Journey in Being
COPYRIGHT © ANIL MITRA, PHD, May 28, 2013
Created April 29, 2012
Journey in Being
This narrative is of a journey—a quest—for discovery and realization of the Universe and its greatest forms.
While the process arises in immersion in human perspectives it is it is essential to begin with neutrality. However, there will also be a need for commitment of perspective and action. There will be a need for give and take between neutrality and commitment.
The idea of Being will be introduced as ultimate among our ideas with regard to neutrality of perspective.
This ultimate neutrality will provoke the question ‘Is Being too neutral and general to foster commitment’.
Neutrality entails neutrality with respect to neutrality itself—to give and take between neutrality and commitment.
Being will therefore be pivotal to this give and take. Neutrality is not blandness.
This will not compromise the neutrality of the idea of Being for commitment will occur ‘in’ Being—i.e. it will be of some aspects of Being but not of all Being.
The idea of commitment to Being may therefore seem paradoxical. As a process or journey, however, it is not paradoxical. I implies a commitment to discovery together with an attitude that is open to abandoning stagnant paths, open to beginning afresh.
This attitude is employed in the narrative in beginning with the most reliable considerations—those that seem to require a minimum of commitment, i.e. those that seem most neutral. Commitment will be built on this base. This is an effective approach and even if revision of the beginning is needed we expect iterative improvement.
Why do I use the word ‘seem’? In the beginning we can do no better—especially if we are not to depend on inherited but unclearly understood ‘rationality’: rationality comes neither before nor after ‘the fact’ but in interaction with experience.
The idea a quest as a journey is not new.
We will find that the arc of the universe, life, and individuals constitute an interwoven journey.
The significance of neutrality of Being is a theme in human thought—from the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers to the present. However, there is a tendency in thought to reintroduce premature commitment. This re-introduces confusion where there need be no confusion.
An example is materialism whose weakness in understanding mind is well known. Strict forms of materialism cannot explain mind. Further, the strength of matter as substance of the Universe is illusory—it is sufficient to regard materialism as a working program.
Another confusion is to regard some special mode of being as Being—e.g. ‘Being’ will refer to beings with subjectivity or experience. This begins as terminological confusion but results in real confusion because the terminological is (often) not distinguished from the conceptual. If neutrality is important it is well to reserve some term for it. There is no loss for other terms can be applied to special kinds—e.g. matter and human being.
How should we conceive Being? We regard it as the an indication of existing—of be-ing—rather than a quality (as in materialism and other monistic and dualistic systems) of what exists or some special mode of existence.
This is ultimate neutrality—only existing things have Being. Non-existing things do not have Being. The previous sentence introduces what seems to be a paradox. If unicorns do not exist what am I referring to when I use the term ‘unicorn’. We always think in terms of mental content (concepts). ‘Unicorns do not exist’ means that the concept ‘unicorn’ has no objects in the universe. ‘Mt. Everest exists’ means that there is an object corresponding to the concept of ‘Mt. Everest’.
I see a table and ask ‘Does it exist?’ I am not particularly concerned with the case of illusion for even in absence of illusion I doubt that the table exists precisely as I experience it. Is there anything that is beyond doubt? Yes, for if there were no Being I would not have even this approximation to a table, I would not have even illusion. I.e. I know that there is Being even though I have valid doubt about various particular cases.
Consider the question ‘What created the Universe?’ If we regard the Universe as all matter and energy then the question has no definitive answer. If we regard the Universe as all Being then there is nothing outside the Universe and so the Universe has no external creator. Now consider whether ideas are in the Universe. If the Universe is matter the answer is not clear. However, if there are ideas then on the present conception they must be in the Universe.
The conclusions—starting with the fact that there is Being—are profound in the definiteness of the answers but the reasoning is simple. It required appropriate conceptions of Being and Universe.
The narrative uses familiar terms in specific and sometimes new ways. This is crucial to its development and to understanding. I will be careful in specifying meanings of significant terms employed.
To emphasize a meaning used in the text I will often employ capitalization, e.g. ‘Logic’. Since the first word in a sentence is capitalized in English, non-standard capitalization may be indicated by placing the symbol (C) after the word. The symbol (LC) after a word will be used to emphasize that the sense used is not the special sense of the text.
The idea of a journey or quest ties into and is aligned with the idea of destiny.
We inherit many traditions regarding destiny—the future of human being and the human role in its future. To appreciate our future requires that we understand destiny. This in turn may require understanding of the Universe and our relations to it. Engaging in a journey in being—engaging in destiny will be immensely enhanced by such understanding. This understanding is not given at outset but emerge with the journey itself.
What can we say with confidence at outset?
In the spirit of neutrality we can assert that while we do not know our future fully and while we do not have full control we have some knowledge and some control. Perhaps greater knowledge and understanding will emerge in the narrative but we do not expect perfection. What will in fact turn out to be the case is that there will be directions of perfection and other directions of ever-openness.
This may be seen as good for having no control at all as well as having full control seem to eliminate meaning-in-the-sense-of-significance. It allows a sense of purpose but not so much control that no purpose becomes superfluous.
It is shown that the Universe has no limits—i.e. all states or processes of being are occupied (this assertion is named the ‘fundamental principle of metaphysics’). It follows that:
1. The Universe could not be greater.
It will be seen that from a temporal view, the Universe has no final greatest form—its forms are ever in process. However, there is a trans-temporal perspective which includes the temporal as well as any non-temporal ‘background’.
2. The Universe has identity and manifestation in acute, diffuse, and absent phases.
3. The Universe confers its limitlessness on all individuals who therefore enter into these states.
4. For limited forms this realization is a process—a journey—without limit on extension, duration, variety, summit and elevation, and dissolution.
We will find that realization is a mode of discovery.
The main purpose of the narrative is to work out details and mechanics of the arc of being just described and to describe progress in the individual and general undertaking of this arc or journey.
The meaning of the assertion ‘the Universe has no limits’ is not clear. The stated consequences seem to contradict experience as well as logic. It is crucial that these concerns be resolved (a) so that the arc of the journey may be accepted and (b) because the resolution is critical in understanding the arc and developing a mechanics.
What will acceptance of the journey as outlined above take?
Demonstration or proof will be effective. A demonstration of the fundamental principle will be given. I use the term ‘demonstration’ to indicate that proof will follow from givens rather than assumed premises. Are there such givens? We often think not. However, Being is such a given for if there were nothing there neither the question of givens (for example) nor the illusion of the question would arise. Working out the details of a system of givens sufficient not only to premises but also to methods of demonstration is one of the tasks to be undertaken.
It will also be important to seek and clear objections such as those described above.
A crucial concern will concern the validity of demonstration. Here there will be essential doubt. However, demonstration or proof is not the only basis of a system as worthy of acceptance and use.
Provided that all objections to a system are addressed it will be worthy of acceptance when the outcome it shows is valuable. In fact most of our powerful systems of understanding are just like this—(a) while they do not have absolute proof they do not contradict reason or experience and (b) they are valuable in what they reveal and what they enable us to do.
