (buddhi) which is the locus for:
. discriminative thoughts, such as distinguishing right from wrong;
. decisions;
. field for logic, reason, judgment, etc.

In contrast to the lower mind, the intellect can be considered as the ‘officer in charge’. Being both analytical and synthetic as well as objective, it can hop from the known to the unknown in order to gain knowledge. Those that are predominately intellectual (where this component of the mind is well developed) are less emotional, more analytical, decisive, logical, reasonable and determined. They have the 'will' to proceed and a goal to reach, with attachments playing less of a role in their actions.

The third component is the ego. In Sanskrit it is called ahaMkAra. It is may be defined as: 'aham, aham, aham, iti karoti, ahaMkAra' - the one who claims 'I am - I am - I am' in all our transactions involving, of course, our mind. In our discussions of 'who am I?' it is this 'ahaMkAra' that responds with the answer. In western psychology, it is the 'ego' that is considered as the conscious mind. However, according to Vedanta, ego is just a pattern of thoughts of 'I-ness' that arise in the mind; the identification with the set of thoughts 'I am this' and with another set of thoughts 'this is mine' (mamakAra) as ownership.

Thus, the ego involves two aspects - 'I am this' (ahaMkAra) and 'that is mine' (mamakAra) or simply 'I and mine'. In the identification of 'I am this', there is an inclusiveness of 'this' as part of I. In this very inclusion, there is also exclusion involved as 'this' is separate from 'that' so that 'I am not that'. We thus differentiate 'this' from 'that', and 'mine' from 'not mine'. By inclusiveness and its mirror image, exclusiveness, the ego tries to define itself through differentiating ‘I’ from you, he, she, it, or they etc, and ‘mine’ from yours, his, etc. According to Vedanta, this ego is a fake or false 'I', since as we discussed before, it involves identification of 'I am', the subject, with an object 'this', where 'this' keeps changing from body to mind to intellect. Thus the meaning of 'I' keeps shifting when I say 'I am six feet tall’ or ‘I am black or white or brown' (where identification is at the gross body level) to 'I love her', 'I am envious of him' or 'I hate this' (where identification is at the emotional level of the mind) to 'I am an engineer', ‘a doctor, scientist’ etc, where the identification is at the intellectual level. The locus of 'I' shifts from gross body to emotional mind to intellect level. The essence of ego is this identification of 'I' with 'this', where ‘I’ is an invariable but 'this' is a variable; ‘I’ am a conscious entity while 'this' is an inert entity.

In the statement of Descartes 'I think, therefore I am', my existence is ascertained by the thinking process. This was criticized later by Immanuel Kant (18th Century), whose arguments were no better. According to Kant, the self-consciousness or subject consciousness 'I am' is established by the consciousness of objects - 'this is'. Thus, 'this is' is required to establish 'I am' since the mind can operate only in a subject- object duality. The problem here is not the duality par se but what is considered to be the independent variable and what the dependent variable. That is to say: is consciousness of 'this is' required in order to establish 'I am' or is it the other way around? At the ego level, we do operate without being keenly aware of it, when we say 'I am this'. Without 'this' to identify with, I do not seem to have any other existence. Nobody stops their introductions saying 'I am' without attaching an object 'this' to it.

Hence Kant's conclusion that self-consciousness appears to arise only with the object consciousness seems to be justified. However, we just noted that the locus of 'I am' keeps shifting from body level to mind level to intellect level, and the adjectives that we add keep changing with the changing bio-data. Thus, there is a changing part and a changeless part in this duality of 'I am' and 'this' in the equation of 'I am this'. It is obvious from this analysis that 'I am' seems to be more substantial than 'this' since 'this' keeps changing while 'I am' remains the same. In the case of dependent and independent variables in mathematics, the one that is changeless is independent and the one that is changing is dependent. Hence Kant's conclusion is wrong.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 08:59:15 PM by Sunil »