Realization of the Nature of Human Being
Anil Mitra, Copyright © July 2019—January 2020
We look for and find in-process answers via experiment and reflection.
Sources are the world and traditions of exploration and thought.
(Tradition is understood to include the present day.)
The development synthesizes and goes beyond all tradition.
(Of course in certain directions to be identified.)
There are implications and significance for immediate and ultimate life.
That is, how may we be secure in our answers?
One traditional attitude is that of unfounded foundation.
(Widely accepted and seemingly reasonable postulates.)
How may both posit and infinite regress be avoided?
They would absorb, synthesize, and transcend extant systems of foundation.
They will not be determined by the extant systems.
We aim at perfection but reason may require pragmatic foundation.
(We will find foundation to necessarily mix the perfect and the pragmatic.)
The perfect will be in ultimates of realization; the details will be pragmatic.
It will be efficient to write as if definitively.
Yet doubt is raised and addressed.
Which, if adequate, is far more powerful than definitiveness alone.
Cause is an effect of one being on another.
Consider a hypothetical being that has no effect on a given being.
The hypothetical is effectively non existent for the given.
It is non existent relative to the given.
The universe is a being.
There is exactly one universe.
The universe has neither exterior nor creator nor cause.
The hypothetical being that has no effect does not exist.
To exist is to be in relation.
There are no beings in the void.
Existence and nonexistence of the void are equivalent.
The void is a being.
Laws and limits are beings.
There are no beings in the void.
Doubt 4. How are laws and limits beings?
It inheres in the possible that it is consistent.
Logical possibility is defined as possibility in its greatest sense.
This will enable the later definition of logic.
Unqualified ‘possibility’ shall mean ‘greatest or logical possibility’.
Possibility may be qualified as in physical and sentient possibilities.
(Abbreviated ‘the fundamental principle’ or just ‘the principle’.)
It means just that every possible being is in the universe.
(This narrative is an exploration of the meaning of the principle.)
Logic is the minimal requirement on concepts for their realization.
Perhaps for any state of the universe there is a greater.
In that case ‘greatest possible’ will mean just that.
It might then have meaning in an in-process sense.
Except that there is one, the number of voids is without significance.
The void is dual—emptiness and generator and potential of all possibility.
Every being inherits this power.
The principle is consistent with logic and science.
And with what is true in cumulative experience and its interpretation.
(‘Cumulative experience’ means experience over time and persons.)
The proof of the principle may be doubted.
However, the ground of such doubt cannot be inconsistency.
Alternate proof is given.
Further, the principle has heuristic grounding.
(Given that there is a manifest universe, what is the likelihood of manifestation being merely possible—accidental—vs necessary?)
This suggests alternate attitudes to the principle.
One is to regard it as a postulate or axiom and explore consequences.
(That is, the principle may be regarded as a necessary or universal law
—in a manner similar to the founding of the science of thermodynamics.)
A second is to regard it as an existential principle for action.
As an existential principle it would enhance the value of our expectations.
It would guard against the emotional drive to unfounded nihilism.
Doubt 5—the crucial doubt for the system of realization concerns the existence of the void and the derivation of the fundamental principle. This doubt is addressed in A system of doubts about the fundamental principle.
(The earlier sense of cause in which the universe was said to have no cause is cause-as-another-being.)
Tradition is pragmatic knowledge, practice, action of all cultures.
It is pragmatic in being as if ideal for some purposes.
Its limiting case is the perfect.
The metaphysics determines its epistemology:
Perfect for the ideal; pragmatic for the pragmatic.
Pragmatic perfection or certainty may be impossible.
However, the ideal shows it unnecessary.
The ideal shows the pragmatic to be a perfect instrument of realization.
(Thus demonstrating a metaphysics—‘the metaphysics’.)
The ideal of foundation outside the founded is useful for local purposes.
It is impossible in the ultimate.
To think it exists or that it should be necessary is illusion.
(Local epistemology is not made insignificant but revalued as local.)
Even illusion would be experience.
The being that affects no experience is effectively non existent.
Extension is sense of sameness and difference.
The most primitive experience is extension.
