A JOURNEY IN BEING
Anil Mitra, Copyright © August 01, 2019—September 19, 2019
A JOURNEY IN BEING
Here, the italicized ‘is’ marks definition or specification of meaning.
The aims of the document are (a) to be an effective outline for the final short and long versions and (b) to have a preliminary plan toward the 2020 site.
1. Paragraph styles for statements are—Main (Alt + Z) for the essential core, Normal Heading (Alt + Ctrl + X) for surrogate headings; and primary through quaternary—Central (Alt + M), Central 2 (Alt + Shift + C), Central 3 (Alt + Shift + Z), Central 4 (Ctrl + Alt + Y). A style to distinguish Academic (Alt + Ctrl + A) from general material.
Central 4—light blue
2. Paragraph styles for definitions are Definition (Alt + F), Definition 2 (Alt + G), Definition 3 (Alt + H), Definition 4 (Alt + J). The character style for definitions is Definition Character (underlying paragraph format + bold: Alt +K).
Definition—same color as Central
Definition 2—same color as Central 2
Definition 3—same color as Central 3
Definition 4—same color as Central 4
3. The paragraph style, Aside (Alt + A), is for asides and remarks.
4. Other character styles are Remark (Alt + R) (gray—50%) and Colloquial (Shift + Alt + K) (Courier New—Font size 13) for formal terms that are used informally or colloquially (‘is’ will be an exception; candidates are the main concepts—Being, being, experience, universe, void…).
5. While working on the document, styles will be color and / or font and / or indentation coded. In final online and print versions, most of the color / font / indentation coding will be suppressed.
6. The sequence of development is shorter outlines ® longer outlines ® short version ® long version.
the essential way.pdf—short version of the next
also see essays.html (2017)
and index.html (2013)
Introduce the Mahavakyas.
Front and back
The work—its main concern and title, that it is not a compilation, that it does not subscribe to standard paradigms, what is original, origins of the work, sources
To readers—suggestions, classes of reader, readings; invitation.
Suggestions—(1) The work has novelty of which a main aspect is a worldview that will require reorientation to absorb and this will be enhanced by not expecting familiar paradigms, by the expectation that absorption will be incremental, by re-reading, and by paying attention to meanings. (2) The meanings of formal terms are defined and the reader should follow these definitions and no other (the relationship to other uses, formal and informal, may of course enrich understanding). (3) A philosophical dictionary is built into the work; this will assist with the absorption of meaning.
Introduction (to the content of the work including the reasons for the work, the means including reason itself and fundamental concepts)
Content—What the work is about, aim, and outcome. The fundamental principle as binding-unifying the work—meaning, reasons including proof, metaphysical and cosmological consequences, consequences for Being and becoming
Aim—we live in two worlds, the immediate and the whole. Aims include knowing the whole, acting accordingly, action toward becoming the greatest possibility of our human being.
Doubt—can we know anything beyond the empirical boundary? No—at any time we cannot know things beyond the current empirical boundary. But we can be mistaken, e.g. misled by positivism, as to what the empirical boundary is. Particularly, if we define the universe as all that there is – was – will be, then while we do not know the universe in all its detail we do know the universe from which all detail but its existence has been abstracted. Further, we will argue that we similarly know the void as the complement to the universe. And—while this knowledge may seem vague and trivial, it is precise and deep in consequence (we will also find that Being—existence and nothing more than existence—is instrumental in this development).
Wide angle perspective—this is prologue material—Why… prologue—origins and reasons for the content—universal and personal. How… sharing – discovery – action.
Outline—Introduction – Foundation – Realization – Resources.
The essentials below link to headings and content. The headings are level 1 and level 2. The content consists of definitions with lesser paragraph indentation and assertions with greater indentation.
The idea of foundations arises in seeking reliability or security.
In greater detail—A foundation is a secure base for a system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.
Certainty is one criterion of reliability that has pervaded western thought, perhaps because of its allure, often as a tacit default. The allure is that certainty would provide perfect reliability.
However, it is not clear that certainty is possible except in limited circumstances or that it is the panacea that it might seem.
