ON REALIZATIONS OF BEING
ANIL MITRA, © June 2014
Essential topics are marked by a star ( * ).
CENTRAL STATEMENTS AND OUTLINE
Essential topics are marked by a star ( * ).
Imagine that in the universe, all possibilities obtain. What is actual is possible so our cosmos would have to be part of that universe. To avoid confusion we will not call our cosmos the universe: we will call it ‘the empirically known universe’ or, simply, our ‘cosmos’. Cosmoses outside our cosmos would thus have to be part of the ‘possibilist universe’ as would any other existing entity. There would and could be nothing outside the possibilist universe. It would contain all entities that we might have labeled ‘universes’.
It will be shown in the text that the universe is the possibilist universe (if all possibilities obtain we must be thinking of the universe, not at a moment, but as all that was or is or will be and more if time is not universal) Let us think about the nature of the universe under these conditions.
If I try to imagine what is in the universe what restrictions apply to my imagination? First, what is known to be true must be true. So our cosmos must be as it is but its future is not determined by our knowledge—prediction based on what we know (e.g., science) is at most likely (but we do not so far know precisely what ‘likely’ means). More generally there is a region of causation (we usually think of it as the ‘present’) that contains our cosmos-at-the-present-time but which does not determine the rest of the universe. Are there any limits on the rest of the universe? Suppose I imagine a void in equilibrium with a vast formless background from there are transients bursting and into which transients are imploding—and that some of these transients are more stable than others; some of these more stable transients are cosmological systems—some like ours, some lesser, some greater, and some immensely greater. Cosmological systems would form hierarchies—every atom would be a cosmos, every cosmos an atom. The only limit on what I imagine, from the perspective of possibility, is that principles such as non contradiction cannot be violated (such logical principles are not limits on the universe but necessary constraints on concepts for them to be realistic). Therefore the universe is the background we (I) imagined as well as limitless arrays of cosmoses of limitless variety in form and ‘physical law’. The principle of non inter-penetrability of ‘matter’ would of course apply where it was part of the local physics but it would not be universal; other cosmoses could be and therefore are passing through ours at this moment (if there is never any interaction ‘where’ are they: that would present a problem but not if there is interaction at interact at some other point in time). Any manifest part of the universe could be annihilated at any instant. Why has ours not done so? It may well do so but it is also a possibility that some cosmoses will be enduring. Can a cosmos be eternally enduring? This is a subtle point but we will see that an eternally enduring but limited cosmos is impossible. On a universal level the universe as a whole must have acute, diffuse, and absent phases of ‘manifestation’ (the possibilist universe is one where something from nothing is necessary as is nothing from something and proof that the universe is possibilist is proof that even if there are phases of nothingness then manifest ‘universes’ must emerge from them).
Regarding identity (such as sense of self), possibility implies that the universe must have identity, also in acute, diffuse, and absent phases and there must be significant but necessarily not absolute correlation between phases of identity and phases of manifestation.
We may say that the power of the universe is limitless. But if that is so it must confer its power on individuals (of course two individuals cannot have limitless power simultaneously unless of course that they merge as the universe; but while they remain individuated there are limits to power but which does not reduce joint power). That is, individuals undergo phases of acute, diffuse, and absent phases of identity and manifestation. The repetition of becoming and dissolution is endless. That would be meaningless if ‘I’ forget the past through every dissolution but the universe could not be temporal as we naïvely understand temporality; universality of identity is possible and therefore actual and this implies that something of identity is preserved across deaths and dissolutions; we could call this something ‘soul’. You might think that the repetitiousness might be boring. However, variety is limitless and while of course there would be repetition (as in our lives one day is often much like the next) there would also be ever freshness, ever adventure, ever passion, ever wonder.
What does that imply? It means that while we remain in limited form, approaching absolute identity is ever a process—a ‘journey in being’. But it also implies that we do and will attain absolute identity. Still, we ask what such identity ‘means’. Could it pervade all being? As long as we are in temporal mode ‘possibility’ means descent from the mountain of absolute being. If there is an absolutely absolute being or being-ness to us, it must transcend temporality. If we are still human we are not it and have not imagined it—except that, under limitlessness, our humanness is part real, part appearance. Even in our humanness we participate n the absolute (but this does not imply that recognition of this participation is easy). And even though it is possible and so must occur, there is still the possibility and therefore necessity of a physical approach to the top of the mountain. The journey obtains at all levels.
I shall end this prologue of imagination with a consideration of what it might imply for action. I noted that ‘realization’ is guaranteed. Does that mean that we need do nothing about it? First, of course, we cannot be inactive and this follows from the possibility of action. More importantly, from possibility there is not only the mountain top—the final wonder and awe—but there are also pain, suffering, and ennui. It seems reasonable that intelligent engagement is the way to effectiveness and enjoyment of realization. What of the pit—is there hell? Even if there is a place that we might call hell it cannot be permanent and it is most likely not a punishment but the forsakenness of abandoning what might otherwise be. In a possibilist universe, darkness is of course there but it is in the logical nature of the dark to be measured in terms of light. From the formless background, love and light and awe and enjoyment and positive passion emerge; the dark is the absence of these things and not a thing in itself. You can only live in the dark because there is ‘light’—because manifest being (you) is ‘light’. And while this is logical it is practical as well because in the practical realm, formation is the stability of self-adaptation at cosmic levels where, again, ‘dark’ is absence of ‘light’.
The general aim of this narrative is to explore these ideas and to share my exploration with my audience. In this exploration I use my personal resources—whatever imagination and critical intelligence and whatever power of action I may have. I would be remiss to not use the resources of our world cultures. I have used the cultural resources and this is evident in the text. Above all, my resource is the world and my experiencing of it.
The ideas and ecstasy of beauty and the good are central motives to this narrative.
It is in the spirit of the development that ‘idea’ does not make essential distinction between cognized form and emotion—between head and heart. It is essential that the two are bound intricately together.
The beauty I experience is perhaps my main personal inspiration; it is a primary motive to the narrative. Another inspiration, the good—in process and destination—and knowing what is good, and which includes beauty, is a motive I would share.
Truth is essential in ideas and is known via creation and criticism—synthesis and analysis—intuition and form.
Source: origin and name of the narrative.
Also refer readers to the section on sources.
It is critical in the reeducation of intuitive and analytic understanding that meanings in the narrative are always specific and often new; and that the net meaning is greater than the collection of individual meanings.
Many words in the narrative are laden with meaning. I use them to retain potency; I avoid extraneous meaning by providing clear definitions.
The narrative employs a notion of meaning that it may be helpful for readers to preview in the section on meaning and definition.
Choose examples to illustrate the significance of meaning for clear understanding and elimination of paradox. See definition and meaning.
The metaphysics is mature but of course remains open to improvement.
Practically as well as inherently, the path and its ways must remain in process.
The notes from the field are an open space for records of ideas and action. They will be written in modules and may later be integrated with the main narrative. They are also part of my intent for this to be an open narrative. Readers are invited to be part of the open narrative—they are encouraged to write to me and contribute to the journey in being website http://www.horizons-2000.org.
The main aim will be of interest to all readers with an interest in engagement with the world; such readers will be especially interested in realization and the pathways. Academic readers will be interested in the metaphysics and general readers.
Focus ‘destiny’. Previous title was ‘destiny’. May return to ‘destiny’.
The realms of destiny are those over which understanding and influence is possible and good.
These realms are of course incompletely known. They include the present and an incompletely known future. In so far as the universe is not entirely in time parts of those realms are beyond time.
The main aim in writing this narrative is engagement with destiny.
The central aim of the narrative is a concern with that part of the universe (inclusive of ourselves and our world) that it is possible and desirable to live and influence. This is a concern with destiny (which is often thought of as focused on the future but here the concern is with ‘that part of the universe…’).
In having arrived at a particular point in history and in having some adaptation to the world we find in our selves and our culture that we have received values—what is of worth—and means such as knowledge and know how to achieve values (but values and knowledge are not independent: they form an interwoven system and it is in knowing that, via reason and experiment, we can critique and seek to understand both knowledge and values themselves). When our knowledge is incomplete and imperfect—and it seems that it is never yet completely perfect—its contribution must, it seems, be partial. Tradition and process remain in interactive balance.
In having arrived we are in part a product of influences a region and a history. That is we are in time and our interest is over space. The present is an abstraction (to live in the present means something like enjoying—to live—the process over too much control); our real concern—in destiny—is over a range or ranges of time. What range? To find that out, to evaluate it is part of our aim.
A preliminary aim, therefore, is to develop a metaphysics—the universal metaphysics of the narrative..
A preliminary aim is to develop a system of understanding and knowledge—a metaphysics inclusive of values—of the universe that is, as far as I am capable, sufficient to the central aim.
Naturally, the development will have a range of sources: the thought of others from a range of cultures from mythic through today; my own experience—external and internal, received and active which includes concept formation, comparison with the world, and correction. Of course, the world is a source for information and ideas but this is in experience—in what has been received and what may be sought.
In having arrived at the present point in history I have no delusion that we have ‘arrived’; rather, we are in process—we are at a beginning.
Worldviews and cultures
The pure metaphysics must be supplemented by context. It will be supplemented by a practical metaphysics—the pure metaphysics as an enhancing framework for the valid knowledge inherited from and about our cultures.
Preview of practical metaphysics
Imagine that there is one perfectly known object . That is, there is a perfectly defined concept that precisely specifies a perfectly definite object. Recognize that while ‘objects’ are in the world, so is knowledge itself. Thus what we have said amounts to there being a perfect object in the sense of object and knowledge. This perfection seems incomplete with regard to knowledge because has seemingly focused on the empirical or perceptual side. But this is only seeming because the way in which we know that the composite object is perfect is a case of perfect reason. Therefore we have at least one example of perfect knowledge in its fullest sense. The narrative develops a universal context of such knowledge and uses it to frame practical knowledge in a way such that the entire system is perfect in some sense (examples such as instrumentality and being-in-the-world are specified in the narrative). Further, the interaction between the two senses presses immediate instrumentality into the region of the perfect and perfection into the region of the instrumental.
A consequence of the metaphysics
The metaphysics of the narrative shows that we are ever in a process of unending variety and freshness (but not that we ever overcome or want to overcome challenge which includes opportunity and pain). There is ultimate realization but it cannot be eternal; while we can live in fullness of being the fullness and the process have convergence. This is taken up in Realization and can be expressed:
The aim of the narrative will and must be lived as a journey in being.
A subordinate aim is to develop and live ways and pathways.
Again, development will combine learning, experience, reflection, imagination, experiment and correction.
A preliminary reading of the section meaning and definition will be useful in following the analysis.
That an object exists is to say that it is.
The second occurrence of ‘is’ above is as a present tense form of the verb ‘to be’. We will often use this form in a tenseless and location neutral sense.
Existence is trivial and superficial in pertaining to all actualities—i.e. in its universality; and, yet, it is a concept.. Though trivial and superficial—in a way because superficial and trivial, it is deep and consistent.
