Vol 25 No 2 (2009)
Humans, Nature & Technology

Unifying Reason and Emotion: A Method to Realize The Ecological Self

Sachchidanand Mishra
Published May 20, 2009


There has been an age-old battle between reason and emotion, continued from centuries from the perspective of man; and reflected in the clash of religion and science. Simply we try to follow reasonand avoid to follow emotion. But in practice, knowingly and unknowingly we follow emotion. In addition to the most of values are rooted actually in emotion not in reason. In the eco-philosophical writings of Arne naess, this puzzle takes much attention; he tries to discover the connection between reason and emotion. In a branch of Indian Philosophy, known as Advaitism (Non-dualism) the connection between reason and emotion studied and explained very beautifully. Advaitism holds that the ultimate goal of human life is to realize Sarvatmata (Everything is identical with self) and demonstrates a path to realize this Sarvatmata. Following the words of Arne Ness, this Sarvatmata can be conceived as realization of the big ecological self. In the school of Advaitism, a systematic way of thinking is found to realize Sarvatmata. The only method to know the self is making our mind free from impurities i.e. infatuation, aversion, attraction, craze etc. These all are products of our ignorance. As one cannot see his face in a mirror whereon dust is present; equally, given that these impurities are there the self is not known. However, as the dust is removed, one sees his face very clearly. Similarly, as these impurities are removed, one clearly realizes that he is not different from other beings, but identical with them.