The Way of Being
Anil Mitra © JUNE 27, 2015—August 30, 2015
The way of being is about the ENDEAVOR of all being and particularly of being human (terms such as ‘being’ are defined in the main text).
Endeavor presumes an aim. What is the aim of life? We might think the aim of life is to live well. We then ask what it is to live well and to what ‘life’ refers—the life of civilization or the lives of individuals. In some cultures the individual begins at birth and ends with death. For others this life is part of something larger. Are our lives about ‘this world’ or some greater world? Traditions and modernity are not definitive of a worldview and so cannot answer such questions unequivocally. Consequently discovery of world and aims should be part of any aim. The essay addresses the questions just raised. Statement of the aim just below paves the way in; the aim later emerges after proving a worldview.
The AIM of the way of being is to be in continuous discovery of the range of being and REALIZATION of its highest IMMEDIATE and ULTIMATE forms for all beings and civilization.
Origins of The way of being include wonder at the world and its loveliness, in DEDICATION to cultivate this in all realms, and in COMMITMENT to share the loveliness and dedication.
Dedication led to inquiry into the nature of the WORLD and our place in. World cultures approach the world via IDEAS and ACTION (the division is not sharp: ideas and action interact); today ideas are represented by sciences, PHILOSOPHY (especially PHILOSOPHICAL METAPHYSICS as KNOWLEDGE of the world, later shown real—not merely nominal), history, humanities, arts, and religion; action includes exploration, technology; and Economics and Politics.
Two emphases are (1) SECULAR, a natural default: the limited empirical world should be our focus for thought beyond is speculation, (2) some SUPRA-SECULAR (secular cum trans-secular) thought can be EMPIRICAL: REASON as a RATIONAL guide to knowledge and action (NON-SPECULATIVE METAPHYSICS). My thought led to a NEW, rational-empirical, DEMONSTRATED, supra-secular, PERFECT, ultimate metaphysics: the WORLDVIEW of the way of being.
The situation at any time is not that of the secular versus the trans-secular but one of corruption versus maintenance and discovery of what is true. ‘Truth’ is not only literal truth but also allegorical truth (which may derive from but is not the same as the literal meaning).
My first explicit attempts to investigate these realms were in and inspired by the realms of ideas, nature, and civilization. Discoveries in the realms of ideas showed that there is a realm of realization available to human being that is simultaneously of the immediate and ultimate worlds. The central discovery was that of a worldview that shows the universe and, consequently, individuals and civilization as far greater than seen in common secular and trans- or supra-secular worldviews.
To prepare for the worldview note that the secular-transsecular debate is based on misunderstanding. The secular error is the perhaps tacit view that cumulative experience is anywhere near encompassing the universe; this justifies trans-secular search. The essential trans-secular error occurs when it insists (not just allows) that its views mimic detailed literal secular precision or that such precision is the main trans-secular function.
The view is ULTIMATE in (a) perfectly showing the universe as realization of all possibility and realization for all beings and civilization is limitless, and (b) founding the aim and a way of realization. It is core to a ‘universal metaphysics’. It reconceptualizes the world; it achieves wholeness in integration of a comprehensive range of open and resolved elements of human thought; so absorption may take patient REEDUCATION of formal and intuitive understanding.
Though presaged, the worldview of the essay has not been demonstrated before. Demonstration enables understanding of the meaning of the view and development of consequences.
The introduction places the new view in the context of the human endeavor and contrasts the view to the extremely limited prior and current main secular and trans- or supra-secular worldviews.
The human endeavor is living, discovery, and realization in and of the world. The ideal includes to live well, to discover the world and its highest forms, and to realize the highest form possible.
Let us elaborate on the meaning and nature of the endeavor.
Human being—individuals, lives, ambitions, hopes, goals, cultures, and civilization—lives in a more or less known immediate world, roughly a world known in experience. This is the secular world.
Many hold that the forms of experience so far are a template or worldview for all future and perhaps even all possible experience. For these individuals and cultures, the secular world is the world.
When, at a given time in history, it seems that the worldview defines future experience it is because most new experience over a limited time fits the worldview. It does not follow that the world—the universe and being in it—shall ever be as in a secular worldview.
Thus others think in terms of a trans- or supra-secular world which includes but is more than the secular. As seen from the history of science, this is reasonable though not logically necessary—perhaps science so far has seen essentially all that there is. In some myth and some religion the supra-secular world is far greater than the secular world and the part that is greater is often ideal. Though not experienced directly, the arguments for the worlds of myth and religion include generalization from patterns in the secular, apparent inability to explain the secular on its own terms, mystic vision, and revelation. Except revelation none of these arguments is necessary. Revelation would be necessary if we could all experience it and know its reality. However, we do not all experience it and the argument then becomes one of faith, authority, or one of the other kinds of argument.
So, a supra-secular world as greater than the secular, with or without the special mythic accounts remain in question (it should be emphasized that not all religion, primal or modern, insists on the trans-secular).
Human being and civilization live in an immediate-ultimate world. So far the ultimate may be nothing more than the result of imagination. We now look at this issue.
Let METAPHYSICS be knowledge of the world. Criticisms of metaphysics include that nothing can be known precisely, that we cannot know anything beyond experience, and that metaphysics is too grand in its claims. However, it is clear that we have imprecise knowledge of some aspects of the world. In this limited sense, at least, there is a limited and humble metaphysics.
The question of the supra-secular as greater than the secular is whether metaphysics is more than the limited form with regard to precision and completeness of knowledge and extent of the world or universe shown.
Is there a supra-secular world? In one apparently trivial sense there is. The detailed forms of the secular world come from experience that is detailed and not known to be precise. Yet we do know precisely that there is this thing called the entire universe and that it does contain something and some at least local natural laws even if we do not know precisely what the things and laws are. Perhaps this universe is greater than the secular world, perhaps not. If so, the supra-secular is greater than the secular but perhaps, from discussion so far, only trivially so.
Though the idea of a universe as all existing things is trivial we will demonstrate, without assuming supra-secular existence, that the universe is far greater than the secular—that the universe ultimate in the sense that it is the realization of all possibility. This conclusion, will be called the fundamental principle of being or fundamental principle of metaphysics (abbreviated fundamental principle or FP). This precise conclusion forms a framework for a metaphysics.
Let us regard TRADITION as what is valid in human disciplines of knowledge and practice from all cultures and from beginnings to the present time.
The framework above will be combined with tradition. The framework shows the limitlessness of the universe (and consequently on the individual for if the universe did not confer limitlessness on the individual, the universe would be limited). Thus the framework shows that individuals and civilization realize the ultimate but it is only the local knowledge of tradition that shows how. While in limited form realization must be endless process. Tradition is part of that and is limited as well. Thus while imperfect as precise knowledge and practice, tradition is perfect as an instrument in realization. As the limit of each tradition is met, it is shed like the skin of a snake and a new tradition arises, either in continuation or from another planet or cosmos. Together, as revealing and instrument for realization the mesh is ultimate. This mesh will be called the universal metaphysics or, simply, the metaphysics. We will see that the mesh is more than a mere join, for while tradition is the perfect instrument, the framework gives degrees of certainty and illuminates fundamental traditional questions in ways that seem difficult or even impossible from tradition alone. We will see, for example, illuminations on the nature of space and time and resolutions of the nature of and fundamental questions regarding mind and matte.
