MY JOURNEY IN BEING
A personal and in-process account
Anil Mitra © February 6, 2019—March 14, 2019
Updated Thursday March 14, 2019 @ 06:12:49
Source essay—The Way of Being
Starred sections are topics special or otherwise peripheral to the aim of the essay.
The essentials are a bare outline. Criticism and demonstration are minimal. For these and other exposition see My Journey in Being.
Starred sections are topics special or otherwise peripheral to the aim of the essay.
This account is firstly for use in my journey. The order and selection of concepts is designed for my uses. Technical material is limited to what I expect to be useful and is only as complete and precise as I expect to need. Similarly the order is tailored to my use rather than to an unfolding pedagogy.
Let us preview some concepts. Extension is sameness, difference, and their absence—e.g., spacetime. Being is defined by the neutral concept of existence some ‘where’ in extension. The universe is all (that has) Being over all extension (every ‘where’). Destiny is the deep—human—interest in and aspiration to knowing and molding our lives and world in the immediate, the ultimate, and their relation.
The Way of Being is an approach to destiny. An aspiration to destiny is universal—one way of life is to live in the immediate. Others complement this with an interest in the ultimate—there are searchers, explorers, and builders every where and when.
This narrative is also an in process account of my journey.
We often see the origins of things as remote. From this viewpoint, to understand the world leads to seeking foundations—original or premiseless premises of fact and reason.
Another way to see beginnings is this. Growing into awareness, we find a world (i) apparently not made or chosen by us and (ii) that our ability to know or affect seems limited. We may take this situation as the place of beginning.
This second way does not reject remote foundation but it does not begin with it. It starts with the given present and may work simultaneously toward foundation and building.
Broaden this way to a neutral view of the universe over all extension. This way of founding, knowing, and acting is The Way of Being.
Why Being? Being is pivotal to real—authentic—human aspiration. Its neutral initial approach avoids classic errors of substance and positivism; it encourages emergence of truth over its pre-scription.
A first question of The Way is not that of knowledge but “What shall we do?”
It is understood that the question refers to both immediate and ultimate concerns.
This question is a distillation of Immanuel Kant’s famous argument in The Critique of Pure Reason that all philosophy ultimately aims at answering three questions: “What can I know? What should I do? What may I hope?”
This suggests and perhaps necessitates an interest in the world in joined ultimate and immediate perspectives. The question is concerned with action and implies an interest in knowledge.
This imperative anticipates the development.
Summary—To be ever in a process of knowing and realizing truth; ever ready to reach the ultimate and, in an instant, to return to ground.
Know the truth—the universe as ultimate Being and Identity; individual as identical to the universe; there are paths to the ultimate; the essential path is reason—which includes not just reflexive imagination and criticism but also feeling, emotion, intuition, experiment and action.
Realization—to be ever in knowing and realizing the truth; in the immediate, the ultimate, and their relationship and process.
Use of the term ‘influences’ signifies that the diffuse effect of my sources is at least as significant as content. An influence is a spark for thought by absorption, reflection, creation, and integration.
My aim has always included apprehension—as far as I may—of truth, particularly of the ultimate. So far as this is achieved the reach of the sources has necessarily been exceeded.
A more complete list is main influences. Though my exposure is broad, I do not think the main influences as capturing the history of thought.
The following are paradigmatically influential.
Thales, Democritus, Plato (Sophist—the definition of Being is power), Aristotle, Adi Samkara, Johannes Scotus Eriugena, René Descartes, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Karl Popper, Kurt Gödel, WVO Quine, and John Searle.
Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Alvin Plantinga, and John Hick.
Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, and Ernst Mayr.
Influences for yoga, especially ‘physical yoga’ as preparation for meditation, meditation and Beyul—
Pema Chödrön—How to Meditate, Chagdud Tulku—Gates to Buddhist Practice, Bhagavad-Gita, and the traveler Ian Baker—The Heart of the World.
—or simply, the fundamental principle (FP) which is an assertion rather than a definition
The universe is the realization of possibility.
Explanation—possibility will mean greatest consistent possibility.
Observation—the fundamental principle is not altogether new; it is a form the principle of plenitude; there is a similar ‘theory’ named plenitudious Platonism—the theory that “any mathematical objects that could exist actually do exist”; it is similar to David Lewis’ modal realism; it bears similarity to Wittgenstein’s assertion that metaphysics is logic.
Commentary—Though the principle is not new as an idea it is new as known truth—for a proof is given and consequently the meaning of the principle is enhanced and its use empowered; and it becomes a real and fundamental principle.
Many thinkers have subscribed to a form of the principle of plenitude. Immanuel Kant held in an infinite time all possibilities are realized but that this could not be proved. The statement of fundamental principle of metaphysics is thus not new as an idea. However, the following are new: the proof and therefore that it is known truth; the meaning and range of ‘possibility’ in the principle; that consequently the meaning of the principle is enhanced and its use empowered; essential to this enhancement is the new analysis of logic and possibility; the fundamental principle becomes a real and fundamental principle; that an alternative to proof and the question of the meaning of possibility is to declare the principle as a fundamental hypothesis that entails an empirical interpretation of logic and therefore of possibility; and that the latter approach brings is one that is simultaneously metaphysics and science. And plenitudious Platonism, is neither well defined nor proven.
