A short note before we start Part I — Who am I?
author: Matthijs Cornelissen
last revision: January 2018
In the Introduction we have seen what psychology presently is and what it could be. We have also noted that the consciousness-centred understanding of reality that supports the Indian civilization is far more "psychology-friendly" than the materialistic philosophy that developed over the last couple of centuries in Europe and the USA. Finally we have explained why we have chosen for the integral vision of Sri Aurobindo to represent the Indian tradition. So now, with all this background knowledge in place, it is time to start our real business, and take up the core issues of psychology. This is, however, somewhat difficult as in Psychology everything is related to everything. Unfortunately this interconnectedness is difficult to render in a written text where the narrative is inherently linear.
To allow a non-linear aproach to the contents of this text, we have provided besides the linear contents on the homepage of Infinity in a Drop, also a clickable "Metro map" in which you can see some of the most important issues together in one graphical overview. In case you want to have a quick look at an issue that is of special interest to you, you can try to locate it on this "Metro map", click on it, and jump straight to the file in which it has been described. (Within the linear contents of Infinity in a Drop, you can find a link to the Metromap on the right, just before the INTRODUCTION. If you want to go through the material in a more systematic manner it may be better to continue following the linear contents on the homepage of Infinity in a Drop.
Here, Part One starts with the old question "Who am I?" In its first chapter this question is pursued in a simple experiential manner, moving gradually from the surface to the depths. In the second chapter, you will find a much more detailed overview of the model Sri Aurobindo uses to describe the Self and the structure of the personality. The third chapter discusses the main factors that play a role in making us the way we are. The fourth and last chapter of Part One offers a series of short introductions to some of the many different ways by which the Indian tradition describes the differences between people.
There are many good and noble reasons for starting this text with question "Who am I?", but if you would like to start with another issue, say Part Two on Knowledge or Part Three on Self-Development, that would also be fine.
If, while reading Part One or Three, you are plagued by an increasing doubt about the scientific soundness of the perhaps now and then rather far-out claims you encounter, you might do well by reading Part Two first, as it is there that I have tried to give a justification for the methods of enquiry that have led to whatever is given in the other Parts of this text.
Wherever you start reading the remaining chapters, we strongly recommend that you first have a quick look at the "Preface" and the chapter on the "Ongoing evolution of consciousness". So, if you have not done so already, please read these first. The reason is that these two chapters give some very basic background information without which the rest of this book may not be fully understandable.
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