The humble metaphysics mentioned earlier may be regarded as metaphysics in the following sense. Let it be valid secular knowledge or tradition in the secular realm. Outside the realm let it be entirely open—i.e., the extent and content of the outside will be open or unspecified. The open metaphysics cannot be wrong. However, when we recognize that there is experience of the universe as a whole without regard to detail then we see that what we have just shown is that the (humble) open metaphysics is the universal metaphysics.
What enables being human, over and above perception, is the power of (free) conception in which we may understand that we have a present form, that we may have another future form, and that there are ways to navigate from one to another.
Naïve concept formation is mere imagination. However, even in concept formation we recognize the possibility of error, delusion, and illusion. This leads to doubt and the idea of criticism. Criticism is not negative, rather it is evaluation and development of ways to evaluate truth. Criticism in implicit in the discussion of universal metaphysics. There we see a dual (though not dualistic) epistemology—one criterion for ultimate knowledge and another for instrumental or proximate knowledge that mesh as perfect in the service of good knowledge of the universe and effective realization.
Ideas are essential to realization (a) as instrument and (b) the place in which realization is appreciated. In this sense, without ideas or experience, there is no significant realization.
From the limitlessness of the universe and the individual, ideas are never complete as instrument and realization. Action and transformation are essential. The way in which action is essential is not so much that ideas should be translated into action but that ideas are ever incomplete without it.
Without either ideas or action knowledge and realization are ever incomplete.
It is now possible to formulate an ultimate aim for human being; it is the aim stated at the beginning of the introduction.
The aim of the way of being, founded by the universal metaphysics, is to be in continuous discovery of the range of being and realization of its highest immediate and ultimate forms.
The aim of my writing and especially of this manual is to facilitate the knowledge and action phases of realization.
The process began with some aim of the above nature. However, the emergence of the aim as just stated has been part of the process.
The evolution of the ideas has been neither linear nor anticipated. It began with search for understanding of the world with basis in experience, constructive and critical imagination, action, and tradition. My main inspirations have been the wonder of ideas and the world—and participation in the endeavor of being.
The ideas began with the modern scientific world view of my early cultural exposure. Science was informed the ideas in the early phase; however I maintained a critical attitude toward it—I sought to understand the basis of its claims and to remain open to where it might be incomplete. Religion was of interest and I sought what meaning and validity religion, even dogma, might have.
The ideas evolved through conceptual experiments with evolutionism, idealisms, process versus supra-temporal or absolute, universal versus local only consciousness, and other paradigms until I saw a necessity to adopting a notion of being as subscribing to no paradigm at all except what might emerge in a constructive and critical process. What emerged may be described as an absence of universal kinds (a ‘no paradigm’ paradigm) under which some restrictive paradigms are locally and approximately true.
If a paradigmatic notion—matter and so on—is to be a basis for sound understanding it must be defined precisely. It then faces two critical issues—does the defined form (1) exist and (2) include all kinds in the universe.
The common classes of paradigm—secular and supra-secular or, imprecisely, scientific and religious—may be seen, each on its own best basis, to be potentially immensely limited (it is worth noting that the conflict among the secular and supra-secular paradigms is a conflict of common understanding).
Being, here conceived as what is there, avoids the two problems of the paradigms. However, its non specific nature suggests triviality. On the contrary, however, it emerges in the text as basis of an ultimate understanding of the universe—the universal metaphysics described earlier. This metaphysics confirms the limits to the common paradigms. Even in their best well known forms the secular and trans-secular views are found to be extremely limited.
Consequently terms such as ‘science’ and ‘universe’, and ‘religion’ and ‘god’ are commonly subject to grossly distorted and minimized understanding, especially but not only among intellectuals. I use these terms in the text but this is perhaps at some risk on account of their common connotations. It has been argued that we should, from common use, employ just these connotations. However, to do so is to assign too much weight to a limited past and too little significance to the open future. It is to confuse the common meanings, especially those of some particular culture, with the essential. The common meanings and the associated debates (currently atheism vs. theism) therefore slant and limit common dialog. Particularly, the common senses of ‘God’ in the Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—is a distortion of an idea of an ultimate in which we all participate. Though culturally significant, the debates are limiting when they suggest that the alternatives contain more than a fraction of the truth..
The ideas that are developed here show that much of what we might have thought to be absolute limits are relative; they are obstacles that may be overcome. It is shown that highest forms available to us are without limit. Realization will not occur only via knowledge instructing action. Immersion in the world will be essential.
The ideas have not developed in a vacuum. Though I have been critical of the traditions I have learnt much from them. I have sought to place my process in the human endeavor—and to understand and perhaps to enhance that endeavor.
This division builds the universal metaphysics. Its cornerstone is demonstration of the fundamental principle of metaphysics: the universe is the realization of all possibility. Being, the most inclusive idea, is central to the development. The view employs and integrates the CATEGORIES—a system of concepts, constituent to being, sufficient to knowledge and understanding of it. Issues of the categories include selection, formulation, criticism and its resolution, and integration. Here most detail is omitted in favor of the final net picture so far.
The concept of being is essential to this work. Its explanatory power derives, at least in part, from the fact that it is unlike other kinds such as matter and process, in that it is not posited as a specialized and fundamental kind. If the specialized kinds are imprecise or incomplete, to posit them is to begin with error, limitation, and distortion. In the history of ideas, being has had general as well as very specialized connotations. The consequent problem is avoided here by radical avoidance of specialized meaning. A potential problem with a radically inclusive concept of being is that its inclusivity might result in triviality. This is avoided (a) by careful selection and definition—a process of trial and error—of the fundamental concepts of being, universe, domain, and possibility and (b) meshing the system emerging from these concepts with tradition.
The development begins with experience. The sense of experience used is related to terms such as subjective awareness, consciousness, and what being is like.
Many thinkers would avoid beginning with experience. They might argue that experience is subjective, immaterial, too specialized, and ethereal to be either epistemological or ontological foundation.
Experience is ubiquitous to being human (a term that refers to what is essential about us, that might refer to other beings in the universe, and that has similarity to Heidegger’s notion of Dasein.) Because of the ubiquity we tend to not notice it; yet it is the medium of all knowing and significance; and it is our window on the world (which includes self); it is relationship; it is the place of all significance for significance is experience (but it is not the source of all significance). ‘Something’ that has not even indirect effect in any experience might as well not exist.
Let us also criticize reasons to minimize experience. That it is subjective is inherent in the notion of experience but the subjectivity does not concern the existence of being; it concerns its content. We might be misled regarding the objectivity of its existence but that is because of its ubiquity. Also that the content is subjective does not imply that the content is invariably tinged with error; for example experience is known in experience and that is objective; similarly all knowledge is ultimately in experience which means that while some ‘knowledge’ is invariably tinged with distortion, even the correction of distortion or the evaluation of precision is ultimately in experience. Experience is specialized but (a) even as we know it directly it is not a gross specialization and not clearly more specialized than, say, matter; and (b) there is a generalization of the concepts of experience and matter in which they are two exhaustive and interwoven aspects of being. That experience is ethereal is itself subjective and not a true objection for being itself is neither concrete nor non concrete; and the very notion of ethereality arises by contrast with a distorted concretion of ‘matter’ (which A. N. Whitehead has called the fallacy of misplaced concreteness).
Experience is central to being.
EXPERIENCE is awareness in all its forms; here, its use is similar to that of consciousness.
The nonempty REAL WORLD is distinct from, known in, and contains experience.