If we seek to found a system on one criterion, the resulting system might indicate that a different criterion is appropriate.
Of course, arriving at a final foundation is not what we find in practice; rather we find tentative foundations, reasons to alter the foundation and criteria, then new foundation and so on in a cyclic process.
We therefore expect that foundation and its criteria and the founded should co-emerge naturally.
It will be found that foundation, its criteria, and the founded should co-emerge naturally.
This is facilitated by use of the concepts of experience and Being.
Why experience? Just below we see that experience is the most immediate given.
Why Being? The history of foundation is a search for substance vs unending regress. Substance is that which underlies the world. Instead think to found the world in the world—in the immediate. This is the motivation to seek foundation in Being. Will this approach succeed? One could not tell in advance but the following developments show that it will. It will be seen that Being and experience are essentially interwove.
‘Experience’ is used in the sense of phenomenal or subjective awareness or consciousness. There is a sense in which the individual does not get outside their consciousness—consciousness is not the closest we get to the world: it is the very medium of our knowing and Being. From this perspective it is desirable to begin with experience.
If we do not get transcend consciousness, can we know anything perfectly—can we know anything at all? There is thus an opposition between the immediacy and the foundational issue regarding consciousness.
On the other hand Being is admirable as something known perfectly but abstractly. To begin with consciousness seems natural but to begin with Being makes the development more efficient.
To begin with Being in complete abstraction is to open a way to meaninglessness and paradox. Therefore discussion begins with an informal preliminary that anticipates the later discussion of meaning and knowledge beginning with Experience.
The meaning of ‘abstract’ just above is very different from the general concept of the abstract used elsewhere in this work—in the latter use an abstract concept is what is left over when possibly distorted detail is omitted leaving a perfectly known abstract.
A concept is a simple or compound mental content with iconic and therefore referential form.
A concept may included an associated sign that is simple or compound.
A compound sign may itself have iconic form via grammar.
Allowing null reference, all concepts have referential form and possibility.
Concepts with referential intent are referential.
If the reference is null, the referential intent is also null.
The meaning1 of a concept is the referential form and intent of the concept.
This is sometimes called the meaning of the associated sign. This would be ‘meaning0’ but is avoided here.
Meaning2 is meaning1 and the possible referents of the concept.
Meaning is meaning2 (in this work).
In this work, knowledge will be meaning (meaning2) with ‘possible’ replaced by ‘actual’. That is—
I.e.—to exist is to be knowable in some way, direct or indirect and sharply or diffusely; and by some knower.
Note that this section has not addressed the important question of validity—this will be addressed in the later sections on experience.
To say ‘x exists’ is to say ‘x obtains’.
To exist is to be the referent of some form of the verb to be.
Here, the verb to be or ‘to exist’ shall be understood in a neutral sense—a sense neutral to (a) specific regions in spacetime or its generalization to extension which is sameness, difference, and their absence; (b) number; (c) gender; and (d) any other aspect of declension. Thus existence may be marked by the present tense singular form ‘is’ in the foregoing neutral sense.
An existent is that which exists.
Existence is the common property of all existents.
Given a word ‘x’ and an associated iconic concept ‘xc’ to which there corresponds an actual ‘xo’, we say that x exists. Generally, ‘word’ above may be replaced by ‘compound sign’; in this case the concept is shared among the sign and the icon. The sign-concept is a symbol.
For well known existents, it is common and convenient to conflate sign-concept-object or symbol-object.
If there is no object xo, we say ‘x does not exist’. Alternately but unnecessarily we might say that there is an object but it is null.
If ‘x’ is ‘tigers’ and ‘xc’ is an image of tigers, then xo is tigers, and ‘xo exists’ becomes ‘tigers exist’.
If ‘x’ is ‘unicorns’ and ‘xc’ is an image of unicorns, then xo is unicorns, and ‘xo exists’ is really ‘xo does not exist’ which becomes ‘unicorns do not exist’.
