THE WAY OF BEING
Anil Mitra © April 2017 — May 2017
Latest update — May 20, 2017
The key words at the heads of sections are ORDINARY and or META-LANGUAGE and METAPHYSICAL LANGUAGE terms. For convenience the terms themselves are bold.
Plan for the document
Repeated key terms are
§ Place numbered essentials as prologue-narrative-epilogue?
§ How to rearrange the content so that most of it is in the main body. Link paste special from the prologue?
§ The prologue shall contain, with examples, Why metaphysics (logic?); every person has a metaphysics—e.g., religious-mythic, today’s scientific world picture as ultimate, my immediate world as ultimate…; common metaphysics are very limited, a full metaphysics is possible, a clear account of meaning is crucial to understanding both understanding and the text—if we use and debate the utility of terms like ‘being’ and ‘rational metaphysics’ it is first essential to agree on our meanings of the terms.
Prologue—A path into the narrative
The prologue is a path into the narrative.
SPIRITUAL, MUNDANE; HUMAN ENDEAVOR, REAL
Is there a human endeavor? A narrow prescription would be contentious. We can, however, make a sufficiently inclusive and flexible characterization.
The human endeavor includes living well in this world, i.e. the immediate world, and the highest discovery and highest realization in the ultimate.
In beginnings we know neither least nor highest of what can be known and realized.
We will find there to be one realm—no remote opposed to the immediate, no spiritual versus mundane. There are distinctions and phases but these are ultimately bound together within the real.
LIVING WELL, MEANING-AS-SIGNIFICANCE; AIM, THE WAY OF BEING, SHARED ENDEAVOR, HIGHEST DISCOVERY, HIGHEST REALIZATION, IMMEDIATE WORLD, ULTIMATE WORLD, INDIVIDUAL, CIVILIZATION, METAPHYSICS, METAPHYSICAL SYSTEM, ULTIMATE METAPHYSICS
The aim of the way of being is the shared endeavor of living well and the highest discovery and realization in immediate and ultimate worlds for Being, especially individuals and civilizations.
There is an intrinsic interest in meaning-as-significance and whether and to what extent it is intrinsic to the universe.
In the endeavor it will be useful to begin with metaphysics—specifically a metaphysical system—to conceive the ultimate; one aim of the prologue is to present a metaphysics that is an ultimate metaphysics in a sense to be explained. The narrative develops and fills out the metaphysics; and shows paths to realization.
An informal discussion of Being will now be useful.
Meaning of Being
KIND, SUBSTANCE, BE-ING, ENTITY, RELATION, PROCESS
We begin informally with Being (capitalized) as straddling all distinctions, and the universe as all there is. Later, formal use will inherit from this use of Being that ‘existence’ is the one fundamental kind (not a substance) and from this use of universe, that there is precisely one universe. A being (lower case) is an instance of existence. The term be-ing refers to entity over relation and process. Two sides or means of Being are ideas and action.
SIGNIFICANCE, ESSENCE, INERT, ACTIVE SENTIENCE
The significance of Being—one significance—above is to allow that any essence of the universe is not necessarily inert or non-sentient—and may turn out to have active sentience and phases of unitary and sentient being-hood.
GREATEST, GREATEST POSSIBLE UNIVERSE, GPU
Possibility is defined just below. Note that the concept of ‘greatest possible universe’ and ‘all possibilities’ are potentially paradoxical and indeterminate. We can remove trivial semantic paradoxes by requiring that every allowed possibility be conceptually determinate and acknowledging that for every one, there is a greater. What then is greatest? That there is always a greater is the first notion of greatest. Is there a real absolute greatest universe or must that be potential? A significant issue but regardless, there are clear implications for realization (below).
The sketch of the metaphysics begins with a framework. This section shows that the greatest possible universe (gpu or GPU) is a rational framework for the aim of the Way.
The meaning of greatest possible universe in the narrative
EXTENSION, PARADOX; VARIETY, SPACE, TIME, MOST LIBERAL POSSIBILITY, LOGIC (lc), LOGIC (cap)
Greatest will not mean not best or most ethical but most inclusive of kind and variety of being, regarded as including extension in space and time. It is implicit in ‘greatest’ the possible shall be real and that possibility shall be most liberal possibility.
What is the manifest form of the greatest possible universe? Even if the actual universe follows physical law, the only restriction for a concept to be realized in the greatest possible universe is to satisfy logic. If logic is satisfied, a concept is realizable in some world; on the other hand if logic is not satisfied, realization is not possible at all.