In this regard there is an element of faith in all significant endeavor. This faith is akin to animal faith and is not faith, e.g. as in some religious adherence, in the absurd.
While this faith is related to doubt it is real and therefore not an occasion for pessimism but for ‘existential celebration’ (e.g. of risk toward greater Being).
Further, while there is residual doubt about the fundamental principle it will enhance the value of acceptance to seek to improve confidence in its demonstration, to continue to improve its interface with experience (and reason and science), and to seek further understanding and plausibility.
Obviously the endeavor begins and draws strength from immersion in—and adequate neutrality toward—the human endeavor and its traditions, ancient through today.
To know, appreciate, and be on the way to realization of the Universe in its greatest form will require some degree of faithful depiction of the Universe and our relations to and in it.
To know, appreciate, and be on the way to realization of the greatest form requires faithful depiction of the Universe and our relations to it.
Metaphysics, cosmology, and worldview are common terms for are common though not particularly precise terms for such depictions.
A metaphysics or cosmology is effectively formulated in terms a few essential principles or concepts—these are not received but must be discovered.
The metaphysics and disciplines of the past are important sources of the essentials and details but are not determining.
They must always be supplemented by experience and reflection.
The reader is expected to supplement what he or she reads here by experience and reflection which will include criticism and imagination.
In origin ‘science’ and ‘myth’ were interwoven. Over time some critical independence of science became possible. Many today think that the only truth comes from common experience including science. This is the core of modern secular cosmology.
The standard modern secular cosmology goes beyond this—secular cosmology has captured the essence of cosmology.
Hume showed that there is no necessity of fit of science to the universe. There is no necessity to standard secular cosmology.
However, secularism sees science reach far into all known niches and often concludes that, probably, science nearly captures the universe. This does not allow for undiscovered niches.
Hume’s argument disproves the necessity of fit; the niche argument disproves its likelihood.
From necessity and probability, secularism allows wide open metaphysics and cosmology in the domain beyond the known validity of science. For example we accept, perhaps tentatively, the big-bang cosmology. Consider, however, the question of what lies beyond the cosmos so revealed? Is there nothing beyond the ‘edge’? There are cosmological solutions in which there is nothing before the initial moment and the cosmos extends infinitely in space. Does that mean that there is no before or outside? Not at all. It may mean that no before / outside is required for the cosmological solution to have meaning but not at all that there is none. What lies outside may be limitless in variety, dimensionality, extensionality of infinitely greater degree than our known cosmos and the solutions that approximate it. It is important that I am not concluding at this very point that such an outside exists but only that it is consistent with the standard cosmological pictures.
In fact—until shown otherwise—metaphysics and cosmology remain ever open!
The modern alternative to the secular is the trans-secular.
The trans-secular holds that there are worlds beyond the secular. While the forms of these accounts conform to some elements of human psyche and morals their view of the universe is, generally, either fantastic or absent. This has a corrupting influence in prejudicing thought against the trans-secular even though the secular is incomplete. If there is no world beyond the secular it may also be the case that the real secular world is vastly greater than the secular world as understood today.
The trans-secular views are manifold—myth, religion, and some systems of metaphysics. As formal cosmology, myth and religion are typically severely deficient; the ‘primitive’ cosmologies are at once ways of life and local but implicit science; modern religions have a primary value as codes of ethics and behavior and implicit psychology (like physics, modern psychology remains incomplete but more obviously so since—unlike physics—modern psychology emphasizes either the empirical or the systematic and this is because—unlike physics—there are no accepted systems).
Most metaphysics—the systems typified by the Hegelian—are also deficient by way of overreach even though their insights may be valuable.
Classical metaphysics lies on the border of science and metaphysics. It replaces the fantasy of myth by a projective account designed to mirror some features of the world. It has potential for universality but remains too projective and does not acquire the closely empirical status of science in its valid domains.
We must search beyond the secular and the trans-secular.
Cosmology and psychology remain wide open relative to the standard accounts.
If science is too local, religion too fantastic, metaphysics has potential for universal knowledge but must overcome its projective and experiential limitations.
When the secular and trans-secular are understood correctly there can be no boundary between them. Taken together they have regions of validity—for example the secular in its knowledge of this, our cosmos; and the trans-secular as a map of an ‘inner’ cosmos.
It is crucial to see what, in a general way, the standard cosmologies entail and what they do not entail. Just above we saw that they have domains of validity. We also saw that they are silent about what lies outside those domains and the ‘size’ of those domains.
The point just made is crucial. We can therefore begin metaphysics with a range of possibilities. We will argue in a number of cases that while some particular picture is not necessarily true there is a range of pictures of which at least one must hold. These can be selected so as to agree with the standard cosmologies or the cosmologies can be imposed after the fact (we will choose the former course for it is more efficient and more elegant). Having come up with ranges of allowed metaphysical pictures we can then see what can be done about narrowing the field and, particularly, whether we narrow the field down to just one picture. We will narrow down the field incrementally; this in itself will be instructive; then we will find a way to narrow down the field to just ‘one’ cosmology. I put the word ‘one’ in quotes because it is so fast as to contain infinities of cosmologies such as ours and more but I use the word ‘one’ because what we find is very definite in its specification. What is that specification? Ask what the is the most permissive cosmology consistent with the known local cosmology? Surely it must be one that agrees with the local cosmology in its domain but is otherwise constrained only by logic (our logics are not perfect or complete but this point will be addressed later). That is precisely what we will find. However, we will modify the meaning of logic so that (a) the imperfection and incompleteness of our logics is no longer problematic and (b) agreement with known science and cosmology in their valid domains is incorporated into the new meaning—‘Logic’.
Thus we will find that the one final cosmology, is specified as identity of metaphysics and Logic.
From concerns of realism, analytic and continental philosophy have both eschewed and rejected metaphysics of the past. Modernism has rejected this same past because of its absurdities which include the fantastic systems such as Hegelian Idealism and the failure of ideology based political thought such as Marxism. Consequently, systematic metaphysics and ‘grand or master narratives’ fell into disfavor in the twentieth century.
Let us examine these failures of rationalism.
The enlightenment burst into being with an enthusiasm for rationalism. It was an exuberance of liberation from dogma. Rationality and reason were all. However, it soon reflected on itself and with Hume and Kant found limits. Hume found that the posited necessities of inductive reason were not necessary. Kant found limits to metaphysics—metaphysics must begin in experience.
In this narrative we find directions in which reason would have been thought inductive can be brought into the realm of the deductive. These coincide precisely with finding areas of metaphysics that are given in experience.
Analytic philosophy rejected metaphysics of its time for the reasons of Hume and Kant (it sometimes thought it had discovered these reasons) as well as reasons of its own—the Hegelian confusion of induction with necessity and the excessive idealism of nineteenth century philosophy (which can perhaps be seen as a stance of superiority relative to common thought). Finding difficulty with system, phases of analytic philosophy rejected system and depth altogether.
However as noted above, not all metaphysics need be inductive; and a philosophy of Being is neither materialist nor idealist—nor one of depth or surface. The philosophy of this narrative is one of Being—and further, one that does not abandon Being to excesses of local interest or sophistication. This narrative appears systematic and perhaps is so but its system flows from reflection and experience; it is not imposed.
