WAY OF BEING
Anil Mitra © April 2017 — May 2018
Latest update — May 30, 2018
Older version with long outline for reference only
The Way of Being
The Way of Being is a way of living centered on a world view, a universal metaphysics that shows the universe to be the realization of all possibility. The focus of The Way is to live well in this life and to aim at the highest discovery and realization for beings, particularly individuals and civilizations. The narrative, ‘The Way of Being’, develops the world view and the way of living.
SMALL CAPITALS mark key terms. Most of these terms are common. However, the meaning here is always a particular one and may be quite different than in common or technical use. The uses here form a potent system that readers will not see unless they pay attention to definitions and the system.
Parts marked with a double dagger†† are essential to a short version.
The long table of contents is now in Essential concepts with long outline.
The prologue functions as a way in to the narrative, introduction, and overview.
Aim of the way of being, living well, best possible life, greatest achievable life, universe of all being, active endeavor, meaningful lifeway, worldview, secular worldview, transsecular worldview, suprasecular worldview, ultimate worldview, standard worldview, reeducation of intuition, conceptual framework, this world, highest discovery, highest realization, means, ideas, practice, action, ideas-practice-action, individual, vehicle, civilization, metaphysical language, definition, intuition, intuition includes symbolic precision.
It seems characteristic of human being that we divide our efforts between trying to live well within our limits and overcoming our limits.
We sometimes think we have definite limits, yet we are not sure what they are. It is an issue that we do not quite grasp—we do not seem to know what our limits are or what the limits of possibility of the universe are.
If we had a grasp of those two questions we wouldn’t be then transported to our limit boundary but we would perhaps be able to orient ourselves in the world. We might have a concept of the ultimate limit beyond the borders of empirical science; when we puzzled about the meaning of our lives we might be do more than posit an ultimate force or resort to (just) ‘meaning is what you assign or put in to it’.
‘The Way of Being’ narrative develops and centers on a world view, the ‘universal metaphysics’, that shows the outer boundary of the limits of what is to be achieved. That view begins as a framework which it is shown is never finally filled in but is always open to a process of being filled in.
Some lessons in a search for meaning are
1. To see the world—matter-mind-spirit, state-interaction-process—as one: characterized as Being and universe and that meaning is in the world.
2. The immediate and the ultimate mesh—there is no issue of which is more important.
3. The means are the elements of agency—ideas and action; which include knowledge, foresight, choice, and will.
4. The vehicle is Being, which includes the individual and civilization.
5. The sources include all tradition from the primal to the modern including religion and science.
Tradition emerges in the primal where spirit and matter are not separate. The idea of spirit is that some forms of matter are more than they seem. In primality, experience is corrective of ideology.
In post-primality, the realms of spirit and matter are as if in a struggle. Let us characterize this struggle by looking at attitudes toward modern science and religion.
Modern science shows us a cosmos which is good as far as it goes. What is outside—science does not say but there is a secular assumption that the beyond is continuous with what is known. That however is justified only in the near beyond. Regarding the far beyond science reveals neither whether there is one nor what may be in it. The source and sway of the secular assumption is that it tacitly provides the paradigm for vision and the facts seen.
It is logically possible and not scientifically or experientially impossible that the universe is the realization of all logical possibility—provided locally consistent wit science and experience.
Thus there is immense scope for exploration beyond the borders of science. Unfortunately, even the best of modern religions—while of symbolic value—tend to have dogma in regard.
Our means of exploration of the ‘beyond’, then are (a) the spirit of religion, (b) facts of Being and universe (including that they exist), (c) reason, e.g. as in rational science, philosophy, and metaphysics.
The narrative develops the nature and possibility of metaphysics, derives a universal metaphysics showing that the universe and so the individual is the realization of all possibility, shows what limits stand in the way of realization, and develops a program of realization. The Aim of The Way, its practicality and meaning made possible by the metaphysics, is stated in the next section.
The actual development has been iterative—extended over many years, much study and reflection, and much experience. In the beginning my aim was simply to explore the world via ideas, experience, and action.
At the core of the ideas is a worldview called the universal metaphysics. It is essential to the development.
It is crucial for the reader to understand that
1. The worldview is demonstrated rather than posited or merely plausible.
2. The meaning of the term ‘metaphysics’ as used here is defined and developed. The demonstration shows the possibility of metaphysics in this sense; this possibility is further illuminated and arguments against the possibility of metaphysics addressed and rebutted.
3. The worldview is shown (a) internally or logically consistent and (b) consistent with what is valid in other worldviews, especially those from metaphysics, science, and religion.
4. The universe revealed by the universal metaphysics is far greater than the standard pictures from science, religion, and prior metaphysics. This point is crucial. Without comprehending and absorbing it, the reader will have blinders on with regard to the developed account of the universe and human being in relation to it. In fact what is revealed is limitlessly greater than the standard views. For a preview of the revealed universe see some consequences of the fundamental principle. It is important to note that these consequences are but a beginning to what is revealed by the universal metaphysics and the revelation, demonstrated of course, continues through the entire narrative.
5. Among the sources of the common illusion of the more or less completeness of our standard views are (a) that when we are brought up in those views, they contribute not only to what we truly seen but falsely to what we can see; and (b) the deceptions of the linguistic and symbolic ability—that the ability to talk of something in language or concepts suggests to many that we are talking of something real.
6. Since Marx we have been concerned that our philosophy should be not just about knowing the world but about changing the world. This characterizes a fair amount of twentieth and twentyfirst century thought. When applied reductively to general metaphysics and philosophy, as it frequently is, this is severely disabling. This is because (a) general thought conducted without specific direction toward action, is ultimately a most powerful implement in action; (b) the present development reveals ideas that show their own incompleteness without and need for continuity with action; (c) this attitude toward general thought is not reductive and does not eliminate or require that there be no end directed thought; but it does require that the end directed approach also be non-reductive. The case is not one of either / or as so many critical reductive theories are presented. Also, the notion that action and knowledge are already co-immanent is already given—and known, e.g. as in ‘Truth is the beginning of every good to the Gods, every good to man’, Plato; and ‘The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them’, Alfred North Whitehead in Adventures of Ideas.
7. The preceding criticism, it may be noted, is a general criticism of critical and skeptical thought that self truncates at its end, that is not self critical, that makes of itself a positive way of thought, and is not seen as a means to empower and develop truth in imaginative thought. Historical examples are logical positivism, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s negation of philosophy in his Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus, and the post modern critique of ‘grand narratives’. Let us look at the latter critique. It criticizes such systems as Hegel’s idealism on account of (a) their speculative nature, (b) the absence of demonstration, (c) the lack of local application, and (d) their historical failure (e.g. the failure of Marxism), (e) the generalization, especially encouraged by post-war European nihilism, that all such systems must be unfounded, (f) the tacit position that the universal and the local are exclusive, (g) the tacit position that the ‘local’ alone is meaningful, (h) the tacit position that the local alone is useful, and therefore (i) the tacit position that the universal is distorted and cannot contribute to the local. The present development is a rebuttal to these negative attitudes toward the universal; and it shows the essential mesh of the local and universal; and the immense superiority of this mesh over either the local or the universal in isolation.
The Way of Being is dedicated to shared discovery and realization of the highest immediate and ultimate aims of Being.
The AIM OF THE WAY OF BEING is that of LIVing WELL—first to live a good life in this world and second to discover and live the BEST POSSIBLE LIFE or GREATEST ACHIEVABLE LIFE in the UNIVERSE OF ALL BEING.
1. The Way is to be understood as an ACTIVE ENDEAVOR—as an attempt to find and follow a MEANINGFUL LIFEWAY: an approximation, at least, to the greatest possible life.
2. Meaningful and best possible have meaning and can be designed and evaluated only in terms of a WORLDVIEW—what we will call a metaphysics. We will find that the standard SECULAR WORLDVIEW(s) and TRANSSECULAR WORLDVIEW(s) or SUPRASECULAR WORLDVIEW(s), whatever their virtues, are very lacking. Therefore a preliminary endeavor will be to find and develop a satisfactory worldview—one that, so far as may emerge, is an ultimate view. That is the goal of the first main part of the document on Ideas; The Way itself is taken up in the second part on Becoming (Realization).
3. It is important that the worldview—a metaphysics—to be developed is an ULTIMATE WORLDVIEW in a definite sense and goes far beyond the STANDARD WORLDVIEW(s) above. It is most likely that the reader will be unfamiliar with this view and at least some of its concepts. It cannot be emphasized too much that unless forewarned most readers will, because of their standard orientation, will have difficulty that a new world view is being presented. They may feel that science (or religion) have essentially revealed all. However, this will be explicitly shown false.
4. They may feel that the standard views are being negated. However, the new view does not negate the standard views; rather it shows their limits and integrates what is valid in them to the new. They may wonder whether the new view is internally consistent—whether it violates reason. The new view will not just be shown consistent but to have reason immanent in it. But this will challenge the reader’s intuition. Therefore the readers should be ready for REEDUCATION OF INTUITION and of their CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK—implicit and or explicit—of understanding of the world. However, they need not and should not abandon what is valid in their current worldview. They will of course need to negotiate the path of integration of the new and old views and the narrative will guide that process.
5. In order to digest and understand the development it will be critical that the reader follow the meanings of terms as introduced here. They will need to suspend their received meanings. They will need to understand that for continuity, many enhanced concepts will have ‘old’ names. They must be prepared for shocks to their intuition—to the fact that the cherished notions that they may have had to labor to acquire (for the secular) or have faith (for the religious) are, though adequate in their own realms, immensely inadequate in the universal. And if their knowledge is built into their psyche they may have to undergo cognitive fracture before building up again.
The Way begins in the immediate—in THIS WORLD.
It includes the HIGHEST DISCOVERY and HIGHEST REALIZATION for Being, especially individuals and civilizations in the universe.
The interactive MEANS are IDEAS, PRACTICE, and ACTION. or IDEAS-PRACTICE-ACTION. Development and justification of the aim and means are given later.
The VEHICLE is Being—especially the INDIVIDUAL and CIVILIZATION.
The plan of the narrative is to first build up a system of ideas and then to develop this underpinning into a way of realization. It is not the goal to develop detailed specific objectives. Rather the narrative is about the general aspects of intrinsic or inner realization and instrumental or outer realization. The narrative provides a framework for the enterprise of ideas and action and so of specific goals.
An outline of the work follows.
The Dedication and aim are first stated above.
A rough division of the content of the Ideas is that Being sets up the main concepts, Metaphysics develops the fundamental theory, Cosmology develops and explores consequences, and Agency is about the nature and role of agents in the universe. Along the way there is a focus on (i) what is conceptually useful to understanding and (ii) what is applicable to Becoming.
The part on Becoming discusses The Aim of Being (stated in the Prologue), showing that the aim of The Way is the aim of Being. Then The Way of Being takes up the question of attitude and explicit approaches to realization. The main topics in this part are the everyday and universal process templates to realization. Finally The Path looks to past, present, and future for personal and universal process.
The answers here must be incomplete; they are elaborated in the main text.
What is the outer boundary of our Being?
We will find that the universe is the realization of all possibility.
What is all possibility?
The concept and measure of all possibility are developed in the essay. The concepts of Being, experience, and reason are central to the development.
What are some important examples of what is to be realized?
The universe has identity; its identity and manifestation have no limit as to kind, extent, and duration; individual identity ultimately identical to universal identity which is achieved via process and communication (communion), in which individuals are expressions of universal disposition from which they come and to which they return.
What are the ways and means of achievement
It is achieved amid ordinary life. We already have the potential for this awareness. This essay develops some ways. It draws from tradition. And it builds on tradition, exploring two necessary complements: inner and outer Being which we might call awareness and manifestation. What the sages have called ‘ultimate’ is this inner awareness in its fullness; which is not the ultimate but on the way; which, however, gives meaning to and illuminates the path of action and becoming.
The means are inner—ideas, and outer—transformation of Being.
But is this not an absurd contradiction of common experience?
For the universal metaphysics that all possibility is realized requires the fact and being of our cosmos and our experience of the real.
If we think of that experience as a kind of normal experience the universal metaphysics places it in and relates it to the larger context. For example, except for the logically necessary and impossible, what is normally experienced as necessary and impossible are but contingent (e.g. very probable or improbable).
Would not final realization of a universal ultimate be the end to all meaning?
No, for there is no final realization.
There are peaks but then dissolution. And, while there is repetition, there is eternal newness. And while there are peaks there is also pain and challenge—and ignorance and illumination. The challenge and reward of meaning is eternal.
What does tradition teach us?
The first traditions are the primal in which we do not yet have the luxury of separating the ‘secular’ and ‘trans-secular’; each infuses the other. Despite its difficulties it is a kind of paradise relative to the insecurities of the secular – trans-secular divide.
The first traditions are followed by an intensification into the trans-secular and then a split into trans-secular and secular.
The trans-secular religious presents us with a picture of this life and beyond which may be naïve or sophisticated but whose real meaning is symbolic. The sophisticated rational-emotive side blends with metaphysics. The secular emphasizes the mundane including rational-empirical science.
What are the limitations of the standard secular and trans-secular traditions?
The essential limit is that for theoretical or circumstantial reasons the conventional limits are seen as ultimate. For example, where vision might be infinite and limitless, even rationally so, as we will show, we are presented from religion and theology with a dogma or speculation cast as logic (the symbolic is present but silent which mutes potential). The secular vision extols the practical and the empirical relative to which the default and sometimes dogmatic view is that its limits are the limits of being and universe.
What does the universal metaphysics show?
It shows us a full rational-feeling-empirical view of the universe beyond secular and trans-secular dreams and approaches to negotiate the universe so revealed.
What is the significance of linguistic meaning for the metaphysics?
Comment. If meaning is treated elsewhere in the document, this section may be deleted.
Care with linguistic meaning is important in all contexts; in very limited contexts such meaning may be defined by use.
However, for any context that goes beyond the most limited, care with specifying meaning—perhaps rooted in use—is essential.
Particularly, given two contexts, say two systems of metaphysics, a single term, e.g. ‘universe’, may have different meanings and so not translate without modification from one system to the other.
SMALL CAPITALS are employed to point out main occurrences of important terms in the formal or METAPHYSICAL LANGUAGE of the narrative a phrase in red small capitals indicates a DEFINITION. There will usually but not always be a single main occurrence (one exception will be where there is an alternate development of the ideas). The development depends critically on the chosen system of meaning and it is therefore essential that readers follow the defined meanings (which have been analyzed for mutual consistency and completeness relative to ‘all Being’ in outline though of course not in detail). The main occurrences are typically but not always the first occurrences.
Two terms have capitalized and lower case forms to mark significant distinctions—Being versus a being or beings; and Logic versus logic or logics. The distinctions regarding Logic will be marked only when they are not obvious from the context.
A more complete and formal discussion of meaning is taken up in Experience, meaning, and reason.
What is the status of foundation of the narrative?
A pure-pragmatic metaphysics
The universal metaphysics begins as an abstract framework. The abstraction is sufficient that its concepts are known perfectly. Among these is the concept of logic. Consequently the abstract or pure framework is perfectly founded.
The pure framework shows the realization of all possibility—but not how the details of the possibilities are to be located in our field of empirical knowledge and action.
However, the pure framework also shows that perfect detailed knowledge is neither possible nor desirable but that local pragmatic knowledge is sufficient to the purpose of realization (which does not of course negate local science or local needs for precision).
Thus the dual framework, the pure and the pragmatic, is perfect in relation to the ultimate and demonstrated goal.
Self-foundational nature of reason adequate to the ultimate
Thus, in terms of the goal, reason itself is adequately founded.
Further, the metaphysics shows that there is no ultimate foundation of reason outside reason.
Practically, of course, reason is ever under improvement. However there is no inaccessible area of reason.
Intuition and formal knowledge
Since what can be said in language is countable, what can be known in intuition may well be without representation in a fixed language. There is no process limit but at any time there is a limit of language. There is a communication and interaction of intuition and formal representation that is greater than either alone. But it cannot be claimed that either is superior to the other. And it is clear that the role of intuition is not limited to suggesting ‘proof’. In so far as proof is available, well and good. Otherwise, proof is an aid to intuition.
But if we think of intuition as the entire form of conception (including perception) for a being then INTUITION includes symbols and symbolic systems and so also the formal as well as the empirical. INTUITION INCLUDES SYMBOLIC PRECISION.
Issue of proof of the metaphysics
There is a question about a pivotal proof—the proof of the existence of the void. This proof may be doubted?
Since the proof is critical, what should be the response to the doubt?
Note first that the existence of the void and the universal metaphysics are self-consistent and consistent with all experience. Therefore to grant existence of the void is not to venture into the absurd.
Further, there are very good reasons, in addition to formal proof, to hold that the void exists. Therefore to grant existence of the void, is not to venture into the realm of the improbable.
Meaningful goals and allocation of resources
Let us then survey what is meaningful to us based on what we see from the universal metaphysics, pure and pragmatic, and common knowledge and experience. Action in ‘this world’ is significant (but note that this world is not a definite world and given the universal metaphysics it definitely extends, if we so choose, to the entire universe). Action in ‘the world beyond’ (also a matter of convention), the ultimate world, is also significant.
Now the relative importance of those two worlds is not a given. It depends on the temperament of the individual. The intuitive-idealist will find the universal important—but note that they do not find the immediate unimportant; and also note that the universal metaphysics shows the reality of all logical idealism. The sensing-pragmatist finds this world important—but does not find the universal unimportant (in both cases there are exceptions at the pathological extreme).
Therefore the real debate to be had is not on whether to focus only on one of the ‘worlds’ but on the relative amounts of public energy to devote (private energies being private concerns except where they cause direct harm). That would be a good focus of discussion.
From the great value of the ultimate, the optimum allocation of resources will depend upon individual and societal values but it is clear that the optimal will include resources for both the immediate and the ultimate.
A significant principle of action
Now regarding the universal metaphysics, if we do not find ‘proof’ persuasive, then from its consistency and probability, we can choose to regard it as significant principle of action.
Why Being? In searching beyond our world and what we know, we begin with the thought that our common views of the way the world is are rough and incomplete. The way Being is used here makes it an excellent vehicle for a picture of the world to emerge with experience and reflection rather than imposed at the outset. But it is valid to ask whether any concept or system of concepts can be adequate to this aim. It is in the spirit of the present meaning of Being that this will emerge with the narrative rather than be presumed at the beginning. After this emergence, the significance of Being will be reviewed in Potency of the idea of Being.
The following section introduces fundamental concepts of Being, all Being—the universe, a being—part, and the void—null being or null part.
System of ideas, ostensive definition, definition in terms of the givens, given (the), real (the), all, part, null, what is there, difference, sameness, what is there, difference, sameness, verb to be, is, exist, tense, place, number, entity, interaction, relation, change, process, quality, property, gender, matter, mind, abstract, inclusive, correspondence, concrete, local, existence, Being, kind, neutrality of Being, universe, experience, subjective awareness, consciousness, a being, instantiation, entity, process, interaction, be-ing, becoming, power, relative power, relative universe, potential, nonbeing, void, the; null being.
Summary of key terms
The aim of being, sharing, knowledge, realization, the immediate, ‘this life and beyond’, the ultimate.
Given, ostensive definition, conceptual definition.
‘What is there’, existence, being, neutrality of being, power.
Difference, sameness, absence.
Universe, beings, the void.
The SYSTEM OF IDEAS will be founded in named givens, i.e. in OSTENSIVE DEFINITION; and DEFINITION IN TERMS OF THE GIVENS.
On THE GIVEN—a given is sufficiently FUNDAMENTAL—elementary and evident—that it may be specified by ostension, i.e. by NAMING and pointing out (the name itself may function as the pointer).
Insofar as the role of givens is independent of meaning or semantic content, they may be seen as undefined terms in an axiomatic system.
You may want to read about Wilfrid SELLARS’ ‘myth of the given’, e.g. at Wilfrid Sellars (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). The analysis presented here acknowledges the significance of Sellars’ critique. However, the present analysis shows that that critique, like many, while significant, should not be universalized. Within the ‘context’ of the more universal picture of the present narrative, ‘the significant critiques’ play useful local roles.
The system is INCLUSIVE of THE REAL in its entirety via the concepts of ALL (universe), PART (of the universe), and NULL (the void); and, as will be explained, the possible.
The system will be inclusive and precise; this is a source of its conceptual power.
It is PRECISE in a correspondence sense via NEUTRAL or ABSTRACT use.
The system begins with the abstract but will later, starting in Metaphysics, the abstract frame CONCRETE ideas and the joint abstract-concrete system will be adequate to the aim. This adequate system will also be perfect a joint correspondence-pragmatic sense (to described and justified).
Being, universe, void—fundamental ideas of experience
1. ‘WHAT IS THERE’ is a fundamental named given. DIFFERENCE is a named given and SAMENESS is the absence of difference.
1.1. The VERB TO BE, IS has a number of uses. In ‘what is there’ or ‘that which is’ it marks existence—to say of things, concrete or abstract, that they are is to say that they EXIST. In ‘is a fundamental named given’ the verb to be marks equality. Here the equality is established by definition—‘is’ is used to mark definitions; it may also be established by inspection or demonstration.
1.1.1. The use of the verb to be here is generic—e.g., neutral to TENSE, PLACE, and NUMBER. That is, ‘is’ may designate ‘are here’, ‘was there’, and ‘will be everywhere’. That is, we need not distinguish the forms ‘is’, ‘are’, ‘was’, ‘will be’ and so on.
1.1.2. It is similarly neutral to ENTITY, INTERACTION or RELATION, CHANGE or PROCESS, QUALITY or PROPERTY, and GENDER; and to kinds such as MATTER and MIND.
1.1.3. In the following the distinctions among the uses of ‘is’ will be remarked only when it is not apparent from context.
1.1.4. The initial ABSTRACT-INCLUSIVE-CORRESPONDENCE precision will enable demonstration that the universe is ultimate with ultimate realization for all beings; the abstraction is it is not a limitation—it is later complemented by CONCRETE-LOCAL concepts adequate by pragmatic criteria (far from being rejection, this includes useful knowledge of tradition, including science). Further, in terms of our aim, the correspondence and the pragmatic merge seamlessly; the former illuminating the latter and the latter being the best instrument in achieving the ULTIMATE that the abstract will reveal.
1.2. EXISTENCE and BEING are terms for the property of what is there. Existing and having Being are the same.
1.2.1. If something is there in some range of sameness and difference and their absence, then it has Being. Capitalization will distinguish ‘Being’ from the terms ‘a being’ and ‘beings’.
1.2.2. Attempts to identify a real behind Being or behind the real are without significance—for Being already has the significance of the real.
1.2.3. Being names no special KIND—special kinds are introduced later (it will be seen that there is no universal substance or kind in the traditional senses of ‘substance’ and ‘kind’).
1.2.4. Being empowers existence as real without further qualification—in the NEUTRALITY OF BEING it functions as a symbol for the unknown. Being to metaphysics is as the symbol to algebra.
1.2.5. The power of the concept of Being is the neutrality of ‘what is there’ in which there is no a priori commitment to kinds such as substance, process, and spatiotemporality. It is essential to project no other role, e.g. historical or ideological, on Being—but other roles may be introduced via kinds of Being or ancillary concepts.
1.3. The UNIVERSE is all Being or existence—over all sameness, difference, and their absence.
1.3.1. There is exactly one universe.
1.3.2. The inclusivity of Being is ONTOLOGICAL.
If there is a ‘multiverse’, if there are worlds of spiritual beings, if reality is essentially material or essentially mental, if there are worlds within worlds and spirit worlds barely in contact with ours—these are all part of the universe in the sense the term is used here.
It is crucial to recognize that the ‘universe’ is often used in a range of different senses. One common but different sense is that of our empirical cosmos (and there are scientists, other academics, and non-academics that insist that this is ‘the universe’). A more inclusive one is the multiverse in which each ‘universe’ has its own set of fundamental constants. But this too is limited—why should the laws be at all like ours? There is no reason to think that the universe is quantum mechanical or relativistic as we understand those terms, even though they are clearly excellent local empirical-conceptual approximations. Are abstract objects part of the universe (present sense)? As we will see the one universe contains all abstract and concrete objects and what is more it unifies them. That is, we will find, as suggested in the prologue that the universe is the universe of all possibility. What about mathematical objects? These are to be included because they are among the abstract. But certainly not all particular (not concrete) objects need be mathematical in any formal sense—there may well be realms not amenable to mathematics as we know it. How about logical objects? Though we will need to specify the meaning of logic carefully, we will find the greatest possible and the logical universes to be identical.