Thus the greatest possible universe is the universe of Logic. ‘Logic’ (capitalization, signifies a use that is explained later). A concern will be to avoid paradox potentially inherent in the idea of ‘all possibility’. One approach to this concern is to specify what is allowed—and so to approach the greatest possible while avoiding paradox.
The universe is the greatest possible
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF METAPHYSICS, FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE, FP
It will be shown that the universe is the greatest possible; this is one form of what will be named the fundamental principle of metaphysics or just fundamental principle, abbreviated FP.
The form of the greatest possible universe
IDENTITY, LIMIT, PEAK
If the universe is the greatest possible, it must have has identity. The universe as greatest possible and its identities have no limit to variety of kind or peak of being, extension, or duration. A material example is that there are cosmoses limitlessly arrayed in space and time. The ultimate possibility of any being—individual or civilization—is that of the universe itself. Within that range, be-ing and relating and becoming, immediate and ultimate, home and abroad are ever interwoven.
Given sufficient security, a choice between the immediate and the ultimate is neither necessary nor appropriate.
Consider a given being. Then, there is always (1) a greater being, (2) a greater sentience or sentient being, (3) realizations of the being and 1-2 from the void (absence of Being), and (4) a sentient being capable of engineering realizations the being and 1-3. Description of this kind avoids paradox.
The universe is the greatest possible universe or being.
INTELLIGENCE, CULTURE, EXPERIMENT, IMAGINATION, CRITICISM, INTUITION, SYMBOLISM; FP, PLEASURE, PAIN, CHOICE, MEANS, ELEMENTS OF REASON, IDEAS, ACTION
Individual and civilization already partake of the immediate and the ultimate. Though often obscured in this life vision of the ultimate can be approximated. Questions arise. (1) Is full vision possible? (2) What is the form of realization? (3) What means are there for realization?
That an individual and civilization are centers of emergent-quiescent awareness follows from FP; it explains partial knowledge-realization of the ultimate; it explains the connection with other beings on the way to the ultimate and connections with ultimates. Rational karma would not be the individual reaping future cycles benefit or loss; but of being part of general process toward the ultimate. Pleasure and pain are unavoidable but we have choice and may use intelligence in the choosing and acting.
The classic means are laid out in various traditions. To lay them out would be a map of human culture and process, supplemented by the following elements of reason, taken blowfish up later, self-consistency, experiment and reflection—imagination-criticism, intuition-symbolism; some elements are provided later. The means must be a weaving of be-ing in the present and process toward the ultimate. But we can inquire of the elements of means in broad terms. That we even conceive realization involves ideas; and it is ideas—reason and so on—that are involved in action toward realization. The means are ideas and action. Ideas refer to the world which includes ideas, action, and the rest of the world. Thus, reason, taken up later pertains not only to truth but also to action.
The greatest possible universe provides a framework. But how can the ultimate be known-realized at all; and how can this go beyond a framework?
FRAMEWORK, SUBJECTIVE AWARENESS, WORLD, FIELD OF EXPERIENCE, RATIONAL METAPHYSICS, METAPHYSICAL LANGUAGE, ORDINARY LANGUAGE, META-LANGUAGE; EXPERIENCE, MEANING, SAMENESS, DIFFERENCE, UNIVERSE, BEINGS, BEING, EXISTENCE, NATURAL LAW, PATTERN, POSSIBILITY, REASON, ABSTRACT SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, CONCRETE SCIENCES, NATURAL SCIENCES, RELIGION, THE VOID
The framework will begin with ideas of experience whose essence is subjective awareness, meaning, sameness, difference, universe, world and field of experience, beings, Being (cap) and existence, natural law or pattern, possibility, reason (which will include logic, and abstract sciences including mathematics and the concrete sciences, especially the natural sciences, and rational metaphysics or religion), and the void conceived in sufficient abstraction that empirical knowledge is precise. This will be sufficient to derive the fundamental principle. These are the special terms of the metaphysics or metaphysical language; the system evolves; but at any point it is described in ordinary language which whose status is secondary to and not as critical as the metaphysical language terms. The metaphysical language may be described in special meta-language terms (in this regard the term ‘metaphysics’ is unfortunate). Because the metaphysical language cannot be perfectly atomic and is unlikely to be final, we allow the boundary between the languages to be porous; and we can see the metaphysical and meta-languages to be part of the ordinary. Still, an abstract metaphysics can be isolated and cast axiomatically and we may seek to include the concept of the pragmatic in such axiomatics.
