[Advaita-l] Removal of Fear

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 30 12:21:21 CST 2005

--- murali mohan <murali_mohan at yahoo.com> wrote:

> The question I raised was out of genuine curiosity and not in jest.
> Science has been succeeding in proving that all experiences (well
> almost) is nothing but chemical reactions in the brain.

Says who?

Science is moving farther and farther away from finding any link
between (subjective) conscious experience and the (objective) physical

In the experiments that you have recounted, did you pause to consider
how and why the researchers concluded that the mice did not feel fear?
Answer - because the mice BEHAVED AS THOUGH they didn't feel fear. In
other words, behavioral evidence is all the scientists have to go by to
consider subjective experience (of mice in this instance).

How exactly behaviorism ("the mice flinched when they encountered an
obstacle") and subjective experience ("the mice FELT fear") are linked
has not yet been established. In fact, the reverse seems to be true -
subjective experience (such as fear, happiness, pain, etc.) seems to be
completely beyond the realm of science. Science studies objective
behavior, not subjective experience.

If this is not clear, try this:

Every time someone feels pain, there is a part of the brain that
undergoes certain electrochemical changes. It so happens that there is
nothing to the brain other than carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sodium,
calcium, and other elements in certain proportions. Now the question is
- why is it that these elements arranged in a particular manner (i.e.
brain) is causing pain? Why shouldn't these elements simply interact
with each other without causing any pain at all?

Objectivity - the elements like carbon, hydrogen, sodium, etc. (i.e.
brain) are undergoing certain electrochemical changes.
Subjectivity - there is excruciating pain.

Do you see any reason why objectivity and subjectivity should be

Shankara in his very first paragraph of the introduction to the Brahma
sUtra bhAshhya says, "The subject ("I") and the object ("body") being
as different as light and darkness, cannot logically have any
similarity, let alone identity. Yet people ignorantly superimpose the
two, saying 'I am thin', 'I am tall', etc., whereby the properties of
the non-Self are superimposed on the Self due to nescience."

The message is clear - the link between the conscious subject and
unconscious object is epistemological and not ontological.

Read more about the Western philosophical objections to considering
subjective experience to be in the realm of science at
http://consc.net/papers/puzzle.pdf :

The puzzle of conscious experience
By David J. Chalmers

"CONSCIOUSNESS, the subjective experience of an inner self, poses one
of the greatest challenges to neuroscience. Even a detailed knowledge
of the brain’s workings and the neural correlates of consciousness may
fail to explain how or why human beings have self-aware minds."

Updated from the December 1995 issue

> Does this
> mean everything we experience including the so called enlightenment
> is nothing but a chemical reorganization in the brain? Am I nothing
> but a chemical compound?  Hope some enlightening response is
> forthcoming.
>   I joined this group to tap into the wisdom of others to clear my
> doubts. Not to be insulted or brushed aside. 


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