Knowing that brain is chemical, why do I still suffer?

Acharya Prashant
5 min readOct 12, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

These are the thoughts going through Dominique’s mind in the conversation with Alvah after returning to New York:

“Either course taken would be taken under compulsion.”

“She wondered whether they whipped convicts nowadays.”

“She had kept herself clean and free in a single passion — to touch nothing.”

“[…] she had liked the impotence of their hatred […].”

“She was not free any longer.”

~ Excerpts from ‘The Fountainhead’, by Ayn Rand

Question: The way Dominique is struggling when her tendencies are coming to the surface, and how even after choosing the toughest choice of all the ones available, she still feels defeated by Roark.

(Dominique and Roark are the main characters in Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead’).

This reminds me of my life. Even I envy and get angry with people who bring my suffering to the surface. And I try to take revenge on them.

Acharya Ji, Pranaam! These two questions trouble me.

Every tendency I have is just a chemical reaction, then how is my restlessness not a chemical reaction? If it is, then how do I get affected in a situation when I know that it is just a chemical reaction?

Acharya Prashant (AP): The tendencies do not suffer, you do. You are not your tendencies. Had you been your tendencies, why would there have been any suffering?

So tendencies proceed as per pre-set patterns of chemical reactions — that’s what tendencies do.

And when tendencies do that, tendencies are alright.

You are not alright when you act per your tendencies.

When you say, “How do I know that my restlessness is also not a chemical reaction?” your restlessness is because…

Acharya Prashant