There are indeed absurdities of rationalism and system and elevation of system into grand metaphysical and political narratives. These however are contingent absurdities of particular situations that were elevated by their originators perhaps in exuberance but also elevated by their detractors so that their fall would be more dramatic. While magnificent in some ways they are just so from other just so perspectives. I admit of course that I have been motivated by the grand. However, I have been energized ever by imagination, constrained ever by critical thought, subject ever to the criterion of experience, freed remotely and recently by the idea of background primitive metaphysics leading to multiple grounds upon which further optional structures may be built and selected according to criteria of reason and ‘existenz’. The failure of some systems is no more than a failure of some systems. Sometimes the exuberance of the critic is like the exuberance of freedom from old forms—glorious in its excess, ego-tonic in its spirit.
The era of local narratives—what is it? It is great when it cultivates local initiative over subjugation or in balance with national and super-national control. When it becomes an exclusive philosophy it is itself a grand narrative in humble attire.
The twentieth century and today are an era of the professional philosopher. Not everyone can narrate grandly. Is there a personal and institutional motive to the stance against all system, against all generalization…
One aspect of secular thought is significant—all valid metaphysics must be founded in experience. This will be our road to a dual overcoming of excess of projection and deficit of experience.
This discussion may have been titled ‘metaphysical ground’. Although we sometimes think of metaphysics as esoteric, it is not necessarily so. Metaphysics is the study of the world without reference to special kinds (that does not mean that there cannot be understanding of such kinds—it means that the study begins without such reference and the special kinds may be introduced as elements within the general study and that the precision of understanding will then be something to be evaluated after rather than before the introduction).
Think of physics—the physics of gravity and matter according Newton or Einstein. While Einstein’s is more dynamic in that it includes gravity and space-time among the variables, neither system explains the origin of what is described.
Is there a ‘ground’ of understanding at all—one that does not leave its fundamentals ungrounded? This is what this chapter seeks to find and show. It does not of course promise an explanation of physics. However, what it does find is simple, deep, and perhaps surprising.
The groundwork sets up the journey. It develops foundational ideas. It sets up the ‘universal metaphysics’ based on a demonstrated ‘fundamental principle of metaphysics’.
The demonstration of the fundamental principle is based on existence of the Void. The principle is pivotal in empowering the ‘greatest Universe’ described in the section The arc of the journey. The principle is immensely empowering of conceptual development and action. However, it is not beyond all doubt.
The ideas that do not depend on the fundamental principle will be beyond doubt. We are used to various deficits in knowledge. How is it possible that even these primitive ideas represent knowledge beyond doubt? It is as described in the section Meanings in the narrative. In general the gap between knowledge and known casts doubt on validity of knowledge. This doubt has often been erroneously universalized—we saw that there is Being and there is a Universe as we conceived them. The knowledge gap does not invariably imply imperfection—we have seen that there is perfection, e.g. Being and Universe as defined, and that this perfect case is not trivial. The realm of such perfect objects and its significance will be enlarged significantly.
Note that the perfect objects are objects. In the case of essential gap, even the meaning of object is not clear for it is intertwined with experience (concept). In the perfect case, intertwining does not affect perfection—there is an object and it is known perfectly. The ‘process’ is one of abstracting out distorting detail. Is the abstract and object? Yes for it is of the world and as such this is in the nature of all objects—perfect or otherwise!
Therefore it is effective to divide the groundwork into two phases—(1) Ground phase—the present chapter: ideas that do not depend on the fundamental principle of metaphysics (2) Development founded in the fundamental principle—the content to the next chapter on the universal metaphysics. This division is effective in (a) providing a system uncontaminated by the and (b) so showing see precisely what is contributed by the fundamental principle.
In Heidegger’s thought the tradition that stemmed from Plato has been criticized as representational. Instead Heidegger sought a more ‘interested’ knowledge in which Being and the known are not separated. This is a good idea—a step back from the cold reserve of the representational which seems illusory anyway. However, we have just seen that the representational is not reserved or illusory in all cases. There is no need to think that either knowing is representational (and cold) or knowing is engaged (and warm). We find a representational framework which is perfect in that what it abstracts is beyond distortion (Being, Universe and so on as seen below) as a framework for various kinds of ‘interest’—the interest of science in the empirical (though not non-conceptual) and the interest of being in being-in-the-world; and in the case of interest, since—and where—the representational is not even desirable, a perfection of its own kind. We further find that the representational is not cold at all but—can be seen as—a scaffolding without temperature.
This phase begins with experience from which we find that in its first sense experience founds (a) the existence of a real world which contains experience which is essentially relational (b) an understanding of meaning and analysis and synthesis of meaning as the essential process of discovery (c) a preliminary understanding of agency—means, vehicles, places, modes of transformation, and mechanics—of human being (d) an understanding of Logic and science in a new way (e) an understanding of Being and Universe and unified understanding of concrete and abstract objects including, especially, identity, difference, extension, and duration as well their co-immanence with Being (i.e. space-time is relative to Being rather than absolute) (f) naturally, an understanding of the ideas of ‘mind’ and ‘matter’ and their relation as constitutional rather than contingent (that the ‘relation’ is constitutional means that they are ‘cut of the same cloth’ while it allows they are not identical).
What is crucial in this preliminary phase is to remain neutral but not formless. How may this be achieved? Neutrality and form seem to lead in contrary directions. An approach is to specify the variations of form possible under neutrality. Later, it may be possible to hone down the possibilities of form according to various ‘ontological commitments’. What commitments? We could list all metaphysical possibilities! In fact the one that we discuss below includes all logically possible metaphysical systems as special cases.
This phase has the following main concerns.
Development of direct consequences of the principle—some have been seen in The arc of the journey.
Consequences for the ground phase.
Setting up a journey of realization and its mechanics.
EXPERIENCE is subjective awareness.
There is experience.
Doubt. Is there anything at all (Descartes)? Response. Why does this doubt arise? We are conditioned to proof which is always in terms of something else. Given the sense of be-ing there is something, i.e. the sense itself—something that is neither defined nor proved in terms of something else. Even if all is illusion, there is something—i.e. illusion. Therefore there is something—i.e. something exists and therefore there is a world which is all things that exist.
Doubt. Is there experience? Response. Illusion is experience.
Doubt—from materialist science and the thought, not necessarily true, that experience is not of matter some thinkers minimize and even deny existence. Response. Above.
Significance of experience. We seem to be more than experience—yet experience is the place and core of our being. It is the place of significance and significant meaning—it is the lens through which all meaning-in-the-sense-of-significance pass: pure, receptive, and active (action) experience. Without experience we might as well be robotic—the universe might as well not exist. Discovery could begin abstractly—with the world as world. Beginning with experience sets up connection with the abstract or general.
It is important to doubt—the doubt regarding experience begins to lead to clarification. However it doubt of the negative is also important—there is no a priori reason to doubt even the reality of experience—i.e. to think that experience is of a different grade of reality than matter!