The assertion is made because the following issues have been raised: (1) Since ‘everything exists’ existence is trivial and is not a concept. Response—it is a concept if trivial but triviality does not imply insignificance. (2) The ‘problem of the non-existent object’, that is, if, for example, Sherlock Holmes does not exist then what is it that does not exist? Resolution—unpack the notion in question (in this case ‘Sherlock Holmes’) in terms of concept and object. For example, the concept Sherlock Holmes is defined in the novels of Arthur Conan Doyle. Then ‘Sherlock Holmes does not exist’ means that there is no object corresponding to the concept. The foregoing might seem to be an unnecessary circumlocution. However, consider ‘Xiutl exists’. Without a concept of ‘Xiutl’ the assertion has no meaning. Thus ‘Barrack Obama’ exists means that there is a man corresponding to our familiar idea of Barrack Obama; it is only our familiarity with the man that makes us think that the concept is not necessary.
We can now see that ‘everything exists’ as a naïve claim is not clear in its meaning. What it might mean is that to every concept there is an object—but that is clearly not true for there are concepts that cannot be realized, e.g. a square circle. Seeing this is follows from the idea of meaning introduced above.
Existence and being will be crucial in the development that follows. We might say that they are ‘deep’ concepts. On the other hand they derive from the everyday idea of ‘is’ which is ever present in our speech and thought. That is ‘is’ is a shallow notion in the sense of being on the surface of things (though not in the sense of being merely trivial). We might say that the depth of the ideas of existence and being is precisely their immanence in the ‘everyday’.
Perhaps the entire discussion of being and existence could be conducted in terms of the verb ‘is’. However, the terms I use tie into a tradition of thought. This is useful because it connects to problems, e.g. that of the allegation of triviality and of the non-existent object, whose clarification is empowering to (1) being and existence and (2) definition and meaning.
Source: introduction to being.
Being is that which exists.
In its tensed use in English ‘exists’ usually means ‘exists now’ and it is implicit that the place of existence is some region of space. Here we allow a more general sense in which ‘exists’ is atemporal in the sense that we use the term to refer to some region of spacetime. This however is an approximation for we do not know that the entire universe is defined by spacetime or even a generalization of space and time that we might (and will) call extensivity. This approximation will be removed later when we derive a precise conception of extensivity. Then we will clarify that ‘exists’ pertains to the entire domain of extensivity and non-extensivity.
The term exists is used in an atemporal sense to refer to some or any domain, spatiotemporal or otherwise. The use in a more restrictive sense is not disallowed but care must be taken to ensure consistency of use within any particular development
The primary power of the concept of being for this narrative is that it encompasses all existing things and that it is neutral to special categories such as mind and matter (for more detail see neutrality of being). Perhaps matter is the only real in the universe; however even if we believe this we do not know it; to begin with being avoids the materialist assumption and is therefore empowering regardless of the final status of such assumptions. As it will turn out, beginning with being is immensely and positively empowering in that while matter will turn out to be a definite but rough category, being is a precise category that includes more than just matter. But being is even more empowering for while being and matter are instrumentally empowering, being is also empowering of the approach to full understanding of the universe.
An example of this empowerment concerns the distinction between being (being-in-itself) and existence (being-in-relation, e.g. as in the relation of knowing). Deployment of the concept of being leads in what follows to a metaphysics that renders the distinction moot.
Another but lesser example of empowerment is as follows. What is meant by the phrase ‘non being’ which is sometimes used in the literature to refer to things that do not exist as if they do exist? There are various possible and consistent meanings—something that does not currently exist but that did and or will exist and this includes potential being. However such uses, though not logical violations of the present use, stand against its spirit.
Is there being? Knowledge of being and therefore that there is being has been criticized. The point to such criticism is of course to clarify the nature of being, of knowledge and the world. Clearly something exists for what we think we know is either real or real illusion. Therefore:
There is being.
The above demonstration does not reveal being as ‘robust’. Practically such a demonstration is moot. However from the point of view foundation of knowledge potent to universal understanding, demonstration will be not just useful but necessary. Demonstration will be given shortly.
A metaphysics (knowledge of being) founded in being will be absolutely neutral.
If metaphysics is possible, when founded in being it will be so neutral that it is not necessary or desirable to specify even the kind of neutrality.
(The phrase ‘if metaphysics is possible’ is a deference well known doubts about the possibility. Such doubt stems significantly from Kant and is characteristic of the modern era. Clearly there is ‘something’ for what we think we know is either real or real illusion. Thus at least trivial metaphysics is possible and in what follows we expand via proof from trivial to significant to ultimate metaphysics.)
A metaphysics founded in being will be neutral to the question of substance. Is there one substance (monism) or more (dualism) or no substance at all? And if there is no substance at all is there any final foundation? And is non being real? Is pace and time universal and where it obtains is it immanent in being or does it form a grid that is external to being and perhaps absolute in being independent of being? A metaphysics from being will be neutral to these questions.
Can such a metaphysics be potent? Though neutral to substance and issues of space and time, a metaphysics founded in being allows at least local as-if substances and at least local as-if absolute and as-if universal spacetime. It allows but apparently does not require potency.
The narrative will develop a potent metaphysics founded in being.
We are already about to find that there are experience and being and a real world that includes experience. As metaphysics, even this much cannot be asserted of materialism or naïve idealism. Thus, already, we see some power to such metaphysics. However, we later find that being is definite and closed in some directions and ever open in others and that a metaphysics (later called the universal metaphysics) shows this and is therefore an ultimate metaphysics (if being is open in some directions then no knowledge can capture the facts of being in these directions in advance and therefore the metaphysics that does not capture these facts but shows the openness is ultimate in this regard; it remains possible that although not all facts can be known in advance that all pertinent facts may be known in process and this will be shown to be the case).
Source: introduction to being and experience.
Experience is awareness with consciousness.
This is the first meaning of experience used in the narrative; it is a very general sense that includes all conscious varieties of mental content—e.g. emotion, cognition, and willing as well as pure experience and the active experience of attitude and action. Later experience will be significantly and consistently extended to all mental content and even to the root of being.
There is experience.
Here there is no defined term and so the ‘is’ is the is of being.
Why make or demonstrate trivial statements such as ‘there is experience’ and ‘there is being’? The main reason is that while the statements are trivial, their consequences are significant and so demonstration places the consequent metaphysics on a secure foundation. Further, that there are experience and being has been doubted. Such doubt may be neurotic in some cases but, regardless, address of the doubt encourages confidence in development, clarifies the concepts, and sharpens thought and methods of demonstration or proof. Science allows imprecision but provides detailed information of proximate facts and patterns. There is then a place for precision regarding ultimate questions; metaphysics can then serve this function if we insist on precision (in at least some parts of it).
In summary, demonstration of what might seem obvious will place the metaphysics on a secure foundation. It will clarify concepts, sharpen thought and proof. The resultant precision will complement the useful limited precision of science.
Experience is relationship
Experience invariably seems to be experience of something. This is true even of pure experience. This suggests that all experience is relationship. If it were not relationship—internal or external—it would be a point and therefore not exist. Therefore:
All experience is relationship.
Is all experience of something, i.e. is all experience relationship?
Value is worth as experienced by a sentient being.
Significant-meaning or significance is potential value to a human being.
Because significant-meaning occurs in experience it is a concept and therefore part of meaning. We may therefore eliminate the hyphen of the simple symbol ‘significant-meaning’ and replace it by the compound symbol ‘significant meaning’:
Significant meaning is a part of concept meaning.
Experience is as if of a real world of which at least some part is illusory. Is the ‘real world’ nothing but illusion?
A vast range of such experience is in fact of a real world of which experience is a part.
The real world is sometimes called the external world to distinguish it from ‘the world of experience’ but this is misleading for it is not (physically) external to experience (or ‘mind’).
This experience is afferent—of the world and which includes experience itself, and efferent—of action on a world which includes experience.
Of course, experience is not limited to experience of or as if of something—afferent or of (being in) the world and efferent of acting in the world; there is also ‘pure experience’. However, even ‘pure’ experience has internal objects and all pure experience has at least a potential object (which may be null if the experience violates realism—i.e. logic andor fact).
From the fact that there is experience and a real world that contains experience we know that being is not mere illusion or mere subjectivity. That is
We have knowledge of robustness of being.
There is manifest being.
Must there be manifest being and experience? It seems possible that the ‘universe’ could be eternal nothingness—the void. Why is there being? Must there be being—and, if so, why? These are long standing issues of philosophy, western and eastern. The resolution would of the problems would have immense consequences, in metaphysics, for the nature of the universe and ‘what is and what is not’, and, in theology, for the nature and existence of god. After Heidegger, the problem of why there is something rather than nothing has been called the fundamental problem of metaphysics. And even if there are and must be being is there necessarily experience? These issues are resolved in the text.
Being and reason
We would like being to be neutral to the distinction experience versus experienced. Since we never get outside experience and since reason is part of experience such neutrality is possible. Such neutrality would be possible for (a) a priori principles of reason andor (b) reason as in process. But all reason must be one or other. Where might the a priori come from? If at its deeper level experience is a field and we do not get outside it then the a priori must be either an accident or itself the result of process. For sentient being the universe and the universe of experience cannot be distinct. Therefore:
The world and the way or principles of knowing it are ever in process. We may and will find that some fixed principles emerge from process. Thus there is some as if a priori which is not distinct in kind from the essentially in process.
Extended meaning of experience
In an extended meaning, experience—properly understood and seen or conceived-perceived—will be a single field that consistently and meaningfully extends and includes the first meaning to all being.
Discussion of mind and matter further brings out the power of the approach from experience and being but is brief because it is not central to realization.. Since it is not central the discussion in this section will anticipate development of the universal metaphysics. There are details in journey in being-detail.
I define strict materialism as the position that matter is the exclusive substance of the universe. Then, on strict materialism, there is no experience but organisms can behave as if they have experience (mind). If we relax the ‘strict’ clause then mind may occur as a substance but there is no coordination of behavior and experience. Materialism leads to an untenable dualism or an untenable (strict) monism.
The only way out under substance is to regard (the field of) experience as substance which has an object side (‘first order’ being or being in itself) that we may label matter; we may then think of experiencing (metaphorically) as mind (‘second order’ being or being in relation). Then, in these metaphorical terms, experienced (matter) and experiencing (mind) occur together as aspects of being-experience.
Thus, under substance, there is the following three part aspect: experiencing or knowing, experienced or known which constitute the field of being and the experiencer or knower that is a point or individual in the field.
Under the universal metaphysics (see the above linked document) mind and matter (the terms are used metaphorically) may be unlinked but the unlinked are only temporary kinds and may join up. Reason suggests that the non joined kinds are at most a very transient form of existence.
Under substance, experience is universal. Therefore ‘consciousness’ does not originate in evolution. What emerges in evolution, then, must be the layering and focusing of primitive experience into the forms, concentrations, and layers of experience (forms: perception, thought; layers: the ‘unconscious’ which includes the latent and the very dim to bright consciousness and which exist in parallel and give rise to occasions of awareness without apparent consciousness; layers: self awareness and awareness of consciousness).
