One of the curious things I noticed many years ago was how much we agree on the appearance of the world. While there is a huge variation in emphasis and interpretation, we have no problem driving down the street. Other’s reality doesn’t cause the roads to change appearance continually as we go by.
This points to a shared reality. Modern science takes the approach that the physical world is real and we interpret it subjectively with our brains. But when we recognize that the world arises from and within consciousness, this points to a deeper shared reality.
Samkhya suggests our individuality has a 3-fold structure. The intellect discriminating self from other, the mind with its concepts resulting from that distinction, and the ego which is an effect of the intellects discrimination of a distinct self. The ego takes ownership of the mind and our experiences, leading to the birth of a personal self.
This is a natural part of human development. The issue is when we get stuck there.
The senses arise from the mind and the objects of the senses (the essences of the 5 elements) in similar fashion; senses from the sattva guna, objects from tamas.
This suggests our senses and the objects in the world arise directly from our personal mind. And indeed this is how Samkhya is widely interpreted. But that doesn’t actually make a lot of sense.
For example, the world doesn’t disappear when your mind sleeps – except to you. Your body doesn’t vanish either as your partner will tell you.
This is because what Samkhya is describing is cosmic. The senses and the world arise in the cosmic mind as a process of creation. They are then expressed into apparent individual forms.
Thinking it’s personal is that ego again, taking claim for its experiences. We recognize the senses here so think of them as “mine.” Talk about being grandiose. 🙂
We largely agree on where the mountains and the roads are because they arise in the whole, not in the parts. They’re not individual any more than we are.
For a materialist, this may seem to complicate things. But for someone living this in experience it actually simplifies it. It’s explaining it that gets complicated because we have to talk in the language of the ego.