Contra-doubt. Perhaps experience is everything? Response. This however is either a relabeling of the world (for it is in experience that I know the limits of individual experience) or a reconceptualization of experience to cover the world.
Conclusion. Therefore, there is a real world and experience is (at least) part of it.
Experience begins as subjective awareness but we find it to be the essential place of our being. It remains open that an expansion of its meaning allows experience to be the Universe and the primitive meaning of experience to be a ‘place’ within the Universe.
If there is no atom all experience is relation.
Experience is receptive (afferent) and active (efferent). (Pure experience is internal relation.)
For clarification. It remains open that there is an expansion of the meaning of experience—one that does not however violate the original meaning in its applicable realm—in which it is far more pervasive than we tend to think.
Note how doubt led to refinement in considering experience. The use of doubt laces through this development. Doubt often leads to refinement and clarification. In the section Doubts (chapter The universal metaphysics) doubt leads to fundamental development. The later section Doubt and its function reviews the role of doubt.
An original ‘role model’ for the use of doubt—generally and in relation to experience—is René Descartes.
Doubt is dual to certainty. Where we want certainty there will be doubt. Doubt will in turn lead to certainty. It will not necessarily lead to what we wanted—it may reject what we wanted but, where truth is a value it may always lead to improvement for even knowing that are hopes are unrealistic is valuable.
Symmetry and reflexivity—symmetry: in truth and discovery doubt of the negative is on par with doubt of the positive; reflexivity: doubt of doubt is on par with doubt; reflexivity and symmetry imply one another.
A CONCEPT is an experience. An OBJECT is what is experienced and may be empty (internal).
A concept is an object (experiences are real).
A concept-object pair constitutes MEANING.
This sense of ‘meaning’ includes linguistic meaning and is distinguished from meaning-in-the-sense-of-significance.
Meaning is fixed only in fixed contexts. Else it must be in flux. There is give and take between fixity and fluidity. The fixity of standard meaning is an illusion that approximates only stable and therefore sterile contexts.
This standard analysis of meaning stems from Frege. It is immensely powerful in clarifying the nature of meaning and removing many confusions and paradoxes arising from lesser understanding of meaning.
So powerful is analysis of meaning that some thinkers have opined that all that discovery requires is analysis of meaning—which is absurd for analysis of meaning cannot show what is truly undiscovered; it may however what is implicit and this uncovering which is discovery of the implicit may seem to be discovery of the unknown.
However, ANALYSIS AND SYNTHESIS OF MEANING includes discovery.
What is here called the ‘real world’ is sometimes called the external world. However it is not ‘external’ to anything; rather it is the object of experience which includes experience itself.
The REAL WORLD is the object of experience.
From the discussion of experience above:
There is a real world and experience is part of it.
From the analysis of experience the real world is robust in the sense that it is beyond doubt.
Experience too is robust in being a definite part of the real world (which is over and above its being the place of our being).
Which means not that it cannot be doubted but that it shines through doubt.
EXISTENCE is that which is.
From analysis of experience there is existence.
BEING (C) is that which exists (‘quality of existence’).
The grade of being of experience is neither more nor less than the real world.
There are no ‘grades’ of Being—something is or ‘isn’t’.
From analysis of experience existence and Being are robust in being beyond doubt and independent of being experienced.
Sense of sameness and difference are dual givens.
IDENTITY is (sense of) sameness.
A PROPERTY is a mark of sameness and therefore of identity.
PERSONAL IDENTITY is (sense of) sameness of agency (which includes afference and efference).
DURATION is change associated with identity.
EXTENSION is difference associated with different identities.
Space and time are COORDINATE measures of difference—i.e., of duration and extension respectively.
Where sameness and difference are not sharp, duration and extension—and so time and space—are interwoven.
EXTENSIONAL PROPERTIES mark changes or differences associated with coordinates of difference.
A non-extensional property is an aspect of identity that changes but is not a coordinate of difference. Thus color of an object may change and so color may associate to duration but does not (in this case) mark something other than duration; color may differ among different objects and so associate to extension but does not (in this case) mark something outside extension. These may be called attributes but the term attribute has also been used differently.
An OBJECT is anything that has identity.
Experience is bound and free.
BOUND EXPERIENCE is normally associated with perception (which may be of the world or of body states—i.e. ‘feeling’)—it is bound in that it is determined outside agency.
A CONCRETE OBJECT is (usually) perceived.
A free experience is one that is determined in agency—it is not bound in that it is not determined by the world. It is normally associated with ‘higher’ conception (perception is a ‘lower’ form).
An ABSTRACT is (usually) conceived (percepts are also abstracts but we are here not emphasizing this aspect of perception).
Some abstracts seem so definite in their sense, e.g. number, that they are thought to be real. They are thus thought to be objects.
An ABSTRACT OBJECT is one that is known through free experience or conception and that is thought by its definiteness to be an object.
Such objects are often thought to reside outside space and time. They are often seen as non-causal.
However they either have being or not. If they have reference in the temporal-causal world then one way of such reference may be that the abstraction eliminates temporality and causality. In this case they are contingently but not necessarily non causal and non temporal.
The difference between the abstract and concrete is mode of knowing, not mode of object.
In the first place, mind is associated with experience. However, there seem to be non-experiential aspects of mind.
In the first place, matter is associated with absence of experience. However, matter appears to ‘give rise to mind’.
If matter is a strict substance, it cannot give rise to experience. Therefore—on materialism, experience-behavior arises in the organization of matter or by infusion (dualism). Each of these alternatives has problems. In the first (organization) what is the source of experience-as-experience (scientific explanation from matter has no hold here). In the second—what is the source of the infusion and how does it come to coordinate with material process?
Therefore, relax materialism. But how? Remember that experience is always experience of; even in ‘pure’ experience there is internal mutual excitation. Posit that the root of experience is material interaction. This has the objections—how do you know this and is this not panpsychism? Panpsychism is ugly when I think of atoms as having little minds rather like the ‘homunculus’. That is not what is being said—the claim is that just as atoms are the building blocs of bodies and buildings, so material interaction (forces) are the building blocks of the experiential aspect of brains (and the lack at a higher level in the case of buildings). Now I do not know that experience is material interaction but I do know that its alternative is near ridiculous (Leibniz had, first, to posit monads and, second, to resort to the mind of God to do the coordinating).
Thus we have an alternative—pan-experientialism or dualism and its attendant difficulties.
Now the first case is immensely attractive. It resolves the mind-body and mental causation problems. It explains consciousness as focused primitive experience. It allows self-reference and so experience of experience (as in some consciousness) and so the seeming on-off nature of consciousness. It explains how we may be aware of something without seeming consciousness (the lower level awareness does not involve awareness of awareness). It shows the reaching down of mind into the body.
Still, the alternative is not resolved.
Resolution will require the universal metaphysics. Thus mind-body is a little more intractable than the issues of space-time: relative or not; the former requires the universal metaphysics the latter requires only the concept of ‘universe’ (which is rather trivial).
