THE WAY OF BEING
Outline Version of 2018 – 2019
Anil Mitra © May 2018—December 2018
Updated Tuesday December 11, 2018 @ 10:07:15
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE WAY OF BEING
Main text. Definitions and main occurrences of terms are bold. For an overview, read only the main text.
Secondary text. Definitions and main occurrences.
Indented secondary text. Mostly, secondary text is indented only in sections where it is interspersed with main text.
This is an informal introduction to The Way of Being and the essay. Formal development and definitions begin with the Worldview, p. 19.
The concepts are listed in their order of occurrence.
Way of Being, discovery, realization, ultimate, immediate, means, ideas, vehicles, individual, civilization, secular paradigm, limitless, transsecular paradigm, primal culture, worldview.
The introduction leads the reader into the main text. Here are its specific aims.
1. Provide introductory explanations as complement to the formal content.
2. Explain that the content is intended as new and not as a compilation of received thought. It is understood that any ‘new’ work will be a synthesis of the received and possibly original thought.
3. State personal and general motives and origins for The Way and its development.
4. Anticipate and respond to the most likely general criticisms of content and aim.
5. Make suggestions to the reader on how to understand and absorb the work.
The Way is the ultimate and immediate as one.
It is also shown that the universe is perfectly and non-trivially knowable in broad enough strokes.
The sense of ‘limitless’ here is that logic is the only limit on concepts for realization.
The metaphysics is named the perfect metaphysics (PFM) or just the metaphysics.
One may ask—Does not the introduction of logic may the worldview or metaphysics sterile? It would make for sterility if the universe were defined by what logic requires. Instead the metaphysics is that the universe is what logic allows—which entails that the universe is limitlessly rich.
This is shown consistent with what is valid in human culture—i.e., what is valid in the section ‘Received paradigms’, p.16.
It follows that the universe has identity; that limited worlds and beings merge with the universe and its identity as the limitless; that engaging in realization is an ever fresh adventure of endless wonder.
The Indian Philosophy of Advaita Vedanta is a source for the idea of the merging of identities in an ultimate infinite identity.
Readers may enquire—What of death and the possible temporal finitude of our cosmos? What of failure? It is a consequence of the worldview that death is inevitable but not absolute; and if the cosmos is finite it merges with the infinite or limitless. Death and failure may be givens but are gates to the infinite.
The essay finds ways that finite beings merge with the infinite; and shows that in the infinite and limitless, our cosmos is essentially infinitesimal and that its relative isolation is temporary. Readers may wonder why we do not see this in this life. Perhaps, the argue, “if there is a future life in which more will be revealed, we will know it then”. This essay is in fact one way of seeing. Now question whether it is but a matter of passive revelation or whether that future awareness will require questioning and searching. The thought of a future life is intended as a thought experiment to remind us that if we would enter into any transformative process it must begin in some particular life—and so why not in this life? If we would approach the ultimate, this life—now… some particular now—is the time and place to begin.
Readers will also have concern with apparent contradiction of the worldview of the essay and experience as well as received worldviews which include science. In response to this concern, not that though these consequences may seem to violate received worldviews based in science and empiricism, it is shown the main text that the perfect metaphysic is consistent with and incorporates what is valid in the standard worldviews—scientific and religious.
There is also a practical objection—even though the worldview of the essay reveals the ultimate as the destiny of all beings, its remoteness makes it perhaps so seemingly infeasible as to be without worth.
The worth of the worldview includes (i) the ideal—that in revealing the ultimate it gives meaning to the immediate being of all beings, (ii) the real—it is a problem of the worldview, addressed in this essay, to find feasible ways to the ultimate from and even in the immediate, and (iii) a guarantee—that feasible ways will be found for limited beings.
And what of pain and suffering?
Of course pain should be addressed but in balance with realization and with an attitude that minimizes the psychologically destructive aspect of pain. As stated later, Nirvana is being in realization even in and using pain.
A characteristic of human and other sapient beings is that they can discover the nature of their own and universal Being sufficiently to engage in realization intelligently.
Exploration of the worldview of The Way and its consequences for thought and action are touched on in the remainder of the introduction. Formal treatment begins with the Worldview, p.19.
As understood here, civilization is that which aims at the ultimate; includes all cultures, particularly the primal; and is not, e.g., techno- or Euro-centric.
These are two—personal and what may be valid in the human traditions.
It is essential to consider paradigms (a) as sources of The Way, (b) to show consistency among the worldview of the essay and what is valid in the received paradigms, and (c) for contribution to the means of realization.
The secular is limited when regarded as describing the entire universe and not just the empirical cosmos.
This limitlessness includes variety, extension, and duration of Being; and peak, dissolution, and repetition—and that all beings attain the peaks.
It is characteristic of human beings that they can at least begin to conceive and know the nature of Being—and their own being.