David Lewis’ thesis of modal realism is that there are possible worlds like ours, that they are real, and that are causally and spatiotemporally isolated from one another. He gives a number of reasons that do not constitute demonstration or proof. It seems to me that his real argument for the possible worlds thesis is that it gives meaning to the alethic modalities of possibility and necessity, i.e. of possible and necessary truth (which are modes of truth in contrast to just truth). According to modal realism a proposition p would be true in at least one possible world and to be necessary it would be true in all possible worlds (to be impossible it would be not true in all possible worlds). Here, however, we prove that the world is the realization of logical possibility; therefore while we may label different regions including ours ‘worlds’, they constitute one world or universe; and while they may be causally isolate there is no eternal causal isolation. David Lewis was influenced by Leibniz’ thought on modalities and possible worlds; however, Leibniz was not a modal realist.
In Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein wrote “1 The world is everything that is the case. 1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things.”—i.e., the universe is the totality of facts; it follows of necessity that the facts cannot together, i.e. in relation, violate logical principles. He further writes “2.1 We make to ourselves pictures of facts. 2.11 The picture represents the facts in logical space, the existence and non - existence of atomic facts.” That is, for the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus, metaphysics is logic (he is in fact rejecting further meaning of ‘metaphysics’).
However, Wittgenstein does not argue that the facts are all the logically possible facts; he is wedded to natural science as fact though not necessarily as defining the real. Hume argues similarly regarding the necessity of generalizations from the empirical, e.g. to causation, and I learned this from Hume and Wittgenstein while I taught my intuition to live simultaneously in and integrate the worlds of the possible, the necessary, and the local and scientific (and art). It’s important to note that I do not subscribe to the universe as facts in logical space because, as will be seen, it is incomplete since we do not know all forms of fact and at least as imprecise as our knowledge of the fact and form of fact.
Internal inconsistency—e.g. it is possible that the possible is impossible. Resolution—the assertion is a simple violation of the meaning of ‘possibility’. Such semantic inconsistencies may removed by substituting ‘consistent possibility’ or, preferably, ‘logical possibility’ for ‘possibility’. Though use of the term ‘logic’ may suggest barrenness, logical possibility is the ultimate in openness.
Empirical inconsistency—i.e., inconsistency with science and reflective experience of the world. Resolution—science and reflective experience are essentially empirical; their conceptual extensions or theories are not. It is therefore not empirically inconsistent that the empirical universe should be embedded in a larger universe—e.g. the logically possible universe. In a culture where physics defines our paradigmatic picture of the cosmos, it is hard to see how such embedding is possible even when we recognize it as logically possible. For the present argument to be persuasive it ought not to be necessary to see beyond the logically possible but it is nonetheless helpful; how to see beyond is taken up in Science and religion.
The fundamental principle has not been and cannot be proved. Resolution—that it cannot be proved is a claim that is based on our notions of the provable; which, as is just about to be seen, may be limited. The objection is resolved by giving a proof—(1) the laws of nature apply only to the manifest but not to absence of manifest existence (the void) which has and can have no laws or else it would not be non manifest (laws are manifest), (2) the non-manifest is ever present with the manifest or without (the void exists), (3) all possible states emerge from the void (for the contrary would be a law of the void), (4) if the possible is less than logical there are further logical states, but it cannot be ‘super or non logical’ for such states cannot manifest and therefore the universe is the realization of logical possibility.
The concept of logic is ill defined. Resolution—conceptually, the fundamental principle provides a new concept of logic. In practice our logics—propositional and predicate—provide ‘templates’ for ‘logic’. ‘Logics’ such as temporal logic do not strictly count as logic for they also involve special features of the world.
What counts as a logic, strictly? In answer, first observe that a logic is not about the world but what must obtain of concepts to be about the world—to have the possibility of being about some world (thus logics are empirical in the sense that they are about concepts—which are in the world—and relations of concepts to ‘objects’; that is the empiric of logic is about necessities in relation but not about ‘objects’ in isolation).
Second, as just noted, a logic is about what must obtain for a kind concept to be realized in any world.
Third, the kind of concept determines the kind of logic. What are the forms of concept that the logics talk about? Propositional logic refers to propositional logic or concepts as (whose template form is) bare statement of fact. In predicate logics the facts have structure—statements that involve properties or predicates of ‘things’ and may involve existential and universal quantifiers. The possibilities under these logics are enormous. However, they do not necessarily exhaust the kinds of logic, strictly speaking, if there are other forms of fact.
But what makes all these kinds of ‘logic’ strict is that the values of the factual claims are truth values—i.e. the assertions in such logics are either true or false. Many-valued logics have been argued to be equivalent or reducible to classical two valued logics (fuzzy logic is a many valued logic). Many other logics are ‘modal’ in that truth is qualified. One example is necessary or possible truth—such logics are called ‘alethic’—from Greek ἀλήθεια = truth; which perhaps may also be considered strict. Also, since the manifest (existence, Being) is and can essentially be seen as relation between experiencer and experienced, epistemic logics may be admitted to logics of the strict kind.
However, it might seem that we ought not to admit temporal, deontic, doxastic and other modal logics as strict.
The fundamental principle is trivial for it tells us nothing about the range of logical possibility or the location of the possibilities or how to access them; and, in its generic blandness, it is a trivial and speculative metaphysics. Resolution—(1) it illuminates our lives with new significance and meaning, (2) as we will see, in combination with knowledge of the world, e.g. science, we derive a pragmatic instument to estimate some ranges – locations – ways of access to the possible as well as assessment of the relative worth of those possibilities, and (3) thus the total system of knowledge is far from bland and trivial. Further, in so far as proven, the metaphysics is not speculative in either the positive or pejorative sense—but we may make hypotheses in its use whose risk of action upon is balanced by value of outcome. Note that the charge of triviality may be made regarding many concepts in the development, e.g. that ‘Being’ is trivial, and such charges are answered by the development itself which shows the power of the concepts—despite triviality. This shows that the triviality is in fact a neutrality that is a means to avoid the prejudice of preconception which then allows and encourages precise and detailed development within its true framework.