Under the universal metaphysics whatever occurs under substance is not the entire situation but may be the dominant or significant case.
Meaning is the main topic of this section. I include definition to point to its instrumental significance in following the development.
Concept, object and fact
A concept is any mental content …
This conception of concept includes (a) the percept and (b) free concept (higher concept including concept as unit of meaning).
Here, ‘concept’ will generally refer to ‘referential concept’: a concept that is intended to have reference to an ‘object’.
A fact is marked by a concept that has an object.
A fact is simple when the concept is a simple percept.
A concept does not guarantee an object.
Neither form of reference nor intent to refer guarantee the object; assumption that it does so is a deep source of paradox as well as assumption that the concept confers reality and therefore fixity of the object (and meaning); and conflation of word, concept, and object is a source confusion regarding the nature of meaning, and of confused meaning in which the same sign refers to different objects which are conflated or assumed to be identical. However, from the generality of concepts:
The term ‘object’, when there is an object, is general: it does not respect distinctions of form or kind or abstraction.
In greater detail, the notion of object does not respect the distinctions (a) entity vs. process vs. interaction vs. property or quality vs. immanent Law (see ahead) vs. kind, (b) simple vs. compound, or (c) concrete / perceptual / empirical vs. abstract / known as free concept / ‘rational’.
A definition (is that which) specifies a concept.
It would be simper to say that ‘a definition specifies a concept’. However, the form above shows the standard form of definition in this text. The occurrence of ‘is’ just after the term defined is read ‘is defined as’.
Sometimes the object is obvious from the definition. Generally, however, the existence of the object will require demonstration.
A concept and an object constitute meaning.
In linguistic meaning a sign is associated with the meaning.
A concept and object constitute meaning. More particularly they specify concept meaning. A special case is linguistic meaning in which a sign, simple or compound, is associated with the meaning.
The smallest linguistic unit with meaning is the simple word whose meaning may be iconic but is usually given by ‘convention’; but any definiteness by convention including isolation from context is somewhat illusory. The arrangement of compound linguistic forms (e.g. sentences) is depictive of reality and this depiction requires some degree of convention (e.g. recognition that there are entities and processes and the order of the corresponding words in sentences).
Apparently not all linguistic expressions have objects. I am inclined to think that there is always some implicit reference but this issue is not pertinent to this discussion since the concern here is with concepts that have actual or potential reference.
The essential importance of the concept-object conception of meaning is that without concept and object there can be no meaning.
For example, ‘Xiutls exist’ suggests nothing because I do not associate ‘Xiutl’ with any concept. On the other hand ‘Tigers exist’ has meaning because I have an image of a tiger which enables identification of the relevant object. Of course, if I am learning I do not associate ‘tiger’ with an object but there is a concept to be associated (in simple discovery I see an object, form a concept—the image—and may name it).
Further, this conception of meaning offers clarification of meaning and the search for meanings where there is otherwise confusion (unclear specification, in process meaning, one sign but multiple objects). It offers resolution of many paradoxes whose source is the naïve assumption that an apparently well formed concept—iconic or linguistic—has or can have an object.
The significance of this conception of meaning is (1) it shows the nature of meaning and how it is possible and (2) it enables clarity and paradox resolution.
Meaning and method
Meaning and method are closely tied together.
We have seen examples of the power of analysis of meaning. It has been suggested that analysis of meaning is a source of knowledge—sometimes that it is the source of knowledge. This is not possible. When it seems that analysis give knowledge it is a case of clarification or explication of knowledge that is already explicit.
However it is not difficult to see that
The acquisition of knowledge—new or learned—is a process of synthesis (including analysis) of meaning.
It may be similarly seen that
The process of growth and transformation of being is synthesis (and analysis) of being.
A naïve notion of knowledge is faithfulness.
This should be elaborated. The naïve notion of knowledge is that of concepts (conceptual systems) that are faithful to objects (universe).
That the concept is not the object raises doubts about meaning and possibility of knowledge in the naïve sense. However, we have seen that there are obvious cases of perfect knowledge in this sense and these include being, experience, and the real world.
Imagine that there is one perfectly known object (we know this to be the case but it is instructive to write in this manner). That is, there is a perfectly defined concept that precisely specifies a perfectly definite object. Recognize that while ‘objects’ are in the world, so is knowledge itself. Thus what we have said amounts to there being a perfect object in the sense of object and knowledge. This perfection seems incomplete with regard to knowledge because has seemingly focused on the empirical or perceptual side. But this is only seeming because the way in which we know that the composite object is perfect is a case of perfect reason. Therefore we have at least one example of perfect knowledge in its fullest sense. The narrative develops a universal context of such knowledge and uses it to frame practical knowledge in a way such that the entire system is perfect in some sense (examples such as instrumentality are specified immediately below). Further, the interaction between the two senses presses immediate instrumentality into the region of the perfect and perfection into the region of the instrumental.
Let us now consider other senses of knowledge that do not depend on meaning or realization of perfect faithfulness of concept to object.
There are other senses of knowledge: (1) Pragmatic, or instrumental whose criterion is ‘good enough’ faithfulness—e.g. for instrumental purposes and for a limited region of the world, and (2) Knowledge as a aspect of being-in-the-world.
Even when not existing as perfect as faithfulness, there may be and is knowledge which is perfect in these other senses. It is also the case that even where there is no perfection of the meaning and realization of perfect faithfulness
No philosophy is necessary to establish these other senses of knowledge and their perfection. That is given. However, we may ask what there relevance may be. In a proscribed world their relevance may be sublime. Later, against the backdrop of an ultimate and perfect metaphysics, the ‘practical’ and the perfect combine to give a system that is perfect in being the best that is possible and desirable.
We begin to see that:
There is fullness of being.
In knowing experience and being there is perfect knowledge in the naïve sense.
We will investigate how far this perfect knowledge may be extended, what its significance may be, and how, as noted above, it will mesh with the practical.
In Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 6.44, Wittgenstein remarked “Not how the world is, is the mystical, but that it is.” He seems to be saying that the being of the world is perhaps the greatest wonder. We know that the world is but not why. There could, after all, be eternal nothingness. And, so, Heidegger named the ancient question ‘why there are beings rather than nothing’ the fundamental problem of metaphysics. Parmenides is sometimes thought to have given an answer “That which can be spoken and thought must be; for it is possible for it, but not for nothing, to be; that is what I bid you ponder” but his answer is roughly Descartes’ proof of being—that given thought (experience) it follows that there is being. They have not proved that there must be being but that there is being. Thus, it is quite right to regard the question as a problem. After all, there could be ‘eternal nothingness’.
Modern physics sometimes claims to have answered the problem from quantum theory: the theory requires that there be a ‘quantum vacuum’ which is not nothing but, according to the theory, the closest allowed by quantum theory to nothingness (the void). The reasoning is: given quantum mechanics, there must be something. Further, quantum theory implies that there cannot be true nothingness (the void). However, the argument has a premise: the universe is described by quantum mechanics which is not at all given. The vacuum of quantum physics is ‘something’ as are the laws of quantum physics. Therefore a manifest universe from the laws or the vacuum is ‘something from something’
Consider now that:
The universe must be either (a) in a void or (b) in a manifest state. The narrative proves that given the void state, manifest being must emerge. That is, it is proved not that there must be manifest being eternally but that it must be at some ‘times’ (and further there must be ‘times’ of no manifest being).
What then is the essential problem of metaphysics? It is to describe the universe. The description may be a description of all (or as much as we can of all) the universe andor of some fundamental ‘elements’ that, given which, are capable of generating the variety—or given which the variety may be explained. However, there is a fundamental problem here. In science some entities are posited—e.g. particles and fields and dynamics in physics and this is basis for the mechanism and explanation in physics. This situation has two problems (1) what is the origin of these elements and (2) are they known precisely? The answer to the first question is not known and the answer to the second is ‘no!’ The metaphysics of the narrative gives an in principle answer to the fist question (for being rather than physics) and, consequently, may be capable, in principle, of describing or prescribing precisely known elements. Given this, we may develop a full metaphysics—i.e., the fullest metaphysics of which we are capable. However, the capability is in principle and not given. Therefore it is of fundamental importance to develop the description in detailed terms andor prescription in terms of categories or elements. That is, in plain terms, the question of ‘what has being’ is fundamentally empowering and thus we have given a reasoned basis for calling that question the fundamental problem of metaphysics.
The question ‘What has being?’ is aptly named the fundamental problem of metaphysics. An answer to this question will be significantly more than an ‘idle’ classification of kinds; it will be basis for—toward the extent that they are possible—descriptive and prescriptive knowledge of the universe.
What follows now is a preliminary discussion of the question.
Source: categories in metaphysics.
What has being?
What has being?
We have seen that there is a real world that includes experience. Do matter and mind have being? Do space and time have being? We suspect that they have some at least shady form of being. The real question however is to carefully elucidate, if we can, the nature of matter and mind and space and time (and other kinds such as values and perhaps even the absolute if there is any). Thus to answer the question ‘what has being’ we must understand the universe—we must develop a final metaphysics at least as far as we can. Then only to the extent that we have done so we will be able to answer the question ‘What has being?’
The question of what has being has been answered in terms of the categories or classes of being. We now see that to answer the question—to evaluate categories—is more than to make a list, even a comprehensive, but to develop or at least to begin to develop a theory of being. To what extent is this possible? Might such a theory be anything like our sciences such as the dynamics of matter and the function and evolution of life? We find that the sciences cannot be analogy for a full theory of being but that they do—at least seem to—provide a beginning to a theory of significant being: that is, our world is defined by at least some rudiments of what is significant in the experience of being. These thoughts are immanent in what follows and are addressed directly in categories in metaphysics.
The nature of the categories
The categories of being are the most fundamental kinds of being with regard to mechanism and explanation and which may contain aspects of (a) prescription—i.e., reduction to basic elements as well as (b) detailed description.
Thus the categories are not just to be discovered in being but also to be created as concepts in experience.
The source for our categories is the range of active and passive, bound and free experience. This provides us with experiential categories. Of these some are found in reason to be universal. And the experiential and its subset of universal categories may be joined as a system of categories of pure and practical understanding.
The foregoing is suggestive of Kant but at most indirectly derived from his thought.
Realism is the absence of concept-concept contradiction.
Realism is of two types: relations among free concepts and relations between free concepts and facts.
Scientific realism is primarily the realism of conceptual systems with local (cosmological) facts. For scientific realism, it is not necessary nor can it presently be the case that the realism extends beyond the empirical or perceptual cosmos. Thus, while the common interpretation of scientific theories is as contenders to the universal, the contention is by no means given and a factually better interpretation is that of being factual over a proscribed empirical cosmos.
Logical realism is the absence of contradiction among free concepts. More carefully, it is the realism that is required by our systems of logic. These systems are empirical in their own way but the ‘empiricism’ in question is examination of logical truth over free or symbolically expressed concept relations. Thus despite the magnificence of our logical systems in our eyes, they may well be at a beginning.
