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Summary of Matthijs's talk on the Psychological Approach to Knowledge 6_10_07

Author: Matthijs Cornelissen

Last Updated: December 20, 2007

Summary of Matthijs's talk on the Psychological Approach to Knowledge 6_10_07

"We want to discuss knowledge today. Knowledge is a very intriguing subject. SA has said that all knowledge comes from within. In our daily life it looks as if knowledge comes from outside. We go somewhere to listen, we buy a newspaper, we try to get knowledge from outside. I would like to try to see how these different approaches to knowledge are related. I would like to see how one can make oneself believe that knowledge comes from inside and how we can increase the proportion of knowledge that actually comes from inside.

If knowledge comes from inside why do we think it comes from outside? According to Sankhya philosophy, its because our consciousness identifies with our mind and our senses. We have in our brains an enormously complex machinery that takes things from outside and then constructs a kind of map of the outside world that helps us move round and do things. Western science is extremely active in trying to figure out how we do that. That whole apparatus makes some kind of image of the outer reality. And an exceedingly complex one it is three dimensional, it has emotions attached to it, meaning, so an internal representation of the world somehow pops up and our consciousness identifies with it. SA claims you can know even the most trivial outside things by going inside, indicating that this whole sensorial apparatus, the technical stuff we have inside our heads may not be the real essence of knowledge.

For the universe to work, every little bit of it must know every other. In each part there is all the knowledge of the universe. It is the intrinsic knowledge of how to be. So each one of us has a limited subset of that huge amount of eternal knowledge appropriate to our station in the universal workings. We become what we are by concentrating on one specific thing at a time by exclusive concentration. Our main typical extra complexity is this huge brain that is inside that can make maps of the universe. For the physicalists we are just brain states, we identify completely with our brain processes. Now the interesting part is where we can make our consciousness somewhat free from those processes. We can stand back and experience ourselves as a free consciousness. Then the brain and mind have nothing to do with who we really are. In yoga this is called liberation, basically. Anything that is, is also conscious. That deep knowledge by identity cannot be wrong. Knowledge by identity is self-awareness. Constructed knowledge by which we represent things outside is almost by definition necessarily wrong. The way to get to more reliable knowledge is to go inside. If I concentrate on it I can know anything from inside because we are essentially one." - Matthijs Cornelissen

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