The Way of Being
Setting the stage
The way of being is about the ENDEAVOR of all being and particularly of being human.
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 way of being
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
‘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 EXIST 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.
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).
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.
The UNIVERSE is all being—being over entirety. The universe has being.
There is one and only one universe.
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. The universe is neither caused nor CREATED (it has no other). There can be no GOD the creator or first cause of the universe; any god is part of the universe.
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.
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.
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).
Universal possibility is bounded by logical possibility and the two will be found identical.
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.
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.
In the ultimate, experience and being are coeval and essentially identical.
We have seen that there is but one universe—at least in a sense that follows logically from the definition of ‘universe’. However, from FP, there is no ultimately isolated element of being and therefore there is one and only one universe in that all being is in dynamic interaction.
There is one and only one significant universe which is the universe.
The fundamental principle clearly resolves what Heidegger and others have called the fundamental question of metaphysics—i.e., Why there is being at all? 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.
The VOID is the null domain (‘the absence of being’).
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.
ABSOLUTE DETERMINISM 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.
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).
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).
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).
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Origin of cosmological form
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.
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.
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).
The typical STEP size is a balance, as explained next, between the two extremes and the typical process of formation is INCREMENTAL.
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 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.
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. The fundamental principle 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 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.
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.
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.
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.