(by Brett Sculthorp)

“The 2014 movie Transcendence featuring Johnny Depp is centered on technical mastery and the development of a nearly omniscient/omnipotent artificial intelligence. The worldview presented is unreflectively immersed in a materialistic perspective from which the dominant model of mind and brain emerges. This model suggests that mind is an epiphenomenon of the electrical and chemical processes of the body, particularly the brain. Therefore the premise is that simply replicating the electro-chemical networks in computers is the same as replicating the mind. Consciousness is considered a materialistic process.

The yoga model of mind however suggests that the mind manifests the body, a vehicle for its expression and the electro-chemical processes of the brain represent or are a manifestation of mental processes and their interface with materiality. From this perspective, the brain and other body centers are tools of the mind.

Popular science and culture have inverted the primary causal relationship – from a systems perspective there are feedback loops between body and mind. The pharmaceutical industry is working on the distal effects of the mind, not its cause.

Yoga works because it more accurately reflects the human system. It is not based on a reductionist model – it’s based on a synthetic one. Although asanas have a profound, systemic effect, yoga is centered on psycho-spiritual practices which address the reality, and complexity, of being human.


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