EXPERIENCE, SUBJECTIVE AWARENESS, or CONSCIOUSNESS and MEANING are implicit above.
These important topics—the concepts and their objects—are not developed in brief versions of this work; in longer versions they are treated in separate sections; this particular development is intended for intermediate length versions.
Experience or consciousness—perception, conception, feeling, emotion, and agency—are later identified with power, to have an effect. It will follow from later development that experience and power are the same kind.
Experience will be seen to be an essence of Being.
1.3.3. The inclusivity of Being is EPISTEMOLOGICAL.
1.4. A BEING is the universe or part of it.
1.4.1. A being as a being has no characteristics that define a special kind.
1.4.2. Being is not a being or beings (plural): rather, a being is an INSTANTIATION of Being—i.e., a being has Being or beings have Being. With sufficient abstraction, though, the distinction is empty, as are other distinctions, e.g. state, process, quality, gender and more.
Thus a being as a being has no special characteristics that define special kinds of Being. Special kinds are of essential interest but it is essential to defer their introduction.
In virtue of abstraction Being is indifferent to the distinctions above. In the sufficiently abstract, there is Being; there are beings; beings are not Being but have Being; at greater abstraction beings and Being are not distinct; with sufficient abstraction there is only experience.
The abstract conceptions of Being and a being introduces an algebraic character to the study of Being and universe. It empowers the means of answer to the question of what has Being, which is a fundamental problem if not the fundamental problem of metaphysics. The idea of Being is instrumental in addressing this question of Being. Is substance the answer? Substance is an abstract posit—it may ‘exist’ but it is not a final answer. If something never has an effect existence neither obtains nor fails to obtain but is without meaning. This is one motive to the concept of power introduced below.
1.4.3. Thus Being derives from the generic verb to be above a neutrality as extreme as possible while still referring at all—while referring to the distinction between existence and non-existence. On the other hand, a being, while not as neutral is still neutral to ENTITY, PROCESS (change), INTERACTION (relation) but does distinguish this being from that one. To emphasize entity we will write BE-ING and for process we write BECOMING. But, more abstractly, we recognize entity, process, and interaction as forms of Being.
1.5. POWER, the ability to have an effect is the measure of Being.
1.5.1. A being that has no power for or direct or indirect effect on a second being—an individual or the universe—may be said but not known to exist for the second being; however, it has and can have no significance for the second being.
Power is an effective as an approach to the question of What has Being?
As cause and effect are interactions (which require relation), the universe—all Being—is neither created nor caused. It lies outside the ideas of interaction, relation, cause, and effect.
1.5.2. RELATIVE POWER is ability to have an effect on a particular being or group of beings. The system of power for a group defines the RELATIVE UNIVERSE for that group.
1.5.3. The relative universe is effectively the universe. Later, we see that there are no non-interactors and so the relative universe(s) and the universe are the same.
1.5.4. The power of manifestation is POTENTIAL. Potential is not outside the universe—it has Being.
1.5.5. If NONBEING refers to a being that is not manifest in a phase of the universe, then nonbeing has Being.
1.5.6. Potential, where it may obtain, may (and will be found) in general be found to be non traditional and non local causation.
1.6. THE VOID is the NULL BEING or absence of Being.
The fundamental concepts so far are sameness and difference, Being or existence, power or measure of Being, experience and consciousness (both introduced formally), the universe or all Being, a being or part of all Being, potential and nonbeing, and the void or the null being. Of these, only the void does not clearly have Being. It is introduced here but its existence and nature will be demonstrated and developed later in Metaphysics.
So far, the system exhibits bits and pieces of explanation. However, to develop it further something more is needed. We would like that ‘more’ to incorporate the power of our traditional systems including the modern and we would also like it to go beyond—to touch the ultimate, perhaps. We will find that the idea of possibility is a vehicle for this so far vague aim.
In longer developments we will first take a detour through experience, meaning, and reason (in alternate developments the detour might come before the formal beginning of the ideas of the present section).
Key terms are in the individual sections below.
In Experience, meaning, and reason the focus is on the aware or sentient aspect of Being. The following critical points are brought out here and subsequently.
Though experience is often regarded as having secondary Being—as a lower grade of the real—and sometimes as having no Being at all, the experienced is not primary over experience itself, for note that experience is experienced. The experienced can be seen as an aspect of experience but of course not a mere aspect-as-in-some-solipsisms. Experience can be seen as a medium of Being.
Prior to evaluation of concept and language meaning a clear conception of such meaning is necessary. Only then can an empiricist critique of the existence of meaning be discussed. The concept of meaning here is one that shows the existence and critical importance of meaning.
Though the origins of reason may seem opaque, there is no absolute a priori to experience, and no surely opaque element of reason.
In its first meaning here, experience will be subjective awareness.
This meaning is repeated below.
Experience, subjective awareness, consciousness, real world, metaphorical external world, doubt, subject, experiencer, object, experienced, world, bound experience, perception, feeling, perception-feeling, body, free experience, conception, emotion, conception-emotion, active experience, volition, citta, manas, vijñāna, mind-body, concrete object, abstract object, materialism, monism, strict materialism, cause, effect, affect, dualism, substance dualism.
Summary of key terms
Experience, subjective awareness, consciousness, real world, experiencer, experienced, world, body, citta.
Introduction to experience
2. In its first meaning here, EXPERIENCE will be SUBJECTIVE AWARENESS and is of the same kind as CONSCIOUSNESS.
There is a NIHILISM that denies that there is experience. However, it is a fundamental named given for to doubt experience is experience. It has an ontological priority over matter as its seat or mind as its place. To see this is to reject any—nihilist—materialism that negates experience or its powers. There is experience of experience; and there is experience as-if of a REAL WORLD which includes but is not identical to the METAPHORICAL EXTERNAL WORLD. While consciousness is experience, the term experience suggests an experiencer and an experienced.
It is conceivable that there is nothing in the world but experience—in a naïve form this is SOLIPSISM. However, if we map experience we find that the names for its aspects and regions are roughly the names we use for the as-if real world. But we could also see that world as a field of experience with individuals as concentrations of experience. We ascribe reality to the former because it is effective: what is called ‘I’ has powers but only limited powers of knowing and acting. We ascribe reality to the latter as an abstract description (made concrete later). With appropriate interpretations, the two descriptions are equivalent. What this says is not that there is more than one description of the real but that equivalent equally good descriptions or conceptions are part of the real.
The SKEPTICISM of nihilism and of solipsism have been used to clarify and establish the nature of experience. DOUBT is essential in arguing that there are experience, SUBJECT (EXPERIENCER), and OBJECT (EXPERIENCED, the real world). Of all philosophers, this section owes the most to Descartes for analysis of existence; it also owes to Wittgenstein for pointing out that an alternate description often masquerades as factual difference.
2.1. The WORLD is the universe-as-experienced-by-the-individual or culture; we have just seen that at root, world and universe are the same.
Kinds of experience
2.2. Kinds of experience are free vs. bound, intensity of feeling—imperative to neutral, bodily (inner) vs. environmental, iconic vs. symbolic, receptive vs. active. The kinds include:
2.2.1. BOUND EXPERIENCE—PERCEPTION-FEELING, as if of an object and or the BODY felt real,
2.2.2. 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, and
2.2.3. ACTIVE EXPERIENCE with VOLITION—which identifies action and the ACTIVE INDIVIDUAL in contrast to the rest of the world.
2.2.4. To talk of experience is not to exclude the world or the body of the individual. 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.
In Buddhism and Hinduism, there are three aspects of mind—citta or heart-mind or the emotive side of mind, MANAS—the intellect, and VIJÑĀNA—‘wisdom’
More specifically in Hinduism vijñāna is knowledge of the ultimate or that results from dwelling in the ultimate.
I choose citta as the representative of all aspects of mind because it is underemphasized in western systems but is crucial in itself but also in interaction with manas and vijñāna. In this sense citta could be seen as MIND-BODY or body-mind.
We can define a CONCRETE OBJECT as the object of a percept (or bound citta). Earlier, we considered abstractions from concrete objects. We could regard these as abstract objects, metaphorically speaking. However, we can also define an ABSTRACT OBJECT as the object of a free concept (free citta).
We will later see that abstract objects are real; that abstract objects lie in the one universe that the distinction between the abstract and the concrete lies only in the means of knowing them and is not intrinsic; and we will develop a symmetric and unified theory of abstract and concrete objects; and the variety of all objects far exceeds expectation.
Subject and object
We have seen that experience and so consciousness, subject (experiencer), and object (experienced) have Being.
Can we regard subject or object as fundamental? That is, we are enquiring into the problems of mind and matter.
The treatment is not at a point where it can make a commitment to substance or otherwise but we can analyze some possibilities regarding substance.
On MATERIALISM, a MONISM, there is only ‘matter’ or object. STRICT MATERIALISM invokes the further idea that mind—experience, consciousness—are no part of matter.
On strict materialism the occurrence of experience is MAGIC. Therefore emergence at some level of complexity is magic; an ANALOGY to emergence from matter to a material system is a disanalogy because there is no emergence of substance. Therefore the condition of strictness must be jettisoned if materialism is to be satisfactory. Now experience (mind) has three possible sources—internal to the organism, external, and magic. We eliminate magic for obvious reasons and the external because it does not directly pertain to function. Therefore the elements of the experiential must be among the known or unknown elements of the object (matter) and from the nature of experience its elements must be relations among those material elements. That is, there is an emergence in higher organisms but what emerges is higher level experience or consciousness and not the elemental forms (mind) themselves. This is a monism but material—or mental—only on an open interpretation of the terms ‘mind’ and ‘matter’. Experience is a form of power—it is the total of subjective states associated directly with environmental CAUSE and EFFECT and indirectly with internal causal processing. Those states could be called states of AFFECT but to do so would be more inclusive than the common use of ‘affective state’. We could identify such states as citta.
Given substance, is this a monism or DUALISM? Two kinds of apparent SUBSTANCE DUALISM seem possible. First, experiential phenomena are the result of something non-object (non-matter) like that interacts with matter to make the organism. But this is essentially the above case of monism. In a second situation, some minds migrate to our immediate world from elsewhere but unless this is the monistic case then, since the form of mind must be material, it would be an other kind of matter different from the local but this does not seem to make sense for it represents something without power or at most ‘spirits’ or ‘ghosts’. These are of course possibilities; later we will see an extension of these ideas as real and as significant to a complete view of our Being—what we are—and destiny.
Later, we find that there can be multiple experiential kinds, each an as-if monism, each minimally interacting with the others and each, perhaps, associated with a distinct cosmos but in the most common cases, in a given cosmos, the situation in a stable phase of a cosmos is likely close to monism. Entire systems of this kind will be found in give and take with a transient background that is also in give and take with the void.
Linguistic meaning, metaphysical meaning, existential meaning, significant meaning, meaning of being, metaphysical language, formal language, ordinary language, referential meaning, coherence criteria, concept meaning, correspondence criteria, atomic concepts, referential linguistic meaning, use, meaning determiner, formal language, discrete language.
Summary of key terms
Concept meaning, linguistic meaning, referential linguistic meaning, coherence criteria, correspondence criteria, use, meaning determiner.
Introduction to meaning
2.3. Care with LINGUISTIC MEANING is essential to careful thought in all but the most rigidly defined contexts. It is critical in metaphysics which is the ultimate open ‘context’. What is needed for the development is referential meaning, i.e. referential linguistic meaning.
In the open context, including metaphysics, meaning cannot be implicit or imported from a limited context without confusion.
2.3.1. The meanings of terms will be critical to the development—care with linguistic meaning will be essential but of course not everything to METAPHYSICAL MEANING and EXISTENTIAL MEANING—i.e., SIGNIFICANT MEANING or the MEANING OF BEING or phrases such as the meaning of life.
It is critical to attend to the meanings as introduced here and to not project other meanings upon the formal development.
Referential meaning will be seen to be everything to metaphysical meaning and existential meaning if we regard referential meaning as symbol-concept-object-relations. The question regarding the adequacy of meaning is not whether meaning alone adequate—on limited notions of meaning it is not—but What is a broad concept and theory of meaning adequate to the metaphysics and epistemology of the narrative’? Below we develop such a theory of meaning; and a corollary to it will be an adequate theory and accomplishment of metaphysics and epistemology.
Comment. Edit the following paragraph at the source.
Comment. Style KeyTerm is reserved for repeated key terms.
ORDINARY LANGUAGE terms, used for general discussion and to talk about the metaphysical language, will not be in small capitals. I thought to have another level, a meta-language but found it redundant because ideas, language, and epistemology are also metaphysical. Thus the two ‘languages’ employed here are the metaphysical language and ordinary language.
Two terms have capitalized and lower case forms to mark significant distinctions—Being versus a being or beings; and Logic versus logic or logics. The distinctions regarding Logic will be marked only when they are not obvious from the context.
Meaning and language
2.4. Here, meaning is REFERENTIAL MEANING, which is adequate for the metaphysics to be developed, and for which correspondence may be perfect or pragmatic. The pragmatic subsumes COHERENCE CRITERIA, which it will not be necessary to use explicitly in this essay.
2.4.1. CONCEPT MEANING is a concept as mental content (citta) and its object (indifferent to sing. vs pl.). When sufficiently abstract reference may be perfect according to perfect CORRESPONDENCE CRITERIA but otherwise pragmatic. That is, concepts may be effectively ATOMIC CONCEPTS when sufficient structure is omitted in abstraction; a LOGICAL ATOMISM is possible in the perfect correspondence case—here we are developing such an atomistic framework for the pragmatic (citta) case.
To illustrate, consider the concept of ‘universe’. If it refers to the universe in all its detail, it is not atomistic. However, if it refers to all existence distinguishing it only from non-existence. It is a conceptual atom. And it is this atom that is part of the perfect correspondence in which the concept ‘universe’ refers to the actual universe. Is it superfluous to have a concept ‘universe’ and the thing universe? No, for without the concept an object cannot be identified: imagine, for example, if someone yells ‘sher’ while you are in the forest. You have no reaction. However, if they had yelled ‘tiger’ you might have panicked. That’s because you associate the word ‘tiger’ with a conceptual picture of a tiger. Now ‘sher’ is the Hindi word for tiger but you do not make the connection: the concept is essential even though it is not always efficient to be explicit about it. That is the concept is essential if a pure sign such as ‘tiger’ or ‘sher’ are to have meaning. There’s a further consideration. Under the concept of ‘universe’ you can entertain square-circles and then, realizing that that is a contradiction you can tell that the real universe does not have any. This clarifies that you can if you wish include ‘square circles’ in ‘universe’ but it makes no material difference and therefore you are also free to omit ‘square circles’ from ‘universe’. This approach to meaning also clarifies what a non existent object is. If ‘Sherlock Holmes’ is defined as the person in the Arthur Conan Doyle writings describing a literary British detective, then Sherlock Holmes does (did) not exist.
2.4.2. REFERENTIAL LINGUISTIC MEANING associates signs with concept-objects; pure signs have no intrinsic meaning; structure contributes to compound sign, e.g. sentence, meaning. This concept of meaning is essential to its possibility, clarity, adequacy, and definiteness. Without the concept, reference is impossible; even seemingly well formed compound reference may be indefinite, empty, or paradoxical. This is crucial later in defining Logic; its neglect results in many semantic and logical paradoxes.
2.4.3. USE–the milieu of language—is the first source or MEANING DETERMINER of ordinary language meaning; it may be stabilized and conventionalized in the common LEXICA and prescribed-semi-logical SYNTAX (pl.). But the ordinary is far from ordinary and so the single-multiple milieu, conventional-realist, fluid-stable, atomic-diffuse, unique-multiple and family nature of ordinary language meaning. Also, the meaning of a compound sign is usually more than the sum of the parts and might have little to do with the parts. We have no option but to begin in the immediate and so we use ordinary language to build up a metaphysical language system—terms introduced in small capitals. One aim of a metaphysical (formal) language is to overcome the difficulties of ordinary language—e.g. as in mathematics (the formal case). Here, we should not wish to be as strictly formal as in logics and mathematics there is, I find, significant achievement. I do not know what the ultimate achievement or improvements may be.
Via abstraction there is, in discussing experience and meaning, the beginning of a metaphysics—a METAPHYSICAL SYSTEM—of precise reference (the atomic frame). This is crucial to meaning and precision. It is essential for understanding that it be followed and not confused with ordinary or other special meaning such as in science or other metaphysical systems.
Because the present work is not, say, mathematics it is likely impossible to not have nuances of meaning and play. But I hope that the introduction of metaphysical language introduces reasonable general consistency, careful consistency where it is needed—the ‘pure’ metaphysics, allows play, disallows variant interpretations but allows play with those interpretations.
Language and reality
2.5. Language—FORMAL LANGUAGE at any rate—is DISCRETE LANGUAGE; its elementary signs (alphabet, phonemes) are finite in number; and the number of possible (and syntactical) combinations at most discretely (countably) infinite.
Thus formal systems have certain inadequacies in capturing an abstract andor concrete reality.
These difficulties arise because of mismatch within the formal—these are inconsistencies; because of mismatch between the formal and the real—these have to do with ‘shape’; and because of issues of size—the formal map is smaller than the real.
But real knowledge, e.g. intuition, may be able to capture the real. Thus, ultimately, we may know more than we know formally and, perhaps, the precision of the formal may be ultimately misleading.
Meaning in this essay
In introducing terms here, it not be necessary to say, for example, ‘here, reason is establishment of truth’. We will simply say ‘reason is establishment of truth’ and we will not invariably add the reminder that ‘it is not to be associated with other uses’.
The meaning of terms is and should be related to historical and modern uses but is as defined here. For the defined terms of the narrative, the metaphysical language and so on, an attempt at precision and context independence is made. The system of terms also has meaning that is revealed in the metaphysics and so on. It is crucial that the reader recognize this and not impose imported meaning. This quite valid for I endeavor to be internally and externally consistent and I do not impose my meaning on extra-narrative use. However, I do claim a valid and potent system that should at minimum be informative for extra-narrative—for the measure of a system of meaning should be primarily what it captures and secondarily the historical uses.
Reason, truth, knowledge, action, argument, rationality, fact, true fact, simple fact, compound fact, atomic fact, principles of reason, first principle, absolute a priori, reflexivity, methodological skepticism, observation, inference, observation, inference.
Summary of key terms
Reason, truth, action, argument, fact, principles of reason, absolute a priori, reflexivity, methodological skepticism, observation, inference.
What reason is
3. REASON is establishment of TRUTH (KNOWLEDGE) and is integral to ACTION Some related terms are ARGUMENT, logic, science, and RATIONALITY.
Reason is the means of reliable knowledge and action.
So as not to see reason as sterile, it is important to see that reason does not exclude any element of citta. To see that reason is rich and human, note that though it may be used with a sterile set of presumptions, it may be used only to exclude what is absurd and so to allow all richness of vision. We will chisel a view that is maximally rich, yet may be used with precision.
This will require that we do not alter the strict meaning of logic, especially in its modern use as deductive logic, in its domain of applicability. Yet we must also see logic in its larger context as synergic with all aspects of experience. Where it is necessary to specify what meaning we use, we will do so.
Reason and language
We saw that language is discrete. It may fail to capture on various accounts (some noted above) but especially on this account.
An advantage of language is its simplicity of form.
But the real is not necessarily discrete.
The real may be a mesh of discrete and continuous (e.g. bound vs. unbound quantum states).
Intuition—brain, if ‘continuous’ may be more effective in capture even though it seemingly lacks the definiteness of language.
But even if the definiteness of language (formal) is not illusory, the indefiniteness of intuition may be illusory and a seeming artifact of translation into language.
Are there non-discrete forms of language?
Truth and fact
3.1. The word FACT is sometimes used to refer to something that is postulated to have occurred or be correct.
3.1.1. If the fact did occur, then we say it is true or has truth. But usage sometimes conflates fact and ‘TRUE FACT’.
3.1.2. For the present purpose we will think of fact as true fact. To indicate that something is a fact that may be true we will call it a hypothesized or HYPOTHETICAL FACT.
3.1.3. A fact may be a SIMPLE FACT or a COMPOUND FACT. But it seems that ‘simple’ is relative. If a fact is elementary or not decomposable into to other facts it is an ATOMIC FACT.
It is not clear that there are concrete atomic facts but if there are it would give absolute meaning, at least in some cases, to the notions of simple and compound facts. However, it has been seen that there are effectively atomic facts by abstraction.
The discussion of simple and compound facts is continued below. We will see that there are some atomic facts but by abstraction rather than by non-decomposability.
Discovering reason and its principles
3.2. The PRINCIPLES OF REASON are open to discovery. As such there is no FIRST PRINCIPLE.
3.2.1. Principle 1. Begin in the present; no ABSOLUTE A PRIORI.
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 empowers foundations.
3.2.2. Principle 2. Reason and content are not distinct.
For reason is in the world and is therefore also content. Further, ground level content provides the examples upon which reason is discovered experimentally. And still further, therefore reason can also study itself—empirically and symbolically. I.e. there is such a thing as ‘meta-reason’ but because reason refers to no other arbiter of things, any meta-reason is part of reason.
3.2.3. Principle 3. Reason does not exclude the affective. Reason includes all elements of psyche or citta—reflexively (reflexivity is defined below).
This follows from the discussion of experience, meaning, and reason.
3.2.4. Principle 4. Practical principles of reason.
Perhaps the main practical principle is, rather than some Leibnizian formula, reason is established iteratively in practice.
But principles are already being established as in the foregoing sections—and in what follows.
An essential principle to be established is the identity of metaphysics and reason—see the chapter on metaphysics. We have seen why process and content should be inseparable—i.e. incompletely separable. However, once the universal metaphysics has been established the nature and truth of this will become clear.
Comment. My essay on argument develops an approach and lists a number of principles. However, a clear notion of reason is the best approach to principles.
3.2.5. Principle 5. Reflexivity.
REFLEXIVITY, in general, is the powerful open interactivity of any one part of experience with any other—selected dynamically for consistency, adequate completeness, and efficiency.
Creative imagination, intuition, and criticism are essential to the process; the definition above did not specify this because it follows from the definition.
Examples are process of reason and content; intuition and formal reason—and intuition of reason and reasoning about intuition; thought and action—‘mind’ and ‘body’; cognition and emotion; individual, community, and culture; elements of content—e.g. the disciplines; discipline and practice; experience—active or seeking and passive, learning and study, research—intellectual and active.
3.2.6. Principle 6. Doubt. Methodological skepticism.
Doubt and METHODOLOGICAL SKEPTICISM are aspects of reflexivity.
Philosophical skepticism questions the possibility of certain knowledge or, in a radical form, the possibility of knowledge at all. Doubt in methodological skepticism may seem radical and thus absurd. However, the aim of methodological skepticism is to question what we routinely but perhaps naïvely take to be true and so to establish what is objective with regard to uniqueness versus relativity of interpretation, what is its extent, and what is the nature of knowledge and its truthfulness.
Thus if we question whether experience as consciousness exists we are beginning to question the meaning of experience and existence. With regard to existence this leads to the notion that we need and perhaps should not posit a particular yet ultimate real as a measure of existence (we may posit some local measures and we allow that universal measures may emerge); this is a source of the focus on ‘Being’. With regard to experience it leads to the notion that it is so fundamental that it may be regarded as a given to be named but not defined in terms of other kinds. Now since experience may be experienced this leads to the idea that there may be no fundamental distinction between experience and the experienced—and, particularly, not that there is no real world but that experience is very much part of the real.
Now we have just seen how radical doubt used ‘methodically’ leads to clarification of the fundamental notions of ‘experience’, ‘existence’ and ‘the real’.
We can use such methodical doubt even more methodically.
We can imagine a whole family of radical doubts that when addressed result in elucidations of the nature of reality and the universe.