The structure of experience admits two interpretations (1) the ‘normal’ one of selves (loci of experience / control—‘me’ / ‘I’) in the world and (2) a universal field of experience; this use filters out distinctions among selves and is extended to all being in relationship).
That there is experience is implicit in this assertion.
Showing the truth of this assertion may proceed on the lines of Descartes’ famous cogito argument. However, the argument should be improved as follows. First, reference to ‘I’ in I think therefore I am (‘cogito ergo sum’) should be eliminated and the cogito statement should be there is experience. Second, where the word ‘therefore’ suggests deductive inference the true operation is the naming of the fundamental given of experience. Third, the facts of the real world and the self or ‘I’ fall out of analysis of experience.
Experience is RELATIONSHIP; it is the place of and ubiquitous to BEING HUMAN. Just as color is of the object-as-it-occurs-in-experience, so SIGNIFICANCE is of the world but in experience.
It follows from these considerations that experience includes FEELING (‘heart’, intensity) as motivating action and COGNITION (‘mind’, dispassionate) as fixed and free form mapping of the world. In adaptation, feeling and cognition are interactive in negotiating the world; heart, mind, and recall—perhaps the core of psyche—are not compartmentalized. Cognition and feeling are deeply interwoven; cognition is suffused with at least mild feeling and feeling is in a sense about the body (which is therefore not separate from ‘mind’) and so about the world.
Experience is the subjective aspect of MEANING. The development in this essay will depend only on REFERENTIAL MEANING which requires and is given by an experiential content or CONCEPT and its OBJECT. In referential LINGUISTIC MEANING a simple or compound sign is associated with the concept-object (the meaning of a compound sign may partially derive from its GRAMMATICAL arrangement). This much is necessary and sufficient to significance and to identify definite and only definite objects; and so, elimination or resolution of paradoxes of mistaken reference, clarity and making explicit what is implicit (see synthesis).
Note (1) Though not the only kind of meaning, referential meaning the kind essential to the development in this essay, (2) Although it would not generally be agreed upon, it may be the case that analysis of meaning shall invariably find some implicit object (in a sense that is more general than that of concrete entity)—but note that this is neither proved nor assumed in this essay, (3) An experiential content is a concept in a sense more inclusive than above, (4) An object may of course be plural but a plurality may also be seen as singular, and (5) The object may be the null object.
‘This sentence is false.’ seems paradoxical: it is true if false, false if true. But ‘This sentence is true.’ is true if true, false if false—it does not have a truth value but there is no paradox. Similarly the first sentence does not have a truth value but refers to its truth value: the concept does not have an object but refers to one. The resolution of the paradox lies not in self reference but in denying reference where there is no reference; i.e. in absence of meaning.
Meaning is critical to logic, sciences (and mathematics) as rules (theories) for realism (the world has no rules; rules arise in free concept formation which is thus a double edged sword: source of understanding and of error and paradox; therefore it is in this recognition and careful formulation of concepts that elimination of error and paradox lies). Logic holds in all contexts, sciences and mathematics vary with context and cosmos. This CLARIFICATION is useful later.
Another important example of PARADOX RESOLUTION concerns the ‘paradox of negative existentials’ (to is to be). Consider the example “Sherlock Holmes does not exist.” If true it would seem meaningless since “Sherlock Holmes” has no reference. Resolution is as follows. From our conception of meaning, ‘X exists’ means that concept X has an intended object X (absolutely—in the universe—or relative to a context). The concept is essential for a pure symbol cannot locate an object (for either general or singular terms). Then, ‘X does not exist’ means that concept X has no object. This resolves the problem of negative existentials.
Thus appeal to meaning clarifies the important concept of existence and exhibits the power of the present concept of meaning. Since existence and being are closely related, the present conception of meaning helps clarify how to give existence and being appropriate meanings.
ENTIRETY is the entire world marked or unmarked by difference.
BEING is that which is there in some region of entirety. There is being! E.g. experience, real world, and selves (above). There is no significant, reliable understanding of or action in being that is alien to experience. Thus in a plain but soon to be seen potent sense metaphysics is real.
The importance of being is its non specific nature—given an idea it distinguishes only whether the idea has reference.
Thus while experience, the real world, and extensionality have being the question whether they are matter (or any particular substance) has no clear answer; even the being of matter is in question (particularly so far as the notion of matter is vague or in even the slightest error for while error is permissible in science it is not so in search for ultimate understanding).
In some situations, however, assessment of being is not trivial. Obviously non being does not have being except as ‘non being’ is figurative or potential; similar remarks may be applied to the merely verbal construct ‘beyond being and non being’. Must potential have being—even in a non causal ontology (it is clear that in should have being in a causal ontology)?
Analysis of meaning, above, has helped to uncover knowledge that is already implicit in the idea of being. From such examples, it has been thought that analysis of meaning may help create knowledge—that is not true. However, the analysis may uncover implicit knowledge.
An examination of the developments that follow will show that analysis and synthesis of meaning is instrumental in the creation of knowledge. It may be validly argued that the creation of knowledge is ANALYSIS AND SYNTHESIS OF MEANING, and that ANALYSIS AND SYNTHESIS OF BEINGS is instrumental in the creation of being, e.g. technology and, perhaps, new forms of being and life (analysis and synthesis of being includes that of meaning).
Ask a related question: does the absence of being—nothingness or the void—have being? In an open ontology (non universality of causation and non material nature of such causation may obtain) nothingness may be causal, may have an effect and so has being. So:
POWER, the ability to have an effect, is a measure of being; it ascertains the being of notions such as potential, nonbeing, or the void (for which the definition of being is ambivalent).
Distinguish BEING-IN-RELATIONSHIP vs. BEING-AS-BEING; label them ‘mind’ (experience) and ‘matter’; these extended meanings, justified in cosmology of form, are plausible as follows: in OPEN METAPHYSICS, the class of metaphysics constrained only by possibility, ‘mind’, ‘matter’ and couplings range from absent to multiple; they are not dual, not non-dual. In MONIST SUBSTANCE metaphysics they are single, coeval, and co-occurring; our cosmos is monist for many purposes. We will find that no part of the universe can be absolutely monist.
DIFFERENCE is the most elementary pattern. IDENTITY is (sense of) sameness of person or object. Then—difference with identity marks duration or TIME. Difference without identity marks spatial extension or SPACE. EXTENSIONALITY—measure of difference, with or without sameness—is IMMANENT in the world, has being, is not external to or independent of being: is not absolute. Identity is local. Consequently space-time-identity (or space-time-matter) does not always separate fully into its components. Where identity is absent, so is space-time.
There may be degrees of extensionality from absent to discrete, from single to multiple, and from separate to interwoven (according to the local structure of extensionality). However, there are but two modes of extensionality—space and time; and they are immanent relative to the all that there is (which will be the definition of the universe) but may be locally as if absolute. Nothing is so far implied about the dimensionalities of space and time. It is well known that the dimensionality of physical space may be other than the standard three because other dimensions may be ‘compactified’ (the cosmos may have been amorphous / of arbitrary spatial dimension and become effectively three dimensional by some adaptive / stabilizing selection). The immanence of time suggests that fundamental particles have a clock-rate; there seems to be no reason that there could not have been more than one clock rate but that one of them became selectively dominant in our cosmos.
The UNIVERSE is all being—being over entirety. The universe has being.
The significant universe is the universe of and whatever affects experience.
There is one and only one universe.