For non-existence to not conflate sign-concept-object is avoids the traditional confusion of ‘negative existentials’. To not make the conflation also avoids confusion (a) when existence has not been established or (b) when signs or symbols have multiple uses
Item b is analogous to ‘overloading’ of operators in programming languages.
Meaning is a symbol and its putative objects.
This is referential meaning and includes linguistic meaning.
Knowledge is a symbol and its objects to a degree of certainty adequate to the purposes at hand.
Thus far knowledge of Being is abstract; we will look and the pragmatic (being-in-the-world) case and mesh the abstract and the pragmatic.
Thus knowledge includes pure, pragmatic, and mixed cases.
The capitalized form ‘Being’ is used to mean existence; this differentiates it from a being or beings.
The hypothetical being that has no effect on a given being does not exist relative to the given being.
The being that has no effect on any being does not exist.
The universe exists—i.e., the universe is a being.
There is one and only one universe.
I.e., the void is the being that has no manifest part.
Existence of the void may and should be doubted. However—
Existence of the void is self consistent and consistent with science and experience.
A proof can be given—existence and non-existence of the void are equivalent and therefore the void can be taken to exist. However, this may be doubted. Therefore, introduce the postulate or principle—
I.e. the void is a being.
Patterns exist—a pattern is a being.
A known law is a pattern for no more than the empirical cosmos.
The term ‘law’ shall mean ‘natural law’
A law is a pattern. That is—
There are no laws of the void. That is—
Of what kind is this possibility?
It must be the greatest or most permissive.
If it does not contradict known fact or itself, it must exist for otherwise this possibility would not be the greatest.
It cannot contradict itself or known fact, for such cannot exist.
With ‘logic’ as non contradiction of fact and concept, this is logical possibility.
This is an extension of the meaning of logic as deductive logic; the extension is equivalent to what is called often called ‘argument’.
Logical possibility and the greatest possibility are identical.
It is conceivable that the greatest possibility is not a state but a process.
The universe is the realization of possibility in its greatest sense—i.e. logical possibility.
Some other kinds of possibility are natural and sentient possibility.
Given any state of Being there is a greater sentient state.
We begin with pre-metaphysical development
The abstract development so far requires to be connected to the ‘experiential self’.
Experience is subjective awareness or consciousness.
The immediate given to a (sentient) being is not the immediate known but the medium of knowing which is experience—and which is a given.
There is experience, i.e. experience exists or has Being.
There is experience of experience; experience is a known.
Experience is the place of significant meaning.
The hypothetical being that has is never experienced by a given being is effectively non-existent relative to the given being.
The hypothetical being that is never experienced is effectively non-existent.
Effectively, existence or Being requires being experienced or known.
Effectively, Being is relational.
Experience is pure, attitudinal, and actionable.
As the medium of knowledge of the world, experience is attitudinal.
As the experiential medium of action in and on the world, experience is actionable.
Pure experience is the join of attitudinal and actionable experience at least temporarily disconnected from their objects (existents) and contained within the identity of the person.
The concepts of meaning and knowledge
Comment. Repeat the earlier discussion in Knowledge.
The picture of knowledge above is that of a concept and its referent.
This ought to be criticized on two counts. First, the concept is not the referent and therefore the question of faithfulness arises. Second, whether, when we have knowledge, it has to do with having concepts of referents (existents) or whether, perhaps, something else is what obtains—e.g. perhaps, because confirming the concept-referent relation always invokes another concept, the referent is an extended concept.
That is, the concept-referent notion of knowledge can be criticized as to its meaning and possibility.
These criticisms are addressed as follows.
In the abstract cases of experience and experience, Being, universe, the void, possibility, necessity, and logic, the knowledge is perfect in that the concept, even though distinct from the object, is perfectly faithful to the referent.
That is, even if the concept is isolated from the referent, it is as-if it perfectly captures it for all purposes.
Then there is pragmatic or instrumentally adequate knowledge, e.g. as in science, which is good enough for some purposes.
Given the perfect as perfect, as long as we are satisfied with the pragmatic as adequate, it matters not whether knowledge is a concept-referent (“correspondence”) or a concept-extended concept (correspondence mixed with “coherence”).