HIGH PROBABILITY, almost certain, pure metaphysics, pragmatic metaphysics, perfect universal metaphysics of the ultimate (PERFECT METAPHYSICS), external consistency, self-consistency; action, tradition, pragmatic criteria, coherence criteria, perfect, pure, normal, normal world, contingent necessity, pragmatic certainty, contingent impossibility, pragmatic impossibility, metaphysics, abstract, correspondence criteria, concrete, pragmatic
Within this framework we locate what is valid in human cultures—knowledge, its processes including reason-experiment-action (but note that an image of action is captured in reason and that in the universal metaphysics it is a perfect image), and practice; this is tradition. Its criterion is pragmatic criteria of knowledge and truth, i.e. perhaps sufficient to the purpose. Note that both correspondence criteria, below, and coherence criteria contribute to the pragmatic (coherence is noted but not needed here for the main development). However, the GPU framework implies that no better instrument than tradition is possible or needed in ultimate realization—e.g., in moving from being to being, level to level, cosmos to cosmos, to the universal. Though pragmatic it is thus seen as perfect in that, under FP, no better is possible or needed (this does not negate the local value of precise science). Thus enhanced by tradition, the system is the perfect universal metaphysics to be derived; it is a join of a pure metaphysics—the precise abstract framework—based on the fundamental principle and tradition.
We are almost ever in process; we almost never know the ultimate detail. The pragmatic, empirical, or concrete—this world—are a normal or normal world; normal worlds are experiential in which what is seen having contingent necessity is in universal fact having high probability, almost certain, or pragmatic certainty; and what is seen as having contingent impossibility is in universal fact pragmatic impossibility.
Thus terms to describe the aspects and phases of metaphysics are metaphysics, the pure metaphysics of the abstract and that is correspondence criteria of knowledge and truth perfect via abstraction, the pragmatic metaphysics of the concrete that is perfect for realization in the pragmatic senses of ‘good enough’ and ‘no better is possible’ that is tradition and process, and the perfect universal metaphysics of the ultimate and for realization both immediate and ultimate.
From their derivation, the pure and perfect metaphysics have empirical or external consistency and logical or internal or self-consistency.
The means of the Way of Being are ideas and action.
Reason is the means of reliable knowledge and action.
On reason and meaning
Here reason is the establishment of truth. Its elements are to establish fact directly and to infer other facts, simple and compound. The directly established facts are preferably atomic and so precise; we have seen examples of atomic facts via abstraction for the pure metaphysics but atomic facts and language are not generally possible (or needed for the perfect metaphysics). Facts and inference may be necessary or probable. An alternate term in current use is ‘argument’ but I shall prefer reason. Related terms are rationality, logic, and science.
In this essay, reason is not to be confused with other connotations in common use.
In general use, many terms used in the narrative have no final meaning or object; but the approach to meaning in a given system should be to choose a sufficient system of concepts and to define them precisely so that the system achieves function and communicability with precision. It is sufficient that the meanings in this narrative are definite and sufficiently precise. Criticism may of course be based on the worth of the system and whether it reaches its goal.
Reason or argument as a narrative thread; and weaving together all knowing, all action and their interaction
Reason does not stand above knowing or acting or content. The following reflect the weave of reason and knowledge or method and content:
1. Reason is both means and an important case of content—for the means are in the world just as ‘mind-as-real’ is in the world.
2. Neither absolute a priori nor final reason is assumed, except where shown. Reason remains a fluid center in communication with all content.
3. Reason is not merely formal and cognitive, e.g. logic and perhaps science, but also involves appropriate and necessary use of heuristics, emotion, value, intuition, imagination, and experiment-action (but note that an image of action is captured in reason and that in the universal metaphysics it is a perfect image); all in reflexive interaction. That is, in an ideal and active sense, metaphysics, reason, argument, and Logic are identical.
Reason is a main thread weaving the Way together. It is so, not because reason or reasoning generates all things but because it is in efficient communication with all things.
PROBLEMS OF METAPHYSICS, CATEGORIES OF BEING, MIDDLE GROUND
In building up a metaphysical picture a system of problems of metaphysics is basic. Each problem may be relatively trivial in itself, its source being some philosophical puzzle or paradox. However, when the problems are solved simultaneously—this may be iterative—a full picture of the real emerges. This is supplemented by tradition. Of course even the supplemented picture is not a complete map of the real. But it is, as described earlier, the most we can get, desire, or need. It resolves what is inessential, even if philosophically deep, so that we can get on with what is essential on the way of discovery and realization.
