AIM

ANIL MITRA, © APRIL 2014—June 2014

Home | Resource | Template

CONTENTS

SHORT VERSION   1

The central aim   1

On words  2

Preliminary aim   2

Aims of the narrative  2

My motive  2

LONG VERSION   2

The central aim   3

On words  5

Preliminary aim   5

Aims of the narrative  6

My motive  7

 

SHORT VERSION

The central aim

The central aim is participation in and contribution to creative and constructive engagement with the real—with destiny and the good. This aim is expressed in action and is taken up in the latter part of the narrative, especially under the labels Journey  and Path. Action requires knowledge which is taken up in a Preliminary aim. The only completion of knowledge with regard to the central aim is in action.

I write this work as resource and record for my engagement with life. I publish to share and to invite others to join in the process of ideas and realization.

On words

Many words are laden with meaning. To use such words invites imprecision; to avoid them is to lose potency of meaning and communication. I sometimes coin new terms. Otherwise, to avoid this conflict, I restore certain terms by giving them clear definition.

Preliminary aim

The preliminary aim, taken up in Foundation is development of a worldview sufficient to engagement with a real that does not attenuate in time. This view will be based in a new and demonstrated universal metaphysics.

This enables the main aim in this form: to understand the nature of the (human) journey and so to design a generic path to reflect on and continue engagement with realization.

Text is generally an in process endeavor. A secondary aim of the narrative to implement it as in process—i.e., open process or open text. It does this via Field notes—i.e., reports of the process and of outcomes and by invitation to others to share in the process.

 

Aims of the narrative

See the corresponding section in the Long version.

My motive

The main aim is in fact a general concern with the good (understood from the metaphysics to be ever in conceptual and experimental process). There is a personal but still universal inspiration that stems from my powerful experience of beauty and, consequently, a desire to cultivate it. This work reflects that desire.

LONG VERSION

 ‘Aim’ introduces the work; Foundation and Path are the formal narrative

Source: destiny.html

The central aim

A personal aim in writing this work is as resource for and record of my engagement with life. I believe I have learned much in the processes of engagement and writing—above all I have learned of engagement, realization, and their foundation in philosophical metaphysics. I believe there is some originality to what I have written in these and other topics. My aim in publishing the work is to share what I have learned and to encourage and invite others to join in the process of ideas and realization.

The central aim is participation in and contribution to creative and constructive engagement with the real—with destiny and the good. This aim is expressed in action and is taken up in the latter part of the narrative, especially under the labels Journey  and Path. Action implicitly involves awareness, choice, and intention and these require knowledge of the world and our relations to it and understanding of this constitute a Preliminary aim. It is inherent in this objective that even if such knowledge were complete in itself, its only completion with regard to the aim of the narrative is in action. Later, it is seen that knowledge requires external action for its completion (knowing is a part of acting). Of course the body process of an organism is action only when intentionally based in knowledge and choice—i.e. knowledge and action are separable only as an approximation that, if taken is precise, is a distortion of the nature of knowledge and action.

Since the terms of this aim are laden with meaning it is important to state their meaning in this narrative. Here the good is the ideal of all worth, whether in ends or in process, and will be found to be every in conceptual and experimental relation with process. And destiny will be the part of the past-present-future that it is possible to know and desirable to influence. The phrase ‘desirable’ connotes influence toward the good regarding, to the extent that they are distinct, both ends and means.

I should say something about the terms I use above ‘the real’, ‘the good’, and ‘creative and constructive engagement’. The first two terms suggest idealism of a Platonic kind. However, I am not a Platonist. What am I? I imagine that most people who think about such things begin with some orientation. I cannot remember my early orientation with precision but I think I was inclined to think my apprehension of the world had some rough reality but (1) that there was more in heaven and earth than in my philosophy’ and (2) mystery was good but that any sense of mystery might be due to my ignorance (3) in any case wonder was wonderful, and (4) I was more open than decided. Now, at this point in my development, I have come to the conclusion that I do not need a position for I have found that reflection and experience may reveal the nature of the world—at least in an in process way. After reading this work the reader may agree with my assessment that I am an ordinary realist in an extraordinary sense of ‘realism’. Whatever the good is, it is in this world. Practically, we are mostly in process and our knowledge of the good is in process too—adapting in response to experience, reflection, and communication.  So perhaps I should say ‘what seems good’ (and what seems real) rather than the presumptuous ‘the good’. However, I am / we are in process and ‘what seems good’ aims at what is or may be good in this world so I will write what is appropriate—‘the good’, ‘what is good’, ‘what seems good’ and so on. The reader should regard the discussion of this paragraph so far as suggestive; my position so far as it is definitive must wait for slow emergence in the text to be defined. Now regarding ‘creative and constructive engagement with the real and the good’ I am not suggesting something about this work but, rather, the thought is that the real and the good have no other kind of engagement.