Discussion of science and religion is as example of secular vs transsecular paradigm. Since discussion of science and religion tend to be contentious they are not presented as essential or main paradigms of thought.
Though I subscribe to neither science nor religion as having pretension to ultimate truth, it is convenient to begin analysis with them—for both critical and imaginative purposes.
I should clarify my attitude to the truth of religion. It is that in both less and more dogmatic religion, especially religious cosmologies, the truth points to a possible higher reality, allegorical rather than literal, even where its intent as literal is misguided. That some cosmologies cannot be literal does not imply that no literal extra-scientific truth is possible.
We will see that, with science as concerned with the natural world, extra-scientific truth can be empirical—for the concepts of Being and universe-as-a-whole are empirical in that we know Being as Being (which will be seen) and therefore that there is the universe-as-all-Being. This extra scientific truth is metaphysical in the sense of knowledge of the real. Of course if we admit true metaphysics as science then we need make no claim to extra-scientific truth.
In some views today’s science (physics) is seen as defining the entire universe—in its nature and coarse parameters—e.g., of age and extent—if not in detail. Let us call this view ‘reductive positivism’ or ‘reductive empiricism’. However, as seen above, current science defines the current empirical universe—most probably rather well—which may be (and is) embedded in a far greater universe.
Perhaps the essential reason for reduction is that the scientific picture is absorbed in intuition which is then, perhaps with a subconscious component, taken to justify the formal empirical view; and this secularism then further finds its way into art, literature, aesthetics, education, conceptions of destiny, and the motive behind politics and economics.
Another fully conscious reason is that many scientists see the suspension or denial of reduction as opening a Pandora’s box of rank speculation (a basis for this is conversations with scientists). There is also the reason that scientists, especially physicists who spend a major part of their lives on their work will naturally tend to see their work as defining the real; this is not ‘ego-investment’ in any negative sense though there is that as well.
We have seen that there is nothing in method or current science that implies that its picture or the picture from common experience is at all near complete.
How can we see this more clearly? A generic approach is to reflect on the nature of models. The essential consideration is that models, though adequate to precise for some uses, are not—known to be—real for any purposes. Consider the current picture of the empirical cosmos—the big bang. It is not just in good agreement with observation—it provides us with what we tend to think is the shape of the empirical cosmos. Is that shape good at great distances and times? In terms of the model, we cannot even talk—realistically—of a time before minus 13.8 billion years ago or a distance greater than the reach of light over that period. The model might say—such regions do not exist or are inaccessible. To conclude that the model describes the universe is, at least tacitly, to assume the model—i.e. to assign it a reality that is unwarranted.
It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to imagine all the ways the current—big bang—model may be limited for it shapes even the way we see the empirical boundary. There may be empirical boundaries that we have not and perhaps may not be able to have imagined. The previous paragraph considered one. The region outside the big bang—before the singularity or outside the light information limit may be unimaginably different than what we see; yet in terms of the model some of those regions cannot be described and others cannot be accessed.
It is quite possible that spacetime at some distant point curves away significantly without significantly affecting the empirical. If such deviation is felt inconsistent with the empirical, the possible inconsistency is removed when we see that physical law itself might be different in the distant region. Distant physics might diffuse into a chaotic background which in turn may be in transient interaction with nothingness.
Spatiotemporal distance is not the only source of remoteness. There is a remoteness at times and distances below the Planck time and length; the energies available in modern particle experimentation are not even close to what is necessary to approach the Planck limit. Also remote are possible as yet unknown weak interactions whose effect in the present era is not even detectable. But space, and time, and matter as we conceive them in our best current theories are likely approximations that deviate only slightly from the real in observation but may fail to apply at all in the entire universe.
The discussion in preceding four paragraphs has been toward understanding how it is consistent with our standard models that the universe may continuously vary away from the models such that the universe in the large is fundamentally different from the models. However, there is no necessity to continuity of variation. It is consistent with our standard views that at some boundary the variation is discontinuous. Bertrand Russell’s idea that it is consistent with our knowledge that our cosmos came into existence five minutes ago, complete with historical records and memories consistent with the standard history. Now while it is rather fantastic to think that the abrupt and discontinuous emergence occurred five minutes ago, it is entirely consistent with our knowledge there was such an emergence in the remote past. The purpose to picture continuous variations was to intuit the extreme limits and boundaries of the standard view.
It is important to recognize that a universe that is limitless in all possible ways and entirely different from our cosmos in the large is required by the fundamental principle.
The difficulty in seeing is understandable. The refusal to see is a barrier which when it cracks may reveal our pictures of the universe to be qualitatively and quantitatively infinitesimal. The conclusion ‘may reveal’ follows from the nature of science. In what follows we will show that our picture from science is infinitesimal and provide true pictures of a limitless beyond. That limitlessness will be quantitative, e.g. in time and distance, and qualitative, e.g. in the kinds of entity that occupy extension without limit.
Thus there is and always has been a role for religion, spirituality, art, and imagination in seeing and evoking images of the real (universe). These include what is called mystic intuition. Rationality enters at least in showing that what is felt, visualized, and thought is not contradictory (e.g. of logic and where appropriate of other ‘necessities’, e.g. the experiential and scientific).
However, dogmatic religion dashes all this. While it may provide reassurance, it is at root false hope. The outcome is that (i) many people lie in the vacuum resulting from opposition of dogmatic religion and reductive empiricism and (ii) in its promotion of what we know it tends to exclude from thought the possibility that the ultimate may be approached at all via reason (regarding the unreasonable nature of this exclusion see resolution of the objection that the fundamental principle can not be proved).