In talk of multiple universes, a different concept of ‘universe’ is employed.
EXPLANATION is efficient when a complex object (system) is known in terms of another object (it may explain more than the explained object but is invalid if what is explained is not real); it is complete to the degree that the explained object is the universe; it is sound when knowledge of the other object is founded; it is transparent to the degree that the explaining object (the ‘explanans’) is simple. The ultimate in explanation would therefore explanation of the universe in terms of the void or nothingness—for the void is ultimately simple and will be seen to be grounded; it would be ultimate if such explanation can be given; and we will develop just such and explanation. Explanation in terms of SUBSTANCE as some unchanging and uniform primitive object does not go all the way to simplicity of the explaining object and, accordingly, is limited. A tendered explanation of an object in terms of a more complex object (e.g. the rest of the universe in terms of God) is not an explanation (in the present sense).
Thus self creation (or causation) is not a satisfactory explanation of origins or complexity. Therefore think of creation or cause as follows: CAUSE is difference in behavior associated with another object.
Complex internal causation is a case of causation provided the objects are interpreted appropriately; and this sense of internal causation is not self-causation.
To insist that the universe must have been caused is to push experience with causation beyond the bound of experience; to which there is no logical necessity.
An extended sense of causation in which the void (defined later) causes the manifest universe would violate our experiential sense of cause but is logically possible; such a sense and case of causation is not warranted so far but will subsequently found warranted.
A DOMAIN is a part or the entire universe. The term PROPER domain will refer to a domain that is not the universe itself. One domain or god may be implicated in the creation of another. Later we show incremental manifestation ex nihilo to be far more probable and natural. For the manifest universe, there can be nothing but creation (manifestation) ex nihilo.
A SIGNIFICANT UNIVERSE is a universe of and whatever affects experience. If there is more than one significant universe then to any one of them the others would be as if they did not exist. Later we will see that there is one and only one significant universe: the universe.
Relative to a context, a conceived state of being is POSSIBLE if its obtaining is not a violation of the definition of the context; otherwise the state is IMPOSSIBLE.
A conceived state is PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE if it satisfies physical law; otherwise it is physically impossible. Physical possibility is a limit on what may obtain.
Physical possibility and any other WORLDLY possibility presume possibility that is not a limit on the universe but a constraint on concepts for realization; this is and defines logic or LOGICAL POSSIBILITY—our logics approximate it—and shows where logic and science mesh.
Consider a violation of the principle of non-contradiction, e.g. an all green and, simultaneously, all not green apple; it is inherent in the notion of ‘not’ that such an apple (state) cannot exist even though the concept of it is simple to formulate. This shows that the principle is not a limit on the world but a constraint on concepts for realizability. Generally, logical impossibility is not a limit on what may obtain but a constraint on realistic concepts. Logical possibility is the most liberal kind of possibility.
An idea of COSMOLOGICAL POSSIBILITY is related to physical possibility. A form of cosmological possibility is that it is circumscribed by our material and empirical cosmos: not only are its laws necessary as in limitation of possibility to physical possibility but it is the only cosmos or, perhaps, the only kind of cosmos. We often think that physical possibility and cosmological possibility, which are projections of limited experience, are necessary. However, they are not necessary; the thought that they are necessary lies in the assumption that experience and its kinds so far are the only kinds of experience. They may be but that is not warranted by experience. While it would be grossly speculative to make an ad hoc assertion that there are ghost cosmoses and more passing through ours right now, it is speculative to say that there are not and it would be simple error to say that the ghost cosmoses are impossible.
Are there worldly possibilities other than the physical? There are many—e.g., economic possibility, human possibility, energy budget possibility and many others (logical possibility is the envelope of the worldly possibilities). No worldly possibility can violate the logical; but the logical can violate the worldly; the worldly presumes the logical. It is therefore reasonable and common to the unmodified term ‘possibility’ to refer to logical possibility.
A third kind of possibility may be specified—UNIVERSAL POSSIBILITY, a kind of worldly possibility, for which the context is the world or universe (over entirety).
Obviously, the objects or contents of what is actual (over entirety) and world possibility are identical. The question arises Which of the worldly possibilities—or logical possibility—is universal possibility? Clearly:
Universal possibility is bounded by logical possibility and the two will be found identical.
This is a new though not unanticipated way of defining or looking at logic.
A NATURAL LAW is a reading of a pattern or set of patterns (a set of patterns can be seen as a pattern). It specifies a certain kind of possibility: it says that the said patterns may occur. It also specifies a limit—the other patterns do not occur.
If a law is a reading of a set of patterns, the patterns themselves constitute the LAW (Law). In what follows the lower case form, the law, will refer to the Law.
The laws have being.
If the universe is in a non manifest or void state, there are no laws. Therefore, any (logically) possible state must emerge from the non manifest for the contrary would be a law.
But the void state is present alongside (every particle of) the universe. So it follows that—
The universe is the realization of all possibility; or, universal and logical possibility are identical (logic constrains only realization of the illogical; it does not limit the universe).
This demonstrated assertion is called the fundamental principle of being or FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF METAPHYSICS which will be abbreviated fundamental principle or FP.
That the universe is the realization of all possibility implies that it is the realization of all that falls under logic. There is one apparent exception. Given that we know certain at least local truth, it is not logically possible for the local truth to be locally violated. That is, logic is to be extended to include fact as well as logical consistency. But facts are concepts in the form of percepts and that a fact is inviolable can be seen as a point of logic in which the premise and conclusion are identical. Now if we regard science derived from and projected upon experience as local rather than universal truth then science is factual rather than hypothetical (and this is all that is strictly or logically warranted even though hypothesis beyond the factual is useful). Thus logic may be seen as including fact (and science). We know or think we know much of logic—e.g. propositional and predicate. However, what we know is in some cases questionable and may well be very incomplete. Therefore we reverse order of the reasoning above and define logic as the study of the possible. This emphasizes that logic is revisable and ever under discovery (at least until it bears a warrant of its completeness); it also emphasizes the extension of logic to fact and science as local rather than universal.
Another apparent exception: given that Earth has one history all possibilities can hardly be realized. It is not an exception: as already seen the one history cannot be otherwise (being other than it is would be impossible). However, all possibilities are realized in the following sense: while our cosmos probably does not have another Earth, there must be other cosmoses (without limit) with other that have planets without limit to variety and that some of these are, while different, sufficiently similar to ours to be labeled ‘Earths’ (also without limit) whose histories are all variations of Earth’s history consistent with the label ‘Earth’.
Because this might seem to stretch the notion of logic, we introduce the alternate term realism:
REALISM is the study of the possible as actual; our valid experience, science, and logics approximate to realism. It is important from the groundwork and development so far that outside experience-logics, realism is knowledge that objects (categories of any level) with all possible properties are realized); it is not direct knowledge of the objects (except so far as the truths of logic may be considered to have objects). As far as this indirect knowledge is concerned, SCIENCE-AS-FACT-IN-A-DOMAIN-OF-VALIDITY and LOGIC unite in realism.
The—now proven—fundamental principle now becomes: the universe is the object of realism (therefore many—but far from all—proofs from realism are trivial and are not given here).