We will consider some examples under the headings of ‘experience and the real world’, ‘knowledge and value’, ‘synthesis’ of the foregoing, and learning from ‘alternate realities. See for further discussion of methodological skepticism and reflexivity.
Here are some kinds of conclusion from skeptical analysis, (1) some doubts concern elements of experience so fundamental that they are given and need only to be named, (2) some doubts concern meaning and the process of identifying what is real is in fact a dual process of concept and object, i.e. of meaning in the sense used here, (3) while the individual doubts may seem as if doubting the obvious, they may lead to clarification and a more comprehensive view—a view that incorporates more of the real, better understood than the naïve view. While some may adopt a skeptical view (e.g. solipsism), the (an) essential function of skepticism is to critique the naïve view and to improve it. Often we find that the naïve view is one possible view; and there is another interpretation; and, sometimes, neither is more correct but one is more universal, simpler, more revealing, (4) selection of truth from alternative incompatible views: for some practical purposes we can take the naïve viewpoint as basic. We do so because we do not want to dwell forever on doubt; we also want to move ahead. At the same time we also entertain the doubt and as progress occurs we can modify our basic position, e.g. in ways described above, (5) showing where apparently incompatible views are compatible interpretations and showing the circumstances under which the different interpretations are preferred, and (6) how apparently piece meal analysis, especially imaginative and critical response to skepticism, helps build up a powerful whole picture of the world; When an adequately complete set of ‘canonical’ doubts are identified, they fit together as a jigsaw to give an enhanced and whole picture of Being not apparent from the individual pieces.
Experience and the real world
What experience is. Experience is subjective awareness; a named and founded given.
Skeptical view—there is no such thing as experience.
Reasons for denial—strict materialism – matter is the only substance and contains no element of psyche, positivism and positivist science, extraversion, skepticism, experience cannot be causal.
Response to denial—‘experience’ names subjective awareness, of experience itself, and appearance of a real world. Strict materialism is impossible.
Conclusion—there is experience, i.e. experience is real.
Skeptical view—philosophical solipsism—there is no real world in the sense that there is only experience and experience of experience which are real. That is, there is no metaphorical external world.
Response—a standard view is that of an experiencers in the perhaps material world, who are at the ‘center’ of their experience. What they experience, including experience itself, is the real world; and the real world includes others that are similar to themselves. However, the ‘solipsist view’ is not true solipsism but an alternative to the ‘standard’ to which the name ‘solipsism’ has been uncritically applied. In this alternative, the universe is a field of experience whose experiential ‘brightness’ ranges from dim (perhaps effectively but not essentially zero—i.e., the ‘zero’ is a value of what does not have to be zero) to animal – human level and perhaps beyond. This is consistent then with universal consciousness, which may itself vary in brightness and scope, of which individuals are part.
Note—these two views are not ‘materially’ different but different interpretations of which the standard view has pragmatic purchase in the immediate while the view of pan – universal consciousness is more inclusive—it includes the standard with certain parameter settings—and more pragmatic in the universal. A main objection of materialism is that matter cannot be of the same kind as experience but this is not at all known and, in any case, it at once shows the impossible poverty of materialism whose power derives from a blind convention posing as ‘reason’; it is not a criticism of the ‘field of experience’ view. And note that the ‘dim’ parts of the field are allowed to have zero brightness thus not even being a violation of the possibility of zero brightness under materialism.
Skeptical view—experience is acausal or epiphenomenal.
Sources of this view—the sources are similar to some of those for the denial of experience. Even if we admit the existence of experience, it seems to contradict materialism for experience to be able to interact with matter.
Response—we have already seen that the universal view is not anti-material but is, rather, inclusive of a material view—except of course that strict materialism has been ruled out—and that, in either perspective, psyche is among the elements of the effectively material and so there is no oddity to causal interaction.
Further we experience sentient persons as agents in both subjective and objective viewpoints.
Skeptical view—while solipsism does not hold, there are no other psyches or minds. The universe is just ‘my psyche’ and the ‘material’ universe.
Response—a beginning is to note the alternatives (1) my mind and other minds as not real but experienced via intuition and inference as having the same status as my mind (2) the same as #1 except that other minds are real. We then observe that these may be considered ‘materially’ equivalent perspectives. However, to deny ‘other minds’ I must also ask what the experiential justification of the ‘my’ in ‘my psyche’ is and here I find that the existence of subjectivity justifies no ‘my’ without a ‘you’ or ‘them’ as having psyches. But further, if I grant that there is only ‘my mind’ then there is no explaining the apparent power of the ‘other psyches’ (or the reality of the universe).
Skeptical view—we do not have free will. The arguments for this position are (a) physical determinism, (b) experiments suggesting ‘choice’ is pre-conscious.
Response to skeptical arguments—it is not clear whether quantum theory is deterministic but in any case none of its forms is complete; further there is no necessary reason to hold that the universe is deterministic. The experiments have no clear interpretation and in any case do not apply to complex situations with learning. It is further important to note that a tacit assumption in the skeptical position seems to be that physical theory informs biology and psychology (and indeed even physical origins) regarding issues such as determinism. However, that is not given either. There is no reason we should not, if we can show free will to obtain—or if we can show evolutionary biology or the psychology of creation to have indeterminism—to use it to conclude that physics must be indeterministic.
Skeptical position—but randomness hardly allows or makes for free will and choice. This argument was given by David Hume.
Response—the origin of form occurs at the boundary of already formed structure and indeterminism.
Final response regarding free will—will itself is the insertion or presence of experience into the causal chain. That it is ‘free’ follows from the psychological argument.
Conclusion—we arrive at a modified standard view of a world with psyches having free will and creative intelligence, each cognizing a world of matter which is not alien to psyche and cognizing psyche itself, and each cognizing in that world the other psyches. At minimum this standard world has an extent at least that roughly as described in modern cosmology. At most this world is limitless in variety, extension, and duration (identity, variety, sameness, difference)—we are denying that physical possibility in the sense of what is allowed by our empirical and local laws is the general kind of possibility. In this possibilist but not yet though to be demonstrated view, universal consciousness, Brahman, varies in its range and height, but approaches the greatest possibility; and individual self or Atman approaches Brahman (and is Brahman, if only we were to see it by overcoming our adaptive blindness). For universal purposes, the alternative interpretation of the world as a field of experience as described above is superior and, in a sense, ultimate. Of course, the local view is materially (at least) adaptive.
Skeptical position, addressed to the Platonic Realists above—the universe is the minimalist one described just above.
Alternative skeptical position, addressed to the strictest possible materialists above, whom, we have already seen, have already been required to admit that strict reductive materialism is not tenable—the universe is the greater than the minimalist one and may even by the maximalist Platonic Universe.
Observation—true skepticism should not be applied only to ‘optimist’ versions of reality but also to the minimalist views.
Response—the response is the standard one from The Way of Being: the demonstration of the maximalist universe via the concepts of Being, Universe, Beings, The Void, and analysis of possibility in terms of the meaning of ‘possibility’ and natural law and natural possibility and logic and logical possibility.
Conclusion—the universe is the realization of all possibility. This requires careful analysis of possibility to avoid paradox that may arise from careless use. It demonstrates the maximalist Platonic Realism noted above.
Knowledge and value; and synthesis
Skeptical view—from the veil between experiencer and experienced, knowledge is impossible. Particularly, universal and necessary knowledge is impossible (and of course even the ordinary is impossible).
Response—any view that ‘no knowledge’ is possible can follow via reason only from an essentially absurd concept of knowledge. That no knowledge is possible follows (only) from a view that all knowledge should be a perfect copy of the world.
Response continued—here is an essential consideration: in consideration of the world as having experiential beings within it, we recognize that ‘experience’ is a relation between ‘experiencer’ and ‘experienced’. While it is true that we experience a picture of the world, it is also true that that net picture is part of experience. Therefore both are subject to the criticism of imperfection. What this implies is that the very meaning of ‘knowledge as picture’ is (or may be) misleading. But we know, from the perspective that our ability to negotiate the world gives some knowledge pragmatic validity (reliabilism) if not correspondence (the picture-picture) variety.
Continued—but we have seen that we do have perfect knowledge, e.g. of experience, Being, Universe, Beings, The Void, Law, Possibility, Logic, and a maximal Universe. This shows us that for ultimate purposes, any approximation – imprecision – or tentativeness in ‘pragmatic knowledge’ is not an undesirable feature. In fact it is unavoidable, and perfect as instrument in ultimate realization.
Continued—this alternative view to the standard may challenge the imagination; the standard view is present as constant pressure, sustained by the normal world and individuals, to return to the standard. The resolution is to see both alternatives as valid in their realms; but the realm of the Platonic is the inclusive view.
Continued—as far as the immediate world, i.e. this cosmos, is concerned and our temporal lives on an ‘everyday’ basis, is concerned, the ‘old’ problems of knowledge remain pertinent. These include the nature of knowledge as held in the individual, issues of validity and reason, of justification versus fallibilism, and so on. What has changed, however, in response to the New Platonic Realism above, is that the significance of these standard views is given perspective, closing down mystery on some fronts—but opening up greater mystery on others.
Note that ‘New Platonic Realism’ is not a standard use and has been introduced ad hoc relative to ‘standard’ use of Platonic Realism. Of course there is some affinity with the ideas of Platonic Form, Idealism, and Realism so it is not entirely ad hoc.
Continued—why do we exist? It is required by logic—i.e., in a sense there is no ultimate ‘Why?’ All why’s and how’s are proximate why’s or how’s. What is the meaning of our lives? Locally, it is up to the choice of the individual although of course there are practical considerations of material reality, human relationships, life path, technology, science, politics, and economics, and even the meaning of ‘religion’, and psyche. But universally the meaning of life can be none other than what it is—i.e., participation in the Platonic Universe and its Atman-Brahman process. Within life and at its local (proximate) edge, we find instrumental and intrinsic means of entry into that process. These begin with science, technology, psychology, politics, and economics (the instrumental) and meditation, vision quest, yoga, and self transformation, and similar processes from other (extra-Hindu) world cultures (the intrinsic). The local can derive illumination from the universal; and it illustrates and need not be estranged from the universal as advocated by the territorial materialist.
Skeptical view—David Hume: all our knowledge is confined to the facts of experience. We think external objects exist because we think the mind can frame abstract ideas as real. But the mind is, in fact, incapable of this. A paraphrase from History of Western Philosophy
Response due to Immanuel Kant—Kant’s response is well known. Mind of course contributes to the real as does the world. Kant goes deeper. He looks at experience—perception and thought—and asks how it is possible. He concludes (1) the form of experience must conform to the form of the world, (2) he is thus able to make conclusions about both of those forms, (3) that conformation is the source of the synthetic a priori, (4) from the science of his time, the geometry of Euclid and the mechanics of Newton, he concludes that those two sciences belong to the synthetic a priori.
Continued—we now know of course that the science of Kant’s time was, though adequate for some purposes, inadequate as the science of the universe. However, conclusions (1) – (3) still hold and would apply if we were to find a ‘necessary science’ in the way Kant thought the science of Euclid and Newton necessary.
Continued—but our modern view of science tends to be different. We find science to have a positive domain of application but we are agnostic with regard to a universal science. Why? Because in a potentially infinite universe, in which there are always potential new data, we have no guarantee that a science, no matter how perfect in some domain, will extend to the whole universe.
Continued—but is it true that our knowledge must be so limited forever? The universal metaphysics of the present narrative, finds Universe, Being, Beings, The Void, Possibility, The Existence of the Void, to be ‘absolute concepts’. Further, though these seem trivial, they lead to the potent universal metaphysics.
Continued—objection—but the universal metaphysics is abstract and, therefore, though it has objects, we do not know how to locate these objects in experience. For the latter, we resort to the concrete experiential objects which remain subject to Humean like objects.
Continued—response—but the universal metaphysics shows that in the evolution of Being, it (us) will encounter myriad cosmoses and myriad forms of self, all with necessarily limited knowledge of the local concrete, all with yet another world to come on the way to the ultimate. What that says is that (a) our concrete local knowledge is necessarily limited, barring possible exceptions, and (b) that is essential and good.
Continued—that is, we move one step higher: in analyzing the concrete and its rough rendering of reality, we find that that is precisely the knowledge we need and ultimate precision as a goal is limiting (of course this does not imply that the local goal of greater precision is undesirable for all ends).
Continued—almost all modern philosophy is substance philosophy. This includes the empiricists, the rationalists, Immanuel Kant, and any philosophy of a scientific interpretation of the universe as ultimate; even Heidegger, after having foresworn substance, attempts to turn European Experience into a substance.
Continued—to make this clear let us return to substance and state two ‘definitions’ of it. (1) Substance is eternal structureless and eternal being, whose manifestations are the world; and as such substance solves the dual problem of being and knowing. (2) Substance is the attempt to project limited generalization, which is powerful in its limited domain, to the universe, where it is not merely impotent but destructive of both greater and the greatest understanding.
Skeptical view—if logic is a priori we cannot know it; if it is empirical, it is not absolute.
Response—to address this, let us compare logic and science. Let us begin with physics. We hold, let us say, that modern physics is true in a limited domain—the limit of our physical knowledge but not necessarily the limit of the universe or anywhere near. Roughly, then, in science we have knowledge of a limited world—limited on multiple fronts, e.g. space and time, magnitude of phenomena, and perhaps the ‘mind-matter gap’.
Continued—on the other hand we know that logic is less demanding than physics. Physical knowledge must also be logical; but logical knowledge need not be physical. We can say, at least tentatively, that logic must apply in any world. But since we do not have access to other worlds, how can we evaluate our logics?
Continued—let us begin with a simple reflection. A physical law implies that some patterns must obtain, while others that we can easily imagine do not obtain. For example, say inertia is a measure of resistance to acceleration and not a measure of resistance to the third derivative of position. Though we think the third derivative case to be un-physical, we do not think it absurd, even though a third derivative world might be bizarre to us.
Continued—now consider a simple example of logic. When we say a ball cannot simultaneously be black and not-black, we consider it a logical statement because the alternative, a simultaneously black and non-black but real object to be absurd because, not only does it not happen at all but, it seems to be impossible in any world. In fact ‘does not happen at all’ is the same as ‘does not happen or is impossible in any world’.
Continued—that gives us a sense of how we may explore logic even though we do not have access to other worlds. And the seeming necessity of it explains why we think of it as a priori. On the other hand, let us reconsider why we think ‘simultaneously black and not-black’ is impossible. Perhaps it is in the definition of ‘not’. But surely we cannot make something true by definition.
Continued—it seems that what we are doing is taking something very general but simple, and therefore also intuitive, and claiming its truth. It is a little circular—true because intuitive and simple and general and therefore true. Unless we acknowledge that it is ultimately an empirical generalization. In which case, logic, whatever its ultimate status, which we now know that we do not know, is discovered empirically.
Continued—which also underlines what its a priori status is. Here, it is knowledge of a more general nature than physical knowledge but still empirical. For why could there not be a world in which there is ‘black and not black’? Because of explosion of truth, one might respond, which, in turn, gets the counter response—explosion occurs only on a certain account of propositional logic. Thus logic is empirical.
Continued—on the other hand it is a priori in the sense of a priori to physical or more specific experience. The ‘black and not black’ idea is not, for example, built into any necessary grammar. If it were it would be closer to an absolute a priori.
Continued—we have, today, another way to think about this. Since we are adapted via biological evolution and perhaps there is also a certain amount of cultural selection within culture, we can say that at least part of the logical a priori is prior to human being and culture but not prior to their evolution. Similarly we could say that physics is a synthetic a priori to our knowledge but a posteriori to the origin of the cosmos.
Learning from the idea of alternate realities
We have looked at alternate but compatible interpretations of the real. They may have begun as ‘alternate realities’ but we then found them to be alternate interpretations.
Here we look at some alternate realities. They may even be bizarre. But the goal, as before, is a more secure grasp of the real.
Let us begin with a fragment of the real as preliminary to the main argument of this section. We saw that every possibility must obtain. Why then must our earth continue doing what it will and not undertake a whole range of realities (let us set aside the many histories interpretation of quantum theory)? This is because given a reality for a fragment of the real, e.g. our earth and its history, another, say superposed but different reality is not a possibility at all. However, it is possible and therefore given that there are ‘other earths’ in the universe, some of them identical in history but others bifurcating at some past and / or future point from the ‘mother history’, i.e. our earth’s history. There need be no immediate causal connection between the different earths. We think our earth has its roots in the big bang. However, it seems entirely possible that it began five minutes ago (complete with memories as if it began in a big bang). But what our theory of the realization entails is that some earth’s in the universe have the standard history that is the history read in the record in the present while others do not. The former are ‘stable realities’ the latter ‘unstable’ in the sense that the path to their formation is so unlikely that, as shown in The Way of Being, they constitute a minute fraction of the total number of earths (which is without limit).
So here are some alternate and ‘bizarre’ realities
1. The earth and our cosmos formed five minutes ago, an infinite amount of time ago…
2. The earth was created by a super organism (not an external god because the universe has no ‘outside’); this is bizarre in relation to the stable and to the Atman-Brahman cosmology because the latter leaves the nature of Atman and Brahman open besides being a necessary destiny of consciousness,
3. Russell’s teapot which is actually more bizarre than the Abrahamic God because the latter attempted to be an explanatory answer to psychologically curios organism (but must now be bizarre after science as reductive science becomes bizarre after rational metaphysics),
4. Wittgenstein’s “there is a rhinoceros in the room and you can’t prove there isn’t”.
5. We are brains in vats and nothing but brains in vats; we are simulations; we are simulations of simulations; and so on.
6. And so on.
The point to the ‘bizarre realities’ is not that they are true or false (they are necessarily true).
The point is that they remind us that most realities are dependably stable (in a cosmological sense); even the appearance of a historical reality is stable.
But, in fact, where we cannot or so far do not distinguish, we should proceed as if stable.
Except to note that
1. We may learn something from the fact of instability, e.g. to see beyond our reality and how the unstable and the stable make up a greater fabric,
2. The seeming contingent necessities of our primitive metaphysics, e.g. science and death, are high degrees of probability, and the continent impossibilities are high improbabilities,
3. The ultimate real is transcendent of the contingent, stable or not, to the necessary and ultimate,
4. Which is eternal, ever fresh, never given, full with joy and pain, blood and comfort.
The pillars of reason: observation and inference
3.3. The two pillars of reason are (1) OBSERVATION—to establish fact directly and (2) INFERENCE—i.e., from given facts to conclude further facts.
Reason as fabric for knowing and realizing
Reason does not stand above knowledge content or action and realization.
Since Being and experience are in the world reason is a kind of content.
Reason maps action.
Here, neither absolute a priori nor final reason is assumed, except where shown. Reason remains a fluid center in communication with all content.
Reason is not merely formal and cognitive—e.g., logic and science. It also involves, as noted, other elements of citta (see citta) as including bound, free, and active experience: appropriate and necessary use of heuristics, emotion, value, intuition, imagination, experiment, and action—all in reflexive interaction. But note that an image of action is captured in reason and that in the universal metaphysics it is a perfect image:
An ultimate metaphysical framework will be developed that is precise by abstraction. This will frame and interact with the rich, pragmatic, case that permits citta and imprecision, and includes TRADITION—what is valid in the tradition of human cultures, imagination and criticism, experiment and action. The latter will be found to be the perfect instrument for the former.
The criteria of truth will be perfect correspondence for the logical atomic framework and pragmatic for tradition. Though pragmatic, tradition as defined here, is the perfect instrument in realization within the framework
That is, in an ideal and active sense, metaphysics, reason, argument, and Logic are identical. We say REASON IS IDENTICAL TO METAPHYSICS and mean that if we begin with limited accounts then a full account of metaphysics or reason is not possible without a full account of both. But in saying metaphysics is reason, I mean that reason (citta) is the higher of the two.
Reason as a narrative thread
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.
The elements of reason
Elements of reason, establish fact, infer fact, data, basic data, measurement, corroboration, precise fact, necessary truth, necessary fact, projection, hypothesis, theory, conclusion, confidence, premise, necessary inference, tautology, logical consequence, deduction, deductive logic, logic, valid, sound, induction, hypothetical inference, abduction, conduction, science, hypothetico-deductive method, explanatory hypotheses, Ockham’s principle, significance criteria, range criteria, subsumption criteria, ideation, knowledge as cultural, society, consensus, internal factor, external factor, intercultural adaptation, environmental adaptation.
Summary of key terms
Elements of reason, establish fact, infer fact, necessary truth, premise, conclusion, necessary inference, logical consequence, deductive logic, validity, soundness, induction, science, explanatory hypothesis, prediction, test, induction on limited data is always projection, significance of falsification, Ockham’s principle, knowledge as cultural, consensus, intercultural adaptation, environmental adaptation.
The elements of reason
3.4. The ELEMENTS OF REASON are—to ESTABLISH FACT and INFER FACT from fact.
Fact and establishing fact
3.4.1. A simple fact or fact is an item of DATA that is atomic for a given correspondence or BASIC DATA for a given pragmatic purpose.
When discrimination is imperfect, facts are uncertain or imprecise.
3.4.3. But the pure or PRECISE FACT as 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.
3.4.4. A NECESSARY TRUTH is one that must be true. From universe as all Being, that there is precisely one universe is a NECESSARY FACT, if tautological—since there is ‘always’ either a manifest or void universe.
Are there any necessary non tautological non analytic facts? Following W. V. Quine, “It is raining” is contingent. But “It is raining on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 8:46:23 AM in my backyard”, on tenseless us of ‘is’ and factual truth of the statement in double quotes, is an eternal fact. That is, prior to Saturday, May 20 it could not be said to be true. On the other hand now that it is past the given date and time I know that it is an eternal fact. It is a necessary fact, a necessary truth.
Given that there is, by simple observation and earlier Cartesian type analysis, a manifest universe, this is a necessary truth. But can we say it is a necessary truth without the observation? No—not unless we find some other way of demonstrating it as a fact. In Metaphysics the fact will be demonstrated and so shown necessary, while not eternally, but limitlessly in that the non-manifest case will be also limitless but non-eternal.
Necessary versus hypothetical inference
3.4.5. A compound fact as a collection of facts is also a fact; but as PROJECTION beyond the collection, finite or unlimited, it may be HYPOTHESIS or THEORY.
3.4.6. Inference is to arrive at a CONCLUSION with a certain CONFIDENCE from a PREMISE of a specified confidence. Note that because they may be compound, ‘conclusion’ and ‘premise’ include ‘conclusions’ and ‘premises’.
3.4.7. NECESSARY INFERENCE is inference in which the conclusion follows from the premise without doubt—i.e., with full confidence.
3.4.8. Necessary inference is possible only when the conclusions are essentially contained in the premises (by TAUTOLOGY, trivial or significant) or independently true, e.g. as fact. A necessary inference is a LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE. The main means of necessary inference is ‘logical deduction’ or, simply, DEDUCTION or DEDUCTIVE LOGIC or LOGIC which follows semantically from the containment of conclusion in premise; for example the transitivity of implication can be modeled by inclusion for sets: (a ® b).(b ® c) ® (a ® c) says, with appropriate interpretation, (A Ê B).(B Ê C) ® (A Ê C). However syntactic representation is desirable when we want logic to be independent of models. First order logic, too, has a set theoretic interpretation.
Note that it is common today for logic to refer to deductive logic; while quite common in philosophy this is almost universal in mathematics.
3.4.9. If, indeed, the conclusion follows from the premise, the inference is VALID.
3.4.10. If the facts or premises are true and the inference valid, then the conclusions are true and the reason or argument is SOUND.
3.4.11. 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. While testability (falsifiability) is a criterion of valid science, the method may be called the HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVE METHOD (i.e. making EXPLANATORY HYPOTHESES, predictions based on the hypotheses, modifying the hypotheses if the predictions disagree with the outcomes). Aesthetic appeal is a heuristic criterion; OCKHAM’S PRINCIPLE regarding minimality of hypotheses may be seen as effective and aesthetic. SIGNIFICANCE CRITERIA, RANGE CRITERIA, and SUBSUMPTION CRITERIA (of other theories) are some heuristic criteria of an effective scientific theory.
