If you follow the NFL, and if you’re familiar with its history, you may have noticed something strange about the Super Bowls: they seem to be so much closer than they used to be. In the 21st Century so far, most of the Super Bowl games have been back-and-forth thrillers…


The Second Law of Thermodynamics relates the concept of entropy, a measure of disorder, to the concepts of heat and temperature. It states that the change in a system’s entropy can never be less than the heat added to the system, divided by the ambient temperature. One very important corollary…


The First Law of Thermodynamics is one of the most important laws in all of science. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most confusing laws in all of science, and it tends to stump high school and college students. …


Part 10 of 10: The Atman and Free Will

The question of free will is one of the oldest, deepest, and most important questions in philosophy. Since ancient times, philosophers have been divided over it. On the one hand, it seems like we have free will (and most of us…


Part 9 of 10: Are You Always the Same Person?

Are you the same person now that you were five minutes ago? This is one of the most strange and disillusioning questions that you can possibly ask yourself. …


Part 8 of 10: The Atman is the Definition of Life

The question of what makes something alive has been a difficult and controversial question for millennia. It is a central question in several of the most controversial issues in society. For example, in the debate over abortion, people don’t…


[under revision]

Author’s note, February 2021:

Hello, dear reader.

For reasons too weird to describe here, I had to remove Part 7 from the series. However, I will post a revised version sometime this summer (Summer 2021).

Next part: Part 8


Part 6 of 10: The Views of the Philosophers

The philosophy of consciousness, better known as the philosophy of mind, has a rich history. Countless philosophers have speculated about such concepts as the soul, the mind, the Atman, and the self. In this essay, I will summarize the views of…


Part 5 of 10: Brain, Soul, Self, Atman, Mind

Since antiquity, people have been speculating about the mysteries of consciousness and personhood. Because it is such a vague and mysterious topic, people have invented many different words in their attempts to describe it: the words include “brain”, “soul”, “self”, “Atman”…


Part 4 of 10: Definition of the Atman

In Part 1, I introduced two “mind-blowing” questions:

Question 1: How is it that I’m me and you’re you?

Question 2: How (and why) does consciousness exist at all?

I went on to argue that it is impossible to answer either of…

Matthew Gliatto

Grad student and TA. Born 1993.

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