But from the metaphysics we can go beyond this.
We saw that the join of the perfect (we called it pure) and the pragmatic is perfect relative to ideals revealed by the pure (the classical questions of epistemology remain significant but the significance is localized per the pure metaphysics).
Comment. To be developed later; the dimensions of world-psyche as in the essential way-supplement.html.
Later, after development of a metaphysics with an ideal-abstract and a pragmatic-concrete side, the development so far will be extended and further connected to self and identity.
The previous sections are metaphysics whose perfect validity arises from abstraction of what is perfectly knowable and perfectly known. The aims of this section are (a) to continue the metaphysical development and (b) to integrate it with concrete knowledge—perfect and pragmatic.
In greater detail, the fundamental principle is—The one universe, which includes the empirical cosmos, is the greatest possible.
‘Greatest’ does not mean ‘best’—it is not an ethical term; it means just that if a being is possible it is part of the universe.
An individual, e.g. a human being, is a being that is limited for some purposes.
Determinism is determination of a whole by a part.
Perhaps the most common kind of determinism is temporal determinism in which time obtains for the whole and the part is a slice in time.
In the following, FP may be assumed. The assumption or otherwise will be remarked where it would not otherwise be clear.
The universe is determined relative to itself; from FP it knows itself—at least in its peaks.
The universe is not determined relative to a cosmos, especially the empirical cosmos and its individuals in their limited form. For individuals in limited form, while knowledge of their cosmos may be contingently limited, knowledge of the universe is necessarily limited.
While logic is the same for all individuals, the disjunction of logic into fact and deduction (truth preservation) is different. For the limitless individual, logic is fact and all fact is necessary fact.
In greater detail—the universe has identity; the identity and Being of the universe are limitless with regard to extension (space, time, and their generalization to, e.g., sameness-difference and its absence), peaks (of Being and dissolution), variety and kind of Being; which, relative to limited beings is ever fresh.
In detail—this world and individuals—e.g. human beings and minds in their limited manifestation… i.e., limited on some views and experience—inherit the limitlessness of the universe.
(The contrary would violate FP.)
Limited individuals merge with one another and with or as limitless Being.
The immediate and the ultimate are inseparable, interwoven.
The proper focus on either is focus on the whole.
Intelligent, experimental, and reflective seeking and path development enhances enjoyment and efficiency; this is the source of ways.
The way to the ultimate crosses ecstasy and pain which are interwoven and unavoidable; proper ways and paths neither seek nor avoid these extremes; such paths and address of extremes involve intelligent path development and negotiation and, so far as practical, calm moderated anticipation of ever freshness of paths and peaks of Being.
It is not true or honest to assert that pain or the guile of ecstasy are avoidable—or that the latter is altogether undesirable; the best address of the extremes is to seek to follow (and develop) a way and to accept what cannot be avoided.
Being and related concepts have been defined abstractly. This has led to an abstract metaphysics—it shows what may and will be (achieved) but not how we seemingly concrete beings may connect to it or engage in paths of realization.
In greater detail, tradition is—will be defined as—the cumulative valid systems of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action of all cultures over time, up to the present day.
This includes modern science, technology, philosophy and other disciplines, as in system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.html. It also includes the valid aspects of myth and religion—e.g., where they are not literally true where they may be allegorically, metaphorically, or ethically true.
To begin on paths and path development, we may appeal to tradition. Tradition may be an initial guide. Then—
The abstract or ideal metaphysics will illuminate and guide tradition, and tradition will illustrate and be instrumental toward the ultimate revealed by the abstract. The abstract is perfectly true; tradition has pragmatic truth (as if truth but for limited purposes). There are limits to pragmatic truth if absolute truth is its criterion—and relative to limited beings these limits are at least insurmountable. However, the ideal shows that—even if those limits are insurmountable—the pragmatic truth is all that is needed on the way to the ultimate.
The merging of individual and ultimate Being occurs across the edges of individual beings and cosmoses—across islands of relative determinism via indeterministic transaction.