Roughly there is a unity of scientific and logical realism. Of all our recognized truths, the scientific are true in ‘some worlds’ (usually this one) and the logical are true in all worlds.
Possibility refers to that what obtains or could obtain.
The possible includes the actual.
The sense of ‘could’ is critical. It may be specified in terms of context: the possible for the context may obtain not but conforms to the constitution of the context.
Scientific or empirical possibility is that which is allowed by our present theories of science—i.e. by our valid knowledge of a primarily empirical form.
More generally, empirical possibility pertains to some local region or cosmos.
Realistic possibility is that which conforms to realism.
That is, realistic possibility conforms to logic and violates no empirical possibility in its own region.
We sometimes call realistic possibility logical possibility; we do this because logic and science are here seen to be much closer than we usually think (this closeness, however, is brought out in the thought of W.V.O Quine) and since we also see logic to be the more universal partner.
Sameness and difference
Sameness and difference require no definition.
Sameness and difference are fundamental percept-concepts so built into the possibility of manifest being and knowing (conceiving and perceiving) as to need no definition. Here the concept of sameness is not the identity of logic or mathematics. An object can be the same in the present sense even if its form, appearance, and constitution change.
Identity of object, person, or self is sameness with or without difference.
Here, identity is not the identity of logic and mathematics. An object can undergo change and still be the same object—still have the same identity.
Space and time
Duration is marked by identity or sameness with difference.
Difference without sameness (or identity) defines the idea of the ‘other object’—of different identity.
Extension is marked by difference without sameness.
Where sameness and difference are indefinite, duration and extension may be interwoven. Extension and duration are the fundamental forms of space and time.
Extensivity is marked by difference.
Extension and duration are examples of extensivity. Are there further cases? Since duration marks difference in the same identity and extension marks different identities, it follows that there are not.
Extension and duration are two and the only two extensivities or:
Spacetime is the only extensivity.
Where there is extensivity there is space and time (or spacetime). From the universal metaphysics it will follow that there will be domains of extensivity but that not all being will be marked by extensivity. Perhaps, though, all significant being is marked by spacetime (extension, duration) extensivity.
Motion and property
Motion is change in spatial relations among objects… or within an extended object.
This notion of motion includes changes in form. It would seem that all other changes are changes in ‘substance’ or ‘property’ and, if the metaphysical picture of the universe disallows substance, then all changes are motion or changes in properties.
It will be useful to reflect on now ‘becoming of space and time’ from the void may be described. Do we want to think of creation of spatial relations as motion?
Clarification of the definition of being
In saying that being is that which exists, existence is allowed to be over all extensivity and non-extensivity.
Identity of person is realistic sense of sameness of self. Identity defines the individual.
In the following, except where stated identity is personal identity.
The ‘dimensions’ of psyche are manifold. See Psyche and being.
Significance refers to that which has an affect on experience and is more than passing.
If something has no effect on any experience whatsoever—directly by entering experience or indirectly by affecting it—it has no significance. Here, significance is enduring significance, i.e. more than passing. Since it is more than passing, (enduring) significance occurs only in beings with identity.
Significance is characteristic only of beings with identity.
Freedom of will is the condition of originality in the field of action.
The issues of freedom of will are (i) to specify its conception, (ii) to delimit the conception so that the extent of freedom is neither over nor under-emphasized (and to note that a precise delimitation must depend on worldview or metaphysics which may include myth and science), and (iii) to specify worthwhile areas of action regarding the freedom.
It is important to note that modern science, especially physics, is often taken to imply materialistic determinism. If we do not know that this science is complete—and we do not—then this conclusion cannot be drawn from science today. However, completeness and materialistic determinism are often not stated but are the tacit default. It is important that the position regarding determinism from science (quantum theory) is not clear so even the science of today cannot be taken as implying determinism. Where can we turn for clarity? (1) To our experience—to experiment and analysis with experience and action and (2) To metaphysics which must of course flow from experience and explicitly completed in what follows. Some people who argue against freedom of will argue that it is an illusion. Invariably the background to this is an assumption of materialist determinism and therefore the thought, not always explicitly stated, that ‘it must be an illusion and therefore the task is to show how’. Further reasons to argue against freedom of will, again not always explicit, are (a) the tradition of determinism in science, theology, and philosophy and (b) that it is the minimalist hypothesis. The response to this is that (a) tradition is not more important than truth and (b) indeterminism in fact claims less of the world (but of course, minimalism is a guide only in the absence of other considerations). There are other considerations, namely points (1) and (2) above. To address these an adequate response is needed to points (i)—(iii). The essential response is that, even on a view strongly influenced by the thought that we are very limited, that freedom is not the freedom to do anything at will but requires insight into what is possible and worthwhile and may involve struggle but nonetheless we find that we do intend to create and in virtue of our intention and effort we do find and build on novelty.
A natural law is a reading of a pattern.
The Law is the immanent pattern.
All Laws are in the universe.
All Laws have being.
The Universe is all being.
That is, the universe is what exists over all extensivity (space, time…) and otherwise.
There is no entity or being outside the universe.
The universe has no outside.
This definition of universe is crucial. If we had used ‘all matter and radiation’ or ‘some being’ we would not be able to say that there is nothing outside the universe. Yet the notion that something might lie outside the universe is one of immense confusion. Are ideas, laws, god, and the future in the universe? This would not be clear. Therefore we would be working with an imprecisely defined concept (even if the notions of matter and so on were clearly defined).
The universe has no boundary
The universe has no boundary in extensivity.
…it has neither beginning nor end nor spatial boundary.
The manifest universe may have beginning and or end.
The universe is not created
If a creator is external to the created, the universe has no creator.
…but may have gods.
The universe has no creator or creation.
The immediately following definitions pertain to deterministic causation. I think, however, that the main conclusions of this section would not require (significant) change if we were to consider indeterministic causation.
A causal factor that which is necessary but not sufficient for the being of something—an effect.
A cause is a sum of causal factors such that the sum is sufficient.
If A is a cause of B, B of C, and so on this defines a ‘causal sequence’.
We recognize a variety of kinds of cause. A cause may be prior to the effect; these define temporal causal sequences. A cause may be simultaneous, e.g. a table supporting my lap top, or the parts of the table constituting the table. Such causes are, respectively, hierarchical and constitutive. It seems that temporal causal sequences are capable of infinite regress because time might extend backward infinitely while not going outside the universe (this may but does not necessarily require infinite duration because we can, for example, extend backward in amounts of one half of a unit of time, one quarter, one eighth and so on in an infinite regress that still amounts to one unit of time; but note that not all series whose terms tend to zero have convergent partial sums). On the other hand it seems that, because we must by definition of universe remain in it, there must be a first cause (or first causes—i.e., uncaused causes) in the case of hierarchical and constitutional causal sequences.
There are some puzzles regarding causation. Experience suggests that everything has a cause but reason shows that some things may be uncaused and there must be at least one uncaused cause. The puzzles are as follows. (1) In those situations where the causal sequence must have a beginning at least one uncaused cause is logically necessary. Clearly, logic or necessity permit more than one uncaused cause but is there more than one? That is, is there but one uncaused cause caused? Or is causation but a local phenomenon that does not extend to the entire universe minus the universe as a whole (remember that while our empirical cosmos appears to be causal we cannot generalize from the appearance that it is or the appearance that it is the entire universe)? (2) What is the corresponding situation in the case of infinite causal sequences? (3) Is everything except the uncaused causes caused?
It is possible to become a little trapped in such reasoning regarding the necessity of causation and issues of ‘causal closure’, e.g. even in the hierarchical case with a finite universe there may be an infinite regress of the infinite series-finite sum type.
However, it is clear that
The universe is an uncaused cause.
All causal sequences are contained in the universe even if they do not terminate in it. Even if a sequence is unending the sequence itself is in and therefore caused by the universe; but the latter kind of causation is of a different order than the former (e.g. adaptive-selective rather than dynamic).
There is no necessity to the idea that there the universe is the only uncaused cause. That is, there is no necessity to universal causation. Where local causation occurs it is ‘caused’ by the universe.
Later we will be able to deduce from the universal metaphysics that:
Elementary causation—temporal, structural, or hierarchic—is local. There is an unlimited population of uncaused causes. If we allow emergence from the void, or other elements of being, of manifest forms without continuity of connection as in typical causation to be regarded as causation then causation is universal but such universal causation is vastly different from what we understand as causation from our local perspective in a limited cosmos (but even though local there is an unlimited population and variety and range of magnitude of such cosmoses).
All values have being.
All values are in the universe.
If the universe has no essential form, there are no universal Laws or values (in the sense that Laws and values are of domains—as defined below—with form).
The universe as a whole has no essence
Discussion in this section anticipates later argument.
What is the essential nature of the universe? At this point in the development it is not possible to give a definitive answer. However, the approach from being is an approach from neutrality. That is, it is not possible so far to assert that the universe has—or does not have—an essence or substance such as matter, mind, process or a seemingly more anthropic kind such as consciousness or good or evil or love or a human friendly kind such as pure light of consciousness. The apparently non anthropic kind ‘matter’ and less anthropic kind ‘mind’ are considered in detail. Let us therefore focus on the anthropic kinds. If the universe is neutral at root then what is love? It arises, of course, but why? Form from neutrality requires self-adaptation. Love, then, must be the self-adaptation of a collection of ‘beings’ with feeling. It is a manifestation or example of ‘that which fosters form’, i.e. it is a case of the good. Thus evil is not intrinsic or without limit: it arises only when there is already good and it arises as dissipation or destruction of the good. In this view the good is more potent than in a view in which the universe is fundamentally good. Even though the universe is neutral (on this view) the good is the adaptation of form and good feeling is the feeling of conscious beings in alignment with the condition of their creation. That is, we are not only beings with grace but beings who can participate in our formation. The assumption behind these thoughts is neutrality of being (this is distinct from approaching the study of being from a neutral perspective) which we will subsequently find to be the case.
If, as we will find, the universe is maximally neutral to kinds, we expect its ‘good’ to be contingent rather than necessary.. However, the good is contingent upon form with feeling and form awareness. Since it is not given, the good is therefore potent and ‘evil’ is not an independent force but dissipation of the good. We do not merely receive the good but are part of its process.
Spacetime is immanent in the universe
Extensivity is immanent in the universe (but does not of necessity or invariably range over the entire universe).
Spacetime is relative in the sense of not forming an external / absolute grid.
For the universe the practically possible—that is, in terms of any of its necessary patterns—and the actual are identical.
Realistic possibility defines a universe without limit on the concept of what obtains for or in it. Scientific possibility is not a limit on realistic possibility (but is often thought to be such a limit and the name of this thought is positivism).
The universe may be greater than the universe of scientific but not of realistic possibility. That the latter is so much greater—i.e., the highest realizable infinity but is more appropriately referred to as the unlimited—than the former, a naïve probability count suggests that the universe is, even if not without limit, then limitlessly greater than our cosmos. This suggests that the universe may be limitless in the sense of realistic possibility. A naïve argument for this is that Laws are essentially limits—one type of pattern occurs, not others—but the Laws are Laws of manifest being and do not apply to the non manifest being.