Therefore, if truthful, we will be open to a greater truth the narrow space between dogma and reduction. This truth will be greater than that of science or art or any religious view modeled on human being or our cosmos.
Summary of the section—the ‘opposition’ of science and religion in their standard interpretations leaves modern human being in a bind, i.e. isolated in the narrow region that remains when science is reductive and religion is rejected as mere static dogma.
Moderns find themselves in the following situation. Their view is roughly the reductive one from science above; this may not be held explicitly but it tends to pervade thought and custom. It is not an unintelligent view for if questioned, the reflective modern will be clear that they hold no reductive view and many will be agnostic in this regard.
However, forays into the possibility beyond reduction tend to be severely limited. Why? Here are two essential reasons. (1) It is encouraged by neither secular culture—as seen above—nor by religion, for the common religious cosmologies are absurd to secular thought. (2) In many secular societies, education shows the absurdity of religious cosmology and economics obviates the emotional need for it.
However, on secular reason itself reduction is simply not known to be true. It too is absurd in its reductive claims. Above all, as shown in this document, the universe is limited and so the secular picture is rank untruth.
This is not a criticism of secular thought; it is simply true; and it is simply and grossly limiting of our Being. But it is not a criticism because the double bind in which moderns find themselves, i.e. that empty tension between reductive science and dogmatic religion, is not of their making. And the double bind is not inhabited with full conscious.
Religious and spiritual thinkers throughout history tend to have their own ‘bind’ even where they are open—where they are not closed by dogma.
The effect of this double bind is that even while we live decent, adventuresome, and rewarding moderns are severely limited in outlook on their own Being and destiny.
The word ‘universe’, defined in Experience and Being, will stand for the entire universe and its identity. The terms empirical universe and local physical universe will also be used; these ‘universes’ as well as multiple and parallel universes are not the universe.
Identity is sense of sameness of self or object.
The universe has identity.
This use emphasizes sense of self.
The universe (and its identity) are limitless—it is the realization of the greatest logical concept.
A manifestation of the universe is as has limitless arrays of cosmoses of limitless variety of form; which includes physical laws like as well as unlike ours. These and more are in communication with a void-transient background. There are peaks of identity without limit; and dissolutions also, naturally, without limit. These peaks are relative. All these are manifestations of the universe. They are part of an absolute as explained below.
Individual identity, consciousness, or subjective experience lies within and is not remote from universal identity and merges with (is) its peaks and its absolute.
There are paths from the experience of limited and relatively isolated individual identity and the ultimate. The paths and merging of identity can be seen as intersection of histories in the block (below).
In present human form, this identity can be conceived and shown as I’ve done here. It can best experientially apprehended, while in present form, by examination of experience as in contemplation and meditation. These conceptions and experiences can be at least roughly rendered in and promoted in art. They are also the intended or allegorical object of truth in religion.
Existence of the ultimate and paths to it are real—this follows from the fundamental principle. However seeming remoteness of the ultimate and paths to it is a given.
The perfect metaphysics shows that the remoteness is at most apparent. An aim in deploying the metaphysics is to show that there are feasible paths and to illustrate such a path.
My primary source for this section is my own life and reflection over many years and now as conditioned by the metaphysics developed in this essay. I have also benefited from reading Heidegger’s thoughts on the significance of death, especially in how it may be used to see that authenticity ought to be an immediate rather than a deferred priority.
Death as catalyst and gateway
Summary of the section—death is real but not absolute; it may be used as a catalyst to full living in this life and toward the ultimate.
In this life, understanding death is a catalyst. Death is real but not absolute. There is no compulsion to be concerned with paths in this life, for realization is given. However, from the perspective of the ultimate that attitude may be a waste of individual Atman and a negative contribution to the sum of the collective Atman. Enjoyment of life is not denied—it is essential; the suggestion is to infuse it with a sense of and process toward the ultimate.
Awareness of death, then, has a dual function (1) assess our Being in this life and inspire realization of opportunities here and now and before death—understanding of the ultimate, efficiency and ecstasy in the path here and now and pointing to the ultimate, recognize that even when touched by sadness death is (2) gateway to the ultimate which means that if realization of the ultimate seems remote in this life, it is a given in the limitless universe (space-time-Being) beyond death.
Death is life. Celebration of death is celebration of life.
There is an imperative to plan and celebrate one’s death.
A characterization of the section—To see the absolute as a block is one realization of the metaphysics showing ever fresh realization of universal identity, the meaning of pain, and alleviation of suffering.
While the block and merging of identities, have derivation from the fundamental principle (FP), use of the block here is an in process experiment in thought; further there may be other approaches to the issues below.
The absolute can be seen either as a process or a block—seen as given, not emerging or unfolding—of immense complexity, especially as the universe must be indeterministic (from possibility; note that indeterminism implies that there will be cause and near determinism in phases; this block universe includes but as far from limited to a quantum universe and its vacuum—the vacuum is not the void).
Given a state or being, any logically possible history may occur—thus the universe is absolutely indeterministic. However, every logically possible state will occur and therefore the universe is also absolutely deterministic (this is not paradoxical). Paths of identity intersect in the block and it is here that the separateness of individuals breaks down and the merging with universal identity occurs.
This perhaps apparently cyclic process is not truly cyclic for the actual states and peaks are without limit in magnitude and variety.