Time is sense of change with constancy of identity.
Space is sense of difference among identities.
Space and time are special cases of extension.
Space, time, and identity are not pervasive
(The universe has islands of space, time, and identity)
Except in universal peaks
Where pervasive, space-time-identity is naturally interwoven.
The variety includes peaks of limitless magnitude.
The peaks are also of limitless variety.
Realization is given.
It subsumes and is enhanced by living well in this world.
There are pain and ecstasy which are not to be avoided.
But calm living in anticipation of the ultimate is effective in realization.
It is also the image of the ultimate in the immediate.
Experience is as if of an individual experiencer experiencing a world.
The world is as if of many experiencing individuals in an environment.
It is as if the experience of all individuals is similar.
(Except of course in fragmentation.)
The term ‘as if’ does not mean ‘not real’.
It connotes ‘not yet assessed as real’.
The universe contains the system of experience.
If they are real, the universe also contains the contents of the system.
Interpretations of the system include materialism, idealism, and solipsism.
The fundamental principle fixes ‘the’ interpretation.
The universe is an experiential identity.
One in which individual identities and environment are merged.
The one identity is relatively separated into individuals.
The individuals are focal experiential centers.
The environmental experientiality is of low intensity and focus.
It seems and may be effectively zero in intensity and focus.
Within the universe many worlds arise.
Worlds that are as if material.
This probably defines our empirical world:
The foregoing in which ‘as if’ is omitted and the environment is material.
Our world may seem like this.
It is possible.
But impossible if ‘matter’ is substance in a strict sense.
(The sense in which matter excludes the mental.)
(The essential reason that mind is opaque under strict materialism.)
Worlds as just the experience of a limited individual.
This ‘solipsist’ kind of world is possible but bizarre.
Experience is pure, attitudinal, and active (that of agents).
Attitudinal and active experience are relational.
Except in the universe as experiential, pure experience is relational.
Experience is relational.
(Except for the experiential universe.)
Further pragmatic dimensions of world and psyche may be given.
Reflexivity may be cultivated.
Yet in Being and other ideal concepts, there is ideal as-if-perfect knowledge.
(An as if form may be a form, a pragmatic form, or no form of the world.)
In the pragmatic case the as if forms are adequate for some purposes.
(I.e. of all dimensions psyche which reflect all dimensions of world.)
(Experience is part of reason but its inclusion is for emphasis.
Similarly, reason is part of experience.
Reason is experience ordered to pragmatic and ultimate ends.)
(What was thought of as the depth of the a priori is on the surface).
The banishment of the a priori meshes the pragmatic and the ideal.
(That is, for limited phases of Being.)
(For some pragmatic purposes we are a limited phase.)
For ultimate Being, experience has no limited sense—experience is reason.
We begin not at the foundation itself but what we find.
That psyche is essential in knowing and acting relation with the world.
This leads to improvement.
The concept of determinism is that a part determines a whole.
A whole, e.g. the universe or a world, is deterministic relative to itself.
And may be more or less deterministic relative to a part.
Temporal determinism is a special case where temporality obtains.
In temporal determinism vs indeterminism, the part is a slice in time.
As a whole the universe is—may be seen as—a block in extension.
The extension has phases of but is not pervaded by spacetime.
The more or less deterministic worlds are distributed in the universe.
That is—the universe has arrays of worlds and cosmoses.
(This empirical cosmos is but one.)
They are distributed against a void background.
Temporality and near temporal determinism arise in cosmological systems.
(Near determinism is just that many processes are seen as deterministic.)
There is more—every cosmos is an atom; every atom a potential cosmos.
The universe is essentially indeterminate relative to cosmoses.
(And to individuals in the cosmoses.)
The universe may be absolutely indeterministic relative to a system.
(Except over the extension of the system.)
This the case of near for-some-purposes (‘temporary’) isolation.
Such systems may have residual indeterminism amid partial determinism.
This mesh of structure and indeterminism has analogy to quantum theory.
The merging of identities occurs across the islands of near determinism.
Peaking occurs when islands come together in focus.