The assertion that the universe is the universe of realistic possibility will be called the fundamental principle of metaphysics and is so named because we will later prove that it is true and then show that it is the basis of an ultimate universal metaphysics (which is ultimate first in capturing the entire universe and second in showing the universe to be limitless).
It is conceivable that the practically possible is less than the realistically possible. The fundamental principle shows that while the concepts are different their range is the same.
One conception of ‘universe’ (due to Johannes Scotus Eriugena) is all that has existed or does or will exist over all time and space and all that has or does or will not. There are two issues with this definition (1) it presumes time and space where we should use the generalized term extensivity and (2) the universal metaphysics shall entail that the ‘not’ clause above is moot for it can contain only being that is trivial in the sense that it is the null object.
A domain is a part of universe.
A proper domain is a part but not the whole of the universe (the universe is a domain but not a proper domain).
In this portion of the narrative ‘domain’ refers to ‘proper domain’.
A domain has an outside; may have a beginning and an end and spatial boundary; may be implicated in creation and or created; may have gods; may be characterized by as-if substance (e.g. matter, mind, love, pure conscious light) and may have spirit in a meaningful sense; may have as-if absolute spacetime even if the universe as a whole is characterized by neutrality (which neutrality will be found to obtain when the fundamental principle is proven); has Laws (a domain is a Law) whose most primitive forms—i.e., what is given for that domain—may be called ‘natural’ Law which may be effectively universal but, if the entire universe is that of realistic possibility cannot be more than as-if universal or ‘normal’; has values embodied in its instant andor continuous creation as conditions that enhance that creation (and may be realized as significant by significant beings); and, the possible for a domain, if not actual, occurs in another domain (this is equivalent to the assertion that for the universe the actual and the possible are identical); for a domain, the actual is no greater than the possible.
The knowledge introduced so far is perfect in the sense of faithfulness to the object. It constitutes perfect metaphysics as defined below.
The void is the absence of being.
Does the void exist? This question is one statement of the crux of the universal metaphysics to be developed. Discussion is continued in the section on the fundamental principle of metaphysics, below.
Metaphysics is knowledge of being.
Metaphysics may be perfect—i.e., perfectly faithful—or less than perfect but practical.
Since the concept is not the object the very possibility of metaphysics in this sense has been criticized. The criticism is that being as being does not occur in experience. However, this criticism applies to all knowledge. Even though the object does not occur in experience, at least rough and imprecise knowledge are obviously possible. However, if the aim of metaphysics is perfection that aim may surely be called into question. Obviously there are cases of error—e.g., of distortion and illusion. The gap between concept and object may be thought unbridgeable. However, that there is experience—of this, all doubt has been removed. This beginning has lead so far to the existence of a real world and in what follows will be among the bases of the potent system metaphysics to be developed.
A second and more recent criticism of metaphysics has been that metaphysical systems are ‘grand narratives’ which, from the universality of their intent, are too overweening to be valid and too remote to be useful. A prime example of such metaphysics is Hegel’s absolute idealism. However, the present metaphysics begins in ordinary experience (‘there is being’) and what system it has emerges from beginnings in the ordinary: system is natural rather than imposed. Still, the pure metaphysics of the narrative will be seen remote. This would be a criticism—of course—but for the observations (a) it is not so much remote as abstract and in its abstraction it encompasses what is immediate as well as what is distant in time and space, (b) it connects the distant and the immediate thus illuminating our place in the universe, (c) its shows a way of transcendence of death of the individual and dissolution of cosmologies and thus shows us to be on an endless journey in being, and, finally, (d) in combination with what is valid in modern and traditional thought it permits formation of a practical metaphysics that overcomes remoteness and is ideal as an instrument of realization.
Existence of the void
As the complement of the universe (or any domain) relative to itself:
The void exists.
Every element of being may be associated with a void.
There is no significance to the number of voids except that there is at least one.
On universal laws and values
There are no laws and values in the void. Therefore
There are no universal laws or values.
Of course, since the void is formless the absence of laws and values in it has not much practical significance. There may be practically universal laws and values (e.g. of formation and adaptation). However, even if we abhor dissolution there will be occasions for it.
The fundamental principle of metaphysics
The void, which is the absence of being, exists and contains no Law.
If from the void there is some state that does not exist that would be a Law of the void. Therefore,
Every state emerges from the void.
This requires clarification. It recalls the contentless ‘everything exists’ which really means ‘everything that exists does exist’ but which could mean that to every concept there corresponds an object. The latter is roughly the statement of the fundamental principle mentioned earlier except that the condition of realism has been omitted. Therefore ‘every state emerges’ should be modified to ‘within conceptual realism, for every concept the corresponding state emerges’.
(And, further, from any state, any state emerges. This can be seen in a number of ways, one of which is that for any state, the annihilator state emerges from the void. That is, every state is equivalent to every other state.)
Within conceptual realism, for every concept the corresponding state emerges from the void. We summarize this:
Every state emerges from the void.
But this is also an assertion of:
Basis of the universal metaphysics
The fundamental principle and basis of the universal metaphysic: the universe realizes all possibilities.
In ‘universal metaphysics’ we have been using the term ‘metaphysics’ as part of a name—i.e. without defining it. We can now see the significance of the name.
Consistent the principles of the theory of meaning developed and employed in this narrative, it is important to specify the details of the concept of the possibility so as to be consistent and to specify a maximal object. The ultimate aim would be to maximize the range of the possible subject to consistency of the concept.
Nature of the universe in this metaphysics
The universal metaphysics results from the fundamental principle. It implies (1) a limitless cosmology of identity and manifestation (against a transient background of give and take from the void) that is conferred on individuals, (2) that death is real but not absolute, and (3) continuity of identity across void states which is ‘soul’.
The fundamental principle of metaphysics holds.
The universe is one of realistic possibility.
This defines a universal metaphysics which is ultimate capturing the universe and in showing that the universe is ultimate—i.e. has no conceptual limits.
What can we know?
Since there are no conceptual limits to the universe (1) there must be local cosmoses such as ours, there must be local as-if cases of mind and matter, of causation, and other attributes of normal worlds, (2) while there can be no limit to the variety of being, limited forms of being can know the full magnitude of being only as process, (3) that is, while limited knowledge of ultimate depth is given, knowledge and realization of breadth or variety is only in process, (4) however, limitation of form is not absolute and is transcended (but not eternally for that would be equivalent to a Law of the void).
Against a void-transient background the universe has identity and manifestation in acute and peak states without limit in magnitude and variety, and diffuse and absent states. Among these states are cosmological systems without limit on law or form or repetition. This implies that death, even if real, is not absolute; and that there must be continuity of identity (soul) across the void or absent states. The various conclusions regarding universe that were conditional on truth of the universal metaphysics are therefore true; and the various aspects of domains that were allowed by definition and realism are also true.
Around 600 BC the early Greek philosopher—perhaps the first western philosopher—Thales of Miletus proposed that the world is made of water. His reasons may have included the abundance of water. What is interesting about the proposal is that it is a break from explanation in supernatural terms and a movement toward finding simplicity in explanation. It is a substance explanation. Thus western philosophy has been interested in substance since its beginnings.
When substance is conceived of as something that is uniform and unchanging that deterministically generates the change and variety in the world, an appeal is ultimate simplicity in explanation. The ultimately simple god of the scholastic philosophers is also a substance.
The universal metaphysics shows that the universe may be regarded as beginning in the void but equally in any part of the universe and that such emergence is not and cannot be deterministic. In fact this position is simpler than that of substance for it does not say ‘let us posit substance’ but instead it posits no such thing except simple facts such as the fact of experience and then approaches issues of the being and becoming of the universe by asking how it may have happened: reality teaches thought; thought is not imposed on reality. It might seem that indeterminism cannot explain structure. However, it is determinism that has the real problem of structure and form—what is the basis of from or origin of new form? On the other hand, under absolute indeterminism (from any state all states emerge) structure, form, and novelty are necessary (the actual origins continue to need explanation but the response is that there must be both origins with mechanism and so explanation such as variation and selection of adapted forms and single step origins with no explanation other than ‘it was necessary and it happened’.
The universe has no substance.
It may of course have and must have local as-if substances (and local gods).
Whatever gods there and there are gods are they are part of the universe.
Since no god or substance explanation is necessary or possible for the universe and its form and since no god or substance is required by its being what does this imply for the ideas of substance and god? We do not require and it would be an ontological error to look to god / substance for foundation of the universe.
It follows that the fundamental question about god / substance is what is it or what are they? Whatever they may be the universal metaphysics shows that they are not fundamentally remote or removed but that we are—part of—their process. If you want to think in terms of god, your thought should be ‘how can I make my process of realization such that I realize the highest possible principle’ or something similar. It seems, then, that many of our ideas of god are superfluous.
Realism is an alternate statement of the metaphysics. It starts with a conventional interpretation of logic and science but the fundamental principle implies a universal interpretation.
We found how the join of logic and empiricism constitute the first notion of realism (as conceived here). However, we know that our logics and our sciences are limited in various ways. We can reverse the situation and see that realism is a program of discovery; it contains logic and science perfectly conceived though implicitly; explicitly however, these must remain open to discovery and in a state of imperfection. But how?
The perfection of the implicit conception of logic and science lies, first, in seeing a realm of perfect knowledge—being, experience, universe, Law, domain and void. Second, this knowledge generates further perfect knowledge. While the perfect knowledge shows immense realms otherwise completely unknown, these realms remain empirically and instrumentally incomplete and remote (it is not a remoteness of distance for the domain of the metaphysics is the entire universe including the immediate). Below we see how to bridge the remoteness see what this may imply for completeness and perfection.
The various ways of expressing the metaphysics and main consequences have been thought before.
What is new here in the expressions and main consequences of the metaphysics? (1) Demonstration (2) Clarity of meaning (3) Significance of and many new consequences (4) Reinterpretation of many concepts (being, experience, mind and matter, but especially metaphysics itself and logic, possibility, and realism… and more) and rewriting many chapters in philosophy, metaphysics, and reality (mind and matter, cosmology, objects…).
Metaphysics and science
What is the relation between science and the metaphysics? The metaphysics begins with empirical knowledge that is perfect via abstraction—it is an abstraction in which details that might suffer distortion are omitted. The goal is perfection and we therefore allow this abstraction. Science, however, is most interested in the detail. Though it too has abstraction, the abstraction of science does not filter out what may be distorted. What science loses in conceptual precision it gains in immediacy and instrumentally. However, the distinction between metaphysics as understood and executed here and science is not one of kind—it is one of focus. Both metaphysics and science are concerned with the real but their focus and therefore some aspects of how they proceed are different. Practical metaphysics will be concerned with a join of metaphysics and science.
The resulting universal metaphysics is perfect, powerful, and ultimate knowledge of the universe; and it nests all limited worlds—particularly ours.
