The Mystery of the Self (Science and Nonduality)

What is the Self? This video offers a brief overview of the new findings from a wide range of scientific disciplines about what it means to be human. Modern science gives us descriptions of the mechanisms our brain needs to construct what we call the self, and this illusionary image of ourselves as separate beings is perhaps the root cause of the problems and suffering in the world today.


What is the Self? Most of us share a strong intuition that our own Self is an irreducible whole, that there must be some place in our brain where our perception and our sensation all get together and create thoughts and imagination and define our future.

But neuroscience today is discovering that there is no single brain structure that embodies the Self. And it’s pointing to the fact that what is creating the sense of Self is a complex mental neurological map allowing us to function as one single organism.

Biology tells us that the human body is actually an ecosystem of trillions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, all with their evolutionary agenda.

What is then the Self if what I call “me” is not one organism but really trillions of living entities? And look at the internet. This amazing web of connection which each one of us is like a neuron giving input and receiving information as much as viruses and bacteria are doing inside our body.

Body and mind, our skin, can longer be used to define the boundary of our Self. We are all connected—with Nature, with billions of people. Could it be that this illusionary image of our Self as separate beings that is keeping us in this perpetual state of anxiety, scarcity, fear, dissatisfaction, leading us as a society in this very delicate point in evolution with our current ecological, economic, and social crises?

We need a new story, a new myth, to redefine our role as human in this interconnected Universe. As the astronomer Carl Sagan said, we live on a small rock circling a star, which is one of 400 billion stars comprising our galaxy, which is only one of billions of galaxies comprising our Universe–which is possibly not even the only universe out there.

And that is a perspective on human life well worth pondering upon while we celebrate the mystery of the Self.


Science and Nonduality (SAND) brings together preeminent scientists, philosophers, spiritual teachers, and mystics for an exploration of the new paradigm emerging in spirituality that is grounded in cutting-edge science and consistent with the ancient wisdom of nonduality — the deep understanding of the interconnectedness of life. For more information, visit



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