The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Edwin F. Bryant, 2009, North Point Press


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p. xlvi   — “In the Yoga tradition, the dualism is not between the material body and physical reality on one hand, and mental reality characterized by thought on the other, but between pure awareness and all objects of awareness – whether these objects are physical and extended, or internal and non extended.  In other words, in Sankhya and Yoga, thought, feeling, emotion, memory etc., are material or physical as the visible ingredients of the empirical world.  As an aside, in this regard, Yoga has a curious overlap with modern reductive materialism, which holds that the internal world of thought and feeling is ultimately reducible to neurological brain functioning and other purely material phenomena, as well as with the computational procedures of “artificial intelligence.”  It thereby offers an unexpected overlap with modern functionalist accounts of mind that merits further exploration (avoiding some of the pitfalls in the Cartesian view in this regard, while simultaneously, unlike Artificial Intelligence, retaining consciousness itself independent of cognition).  Pure consciousness, called purusa in this system, animates and pervades the incessant fluctuations of thought – the inner turmoil of fears, emotions, cravings etc. – but the two are completely distinct entities.

     There is thus a radical distinction between the mind, which is considered to be very subtle but nonetheless inanimate matter, and pure consciousness, which is the actual animate life force.”

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