That there is being, experience, Law, universe, and domain—of this there is no doubt; and this knowledge is empirical and not remote. (even where the objects are remote). There is a host of conclusions from this, e.g. the universe has no creator, domains may have creators and so on that follow of necessity from the concepts. This knowledge is perfect in the sense of faithfulness.
It was demonstrated that the void exists. We doubt the demonstration, not on account of any inconsistency, but regarding absolute necessity and because of the magnitude of the conclusions. If the void exists then the universal metaphysics is perfect.
Since the universal metaphysics pertains to the entire universe, what it shows, even if remote (see below), nests our world. The nesting suggests what we have already noted that the universal metaphysics may mesh with immediate and practical knowledge drawn from experience, reason, and the range of cultures, where they are valid, from ancient to modern.
Partial implicitness and remoteness
The metaphysics is partially implicit and empirically remote.
Proof and doubt
Instead of attempting to justify the ‘argument’ to this point which suggests the above, let us establish it directly.
Does the void exist? There is a proof; there is no violation of realism (free concept-free concept and free concept-percept relations) in the conclusion; but there is doubt whose precise nature it is hard to evaluate. However, this is not different from many significant propositions in the symbolic sciences (grammar, semantics, logic, mathematics—often thought precise) and the empirical science. Therefore as in those cases we accept what we doubt as an existential hypothesis / optimal knowledge and action principle (which we may label ‘faith’). Given this existence the entire universal metaphysics and its perfection follows.
Existential attitude and faith
Even if the proof of existence of the void were perfect we would question it because of the momentous conclusions that follow. However, this is not other than for the proof of any significant proposition where we balance doubt and worth (provided, as is the case here, that the proposition does not violate reason). We then accept such propositions as existential on account of their value as a principle of knowledge and of action; and the value may be significant for expectation may be high on account of what stands to be gained even when balanced against doubt. We can then conceive faith as that attitude that maximizes the power of an existential proposition. However, faith is no occasion to eliminate doubt for the exercise of doubt (and imagination) are essential to truth. It remains, however, that there are good balances of doubt and faith regarding which we may train our intuition but perhaps have no ultimate calculus.
Proof under the universal metaphysics is often trivial while interpretation is paramount. In the remaining cases both imagination and proof will be necessary and may be immensely difficult. Where proof is trivial we may pass over it without remark.
On proof and intuition
The proof of the fundamental principle was deductive. The premise: existence of the void with certain properties—particularly, no Law of the void; the trivial conclusion: the void generates every state.
Deductive arguments are naturally called sound if the argument is valid and the premise is true.
Why are valid deductive arguments possible at all? The realm of proof is the realm of pattern for a pattern obtains when a part determines a whole and thus specification of limited data (premise) determines at least some further structure (conclusion). For the fundamental principle, the argument is valid but there may be doubt regarding the premise (it must be remembered that the premise harbors no absurdity or contradiction).
Now intuition operates similarly to proof in that it depends on patterns; the difference is that in proof the pattern must be known and used explicitly. Consequently, intuition suggests proof and proof confirms intuition. The two work together; generally we accept proof but would not have proof without intuition.
Now it is implicit above that proof-intuition is about discovery of the way of the universe (perhaps only a small part of it). This is true even in mathematics for the universal metaphysics shows that every consistent mathematical system has an object. However, is what we are doing merely discovery?
Are we perhaps participating in the creation of manifest forms? The metaphysics shows that latter must obtain but thinking about normal worlds shows that our material contribution may be generally but not invariably marginal. Perhaps though it is in the nature of the case that there will be immense periods but not an eternity of apparent marginality. Still, the question is what is the most effective approach? Here, perhaps there may be some role reversal with intuition the driver and proof the support.
Consider the question ‘Is the essence of the universe conscious intelligence?’ From the concept of being as being we have no reason to think so. The universe as consciousness is no more or less fundamental than the universe as the void. But what is consciousness? We have given arguments on the pervasive nature of experience. Then, significant and robust forms are not conscious as such but those forms for which consciousness is concentrated, focused as part of self-adaptation of the world. If a material universe would forget its past across transitions through the void, it is perhaps consciousness that remembers.
If we look at the environment and ask what is the greatest immediate empirical evidence of god-likeness it must be life itself including ourselves (this would not be a god of perfection but a god of power to create and so also to make mistakes—but it could and therefore will also be part of any ultimate god).
Remoteness of the metaphysics so far
The remoteness is a function of the status of existence and the free conceptual nature of the conclusions: (many of) the states whose existence is given in the metaphysics are not thereby located in perception or accessible to instrumental access.
Further, as we have seen, it is trivial to derive much of immense significance in the metaphysics but there remain vast realms whose description will be difficult; for any limited intellect there may be inaccessible realms; and for the realms that are accessed (described) questions of coherence (consistency) are likely to arise. It must be emphasized however that numerous alternative persuasive arguments in favor of the fundamental principle can be given (e.g., the heuristic probability argument, and the argument not given so far that there is no logical distinction between existence and non-existence of the void).
This remoteness suggests that we seek means to bring it into the realm of the empirical (on the knowledge side) and instrumental (on the action side). We do this below by developing relationships between this high level (abstract) and concrete traditional knowledge (culture up till and including the present). This will not only bring the metaphysics down from the height of the empirically remote but it will render it perfect in the sense of (a) this is the best we that can be done by limited being and (b) it will be the best instrument of realization.
The whole argument is buttressed by the thought that the probability argument has weight and even if it does not entail that every ‘realistic’ concept has an object, the vastness of conceptual space makes the universe effectively limitless in the sense of realized concepts. Thus the universal metaphysics is powerful and effectively ultimate as is the result of complementing it by tradition. This is taken up in practical metaphysics, below.
Required by the metaphysics
The existence of normal worlds such as ours with contingent limits that seem necessary is required by the metaphysics.
The existence of our world, our cosmos would seem to violate the metaphysics. However,
Limitless possibility requires worlds such as ours—worlds with limits and our experience of limits. It implies that in living in and experiencing our world it will seem like a ‘universe’. However, it is also necessary that our world does not define an eternal reality nor can it be eternal.
Common origins of normal worlds and their laws
Limitless possibility also requires that worlds such as ours will arise in a single step from the void (or any state). But it also requires that there will be incremental origins. It seems reasonable that the incremental origins will be far more frequent. In either case, however, that such a world will be enduring will rarely be accidental but the result of its near symmetries and stabilities that will almost always be the result of the intermediate stages also having symmetry and stability. Thus the laws and patterns of such worlds would seem to most often be result of the conditions of their formation.
The law-like necessities of our world seem like absolute necessities but they are not; they are contingent; only the necessities of realism are absolute.
Perhaps, however, all significance occurs in some normal context. If we overcome this one, we transcend it into another. Is there an eternal transcendence? This is addressed (peripherally) in the next section.
One characteristic that distinguishes a normal world from the universal background is mechanism—i.e., which when known provides for explanation of the complex in terms of the simple.
Life, higher intelligence, freedom of will
The elements of our normal world include matter and life which constitute nature. This is the source of persons with mind and ‘higher’ intelligence in mutual relation that makes up civilization. Individuals deploy ideas but for transformation must act (risk based on ideas). The modes of transformation are intrinsic (identity) and instrumental (body and world). The places of and conducive to transformation are nature and civilization (society). Disciplines are accumulated and formalized or oral approaches to transformation but these are not static; there is a ‘discipline’ or mechanics of disciplines—‘rationality’ starting with and acting upon inherited values and means but which deploys formation of ideas and risk in interaction.
Freedom of will is limited only by realism as defined above but in the normal situation there are practical limits which may be viewed ‘negatively’ or ‘positively’. The positive view is that they are aspects of the real to be overcome on the way to the ultimate.
The practical metaphysics
A practical metaphysics is as follows. While form is limited, knowledge is limited. However, this is perfect in that (a) it enables approach to the ultimate and (b) there is no better approach (single step achievement is given but is not an approach or a true ‘achievement’).
To a limited form, especially to a limited intelligence, direct knowledge is of a limited domain or cosmos and while some aspects of that knowledge may be perfect in the sense of faithfulness, such perfection does not hold for all direct and instrumental knowledge. While form is limited there are definite limits to such knowledge.
The universal metaphysics describes a realm that is limitlessly more vast. It implies that limited forms will access this realm but only in overcoming the limits. As long as limits remain, direct knowledge is imperfect knowledge of a cosmos or world. There is no better; that is in the nature of limits—except, however, that even while limited, limits can be transcended, perhaps by transformation of identity, but now enhanced identity and new limits are faced. The universal metaphysics guarantees that limited form can and will approach the universal in this manner. However, it is only in overcoming all limits that the universal will be achieved; the metaphysics guarantees this as well. Whether the universal is achieved or not—it is not achieved in all ‘trials’—the peaking toward limitlessness eventually stops and there is dissolution (limitless and eternal peaking, dynamic or static, would constitute a universal Law). Now this may seem (a) removed from our world and (b) dull in its necessity and perhaps also in its repetitiveness. However (a) there is no remove; ‘our world’ expands so we are ever in the ‘present’ understood as more than a point instant in time and (b) the necessity includes that there will be pain and challenge to be overcome; arguments about the most likely nature of the process (incremental change and selection) show that intelligent engagement is likely most effective and enjoyed (it is only in intelligence that appreciation is possible and it is perhaps by intelligence that Aeternitas is not a Law); and limitless possibility implies that the vistas in various cycles of endeavor will have ever freshness (together with pain, ennui, despair…)
Since limits are inherent in limited form and since the metaphysics guarantees the approach to the ultimate, there is no better approach than that just described.
Realization of practical metaphysics may be stated as follows. The universal metaphysics frames and illuminate the local—i.e. tradition from ancient and mythic to modern and its literal-scientific and humanistic emphases; the local illustrates the universal and provides empirical an approach to universal knowledge and an instrumental approach to universal realization.
Realization is a journey in being.
Detail is in modes and levels of being.
In this preliminary account the terms are ‘western’.
Modes of being
Psyche—experience—is taken as reference because is the place of knowing.
The tentative (western) modes are universe, nature, psyche, and civilization.
Primitive in our world to our being.
Place of our significant being and realization (becoming).
Place of cooperative endeavor and realization, especially of human beings.
Levels of being
All levels must be addressed in realization.
The void is primitive to nature.
A general system is: the void, the normal, and the apex of the universal.
In secular thought: nature (including psyche) and civilization.
Trans-secular thought also recognizes the primitive and higher forms and identity.
Normal levels are: primitive, nature, civilization, higher and apex forms and identity.
The following are critical to realization:
Spirit, transcendent being, soul; free concept formation—intuition and thought; unbound feeling—emotion and intuition; perception and bound feeling; neuro-endocrine paths and intensities; deep body.
Being while in limited form in the process of transcendence on the way to the ultimate. Being as the dual of limited process (identity, ‘god’) and the universe as one.
Nature and physical cosmology are a window to the universe. This template emphasizes their usefulness in realization. Some particular topics of study of interest are listed in the pathway section on becoming.