Realization is therefore ever fresh. Intelligent conscious engagement is in itself a source of enjoyment (ecstasy) and, especially if reflexive, is efficient entry into and beginning of realization of the ultimate (which follows from the notion of reflexivity—see Reason); further for every inert realization, there is a greater conscious realization. However, since the inert realizations are without intrinsic significance, the greatest realization is sentient.
Pain is unavoidable and not to be avoided at all cost; the best address is a twofold union of (1) address by material means in the present (therapies, good economics, and so on) and (2) engagement in the way to the ultimate (the Buddhist conception of elimination of suffering).
From the perspective of the block all facts are given and though they lie in ‘logical space’ (Wittgenstein’s term), logic and science are unnecessary in not being further facts over and above the facts. But where knowledge of the facts is concerned, since a limited knower can be mistaken about the facts, logic and science provide guides.
A knower may be mistaken in necessary conceptual consistency, which is one source of logic; note that realization of logical possibility cannot violate facts for given a fact as premise, the fact is also a conclusion in any pertinent system of logic. They may be mistaken in contingent concept-percept consistency and percept-percept consistency which is a source in science of theory and fact, respectively.
For a limited individual in a limited cosmos, the external domain from which the cosmos is temporarily causally isolated is not determined. In the internal domain, also, there are degrees of determinism vs indeterminism. For this individual, the domain of their current science is the empirical while the domain of logic is the entire universe to the degree that their forms of assertion (propositional, predicative etc) are complete.
Summary of the section—the fundamental principle reveals the ultimate and joins it to the immediate in a perfect metaphysics with epistemology. The perfect metaphysics shows and reveals paths from the immediate to the ultimate.
The ultimate seen the above illuminates itself in our vision as well as the immediate; it shows that the immediate is not its conventional and limited empirical real—e.g. death is real but not absolute (the givenness of death is two opportunities—to assess our Being in the immediate and the ultimate and as gateway to the ultimate; see Paths are real and immediate). But the pure ultimate does not show a path to itself—only that there is such a path. The path begins in the immediate with our traditional (with modern) knowledge of the universe. This knowledge is conventionally limited; and relative to conventional needs and criteria it is indeed limited. However, it includes our best knowledge; it is therefore the only immediate instrument at present. While it is limited from its own perspective, it is perfect from a pragmatic perspective and from the ultimate as the best instrument; this does not mean our knowledge will remain best but that local knowledge is always the best in this sense.
Thus from the perspective of the ultimate, the mesh of ultimate knowledge (seen here) and traditional knowledge is perfect; and the dual epistemology (perfect for the ultimate, pragmatic for the immediate) just recounted is also perfect. This perfect worldview or metaphysics with epistemology is named the perfect metaphysics (it does not remove the need for traditional metaphysics or epistemology; but it assigns them to a limited context). ‘The perfect metaphysics’ will be abbreviated ‘the metaphysics’ and PFM.
Summary of the section—from an ultimate perspective the perfect metaphysics resolves fundamental issues of metaphysics (its possibility and boundary) and epistemology (perfection of knowledge). This does not resolve the issues in the immediate but supplements them and renders their significance local.
It might seem that this is a claim that issues of knowledge of the real have been resolved. They have indeed been resolved in that while the concept is not the object, in the abstract ultimate it is effectively precise knowledge for the abstract concept is the concept-object (keep in mind that in experience we never get outside the concept but the apparent getting outside is extension of the concept). The issues of the real have been further resolved so far as pragmatic criteria for the concrete are sufficient and perfect. Yet it does not follow without argument, from these truths that this is a precise rendering of the concrete. In the concrete the issues of realism remain (the analysis of experience below is a supplement toward address of the issues); but we have bypassed them for the purposes of ultimate realization; and, in knowing that they may be bypassed and that the fundamental principle requires the occurrence of precision, the significance of concrete realism has been rendered local.
The metaphysics (PFM) is already a cosmology—all possibilities are realized.
From that beginning can we say more? Yes, for our structured cosmos and many other forms are necessary as are origins in single as well as multiple steps.
Are there mechanisms? Yes, the evolution of life and dynamics (in physics) provide two. They are of course not universal for there is no universal mechanism other than necessity.
The mechanism in evolution of life is variation and selection. It explains (i) how non teleological and non creational incremental variation and selection are sufficient to and explanatory of evolution of life, especially of the species (it does not and is not intended to explain the history in detail, (ii) that incremental origin of form by variation and selection is (far) more likely than saltation, and (iii) that teleology and design are not necessary for origin of form.
The model of physics is of (a) elementary objects—particles and fields, seemingly most likely subsumable under fields, (b) state functions of elementary parameters, (d) equations of evolution for the state functions seemingly but not necessarily deterministic (even if all known cases are deterministic), (e) such that the evolution of the collection of elementary objects, though not necessarily deterministic or formed, is capable of being in formed states and transitions among such states—which is the dynamical evolution of the system. This ‘evolution’ does not refer to origins and so the question of the origins or formation of the system is left open (currently there are tentative and not generally accepted models of origins but not ab initio—i.e. not from a state of nothingness).
The evolutionary model may be generalized to an adaptive systems model and as such, though the details of the systems their ‘variations’ are different, may apply to (i) the origin of the manifest world, (ii) abiogenesis, (iii) evolution of life (obviously), (iv) creativity in thought, and (v) free will.
Though the adaptive systems model of origins and change does not necessarily hold in all cases it is a reasonable hypothesis that likelihood under it is greater than for saltations or creation. Though not necessary in all cases, it necessary holds in some cases—perhaps many or most of the most significant ones.
There is an exception in the case of sentient-sapient-reasoning organisms (SSR organisms) in that design may in fact supplant blind evolution and as observed in The absolute the highest significant realization in Being and Design is that of SSR’s.
