Freeing the Will

It was fashionable, at one time, to divide the mind into a number of distinct faculties, like the will, reason and emotions. Immanuel Kant, for instance, speaks of the mind in this way. But since William James, Western psychology has come much nearer to the yogic teaching, which is that these different parts of the mind in the old idea are really different functions or activities which the mind, as an instrument, fulfils. There is nonetheless a real sense in which we can speak about these functions as being distinct. The same person can at one time be doing carpentry, at another metal-work, at another time writing and at another pastry-making, and although the same pair of hands is used in each of these different activities, in each case they are differently engaged and fulfil a different function.

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This article is from the Winter 2023 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.