Physical sciences potentially useful in realization are physics—study of matter and fields, energy, and spacetime—and chemistry; astronomy and physical cosmology; and earth sciences and geography. The usefulness is instrumental, especially in association with know how and technology; and intrinsic in providing some local windows into the nature of being and models for abstraction to universal (aspects of) being.
Life sciences are potentially useful (a) instrumentally via medicine and bio-engineering, (b) in anticipating life and civilization forms in the universe, and (c) via evolution as a model for transformations of life forms, and (b) via evolutionary process as a model for origination in all modes and levels of being.
Study of mind is useful (a) just as for life sciences, for in our world mind is a natural phenomenon, (b) in self understanding, and (c) in understanding the elements of person and identity.
‘Abstract science” will be the name for the sciences of concepts and symbols, especially language, logic, and mathematics.
The abstract sciences are useful (a) as tools in the other sciences and as models for anticipating natural forms (b) as associated with mind and so for the science and technology of information, first, as a mode of being and second as interactive with ‘natural being’, and (c) as abstract objects and thus as ‘models’ of being.
The main point of this chapter has already been noted.
The universe has identity and manifestation in acute, diffuse, and absent phases. The only limits to identity and manifestation are realism of logic and fact. Identity transcends absent phases.
The universe and individuals share identity and manifestation. Soul is what is continuous across the absent phases.
The subject of general cosmology is the kinds, variety, extensivities, and relations among manifest forms and identity in the universe.
The usefulness of general cosmology has already been seen. It is the theory of variety and extensivity in the universe and so reveals and helps uncover paths and pathways in realization.
The usefulness of study of normal worlds is (a) understanding of the nature of what we perceive as limits but are in fact contingencies of our being, and (b) in the study of the sciences as described above and as potential models for other normal worlds.
The usefulness of physical cosmology is described in the previous section on nature.
The study of the individual lies at the intersection of a number of fields that include identity, psyche and mind (see psyche and being).
Significance of the study of the individual is that the individual is the object of realization.
Perhaps all realized forms are individuals—from the elements to the apex of being.
Civilization is significant in itself as a mode of convergent realization and as the place that nurtures the individual.
Teacher, guru. Place here and / or somewhere else—where?
We consider two pertinent aspects of society—knowledge as an object (or culture) and politics.
The kinds of knowledge include knowledge of (directly expressed in the sciences and indirectly or metaphorically expressed in literature and the arts) and know how including technology.
Significant aspects of knowledge are: expression and communication (symbolic and behavioral), generation (research and so on perhaps also including automation), preservation (writing, libraries, electronic record), and transmission including education.
A significant ‘dimension’ is the informal-formal axis (which corresponds roughly to a personal-impersonal and very roughly to a intuitive-symbolic axis). A symbol of the informal is the guru who may be both generator and transmitter and whose focus is intuition in the Kantian sense and a symbol of the formal is the professor whose function is frequently specialized according to generative (research) versus transmittive (education) emphasis.
Politics is group decision and action.
From the metaphysics the politics of realization must be one of participation and immersion (which should not rule out specialization of other functions). This must also be an important aspect of the paradigm of science-in-realization.
Economics action is inseparable from political process.
The economics of realization cannot afford to ignore a range of emphases. Ideal politics encourages economic equality (and quality). Economics of realization cannot ignore economic reality (beginning with modern economic theory and systems) but must also serve realization. Economic principles for realization will supplement the modern science of economics with an economics of immersion and participation; and must thus be interactive with politics.
The good concerns the question of value whether in action or in ends.
Knowledge and values have been regarded as distinct. In recent western thought cultural relativists have held that the values of all cultures are on par and that it is meaningless to think that universal judgments can be made about cultural values.
But what is a value? We inherit values (what is of worth) and means (knowledge, know how). Values may be expressed in cognitive terms but are closely connected to feeling and emotion in a way that knowledge is not. However, emotion and cognition both have origin in adaptation. Perhaps knowledge and values have a relative component but both are connected to the way the world is. Values and knowledge probably must have relativity that is a function of free experiment, ‘randomness’, and differences in cultural circumstances but have universality at least in that they are not arbitrary but are connected to survival and living well.
What values survive? What possibilities are there? (1) Formation and survival of cultures and (2) Our capabilities of acting via means toward values as well as criticizing and constructing means and values. These exhaustive possibilities do not of course guarantee uniqueness in knowledge and values and therefore do not guarantee universality.
The universal metaphysics shows a limitless realm beyond our immediate world. It shows that the immediate and the ultimate are connected. It shows that every individual lives—metaphorically speaking—in the two worlds: the ultimate and the immediate.
We have little choice then but that even if we choose to focus on one world over the other, we will find ourselves inevitably living in both worlds. It seems to make some ‘objective’ sense, then, to cultivate relations in and among the immediate and the ultimate.
The original title for this section was Epistemology.
The purposes of this section are
A framework for epistemology is mythic-holist. Reference in this framework to objects—indeed the nature of objects—is, roughly, metaphorical but not devoid of at least indirect realism. The framework is general in that it presages and encompasses the modern divide into the neo-mythic and the literal-scientific. It understands the value and incompleteness (unacknowledged or denied in some forms of explicit and tacit positivism) of the literal-scientific as well as the essentially mythic-holist character of religion (and the distortions of religion under the literal-scientific paradigm).
Oral traditions and religion
The oral traditions seem to be a mix of story, metaphor, and fact. They do not sharply distinguish the secular and the trans-secular. The oral traditions are adapted to living in and by the environment without manipulating it.
Apparently, when large scale society was made possible by agriculture it became possible to manipulate it. This form of adaptation was enhanced by understanding the environment in ‘literal’ terms—i.e. in terms such that symbols and operations on symbols modeled the form and changes in form in the environment. This is a source of science. The trans-secular elements of the traditions separated from the secular but since the literal had become of prime importance in the secular it became a benchmark for ‘religion’. Now science does not rule out a trans-secular (or trans-scientific) realm; it is essentially silent in that regard; however the psychological and material demands of secular economics may have been at odds with a focus on the trans-secular and therefore a split arose regarding religion that had now come to have strict literal interpretation: the fundamentalists insisted on literal truth and the secularists insisted on the falsity of those claims to truth.
However, in so far as religion points to considering a trans-secular realm—i.e., to the incompleteness it was probably right and the metaphysics shows it to be right. Therefore it is perhaps time for new approaches to talking about the trans-secular and the metaphysics of this narrative would be an excellent frame for this. But, instead, we are still mired in an opposition of two sides in which both are using an outmoded way of talking about the trans-secular.
It is time for a new conception of religion.
The universal metaphysics suggests that we consider religion to be the use of all dimensions of being in understanding and realizing the greatest forms of being. The discussion.
The pure metaphysics is the discovered realm of the literal and is perfect in this limited sense. This is part of the mythic-holist which includes and does not deny but is not exclusively literal. Tradition may be understood as the valid referential aspect of our cultural systems (that which is not explicitly referential derives value from potential though not necessarily literal reference). The practical metaphysics results as follows. The pure metaphysics frames and illuminates tradition-in-process which includes explicit andor implicit reason and perceptual experience; the tradition illustrates and provides instrumentality for the pure metaphysics. The practical metaphysics is our best net instrument of realization and in this total sense it is perfect. Further in the interaction of the pure metaphysics and tradition, elements of tradition otherwise thought imperfect in critical literal thought are now found perfect as literal.
As examples of such perfection the pure metaphysics enables seeing that the universe has neither cause nor creation; space and time not co-extensive with being but are the two extensive coordinates of formed being, they are immanent rather than external framework to being and as such are relative rather than absolute, but may have regions of as-if absoluteness; and there is no substance—particularly, mind and matter are not substances but metaphors for being-itself and being-in-relation and consequently two attributes and the only two such attributes.
Knowledge for a normal world
Source: for detail section of the same name in journey in being-detail. Examine this section for augmentation of content and criticism according to whether the metaphysics implies or suggests one or a range of possibilities.
This is a ‘retrospective’ section that examines enhancements to normal knowledge suggested but not dependent, intuitively or formally, in the universal metaphysics.
An object is the reference of a concept in the universe of all possible worlds. A concrete object is one that exists in a normal world or cosmos. All other objects have reference entirely or partially in ‘other worlds’. I.e., most abstract objects straddle the normal and the possible.
Among our concepts, normal science and fact refer to this world; logic obtains in all possible worlds (the possible includes the actual). This of course is a well known idea and was emphasized by WVO Quine.
The main contributions to cosmology are that the possible cosmologies contribute to our understanding of the origin and nature (existence and dimensionality of time and space, particularly that space need not have any particular dimensionality, that universally relative time and space may be locally as if absolute, that the advance of understanding due to modern science—relativity, quantum theory, and physical cosmology—are understandable though not specifically predictable since there may be others but of course insight may be gained from anthropic and stability concerns).
A contribution to understanding of life is the fact that while adaptation need not be universal, reason suggests that it is richer beyond expectation (for life and more), that while the form of other life forms may be different macro- and microscopically, their principles are often likely to be as for life on earth. The example of life, as is well known, suggests paradigms of origin and change for other aspects of being but, of course, import of the paradigm to another field cannot be automatic. Still, however, reason suggests that there can be no other mechanism for origin of true novelty from ultimate simplicity.
The discussion on mind briefly developed the normal framework for mind and then took up how it might generalize in the universal case which in turn suggests how to think about the normal case. It is noteworthy that the ‘normal development’ was informed for insight by my knowledge of the universal metaphysics but did not presume the universal metaphysics.
In the metaphysics
The universal metaphysics is essential in showing: the universe realizes all possibilities—especially of identity and manifestation as transient background against the void; for limited form as variety in terms of manifest and identity cosmological systems, peaks, dissolutions, freshness.
Limited form overcomes dissolution (a) in experience (present awareness) and (b) in manifestation which requires transformation. However, this overcoming is not eternal.
Effectiveness and enjoyment of process is enhanced by engagement, experiment and commitment. The practical metaphysics (integration of the universal metaphysics with received and experimental knowledge) to provide foundation and efficient ways (instrumentality).
For a limited form, approach to the universal is ever in process: a journey in being. This process is endless in variety and freshness, magnitude, peak, and dissolution. Engagement, though not logically necessary, is essential to enjoyment and effectiveness of process—the present—and outcome or destiny.
Add link to “Nature of the universe in this metaphysics’
For limited form there are two ways of ultimate realization (a) knowledge of ultimate form in the sense of experiencing by the entire being—all aspects of psyche, (b) realizing the ultimate via transcendence of limited form. All realization conforms to the way of the universe as given in the section ‘Nature of the universe in this metaphysics’. While instantaneous realization must have occurrence, and there may be readiness for it, it cannot have method. The generic method for incremental realization is specified in the mechanics of realization.
The ultimate measure of realization should not be specified concretely and this is not because there should be no attempt to speak it but because, relative to limited form, it exists as a potential. Still, the ultimate may receive some illumination from the ways of the traditions.