The resolution will be that there are cases of infusion but infusion must come from another part of the universe and that at root there is universal interaction and so pan-experience. Locally, however, there may be as-if dualism. This does not require there to be as-if dualism in all cases. (The universal metaphysics will imply that both cases must occur and our experience with causal domains will suggest that the as-if dualism case is rarer).
It is reasonable to think, though not beyond doubt, that our minds are rooted—at least locally—in the matter of our cosmos; that every element of the cosmos is pan-experiential in at least a very low level sense; and that what is clearly mental and experiential at a high level is the result of concentration, layering, and focusing (etc.) of the low level.
It is not necessary to refer to the universal metaphysics to think the following. Regard matter as being-as-such, i.e. ‘first order being’. Then regard mind as ‘being-in-relation’ or ‘second-order-being’. Generally, mind will be local second order being but occasionally it may be imported. The local mind may be cut off from the rest of the universe but it may also connect. The consideration regarding first and second order being shows that Spinoza’s thought that while our attributes are thought and extension, God may have an infinity of attributes is mistaken. The attributes stop at two. The universal metaphysics will require mind to arise in both ways—local second order as well as imported (sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes both). It will also require that mind sometimes be cut off temporarily from material (first order) roots but only temporarily.
A LIMITED FORM is one that does not have the entire world as its experience.
An INDIVIDUAL is a limited form with individual experience.
There is an individual. Proof. My experience which includes ‘self’ has apparent coherence but apparent coherence is coherence. I am a limited form with individual experience—i.e. I am an individual.
There are many individuals. Proof. The contrary is equivalent to the solipsism already shown false.
LOGIC (C) is the constraint on concepts necessary for possibility of reference.
The concept that does not satisfy Logic has no object.
A LIMIT on Being is a concept that satisfies Logic but has no object.
Logic is a constraint on concepts but not a limit on Being.
A FACT is a concept (including percept) that presents as non-compound.
A COMPOUND FACT has a description as a collection of facts.
A FACT (C) is an immanent fact (LC).
A LAW (LC) is a reading or concept of a pattern. The LAW (C) is the pattern or object, i.e. the immanent law.
Facts and Laws are not distinct. Facts and Laws have Being.
SCIENCE (LC) is conceptual projection on concepts and data points.
This definition encompasses scientific theories as (a) facts on domains of validity (b) hypotheses with a factual base but also as candidate for extension of domain of validity.
Elevation of theory to fact is valid on (a) factual interpretation (b) demonstration that universalization is impossible.
Scientific theories may be regarded as universal hypotheses or as (valid) facts over restricted domains.
Science and logic thus understood have dual and common origin. In both, discovery is experimental.
LOGOS (C) is the maximal or greatest world allowed by Logic.
Science and critical common experience are consistent with world as Logos.
World as Logos is so interesting that it is worth investigating.
The UNIVERSE is All Being over all extension (here understood as coordinate of difference).
The Universe exists.
There is exactly one Universe.
Extension, and duration and therefore space and time do not extend beyond the Universe. They must be relative, i.e. they do not constitute an absolute framework as in Newton’s thought (as expressed in Principia). There may be local as-if absolute space and time.
All objects—abstract and concrete—are in the one Universe.
All Laws and Facts are in the Universe.
All concepts are in the Universe (since they are objects).
There is no special world of ideas or concepts.
There is no thing or object outside the Universe.
The concept that does not satisfy Logic has no object either in or beyond the Universe.
It is necessary for a concept to satisfy Logic for it to have an object (in the Universe).
We may then think of the concept as ‘Logically possible’.
However, if the object does not reside in the Universe there is a sense in which the concept is not possible.
Since a concept that has an object is possible, there is a sense in which the actual and the possible are identical.
From considerations so far, the ‘Logically possible’ includes or is identical to the actually possible.
There is no special significance so far to the Logically but not actually possible.
If a creator is external to what is created the Universe has no creator.
One part of the Universe may be implicated in the creation of another.
It is possible for life to spontaneously originate.
However, self-adaptation would seem to be the most probable origin of cosmos and life.
There is no God outside the Universe.
However, there may be local gods.
The real question regarding ‘god’ is what its nature may most reasonably rather than possibly be. In this we are misled by myth and religion (even where their symbolism has significance). The most likely candidate is not what we infer in ignorance (e.g. the thought that all apparent design is design) but what we see as manifest. Life is the highest form of intelligence that we see; therefore if there are gods, life is on the way to god-hood. In particular that being that can articulate such thoughts is—as far as we know directly—most close to being god. I.e. it is reasonable to think that if there is god, it is not perfect in the sense we understand from the religions. There is of course perhaps symbolic meaning to such perfection; in the actual world the greatest good-t seems likely—is never too far from the greatest evil. Moral to myself and not much more than a thought: forgiveness for wrong in myself and others is important not because it is ‘spiritual’ but because it allows the flow of what is good.
Regarding the Universe as a whole, mind cannot be imported. Mind is therefore second order being that, from considerations so far, may be cut off from material roots.
The Void is the absence of Being.
The Void contains no objects or Laws.
Two objects that are both the absence of Being constitute one.
I.e., the number of Voids is without significance.
A Void may be regarded as being associated with every object including the Universe.
The complement of an existing object is defined as the remainder of the Universe.
(Generally complements are defined relative to some domain but this more general definition is not needed at this point.)
Generally, if an object exists so does its complement (otherwise the Universe would not exist).
The Void is the complement of the Universe.
This suggests that the Void exists.
However this last conclusion is open to question. Specifically, while non-existence of the complement of an object lesser than the Universe implies non-existence of the Universe, non-existence of the Void does not (seem to) imply non-existence of the Universe.
This calls into question the general meaning of ‘exist’.
I cannot say ‘the Void is there’!
However, I cannot say ‘the Universe is there’!
There is a distinction between the meaning of the last two characterizations. In the first the world ‘is’ is emphasized; in the word to be emphasized is ‘there’.
The issue of existence of the Void will be taken up later in connection with the universal metaphysics.
This section is placed here so as to benefit from the neutral and perfectly reliable but uncommitted metaphysics so far .
We think of matter as a mode of Being that lacks subjectivity as we know it—i.e. conscious experience. Materialism universalizes this and asserts (1) Matter excludes mind altogether and (2) Matter is the substance of the Universe. This makes understanding mind not just difficult but impossible. At outset therefore it is important to be neutral toward materialism.
Human beings have subjectivity—i.e. experience including ideas. We tend to think of ‘experience’ in this sense as fragile and perhaps a ‘lower mode of existence’ than that of matter. In truth however we have not established matter as even a mode of existence (the practical existence of matter is of course granted but far more care is required in building up universal and reliable understanding—i.e. what will be called metaphysics and philosophical cosmology). From the concept of Being itself there are no higher and lower grades—a kind proposed in terms of a concept either has Being or it does not. Ideas such as higher and lower or more and less robust forms may be given meaning but this is over and above their Being. We will see in discussing experience that it is robust various senses but particularly in its immediacy.
Human being is different from such ‘inert’ modes in that we act—our process is not mere process but is ‘informed’ by (and informs) ideas which include perception and thought.
Ideas and action are the modes of transformation for human being as agents.