It includes a process in which ‘we’ move incrementally from cosmos to greater cosmos.
Occasionally the ultimate is realized in a single step.
The term ‘pragmatic’ is understood to mean ‘at least pragmatic’ and not ‘merely pragmatic’.
The ideal or abstract metaphysics may be joined to pragmatic concrete tradition form a perfect system—a perfect metaphysics in which the ideal illuminates and guides the pragmatic and the pragmatic illustrates and is instrumental toward the ultimate revealed by the ideal. The join of the ideal and the pragmatic constitute a perfect metaphysics—or just the metaphysics—with each side perfect according to its own criteria (ideal truth for the ideal, pragmatic for the pragmatic—which thus defines a perfect joint epistemology… which subsumes but does not displace the epistemology of tradition). In summary—
The abstract and concrete constitute a perfect metaphysics—the abstract shows the ultimate and guides and illuminates the concrete; the concrete illustrates and is the best instrument toward the ultimate.
Reason is reflexive and self correcting use in practice and action of the metaphysics including tradition, and all dimensions of (human mind, civilization, and) Being. As we proceed toward the ultimate, there is no going outside the universe for knowledge or experience and thus there is no reason that is a priori to our being and knowing. In summary—
The metaphysics is a response to an interacting question and doubt. The question is—What will human being achieve and how does it relate to the greatest possibility for the universe? The doubt is—Given that knowledge of the universe including the laws of nature are essentially empirical, can the models from science be known to be complete models? There is a related issue—Are those models incomplete and if so what lies beyond the empirical boundary and how and in what sense can we know it?
Some doubts already addressed are consistency with science and experience, self consistency, and mesh with tradition and experience.
The critical doubt that now concerns existence of the void and consequently the fundamental principle. Two doubts are (a) of the principle itself, even though it is consistent with all experience, but (b) also of the significance and nature of proof.
The proof can be supported by heuristics and intuition. Should we insist on proof, intuition, or some combination?
But given the consistency, the doubt about the principle can be addressed (a) as already done by introducing it as a postulate and working out consequences, but since this is a long term project perhaps exceeding many human lifetimes (b) regarding the principle as a principle of action that is likely to result in the best outcome.
Some implications of the metaphysics are now taken up.
Comment. May combine with the earlier treatment of experience.
Let us continue with post-metaphysical development—implications of the metaphysics for the nature and world of experience. This proceeds by first presenting a standard map of experience; then considering a range of interpretations from the limited to the inclusive; eliminating some impossible cases; relating the remaining cases; and then developing implications of the metaphysics. This results in an extended sense of experience—world as experience.
The hypothetical being that never affects any experience does not exist.
Comment. Review. Make sure all are treated—omit those that are not.
What is metaphysics?
Why there is Being at all
All consistent abstract systems, mathematical and other, are realized
The old metaphysics
The nature of Being
Categories of Being
The problem of substance
Some modern problems of metaphysics
Fundamental question of metaphysics
The abstract and the concrete
Identity, space, and time
Causation and determinism; freedom
Consciousness, mind, and matter
Comment. See the section on metaphysics.
Theory of variety
Comment. Combine with developments in the section on metaphysics.
Comment. Combine with developments in the section on metaphysics.
Identity, space and time
Identity, sameness, difference, absence
Identity, space, and time
Form and formation
Comment. General and adaptive
Comment. Theoretical—conceptual (how).
Comment. And numerical experiments with emerging identity, space, time grid.
Tradition, experiment, reflection
Comment. A possible section.
Comment. Place here?
Comment. Add ‘the body’ or show it implicit in the existing dimensions.
“You are the sum of all you have thought.”
“Work out your salvation with diligence.”
Reason includes perception-conception-memory, feeling-emotion, action, and reflection; discretum-symbol-logic-proof and intuition-icon-continuum.
Seeing the identity of self and universe in meditation; becoming Identity in action.
This is epilogue material
The journey continues; repeat the invitation
Comment. A philosophical dictionary?
Or glossary, lexicon