Method is content; in reason, IDEATION and action are continuous.
Reason is everything (see metaphysics is reason).
We will see no ultimate reason to distinguish reason, metaphysics, and rational action (in practice there are of course differences).
An idea such as rational yoga—in theory, practice, and action—will also be part of reason. We will not necessarily make an explicit point of this.
Knowledge and culture
Knowledge is also a social and cultural phenomenon—KNOWLEDGE AS CULTURAL—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 individual(s) and cultures. While consensus is an INTERNAL FACTOR, EXTERNAL FACTOR(s) of knowledge as cultural include INTERCULTURAL ADAPTATION and ENVIRONMENTAL ADAPTATION (including natural and economic).
Reason includes content and principle in interaction with action and culture; and it maps all of the foregoing.
For recent thought possibility.
Boundary of the real or actual, possibility, states of affairs, state, limit, constitution, pattern, necessity, actual, universal possibility, greatest possibility, epoch, cosmos, our cosmos, empirical cosmos (the), law, natural law, law, natural possibility, sentient possibility, feasibility, logical possibility, conceptual possibility, greatest conceivable possibility, universal possibility, limitless, most liberal possibility, logic, citta as logic, logics, greatest possible universe, hierarchies of possibility, naturalism, monotheism, idealism, idealist cosmology, universal natural possibility, local natural possibility.
Summary of key terms
Possibility, actuality, universal possibility, natural law, natural possibility, conceptual possibility, logical possibility, logic.
Possibility as a vehicle for reason
As the BOUNDARY OF THE REAL OR ACTUAL, the concept of possibility is crucial to rational study of Being and the universe. Possibility is what may be, which is the ultimate boundary for what may be some ‘where’ in sameness, difference and their absence (more particularly, anticipating the development of space and time, what has been, what is, and what will be). Analysis of possibility is analysis of the relation of potential and reality. Are they distinct or identical? We move to discover.
Possibility in general
The idea of possibility is of something that could be. One obvious measure is that something has been or is (strictly though ‘has been’ implies only ‘was possible at some time’). But otherwise ‘could be’ is not definite. For the concept of possibility to be an instrument of rational study it needs careful definition. It needs to be recognized that while an intuition of what is possible is experiential, the intuition collapses a range of criteria of the possible. That range should be fleshed out and made precise.
4. POSSIBILITY is the range of states or ‘STATES OF AFFAIRS’ accessible to a being—or Being—while still remaining that being A state within that range is a possible state. STATE is understood in the widest sense accorded Being.
4.1. A LIMIT is an inaccessible state. Possibility also defines inaccessible states.
Study of possibility begins as possibility for a being.
Beings have no a priori limits except as kinds or cases.
The study will be concerned with relations between the possible and the actual. A range of kinds of possibility are taken up here and it is shown that the greatest kind is logical possibility. In Metaphysics it is shown that logical possibility is the same as the actual for the universe and that the different kinds of possibility mesh consistently—and that is a truth rather than an artifact of definition. The range of the possible and the actual are elaborated here, in Metaphysics, and in .
4.2. The CONSTITUTION of a kind of being, case of Being, or a CONTEXT defines or specifies the kind, case, or context.
4.2.1. Constitution is what, if altered, is cessation of the being as that being or that kind of being.
The cessation is perhaps ‘transformation to’ another being, manifest or null—i.e. at least temporary cessation of manifest existence.
4.2.2. A PATTERN is simplicity of form that permits representation of raw data by a smaller quantity of data.
4.2.3. Constitution includes individual and generic patterns.
4.3. A conceived state is possible for a being if it is allowed by or does not violate the constitution of the being.
4.3.1. States not allowed by the constitution of the being are IMPOSSIBLE for the being.
4.3.2. NECESSITY for a being is what must obtain for it; i.e. necessity for the being is constitution. It is necessary that a being be in one of its possible states and not in an impossible state.
4.3.3. For a being it is possible to be any one of its possible state and necessary that it should be in some possible state.
A thought on classical vs. quantum logic. In the classical case the being is in one and only one state. It has been suggested that in the quantum case the object may participate in more than one state. But it is not clear to me whether this is a truth or an artifact of the conception of quantum states in classical terms.
More precisely for a being B, these are RELATIVE POSSIBILITY and RELATIVE NECESSITY or B POSSIBILITY and B NECESSITY.
4.4. An ACTUAL state of a being B is possible. This may be called B possible.
The set of actual states is included in—is a subset of—the set of possible states.
Possibility for the universe
4.5. UNIVERSAL POSSIBILITY, UNIVERSAL ACTUALITY, and the GREATEST POSSIBILITY are identical.
4.5.1. Though we may conceive possibility greater than universal, there is not and can not be a greater possibility.
4.5.2. Such greater conceived possibility could lie in the range of universal to logical (as defined later) or beyond the logical (which would be logically contradictory). The former might seem possible but the latter does not even seem possible.
Cosmos and epoch
4.6. An EPOCH is a phase of sameness and difference for a being over which the being does not mutate and which is causally connected; for the phase, it is weakly causally connected to—or temporarily isolated from—the rest of the universe.
4.6.1. A COSMOS is a being or domain whose constitution is regarded as immutable over a limited epoch—the epoch of the cosmos.
4.6.2. OUR COSMOS or THE EMPIRICAL COSMOS is the domain of our empirical knowledge as understood in terms of our natural laws (natural law is defined shortly).
4.6.3. The empirical cosmos is not the universe. The universe will be seen to be limitlessly greater than the empirical cosmos in extension (sameness, difference, and their absence—which will be seen to include space and time) and variety of Being.
4.6.4. COSMOLOGICAL POSSIBILITY refers to any outcome consistent with the constitution of a cosmos in its epoch.
4.6.5. A temporally deterministic cosmos would have only one outcome; an indeterministic cosmos may have more than one possible outcome.
Natural law and possibility
4.7. A LAW, LAW OF NATURE, or NATURAL LAW is a READING of a pattern, usually generic, for a being (in our experience, a cosmos).
The capitalized term ‘LAW’ refers to the pattern itself but what follows will use just the term law and not distinguish it from Law.
Laws pertain especially to cosmoses. Laws may also pertain to other kinds such as life and society. The term ‘law’ is generally not applied to lesser entities or individuals.
4.7.1. A law can be seen as a compound fact for the being in question or a universal hypothesis.
Later we find that a universal hypothesis as potentially applicable to all Being is empty. Valid concepts of all Being as such satisfy no contingent condition—they are seen to satisfy only ‘Logic’.
4.7.2. NATURAL POSSIBILITY, for a cosmos (and some other kinds of Being, e.g. living beings) is defined by its constitution (to the exclusion of epoch).
4.7.3. Kinds of natural possibility include PHYSICAL POSSIBILITY and BIOLOGICAL POSSIBILITY and PSYCHOLOGICAL POSSIBILITY (also see Sentient possibility).
Some writers do not consider the psychological to be a natural kind.
The constitution of a cosmos may be expressed in terms of its natural laws (this is possible though not typical for other kinds of Being, e.g. individuals) and the extent of its epoch.
If the cosmos is entirely given by natural law—i.e. if the known natural laws are complete over the cosmos, then cosmological possibility is natural possibility in the context of the cosmos and its epoch. We may also consider natural possibility for other and more inclusive systems—cosmological or merely transient.
4.7.4. SENTIENT POSSIBILITY is the possibility of sentience as subject and agent. Kinds include sentient possibility for the universe and for a being.
4.7.5. If natural possibility were regarded as inert, we would not consider sentient possibility natural.
4.7.6. Sentient possibility includes capacity for thought and feeling and possibilities for sentience driven action and creation.
4.7.7. A limited case of sentience and biology that is HUMAN POSSIBILITY.
4.7.8. NON SENTIENT POSSIBILITY is possibility for a being or the universe as devoid of sentience.
Other kinds of possibility
For completeness, we may also consider SOCIAL POSSIBILITY, CULTURAL POSSIBILITY, SYMBOLIC POSSIBILITY, LINGUISTIC POSSIBILITY, ECONOMIC POSSIBILITY, and POLITICAL POSSIBILITY.
Practically, for some of these cases of this and recent sections, the notion of feasibility is also pertinent.
FEASIBILITY is possibility of some kind that is pertinent to individuals, societies, or civilizations that includes some further concerns such as practicality, value, and desirability.
4.8. LOGICAL POSSIBILITY is whatever is allowed by Logic. Logical possibility is conceivable possibility in general.
4.8.1. Logical possibility is CONCEPTUAL POSSIBILITY in general.
4.8.2. The main kinds of possibility considered prior to the logical are the actual and the possibility for a kind or case of Being or a system—general, natural, universal and greatest, and sentient.
4.8.3. Whereas the previous kinds of possibility are limits on Being, Logical possibility is not a limit on Being but a limit on concepts for realizability.
4.8.4. The capitalization in ‘Logical’ is explained shortly.
4.8.5. If a conceptual representation of the universe satisfies Logic, its realization is logically possible.
4.8.6. Whatever is possible under the limiting kinds of possibility, is logically possible. Conversely, the logically impossible concept is never and cannot be realized; therefore all possibility lies within the logical.
4.8.7. (Therefore) logical possibility is the greatest conceivable realizable possibility or, because the possible must be realizable, more appropriately, the GREATEST CONCEIVABLE POSSIBILITY; it must contain UNIVERSAL POSSIBILITY.
If a concept violates Logic it cannot and does not exist in any world; this is equivalent to saying it exists outside the greatest possible universe; or saying it exists outside the universe if the universe is the greatest possible (which will be shown). In other words ‘illogical states’ could be allowed because there are none. Provided it is done consistently, logical possibility can be interpreted either to include or not include the illogical states.
4.8.8. If our cosmos has the limits we normally assign to it, the logical possibilities for the universe are far greater than the physical or cosmological possibilities for our empirical cosmos—in terms of extension (‘space’, ‘time’, other: that is, sameness and difference, and their absence) and kind. These, the logical possibilities, are without limit—LIMITLESS—for which the term ‘infinite’ is inadequate.
4.8.9. Logical possibility is the MOST LIBERAL POSSIBILITY—a state cannot be obtain but not be logical. Note that the interpretation of Logic here must include that given fact cannot be violated which brings the concepts of Logic and reason (with citta—see citta—as ‘whole being’) into alignment. That is, here logic is LOGIC as reason or CITTA AS LOGIC (where there would be no confusion capitalization for the terms ‘Logic’ and ‘Logical’ is omitted).
4.8.10. The idea of Logic may be seen as arising in the following way. The freedom of concept formation allows the formation of concepts that purport to refer to the world, i.e. facts, that do not actually so refer. That is the purported fact is not true. Similarly, the freedom of concept formation allows compound concepts that contain internal contradictions and so cannot refer to any world. When a compound concept can refer to the world, it is ‘logical’; otherwise it is ‘illogical’. Now since true facts can be regarded as percepts that do refer to the world and percepts are a kind of concept, factual reference can be brought under logic as Logic.
4.8.11. Here is a summary of the liberal extent of logical possibility from Metaphysics > Some consequences. For a universe that is the universe of logical possibility (a) the universe has limitless sentient and cosmological identity (sense of self—identity is defined in categories of identity…), e.g. of cosmoses against a void-transient background (b) limitless physical laws, (c) limitless extension, (d) every realization has a greater general as well as sentient realization, (e) so realization is endless, and (f) these realizations are the realizations of the individual.
In what follows we will distinguish logic—inference only—and Logic—fact and inference—only when necessary for clarity.
If a concept—a proposed state of affairs—violates a system natural law but not logic, it may exist outside the realm of the natural law; the existence of such realms is logically possible; they are possible under different natural laws. As noted we can entertain that illogical states exist.
For convenience, to appreciate the immensity of the logically possible, which is conceptually obvious, the consequences summarized above, taken from Some consequences…, are repeated here.
Comment. Edit the following at the source.
4.9. Our LOGICS are cases of logic. They are approximate in two ways—in being incomplete and where not known to be consistent.
Logical possibility lies in the free concept; lesser possibility lies also in the relation between the free concept and the fact object or percept. That concepts can step outside or violate Logic (includes fact) arises from freedom of concept formation.
4.9.1. The examples above illustrate the fact that Logic is a limit on thought for realizability; it is not a limit on the world
4.9.2. As an example an omnipotent being does not and cannot violate true Logic because it is in the meaning of logic that it is not a limit.
Greatest possible universe
4.10. The concept of the GREATEST POSSIBLE UNIVERSE (GPU or gpu) is that of the universe defined by Logical possibility.
If the concept of the gpu were introduced independently we would be concerned with paradox inherent in the indefinite use of ‘possibility’. Examples are the careless use of language ‘it is possible that the possible is not possible’ and the fact that there is not necessarily a greatest possible but only limitlessly greater than anything conceived in appropriately careful language. However, the burden of consistency is shifted to Logic. And for this there are apparati to avoid inconsistency.
4.10.1. If, as is found in Metaphysics, the universe is the greatest possible, then given any definite possibility or actuality, there is (1) a greater definite possibility and actuality, (2) a greater definite sentient possibility actuality.
A hierarchy of possibility
Let us look at the relationships among the various kinds of possibility.
Comment. In the following, > is É, >= is Ê, and we could write >> as ÉÉ. Find ways to render É and Ê on all platforms.
Let = mean is the same as, > mean includes but is not the same as, >= mean includes or is the same as, and >> mean is much greater than.
For possibility—with the word possibility omitted in each case and so, for example, ‘logical’ should be read ‘logical possibility’.
From some common paradigms we expect
4.11. These considerations imply HIERARCHIES OF POSSIBILITY.
4.11.1. In NATURALISM: logical >> universal > or >> natural = non sentient > physical > sentient and human.
4.11.2. In some MONOTHEISM: logical = universal = deistic possibility >> human, other sentient and natural possibility.
4.11.3. In IDEALISM: logical > absolute ideal = universal > other sentient > ‘natural’.
4.11.4. We will find that the universe is the gpu and therefore, logical = universal >> natural and cosmological (our cosmos); that for any epoch or being, some sentient epoch or being >> that epoch; and that with suitable interpretation logical = universal = sentient = human.
4.11.5. Therefore the great IDEALIST COSMOLOGY of Atman = Brahman.
4.11.7. Later, as previewed here, universal and logical possibility will be found to have the same extension.
4.11.8. If universal possibility was lesser than that of an ideal or symbolic Logic, it would suggest an alternate and in-equivalent definition for logic.
4.11.9. We are sure that logical = greatest conceivable realizable >= greatest = universal >= natural >= physical.
4.11.10. We will find that logical = greatest and universal = UNIVERSAL NATURAL POSSIBILITY > LOCAL NATURAL POSSIBILITY.
4.12. We will also find that for any state, sentient being will and all sentient being may access greater states.
Metaphysics, the veil.
Existence of the void, fundamental principle of metaphysics, greatest possible universe and identity, realization of most inclusive possibility, identity-space-time-absence, void as reservoir of all identity and being, disposition, the receptacle, non-existence of classical substance, limitless variety, extension-duration-absence-peaking-dissolution-of-identity.
Pure metaphysics, intuition, conceptual understanding, proof, heuristics, doubt, action principle.
Dual interactive perfect metaphysics, perfect dual epistemology.
Agency, dynamics of agency, sentient form exceeds any given form, the way, catalyst.
The aim of being, path.
Special metaphysics, rational speculation, rational-in-the-sense-of-citta dual metaphysics, rational dual epistemology, default worldview, science as essentially complete, true knowledge of being, metaphysics, the veil.
What is metaphysics?
In philosophy the term ‘metaphysics’ is used to refer to an historical through modern subject that has some continuity as well as some discontinuity. There are common themes, yet there is no perfect consensus on what metaphysics is. Why?
In the following I will discuss the meaning and possibility of metaphysics, for they are dependent on each other. The meaning of metaphysics—the discussion—has a a neutral side, whether there is a reasonable consensus on the nature of metaphysics; and a committed side, what I take metaphysics to be and why.
A. Though metaphysics is a branch of philosophy, the term has uses outside philosophy. Among non-philosophers metaphysics is sometimes equated to superstition or religion or topics such as healing with crystals. However these are quite different conceptions of metaphysics and have little to do with ‘philosophical metaphysics’—and when writing for a purely academic audience this would be understood. Yet these different meanings do affect the attitudes of many non-academics and even some academics, especially outside philosophy. So, even if it is made clear that the sense of metaphysics is the philosophical sense one can expect negative reactions to the term ‘metaphysics’ that stem from such uses. Because of such reactions I have considered neutral alternatives to the term ‘metaphysics’.
B. One philosophical use of metaphysics is knowledge of Being as it is. It is quite correct to question whether this is possible at all. One traditional division of metaphysics is what Immanuel Kant and Christian WOLFF called SPECIAL METAPHYSICS. It includes the study of special beings such as material bodies and souls. The tradition of idealism in the continent and Britain and America till about the beginning of the twentieth century might be called RATIONAL SPECULATION—i.e. rational systems that while they did not necessarily contradict experience were not entailed by it. It is not surprising that the logical atomism of the early twentieth century took exception to all these matters (yet logical atomism is now seen as metaphysical which suggests that it is the meaning rather than the existence of metaphysics that should be in question). At this point it should be asked whether metaphysics is possible. One answer is that section Being, which may be called metaphysical knowledge of the world, is already an elementary empirical, rational and necessary metaphysics (and that elementary beginning will be developed into a powerful system in the present chapter). Thus it can be said that there is definitely one necessary and powerful system that may be labeled ‘metaphysics’. Still it is necessary to take care to not admit mere speculation or, at least, to label speculation where it is admitted. That is, while Immanuel Kant pre-eminently raised the question of the possibility of metaphysics as knowledge of Being in itself and independent of experience, we show here that there is such knowledge via experience yet true (emphatically we do not argue that all knowledge is like that; in fact science is not; much of our common experience is not; and this is vital to the system to be developed—which will be a RATIONAL-IN-THE-SENSE-OF-CITTA DUAL METAPHYSICS according to a RATIONAL DUAL EPISTEMOLOGY).
C. Let us compare modern science and the modern ‘secular’ world view with the idea of metaphysical knowledge of the world. How are modern theories of science arrived at? Consider the example of relativity. In the late nineteenth century it seemed to many thinkers that physics was essentially complete—even though Newtonian Mechanics and Maxwell’s electromagnetism were known by some scientists to be fundamentally inconsistent. It was fundamentally this inconsistency that led to the relativistic reformulation of mechanics. To do so, it was necessary to modify concepts of space and time. Though Einstein presented this as a reasoned consequence of the principle of relativity and the constancy of the speed of light, it is in fact speculative. We do not regard it as speculative because of its consistency and manifold experimental verification (non falsification). The essential difference between a speculative metaphysics and speculative science tends to be (a) the elementary concepts of science are suggested by experiment and measurement and (b) science maintains close contact with experiment. So what is the difference between a rational metaphysical system and science? It is one of immediate applicability. But why would we want a metaphysical system if we have science? Consider the issues—the final foundation of our science, e.g. the source of gravitation; and the reach of science, e.g. what came before the big bang, what lies outside the scientific-empirical cosmos (including the multiverse in so far as it is empirical), and what is the connection between consciousness and matter. Here are some possible inroads for metaphysical system. Thinkers with a positivist orientation will object. However, (1) as long as exaggerated claims are not made thinking about the universe in any terms is just what it is (and may have future value), and (2) in this essay I develop a positive metaphysics.
D. But the secular view sometimes goes beyond empirical science. It is a very common often implicit DEFAULT WORLDVIEW that our science has shown near ‘everything’—i.e., it is a view of SCIENCE AS ESSENTIALLY COMPLETE. However, there is no basis for this. What science has done is to define an empirical ‘universe’ that we, conventionally andor tacitly, conflate with the universe and then conclude that science has shown near everything. That is pure speculation without basis—it is metaphysics-at-its-worst, precisely because it seems to be rational. Here then is one value of metaphysics. Almost every human being and culture has at least a tacit metaphysics. Therefore one value of explicit metaphysics is to bring the tacit out into the open and evaluate it. Here, I must point out again that the metaphysics under development in this essay provides a wider view than the scientific or normally experiential, one that is empirical-rational and that contains science and experience where they are valid. The metaphysics of the essay does not deny science but it does—will—deny that science is anywhere near the whole story—and that we have any sound basis of knowing science to be anywhere near the whole story.
E. In looking at what is recognized as pre-modern and modern metaphysics there is no clear and unified subject. What we find is a loosely related assortment of topics. Metaphysics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) lists some problems as follows—divided into an old or pre-modern and a new metaphysics. Problems of the ‘old’ metaphysics—(1) Being As Such, First Causes, Unchanging Things, (2) Categories of Being and Universals, and (3) Substance. Problems ‘new’ metaphysics—(4) Modality—i.e. necessary vs. contingent beings and essential vs. contingent properties, (5) Space and Time, (6) Persistence and Constitution, (7) Causation, Freedom and Determinism, and (8) The Mental and Physical. An issue not mentioned is that of ‘abstract objects’ and this is pertinent because some modern philosophers see metaphysics as the study of abstract objects. The differences between the old and the new metaphysics seem to be (a) a new attitude in which saying that there are no ‘metaphysical objects’ is a metaphysical proposition (a source of the more neutral modern attitude toward metaphysics) and (b) a concern with categories of Being, rather different than the older categories, that are occasioned by modern developments in philosophy and science.
F. But what is common in all these endeavors? It does not seem easy to say. But looking at the list above we could say that what is in that list lies under the most general aspects of Being and sufficiently general related matters (and perhaps add ‘not yet appropriated by the special disciplines’).
G. Here another remark is appropriate. It is the nature of disciplines of knowledge that their definition is not just harder than definition of physical objects but also somewhat different in nature. Why? In part it has to do with the fact that physical objects are (seem) given to us while the disciplines are created by us (this is true of other social artifacts as well). Therefore, as we have seen, the definition of an academic subject will evolve with history. This is especially true of philosophy and its disciplines including metaphysics today in a way that it is not so true of physics (for example). Physics has a fairly definite subject matter in a way that would not have been true more than about four to five hundred years ago when physics and philosophy had not yet separated (and such separation occurs when a discipline acquires definiteness). On the other hand a special concern of philosophy has been investigation at the edge of what is definitely known (because of this some philosophers and metaphysicians argue that their discipline is not about knowledge of the world but about such things as the nature of knowledge of the world). But definitely there is a area of investigation outside science—first, the edge and second in that knowledge itself is part of the world. Definitely this may have a speculative element and where that is the case it should be acknowledged. Still, once again, recall that this essay develops positive metaphysics.
H. That is, for the disciplines, any good definition of an academic discipline overlaps creation—that is ‘defining’ and ‘creating’ are not exclusive.
I. Therefore, for the purposes of this essay, given that such a system has been developed, I tentatively choose to regard metaphysics as TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF BEING—and metaphysical activity as the process of coming to acquire such knowledge (which may require experiential action). The first justification or that is that the essay develops a powerful metaphysical system in just this sense.
J. But there is more. The perfect universal metaphysics (the title will be justified) to be developed shows that the universe is the realization of all possibility and is consequently a framework for all true knowledge. That is all science and endeavor is framed by the metaphysics.
K. But what of the various topics mentioned earlier under metaphysics. These too will be seen to be framed. Is there a first cause? The metaphysics enables an answer (a beginning is already seen in the section on Being). That is the metaphysics enables answers to the entire range of historical-modern metaphysical problems.
L. There is still more. The metaphysics shows that in fact there is no real distinction to the abstract and the concrete—our distinctions are essentially based on the two main ways of knowing—perception (empirical including feeling) for the concrete, and higher conception for the abstract. That is, there is a sense in which all knowledge is and can be framed by metaphysics. There is an interesting discussion of such points under ‘methodology of metaphysics’ in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article linked above (The Methodology of Metaphysics—Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
M. In summary ‘what metaphysics is’ is seems complex. However, I shall use this meaning—metaphysics as experiential and reflective knowledge of Being. It is valid to do so provided it is made clear that it relates to only a relatively traditional meaning and does not reject other meanings. But it should also be noted that the general issue of ‘what is metaphysics’ is about nomenclature and issues of priority (read ‘turf’) which ought to be irrelevant. Concepts come before names or at least in interaction with names—the tendency to focus first and primarily on words violates the nature of meaning.