This process gives us a rational approach to the question of metaphysical categories or categories of Being—the fundamental aspects of Being, mostly at or near the metaphysical level of Being.
When we wonder about ‘ultimate reason’ we recognize that we always begin in the present, with what we know take as pragmatic. We begin here and now in the ‘middle ground’. We then proceed to improve ‘outward’ which allows us to come back and improve the middle. The outward directions are metaphysical, traditional, and cosmological. The process begins iteratively but this does not rule out systematic development which will be significant.
Key words are bold but are not listed separately only when not listed elsewhere in the document.
PERCEPTION-FEELING, OBJECT, CONCEPTION-EMOTION, ACTIVE INDIVIDUAL; BOUND EXPERIENCE, FREE EXPERIENCE, LANGUAGE, ACTIVE EXPERIENCE, VOLITION, citta
Experience, subjective awareness, is a fundamental named given or real. It is as if of a real or given world that contains experience—a valid description that is equivalent to world as field of generalized-experience. Kinds of experience include (1) bound experience—perception-feeling, as if of an object felt real, (2) free experience—conception-emotion (note that conception has two senses in this narrative—here it is free conception but it is also general mental content), creative play of experience that includes imagination, language, and reason and which show abstract-pragmatic reality to the felt-real, (3) active experience with volition—which identifies action and the active individual in contrast to the rest of the world. Citta (also see Living The Way, citta), though it has a more specialized use in Buddhist texts, will here refer to the combination of the three kinds above.
Universe—what there is over all sameness and difference and their absence, beings, Being as existence—the essential quality of what is (verb to be; beings have Being, Being is the abstract of beings; in the abstract Being and beings are not distinct), possibility, the void. The universe is the greatest possible universe—the ultimate: the ‘world’ defined by reason or Logic; it frames normal worlds. Our normal world, the world of tradition, and cosmos are given in naïve experience. The perfect metaphysics of knowledge and realization is a mesh: the ultimate in which the normal is perfect instrument. It enhances knowledge of the universe to examine all aspects of the real from the dual perspective of the metaphysics.
The boundary between metaphysics and cosmology is marked by level of generality but is otherwise porous.
matter, mind, simulation; QUALITY, first order Being, second order Being, substance, free will, AGENCY
The subject of cosmology is the variety and extension of Being and identity. Some elements of these are quality, relation, process, space, and time; matter (first order Being) and mind (second order Being), substance, free will and the nature of agency; material world, the problem of simulation.
PSYCHE, DOUBT, TEMPLATES; INNER-OUTER PATH, DIMENSIONS OF BEING, ETHICS, AIM OF BEING, ATTITUDE, WAYS, CATALYSTS, PATHS
Topics include: metaphysical foundation of The Way of Being, identity (psyche) as real, inner-outer path, dimensions of Being; ethics and derivation of the aim of Being; attitude in face of doubt; ways, catalysts, and paths; templates—everyday and universal; the path so far and for the future.
The section on experience is preliminary.
Reason I: The elements of reason
Fact; establishing fact
SIMPLE FACT, FACT, ATOMIC, ESTABLISHED,
A simple fact or fact is an item of data that is atomic for a given purpose.
When discrimination is imperfect, facts are uncertain or imprecise.
But pure or precise facts are possible, e.g. that there is a universe, which from abstraction is perfect and atomic. Though trivial in following from definition and the given, such precise facts in combination will be found to have immense consequences.
Necessary vs. hypothetical inference
CONTENT; COMPOUND FACT, PROJECTION, HYPOTHESIS, THEORY, INFERENCE, CONCLUSION, CONFIDENCE, PREMISE, NECESSARY INFERENCE,
TAUTOLOGY, DEDUCTION, VALID, SOUND, PROBABLE, INDUCTION, HYPOTHETICAL
INFERENCE, ABDUCTION, CONDUCTION, SCIENCE, THEORY,
A compound fact is also a fact; but as projection it may be hypothesis or theory.
Inference is to arrive at a conclusion with a certain confidence from a premise of a specified confidence. ‘If the premises are true, the conclusions are true’. Note that because they may be compound, ‘conclusion’ and ‘premise’ include ‘conclusions’ and ‘premises’.
Necessary inference is possible only when the conclusions are essentially contained in the premises (by tautology) or independently true, e.g. as fact. The main means of necessary inference is deduction. If the conclusion follows from the premise, the inference is ‘valid’.