This of course perhaps illusory. In discussing experience we see that it is not. We have partial but not total control over our future. This is ‘good’ in that the extremes of absence of control and perfect control would not afford meaning-in-the-sense-of-significance.
We can therefore talk of human destiny for destiny is here understood as having some influence on the future.
The idea of destiny is opposed to the ideas of fate and the extremes of chaos and perfect control.
‘Fate’ is the idea that the future is determined. ‘Chaos’ is the idea that there is no control over the future; perfect control is the idea that the future can be controlled to any possible outcome.
The idea of destiny is that there is some choice and control and so some influence on the future.
What is the extent of the influence? At outset we must admit—especially from neutrality—that we are ignorant not just of power but also of lack of power. It is reasonable to expect a middle ground somewhere between perfection and chaos (but we may keep in mind that neutrality requires us to have some expectation of the unexpected).
The only limit to be placed on our power at outset is defined by minimal realism that we will call Realism (and find to be ‘Logic’ which is a new conception that is roughly that of logic).
We are special in that there is a sense in which we can rely only on ourselves for our destiny.
We are not special in that this does not us better than other forms (animals) and in that in itself it provides no guarantee.
We are special in that if we look at the world we find that we are a prime case of intelligence and caring.
We are not so special that the intelligence and caring are without limit.
Our intelligence is often blind to its outcomes. However we can know and attempt corrective action.
We are not special from the perspective of the universe as coming before us.
Our animal form is special if it is true that the universe is material for then care and intelligence have come from an inert background.
We are seemingly not special in having no external and final source of significant meaning.
We are special in that our adaptation is the only source of such meaning.
Our meaning, limited though it may be, must have some alignment with all Being.
The standard secular view is that we are born, live, and die as human beings. In many trans-secular views death is not absolute. According to the view the range of possibilities and degree of control is variable.
If we are to be neutral at outset we admit ignorance with regard to the absolute nature of death.
In the case that death is not absolute we admit a range of control from absence to perfection (we do not assume the degree to be constant but allow it to be variable) and we admit a range futures lying somewhere between human form to any form admissible in the Universe.
To be perfectly neutral we must allow the Universe to range from what is given in strictest secularism to ‘all possibilities’—e.g. that the Universe is the greatest possible. Then the range of futures will lie somewhere in the range of ‘zero’ to ‘everything’.
We do not know it to be the case but we have no reason to think it necessarily true that some other ‘being’ will intervene in our future. Then: our means of transformation or destiny are ideas and action.
Individual—in discovery of the unknown, progress is attained by linear and cyclic process through ideas and action, dark and light. I have experienced this as a ‘journey’. However, the net process is a ‘superposition’ of linear and cyclic.
Universal—we may anticipate that becoming of and in the universe is similarly linear-cyclic at a number of levels. The metaphysics of the narratives shows this to be true and that the number of levels is unbounded. That the number of levels is unbounded means that the net process is not cyclic.
The individual is a vehicle of destiny or transformation or becoming but does not act in a vacuum but in a collective context. Civilization is the web of human culture over time and continents (and Civilization—capitalized—is understood as the matrix of civilizations across the Universe). The narrative will reveal an extent to which these concepts of civilization are full.
Meanwhile we may say that the vehicles of transformation are individual and civilization.
Being with agency is a particular kind of Being. Being as such is the ‘ground’ of agency. What will we call this ground? Here it is called nature! If nature is ground, the fabric is society and culture—civilization. Experience—mind, psyche—is the medium of agency.
Nature, civilization, and experience are the places and destiny of transformation.
If Being (all Being) is ultimate power, the mediate powers—the powers of access… the ‘dimensions’ of Being—are nature, civilization, and psyche.
While our understanding of the mediate powers is conditioned by culture the idea is nonetheless effective. Our culture has well developed and instrumental knowledge of the mediate powers as nature, society and culture, and psyche.
Knowledge of ultimate power—precisely because it is ultimate—seems to be beyond particular cultures. However, some neutrality with regard to this question shall be maintained at outset. We will find some directions in which ultimate power may be known and others in which it will remain ever open (at least to limited forms).
Civilization affords ‘disciplines’ of transformation. In the Modern West we tend to emphasize the instrumental mode of change—with especial focus on artifact and technology. We might define artifactual change as the instrumental mode. The inner mode is the transformation of a being-in-itself—e.g., change of the form of human being. This mode is often associated with the East, especially India. In the West we tend to minimize this mode—and perhaps it is true that the inner mode is at a primitive stage (relative to our form as received from our origins). However, in that the inner mode is associated with continuity of consciousness it is the only mode. The individual may draw satisfaction from artifact and legacy but the inner mode is the mode—if there is one—that transcends death (perhaps of course the instrumental may be instrumental in the inner).
The modes or disciplines of transformation are inner and instrumental.
What is the mechanics of transformation? What possibilities arise for consideration? Let us begin with extremes so that we can proceed from extreme to a neutral ground which will pave the way to particular developments.
First, mechanism and perfect rationality. This case has immense appeal for some personality types and probably has appeal for everyone—myself at least—at some point. However, it is both impossible and without meaning. Absence of meaning has been seen above. Impossibility arises from the fact that under mechanism nothing is new. Because of the various appeals, sophisticated apologies for mechanism and determinism abound.
Second, pure ‘chaos’ (quotes because I emphasize that I do not refer to ‘chaos theory’.) This case is also without meaning and possibility for agency.
Third, indeterministic increments and selection of stable (adapted) states. ‘Rationally’ we ought not—in the spirit of neutrality—rule out cases one and two above. However, this ‘third’ case is in fact most inclusive—‘one’ and ‘two’ are limiting cases. We think that there is an ‘optimal’ range—optimal in that it permits and fosters agency; ‘one’ and ‘two’, we may expect, lie in the far sub-optimal range.
What are the elements of increment, are they necessarily small, and what are the elements of stability? We can understand this at levels of ‘material’ (Being without agency) and the level of agency. The former is exemplified in particular by life and more generally by ‘self organizing systems’. We—human beings as human—exemplify the latter (the animal is not excluded). The elements of stability are memory, form, and artifact. Details will be developed later. What are the limits of human form? Logically—if there is god—we may be ‘it’. The only logical limits are logic. Where does the truth lie? This is a point for development which is affirmatively undertaken in the narrative.
The Laws of nature apply to manifest being.
From the Void (the unmanifest) all states emerge.
Formally, assume the existence of the Void. The:
The Void contains no Laws.
If from the Void some state did not emerge that would be a Law in the Void.
Therefore all states emerge from the Void.
Since the Void may be seen to be part of the Universe or any object it follows that every state emerges from every object.
Therefore the Void, every object, and the Universe have no limits.
This is the fundamental principle of metaphysics (FP) which it is crucial to understand.
These consequences arouse the following doubts.
We begin with a trivial doubt. We have said that the individual is without limit—but how can two individuals both be without limit? Syntactically (logically)—while the individuals remain in limited form, this limit includes that they cannot (for example) each overpower the other simultaneously. Semantically, the meaning of ‘individual’ allows Identity with the Universe in which case the question of competing individuals does not occur.