N. Further we have seen that the ‘consensus’—the most general aspects of Being and sufficiently general related matters falls under and is tied together by the meaning used here.
5. METAPHYSICS is experiential and reflective study and knowledge of Being—the world, the universe—as it is.
5.1. Metaphysics—and philosophy—have beginnings in recognizing THE VEIL between knower and known; and in the attempt to lift the veil. In seeing, as we will see, places where the veil is essentially ‘transparent’ and places where its opaqueness is a virtue.
There are many conceptions and activities of ‘philosophical metaphysics’. This is one. It is here justified as fundamental in human knowledge and an ultimate metaphysics is developed—this meaning is not just another meaning.
Other uses of ‘metaphysics’ are not intended to be minimized but it is important that in reading this work, attention be paid to its meanings. Some meanings that will be at least partially subsumed under the present meaning of metaphysics are—metaphysics as the study of experience, as study of abstract objects, a reason or Logic, and others.
The present conception of metaphysics has been criticized on numerous counts. One is that it is not even possible. However, when the concepts so far—Being and so on—are regarded with sufficient abstraction, knowledge is precise and will emerge as ultimate if abstract knowledge of our universe as ultimate in extension, e.g. space-time and their absence, and variety of Being.
This abstract metaphysics is ideally useful—in showing us the nature of the place in which we live. To render it practical it will be consistently synthesized with the practical knowledge and practice of human tradition, including the modern, and their means.
Another criticism is that it contradicts and minimizes our experience and common paradigms. In fact it does not but even justifies them where they are valid and more—it illuminates them and gives them context. And far from being minimizing, the metaphysics of the narrative and its worldview necessarily have roots in everyday life as much as in the ultimate and bridges the two.
As noted above, the main justification is post-justification. The metaphysics of the essay is a metaphysics that is perfect for ultimate knowledge and realization and that while necessarily incomplete as a static achievement and therefore not in need of static completion, shows itself to be process complete-able.
It is important to see that while the idea of ‘given meaning’ is practically needed for communication, there is a contrary need for open and fluid meaning when going beyond given contexts. Discussions such as ‘What is metaphysics?” depend crucially on an adequate meaning of concept and linguistic meaning.
The method is reason.; language is primary means of expression, communication, and part of the method.
Note that appeal to content, experience, experiment, and action are part of reason; and that what is valid in tradition is part of this and so on. From Experience, meaning, and reason, sand Introduction to reason, and the later section on Reason in light of the metaphysics, these are very broad.
We develop a sense in which metaphysics and reason are identical. Abstraction, for example as in Being, universe, and the void and further developed in the present chapter and later in Abstract and concrete objects, is crucial to the development. That abstract and concrete objects are not distinct—as seen later—suggests, as argued by W.V. Quine and others, that valid descriptions of the real carry ‘ontological commitments’—see (Metaphysics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). On reflection, however, these commitments are already present in universal metaphysics, i.e. in the fundamental principle, i.e. in the existence of the void.
That is, ultimately, method and reason are not gods to which universe-as-content is subject. The universe is its content and process and all that may lie in between (such as relationship, quality, dynamics, agency and so on). Put another way, as we have seen, method is content and low level content provides the first ground for experiments in method (reason). This unity will be seen more flat and well knit with the developments that follow.
Fundamental principle of metaphysics (fundamental principle, fp, or FP), absolute indeterminism, absolute determinism.
A fundamental principle of metaphysics
5.2. We will find that the universe is the realization of all possibility. The proof idea is that the void has no laws and so results in realization of all possibility. Proof, omitted in some brief versions, now follows.
5.2.1. Demonstration. If the universe is in a void or unmanifest state, there are no laws (since laws have Being). Therefore, all logically possible states emerge from that void state for the contrary would be a law (this proof is also plausible).
5.2.2. Demonstration—continued. But a being and the void are just the being, so a void is present with all beings—i.e., voids exist. But there is no difference between voids existing and there being precisely one eternal void—the void—that generates all Being including other voids.
5.3. That is—The universe is the realization of all logical possibility. This is the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF METAPHYSICS (also, the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE, fp, or FP). From earlier discussion this is equivalent to saying that the universe is the greatest possible universe.
5.3.1. As noted earlier the burden of consistency in the notions of limitlessness (and the greatest possible universe) are shifted to Logic.
5.3.2. The fundamental principle is the pivotal result of the ideas.
5.3.3. The remainder of this chapter on metaphysics explores and develops the explicit meaning—the metaphysics it entails and its conceptual meaning, objections and responses, the depth and vastness of ‘material’ consequences, and human significance.
5.3.4. The, next chapter on cosmology explores the implicit meaning of the principle—i.e. starting with fp and the metaphysics and then via synthesis of the metaphysics and tradition—coded as a system of categories, it explores consequences systematically and in detail, for general cosmological depth and variety, origins of form and levels of Being, origins of physical cosmology, and agency.
From the fundamental principle, while the limits are set by the Logic of necessity (deductive logic and necessary fact), filling out the interior is the task of reason as set out earlier. That is, since the strict logic is part of reason the task is that of reason. But the exploration of reason is part of the undertaking since we have so far explored only its generalities—recall also that reason is part of content.
The void exists—and as noted, an infinity of voids is equivalent to a single void. It is EQUIVALENT—may be thought to generate—to every possible and actual state of every being, including that of the universe.
5.4. The void exists. It is ultimately simple; yet it generates every state and being.
5.4.1. The void is ultimate in power and potency; it is ultimate in causation—but this causation is not mechanistic or necessary local.
5.4.2. (The void is not the quantum vacuum but has similarities to it. The void generates this cosmos and its vacuum state.)
5.4.3. Therefore every state has the potential of all Being and is equivalent to every other state.
5.4.4. There is effectively a single void (except that there is at least one, the number of voids has no significance).
5.4.5. Every being or state, inherits the power of the void and is equally foundational.
5.4.6. Every state generates every other state.
5.4.7. Therefore there is no SUBSTANCE in the traditional sense.
5.4.8. But every being or state, including the void, may be thought of as the substance or ultimate cause of Being and the universe.
5.4.9. The universe is ABSOLUTELY INDETERMINISTIC in that every state may emerge from any state. It is ABSOLUTELY DETERMINISTIC in that every state is already given and will emerge from any state.
Universal identity, individual identity is universal identity, karma, peak, limitlessness, infinite, the; limitless array of cosmoses, transient background, sentient being, god, Zermelo Fraenkel axioms for set theory.
It will be useful to state some consequences immediately—so as to show that a metaphysics of ‘the greatest possible universe’ is not just rational but also significant. The metaphysics is then spelled out in a universal metaphysics. Objections and responses are desirable to consider but taken up later in some objections and responses, when it is clear that the metaphysics is worthy of criticism.
The principle used below is that from the nature of logical possibility, many consequences are trivial. Of course, buried in the heart of logic, which exceeds what we know of our cosmos, there are many consequences that are non trivial in the sense of ‘difficult’.
5.5. The universe has identity (sense of self)—i.e., there is UNIVERSAL IDENTITY. Individual identity shares in universal identity and, ultimately, INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY IS UNIVERSAL IDENTITY.
5.5.1. The individual is an expression of potential or disposition, comes from and returns to the universal; has access to this knowledge which is entire in abstract principle if limited in detail; has ultimate realization as an inevitable imperative; and while eternal rebirth has validity—that is not karma (here) and, in any case, that ‘karma’ is at most a fragment of meaningful reality, perhaps symbolic in its usefulness.
5.5.2. Karma is not just a limited identity that is reborn as itself. Every identity is reborn as every other; which includes the least and the greatest.
5.5.3. KARMA (here) is participation in ultimate universal process in the present and toward the ultimate.
5.5.4. The universe and its identity go through manifest cosmological and void phases—limitlessly.
5.5.5. The universe is limitless— has limitlessness—with regard to variety and extension (sameness and difference and their absence—to be identified as time, space, and their absence). It is limitless with regard to PEAK and dissolution.
5.5.6. Note that LIMITLESSNESS is contrasted to THE INFINITE; there are infinitely many infinities but at most one counts as limitless.
5.5.7. Ours is but one cosmos; there is a LIMITLESS ARRAY OF COSMOSES of limitless variety, all in transient communication with the void, sometimes via a TRANSIENT BACKGROUND.
5.5.8. Every cosmos has its ‘laws of nature’; while they may be the same among some cosmoses, there is limitless variety of the laws, from slight to great differences; thus there is no universal law (though universal, Logic is not law); thus the correct view of laws is that they are compound facts on particular domains (that the facts are laws implies that the essential information is significantly less than the raw information in the compound fact).
5.5.9. A question to be addressed is not whether this obtains but what its significance is, what are the kinds and frequencies of the various kinds of cosmoses—and a related question of mechanisms of formation-sustenance-dissolution, and the place of sentient Being amid this eternity.
5.6. SENTIENT BEING is the place of significance. And as we have seen, given any being or cosmos, there is a greater sentient being and creation by a sentient being.
5.6.1. If you wish you may think in terms of ‘GOD’ in relation to ever greater sentience but the truth is that we participate in and are the ultimate.
5.7. Regarding the issue of all possibilities, how can apparently contradictory possibilities be realized? True contradictions of course are not realized. However, amid the array of cosmoses there are limitless earths and near earths and in the latter there are alternate histories that were they but one history would be contradictory. The term ‘all possibilities’ harbors potential contradiction and care is needed to avoid such contradiction.
5.7.1. The relations among perfect identities, near identities, and all identity, occurs, in one way, via connection in the receptacle of the dispositions.
5.7.2. A basis of possibility theory in a system such as the ZERMELO FRAENKEL AXIOMS FOR SET THEORY, with or without the axiom of choice, would be worthwhile investigation.
5.8. Metaphysics, often said impossible, is possible.
5.8.1. We have just constructed and developed such a powerful if abstract metaphysics. However, though abstract the existence of the possibilities shown is demonstrated. We now connect the abstract and the concrete.
The metaphysics under development, is an ultimate capture of the ultimate universe—i.e. of the universe as ultimate.
We take up consequences again in the fundamental question of metaphysics.
Pure metaphysic, the; pure knowledge, coherence criteria, good enough criterion, pragmatic knowledge, pragmatics, perfect metaphysics, universal metaphysics, the; metaphysics, the; perfect dual epistemology, pragmatic criteria, ultimate criteria.
Destiny, Aim of being, Aims of civilization.
Primal, secular, science, transsecular, religion, suprasecular, intuition, dogma, openness.
Philosophy, metaphysics, value theory, humanities, history, reason, imagination, doubt, methodological skepticism, knowledge itself.
Concrete sciences, symbolic sciences (abstract sciences), art, technology, engineering, design.
5.9. THE PURE METAPHYSICS is the metaphysical framework consequent on the universe as realization of all possibility. As derived from abstract versions of concepts, this is perfectly true though abstract.
Details of the pure metaphysics are already treated above, especially in the section Some consequences, and continue immediately below and in Cosmology and other chapters below. Beginning with Tradition and pragmatics, the pure metaphysics is joined to tradition.
5.9.1. Because the fundamental principle was derived from abstract versions of Being and universe perfectly known according to correspondence criteria, the pure metaphysics is perfect according to those criteria.
Pure metaphysics is an example of PURE KNOWLEDGE—knowledge that is perfect by correspondence criteria. Pure knowledge is possible when the concepts are sufficiently abstract or elementary and perhaps otherwise. It has been an ideal of all knowledge. Here we will the employ powerful abstract case—all possibilities are realized—for its power. Supplemented by pragmatic knowledge it is a perfect instrument of realization; this will be seen below.
In earlier writing I have called the pure metaphysics the universal metaphysics or the metaphysics. I will introduce and use extended meanings of these terms below.
5.9.2. The explicit meaning of the pure metaphysics is that the universe of logical concepts has an object.
While this entails the freedoms we are discussing, it also entails limits which—even if relative or contingent—may be experienced as rather absolute (e.g., the apple always falls). The implicit meaning is the filling out of detail which has already underway and is taken up in detail in the chapter on cosmology.
5.9.3. The pure metaphysics may be defined as what Logic allows. Observe is that this is a permissive rather than restrictive point of view. Importantly, noting that our logics are not complete, this is an alternate and more inclusive definition of logic. When enhanced by earlier observations regarding the idea of logic we find an equivalence of metaphysics and Logic.
5.10. We understand tradition to be what is valid knowledge in the history of human culture including reason.
5.10.1. In principle tradition contains the universal metaphysics (I am at least a small part of history) but it is convenient to exclude the universal metaphysics temporarily.
5.10.2. Though we distinguish them for convenience, the pure metaphysics is a limiting case of tradition.
The fundamental principle implies the experience of limits as we see them, e.g. in our lives and cosmos.
Whatever the limits of our knowledge, there is no immediate breaking out of them—even though that is ultimately given.
Therefore ‘our’ tradition, i.e. the tradition of whatever civilization we find ourselves part, is the only and ideal instrument in negotiating the ultimate—shown in and supplemented by the pure metaphysics.
5.11. As we (beings) move from civilization to civilization, cosmos to cosmos, pragmatic tradition is the perfect instrument in that trajectory of ultimate realization.
5.11.1. Recall that the sameness and difference—concepts of time and space are developed later—in which this happens is not just infinite but limitless.
5.11.2. Even though tradition is imprecise and even though imperfect for local purposes.
5.11.3. Of course, its particular form depends on the ‘cosmos’ under consideration (e.g. our cosmos, or what is becoming today recognized as the multiverse, and or but which is easily seen not only to be immensely minute relative to the universe but also small relative to cosmological possibilities).
5.11.4. Our tradition is the present point in an unending sequence of ‘pragmatic metaphysics’.
It is at least pragmatic in an ordinary sense. In itself its criteria are pragmatic which subsumes approximate correspondence and elements of COHERENCE CRITERIA. In and of its own criteria, the pragmatic criterion is just a GOOD ENOUGH CRITERION (here)—it is not ‘being functional in all contexts’ and does not entail correspondence or coherence; this criterion of PRAGMATIC KNOWLEDGE will be seen perfect for the purpose or the realization revealed by the pure metaphysics. However it is pragmatic and perfect relative to realization of the pure metaphysics—there is no better general instrument and no general need for one. Instead of calling it pragmatic metaphysics we call it PRAGMATICS or pragmatic metaphysics.
Perfect metaphysics and epistemology
5.12. The join of the universal metaphysics and tradition provide a PERFECT METAPHYSICS (PERFECT UNIVERSAL METAPHYSICS OF THE ULTIMATE) of realization
5.12.1. Within that perfection, the pure metaphysics and tradition each plays a perfect role—the pure according to correspondence criteria and tradition according to pragmatic criteria.
5.12.2. This perfect metaphysics is also called THE UNIVERSAL METAPHYSICS or simply THE METAPHYSICS (this extends the earlier meanings of ‘the universal metaphysics’ and ‘the metaphysics’).
5.13. This also defines a PERFECT DUAL EPISTEMOLOGY.
5.13.1. Note again, that the normal problems of epistemology remain for local purposes. The value of pragmatic knowledge remains. However, the pure alters the significance of tradition. The latter is no longer our final instrument for our final knowledge. It is a drop in the universe. Of course it is, for us, a very large drop—our local and temporary ‘universe’.
5.14. The pure and the pragmatic form a joint system that is perfect to the goal of the process of ultimate realization.
5.14.1. The pure will frame, clarify, extend, and be fleshed by the pragmatic; the pure illuminates and gives justification to the pragmatic; the pragmatic is illustrative and, as noted earlier, taken to a limit of reason, it includes the pure; their criteria are PERFECTLY ADAPTED: each to its ends and both jointly to the metaphysics and The Way.
5.14.2. The pure part of the metaphysics is perfect according to correspondence criteria and the pragmatic according to PRAGMATIC CRITERIA. Since the join is perfect in ultimate realization the perfect metaphysics is perfect according to ULTIMATE CRITERIA. These are of course ultimate relative to ultimate aims—local precision does not become a disvalue (but of course its value is revalued by the ultimate: it remains of local significance but lesser ultimate significance).
Here, then, we find the metaphysics as (1) Identity of universal actuality and Logical possibility, (2) In process, (3) A join of logic and science. In abstract and concrete objects the metaphysics is seen to include systems of mathematics as abstract sciences.
The earlier identification of metaphysics and Logic is now an identification of metaphysics and reason (understood to include the range from Logic to citta).
5.14.3. Essential values to metaphysical clarity are truth and understanding. The perfect metaphysics has the VALUE of (a) showing the ultimate character of the universe and our ultimate relationship to it and (b) means of realization. Beyond these general values, there are specific values to the metaphysics—many are explored below.
Also, in longer versions of this essay, see The Universal Metaphysics as resource.
Relationship to history of ideas
Here ‘history of ideas’ is study up to the present, emphasizing philosophy, science, and the study of religion.
In philosophy it includes metaphysics and epistemology. It is especially concerned with the nature of knowledge and its possibility for precision and meaning.
In science, it is concerned with issues of precision and predictability and with the significance of science for worldviews. It is also concerned with the empirical boundary—which it regards as the boundary of what has been seen and not the boundary of the universe which may, even according to science, stretch infinitely beyond.
The concern for religion is (a) the meaning of the seen world, (b) reason applied to what might lie beyond, and (c) the significance, symbolism, and any rational content of scripture, practice, and dogma, (d) the secular expression of such concerns in art, literature, music, psychological studies and more.
The main positions here are two—(1) the world and the destiny of (human) Being is far greater than generally seen in the history of ideas, but (2) while occasions great enhancements to the history of ideas, it modifies rather than vitiates their significance.
5.15. The question of why there is something at all rather than just nothingness has been seen as intractable. It has been called ‘the fundamental question of metaphysics’.
Certainly science, the common store of experience, and metaphysics so far do not provide an answer though there are speculations and partial reasons. This question has been called the fundamental question—or problem—of metaphysics (Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, based on a 1935 lecture course, in an English translation, © 2000, Gregory Fried and Richard Polt).
Clearly, this is a fundamental problem for metaphysics. After all, if our interest is Being, one of our concerns will be why there is or should be Being? It is of direct interest—e.g. we may just want to know why we are here. We may want to know for the implications, e.g. because the answer might be a source of meaning, because the answering might illuminate many other problems, because if proved the proof might be a source of method in metaphysics. Above all, however, not knowing why there is Being means that our knowledge of Being—our metaphysics is incomplete. And we will see that all of these reasons are addressed here.
It is also a fundamental problem for science. Consider the equations of any fundamental branch of physics. They may refer to space and time, have representations of matter-radiation, e.g. particles and fields. What is the source of these entities? What is the source of the laws? As physics digs deeper, some of these questions for some entities may be answered. But they are answered, invariably it seems, in terms of other posited entities (observed or hypothesized to explain what is observed). In the end, though we see or infer the lowest level entities we do not know their ‘why?’ Perhaps physics does not need to know the ‘why?’ But it does for the why is not idle but would take physics deeper. And in any case we are curious about our world which is one of the sources of science. Thus the fundamental question of metaphysics is fundamental for science and so the recent interest in it, e.g. as in Why Does the World Exist? (2013) by Jim HOLT.
The fundamental principle resolves the fundamental question
5.15.1. Clearly the fundamental principle resolves the problem.
The fundamental principle includes that given the universe in a void or non-manifest state, manifest Being must emerge.
Let us therefore reflect further on why the fundamental question has been considered a problem.
Further reflections on the question
Why should the problem have been considered intractable? Suppose we were to show that either modern physics or some particular metaphysics entails the existence of something. We would then have to show how the physics or metaphysics obtained. I.e. a relative answer is inadequate.
On the other hand we might argue that our experience shows that we exist and therefore manifest Being is a necessary. But the argument is contingent on observation (in some senses, true facts may be seen as necessary—if I spilled my coffee this morning, it will never be true that I did not spill my coffee this morning—but the necessity we want here does not depend on fact).
A satisfactory answer must be a necessary answer that shows the existence of all possibilities
We therefore conclude that
5.15.2. A satisfactory resolution to the fundamental question must be necessary—and, of course, non relative (to further posits, axioms, and so on).
But how could we have a necessary answer? It would have to be that the manifest and the non-manifest are necessarily equivalent—given one the other must also exist.
5.15.3. But how could there be a necessary answer? The necessary answer would have to include that the manifest and the non-manifest are equivalent—given one, the other must also exist.
Note that we need only that the non-manifest entail the manifest but given that it follows that the manifest entail the non-manifest.
We now ask—But why should the ‘something’ be any particular something, e.g. just our observed cosmos? If nothingness, the void, were just slightly other than nothingness we can see how it might give rise to this cosmos but not another. But that is not what is in question. To be something from nothing the nothing must be perfect—i.e. symmetric in any sense. Thus if it gave rise to our cosmos, i.e. one possibility, of necessity it would have to give rise to every possibility.
5.15.4. From symmetry, if the void or nom-manifest necessarily entails manifestation of one logically possible state it also necessarily entails all logically possible states to manifest.
5.15.5. That is, an adequate proof would prove the necessity of the existence of all possibilities.
5.15.6. And that is precisely what the fundamental principle / universal metaphysics does but science and metaphysics so far do not do.
5.15.7. Thus the problem of something from nothing can no longer be considered a problem.
Can we extract a proof of the fundamental principle from the argument concerning a satisfactory answer?
Well it exhibits a symmetry between Being and non Being. It is an ultimate unifier. It sets all Being on an equal footing.
If we are ever to know why we are here it must be the fundamental principle and its equivalents.
Experience as a source of a new fundamental question of metaphysics
Is there another candidate for the fundamental problem of metaphysics?
5.16. A first candidate for a new fundamental problem—why is there experience rather than inertness or nothingness?
5.16.1. The answer is the same as for why there is something rather nothing—i.e., given fp, the existence of experience is not fundamental.
5.16.2. A second candidate—it is also worth asking whether experience is essential to Being. Is it possible that the universe should be without experience? Clearly, in view of fp, not. But what if we ignore fp for this purpose?
That seems to be an open question—but it is worth reflecting on whether it is meaningful. Also, can there be an atom or elementary being that has no experience? Of course there can. Mammals have experience, lower organisms have lower grades, and material particles have none. But it is reasonable to argue that all experience must have form and that some elementary forms must have experience (emergence being rather magic-like). Can we say that all elementary forms must have (potential) experience? I address this after the next section.
5.16.3. The existence of experience is unquestioned (following Cartesian style argument). However, all experience has form and therefore if elementary form did not have elementary experience there would be magic-like emergence. On fp, this is not magic but without fp it would be magic-like. Can we argue that in formed cosmoses all form has at least elementary experience? This is addressed below.
A new fundamental question—What has Being?
The fundamental principle of metaphysics is that the logically possible has Being. However there are two related questions—(1) the location of such Being, where it exists in our immediate world and (2) what is the range of the logically possible?
5.16.4. A new fundamental question of metaphysics is—What has Being? Here, ‘has’ is atemporal.
5.16.5. This will be seen to be a collection of questions without definite end.
Why this is fundamental was addressed just above. However, to what do we wish to assign existence? There are some thinkers that would assign existence only to the real and would interpret the real in limited terms. But to do that would be to go behind existence to another eternal real where we already know from fp that all that is—is eternal in a good sense. The fundamental principle tells us that existence is ‘democratic’—that substances, processes, entities, tropes, and Reason have Being.
But to say that is only to begin discovery.
What has Being? Is an open and fundamental problem. Here we provide a significant but very partial answer.
An approach to the question is not to enquire of substance but of power. What things in the universe affect us or me? Only if there is an effect (atemporal, neutral ‘is’) is there Being. Another speculation would lead us outside the universe and so outside Being. We know from Logic that such a speculation would have to be irrational, i.e. non-Logical.
So then, What has Being? Much of what is said here, above and below, is an implicit answer.