If the facts or premises are true and the inference valid, then the conclusions are true and the reason or argument is ‘sound’.
When the conclusion is not contained in the premise, it is at most probable and the inference is the inference of induction of which particular cases are hypothetical inference, abduction, and conduction. In science, the projected conclusions begin as hypotheses and via repeated and widespread success achieve theory status. Unless the ‘universe’ of potential data has been exhausted, the theory is never finally confirmed.
‘Reason is everything’
Method is content; in reason, ideation and action are continuous.
Knowledge and culture
Knowledge is also a social and cultural phenomenon—i.e., one of culture and society. This is emphasized above—coherence includes agreement or consensus among individuals and cultures; corroboration includes agreement or consensus by individuals and cultures.
First foundation—begin in the present; no a priori
BEGIN IN THE PRESENT, NO ABSOLUTE A PRIORI, EMPOWERMENT OF FOUNDATION
Begin in the present—where we are; begin with ordinary language which may be investigated later.
There is no absolute a priori
To not seek immediate perfection is empowerment of foundation.
Comment. Some key terms from the Prologue > A rational and universal metaphysics for realization > The framework should be placed here.
The concepts—their choice, the givens, the fundamental concepts
Possibility, natural law, and logic
Reason II: reason and the fundamental concepts
Comment. Some key terms from the Prologue > A rational and universal metaphysics for realization > The metaphysics should be placed here.
Fundamental principle—proof and heuristics; on the nature of the void; metaphysics is possible
The universal metaphysics; formulations, consistency, consequences, and significance; criticisms and perspectives
Only those key terms not listed elsewhere are given next.
UNITARY METAPHYSICS, FUNCTION, CRITERIA, ABSTRACT-CONCRETE CONTINUUM
Metaphysics is Logic interpreted as reason
As reason, Logic has the following extensions to logic-as-necessary-inference:
1. Inclusion of hypothetical or inductive inference that is less or other than necessary,
2. Inclusion of fact or premise and determination of fact,
3. Extension of necessary inference and definite fact to the pure metaphysics.
A final extension is to the perfect metaphysics of the world:
4. Extension of the foregoing to the perfect metaphysics which though a unitary metaphysics, is dual—the pure and the pragmatic—with regard to function and criteria.
The full metaphysics and its rationale
Under the universal metaphysics, there is no essential distinction between the concrete and the abstract; they form a continuum—the abstract-concrete continuum; and ‘all objects’ exist is the fundamental principle. The abstract and the concrete exist in the one universe; in the abstract the concrete is suppressed rather than essentially absent.
Here, ‘science’ is interpreted broadly to include the concrete and the abstract; and non-dogmatic religion as addressing inner being in light of both truth and rational imagination beyond the empirical.
Metaphysics and Logic
In this and the next sections on logic, mathematics, science, and religion, each topic establishes the general case and then its enhancement or restriction under FP; this practice is continued in discussing cosmology and agency.
Logic, mathematics and science
The valid comparison of logic, mathematics and science, is (a) discovery and creation of the systems which is not intrinsically necessary and (b) inference under those systems which is frequently necessary inference.
Existential and optimal stance
Aim and principles
Identity, relation, and process; quality; being, space, and time
Experience and the real world—mind and matter
Levels of Being
ATMAN, BRAHMAN; RECEPTACLE, DISPOSITION
Receptacle and disposition
Atman and Brahman
Origins of form and of physical cosmology
Identity, psyche, dynamics, and agency
Wholeness of Being
Citta—reflect whether citta is the appropriate word—see Living The Way below.
The aim and its derivation
Ethics of the aim
Ways, catalysts and paths
Wholeness of being,
Wholeness of being involves heart—mind or Citta (also see citta, The middle ground): perception-feeling—conception-emotion—active experience-volition; and security in openness-transience, e.g. not depending on proof—the proof is in the person. This wholeness is essential to the way.
Among its means are:
Sangha, practice, practice-action, action-even-in-insecurity
Past and present
Epilogue—The way forward
The epilogue looks forward to realization and its ways based in the knowledge and practice of The Way of Being.
What if we doubt the proof of the universal metaphysics? Because the metaphysics is self-consistent and externally consistent, and frames all possible experience, to live under it is existentially optimal.
The immediate and ultimate are interwoven. A derived ethic is that living well is living for this world and the ultimate.
The intrinsic-experiential—the true nature of being—includes the instrumental. It is the way to the ultimate.