It is useful to supplement proof by PLAUSIBILITY. Here are some plausible arguments. (1) Physicists may make reasonable guesses as to the next fundamental theory. However there is no reasonable guess as to a final theory. But we do know a limit or boundary to a final theory—to all theories—and it is the limit of realism or possibility. (2) It has been argued from an error avoiding conservatism that we should take only verified science as true. The assumption is that by being minimal with ‘hypotheses’ (OCKHAM’S RAZOR) we will be safe. But what is there but not seen may hurt us and represent lost opportunity: the safety of conservatism is illusory. There is a dual Ockham’s razor argument—it is that to be safe and rich in being we should be minimal in hypotheses as to what is not in the universe.
The fundamental principle followed by some essential consequences are as follows.
The fundamental principle clearly resolves what Heidegger and others have called the fundamental question of metaphysics—i.e., Why there is being at all?
Consider the question ‘What objects are in the universe?’ From the discussion of meaning the question is ‘For what concepts are there objects?’ With this broad notion of object, the objects are all there is to know of the universe. This is therefore the problem of metaphysics and may therefore be called the fundamental problem. The objects range from the trivial to the universe. We might refine the fundamental problem as follows. Being is the most general of objects. The concept of the categories is that of those objects that lie just below being itself in generality. Knowing the categories is knowing the essence of being. Thus we make the following reconceptualization:
A new FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM OF METAPHYSICS is to answer the question of what has being—i.e., to specify the categories (defined earlier); the previous fundamental problem is clearly a very special case of the new for if the void state has being the old problem is trivially resolved.
This issue occupies a significant part of the ideas, especially the following sections (as relation and process are being, an answer is an understanding of all being). It begins with a unification of the abstract and the concrete as an immense broadening of the understanding of objects.
Since the system of realistic concepts is realized there is no essential distinction between the ABSTRACT and the CONCRETE OBJECTS (the consistent system of concepts is real; the real objects have at least implicit and consistent concepts): both are real, both are in the one universe, and the abstract are not essentially not of the world but, rather, some worldly (concrete) characteristics, e.g. space-time-cause, may be omitted in the abstraction.
A consequence for realization is that LIMITED FORMS, e.g. being human, know and realize only a limited part of the universe. However, as limitless the universe must confer its power on individual and civilization (limits are the appearance to transient forms of transient limits as absolute). While in limited form realization is eternal process. Each stage of knowledge of and realization in and of a local cosmos is shed snake skin like and new form acquired.
Further consequences of the fundamental principle and its metaphysics follow in the subsequent discussions. The metaphysics is, so far and as pointed out, largely about indirect knowledge which may be characterized by the phrase ‘knowledge that’. Our empirical—roughly empirical—knowledge is explicit ‘knowledge of’. The universe is one of all possibility—i.e. it is limitless in its quantity, e.g. extensionality, and variety, e.g. kind of being. Thus:
The immediate-ultimate distinction is formalized via the concrete-abstract and elaborated as follows.
Many of the suggested characteristics constitute distinctions that are apparent rather than real. Thus the abstract and the concrete both refer to the one universe. The contrasts are those of an inclusive continuum rather than exclusive polarity.
The VOID is the null domain (‘the absence of being’).
From the fundamental principle, the void (or any state) is equivalent to—generates—any state; thus:
The void has power and, so, being; this equivalence, a violation of the notion of material causation as local in spacetime, a more general causation, is required under realism.
However, it is clear that the fundamental principle already violates causation (as well as such time honored principles as conservation of energy—further explanation is in discussion of cosmology). Particularly:
ABSOLUTE INDETERMINISM obtains—i.e., given the greatest determined domain relative to a vantage point, the rest of the universe is not determined at all. But also given the determined domain, the rest occupies every possible state and so ABSOLUTE DETERMINISM of a kind obtains and is equivalent to absolute indeterminism.
This resolves any apparent paradox that under the fundamental principle stable states, especially our cosmos, might seem to be denied or impossible.
Except that there is at least one, the number of voids is without significance.
The void has partial analogy to the concept of the receptacle of Plato’s Timaeus and to the ‘quantum vacuum’ (which is not the void but a lowest energy quantum state).
However, as ontologically equivalent to the void, every state of being also has the same analogy.
The INTELLIGIBILITY of the universe according to Plato and almost all cosmologies including the modern is presumed in one way or other; it is not found or shown. Via the fundamental principle, the void may be seen to found the intelligibility where it obtains (this general principle of explanation is to derive a phenomenon from a background in (here is a general principle of EXPLANATION: it is show the origin or derive what is explained from a background that is neutral to it and so simpler than the context of the explained).
An aspect of intelligibility is that it involves formation of local systems (cosmoses) with intelligent form that can then understand more than the local and go on to understand the entire universe of all possibility and realism.
We regard tradition as what is valid in human disciplines of knowledge and practice from all cultures and from beginnings to the present time.
The local and the ultimate
The total system of ultimate metaphysics (perfect with regard to faithfulness) and local knowledge (good enough; perfect in that better is not needed and in some cases diversionary) is jointly perfect with the local being the best possible instrument toward the ultimate or ideal.
Metaphysics and philosophy in an older, perhaps, original sense as knowledge of the world are REHABILITATED (this does not negate validity of the newer senses of these terms).
Thus it is more than mere join; and this is further brought out in examples: (1) regarding mind-matter, the open case is the general case but it must occasionally (in some cosmoses) reduce to the monist (2) regarding space-time the general case is, again, open—structure merging continuously as well as discretely with structureless background—but reduces to particular structures in some cosmoses.
The universal metaphysics
This mesh of ultimate metaphysics as FRAMEWORK for local knowledge—perfect according to appropriate criteria—is labeled the UNIVERSAL METAPHYSICS and will also be called the metaphysics. It is essentially in process—never complete for limited forms in separation from action. For limited forms, realization is eternal process without limit in extension or variety.
The image of the thinker reflecting in isolation is inadequate (as is the being of action; it requires fullness of being as ideas and action).
The pure or ultimate part of the metaphysics—the PURE METAPHYSICS—shows that realization of the ultimate is given. However, it does not show ways of realization.
It does not show how to undertake realization or that the undertaken is easy. It does not show that it will occur in this lifetime of the individual, of civilization, or of this cosmos. It does show that we are already in the process and it suggests that intelligent commitment should maximize expectation of outcome.
What instrument is available for the process? Over and above the pure metaphysics it must be the valid parts of our traditions of local knowledge—e.g., the logics, sciences and methods of tradition ever subject to imaginative and critical improvement which are part of the tradition.
Some science writers have speculated that the physics, biology, technology, and information theory of and within our cosmos may be used to create or simulate our eternal being. Perhaps that is valuable.
The emphasis here, however, is the full metaphysics—the pure and its mesh with tradition. The earlier position of realism as—largely—‘knowledge that’ can now be supplemented: local knowledge is significantly ‘knowledge of’. We now look at some parts of that mesh.
COSMOLOGY is knowledge and realization of the degrees of extension and variety of being
Cosmology is not other than the metaphysics but part of it. A number of the conclusions above, especially regarding the metaphysics, are cosmological.
Though less general, the treatment of cosmology below is greater in detail than that of the metaphysics. This is because realization which is significantly implicit under metaphysics becomes explicit in cosmology.
GENERAL COSMOLOGY is cosmology without restriction. Its principle is the fundamental principle; it will derive inspiration from experience, imagination, and particular sciences and cosmologies but the fundamental principle is its only constraint.
Some consequences for general cosmology now follow.