Experience and Being may be deployed as foundation to the metaphysics (PFM). For foundation, see The Way of Being.
Discussion of experience and Being is preparation for the path but will contain only essential conclusions.
Experience is consciousness or subjective awareness; its cases are pure, with attitude, and with action.
Experience is relational for even the pure case is recollection and reconstruction with internal relation.
With sufficient abstraction, the concept of experience is known perfectly via experience of experience.
Experience seems to reveal a world of individuals with selves and minds, beings (things, relations or interactions, processes and so on; and other individuals with minds)—all in and part of an environment or world. This is a standard secular view. The term ‘material’ arises as the non-mental in the
However, of all that seems to be, experience is the only given, while the rest are seeming things etc within experience. The idea that there is only one ‘field’ of experience is ‘solipsism’. The proper attitude to solipsism is not that it is real but that it presents as indistinguishable from and therefore as a skeptical challenge to SSV.
In such challenges the distinction lies in fact and or meaning—and resolution must therefore require analysis of fact and or meaning.
Now the meaning of solipsism is not definite. The experience in question could be that of a typical individual (naïve solipsism) or that of a higher being or just a universal field of experience.
In reflection on the individual as limited and the problems of materialism, naïve solipsism and SSV are untenable.
Therefore the universe is a field of experience, FOE, of which SSV is an untenable interpretation.
However, ESSV-an extended SSV in which the environment also has experientiality with a value too low to count as effective experience; yet it may be that all experiences arises, say in evolution of the universe and of life, from a proto-experiential world.
Thus the universe is a FOE which may be given both idealistic or experiential and materialistic interpretations provided both idea and matter are allowed extended character. FOE may be significantly different from our world but some of its cases are factually very close to SSV.
Fundamental givens are sameness and difference and their absence (used later in discussing Space, time, and Being).
Being is characteristic or property of that which is—exists—somewhere in sameness and difference (i.e. Being is existence and capitalization signifies this use and distinction from a being or beings).
The natural laws or patterns are immanent in the world and therefore have Being. In more precise language, a law is a reading of a pattern and if we name a pattern ‘a Law’ or ‘Natural Law’ then the Natural Laws have Being.
Being is relational via its experientiality; that hypothetical being which affects no experience is essentially non-existent; although detailed knowledge is rough but with pragmatic interpretation, with sufficient abstraction this knowledge is perfect.
The universe is all Being (over all sameness and difference and their absence).
There is exactly one universe.
All laws are in the universe.
The cause of the universe cannot be another being, earlier being (even if ‘earlier’ has meaning), or more being for those would be part of the universe.
With possibility as what can or may happen, in a limited world every actual or occurring state is a possible state but not every possible is actual. For the (entire) universe, the possible and the actual are identical (this in itself does not imply that the universe is the greatest possible).
The void is the absence of Being.
There are no laws in the void.
Proof of existence was given earlier
Proof of the fundamental principle would now follow as given earlier but is on a secure conceptual basis; and the metaphysics (PFM) and dual epistemology follow similarly.
It was seen above that it cannot be another or more Being.
From the fundamental principle the existence of the manifest universe is necessary.
The following amplifies upon necessity as the cause of the universe.
This section supplements the earlier proof by exploring meaning of the principle and its proof.
Assume that our world has a foundation—i.e. its Being can be explained in terms of givens. Such givens would satisfy an at least abstract notion of cause. An immediate objection is that that would not be a true explanation because the cause would have to have a cause. For the objection to not hold there would have to be a first cause that is itself (a) uncaused and (b) necessary (for mere possibility is not a—good—explanation). Could this first cause be substantial? Well it would have to be a necessary substance; but such would, again, demand explanation. I.e. the only necessary explanation or cause is necessity itself. But since manifest existence has been shown necessary, at least in phases, it follows that—
Necessity is the reason for and cause of Being.
Such necessity of course could not have form for form is substantial. It is formless. From symmetry, it now follows that if our world is necessary, then—
All possible worlds are necessary.
It follows that—
All necessity lies in the void and therefore also in the universe.
From the foregoing, except in their interpretation as necessity—
Neither Logos, God, nor Brahman are or can be the principle of Being and order of the universe.
But Gods and Logoi may be and therefore are the principle of Being and order of parts of the universe.
From the foregoing—
Concept meaning is a concept and its objects; the objects may be thought of as ‘real’ or, if there is objection to independent reality, as lying within the field of experience. The concept is necessary, for without it there is no ‘object’. The abstract and concrete cases are both perfect in their own ways. Within this realm of perfection, the concept is sufficient. The local motive to perfection of pragmatic remains useful but its place in realization is now seen as altered and limited.
In linguistic meaning, ‘meaningless’ signs are associated with concepts. Such signs are both elementary and compound. Compound signs acquire meaning from the elementary signs, their arrangement according to conventions, and context.
Significant meaning lies within experience in the extended sense. Its ultimate is ultimate realization. It remains in process. There are local representations or approximations to it. It can be conceived by limited beings but its realization for such beings is always rough and in process; however local intellectual and felling satisfaction of a drive to meaning is possible. One satisfaction is being in and knowing one is in a process of ultimate realization.
This discussion is an exercise in the power of the fundamental concepts.
Extension is sameness and difference or their absence.
Identity is the sense of sameness of object or person.
Duration, time, or temporal extension is marked by difference for a given identity; space or spatial extension is marked by different contiguous identity. It follows that extension and duration are neither separate nor always separable; and that spacetime, where it obtains, is immanent to the world rather than external framework; as internal framework they are pragmatic rather than perfect except in special cases; spacetimes may occur in different patches and do not constitute an absolute or universal framework for the universe.