What are the main sources of knowledge and know how that is pivotal to the main aim expressed in the narrative? First there is self-adaptation of being (discussed later) that results in identity and cosmological systems; continuous with this is the adaptation of organisms which may be counted as a form of knowledge and includes the capacity for iconic and symbolic learning and expression. Then there is the accumulated experience and learning of groups and societies that we label culture or tradition (every society has these). What do we mean by culture? The English anthropologist EB Tylor gave the following broad definition: culture, or civilization, taken in its broad, ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. What Tylor defined in positive terms may also be defined in generic terms: culture is the system of human activity over and above though with basis in biology. That is of course vague because, though culture has external encodings (institutions, literature) it is also encoded via learning and the ability for culture in biology. The approach to precision should be to distinguish what part of biology is ‘nature’ and what is ‘culture’. We probably cannot hope to give a perfect delineation but this is no reason to not attempt a reasonable if beginning delineation. Culture, then, will refer to what is artifactual—the product of human creation rather than the seat of creation. Thus anatomy and physiology are not culture; and if a bone is broken in an accident and is not treated but heals in a different form that is not culture (unless the non treatment is intentional); but if the healing is a treatment or if the bone is broken on purpose, that is cultural. This shows an interaction of culture and nature. But that is just a beginning. To delineate culture we go back to Tylor’s list and ask (1) What are the possible principles behind such a list, and (2) How precise and complete is the list relative to what we see in society and the foregoing principles? Other animals may of course have some culture but there seems to be something unique, relative to the animal world, about human culture. It begins not only with adaptation but with our flexible adaptability. Since we are relatively hairless we adapt to multiple climates—we have clothing to protect against cold and wet; clothing is an artifact of culture. We grow as organisms but we do not acquire that growth; as Tylor suggests culture is what we acquire. Perhaps the basis of our ability to acquire is our kind of advanced intelligence, especially but not only linguistic intelligence (the point to the phrase ‘our kind of’ is that other animals have advanced intelligences of other kinds). We should not single out language because the structures of society depend on a number of things but language is at least central in that it is the basis of expression and social and inter-generational communication of encoded learning (knowledge and know how).

Since we are in process, past-present-future are expressed and integrated in the values (what is of worth—our in process estimate of the good) and means (knowledge of the world and of knowledge itself, know how which includes technology and ‘means’ of knowledge, material and ideal approaches) of cultures on a mythic-holist to literal-analytic continuum and individuals. Since knowledge and influence attenuate with time there may be a horizon to destiny and thus and otherwise we gain by living in the present. But for completeness and fullness the present and future must mesh (in ways to emerge and that are in process rather than pre-determined). Is there any perpetuity in destiny? A full answer needs a perfect worldview or metaphysics—knowledge of universe and the place of sentient being in it—if only as framing and extending the understanding of culture and individual. Can such a view have perfection? A simple answer is yes but this awaits later qualification and demonstration. Regardless of perfection, from the present purpose to such a metaphysics its completion must be in action.

On words

In this text many words—words such as being, metaphysics, destiny, culture, and civilization—come laden with meaning. In using such words I face a conflict. Moving away from the use of certain words and ideas is often associated with the perception that we do not have the powers of intellect and action that we had thought in early naïve modernity or before. However, my thought is that we do not know what powers we have—it is barely four hundred years since the beginning of ‘modernity’. If an earlier time was overweening in its naïvety, today we have often gone in an opposite direction. What we can know and what we can do remains an open question and an error of much critical analysis is that it thinks its criticism universal rather than local. In the narrative—even in taking up a Preliminary aim below—we will see by argument that our powers are a mosaic to be discovered case by case and in analysis and experiment. The foregoing statement requires qualification. I recognize that the nature of a mosaic is that of ‘difference’ which requires case awareness; but the idea of mosaic or difference does not exclude that of ‘pattern’. Therefore we should not be closed down to discovery of universality in the details.