The manifestation and identity of the universe have no limits, especially with regard to extensionality (spacetime), quantity (e.g. number), and variety (dimensionality, size, quality) of being. Particularly, manifestation and identity of being (individual, universe) go through phases of peak-acute, diffuse, and absent form without limit to repetition, elevation, or variety (the empirical cosmos is but one of limitless number, variety, and hierarchy: in partial analogy to matryoshka dolls every cosmos is an atom, every atom a cosmos). This power is conferred on individual and civilization (without paradox for when two individuals are simultaneously so empowered, they become one); as noted earlier, while limited in form realization is eternal process. Is there memory across the void phases? Yes—memory, such as it is—essential rather than trivial—resides in the abstract, perhaps in abstract FORMS or DISPOSITIONS. From FP there are no non-interactions: the universe is a field of being and beings are its concentrations.
This power is conferred on individual and civilization (without paradox for when two individuals are simultaneously so empowered, they become one); as noted earlier, while limited in form realization is eternal process. Is there memory across the void phases? Yes—memory, such as it is—essential rather than trivial—resides in the abstract, perhaps in abstract FORMS or DISPOSITIONS.
The ultimate in realization is or may be named BRAHMAN of the Upanishads or AETERNITAS—eternity in a moment—of Thomas Aquinas. Even these are not an end except as an image in the experience of being or perhaps as the highest of the dispositions.
It is interesting that Aquinas distinguished three modes of time—tempus or physical time, aevum—roughly the subjective time of ‘being’s, and Aeternitas—time experienced by the divine or ultimate. From the study of experience and being we can see the essential identity of tempus and aevum; and we can now see that there is no essential distinction between these and Aeternitas: Aeternitas may be seen as the tempus / aevum of limitless being.
Origin of cosmological form
What is the nature of our cosmos and other concrete forms in the universe?
Two parallel approaches to understanding the structure of forms are (a) investigation of origins and mechanisms of ORIGIN and (b) the study of forms in symbolic or pictorial terms, e.g. language, logic, mathematics, physics, biology, psychology (but not in any narrow academic sense), and art. Here we emphasize #a as pertaining to all forms.
The cosmological forms are more or less stable-adapted-systems-with-symmetry; in the study of systems with form of a special nature or interest the fundamental principle is (of course) necessary but not sufficient. The cosmology of form enquires of the source and binding together of the form of our special systems, e.g. our cosmos, and their varieties.
There are three levels of cosmological understanding; the following are in increasing order of specificity: (1) the level of mere description where local systems may be described but the only constraint is the fundamental principle, (2) the level of formation, e.g. of a cosmos and its physical laws, life, and discrete intelligence, and (3) the level of law or local mechanism as in physics and functional biology and psychology (and the sciences of other systems). The first level is general cosmology with details filled in. The cosmology of form concerns the second and third levels. Here we begin with focus on the second.
What is the origin of form? Is an external agent (god) necessary? The external agent, as explanation, is a poor one for it would explain the complex in terms of the more complex (the not understood). Further, the void provides a better explanation in this regard except that general formation from the void is devoid of transparent-local-mechanism as paradigm of understandable explanation.
How may we explain in transparent terms the origin of greater form from primitive form—of form from no form? The following explanation is presented as necessary; it requires no model inspiration; however, it is obviously inspired by the fact of the evolution of life on earth and its Darwinian explanation.
We are required to explain the emergence of true newness (novelty). True newness must include indeterministic elements—but so it might seem that there is no explanation. However, for form there must be deterministic elements; so some explanation may be possible.
Think, however, of the process as stepwise. There is an indeterministic step; because it is indeterministic it will occasionally result in near symmetry as near stability; but because it is only near stability it is open to continuation of the process.
A process of indeterministic variation and selection of the stable forms is available all the way from the void to formed structures; it is clearly possible and so necessary on occasion (FP); all structures must thus ultimately root in the void (FP); the indeterminist step is necessary (newness); the selection step is necessary (self stability, no final external agent).
Extremely large steps of this kind are possible but seemingly improbable; extremely small steps are improbable, first, in that a formed system is likely to behave discretely, second, in that form is discrete and, third, in that over and above the discreteness argument, such a process would be slow.
The typical STEP size is a balance, as explained next, between the two extremes and the typical process of formation is INCREMENTAL.
The fundamental principle requires (a) emergence of all forms (occasionally) as one step processes and (b) emergence even of unstable forms, however:
Population of the universe by cosmological systems is a product of longevity and frequency of emergence and so the incremental emergence is most common and the stable forms are by far the most probable and dominate the population of the universe.
The details of the process must of course be worked out separately for physics, biology, psychology and the other sciences (it should be clear that the model of emergence above stands on its own, its inspiration comes from evolutionary biology).
The process is not only one of the formation of form it is also one of formation of detailed structure and pattern (laws in physics, function in biology, intelligence in psychology).
Singular events and non human intelligence
Though SIGNIFICANT steps must occur their probability would seem low. There is a mechanism that may exalt some kinds of significant step to high probability. For a typical small increment in structure, the increment in function is small. However, especially for systems with self-representation and feedback (self awareness, self regulation in experiential organisms), there are thresholds at which a small step in structure results in a many-fold increase in function. Such events have been called SINGULAR. Perhaps the origin of life, of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, of multi-celled forms, of intelligence, of self conscious and self regulating intelligence, and of linguistic intelligence are singularities. We may imagine further biological singularities in the future. Today a singularity of machine intelligence has been imagined; it receives support from the rapid increase of computational and networking capability and intelligent function. It is imagined that a singular, immense increase in machine capability may involve: true consciousness, unimagined kinds of capability, self evolution and design, independence from human design and support, of world and cosmos takeover by machines, and even of marginalization of human being. It is important that from FP, this is in continuity with being human, an experience in which we may not have normal participation but an experience in which all being has ultimate participation. Proximate concern regarding ‘the rise of the machines’ is valid; ultimate concern misunderstands the ultimate.
I now consider COSMOLOGY OF FORM—a cosmology of nature, individual and psyche, civilization, and the ultimate.
In the process of formation, NATURE is the primitive ground; PSYCHE is the experiential center—the place of significance for the organism and of its relationship to the world that includes the organism.
The elementary ‘spirit’, that which is (was) invisible to us is, in one view, the microscopic—from elementary particles to proteins and DNA. These are the constituents of organisms. In a substance (stable) cosmology, psyche and form are bound at and down to the root; the origin of higher consciousness and intelligence is not an emergence but the fundamental mechanism (variation and selection) giving rise to interaction, layering, partitioning (the interactive functions and modes of mind-used-metaphorically), and focusing.
In the open cosmology, as seen earlier, multiple substances occur with multiple kinds of being-as-being and being-in-relation (‘mind’ and ‘matter’) and multiple interactions at multiple levels. Always, however, experience is relationship and relating. The intricate function of being-in-relation (‘mind’) requires intricate form (‘body’); and ‘mind’ and ‘body’ evolve and enter into discovery and realization together. Similarly, in open cosmology, there is freedom in discreteness, and interwoven-ness of space and time; there is freedom in dimensionality of space and synchronizations of time; in number and constancy of signal speeds; and space and time are immanent in being. In local cosmologies the freedoms with regard to substance and extensionality may be specific as in our cosmos; mind and matter may be essentially interwoven; and space and time as if absolute; but this local deviation from the general and open case is not absolute but (ultimately) meshes with the general and open.