The remaining doubts are significant
Commonsense. Limitlessness appears to violate commonsense. Response—the Normal, taken up below.
Logic and Science. Perhaps there are logical violations? This of course cannot be for lack of limits on the Universe in no way entails logical contradiction for logic concerns constraints on freedom on the formation of realistic concepts. However, much is to be learned by taking up this question of constraint. And though the concern with science is addressed in discussing the Normal, it also fits nicely in this framework. Response—realism, taken up below.
Doubts regarding rationality and system—enlightenment rationalism and its self criticism, the objections of modernism and postmodernism. Response—the criticisms seem rational but are essentially circumstantial. The way is left open for a true metaphysics and emerging rather than imposed system—this is what we have done. This is taken up below.
Essential doubt—demonstration and significance: we will see that while there are no inconsistencies or absurdities for FP, there is doubt about its proof, i.e. about the existence of the Void. Response—plausibility, experiment, existential faith and humor. This is taken up below.
There is no contradiction of our experience or science. Simply, experience (and science) indicate what is ‘there’ and not what is not. For full argument see The standard cosmologies and their limits.
The limits of common experience are ‘normal’.
The normal is relative to what we know.
From the metaphysics it is normal to transcend the normal (this is illustrated by history of human culture).
A first objection is that FP is unrealistic because it seems to violate Logic and science. One response is well we have proved FP and so much the worse for Logic and science. This is not a good response for various reasons but especially because what is desired is to have the universal metaphysics and what is valid in received knowledge merge ‘seamlessly’ (and also because a counter-response is so much the worse for FP).
We saw above that science and the universal metaphysics are not in contradiction.
What of Logic?
Clearly, from the definition of Logic a concept (system) that does not satisfy Logic cannot have an object.
If a concept does satisfy Logic, does it have an object? Not necessarily for the (complex) concept may be consistent but disagree with fact at some point.
Remember that facts are (simple) concepts. We can extend the notion of Logic trivially and without damaging its status as ‘logical’ as follows. Since every concept implies itself, we include agreement with facts as a trivial element of Logic: every fact implies itself and is part of Logic.
Now, trivially, Logic includes all valid scientific theories and facts (in their domains of validity).
Now, does a concept that satisfies Logic have an object? Yes!
Does every object have an concept that satisfies Logic? If we can answer this affirmatively then Logic is the sole criterion of realism.
One problem with Logic as defined so far is that the systems of logic are not complete; nor are they perfect. We can address this concern in two ways.
1. Regard Logic as logic in name; it names simply what is in the Universe. The name is more than a mere name for it says—there are no limits on Being.
2. Regard the traditional logics as approximations (at least) to parts of Logic and Logic as understood in principle but—in vast parts—awaiting discovery (and correction).
Practically, understanding of what lies in the Universe is constrained by a minimal Realism.
The surface understanding of this realism is trivial—but even this trivial content is immense in its significance.
Underneath this surface, lies a realm of immense complexity awaiting discovery by intelligence—ours and more; a realm that, for limited forms, is never fully and explicitly known.
The analytic meaning of the universal metaphysics is the Realism of the previous section.
‘Modernism’ is an ethos of absurdity in failure of enlightenment vision.
Coming at the end of the modern era, the name ‘modernism’ symbolizes the absurdity.
Simplistically, postmodernism is modernism shorn of its absurdity—
Modernism become comfortable with itself.
Because so much of liberal academia fits in these molds it is pertinent
To enquire the relation between the metaphysics and postmodernism.
The rationalism of enlightenment emerged from dogma as a simple absolute
Rationalism bound for failure when turned on itself.
The seeds of the modernisms were present in the enlightenment.
The metaphysics brackets the enlightenment, modernism, and postmodernism.
It shows directions of absolute rationality; and directions where the only
Movement is to ever take the first step.
We have seen that doubt leads to immense clarification.
However, not all doubt has been removed.
This is the single place where it is essential to stand up and admit and deal with doubt as doubt. There are two reasons. In all other cases we have been able to eliminate doubt by careful analysis (and some synthesis). Here we have not. Secondly, if it is the case that this doubt will not be eliminated then it can only be of value to know and accept and live under this. This fosters appropriate existential attitude—i.e. an attitude to the universe that is productive of maximal meaning (given our limited resources). But first we must try a little harder at proof.
Since existence of the Void is equivalent to non-existence and since one of these alternatives is true we may take existence to be true.
The complement of the Universe minus a little bit exists. In the limiting case in which the little bit ® zero, the limiting complement is the Void which therefore exists.
It is not necessary to elaborate on reasons to suspect these ‘proofs’ except of course that suspecting them may lead to improvement. At this time I have not come up with improvement.
Plausibility is important. Why? We have here a proposition that is already plausible by virtue of proof and absence of inconsistency. Much of what we regard as proof beyond doubt in logic and science and mathematics is not truly beyond doubt but we proceed with it because of degrees of proof and plausibility (the latter includes interconnections among our systems of knowledge). We continue to give credence to such thought in itself and as basis for action because of its richness and productivity; plausibility buttresses this. In the present case FP, is immensely empowering and shows unlimited richness of Being and absence of contradiction (and in these regards is superior to much that we treat as absolute). But there is more. Even if FP is absolute there still remains the existential concern of this present life: in the ultimate I merge with the Universe but this does not solve the problem of action. Still plausibility is important. Just as from a practical perspective we want to maximize trust we do not want from an existential perspective to minimize on it either for that would be a false existential attitude.
All the proofs count as plausibility arguments.
The universe is the greatest possible consistent with fact is one of three possibilities (a) it is the least possible (b) it is the greatest (c) it lies in between. If we count possibilities as having equal probability we do not have three but rather infinitely many and then it would be probable that the actual case lie at neither extreme but in between and this in between would be so far beyond (a) as for practical purposes to be (c).
If we apply Ockham’s Razor to what is not in the Universe the result is ‘only that which does not satisfy Logic’.
Analogy with quantum physics—e.g. the probabilistic interpretation and the quantum vacuum. FP ‘predicts’ and agrees with general features of the relativistic theory of gravitation and quantum theory. Finally, ask what the most general quantum state function might be and how it might be expressed in a Universe in which extension and duration are not universal features.
I have used FP to explain a variety of features of scientific theories—as above and elsewhere in this text—that otherwise have no explanation or that are at the edge of modern explanatory capability. Predictions are also possible. From FP, every cosmos is an atom and every atom a cosmos. Therefore leptons cannot be ultimately indivisible. Every element of Being may be regarded as having its own Void and therefore self-destructive ability; this matches the thought that high energy occurrences may ‘nucleate’ destruction of a cosmos.
Argument for acting on FP has been given above.
Proof is not the only reason to act upon a principle.
There is an argument that FP would detract from resources applied to ‘more pressing’ problems. The counter-arguments are (1) That FP gives us reason to think that these more pressing problems are important—i.e. FP is a spiritual and not only a practical principle and it is a spiritual principle that—unlike so much religion—is founded in truth (2) Economic analysis would show that to optimize expected outcome some resources should be allocated to FP (3) Watching movies, drinking beer, sex for pleasure, reading, analytic and existential philosophy, walks in nature, talking to my friends (all of which I enjoy) , making money to be rich, politics for mere power and special interest are more important than the limitless universe and its realization?