The secular and transsecular, considered imaginatively and rationally, may merge in the trans-empirical.
In primal culture, the secular-transsecular split has not occurred. Though not as sophisticated, the primal is often less dogmatic and more open to ‘Being’. Perhaps the existential vantage point from the primal is more advanced than ours.
The worldview is established in the next division—the Worldview, p.19. The worldview leads in to The way, p.39, which develops Paths, p.45, and templates for of realization. The remaining three parts are thoughts toward The future, p.49, Resources, p.49, and an Index, p.54.
The concepts, system of concepts, and reasoning for the worldview, the way and path, were arrived at by trial and error.
The concepts stand as a system.
Reason is part of the system.
The meanings of the concepts may invalidate other meanings from the history of thought but this is not the intent. The primary intent is to develop a system that is coherent and as full as may emerge. A second intent is to complement the historical search for knowledge, understanding, meaning, and exploration.
The worldview or metaphysics is demonstrated and rendered intuitive. It is shown self-consistent, consistent with experience, and consistent with what is valid in the traditions of thought an and exploration.
The development builds toward the demonstration and is thereafter concerned with consequences, interpretation, and realization. It would be more efficient to demonstrate the fundamental principle at the very beginning of the formal treatment. However, it is more effective to build toward it in such a way as to give it significance and context. Some consequences of the fundamental principle are commented upon before the principle is proved but these are not part of the development toward the principle.
The consequences of the worldview go limitlessly beyond the ‘universe’ of our common paradigms.
Given that the worldview entails that the empirical cosmos is essentially infinitesimal in relation to the entire universe it is natural that some readers will doubt or reject the worldview. Other readers may accept the worldview and its arguments—and may be excited by it. This section is addressed to all kinds of reader—those who approach the essay with enthusiasm and those who approach it with doubt or rejection … and those who approach it with hope tinged with doubt.
If we question our worldviews, no matter how securely we experience them, outcomes include (i) an improved worldview, (ii) even greater security in one’s received view, (iii) accepting transience and doubt as essential to life and foundation for equanimity.
To understand the worldview, it is essential to follow the meanings (definitions) as given. It is expected that to absorb the worldview as an intuitive Gestalt and to integrate what is valid in the common paradigms will take exposure and reflection. Once the worldview has been formally and intuitively absorbed, the common paradigms and meanings may be a complementary source of richness.
It should be recognized that The Way is not just a system of thought. It is also intended as a way of action. To use the ideas toward action—critically of course—will enhance understanding of the content and intent of the work.
Here are suggestions for some kinds of reader.
All readers may begin by following the main text as specified in the section on Notation, p.13.
The essay presents a picture of a limitless universe and the place of beings in that universe. The general reader is one that is interested in that picture.
It is expected that there will be doubt—which is addressed in the introduction and the main text, especially via (i) proof (The fundamental principle, p.32) and (ii) addressing doubt (The principle is consistent with experience and reason, p.33). Once they have skimmed the main text, general readers may then follow whatever they find of interest.
Some readers will be primarily interested in the ideas. They may focus on the Worldview, p.19 – p.38. They may refer to the tables of contents to follow their interest.
A third class of reader is interested in realization. Their first source will be The Way, p.39 – p.49. However, for the most effective realization, a foundation in ideas is essential—(i) instrumentally, which is obvious, and (ii) in that ideas are a mode of realization that is also a kind of and merges with action.
All readers may find the Resources, p.49, useful.
Exploration of the view and its consequences for thought and action now begin.
The concepts are listed in their order of occurrence.
sameness, difference, primitives, construct, extension, identity, duration, spatial extension, logical precursor, space, time, world, spacetime, exist, being, Being, power, measure of Being, experience, pure consciousness, attitudinal, attitude, action, effectively nonexistent, object, concept, standard secular worldview, field of experience, meaning, place of meaning, fact, natural law, science, hypothesis, logic, factual consistency, perceptual conception, free conception, Logic, determinism, absolute indeterminism, absolute determinism, block view, cosmos, isolated, multiple histories, one Being, free will, universe, cause, creator, contingent, necessary, non-classical cause, satisfactory explanation, possible worlds, the void, logical possibility, real possibility, PNSU, sentient possibility, metaphysics, fundamental principle of metaphysics, universal law, existential principle, necessity, concrete object, abstract object, continuum, nonexistent, culture, pragmatic, tradition, the perfect metaphysics, cosmology, general cosmology, Atman, Brahman, form, mechanism, formation, variation, selection, creative
The following are constructs from the givens.
Extension is sameness and difference or their absence.
In what follows the constructs below are not assumed until and unless introduced.
Identity is the sense of sameness of object or person.
The concepts of space and time are not developed in all versions of this essay.