The CIVILIZATION of being human is relationship and continuity of individual and group over time and continents. Civilization nurtures the individual, the individual fosters civilization. FP requires UNIVERSAL CIVILIZATION—the matrix of individuals and civilizations across the universe. At this level formation would be not only variation and selection but the same enhanced by intelligent experience. Civilization is the form of beings in collective action.
Experience is the place of appreciation of significance. It is trivial that the peak of significance is the peak of significant being. However, we can say more. From FP, for any peak of ‘blind’ form, there is a higher peak of experiential and significant form in whose origin intelligence and commitment are involved. Therefore, effectively and dynamically, experiential form with origin in intelligence and commitment may be taken to be the peak of being.
The ultimate includes static gods but these are not the primary or ultimate bearers of the ultimate.
The ultimate is seen and manifest as a tension between the immediate and itself; on the one hand it is abstract, eternal, the peak of peaks; on the non-dual other it is its process, its origin is—may be regarded as—from the void, and we on the way to it are (of) its becoming; which is eternal that there is always dissolution, a new world, ever freshness. The ultimate abstract is RECEPTACLE of all being and memory.
The term ‘god’ is inappropriate to it but if we insist on using the term ‘god’ then the ultimate god is one of which we are a part, it is the ultimate goal of being human, to be sought really in ultimate form, and immediately cultivated in experience (the ideal goal of ‘seeking’ and ‘religion’).
Hence the ideal: RELIGION is discovery and realizing of ultimate being by limited being using all dimensions of being (to which concrete religion may be seen as allegory and sign-post). Concrete religion has social function: this is already part of the ultimate that includes the immediate. This ideal of religion is far from but includes the contingent and empirical; it includes and meshes with ideal science. A problem of religion is that its universal, social, and empirical notions are ever under discovery, in action, and undergoing evolution. Metaphysics stands midway between the secular and merely speculative religion. It begins so by eliminating mere speculation. It replaces mere speculation by experience of the categories of experience (itself), being, universe, law, and realism. Thus it is simultaneously empirical and rational; and remains so, as seen, when tradition is brought back into the metaphysical fold.
However, we should not let the empirical constitute definition; in the present case to allow this is to promote constraint by the trivial, diversionary, or subversive elements of the past; or by debate between a limited view from science (the essential completeness of science so far) and a view from religion stopped at some primitive stage of evolution. From the earlier concept of meaning, the empirical cannot constitute definition (except when the empirical is single and fundamental).
What is an appropriate attitude regarding corruption in ideas and institutions? Though corruption may never be eliminated the aim should be to distinguish corruption and material need, to promote and seek the ideal, and to balance forward motion and elimination of regress.
What attitude shall we take to the universal metaphysics? I have developed it in a form that minimizes but does not eliminate all doubt. It is crucial that it is consistent with all we know: it is not absurd; and the doubt concerns not the formal aspect of the proof but what may be labeled the material aspect. Previous proofs of the fundamental principle demonstrated existence of the void and then proof of the principle. Here power was introduced to circumvent the problem of the earlier proof of the existence of the void. However, the magnitude of the conclusion and the issue of reliability have not removed residual doubt. The situation is similar to all significant human endeavor: it is tinged with uncertainty. But we undertake these endeavors precisely because of the uncertainty—it is occasion for achievement; and though achievement is not guaranteed the undertaking has the ideal value that it imbues the present with engagement and enjoyment—i.e. with positive existential attitude.
Truth of the universal metaphysics may be DOUBTED. However, it is self consistent; and it is consistent with and envelope of all truth. This justifies a positive EXISTENTIAL ATTITUDE toward action based on the universal metaphysics that is most conducive of enjoyment and a practical value that such action promises the greatest expected return for the endeavor.
We may think: it is not given or likely that ‘this form’ realizes the ultimate. However, there is a NORMAL meaning of ‘this form’ relative to a formed cosmos (e.g. ours) for which the cosmos and this form are essentially limited. In its full meaning this form is the ultimate.
Therefore while accepting temporal limits this side of death—i.e. while living in this world, we also live and act in and toward the ultimate.
The aim of the way of being, introduced earlier, is conceived and derived as what gives significance—and is to know the range of being and to realize its highest immediate and ultimate forms for all beings and civilization.
THE WAY OF BEING is the use of all dimensions of being in knowing the range of being and realizing its highest immediate and ultimate forms—especially in negotiating the weave of the intermediate-ultimate (this may be regarded as a conception of ULTIMATE RELIGION as negotiation of the supra-secular). Intelligent commitment and application over time is essential to becoming in the light of the ultimate.
The ELEMENTS OF BEING are dimension (place) and process (time).
The DIMENSIONS OF THE WAY are nature, individual and psyche (experience not divorced from organism and so the place of relationship and significance), civilization (its being and its instrumental mode of artifact and technology), and the ultimate and universal (in peak and immediate or pure being forms).
The ELEMENTS OF PROCESS are means (ideas and action; self-reflexive thought-action as a way to eliminate—toward elimination of—the A PRIORI deserves special emphasis), mechanics, WAYS and CATALYSTS (special elements of mechanics—responsible for continuous-integrated vs. discrete-fractured change respectively), disciplines and practices (intrinsic and external, which refine and expand being and civilization in the realms of experience-mind and matter, respectively), and modes (intrinsic and external—i.e. pertaining to self or being of the individual, to group, and environment), and universal process (in which the elements are practices especially as immersive and objective).
The MECHANICS of the way is an efficient approach to the ultimate—its core is INTELLIGENT COMMITMENT and CHOICE-risk-consolidation (in light of the metaphysics). It is the incremental in search of the significant; and incremental and significant in search of the ultimate. It employs the universal metaphysics and the ways and catalysts; it also seeks to understand and enhance the metaphysics as embracing and including the ways and catalysts.
Sketch of a path
The path of being and becoming is written in universal process as three phases: pure being, ideas, and becoming.
The phases are implemented below in everyday and universal process. The everyday process (practice) and universal process are in themselves and reflected in one another.
EVERYDAY PROCESS is living in the present as ultimate and toward the ultimate.
UNIVERSAL PROCESS is toward the ultimate via elements of being.
Path so far
This section is an evaluation of process in a personal context and in the context of human civilization.
The ideas are relatively complete but still subject to continual review for content and use.
Transformation is ongoing. While the ultimate is given its external realization in THIS LIFE (individual—civilization understood in the standard or normal limited secular sense) is not given. The external process is ongoing in everyday practice and the phases of ‘universal process’ below. I balance this incompleteness with a parallel emphasis on the inner way which seeks a partial image of the ultimate (some traditions suggest a complete image does occur but this is not given and to suggest so falsely is to truncate the process and minimize the significance of existential awareness of incompleteness as contributing to the ultimate).
This life and the ultimate
The boundary between this life, greater life, and the ultimate is a standard or normal secular distinction. The distinction is also made in the supra-secular context but is not ultimate. There is a boundary between this life and the ultimate but it is relative to understanding and awareness; and it is permeable.
Readers who disagree with the metaphysics of this essay and hold that this life is the only life will, if pathology is ruled out, subscribe to living it well. This will be rooted in their psyche, perhaps founded in adaptation and justified in a system of morals.
It may be thought that subscription to eternal life beyond this life would free us of the responsibility of living this life well. However, to defer the quality of life now may be to defer it forever. What is true on the standard secular view is emphatically true on identity of the individual and the ultimate that follows from the universal metaphysics.
The pathway subsumes elements of the eightfold way.