In this section ‘an object’ is understood generically as whatever has Being, i.e. as referring to a being. It is not restricted to entities but includes entity, process, relation (interaction), property, trope and more.
Though the distinction is vague so far, from entity to trope above is a progression from the concrete to the abstract.
A concrete object as commonly understood is one that is perceived with the senses and is therefore conventionally empirical. The characteristics of concrete objects are thus commonly understood to be tangible and to be part of the causal and spatiotemporal world.
Now consider the number one, the color red or redness, and the notion of a concept. These are not concrete objects—they are abstract in nature. Modern consensus holds that they are abstract objects and abstract objects are real.
However, they do not (seem) to be tangible, causal, or to part of a spatiotemporal world. True or not, such putative objects are not clear as to their nature and it is quite valid to doubt that they are real. However, they do seem to exist and so would that not make them real and objects?
A clue as to their nature comes from the process of abstraction in which what is left after the abstraction is something real but devoid of physical (causal and spatiotemporal) character. So where are they? Consider the abstraction involved in thinking of redness—it is common to all red objects; we thus think that it does reside in the physical universe as a part or aspect of all red objects. Then it would seem that the abstract objects are not essentially non physical; rather their physicality has the value zero rather than having a null value.
Now consider that the real universe is the universe of all possibility. All logical concepts are realized (provided the entire system is ‘logical’). Thus stones and the number one are realized equally. All objects are in the one universe whose essence is neither physical nor non-physical but the neutral one of Being. All objects on a concrete-abstract continuum; the more they lie toward the abstract end of the continuum, the less they are physical (in a generalized sense). It is natural that the concrete should be identified by perception and the abstract by non-perceptual conception. However, the distinction is one of fact though not of essence. All objects are equally real, all are in the one universe, all have all property-kinds (e.g. color rather than red or redness) but the value of kind may be zero rather than null.
This answers quandaries about abstract objects and the relation between the abstract and the concrete.
There are paths to the ultimate; and dissolutions from it.
As seen earlier intelligent and reflexive engagement is ecstatic; leads to the highest realization; and is a best approach to ‘suffering’.
The means is the metaphysics (PFM).
It does and must include knowledge itself; and reason and action since they too are in the world. Reason is not merely rational in some limited sense but must include appeal to value—ethical and aesthetic—as well, at least but not only because of limits of factual knowledge.
The generic means is reason, which includes knowledge and action. Reason as understood here has the following characteristics—
The title of this section might be Reason—intension and extension.
Summary of this section—reason arises in the present and its foundation is not remote; is reflexive (self and cross applying); involves value, feeling, and intuition; deploys tradition imaginatively and critically; includes and is continuous with action; is continuous with philosophy, especially as a way of life that emphasizes reason with feeling.
On foundations of reason—reason arises in the present moment; it arises empirically in discovery of effective ways of knowing or knowledge and acting or action; it moves ‘down’ toward foundation and ‘up’ to the world; final foundation is ‘here-now’ (search for remote foundation is not impermissible). So far as possible, reason is self-founding—meta-reason is reason.
Some significant aspects of reason follow. A summary is (1) reason is reflexive (as an example it includes critique of ‘proof’), (2) reason incorporates non-cognitive modes, (3) reason incorporates valid tradition, (4) reason joins intrinsic and instrumental modes, and (5) the philosophical is an agent of reason.
Relevance to The Way
As a concern with the entire range of knowledge and understanding with foci that are (a) general and conceptual, (b) reflexive in being self-questioning of content and method (and method as content), (c) tend to the edge and depth, ‘philosophy’ is essential to The Way.
Exploration of philosophy*
Philosophy without life—nature, spirit—is barren; life without philosophy is flat (mere existence); this is a truism but not the whole truth (it is not intended to exclude other aspects of vibrancy in life); and it refers to a certain kind or view of philosophy. To say this is not to exclude the formal disciplines. Philosophy is not just connected with action but is inseparable from it. There is a connection with the essential in the world and life.
The question “What is philosophy?” is a philosophical question; in this view meta-philosophy is a division within philosophy. Philosophy is a discipline that, of its nature, enquires into its own nature; physics is not like that but reason is. Thus while metaphysics is a definite discipline within (western) philosophy, the question “What is metaphysics?” remains open and ought to remain open. This does not mean it will remain ever open for being open means openness to the means of definiteness (and as noted, this essay provides one means and direction to closure).
The general instruments of philosophy are concepts, language, intuition (imagination), and criticism.
That it is concerned with the conceptual does not imply that it is not concerned with the empirical; however the tendency is to not be concerned with specific aspects of the empirical where these are the concern of special disciplines but rather to critique such aspects. It is concerned, e.g., with the empiric of logic, the empiric already built into concepts, and the empiric of meaning. Thus, it tends to emphasize meaning as a whole—e.g., relational as explained earlier.
The standard philosophical disciplines are metaphysics with epistemology, logic in its general and particular senses, value theory – ethics and aesthetics, special topics such as philosophy of mind because they are not yet sciences (which is not to say that they will be), philosophy of the disciplines—science, physics, art and so on.
Philosophy does not exclude science. However, it tends to emphasize conceptual study at the edge of knowledge where knowledge and approach to knowledge are emergent. Thus to ask if science has defined the universe fully in extent and quality; or to critique the concepts of science; these activities are philosophical.
From its history and from the fact that just observed that an established discipline tends to drop away from emphasis in philosophy, it follows that philosophy has especial (and original) interest in disciplines at the edge of knowledge and understanding.