Paths to the ultimate are negotiated against this background.
Tradition is an instrument.
The physical sciences provide a paradigm of local process.
This paradigm is seen as mechanism with superposed indeterminism.
The theory of evolution provides a paradigm of origins.
This paradigm is one of indeterministic variation and selection.
The selection is of stable systemic ‘adaptations’—the source of structure.
Parts and wholes are mutually and self-adaptive systems.
(The universe is ‘occasionally’ self-adaptive, e.g. in peaks.)
The near mechanism of physical process can be a basis of adaptation.
This appears to be the case for biological evolution (on earth).
From the fundamental principle, these paradigms do obtain.
(Necessarily in some but not all phases of the universe.)
The physical paradigm is informative in local understanding and technology.
The evolutionary paradigm is informative in formation of cosmoses.
(And likely preponderance of formed and sentient systems in the universe.)
The entire system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action is available in seeking and negotiating paths.
Meaning in our phase of Being is in neither the ultimate nor the immediate.
Dimensions or categories of the world
A non-unique system
There is an improved version of this in experience and its dimensions.html. This version is retained as it is referred to in other documents.
PSYCHE AS SUBJECT
Relatively bound (to world as object)
(Note: perception is the result of perceptual intuition—capacity for formed experience of the world, informed by concepts formation)
Intuition of time
Relatively free (concept formation)
Inner—feeling with degrees of freedom
Outer—iconic and symbolic concepts; and conceptual intuition or capacity for concept formation
(Note: emotion is a join of conception and free and primitive feeling)
Spatiotemporal—concept of space; concept of time, past – present – future and will and sense of purpose; concepts of science, philosophy, and the transcendent
Aesthetic—syntheses of the ‘elements’ that speak to the ‘being’ of the individual or person
WORLD AS OBJECT
Natural (relatively unconstructed)
Living (complex, built of the physical in that no further elements seem necessary)
Experiential (mind, psyche as object, perhaps always in association with life—at least in its known advanced forms; the physical and the elementary experiential are two aspects of the natural)
Social (group, relatively constructed)
Language and communication, generation, transmission
Small—the individual, family, community
Large and institutional—political, economic (and technology and military), research and education, art and the religious
Universe (and unknown)
A bizarre world or being is one that is logically possible but improbable locally or in any stable self-adapted world or standard paradigm.
This concept of the bizarre is key in resolving many problems of apparent indistinguishability between normal and ‘bizarre’ but logically possible interpretations of aspects of the world. The outcome is not necessarily either of the alternatives but may be a third view; which may or may not be close to one of the alternatives.
Doubt and response
Why not matter, spirit, mind, relation, process, word, and so?
I.e. why not ‘substance’ as foundation?
Response. Substance pre-judges the nature of the world in terms of knowledge so far.
Substance, it may be seen, commits to pre-judicial error at outset.
As defined here, Being entails no pre-judgment on the nature of the world.
(What is to be avoided is conflation with other uses.)
Response. What is appropriate is not to be pre-judged.
Some terms and definitions must be chosen, suitability worked out, and if unsuitable discarded for others.
Given the concept of Being, the present definition of universe is ‘all that there is’.
I.e., there is nothing outside the universe.
The concept is suitable for the whole relative to which there is no other.
It is especially the system of concepts as a whole that stand together in meaning. It was found by trial and error that the present system (experience, Being, beings, the universe, the void, law, possibility, logic, tradition—especially science) does so stand as appropriate to aim of the narrative (What will human being realize? What are the limits of human being?) and as sufficient to found the perfect metaphysics.
It is in terms of Being rather than substance that the void may exist.
The power of ‘Being’ begins to emerge.
Response. This of course does not imply existence.
But we have already given a proof existence of the void.
What we are doing is doubting the proof.
What is the rational basis of the doubt?
It is the doubt that existence of the void is equivalent to its non-existence.
The void exists means that the being that contains no beings exists.
We are doubting equivalence of existence and non-existence of the void.
Are they truly equivalent?
Let us employ another approach.
What would there be if the universe were non-manifest?
There would be the void—the void would exist.
