Part Three — Who am I?
A short note before we start

Matthijs Cornelissen
last revision: 21 February 2024

Part Three, Four and Five are meant primarily as a proof of concept. Together, they hope to give some idea of the direction in which psychology could be heading if science would take up the study of the inner domain seriously, using the yoga-based methods of enquiry discussed in Part Two.

Part Three deals with one of the most ancient and perhaps most important questions humanity has ever posed itself, "Who am I?" In the first chapter this question is pursued in a simple experiential manner, moving gradually from the surface to the depths. It includes many side boxes that can be used by students — and other readers! — to take different aspects of this question up in an individual manner, as an exercise for themselves.

The second chapter is very different in style. You will find here an overview of the terms Sri Aurobindo uses to describe the Self and the structure of the personality. It is meant as a map, an overview of the territory, and offers a relatively simple, well-defined and manageable vocabulary that is not burdened by too much tradition-specific history, and that as such might facilitate discussions between different spiritual schools.

The third chapter offers an overview of the main factors that play a role in making us the way we are. Even a casual glimpse of the illustrations in this chapter will make clear that its implicit message is to show (off) how much richer our psychological understanding could become if we would study the inner domain directly in stead of, as now, by proxy.

The last chapter, not yet completed, deals with something that is often neglected in spiritual literature, that of relationships and engagement with others and the world.

If you started reading this text with this chapter and are plagued by an increasing doubt about the philosophical and scientific soundness of the perhaps now and then rather far-out claims you encounter, you might like to read the Introduction and Part One first, as it is there that I have tried to describe the philosophical foundation on which this chapter is based, as well as Part Two in which you'll find the epistemology, the cognitive theories and the research methods that have been used to arrive at what is given in this part of this text.