Clearly power is a measure: without power existence is without meaning. I.e., while there are local substances, substance does not determine Being. Or, every Being is its own substance and the substance of the universe. Do ideas have Being? The pragmatic object of the concept of an electron? Sentences? The TROPE (“ontologically unstructured, i.e. simple, abstract particulars”—Tropes—Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)? Power establishes Being for all such as may affect us even by existing in or entering into our minds. There are no absolute grades of the real.
5.17. Power is the measure of Being. There are no further absolute grades of the real beyond what affects our world. That is, in the ultimate, our world is the universe.
On the other hand there are relative levels, categories, and modalities. Regarding modalities, from the realization of all possibilities, all beings are necessary relative to the universe but not relative to a cosmos; such beings are implicitly but not manifestly eternal; and the universe is a necessary and eternal being. Enquiring into these issues is an aspect of the new fundamental question.
5.17.1. Beyond power, we can look for levels, categories, and modalities; and particular entities. What has Being? That is a question that shall ever be in a process of being answered.
Being and perception
If an object has no interactions—effects present, past, or future—it is substantially indeterminate and its existence or not is irrelevant to us. We can imagine or ‘speak’ such an object but we do not speak of.
‘My universe’ (our universe) is the universe of interactions.
But does an object need to be perceived to exist? The obvious answer, though not certain so far, is ‘no’. But there is a difference between being explicitly perceived and influencing my conscious awareness in some indirect way such that while there is an effect on my consciousness, I do not assign the particular effect to an object.
5.18. Let us call ‘my significant universe’ (our significant universe) the universe-of-Being-that-has-an-effect-on-our-conscious-content.
5.18.1. In a sense that is our effective universe.
1. Is it proper to think of the universe as a universe of interactions even if that excludes other indeterminate objects and so other indeterminate and existentially moot universes?
2. Is it proper to think of the universe as the significant universe even if the latter excludes some things in the universe of interactions?
A pragmatic answer to both questions is that it is proper. But this leaves us with perhaps some intellectual discomfort.
It is a consequence of the fundamental principle of metaphysics that there are no non interacting objects and that all objects in the universe are significant.
5.19. There is one universe that is (a) the ‘universe’ all Being, (b) the ‘universe’ of interactions, and (c) the significant ‘universe’.
5.20. There is no object apart from power and at least indirect effect on experience—but power and experience can be extracted from the object by abstraction in some cases and according to some criteria. This is why it is possible and even adaptive to sometimes think in terms of ‘the object’ or objects in themselves. Particularly, the triad of experiencer-experience-experienced may sometimes be thought of as ‘in-itself’. Generally, however the object-as-perceived is not an object-apart-from-perception and thinking of one as the other may lead to error or imprecision of fact and minor to utter misconception of the nature of the object. Conversely, critique of the con-fusion and clarification of thought-conception can lead to understanding limits of observation and clarification about the nature of the object and constitution of objects unattainable by care in observation.
Note that the comment just above could have been placed as early as the section Being, universe, and the void††.
Limited metaphysics of fact, principle of plenitude, modal realism, possible worlds, relative metaphysics, non relative metaphysics, ontological argument, heuristic argument.
Doubts about the proof of the universal metaphysics
5.21. The essence of the proof is the proof of the fundamental principle.
5.21.1. It is principled to doubt the proof from the nature of the proof, the magnitude of the implications, and the apparent contradiction of experience.
This section addresses the first two of those concerns; the concern about experience is addressed in the next section. The magnitude of the implications are not an actual doubt but reasons that doubt should be taken seriously. What remains is the nature of the proof. What kind of doubt may be had regarding the proof?
Triviality of the proof
5.21.2. The proof seems trivial. Note that all necessary proof is trivial insofar as tautological but here ‘trivial’ means ‘obvious’. This is not a formal mark against the proof but, especially given the magnitude of the consequences, triviality suggests something may have been overlooked.
Response. Well, it is not trivial for its recognition is absent in the literature or at least rare enough that I have not seen it in extensive reading. Intrinsically, though, the proof is not at all trivial. It become trivial only after shedding of a vast ontological confusion, seeing what the confusion was, and careful and iterative selection of a system of concepts free of constraining and contradictory ontological commitments.
The proof is not original
5.21.3. Of course non originality is not a mark against the proof but, again, it might suggest that ‘we already know all that’ so what’s new?’ What is new is that even if the proof is non-original, it may be original to take the proof and its consequences seriously and so to be able to develop a potent metaphysics. I will now argue as to the newness (but also see the previous section on triviality of the proof).
Response 1. In Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein comes tangentially close to the idea of the proof in equating metaphysics and Logic. That would perhaps make the proof trivial and non-original. However, Wittgenstein neither claims nor demonstrates the fundamental principle, i.e. the universal metaphysics. What he says is that given the universe as a collection of atomic facts, all the facts—metaphysics—are just the compound facts and to determine the truth of any asserted fact is a matter of logic. The present metaphysics is not a metaphysics of atomic fact and is neutral to the issue of whether facts are ultimately atomic. It does give priority to logic as and in determining the boundary of what obtains—it says that logic is the only limit on conception for realization (this is not a limit on the universe). That is Wittgenstein’s metaphysics is a LIMITED METAPHYSICS OF FACT and not one of possibility. For Wittgenstein, in the Tractatus, logic comes in because there is a collection of true atomic facts and all other facts are true or false in virtue of being vs. not being a truth functional combination of those facts (including singletons).
Response 2. The PRINCIPLE OF PLENITUDE, in one of its forms, is that anything that is possible it will occur. This is an ancient idea that has recurred in many forms; were it to be the fundamental principle and were it to have been proven it would show the fundamental principle proven and non-original. However, it is not the fundamental principle. It’s deficiencies relative to that principle are (a) it is stated without proof as perhaps reasonable, (b) perhaps because stated without proof it is not taken seriously or well understood for its usual applications have been trivial and taken from normal cosmology or to support traditional religion, and (c) where there are arguments for it they are deficient. Immanuel Kant asserted that given an infinite amount of time, whatever is possible will occur. In the first place this is not true. A possible event may have zero probability. What Kant might have said is that given limitless realization all possibilities will occur. But the reason that we see the need for limitless realization is precisely because of the proof. Also, there is no hint that possibility itself needs to be explored. Here, the earlier exploration of the nature of possibility was occasioned by the proof, and in turn, this led to the present exploration of the possibilities. In summary, the principle of plenitude is an idea and not a rational metaphysics.
Response 3. The fundamental principle sounds rather like David LEWIS’ MODAL REALISM regarding POSSIBLE WORLDS: possible universes or worlds exist, there is an infinite number of them, every possible world is a concrete entity, any possible world is causally and spatiotemporally isolated from any other possible world, and our world is among the possible worlds. Note that Lewis’ metaphysics is significantly lesser than the one developed here (infinity instead of limitlessness, causal isolation, somewhat circular in its development of the concept of possibility) and lacks proof.
5.21.4. Returning to the question of triviality, it is only after the proof is given that it becomes manifestly trivial. Triviality however is not an argument.
The proof is not founded in fact
5.21.5. Another argument is that the proof is not founded in fact; and that every proof ultimately rests on assumption or axiom.
Response. However, we have already seen that the Being of the universe, beings, Being itself and so on are given as necessary-facts-from-observation-by-abstraction. Therefore they are empirical and precise. This is a remarkable exception to the traditional notion that all philosophy—and science—must be either a RELATIVE METAPHYSICS in being non-terminating or a NON RELATIVE METAPHYSICS but founded in axiom-assumption. It is worth emphasizing that this reiterates a interpretation of logic (Logic) in its traditional sense enhanced by necessary fact (or reason in its traditional sense enhanced by fact). But note that while the necessary facts begin as facts-necessary-after-establishment, this restriction is no longer metaphysically necessary once the proof of the metaphysics is accepted.
The proof is not founded in reason
Response. Well, yes it is. It is a kind of ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT—an argument that appeals to the nature or properties of existence or Being.
The proof is a kind of ontological argument
5.21.6. Yet another argument against the proof of FP is that, like the ontological argument for the existence of God, it is a proof by appeal to pure logic and so, by analogy with the ontological proof, it must fail.
Response. However, this rather repeats the previous objection where we saw a necessary empirical foundation from which logic was able to build. Note, also, that this shows that while some ontological arguments may fail, others may succeed.
Comment. Still we have an obligation to support the proof. We may do this by providing alternate lines of proof and heuristic arguments to appeal to intuition.
Alternate proofs, heuristics, and other arguments
5.22. The purpose to HEURISTIC ARGUMENT(s) is to assuage doubt from intuition; heuristics are not presented as alternate proofs. Here are some heuristic arguments in skeletal form.
5.22.1. Existence of the void is equivalent to non-existence.
5.22.2. Any system of laws of nature apply only to the manifest.
5.22.3. Ockham’s Principle applied to what does not exist.
5.22.4. The principle of plenitude—as discussed above.
Proofs in this essay
From this point on, proofs are given only where not obvious.
The limited role of proof
5.23. While proof is critical we also need:
5.23.1. Significant meaning—occurs in sentience, sentient organism can exceed knowledge and creation of any ‘inert’ possibility, perhaps the highest significance as in the aim of The Way is living-well-in-this-world-on-the-way-to-and-from-the-ultimate.
5.23.2. What is worthwhile—what is value and what particulars are of value.
5.23.3. Mechanism and likelihood—to make distinctions of feasibility and means in the region of limitless possibility.
5.23.4. Practice, action, and reason—as supplement to knowledge… on the way to the ultimate. Note that action is already a part of reason as seen earlier.
Among the issues of proof, above, are doubts about it. The following objections are external to the proof itself.
Self-consistent, externally consistent, normal, normal law.
The objections and responses
5.24. But metaphysics is not possible—in the first place because we do not have knowledge of the object and in the second place because of the speculative nature of metaphysics, especially what Kant called ‘special metaphysics’.
5.24.1. Response. We have seen that we do have pure correspondence knowledge of what now emerges of an abstract core to the metaphysics. We will further show that while knowledge of the interior of the abstract framework is pragmatic, pragmatism is all that is possible there but also precisely what is needed in filling out and realizing the ultimate—it is perfect in its own way. That is, the pure and the pragmatic together will constitute a perfect dual but unified ultimate metaphysics of knowledge and for realization—and that is associated with a perfect dual epistemology (which does not eliminate the local need for normal epistemology). Finally, note that where not contradictory all special metaphysics is realized per fp; the question that emerges concerns its significance. This is addressed below, especially under cosmology and agency.
5.25. ‘All possibilities’ is a self-contradictory notion.
5.25.1. Response. The burden of consistency was earlier shifted to Logic. Modern logic addresses contradictions inherent in careless use of language. Probably not all problems of language are yet uncovered. The burden of explicit consistency is an in process endeavor. The universal metaphysics is SELF-CONSISTENT and EXTERNALLY CONSISTENT.
5.26. It is possible that Earth should not have existed—therefore its existence is contradictory (this is a trivial example of how all possibilities may be contradictory).
5.26.1. Response. Since this Earth exists, it is not possible. There is no contradiction. In fact, from fp it is necessary that Earth, its inhabitants, their experience should have existed and shall exist over and over.
5.27. But is not multiple earths just repetitious?
5.27.1. Response. Yes but it is repetitious as part of a limitlessly greater variety and adventure.
5.28. Does not the realization of all possibilities include immense pain and suffering? Response. Yes, but that is not an objection. Whereas pain might be a criticism of an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God, it is not a criticism of the fundamental principle. In the ‘significant universe’ pleasure and pain are commingled in proportion and pain has some meaning and can be employed to positive purpose.
5.29. If all is possible why is the Earth the way it is?
5.29.1. Response. See the earlier discussion of necessary fact. Further, it is necessary that some place be the way Earth is. We call this a NORMAL occurrence. What, in the normal, is not universally necessary but seems locally necessary is but HIGH PROBABILITY (ALMOST CERTAIN) in the local; this could be called NORMAL NECESSITY; NORMAL IMPOSSIBILITY may be defined similarly. For example, a natural law of our cosmos is a NORMAL LAW; our form is a NORMAL FORM. Similarly our experience of our world is a NORMAL WORLD.
5.30. The universal metaphysics and its implications contradict science, experience, and common sense.
5.30.1. Response. We have just seen examples of how apparent contradiction of expectation is not a true contradiction. A full response, however, is to observe (a) that the metaphysics requires our world as a normal world and therefore is not merely consistent with but requires our science, experience, and common sense where valid, and (b) it provides a reinterpretation of the normal world placing it in a larger context.
5.31. There is and should be doubt about the proof of the fundamental principle.
5.31.1. Response. This is addressed in the next section.
5.32. The concern with the ultimate denies the significance of the immediate. To ignore limits is to ignore the concerns of everyday life. It is grandiose and narcissistic.
5.32.1. Response. It is true that in thinking of the ideas in this essay, I have been very much concerned with the ultimate. However (a) it is in part because the universal metaphysics provides a new vision of the ultimate, (b) a personal motivation was to find what the individual and society may achieve, (c) the concern here is very much with the immediate-in-itself as well as how appreciation of the immediate and the ultimate are both enhanced by the mutual concern, and (d) a practical concern is living well in this life as being on the way to ultimate realization, and (e) the very real difficulties of living well and so on are recognized as an essential part of becoming.
The problem of doubt
What shall we do if we do not accept the proof of the fundamental principle?
We should of course continue to seek proof. In addition to symbolic proof, there is proof in action—as follows in discussing ‘existential attitude’.
Consistency of the metaphysics
It is important that the fundamental principle is consistent with all we know and—as we have seen—it must be. Therefore, to assume it would not be absurd in the way that so much of traditional mythology and religion is absurd when taken literally.
5.33. Since the universal metaphysics is internally and externally consistent, we may validly adopt it as an EXISTENTIAL ATTITUDE even if we doubt its proof.
5.33.1. What should or may we do if we do not accept the proof of the fundamental principle? Given its internal and external consistency and value, we can adopt an existential attitude—that the implications of the universal metaphysics and the fundamental principle are so great in value and magnitude that there is value in adopting it as a stance and in devoting energies to it in parallel with other traditional pursuits, secular and mundane and more.
Existential and optimal stance
5.33.2. If we assign the infinite value to the limitless potential under the universal metaphysics, then an optimal approach to ‘this life’ is to devote sufficient energies to the immediate while reserving energy also for the infinite potential.
Realisms, logical realism, mathematical realism, scientific realism, death, receptacle, disposition.
Abstract and concrete objects
5.34. The universal metaphysics empowers understanding and unification of concrete objects and abstract objects.
5.34.1. Object is interpreted generally to include fact, thing, process, interaction, quality or property, ‘fiction’.
5.34.2. From the fundamental principle there is no fiction except the logically impossible and that too can be seen as vacuously satisfied.
5.34.3. A bound concept is one that is in its nature of an object. A free concept is not bound—it is at least part pure creation and may seek attachment to simple and compound objects
5.34.4. If the universe is the universe of Logic then all concepts, free and bound, are realized:
5.34.5. Obviously all concepts, free and bound, consistent and otherwise are in the universe (the inconsistent objects, vacuously).
5.34.6. The inconsistent do not define objects, except the null object—the void whose existence is given as far as power is concerned but moot as far as manifest Being is concerned.
5.34.7. All other concepts have objects.
5.34.8. Relative to human Being, the concrete objects are roughly the perceived and the abstract are conceived for which a degree of concreteness, e.g. spatiotemporality—defined later, is not included in the abstract.
5.34.9. I.e. all objects, abstract and concrete, are in the one universe.
5.34.10. This constitutes a unification of the abstract and concrete; they are not essentially different. The difference is one of filtering rather one of nature. The distinction is conventional. The abstract can be causal unless causation is filtered out. The abstract and the concrete lie on a continuum.
5.34.11. The abstract lend themselves to conceptual or rational study and symbolic representation. The concrete to perceptual or empirical study and iconic representation. Language straddles the iconic-symbolic divide.
5.34.12. Logic, potential, reason, concepts, mind-and-matter-in-so-far-as-they-exist, are in the universe—are real.
5.35. Thus fp resolves issues of the concrete and the abstract. fp: every Logical concept has an object.
5.35.1. Consequences: no essential difference between concrete and abstract objects or beings (abstraction omits concreteness, e.g. cause and space); Being is a being; REALISMS—LOGICAL REALISM, MATHEMATICAL REALISM, and SCIENTIFIC REALISM—are on par: from fp, mathematical systems are abstract sciences of forms which are real (and in Platonic worlds as parts of the one universe); all content—perhaps neither literal nor explicit, e.g. art—that has possible objects has real objects…
5.36. Further consequences: DEATH, real but not absolute, is reminder that this life is no less significant than the ultimate and so to live well; the ultimate abstract is a RECEPTACLE of DISPOSITION to emerging-merging-reemerging identity of substantial beings…
5.36.1. Still further consequences: local science as locally valid but otherwise shed like snakeskin in transcending a cosmos; religions as allegorically real and socially significant but premature if taken literally; which suggests The Way of Being, the aim of wholeness, of real religion, as discovery-realization of immediate-ultimate Being by limited beings using all Elements and Dimensions of identity and the world.
Abstract-concrete continuum, religion, mathematics.
5.37. Metaphysics is Logic interpreted as reason
As reason, Logic has the following extensions to logic-as-necessary-inference:
5.37.1. Inclusion of hypothetical or inductive inference that is less or other than necessary,
5.37.2. Inclusion of fact or premise and determination of fact,
5.37.3. Extension of necessary inference and definite fact to the pure metaphysics.
A final extension is to the perfect metaphysics of the world:
5.37.4. 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
5.38. 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.
5.38.1. 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, Logic, and Reason
5.39. 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
5.40. 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. Specifically, the comparison of deduction under logic with inference to scientific theories from data etc. is not a proper comparison.
5.40.1. We have seen various interpretations of logic beginning with necessary inference that occurs because the conclusion is implicit in the premise.
5.40.2. In its beginnings mathematics is empirical and interwoven with what passes for early science.
5.40.3. However, we learn over history that some patterns are general and can be seen to have a formal character. They can be expressed in abstract or symbolic terms as axiomatic systems. If the universe is the greatest possible, then any mathematical system that is logically consistent has objects in the universe which may be seen as abstract.
5.40.4. Today, mathematics does not use the empirical approach even though it has objects—for locating those objects would be difficult; and what is more the symbolic approach gives mathematics a necessity that it would not have if empirical. This necessity is not at all obvious over history—i.e., its necessity is after the fact; and there is an entire study of that necessity. It begins with the idea of definite proof but we know from experience that that is not enough and so we have the metamathematical disciplines of proof theory and model theory.
Comment. The following is repetitive.
5.41. But beings have constitutions and perhaps other facts—or states of affairs.
5.41.1. More precisely: a fact is correct PERCEPTION of a STATE OF BEING or object.
5.41.2. We say facts can be correct because claimed facts can be incorrect (usually, fact will mean ‘correct fact’). How is a fact validated? Observation, measurement, corroboration, and argument (below) are among the means.
5.41.3. There are also COMPOUND FACTS, e.g. the natural laws. The laws of nature are usually regarded as tentatively universal; but they may also be seen as local facts; which view is less problematic. But then: the SCIENTIFIC METHOD is available for validation: the law is hypothesized and as local may be validated (e.g. a very limited epoch); which does not rule out law as UNIVERSAL HYPOTHESIS. Unlike the necessity of logic, science as universal hypothesis is not necessary and goes under the names of scientific method or inference, induction, or abduction.
5.42. Metaphysical language, logic, mathematics, and science will be the study of the variety implied by the fundamental principle and harbored in the universal metaphysics.
5.42.1. While we have already begun this, the concern here is the difficult, the detailed, and the esoteric but not to the exclusion of the exoteric.
5.42.2. Tradition as understood in this essay is important. It may be enhanced in interaction with the present developments.
5.43. Our naïve idea of religion is informed by naïve religion.
5.43.1. What shall we do regarding the limitlessness beyond the empirical? A common pragmatic and secular default is that there is no such realm.
5.43.2. However, we have seen that there is and it is very worthwhile contemplating, attempting to map, and travel. We are giving tools.
5.43.3. Among our tools are what might be called philosophical religion, symbolic religion, reason, and the pure metaphysics.
5.43.4. Intuition and imagination are essential but are part of Logic in its extended sense of reason.
Potency of the concept of being, foundation, perfect categories.
The potency of the idea of Being
5.44. The POTENCY OF THE CONCEPT OF BEING of the idea of Being so far includes avoiding paradigmatic prejudice. The power of the concept includes its indifference to such high level distinctions such as mind vs. matter and the real vs. the experienced and shows these distinctions ultimately moot even though pragmatic. Being is also indifferent to such low level distinction such as entity vs. event, state vs. interaction vs. process, object vs. property vs. attribute, place, tense, and gender. It is significant that the indifference of Being to the distinctions is such that it also allows them.
5.45. Further, as the pure and the pragmatic, each on its criteria, are perfect, the FOUNDATION is perfect (this reflects an idea—perfection does not pertain to the world as whole). Contrary to a long tradition of post-enlightenment criticism, there is potent metaphysics as knowledge of Being. Its source: PERFECT CATEGORIES—beings, universe, Being, void, possibility, and pragmatism. This contrasts with the imperfect if useful categories of Kant and Schopenhauer.
This chapter considers ‘general cosmology’. Typically, modern default secular cosmology is modern empirically driven physical cosmology; the universal metaphysics shows this to be extremely limited. In comparison, general cosmology is limitlessly broader in variety and deeper regarding the elements of beings.
The functions of the chapter are (1) cosmology as an application of the metaphysics, (2) part foundation for Agency and Becoming (Realization), the next part, and (3) to suggest foundations for physical cosmology from metaphysical considerations.
Cosmology of sentience, kinds of being, variety of being, extension of being, duration, general cosmology, cosmology of form, form, physical cosmology, cosmology.
What is cosmology?
6. COSMOLOGY is the study of the KINDS OF BEING, VARIETY OF BEING, and EXTENSION OF BEING over all sameness and difference and their absence. Cosmology is continuous with metaphysics and ontology. Note: extension includes spatial extension as well as DURATION.
6.1. Cosmology emphasizes special cases from our EMPIRICAL COSMOS to the universe—this is the contrast to metaphysics.
6.1.1. GENERAL COSMOLOGY is cosmology without particular reference to detail. Its objects are those of the pure metaphysics.
6.1.2. Particular cosmologies are defined by aspects of the universal metaphysics.
6.1.3. COSMOLOGY OF FORM is study of FORM, particularly of enduring forms whose stability is a function of symmetry and that result from processes of adaptation.
6.1.4. PHYSICAL COSMOLOGY is defined by laws of physics but not necessarily the specific laws of out empirical cosmos.
6.1.5. We will also be concerned with the COSMOLOGY OF SENTIENCE which is its inevitable as well as chosen and engineered destiny—as far as these occur.
Our interest is to explore consequences systematically and in detail, for general cosmological depth and variety, origins of form and levels of Being, origins of physical cosmology, and agency.
General principle of cosmology, categories of being and reason, particular principles of special and general cosmology, identity, time, space, relation (as interaction), dynamics.
Key terms for the category of agency
Agency and general terms
Agency, instrumental means, intrinsic means, element, elements of being, dynamics of being, dynamics of agency.
Elements of identity
Elements of identity, dimensions of growth, nature, place of be-ing, psyche, universal.
Elements of interaction
Elements of interaction, intelligent and passionate commitment, one and many, foresight.
Elements of process
Elements of process, local civilization, population, ways, disciplines, practices, technology, economics, politics, heart, catalysts, immersive economics, immersive politics, ultimate and immediate, Brahman, Atman, universal civilization, peaking, dissolution.
Inclusive and powerful
6.2. The GENERAL PRINCIPLE OF COSMOLOGY is the universal metaphysics.
Particular and incisive
To study variety without error requires a concept that captures it precisely.
An effective approach is to critique common unitive principles, such as ‘SUBSTANCE THEORY’. Examples are Plato’s forms, Aristotle’s primary substances or objects-themselves and secondary substances or kinds of objects, Hume’s impressions and ideas, and the modern idea of the physical. These can be thought of as ontological or generative.
We saw that there is no substance of fixed finite simplicity, yet the void can play the role of ultimate substance of ultimate simplicity. We take up substance approximations below; this is useful though incomplete and imprecise.