Therefore, it has an especial interest in foundations. This also fallows in its western origins as a turn away from t religion and occult study in Greece.
In principle philosophy includes all academic disciplines and meta-disciplines but as just seen it does not emphasize all equally.
It has some ‘methods’ seen as unique to it (though not necessarily in fact unique to it)—e.g. going behind concepts as in the critique of logic earlier, in Immanuel Kant’s transcendental method, and analysis and synthesis of meaning.
It is historical. Because its methods and subject matter are not definite it includes reliance on its history more so than ‘developed’ disciplines that may have emerged from philosophy.
The study of the history of philosophy is one approach to the nature of philosophy.
About the issue and its significance
The interaction between proof and intuition is explored. As proof becomes more difficult, formal recognition of intuition and its use in parallel with proof becomes important.
On proof and intuition*
To prove is to show reliability. The concern here is with knowledge and its use in constructive action. To what extent is there reliability? Mathematics has arrived at a place where the widespread position is that proof is at least pragmatically certain. In science our theories are regarded as pragmatically certain within the empirical realm but open to revision as that realm grows.
In its history, standards of reliability in mathematics evolved. Today we regard mathematical and logical proof as our most certain. Yet even here, certainty is relative—e.g. to the certainty of Zermelo-Fraenkel Set Theory (ZF). While ZF is generally thought certain, it is not know to be consistent. Thus certainty is relative except for finite systems.
In the concrete sciences the ‘scientific method’ is our best guarantee of reliability; but this too is not certain; and its certainty is thought to be less than that of mathematics because of distortion. But the distortion is essentially due to non-finiteness—e.g. non-finiteness of detail and extent and time in the universe.
It is significant that discussion of reason has been deferred till after development of the perfect metaphysics.
The metaphysics begins with a finite abstract of the universe in the conceptions Being, universe, the void, knowledge, and kinds of error.
This abstract frames and illuminates the concrete. It shows: the limitlessness of Being and that in the realization of the ultimate, our knowledge the real universe, where pragmatic is, even if all that is possible, is all that is necessary and therefore that the combination of the pure and the pragmatic yields a perfect metaphysics with epistemology (leaving open old questions of local metaphysics and epistemology but revealing them to be of diminished significance).
This system, especially the pure framework, is simultaneously trivial, profound, and of far reaching consequence.
Within the abstract and concrete sciences, where we are concerned with detail beyond our capacity to know directly, certainty is not to be had. It may be had by beings with a greater capacity; from the perfect metaphysics such beings must exist; but we are not them in our local manifestation (even though we are in our ultimate and perhaps evolved manifestation).
Thus the opposition of interest is not the abstract vs the concrete but the ‘infinite’ vs the ‘finite’ (where ‘finite’ for a being means that which can be directly perceived without error and so perhaps another term is indicated).
How can we approach proof and certainty in the infinite. We begin with the finite as framework. We begin with relative proof and relative certainty.
Proof in finite symbolic system generates a countable space of facts; yet the desired space may be uncountable (this is not a reference to Gödel’s theorems in which the space of provable facts and the space of truths are both countable but the provable facts for a given set of axioms—of arithmetic—are not the full set of truths).
Thus if intuition, in the common or Kantian sense, exceeds the countable, progress may require proof to be supplemented by intuition; and this may perhaps lead to an extension of what is admitted as proof.
This is not at all a call to abandon proof and consistency (consistency is essential). Rather it is a call to consider complementing proof-consistency and intuition by one another.
Some possible approaches are combinations of (i) extensions—in principle and in computational power—of rationality, (ii) revaluation of the values of and needs for certainty vs risk, (iii) undertaking experiments in Being with risk as necessary to progress and evolution, (iv) perception and waiting, (v) further and ongoing analysis of Reason (i.e., meta-analysis and cultivation of disciplines, e.g. philosophy, whose meta-disciplines are part of the ‘parent’ discipline).
An essential and comprehensive knowledge resource is system of human knowledge and action. This system or view includes the nature of things and individuals, knowledge, and values; and their extent and history. The issues are the questions of meaning-knowledge-values-sharing-action. That is, the system will include metaphysics, science, reason, art, intuition, knowledge itself, and cosmology. Values are integral to reason; they are rooted in tradition and reason with feeling; they include the aesthetic and the ethical. As noted above, action and sharing are essential to—and perhaps non-conventionally even part of—reason.
Realization is more effective, enjoyable, and ecstatic, when individuals share intelligent-feeling engagement. The process is ever fresh. Pain is unavoidable but its best though incomplete overcoming lies in that engagement.
This is not to deny direct address of pain but to assert its that its best—optimal—address emphasizes synthesis with engagement. Though universal overcoming is incomplete, engagement with direct address is best.
Generic, flexible, and adaptable path templates derived from the metaphysics (PFM) follow (see The Way of Being for details).
Readers may use systems of their choice to supplement and fill out the following templates—whole or eclectically.
I prefer to not specify received systems—religions, ways, therapies etc—but to use them as inspiration in light of the perfect metaphysics—which is not as reassuring as the systems but whose risk-angst is catalytic to realization.
Summary—1. Rise, dedication to The Way. 2. Review. 3. Realization in action. 4. Yoga—meditation. 5. Tasks. 6. Exploration and exercise. 7. Evening—renewal, planning, networking and community.
Summary—1. Pure Being, community. 2. Relation, knowing. 3. Nature with psyche. 4. Civilization and society. 5. Artifact. 6. The unknown. 7. Being in the universal.
An adaptation of a famous quote—
In the way, we are always at the beginning.
I will follow the way, and the way is open.