Some of the following is repetition.
The Universe has manifest form and Identity in acute, diffuse, and absent phases. In ‘cycling’ through these phases there is no limit to the variety, extension, duration, summit-elevation, and dissolutions. The individual assumes these forms of the Universe. While in limited form this realization is an endless journey but this is just as true for the Universe as a whole. There is no permanent peak of Being. Meaning and challenge are eternal as is freshness of Being (interspersed of course with pain, boredom, ennui…)
No part of the Universe is eternally cut off from any other part. The phenomenon of ‘light speed’ as a limit is but a local limit of local signal speed; there is no universal signal speed; light speed is of our cosmos. There is no limit to the variety of kinds of cosmos and cosmos; but there are phases of Universe as a single cosmos.
If mind is permanent but ever cut off from its material roots that would be a violation of limitlessness. Since every cosmos is an atom and every atom a cosmos, mind and matter—first and second order Being—are inextricably interwoven at root.
The object of Logic is the Universe in all its detail—i.e. the Logos. The Logically possible is the actual and the possible.
For limited form there can be no science of the Universe except by immersion and in process (the limitless Universe cannot be fully known by limited form). In limitlessness, the Universe is realized as an instant (Thomas Aquinas called this Aeternitas—eternity as an instant).
We have seen that from the definition there is one Universe. From FP this must be a dynamic oneness and not just oneness in name.
Also see The arc of the journey
Combine with earlier material and reduce.
While in limited form this entails a journey in being.
While in limited form the individual approaches the ultimate.
The variety, extension, duration, summits, peaks, dissolutions, of the process are without limit.
The ultimate is achieved only in transcending limited form.
Still, the process is ever one of transcendence and arrival (some religions outline ways of perfection; however the metaphysics shows that there is no permanence).
This section is about further significance.
See earlier sections e.g. The journey and its envelope.
There are various kinds of importance—to the academic disciplines, to a contour of human knowledge and endeavor, to individuals, to civilization…
Here is some ‘further’ significance.
It gives the greatest meaning to pain and suffering consistent with truth.
It reveals the Universe as the greatest possible.
It gives the greatest meaning to our lives and our destiny consistent with truth. This destiny is greater than that of the great religions. However, it is not eternally given but eternally requires recreation.
This eternal recreation is not like the myth of Sisyphus or the eternal return. It is never boring. For limited form realization is eternal but ever fresh.
The individual is a catalytic center to universal realization. Individuals can pass on the opportunity but cannot pass the responsibility to some other entity.
It shows the ultimate nature of science.
In combination with science it reveals generalities and particulars greater than seen in science alone and of greater empirical detail than the metaphysics alone.
In philosophy it reveals the ultimate nature of Being and metaphysics, of realism and Logic, of the nature of Value—especially Ethics and Aesthetics, of foundations—ultimate and explicit with regard to depth, ultimate and ever open but implicit with regard to breadth. It shows the nature of objects and identity. It resolves the nature of concrete and abstract objects and shows them to be the same at root; they reside in the one universe; there are no special mental objects but insofar as there are mental objects such as experiences and concepts they are no different in nature than any other object; the distinction between the abstract and the concrete are artifacts of approach to study and abstraction and the apparently non spatial and non causal character of some abstract objects is the result of spatiality and causation not being retained in what is abstracted rather than some essentially different nature.
This and remaining portions of the document are currently sparse. This is because (a) the essentials have been set up (b) the difference made by FP—universal metaphysics is that what seemed possible is now known to be actual. It is also important that what is actual must—until / unless we know better—be subject to search for normal mechanics as understood in normal mechanics. I am tempted to say normal mechanics and not ‘magic’ but normal experience is magical: consider, for example, the science, technology, and other human achievement over the past 100 to 100,000 years.
The universal metaphysics forms a contour for knowledge generally. Where human knowledge does not concern perfect objects ‘representation’ may lack both meaning and significance. Yet significance as practical and in terms of values (interest, care) is enveloped and may often be founded from the universal metaphysics. Examples of such foundation have been given and continue to require development
For these sections refer back to Human being. Material here should be combined with earlier material.
The primitive ground of being and the fabric of civilization and community are the places and are ‘mediate powers’.
Nature is the primitive ground.
Society, culture and community make up the fabric.
Psyche is the place and source of experience.
The unlimited is potential but not immanent in limited form.
Realization is not a predetermined path (but there are enhancements as in various disciplines, e.g. Buddhism and the eightfold way).
The way of knowledge is the breakdown and buildup of ideas and meaning. The way of transformation is the breakdown and buildup of being.
This is appropriately called analysis and synthesis of ideas and being.
Breakdown of being is achieved by catalysts of transformation, risk, taking the next step; buildup may be achieved in experience, reason, recollection, and artifact (artifact may be mechanical, bodily, and psychic).
The standard catalysts include such things as isolation and fasting, exertion, presence to fear and crisis, repetition of activity, music and rhythm, ritual and symbol, yogic-tantric-meditative practice in action, psychoactive substances.
The standard artifactual ways include the received (e.g. eightfold), the mechanics in conjunction with the metaphysics; most important is the embodiment via practice rather than mere intellectualization of ‘way’(the metaphysics representational but frames directionality including the mechanics).
The mechanics entails reflexive experiment in action and thought—i.e. horizontal buildup via variety and vertical via review and layering. Example: we find an approach, analyze it, investigate its cross and self-application; the process becomes explicit, grows, new boundaries appear… the metaphysics shows the envelope of possibility…)
The example of anxiety, fear, shame, and other ‘blocks’ (joy and anxiety and their misleading sense of permanence are ‘existential’, a necessary aspect of Being at a fork in the path between growth and death). There are no universal solutions but an approach—except in overwhelming situations—combines sustaining and transforming anxiety etc. directly and in action. Goal—transform blocks to advantage (truth, fuel for action). Approach—combine received means, experiment, analysis, and synthesis.
Following outlines some progress so far.
Journey in Being—narratives and ideas
Nature—insight, gateway to the ultimate
Experiments in immersion—culture—past, present and future; eternal overcoming.
The present—the ultimate in the immediate.
1. Experience is the essential place and ground of Being and knowing.
2. There is no limit to the attainment of Being and beings.
The Universe has acute, diffuse, and
non-manifest phases of Being and Identity.
4. Limitlessness is basis for an ultimate and universal metaphysics that agrees with the received disciplines where valid and reveals an unbounded region of limitless variety beyond.
5. Though implicit in its entire reach, the metaphysics reveals at once an explicit realm far beyond the realms seen in received knowledge.
6. Together, the disciplines, metaphysics and experiments in Being (break down and buildup—analysis and synthesis) are means of understanding, living in and negotiating the immediate world and apparent limits on the way to realization of universal identity.
7. I shall not be ashamed to profess and live according to these truths.