In working through the truth that I do find, a problem I face is the loss of terms to express it. I may occasionally coin a term but I find that it is more expedient to expression and communication to retain certain potent terms and to restore their conceptual integrity by giving clear definition to my meaning and, either explicitly or by implication, to specify meanings that I do not intend.

Preliminary aim

The preliminary aim, taken up in Foundation, is to develop a worldview sufficient to a real—a destiny and good—that do not attenuate in time. This begins with a metaphysics named the universal metaphysics or the metaphysics. The concept of being will be pivotal to understanding the nature and possibility of metaphysics as perfect knowledge and to developing the metaphysics and to framing the nature of destiny. Though not unanticipated in the history of ideas, the view is significantly new and is perfect and ultimate in ways shown later.

This perfect metaphysics reveals a universe that is limitless in that all possibility is realized (which will require careful definition of the meaning of possibility and which will engender apparent inconsistencies—internal and external—that are resolved). A consequence of the metaphysics is that manifestation and identity in the universe repeat in acute-diffuse-dissolution-absent phases with limitless variety and repetition; and that for limited forms such as human being and civilization this is experienced as a journey in being.

The metaphysics is immensely important to the aim of understanding but does not in itself complete this goal. The metaphysics frames and illuminates our cultures and destiny (it levers determinative understanding of such apparent duals as mind-matter, space-time-being, and concretion-abstraction of objects); the cultures illustrate the metaphysics and provide practical knowledge for action. Though the parts—metaphysics and cultures—are incomplete andor imperfect the whole system is perfect in that it provides a realistic approach to the journey of realization and in that, as it is shown, there is and can be no better approach. It is important to recognize, however, that from limitlessness of the universe the only completion of the system or of the metaphysics for a limited form is in action.

This enables taking up the main aim in this form: to understand the nature of the journey and so to design a generic path whose main purpose is to reflect on and continue engagement with realization. A secondary aim of the narrative, consistent with the idea of endless process and with incompleteness and inaccuracy in the narrative itself, is to supplement the text with Field notes—i.e., reports of the process and of outcomes. An idea behind the supplement with notes is to explicitly recognize the generally incomplete and in process nature of text—i.e., open narrative or text. I also implement the text as in process by inviting others to share in the process.

 

Aims of the narrative

Writing, communication, and sharing are part of the journey. How is communication best achieved? In the first place, publishing and speaking are important but it is also important to consider effective writing, publishing, and speaking. Every writer should strive to achieve the greatest simplicity that is consistent with his or her content and aim. It has been said that when something is understood it can be explained simply. This truth is partial in a number of ways. First, if the intent is to impart instrumental knowledge the work cannot be as simple as when the intent is to encapsulate the main ideas. Second, there is a balance between clarity that results from brevity and clarity that is associated with explanation and example and here the needs of different readers is different; of course it is possible to achieve both ends by distinguish the main ideas from the peripheral. Third, while there is today a tendency to regard students and readers as ‘consumers’ there is no substitute for effort on the part of the student (teachers should of course use this to guide the student but not as an excuse for poor presentation). Finally, I must admit that I do not fully understand my subject and it is important that readers know this and the reason for it. Of course, every author has strengths and limitations but here I wish to address the problems of subject matter. The writing of good textbooks and instruction are arts but this is not a textbook that rewrites established material and it is also not a specialty monograph. It endeavors to be on the cutting edge of knowledge and being. Therefore it is and must be an in process endeavor where understanding is continually dawning and when once dawned is continually refined. In all likelihood the material at the edge of being will never be understood by limited forms and I believe that there is no human who understands what lies at the center that is also the periphery. Still, there is central material that is established in my understanding and I endeavor to present this clearly.

My motive

The main aim is in fact a general concern with the good (understood from the metaphysics to be ever in conceptual and experimental process). There is a personal but still universal inspiration that stems from my powerful experience of beauty and, consequently, a desire to cultivate it. This work reflects that desire.