A metaphysically satisfactory and unitive approach to variety is via categories. But how can this be done precisely at all? It is to start with Being and to see if and how the abstract precision can be inherited by not quite as abstract but still a little concrete ‘categories’.
6.3. We study cosmology systematically in its concrete aspects of variety, origins of form and levels of Being, origins of physical cosmology, and agency via ‘CATEGORIES OF BEING AND REASON’ which are the PARTICULAR PRINCIPLES OF SPECIAL AND GENERAL COSMOLOGY.
Introduction to the Categories
6.4. Traditionally, the categories are a catalog of the highest genera. The systems of Aristotle, Kant, Schopenhauer, and Whitehead are well known.
6.4.1. Here, the categories of Being and reason are assigned the aim of an effective foundation for metaphysics. EFFECTIVE FOUNDATION aims at a metaphysics of maximal power.
6.4.2. The foundation is the universal metaphysics (cum tradition).
6.4.3. The focus is to find basis for form (ontology), formation (process, generation), and dynamics (e.g., for prediction). Note that dynamics might have been bracketed under formation.
6.4.4. As general and for completeness, Being will be a category. As they are real and interwoven with Being, experience and reason will be categorial. Note that our tendency to minimize the reality of ideas is a categorial error that minimizes Being and universe. Inclusion, means that the categories include their own principles and shall be founded rather than ad hoc or relative.
6.4.5. The universal metaphysics and reason are the highest level paradigm. Abstract science, especially mathematics, are an intermediate level. Tradition, especially natural sciences of matter, life, and mind, shall provide paradigms at a lower level. Recalling that reason includes citta and the functions of art and literature, these are an adequate tentative initial vertical and horizontal range for the categories.
Categories at the level of Being
6.5. Being and reason; form and formation are given by the universal metaphysics; the paradigm is Logic; causation is Logic; process is absolutely indeterministic and absolutely deterministic.
6.5.1. Experiencer-experience-experienced (subject-content-object), mind-world-matter and substance metaphors or approximations.
6.5.2. We have seen that on strict monism, experience (e.g. consciousness) and experienced (world, matter, experience itself) must constitute a single substance. Therefore, experience is interaction, a form of power. This is paradigmatic for any stable single substance cosmos.
6.5.3. However, in the general stable case, there may be many substances, each either a single matter like substance or a experience-experienced substance. Generally the substances need not but may interact.
6.5.4. In the fully general case there may be matter-like Being, experience-experienced like Being, and mostly experience like Being with simple form. All these may interact.
6.5.5. It is an evident principle that experience-experienced (mind-body) should be studied each on its own terms and on mutually informing rather than reductive terms.
6.6. Indeterminism yields many transients of which few are stable, have well formation and symmetry, and aware reason. Being potent and long lived these populations dominate the significant universe. The paradigm is indeterministic increment and selection; sources of the paradigm are evolutionary biology and reflection on necessity for origin of novel form. Stable beings, stable cosmos, and stable physical laws are outcomes rather than initial causes. However, once established, given any form, sentient beings are and are agents of higher forms.
6.7. The most elementary pattern is difference with sameness across the universe’s oneness. IDENTITY is sense of sameness of object or person. Difference with and without identity mark TIME (duration) and SPACE (extension), respectively, which would so be the modes of difference. Then the universe is Being over all spacetime and its absence (other modes were just seen improbable). Spacetime (difference) is IMMANENT in the world, not absolute, has and is of Being; relations among identities across extension mediate change over duration. Identity is transparent only when local: space-time-identity does not always separate into its components. Where identity is fully absent, so is spacetime. Process, RELATION (as INTERACTION), and state have Being—and will found DYNAMICS. An epoch is a realm of fact relative to which the rest of the universe is not determined.
The paradigms for identity, space, time, and dynamics are (a) primitives of sameness and difference in general and in experience and (b) modern physics—classical, quantum, and relativistic.
6.7.1. Two sources of identity and dynamics are ‘Logic’ at the most general level and the stable formation from numerous trials. This would explain (1) stable second order dynamics, (2) residual indeterminism cum structure, and (3) why the long range interaction in our stable cosmos, gravity, is solely attractive.
6.7.2. So far in this section, identity is material or physical (object) identity. But the concept of identity above also allows for the self-identity of beings—individuals and the universe. This ‘side’ of identity is inclusive of object identity.
The beginnings of its description and theory are earlier in sections on experience and meaning, reason (and reason in light of the metaphysics); it is developed further, below, in discussing agency (psyche, agency, and dynamics and practical dynamics of agency). The development is employed in the part on becoming.
Agency subsumes the foregoing categories.
6.8. AGENCY is the power of sentient beings to see and conceive alternate futures, to value some of those futures, and to select to act toward the valued futures, especially those of high value. Therefore it requires also the concept and understanding of value and ordering of value. Agency requires indeterminism with structure—the structure is necessary for the seeing etc. and indeterminism is necessary for the existence of alternate futures. In being agentive, the agent is involved in creating a future. However, to be agentive is only to say that there is at least a small effect and not that the agent can ‘do anything’ or violate physical law.
6.8.1. In our normal lives, effective agency may be difficult, slow, and incremental; and may require ‘will’. That is, being an effective human Being may be a difficult task even when the accomplishment is or seems small.
6.8.2. Yet, in the larger realm of Being and stable formation, agency is about effecting significant change. We have seen that there are no limits to form except Logic, and that given any form there is a higher form and creation of sentient Being.
6.8.3. The first paradigm for agency is human psychology, i.e. our normal experience of the world.
6.9. Here we enumerate a tentative set of elements and dimensions for use in agency.
6.9.1. The paradigm is a traditional organization of our cosmos into nature, society (civilization), psyche, and the universal. Psyche could be placed under nature but it is convenient here to keep it separate because nature will emphasize the INSTRUMENTAL MEANS or (external) while psyche emphasizes the INTRINSIC MEANS (inner).
6.9.2. The ELEMENT(s) of The Way of Being—THE ELEMENTS OF BEING—are primitive basis of a dynamics (mechanics), the DYNAMICS OF BEING, DYNAMICS OF AGENCY, or dynamics of The Way of Being—of realization. From ‘difference’, there arose a tentative identity-interaction-process mechanics.
6.9.3. The elements can be arranged in a table. The rows may be the elements of mechanics or dynamics, identity, interaction or relation, and process. The columns may be a set of dimensions of Being, which, in one tradition, are nature, civilization, psyche, and the universal—seen later to be reasonable on an atomistic approach. However, we will not form the table which is implicit in the following tentative arrangement of the elements of Being:
Elements of Identity
6.10. ELEMENTS OF IDENTITY—DIMENSIONS OF GROWTH: NATURE (roughly, instrumental: physical, biological), civilization (individual, society)—often tied to PLACE OF BE-ING; PSYCHE (COGNITION, EMOTION, integration as PERSONALITY), and the UNIVERSAL (immediate, ultimate).
Elements of interaction
6.11. ELEMENTS OF INTERACTION (relation, sharing) include the natural—FORCE, FIELD, FLOW, CHEMICAL; of civilization and society—COMMUNICATION: BEHAVIORAL, and LINGUISTIC expression; of psyche—experience, INTELLIGENT AND PASSIONATE COMMITMENT; and universal—ONE AND MANY. As FORESIGHT, experience and choice mediate identity and process; the mechanics is incremental (see Stable form and formation, and Cosmology and origins of form), and large step: seeing-choosing-risking-acting-consolidating the SIGNIFICANT and ultimate. It is self-examining-referential, ever under discovery, an active part of the metaphysics. It employs-develops The Way, catalysts and ways.
Elements of process
6.12. ELEMENTS OF PROCESS include the natural—MOTION, FUNCTION, EVOLUTION;
The following are some details of the elements of process:
6.12.1. Of civilization and society—LOCAL CIVILIZATION or POPULATION (verb) and instrumental means: WAYS (revelation-illumination), DISCIPLINES and PRACTICES. TECHNOLOGY, ECONOMICS, POLITICS;
6.12.2. Of psyche—citta: cognition (mind-thought) and emotion (HEART), and action. intrinsic means: CATALYSTS (fracture-integration), practices, IMMERSIVE ECONOMICS and IMMERSIVE POLITICS; and
6.12.3. Of the universal—ULTIMATE AND IMMEDIATE, BRAHMAN and ATMAN—UNIVERSAL CIVILIZATION. Universal and local cycles of becoming, PEAKING, and DISSOLUTION.
Employing the dynamics of agency
The previous section developed an outline of dynamics of agency. To employ it, it is useful to have further information on psyche, below, some details of cosmology as in general cosmology through the origins of physical cosmology.
Comment. Presently, the information below is adequate:
See, especially, the discussion of citta in previous two sections,
Comment. For more complete treatment see:
Outline of concepts, a supplement for this document, and
Field of being, field of sentience, choice, conscious choice, free will, significance, pain, suffering, blood, joy, bliss, yoga, meditation-vision quest, universal causation, Aeternitas, Perfect Buddha.
Comment. Here are some terms related to causation to consider so as to bring out the nature of part – part relations in the universe. Causality, mechanism, determinism, fate, destiny, emergence, power, force, and INTERACTION.
The following continues the discussion from Identity, space, time, and dynamics of which the first paragraph is repeated for convenience.
Comment. Edit the following at the source.
6.13. The universe is a FIELD OF BEING and a FIELD OF SENTIENCE and identities (entities, processes, relations—not substances) are its concentrations.
6.13.1. Experience—pure and engaged—is relationship, place of agency which will be seen to require CHOICE (CONSCIOUS CHOICE and, so, FREE WILL), and SIGNIFICANCE but experience is not all significance; subject-object meet in experience as one.
6.13.2. The ‘universes’ of significance and destiny are fields of experience and agency; and sentient agents (beings) are their concentrations. Assertions and reasoning for sentience follow; those for agency are similar. All peaks of form are accessible to sentient form. We might expect that all actuality >> sentient actuality; but from fp, for any form there is greater sentient form (and vice versa). The field of experience and agency has no limit; it is effectively and essentially the universe.
6.13.3. Only in sentience are there PAIN and SUFFERING—and joy and agency; which are essential to Being; so in and only in sentience is there price paid with BLOOD, their sometime temporal non-overcoming, its universal cycles of release and overcoming into JOY (BLISS, calm abiding) and dissolution.
6.13.4. The Bhagavad Gita’s fourfold YOGA and MEDITATION-VISION QUEST are identity with the real—present-as-ultimate (in a broad sense practice includes science, reason, philosophy, and their methods). As expansion of awareness, meditation is concurrent to discovery and realization of the real. It may begin with a range of techniques or approaches as a good foundation: SHAMATA, VIPASANA, BEYUL, TANTRA.
See the practical references.
6.13.5. The universe has identity. Identity and manifestation have no limits—especially to variety, peak, extension, duration; cycle endlessly—without simple and universal periodicity—in acute, diffuse, and non-manifest phases in relatively remote epochs; UNIVERSAL CAUSATION is at most weak; causal connectivity is at most local (in creation-destruction, time has causal direction); beyond ours, there are cosmoses, natural laws, physical and living forms without end or limit; these occur meshed to a void-transient background; only some occurrences have mechanism; every atom is a cosmos, every cosmos an atom; individuals and civilizations inherit these powers—while in limited form realization is eternal endeavor…
6.13.6. Local civilizations (webs of cultures across time and continents) merge with universal civilization (capitalized, the matrix of civilizations across the universe) and Being; discovery and realization beyond a cosmos—beyond the normal—is a limitless and eternal journey. What is the identity of self? In overcoming limited form individuals realize the ultimate—Brahman (Upanishad), AETERNITAS (Thomas Aquinas), or PERFECT BUDDHA. But for process even these are local peaks.
6.13.7. Is there a cosmos—a field of Being—in an electron? What is the region far beyond the empirical? Our physics suggests that the electron is truly elementary. However, that physics must break down at some scale and not only because of a Planck length limit but also because of fp. The region far beyond the empirical is not just remote in largeness or ‘there and then’ but also in smallness or ‘here and now’.
6.13.8. There are ghosts and ghost cosmoses passing through our cosmos and every cosmos, sometimes with barely a whisper—but there must at least be a whisper somewhere and when. Meanwhile normal reality continues on sometimes with and sometimes without a smile at the limitless.
6.14. General cosmology does not follow a strict substance metaphysics—one of fixed kinds and no emergence of or interaction among kinds.
6.14.1. In monism, experience and Being are coupled through and through; in dualism their interaction is inexplicable. In general cosmology kinds and forms may occur independently but must at times merge, emerge, and export—kinds-forms are not substances and are organic to Being.
6.14.2. Our cosmos normally approximates monism. The constitution of beings is normal—only normally inviolable (see possibility): beings have no absolute real limits or impossibilities.
6.15. If the metaphysics and cosmology read as fantasy—as if entering a strange land—their truth is cast in Logic. Where access is improbable, cosmology of form, next, seeks the probable. Then The Way seeks access to the ultimate (via intelligent commitment that enhances enjoyment and likelihood), transforming it as needed to the probable.
It is effective to defer discussion of ‘God’ till the next section.
Theory of biological evolution, model for normal formation, variation, adaptive selection, necessary instance, universal way of origin of form, indeterminism, novelty, determinism, single step origins, adaptive systems, robust form, robustness via adaptation, robust systems, significantly robust, singular event, God of monotheism, Abrahamic monotheistic God, Indian philosophy, pantheistic God, panentheistic God, dark matter, dark energy.
Cosmology and origins of form
6.16. The study of cosmology and origins of form require intersection of the pure and pragmatic sides of metaphysics.
6.16.1. In the intersection, the pragmatic gives flesh to the pure, while the pure illuminates the pragmatic and shows some of its general aspects that may be raised to the level of the pure without being abstracted out of contact with our world.
6.16.2. A pragmatic source is the THEORY OF BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION as MODEL FOR NORMAL FORMATION. As such a model only appropriately generic features of biological evolution will survive any translation to origins of cosmos and form. The features to be selected from include the primary mechanics of VARIATION that is at least originally indifferent to adaptation and ADAPTIVE SELECTION. Analogy suggests the following point but by fp, there are NECESSARY INSTANCE(s) of formation. Heuristic considerations—at least—suggest that they are probable..
6.16.3. The UNIVERSAL WAY OF ORIGIN OF FORM is that of INDETERMINISM for NOVELTY; and DETERMINISM for stable form.
6.16.4. But if fp necessitates only instances, why is it universal? It is universal because it includes SINGLE STEP ORIGINS.
6.16.5. The pure metaphysics allows single steps according to ‘Logic’. However, we are interested in a mechanism that would generate relatively stable, enduring, and numerically dominant populations.
6.16.6. The mechanisms of biological evolution suggests a general incremental mechanism: indeterminist variation, then selection of adaptive states and a rough optimum step size: if larger, the probability of non viable organisms is high; if smaller, larger steps achieve more (this too is allowed and required by fp). The range of particulars in biology that this mechanism and epi-mechanisms show and caution suggest that the particular mechanisms in cosmology and their range remain to be discovered and or conceived.
6.16.7. From fp, such ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS origin is generic if not universal; details depend on context; it is causal in a general though uncommon sense; it can explain populations in the universe in terms of the product of frequency of origins and longevity or relative stability; it would explain the origin of form, cause, and laws for our cosmos. There may be other mechanisms but from fp, mechanism is not necessary—there are single step origins.
6.17. Possibilities that are likely—and of significant population, stable and enduring, have ROBUST FORM, especially ROBUSTNESS VIA ADAPTATION—i.e., ROBUST SYSTEMS, e.g., ‘physically’. If also capable of meaning, they are SIGNIFICANTLY ROBUST.
6.18. Generally, function and form are in rough proportion; in a SINGULAR EVENT increase in function is far beyond such proportion.
6.18.1. The fundamental principle implies singular events—events at a threshold of function. Some factors are self-reference and micro-organization of macro-function. Such events partially explain origins of life from complex molecules; origins of human and linguistic intelligence; a hypothesized, perhaps imminent, immense leap in and dominance of computational and networking intelligence; and, from fp, conscious intelligence—with our Being among its disposition—as driver and form of peaks of universal Being. Singularity may be a norm in origin of essentially new forms and approaches to the universal.
6.19. Let us now talk of God because of the interest to many people and as illustration of metaphysical cosmology—omitted in brief versions.
6.19.1. What can we say of the GOD OF MONOTHEISM? The intelligent, omniscient-omnipotent-omnibenevolent God? The rather arbitrary justice and anger and cruelty of that God?
188.8.131.52. Preliminary note—no intrinsic importance to the Abrahamic God is implied.
184.108.40.206. For existence, any contradictions must be cleared—e.g. naïve omnipotence is self-contradictory.
220.127.116.11. Once the logical contradictions are removed, existence is guaranteed by fp. Absurdity is no bar. One type of absurdity is the arbitrariness. Another is improbability—but note that improbability relative to the empirical cosmos is not absolute improbability. It is possible that there is an intervening God from a ‘another cosmos not subject to our physics’. Also note that absurdity and contradiction are ‘literal’ and do not rule out symbolic and related significance.
18.104.22.168. Is this God likely or robust? Here there are opposing tendencies. From ordinary probability and normal formation the ABRAHAMIC MONOTHEISTIC GOD is unlikely. However, perhaps singularity counters that tendency. It is important to look into ‘simplicity of form does not imply simplicity of function’.
22.214.171.124. Whatever the case, all beings partake in and approach gods.
6.19.2. The Atman-Brahman of INDIAN PHILOSOPHY (Hinduism) and other philosophical conceptions of PANTHEISTIC GOD and PANENTHEISTIC GOD seem far more robust than the Abrahamic God. Atman-Brahman in a general sense has a role in this work, especially with regard to agency and is developed in the narrative.
6.19.3. All Being participates in and is ‘god’.
6.20. The LEVELS OF BEING are stages of inclusivity, power, and sentient and intelligent agency.
6.20.1. They range from the primitive to the high. We regard human being as primitive.
6.20.2. An atomistic approach suggests nature, society, psyche, and the universal as dimensions of Being.
6.20.3. The highest conceived is Brahman of the heterodox Indian Vedanta philosophy. It is the universe in organic oneness and ultimate and neutral sentience. The highest is also the Aeternitas of Thomas Aquinas.
6.20.4. These, however, are not the highest—they are processes toward the ever higher without limit (we sometimes conceive them as static highest).
6.20.5. Static ‘Brahman’ is at best on the way to the real.
6.20.6. Perhaps, though, the real is beyond process.
6.20.7. The Atman is a realization of Brahman in the individual. Sometimes conceived as equivalent to Brahman, the static Atman is at most on the way to Brahman.
6.20.8. As process and beyond process we allow Atman as equivalent to the real.
6.20.9. Human being is the lowest form I know that is capable of Atman.
To say that is not to exclude other Beings on Earth. Perhaps there are human beings that have sufficient empathy to know more (such empathy has been a project of mine, especially in the ‘wild’.)
Comment. Elaborate on the following.
Individual and universe.
Receptacle and disposition.
Atman and Brahman.
6.21.1. Vacuum transients arise in hierarchies of scale from the void.
6.21.2. All possible worlds occur; an efficient mechanism is informed by modern cosmology—small near quantum transients combining as large scale near determinate-symmetric-stable hyper-dense state with some near classical behaviors.
6.21.3. A dynamics—change in semi-determinate relational identity depends on duration of interaction or ‘force’ across extension, and on inertia to change. Experience as interaction is integral to the dynamics.
6.21.4. Essential issues: to represent semi-determinate identity; whether this entails process indeterminism; account for dual origin of force-inertia.
6.21.5. Aim: improve-particularize-quantify. In realms of opaque measure and difficult analysis, e.g. beyond the empirical cosmos, simulation guided by cosmology may show a way: see a tentative digital modeling of the early universe whose principle is LAYERING from the void and random to mechanism.
6.22. A hypothesis: DARK MATTER and DARK ENERGY as ongoing creation and / or space-time itself as an object and not merely a framework, e.g. as the source of Mach’s principle.
Comment. A separate part on Agency may be useful in some document versions. In this document, the theory is treated under Principles and methods of cosmology > Category of Agency. The use of agency begins in Category of Agency and is completed in Becoming > The Way of Being > Practical dynamics of agency.
The content of The Way is a journal edited for general use. This is more so in this part.
The Way of Being is an approach to realization with a foundation in Ideas. It joins the metaphysics to traditional, reflective and experimental practice to form a transformation discipline. Once the ideas are absorbed, the task is to begin or renew the process. Ideas and action are an essential continuity—a contrast to our modern emphasis. In thought we conceive ultimate ends; in acting we engage with realization; continuity of idea and action embeds the real in the psyche—and engages the individual with the real.
This second part of the essay is on realization of highest forms in immediate and ultimate worlds—even or especially in the midst of insecurity and uncertainty.
First there is a review of The Way and its aim. The aim of The Way is presented as a universal aim of Being and as an ethic.
The main chapter is the one on ‘Templates’—there are two templates, the first on everyday process and the second on universal process. The aim is to present templates that may be modified and filled in by readers. The reasoning behind the templates is in the Ideas and so introduction to the chapter points out the most pertinent sections.
The templates are followed by a chapter on ‘Path’. After a review of the idea of a path, I attempt to estimate what I have achieved and then present my thoughts for the future. Perhaps these may serve as examples.
Yoga, citta, citta-psyche, spirituality, beyul, meditation, shamatha, vipasana, metaphysical meditation, review, meditation-in-action, experimental yoga-meditation.
Path, place, exploration, nature, beyul, sharing, sangha, culture, civilization, ideas, rational metaphysics, realization, intrinsic, immersive, instrumental, economics, politics, technology, template, everyday template, universal template.
Aim of being, ethics.
7. Here the universal AIM OF BEING is seen to be the aim of The Way of Being.
Comment. Edit the following at the source.
The following amplifies on the aim.
7.1. The aim of The Way of Being is a shared endeavor for Being, especially for the individual and civilization throughout the universe.
7.2. The endeavor is living well and the highest discovery and highest realization in the immediate and ultimate world.
7.3. The means of discovery and realization are ideas, practice, and action (practice-action) in interaction.
We can now see that
7.4. The aim of The Way is now seen as a universal aim of Being: to know the range of significant Being and realize its highest immediate and ultimate forms for all beings and Civilization.
7.5. Even if the proof of the fundamental principle is not accepted, it is self and empirically consistent; and there is an imperative to the realizations that it entails. Even though the ultimate remain unrealized, there is value to attempts to realize—the potential, the inspiration, and what is learned on the way.
7.6. It is inspiring and rewarding, spiritually and politically, to engage in the aim.
7.7. Given that intelligent commitment enhances realization and enjoyment, what energies should we devote to the aim? The oneness of the universe implies the worth of devoting resources to the aim as ‘duty’ and joy. Quantitative choice, individual and social, may recognize that resource allocation is already integral to our secular and transsecular institutions. ETHICS are driven by citta, specifically heart, channeled by thought or ‘mind’, and encoded in culture. ‘Rational ethics’ stems from citta—mind and heart—there is no ethics without reason, emotion, and value.
Key terms for practical dynamics of agency
Comment. Also see Cosmology.
Dynamics of agency, efficient means, templates for the way, inner transformation, instrumental transformation, individual-civilization, metaphysics of knowledge and action, the; knowledge and practice, all, human.
Inner dynamics of the psyche, place of the real, optimal force and flow, the manifest and the hidden, the dynamics of the instrumental, powers of nature, technology-in-the-service-of-populating-the-universe, art as transforming, immersion-science, immersion politics-and-economy, dynamics of the universal.
Key terms for attitude through sharing
Ways of being, catalytic state and process, wholeness of being, sangha, ideation-practice-action, action-even-in-insecurity, meaning of being, spirituality, living the truth, seeing – discovering – creating – sharing – practicing – living – becoming – the – truth, way of civilization, the; communication, writing, speaking, persuasion, making the truth transparent.
It is a framework for transformation.
7.8. The idea of DYNAMICS OF AGENCY, is that of EFFICIENT MEANS of being agentive in our normal lives and larger realms of Being. The dynamics may be seen as part of cosmology.
