Tuesday, November 12, 2013


D. R. Khashaba


I have written repeatedly, extensively, seriously on the reality of the soul and the reality of the mind. Few have heeded what I have been saying. Let me try this whimsical approach. If it fails to convince you, it may not fail to amuse you.

A scientist is perfectly right when she/he says that in all their investigations they have never met with a soul. But they are wrong when they go on to conclude that there is no soul.

I am. I know perfectly well what I mean when I say "I am", and every human being can say "I am" and know perfectly well what she/he means. But no scientist can find "I", neither my "I", nor her/his "I", nor anybody else's "I".

Descartes said, "Je pense, donc je suis". That is needlessly roundabout. He should have said, "Je suis parce que je suis". My I is the one indubitable, incontestable, ineradicable truth and reality that I know.

In truth I cannot say to anyone "You are", intending the same thing as when I say "I am". "You are", with all due respect to grammarians, is not a sentence, is not, strictly, a meaningful statement. It requires completion. "You are this entity that I see and hear and have dealings with." To me you are you. I acknowledge that you have your "I" as I have my "I", but I can never know your "I". On ethical grounds I respect your "I". On philosophical grounds I affirm your "I". But as a scientist (supposing I am a scientist) I cannot find your "I".

Why? My "I" is my inwardness. Your "I" is your inwardness. The creed and first principle of science is "outwardness", or, in the language of science, objectivity. Science is subject to the command "Thou shalt not turn thy eye inwards lest thou lose thyself!"

The "I" that science cannot find has been called soul, mind, psuchê, nous, atman — what's in a name? It is our reality, our whole reality and our whole worth.

In "Where Is I?" (an examination of Gilbert Ryle's "Courses of Action or the Uncatchableness of Mental Acts"), I opened the concluding section with these words: "Today, neuroscientists and philosophers of mind are like a child standing before a mirror, perplexedly saying, 'Here is my nose, here are my eyes, here are my arms, … but where is I?'"

Cairo, 12 November 2013.


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