Existence of the manifest ought not to change that fact of existence.
We are still left with the doubt that we are playing with ideas, not things.
But the importance of the existence of the void is its implication.
This doubt is taken up again below in Doubt 5.
Response. A law is a pattern in or of a being (e.g. a cosmos).
It does not ‘apply’; rather it is immanent (in the being).
From Being as existence or being ‘there’ no further argument is required to say laws have Being.
That is, laws exist or are beings.
Now a law or pattern is a limit; and a limit is a kind of pattern.
Limits are beings (are laws even though not in name).
1. The proof of the principle is in doubt.
Response—the formal doubt about proof lies in earlier doubts to which resolution has been given.
2. The principle is not consistent with experience, science, and reason.
Response—relative to a charge of consistency, the principle claims only that what is possible exists. This cannot be a violation of logic. Nor does it violate the application of reflective experience—including our science—the empirical cosmos for the cosmos is one possibility which the claim therefore supports.
It may be claimed that to assert that there are other parts to the universe with other laws and absence of laws is a violation of our science. But it is not for our laws are empirical and not known to extend beyond the empirical cosmos—and to claim that they do, as we tend to, is to project the empirical beyond the empirical.
3. The magnitude of the claim (and consequences) demand sustained doubt; and questioning of the meaning of the claim.
Response—that the claim has great magnitude does not negate the given proof (or heuristics), yet doubt will be sustained and addressed.
We begin to address the doubt by giving heuristic arguments—and an alternate proof. (1) The outcome of the progress of science is essentially impossible to predict—e.g. we have some reasonable thoughts on what may succeed quantum field theory and general relativity but certainly not for what may come after that. However, we may say that the outer boundary of the future progression of scientific theories cannot go beyond the boundary set by logic. (2) Assume that there is an explanation of the existence of the empirical cosmos but (of course) not what that explanation is. That the cosmos is accidental, merely possible, or probable is not an explanation. Therefore, if there is an explanation it is necessity. That is, given the void it is necessary that the cosmos should have emerged. But from symmetry, for just this cosmos to have emerged cannot be necessary (or even probable); it must be necessary that all possible beings (worlds) should emerge. (3) The following is a heuristic and alternate proof. Suppose that the universe is in or enters the void state. If that should be or happen then the void exists and the essential doubt which is really about the existence of the void is erased. Therefore eternal non existence of the manifest universe is impossible. That is, existence is necessary. But as seen above, existence of just this cosmos cannot be necessary. This heuristic may be seen as an alternate proof.
Finally, doubt will remain. In the end, the address of doubt must be to see the fundamental principle as a postulate or an existential principle for action.
The meaning of the principle is addressed (1) implicitly in the meanings of the terms (Being, logic and so on), in the proof, and in exploring and showing how the principle is to be applied and (2) explicitly in exploring consequences.
Response—That the posited mechanisms should apply some ‘where’ is necessitated by the fundamental principle. What may be in doubt is their universality; this is not an issue for they are not universal. The paradigms of mechanism and of evolution are not universal—regarding the former the universe must have vast phases of indeterminism; regarding the latter the universe must have phases of single step origins. The real doubts are (i) what is the purchase of the standard mechanisms, (ii) what are other mechanisms and their purchase, and (iii) given that the standard are not universal, what their significance is. This doubt is of course acknowledged and addressed as follows. First, of course there is some risk in employing non universal principles. However, in a universe that is indeterministic relative to our perspective some risk is necessary to effective realization; what is to be avoided is blind risk when an alternative is available and risk based on inconsistency and untruth (thinking that our science and secular thought extend to the whole would be untruth). Second, we continue to explore; there are whole symbolic realms to explore (which, if consistent must be realized); and there are other approaches to consider in the concrete as the empirical becomes remote—we will be forced, for a time, to either do nothing or to employ symbolic approaches as just noted and intelligent interpretation of the available data (beginning, e.g., with the rational approach of the present narrative). Third the standard mechanisms are templates; elsewhere in the universe, where they apply, the details may be vastly different. Finally, as noted earlier, the standard mechanisms may define dominant (and significant) populations.