7.8.1. The dynamics—as seen above—is based in the ideas, is a framework for transformation, and leads to the TEMPLATES FOR THE WAY.
7.9. The essence of the dynamics is (i) INNER TRANSFORMATION and INSTRUMENTAL TRANSFORMATION of INDIVIDUAL-CIVILIZATION (ii) citta including foresight applied to relation to effect transformation change (iii) deploying THE METAPHYSICS OF KNOWLEDGE AND ACTION—which includes ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE.
These provide basis and classification for and may be used together with traditional means.
7.9.1. The dynamics emphasizes the inner—INNER DYNAMICS OF THE PSYCHE. It emphasizes that experience – ‘my subjective flimsy awareness’ is indeed real and the place where the really real plays out: the PLACE OF THE REAL. No, we do not control all aspects in our human form and so in that form we must adjust so as to have optimal control; that is the play both forcing and flowing and combining optimally (OPTIMAL FORCE AND FLOW). And flowing into the ultimate when for an eternal instant we are the universe. The play between THE MANIFEST AND THE HIDDEN.
7.9.2. The dynamics emphasizes the instrumental—THE DYNAMICS OF THE INSTRUMENTAL—the POWERS OF NATURE, TECHNOLOGY-IN-THE-SERVICE-OF-POPULATING-THE-UNIVERSE, ART AS TRANSFORMING the inner, politics and economics; and the continuities of these with the inner: IMMERSION-SCIENCE, IMMERSION POLITICS-AND-ECONOMY.
7.9.3. The dynamics emphasizes the universal—DYNAMICS OF THE UNIVERSAL—where the inner and the instrumental meet in ultimate identity.
7.9.4. The practical dynamics may selectively employ traditional ways and catalysts for inner, instrumental, and universal phases of awareness (and knowledge) and realization.
What follows is a catalog to suggest ways and combinations—as a source to guide concrete ways. For details, see a system of human knowledge
1. Metaphysics (and philosophy), symbols and signs.
2. Abstract sciences—of language, logic, mathematics, computer and information science.
3. Concrete sciences—of nature, mind, human being (anthropology) and society.
5. Applied science, design, and engineering—immediate and projected application; design and its methods; the major fields of engineering: chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. For other branches see Modern Engineering and Engineering - Wikipedia.
6. Art (and art as representation on the border between metaphysics and artifact)—literature, drama, music, painting, sculpture, architecture…
7. Technology. Nature and development: scope and history, organization of work. Elements of technology: materials, energy, tools and machines, measurement and control, industry and production… Fields of technology: agriculture and food, major industries, transportation, information processing – communication – networking, urban, military, earth and space exploration.
8. Humanities and the study of systems of knowledge and the tradition(s).
9. Transformation of Being—with technology of Being. The concept of religion as knowledge and negotiation of the entire universe by the entire individual in all its faculties and modes of Being (potential, un-named and perhaps un-thought forms). Nature and varieties of religions of the world—hunter gatherer and agriculture based societies, throughout pre-history and history. Ways and varieties of religion and spirituality. Catalytic awareness and transformation—mystic, yogic including vision-quest, nature and culture immersion (including Beyul as nature immersion in quest of self), modern—e.g. dream as inspiration, psychoanalysis as depth analysis, isolation-deprivation-exertion as source of vision, metaphysical insight, immersive approaches to metaphysics, science, economics, and politics.
Comment. An import from program and topics for the way.
Destiny?, Aims of being?, Aims of civilization?.
Primal, secular, science, transsecular, religion, suprasecular, intuition, dogma, openness.
Philosophy, metaphysics, value theory, humanities, history, reason, imagination, doubt, methodological skepticism, knowledge itself.
Concrete sciences, symbolic sciences (abstract sciences), art, technology, engineering, design.
7.10. Though we should doubt the universal metaphysics, it is consistent internally and with all we can know. Its argument is at least highly plausible—from the proof, and, e.g., that as a form of OCKHAM’S PRINCIPLE it is minimal regarding what is not in the universe (i.e., the ‘strong principle of plenitude’).
7.11. We therefore adopt universal metaphysics as an existential attitude—valuable in itself and as affording the greatest likely immediate and ultimate outcome of life. Without intuition immersed in attitude, intellect is impotent.
7.12. While accepting temporal limits this side of death—while living in this world—we also live in act toward the ultimate.
Comment. For the briefer versions of the document, readers who would prefer it are encouraged to make selective use of traditions of their choice.
7.13. There is a range of WAYS OF BEING—secular, suprasecular, and primal. The primal refers to ways before the secular split. I have not found such ways to be complete with regard to the ultimate. Yet, even where there is dogma, I have found parts of the traditions useful and inspiring. However, they are not essential to the practices that will follow.
Catalysts and paths
7.14. Types of CATALYTIC STATE AND PROCESS—dream, hypnotic, meditative vision—world-self-unconscious, hallucinatory vision, enhanced body dynamic; brain states; Catalytic use—focusing dreams etc.; cultivation and integration in awareness over time; sensitivity to, cultivation of opportunity
Comment. See dynamics, catalysts and catalytic states for further details.
7.15. WHOLENESS OF BEING involves citta (heart-mind): bound experience or perception-feeling – free experience or conception-emotion – active experience with 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.
7.16. Among its means are: SANGHA, IDEATION-PRACTICE-ACTION, ACTION-EVEN-IN-INSECURITY.
7.17. Let us now consider the MEANING OF BEING or meaning of life and SPIRITUALITY—omitted in brief versions.
7.17.1. Let us consider the idea that their linguistic meanings are LIVING THE TRUTH or living what is true. This seems to be in opposition to the idea that the meaning of life is the individual’s choice—what they put in to it. However, there is no contradiction. Truth can be interpreted individually, universally, or even for a phase of life.
7.17.2. The idea is that truth in the present sense—rather different than the earlier use in relation to fact—is an adaptable ideal. Meaning is found in SEEING – DISCOVERING – CREATING – SHARING – PRACTICING – LIVING – BECOMING – THE – TRUTH.
7.18. Sharing is important as THE WAY OF CIVILIZATIONS moving forward and outward; and as reinforcement for the individual.
7.19. COMMUNICATION is important in sharing. WRITING and SPEAKING are important. Clarity and reason in these activities are important. Persuasion for its own sake is not desirable but what does ‘persuasion’ mean? It means such clarity, emphasis, and reason in writing or speech that the truth becomes transparent. PERSUASION is MAKING THE TRUTH TRANSPARENT.
The aim here is not to provide a detailed system that is a way to inner equanimity, identity with or realization in this world and beyond… The templates are intended for modification, amplification, and adaptation. To that end, some resources are listed below.
8. These templates are toward realization in the meshed everyday and universal—via internal and external action. Their basis is in the development so far, tradition, and personal experience.
The templates are a particular in content but general in form. They are intended for adaptation by modification and amplification. To that end, some resources are listed below.
In this essay
In the order in which they occur: Introduction to reason, A universal metaphysics, The methods of metaphysics, Attitude, Abstract and concrete objects, Reason in light of the metaphysics, Principles and methods of cosmology, The Categories of Being and Reason: Principles of form, formation, and dynamics, Categories of Identity, Space, Time, and Dynamics, Categories of Elements and Dimensions of identity and the world, Agency, Practical dynamics of agency, and the supplementary documents in Resources.
See the resources.
This brief template for daily activity is adaptable and should be adapted to a range of ways and phases of life, especially those of the universal process template. The template is ‘comprehensive’ and can be used selectively; the order should be varied. It requires complement by a practice. Dedication and meditation infuse and are practice for life. It is crucial that while some system of practice emphasize personal perfection, process should not wait until the perfect is achieved.
Everyday process template
Comment. In this version, the table template is repeated below as non-table text.
8.1. Everyday process template—daily activity for realization and complementary to the universal process template: it is adaptable and should be adapted to a range of ways and phases of life, especially those of the universal process. It should be used selectively—and the order of activity should be varied according to need.
The everyday template is adaptable to a range of ways and phases of life. It requires complement by a practice—see, e.g., Some meditations, and Resources. Dedication and meditation infuse and are practice for life. It is crucial that while some system of practice emphasize personal perfection, process should not wait until the perfect is achieved. The explanations enable selection, modification, substitution and elaboration. Links are available in the details of the document.
8.1.1. Rise before the sun.
Explanation. Rising at 4am or earlier gives me a sense of the special-ness of the world and my enterprise. Then there is a whole day of light after essential project work is done.
Dedication. I dedicate my life to The Way of Being—to shared discovery (ideas) and realization (action and choice); to shedding the bonds of limited self and culture and so to see The Way so clearly that even in difficulty life is flow over force (opening to the real in individuals and the world); to realizing the ultimate in this world and beyond (inner-intrinsic and instrumental ways in the dimensions and elements of the real).
Explanation. In a static world view the idea, e.g. in meditation, is sufficient to the best identity with Being and is best in interaction with shared action. In the dynamic view of The Way ideas and action are essential to realization. Meditation to overcoming the limits of self, especially closedness to others and the real, may be catalytic.
Shared affirmation. That pure unlimited consciousness that is all Being alone is supreme reality. That is the universe—its life and breath—that am I. So I am and embody the self-transcending universe that is all Being and has no other.
Explanation. Ritual reminder of truth. I experiment with alternatives and supplements.
The Dedication is a modification of the third step of twelve step programs. The affirmation is a modification of a quotation of Abhinava GUPTA from Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition, 2 ed. (2013), by Christopher Wallis.
8.1.2. Review and meditate on realization and immediate priorities and means.
Explanation. The meditation need not be ‘formal’. The extent of the review depends on need. An accumulated burden of personal expectation and planning is occasion for extensive review. A change of ‘scene’—a visit to my favorite town or a week spent in my favorite mountains—are really conducive to review of my life and my projects.
8.1.3. Realization. Work and care. Ideas, writing, networking with the young and the established; shared action, transmission, experiment: everyday process and universal process. Days for renewal. Other activities, e.g. languages, art.
8.1.4. Tasks. Daily (morning); meals; select andor regular days for long term tasks.
8.1.5. Experimental yoga, general—relation to the real, postural.
Explanation. ‘Experimental’ includes building upon established practice and uses of practice. Experimental meditation, focus on spaciousness, freeing from ego-fixation, ultimate in-itself-and-the-present, continuity of meditation-action-Being. See the supplementary conceptual outline for a range of meditations from centering to being-in-the-universe. See the references for yoga and meditation.
8.1.6. Exercise. Aerobic: in nature; and photography.
Explanation. Having gotten up early, even in winter there is time for as much as four hours of this activity. I like to get some good aerobic exercise—but it is best for me when I combine this with other activity. I often ride my bicycle in local farm and backcountry roads. The marshes, slews, farmlands, skies, and an immense range of birds where I live are amazing.
Note. These personal details are intended as illustrative examples.
8.1.7. Evening. Rest, renewal, meditation, realization, and community. Evening tasks, preparation and dedication of the next day and the future. Sleep early.
Explanation. If I have energy and time, I work on projects—especially The Way. I like to meet people at a local coffee house—especially for conversation. I like to do preparation for the next day that saves precious high energy morning time. If I feel it right I like to do a twenty minute meditation. I may watch a DVD. I am winding down.
Also see conceptual outline: vajrayana practice.
Purpose of the yoga-meditations
The many purposes support a single main purpose—the identity of Atman as self-spirit-consciousness and Brahman as Universe-Ultimate-Spirit-Consciousness.
Two aims or foci are (a) Being—in identity—meditating, seeing, vision; and (b) Becoming—within that identity—contemplating, acting.
The many purposes include:
Some yoga-meditations to work on
Gates to Buddhist Practice (see the references): Parts III. Refuge and Bodhicitta, IV. Foundational nature, faith, death…), and V. Guru yoga, the great perfection, nature of mind.
Everyday life as spiritual practice
A typical but flexible set of activities. Dedicate-affirm-relax-focus (see below) tailored to: (i) Rise (ii) Review—the day… and life-death-Brahman-birth (iii) Realization projects (iv) Yoga-meditation (v) Food-chores (vi) Exercise-nature-meditate-photography (v) Evening—realize, network, prepare.
Meditation on Being—i.e. on life – death – life. (1) Death as relative—as gateway to the real in universal life. (2) Death as absolute—as motivation to the real in this life. Contemplate the thought ‘LIFE BEGINS WITH DEATH’.
Contemplating and overcoming the ‘poisons of the mind’
Attachment and desire / anger and aversion / Ignorance
Add, improve, and order*
Contemplating the four thoughts of Chagdud Tulku’s Vajrayana (see the references)
Contemplating the four thoughts (Vipasana), cutting, and Shamatha (relaxation)— precious human existence / impermanence / karma and rebirth / ocean of suffering
Shamatha, cutting, vipasana
Vipasana—overcoming inner constraint due to judgment—being equal on the inside and the outside—optimize with regard to overcoming vs. achieving.
Work with negativity in thought and emotion
Uncover my prejudices and resentments, see patterns of behavior and resenting, meditate on these without judgment—to accept etc: fourth step for internet.
Dedication to The Way
Dedication—I dedicate my life to The Way of Being: to shared discovery of ideas and realization in action; to shedding the bonds of limited (dualist) self so that I may see The Way so clearly that even in difficulty life is flow over force; to realizing the ultimate in this life and beyond.
Affirming identity of Atman and Brahman
Affirmation—That pure unlimited consciousness that is all being is supreme reality. That is the universe—its life and breath—and that alone am I. And so I am and embody the self-transcending universe that is all Being and has no other.
Visualizing and conceiving Atman is Brahman
Self = universe (Atman, spirit = Brahman, eternal and ultimate consciousness)—(a) as Being (b) as process.
Ideas to action to learning to ideas; and planning
Ideas into action into learning into ideas.
The actions and dimensions of Being in this template are sufficiently complete. The details show a program of my design; here they are illustrative and suggestive.
Universal process template
Comment. In this version, the table template is repeated below as non-table text.
8.2. Universal process template—a template for general action. It covers the dimensions of Being—its use will be selective.
Explanation. Arranged according to action, dimension, and detail. At level 2 (e.g., 10.1.) the action is bold and the dimension is in italics. Level 3 (e.g., 10.1.1.) spells out minimal details (for topics for the details, see online resources). Links are available in the template in the document body.
8.2.1. Action: Being—dimension: Pure Being and a spiritual home.
Explanation. Home is ground. I want people around me who are not steeped in either secular or suprasecular limits of vision or dogma.
Detail. Everyday process, bridges the immediate-ultimate. Vision retreat.
Explanation. Being in and search for home and yogic (universal) connection.
8.2.2. Action: Ideas—dimension: Knowing.
Detail. For understanding, begin with the ideas.
8.2.3. Action: Becoming with phases of human life—dimension: Nature and Psyche.
Explanation. Nature is inspiration on multiple counts—an essential place and image of Being, catalyst to meditation and ideas. Wildlife exemplifies Being. What are the animals be-ing? We are seeking paths to the real and nature is one (even when idealized).
8.2.4. Action: Becoming (with phases of human life)—dimension: Civilization—with society and culture.
Explanation. Civilization is vehicle for and path to the real.
Detail. Civilization and shared immersion (a shared immersion approach to transformation, community populating the universe), cultural economics and politics (a model that includes Marxian and Schumpeterian political economy).
8.2.5. Action: Becoming with phases of human life—dimension: Artifact.
Explanation. Artifact has potential as Being, reservoir of our Being, auxiliary in our search for intrinsic and instrumental Being (e.g. the spread of ideas and civilization).
Detail. Artifactual Being (on the use of computation and networking in realization—as adjunct and as independent identity) and technology.
8.2.6. Action: Becoming (with phases of human life)—dimension: Universal.
Explanation. The path to Being. Where secular and transsecular paradigms visualize completeness or impossibility of completeness, there is neither completeness nor impossibility. This action is on the way to the ultimate.
Detail. Catalysts (on catalytic transformation), ways (on religion as a source for transformation), in everyday process, and renewal, knowledge, technology, developed-deployed in transforming Being-civilization.
The path, destiny, renewal.
9. Being is ever on THE PATH, sometimes consciously, to design and affect DESTINY.
Individuals and civilizations peak at stages of ultimate realization; in death and decay they dissolve into and transact with the receptacle of eternal Being. The greatest cultivation of the present occasion of Being is essential: in the singular case, this life as the only life, it is the occasion; in the eternal case, the alternative is as if condemned to eternal death.
9.1. Everyday process is a (personal), flexible, adaptable routine for living in the immediate as ultimate. Universal process is an adaptable process for living in the immediate for and with openness to the ultimate.
An approach is to select from these templates; they are adaptable to a range of situations and phases of life and civilization—and deploy dynamics and agency. RENEWAL, critical to practice, is reflected in the templates.
9.2. It is crucial that the everyday and the universal reflect each other and both reflect the immediate and the ultimate.
9.3. An evaluation of The Way of Being—the ideas are relatively complete but always under review. The ultimate is given to all Being but normally only felt, seen, or potential in ‘this life’—transformation is ongoing.
9.4. My outline plan is (a) follow the broad picture from The Way of Being and (b) specifically to follow the two templates.
Also see traditional knowledge and practice.
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.
In the notes after the titles below I explain how I have found these books useful.
Baker, Ian, The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet’s Lost Paradise, 2004, Penguin Books.
Insight into and a great example of nature pilgrimage as path to the real and evocation of real self.
Chödrön, Pema, How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind, 2013, Sounds True Inc.
Practical instruction on a range of uses of meditation; readers can use this book as a base for exploration of the real; shows that there is no ultimate way—the way is always experimental. The main focus is on Shamatha—calm abiding.
Easwaran, Eknath, trs., 1985, The Bhagavad Gita, Vintage Spiritual Classics, Random House.
The Gita is a source for post orthodox yoga.
Hick, John, The Fifth Dimension: An Exploration of the Spiritual Realm, 1999, OneWorld Publications.
Insight into the nature of our being-in-the-universe within a modern material perspective, and a modern account of Atman-Brahman; insight into the meaning of religion beyond literalism and dogma.
Tulku, Chagdud, Gates to Buddhist Practice: Essential Teachings of a Tibetan Master, rev. ed., 2001, Padma Publishing.
Tulku’s Tibetan account of other worlds will strike modern readers as fantastic. However, the practical psychology of overcoming the ‘bonds of self’ and relating to the real is excellent. Focuses on dual use of Vipasana (insight) and Shamatha. Also see the related conceptual outline: vajrayana practice.
Wallis, Christopher, D., Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition, 2nd ed., 2013, Mattamayūra Press.
Tantra is a way of relating to the real (and not about exotic sex). The Kashmir ‘Non Dual’ Saiva Tantra of this book, which has similarities to Dzogchen, shows how ritual and other traditional practices may lead to the real. The book has some nice affirmations.
The following topics emphasize depth and breadth, ideas and practice: metaphysics, philosophy and narrative mode; design and planning; science and sciences, abstract and concrete; ethics; catalysts and ways; civilization; and art and artifact—see traditional knowledge and practice in this document and the separate document study topics.
Following are some main thinkers that influenced my thought in rational and visionary ways. PLATO, Adi SAMKARA (the Vedanta), Rene DESCARTES, David HUME, Immanuel KANT, Charles DARWIN, Albert EINSTEIN, Ludwig WITTGENSTEIN, Werner HEISENBERG, Erwin SCHRÖDINGER (and other creators of quantum theory), Martin HEIDEGGER, Karl POPPER, Kurt GÖDEL, W. V. QUINE, and a range thinkers and doers in natural science, cosmology, and religion.
My website The Way of Being, online references for the section universal process template: nature as ground for the real, Beyul: quest for the real, civilization and shared immersion, cultural economics and politics, artifactual being, catalysts, ways, and study topics.
Comment. The following are absolute hyperlinks for the above—The Way of Being site; A longer version of The Way; The Way: sources and details; Ground of the real; Beyul: Quest for the Real; Civilization; Shared immersion; Cultural economics-politics-ethics; Artifactual Being; Catalysts; Ways; Study topics. Older versions of The Way have sources and glossary. The following have plans Study topics, Finally, here is: a digital model of the early universe.
The metaphysics is an approach to resolution of the essential problems of metaphysics.
1. Nature, possibility, and development of a full and robust metaphysics.
2. Universal metaphysics as absolute-ultimate framework for knowledge, philosophy, science, mathematics, art, and destiny. It enables a potent attitude to doubt.
3. Perfect dual epistemology for the perfect metaphysics (pure metaphysics-pragmatics).
4. Necessity, power and robustness of Frege’s concept of meaning
5. The nature of Being; the universe as the greatest possible. Resolution of fundamental problems—Human Identity and Source of Being. Being (void), not substance, as absolute foundation. Nature of matter-mind as Being-relation in near substance cosmology; necessary general realization of this; therefore there is no categorial mind-body issue; so mind is organic and from adaptation, intense feeling arises with cognitive freedom. The variety of forms of mind-matter is unlimited but there are no further attributes.
6. Cosmology—transient origin of stable cosmoses from the void. Indeterminism as essential in itself and to equilibrium between form-change and mechanism-chance. Foundation of creative-critical thought and measured freedom of will. The nature of object identity. Implication for the interwoven nature of space-time-matter and dynamics of change. Spacetime is the only measure of difference.
7. The entire rational system of concepts has an object. This entails dual reconceptualization of logic and science. There is no essential distinction between concrete and abstract objects—the abstract are real and in the one universe; there is no other Platonic universe; and insofar as the abstract are acausal, atemporal, and non-spatial, it is because those features omitted in abstraction. The concrete-abstract distinction is not real but lies in the main mode in which they are known. The concrete are empirical; the abstract are known conceptually, in symbolic, often axiomatic terms; and from this greater simplicity, are known with greater definition and certainty. Natural laws have Being; the void has no laws.
8. The metaphysics shows and provides an instrument for the highest realization.
9. Treatment of all essential metaphysics begins (began) with the simplest cognition—difference. We then saw measure of difference as spacetime and no more. Modes of Being are experience-experienced; no more. Kinds of knowing are concrete-abstract; no more. Modes of instrumentality, perfect and pragmatic and no more, are sufficient to ultimate realization. The realm of the will-be-accessed-by-identity is the limitless infinitesimal to the limitless ultimate; no less.
1. Minimize-minimize-minimize. Especially this and the peripherals, e.g. prologue and resources.
2. Improve outline and start from there.
3. The issue of citta vs. psyche.
4. To the prologue add—The essential issue of what to do with one’s life ® what a life well lived may be ® sharing and moving together toward the possible ® civilization and its means ® their standard limits ® the actual and the possible ® the importance of an ultimate worldview-metaphysics ® representation in terms of knowledge so far as a good start. Human knowledge = the world-and worldview: concrete and abstract sciences – philosophy and metaphysics – art and literature – technology – religion – history – knowledge itself – knowledge itself – contingent limits – possibilities and actualities – some knowledge of the ultimate – ultimate metaphysics.
5. Reduce the number of formal language terms to the essential. Have the first instances of metaphysical terms in small capitals and render most of the remaining instances as lower case. Replace crossed out small capitals plain small capitals or lower case. Reduce, and redo keywords; do the ‘key terms’ sections.
6. Work on and eliminate comments.
7. Symbols that render properly in browsers—", $, É, Þ and so on.
8. Using HTML 5, CSS, and LATEX. Using collapsible text and framed tables of contents as a way to make content more accessible.
Developing modules for future versions
9. Précis module—this must be very brief, e.g. metaphysics, limitlessness, examples, realization. Will use a new sign º$ defined as follows: Being º$ what is there reads Being is defined as what is there.
11. The metaphysics.
12. The universe of possibility.
13. Science, limits, limitlessness, limits of empiricism, openness of intuition and reason, and the future of science.
14. Proof, reason, intuition, and attitude (continuous with the previous module).
Writing future longer versions
15. Publish under a pen name.
16. Find people to share writing, editing, discovery, and realization; network.
17. Essential outline with essential points and links for details.
19. Topics to think about—What is logic? Incorporate to study topics above.
20. Import remaining planning from conceptual outline.
21. Frames with TOC?
22. For short versions write directly, cutting savagely but precisely.
23. Later—for long versions use conceptual outline and its sources.