This routine is not intended as rigid. The order is alterable, elements may be combined, and details may be collapsed. This may be done on a small scale in response to daily need or on a larger scale for the variety of contexts. The elements of process such as MEDITATION are both training in and act of alignment with the real.
Summary: knowledge, practice, nature, civilization, being, the universal,
Destiny is that part of the future over which we have reasonable effect. Obviously we do not control ‘everything’—nor do we want to for openness and uncertainty are sources of significant meaning. However, broad engagement, as we have seen is good, and the broad aim is also to find what we may rather than have specific outcomes.
The attitude of this essay is that our process is a mix of arrival, transience, and destiny. We would live in the immediate and the ultimate—each is incomplete without the other—and both are processes.
Since we do not know what will be helpful breadth of knowledge and experience are important; it has been and continues to be a part of this endeavor.
Summary of knowledge, practice, and other resources—metaphysics; science—science as such—and the sciences; abstract sciences including logic and mathematics; concrete sciences; ethics and value; ways and catalysts; civilization; artifact and art; other resource topics (see system of human knowledge and practice); institutions, networking, persons, and places; publication, sharing, and influence.
The metaphysics, metaphysics, foundation and development, language, logic, mereology, adequacy and minimal arrangement of the dimensions, processes, and phases of being and becoming. Some details: begin with some case studies—e.g., Process and Reality (1929), A.N. Whitehead; Space, Time, and Deity (1920), S. Alexander; the Symbolic Metaphysics of Edward N. Zalta, e.g. at The Metaphysics Research Lab (Zalta’s interesting conception of abstract objects may be useful and suggestive even though it is quite different from the concept of the abstract object in this essay). The metaphysics of natural law is a useful topic that might well go under science below.
Narrative mode and philosophy
Ideas and their history crucially complement one another. This is essential where the inclusiveness is such that ideas and method have not achieved definitiveness. Some examples are philosophy especially in a role of an all encompassing discipline, history, speculative metaphysics, art, and the social sciences. The contrast is to the natural sciences where there are internal criteria of validity. In the general case there are generalities of method and content but these are not definitive. Therefore what is learned about method and content is hard earned but not codified. The example of history and the disciplines as a cumulative endeavor is important.
The narrative style I contemplate will be open though critical with regard to emerging thought; it will recognize the history of ideas as active sources of content and method; it may attempt codification of the learning of history as a discussion of doubt and resolution for the ideas selected for significance.
For further information see a detailed plan for study and action: narrative mode and philosophy.
Design and planning
Design for ideas and realization is immanent in the division for the way. For further information see a detailed plan for study and action: design and planning.
Science and the sciences
Science and the sciences—abstract and concrete in relation to realism and possibility: logics as a first approximation. Science as science, as defined by principles—descriptive, elementary, and adaptive with focus on origins, form, and adaptive systems.
Abstract sciences and sciences of symbolic systems—logic, mathematics and set theory and its foundations, linguistics and grammar, topics such as self-representation, computation and finite mathematics. Some details. Logic: (a) concepts of logic and realism (b) formalism for maximal capture realism and possibilism without paradox, (c) specific topics—propositional and first order predicate calculus, and (d) mathematical logic—proof theory and constructive mathematics, model theory, set theory, and recursion theory (and relations to theory of computation and category theory); (e) reading: W.V. Quine [Philosophy of Logic, 1986; Methods of Logic, 1982; Mathematical Logic, 1981; Set Theory and its Logic, 1969]. Related topics: the axiomatic theories of sets and mereology. Further topics in mathematics for the metaphysics: arithmetic: number theory, number systems, transfinite numbers, analysis; algebra and algebraic structures—origins in numbers and structure of number systems, solutions of equations, and linear algebra; fields of algebra: order theory, algebraic systems, number theory, field theory and polynomials, commutative rings and algebras; analysis—study of change in the small and in the large—sequences, limits, and metric spaces… real, complex, and functional analysis… calculus of variations, harmonic analysis, Clifford analysis, and non-standard analysis… differential equations, measure theory, and numerical analysis; combinatorics approach are enumerative and analytic, topics include partition and graph theory, finite geometry… algebraic, geometric, arithmetic, and infinitary combinatorics; geometry: convex, discrete, and combinatorial geometry… differential (including non-Euclidean) and algebraic geometry… topology, algebraic topology including homology and cohomology… manifolds including complex manifolds and Morse theory; statistics and decision sciences; theoretical computer science.
Concrete sciences. Physical sciences and the interface of metaphysics, quantum theory and relativity; physical and evolutionary-adaptive cosmology; chemistry—especially chemistry for functional and evolutionary biology; earth sciences. Biology, function, genetics and epigenetics, evolution, and adaptive systems—general theory and application in biology and cosmology. Psychology and social sciences with focus on immersion.
Foundations of ethics and value
Foundations of ethics and value with special focus on implications of the metaphysics and the way of being.
Ways and catalysts
Select focus on trans-secular and intrinsic modes of being and transformation—principles of special metaphysics and religion, yoga, Tantra… Principles, disciplines, and practice (select and focus). It is critical that the goal for ways and catalysts is experiment with incremental and step-wise realization. study emphasis is therefore supportive rather than definitive and multi-fold—(1) The meaning of religion (understood in terms of the theory of meaning); (2) The classical ways and catalysts emphasizing practice and use-in-action—some topics: life ways of Buddhism (especially Tibetan) and Hinduism (especially the Gita and Kashmir Saivism); catalysts of physical, isolation (vision quest), death awareness, sacred places, and acting; and (3) unconventional and heterodox ways and sources. Later—perhaps rewrite the Gita (sources currently not available on the Internet 1, 2, 3). Special focus on catalysts—dreams, hypnosis, meditative states; altered states and catalytic factors.
Civilization. (1) Concepts of civilization (understood in terms of the theory of meaning); civilization as process and nurture—the concepts of human and universal civilization and history; physics, cosmology, sociology, psychology, for universal civilization; immersion in natural, social and cultural, psychic and universal process; shared endeavor; see trans-community design; artifactual and technological enhancement—support, synthetic, and stand alone. (2) Immersion culture—knowledge, sciences of matter, life, society, mind, politics and economics; (3) In relation to the discussions cosmology > cosmology of life and identity > civilization what is the dynamic of process, realization, problem, opportunity; and (4) Items below—artifact, ways and catalysts, institutions, places, contacts.
Artifact and art
Artifact. Review (1) The aims—support in realization and creation of aware and autonomous systems (and why, in terms of the metaphysics the latter is one sufficient approach), (2) The concept of artificial being (understood in terms of the theory of meaning), (3) Concepts of the same (e.g. scenarios), (4) Theoretical and computational approaches, (5) Practical approaches. Art including literature and drama and its relevance to metaphysics and realization.
Other topics in a system of human knowledge and practice, selected for significance to the aims and ways.
Institutions, networking, persons, and places. (1) For the above, (2) Support and sharing, (3) Contacts, (4) Place—nature and culture.
Publication, sharing, and influence
I will write the final version during and after transformation of being. I plan to use this document as a basis for ongoing reflection on content and refinement will be important. Important considerations are (1) establishing and giving prominence to the worldview, consequences for knowledge and realization, and ways of realization, and (2) writing for broad influence and audiences.
Write a simple and non technical manual. Emphasize motivation and explanation over technicality, proof and rigor.
Breadth and depth of experience and awareness in the secular and trans-secular realms: nature, culture and society (civilization), relationship, psyche, art and artifact, the sacred and the universal.