Civilization is an instrumental complement to the intrinsic aspect of the being of the individual. History is a backdrop for occasional forward motion of being and identity which, from the metaphysics, transcend individual and particular civilizations to universal identity and universal civilization.
Every culture has a practical metaphysics including disciplines of transformation—and means of transmission.
On the received disciplines
The received disciplines are a path into the real. However, there is no final or perfect discipline or master; yet there are teachers who may be on the ‘front’; still, the individual is ever the place of transformation.
Engagement of individual and civilization in process is the essence of approach to realization.
Discussion to this point reveals the following elements and entails the mechanics of transformation:
Being and experience in process are a universal framework for realization—‘resource’ and ‘fallback’. But it is useful from experience, reflection, and experiment to specify more.
Principle of search
Together with search we also look for ways—which subsume and build upon tradition.
Scaffold of duration and extension
The scaffold of transformation is extension-duration which is immanent in, not framework for being.
A nearly universal model
In an incremental model each increment arrives at a transitional stable point. The particular points are not ultimate but the process is one side of ultimate process (the other side being realization of as if eternity or Aeternitas in an instant).
Entity or vehicle—the fundamental entity is identity—individual and collective or civilization.
Means or interactions—of individual and world—are ideas and action.
The modes and disciplines (and sciences) are intrinsic (of being) and external or extrinsic (of context); both are essential; the distinction is porous. The disciplines are the sciences, typically of a particular culture or multi-culture; the intrinsic are perhaps the most developed in the east (e.g. yoga, Tibetan Buddhism) and the most developed extrinsic are, today, perhaps the western sciences and technologies.
There is also a ‘discipline of disciplines’, often unnamed because implicit to situation, which includes ongoing learning, reflection, free concept formation, use, success or failure and emergence (or not) and repetition. This ‘discipline of disciplines’ is culture in process. The received disciplines are defined though not closed even if thought of as closed; and the discipline of disciplines is emerging. For our limited form limited form, all disciplines are experimental, of the entire organism and culture, open, and experimental.
The places are intrinsic or internal and extensional or external. The intrinsic place is psyche or mind or coherent system of experience (psyche, self, mind, and body overlap). The external places are nature or ground and civilization as matrix of individuals, culture as collective and codified and transmissible experience.
Elements of transformation are: vehicles (individual and civilization), means (ideas and action), modes (intrinsic and external to identity—e.g., the focus of yoga and the focus of science), disciplines (accumulated-formal and oral-mythic—and their mechanics; also classed as conceptual and active which includes technology and ritual), and places (intrinsic: psyche, and external: nature and civilization—i.e., society).
Risk and consolidation
Mechanics of transformation: risk based in reflexive rationality of values and means; and incremental consolidation in being and knowledge.
Small increments are most probable and most secure; however it is given that there will be occasion for large increments and single step realization.
Ways and catalysts
The ways are patterns of behavior of individuals and communities over time—lives and histories—that prepare for and show paths, instant or formulaic, of realization. Examples are provided by yoga, Tantra, Buddhism, and Christian mysticism. The ways are not at all exclusive of science and rationality when appropriately understood.
The ways include catalysts of transformation. Catalysts disrupt fixed ways and so open the space of mind and being. Some examples are meditation, reflexive cognition, exposure to fear, and fast.
Selection of catalysts
See journey in being-detail for more information.
Catalysts operate at the following levels: (a) the void and transients; (b) primitive forms: nature which includes matter, elementary life and psyche; (c) higher psyche (it is the higher that is emergent and not psyche as such); groups—society and civilization; and the manifestation of psyche in the group: culture which includes disciplines—the studies (‘research’ and so on) and content; growth and development of disciplines; communication; and recording and transmission; and (d) the transformations of higher psyche—spirit and the ultimate in process.
A catalyst should be appropriate to the object of change and the end in view. This depends on the external aim (the end) and the depth of freedom of the individual. There are cross interactions but for some outcomes, the lower or most fundamental levels may be most effective, even necessary.
Being and universe; our world; psyche; design; transformation and arrival; significance of the metaphysics for the path.
Journey in Being-detail.html fleshes out the following.
Being and universe—the aim (in realization) and all encompassing background.
The world: being in the world—being in the ‘present’, a mode of being in relation in which the significance of knowledge as representation and realization as distinct from the present are secondary.
The world: material challenges and opportunities of civilization—rationale: civilization as our present, our support, and a vehicle of endeavor. Cataloging and evaluating the issues—is ongoing; allocation of resources should recognize the range of issues—problem and opportunity, limited resources, weights of the issues, relative versus imperative concerns, and that we should not wait for certainty to act. Material scenarios—conceiving problems, challenges, opportunities—may be useful in anticipation and in setting up policies and institutions.
Politics and economics—the metaphysics implies that science, politics, economics of the future will emphasize participation and immersion.
Experience and being are a single field over all individuals and the universe.
A wide view of the field sees psychology as adaptation to the universe according to the universal metaphysics.
In a ‘local’ frame it is the psychology of adaptation to our world—nature, self, other, culture (and the disciplines), and time (personality and its arc)—the psychologies of the range of human cultures. These, even where deep and practical are at the beginning. Therefore discussion touched by depth must also be eclectic.
Within this field there are many distinctions that are transitionally real but illusion if seen as absolute. The distinctions are those of the categories—mind-matter, space-time, past-present-future, self-other, and the distinctions of psyche: mind and heart (cognition and emotion), outer and inner (world and body—form and feeling), perception and action, unity (person, identity, self) and category of psyche—including some repetition: inner versus outer awareness; bound versus free relation to object; percept-concrete versus higher concept-abstract modes of concept; quantity versus form; intensity versus quality and its modes of feeling-sensation; pure versus directed (afferent-attitude and efferent-action) modes of concept; choice versus biological determinism; identity (unity-interactivity of elements) versus particulate (privileged-privileged elements); patterns and propensities (personality) versus time (sameness and change); conscious (experiential with awareness of experience) versus ‘unconscious’ (experiential in the general sense without awareness of experience).
An essential outline of the psychology of transformation is as follows. The universe is a field of experience in which all identity lies. Experience and being-in-itself (‘matter’) and, so, psychology, physiology, and physics are one. ‘My identity’ is a ‘region’ in that field; formed by adaptation it has its own adaptability (conscious intelligence); it therefore has bound and free elements. Realization—the identity of identities—is, tentatively, the expansion of free consciousness to subsume more and more—the whole—in a form that is simultaneously bound and free. An intrinsic beginning lies in the identity disciplines such as those of yoga and Tantra; openness, readiness, and capacity determine the extent the process is spontaneous versus formulaic; the extent to which supplement by extrinsic aspects is optimal; and the extent to which the individual may have programmatic andor charismatic effect on others. An extrinsic beginning—that of civilizing—lies in the related ritual, individual and communal, and technology. The elements and the incremental mechanics pertain individuals and to ways and catalysts, received and process.
Design—concrete, conceptual, and experimental approach to realization.
Values—reasoned-and-inherited component of seeing, creating, and choosing paths of action from alternatives. A part of rationality and complement to determinist aspects of becoming and time.
Principles—(a) realism (design is part of realization and is therefore subject to change in course and improvement of values and ways); (b) knowledge—practical metaphysics; (c) efficiency—balance between explicit analysis and intuition and synthesis, balance between design and action, and balance between ‘rational’ action and risk which enhances the contribution of reason and is sometimes the only way (risk precipitates solutions and activates emotional energy); and (d) review of process at flexibly determined intervals andor as needed.
Transience and arrival—not a formula, this is recognition that the very greatest accomplishment of limited form is still in transience, at the beginning. Living in transient joy and anxiety, even in transcendence, is on the way. Transience is arrival.
The following consequences discussion so far and simple reflection are elaborated in journey in being-detail.
Being—way of life, sustaining.
Becoming—ideas, identity, civilization, artifact, ‘after’.
Code. Lavender—all times | Light blue—ongoing | Light green—immediate priority (e.g. 2014+) | Light yellow—open (e.g. to internal criteria).
that should have a time frame are highlighted.
Being—i.e., be-ing (sustaining) « becoming (transforming) is the only way.
Practice connects sustaining and transformation: sustaining « catalytic practice of yoga and meditation « transforming.
A path of action—ideas ® action ® return to ideas « pure being (death: horizon).
Elements of action—individual and identity ® civilization ® artifact.
A way of becoming is explicit action (following the mechanics through the elements of being), in balance with sustaining practice in be-ing.
The first teacher is the universe of which we are part. The second teacher is someone the individual recognizes as being on the way.
From the universal metaphysics there are and may be great teachers at the front of realization and regarding eternity in the present (remarks below) but there are no perfect masters.
Spiritual communities and systems may be sources of ways and catalysts to use and upon which to build (remarks below).
The elements of path design are: (1) Metaphysics and psychology, (2) Ways and catalysts, (3) Selection of community and teacher, (4) Daily practice, and (5) Phases of becoming.
Process. Discipline (received: modern, tradition) | Plan of action and preparation | Immersion and experiment (place) | Observe change | Consolidate (ideas, self, mind, body) | Review (learning, opportunity for action).
Place. All | Culture | Self | Mind | Nature | Civilization.
Daily practice and sustaining activities are foundation being as eternal and renewal in becoming. This may be done ‘individually’ or as part of a spiritual community (remarks below).
Daily practice—routine; dedication and yoga-meditation; transformation experiment.
Sustaining activities—place and transportation (spirit); skills (for aims, finance); work (community, shared realization, finance).
Health—physical and spiritual.
Routine—weeks to life; review as needed.
Ideas and action—inspired and shared—are the interactive essence of being and becoming.
The vehicles of becoming are individual identity and civilization.
It is an ideal to make the world our spiritual community. It is also ideal to find or make and be part of a community with aim and practice conducive to ideal universality within transience, connection among transient forms across non being—permanence in impermanence as well as ever freshness of experience through limitless variety and peaks of being.
If, in early life, we feel eternal then death which is real but not absolute is a reminder to a transient form to reach “universality within transience…”
Though mature, there is a need for study in parallel to transformation. See Journey in Being-detail.html for information on the following topics for study.
Metaphysics—foundation, development and characterizations of the universal metaphysics; the nature of realism.
Science and symbolic systems—as studied and studies (object and content).
Foundations of physical and life science—especially for the analogies to the universal metaphysics.
Foundations of ethics and value…
Design and planning…
Knowledge database—principles and development.
Narrative mode—open text…
The phases are as follows
Return to ideas; analysis again, integration, open attitude.
Living in the present.
The now as eternal.
My desire to live can be expressed as a criterion. I should have at least the prospect of being useful or of enjoying my life. But I should say more. My enjoyment should not have a negative impact. And mere usefulness is empty for consider a situation where everyone is ‘useful’ but no one has any enjoyment.
Two approaches to the problem of mere usefulness are (1) How I live my life now, and (2) Mutual action toward a greater being—i.e., being on the way.
‘Date with death’
Death and its significance.
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