Duration and spatial extension may be constructed from extension and identity. Sameness and difference are logical precursors to space, time, and the world or spacetime-world. The sense of ‘logical precursion’ is made clear later. In the same sense, absence—‘the void’, defined later—is precursor to sameness and difference.
Duration or time is marked by difference for a given identity; spatial extension is marked by different contiguous identity. It follows that extension and duration are neither separate nor necessarily separable; and that spacetime, where it obtains, is immanent to the world; spacetimes may occur in different patches and do not constitute an absolute or universal framework for the universe.
However, existence is neutral to kinds of extension, e.g. to existence, universality, and nature of space and time, and to distinctions within extension—particularly to spacetime, i.e. place and time. To exist may involve a very specific, extended, or compound location in sameness and difference or, via abstraction, in no such location. It is further neutral to entity-, process-, interaction-, universal- vs instance-, or quality-hood; particularly to number and gender.
The hypothetical being that does not even indirectly affect a given being does not exist relative to the given being.
Power is giving or receiving effect.
In The Sophist, Plato suggests a definition of Being.
A nonexistent being is defined by a hypothetical or concept that has no object or reference. Similarly, an existent or potential being is defined by a concept with actual or potential reference.
In greater detail, the foundational force of the concept of Being lies (a) in its neutrality and so its inclusivity, (b) in its definiteness via abstraction, and (c) in that it neither refers nor needs to refer beyond itself for foundation.
In the concrete, Being is not a being. With sufficient abstraction, Being is a being.
Experience is subjective awareness or consciousness.
Why use ‘experience’ rather than ‘consciousness’?
The hypothetical being that has no direct or indirect effect—at all—on my existence is effectively nonexistent for (relative to) me.
Later it is seen that effective nonexistence implies nonexistence.
That will imply that experience is a measure of Being, on par with power.
Self, world, minds, and experience itself—and thus any subject and object—are located in experience. It is not that (a) there are no objects as such but rather that the concept of an object not known at all is without meaning, or (b) knowing creates the object but rather that Being cannot be separated from experience of Being.
Still, objectivity as perfect picturing is possible with sufficient abstraction; otherwise objectivity is not known to be more than pragmatic.
While the pragmatic is ‘pragmatically objective’, later we find it a perfect instrument in realization of the ultimate.
A common or standard secular worldview (SSV) is that of individual minds—selves and other minds—in a material world. This view is derivable from reason that begins with Descartes’ cogito argument but refines and extends it—on the further assumption of materialism.
A broader view is that of the world as field of experience, without explicit assumption or denial of materialism or physicalism, where the minds are part of the field of experience (FOE) and in which the minds are heightened centers and what is called the material environment corresponds to low level experientiality—perhaps zero in value though not in concept. SSV is a particular case of FOE, and so the two are not in factual contradiction. However, FOE resolves the ‘mind-from-world’ problem trivially but SSV cannot resolve the problem at all-it is therefore not a possible worldview for our world (it is logically possible—i.e. may obtain in some world). Further, the FOE picture or more is required by the metaphysics to be developed and provides context for the beings that the metaphysics necessitates. FOE is the most inclusive picture consistent with our experience of our world.
There is an alternative to SSV—a special case of FOE that approximates SSV in fact but is conceptually entirely different from SSV. If we allow that the field of experience has minimal or zero value outside the heightened centers we obtain an extended standard secular view, ESSV, that is consistent with our experience of the world and conceptually coherent. As a special case of FOE, it allows but does not require all possibilities under FOE.
Meaning is a system of experience and its actual and possible objects.
This kind of meaning is ‘referential’.
Though other kinds of meaning are pertinent, they are not needed for the development of the worldview of this essay.
Referential meaning includes conceptual (and linguistic) and existential meaning.
This concept of meaning is necessary for reference to be possible, actual, and attitudinal. It is sufficient to (a) the metaphysics to be developed and (b) avoidance of paradox from assumption that syntactically and lexically correct but otherwise arbitrary constructs have reference.
Linguistic meaning is conceptual meaning in which the concepts are associated with or denoted by signs.
Existential and conceptual meaning are branches of meaning.
Some facts are necessarily true from experience—e.g., there is experience, there are beings, there is a world, there is the universe (see below). Other facts may be pragmatically true, e.g. by refinement of observation, repeatability, and corroboration. Analytic truths are not facts.
Observed facts may be simple or compound—but not all facts, either simple or compound, are observed.
A pattern is a compound fact for which the data to specify it is less than the raw data. Some patterns may be observed. Others may be inferred, hypothesized, or projected.
The laws are expressed conceptually and are generally sufficiently abstract enough to summarize a range of instances or kinds of phenomena.
The patterns have Being.
The law is not the pattern but if we refer to the pattern as the ‘Law’, the statement above becomes ‘The Laws of nature have Being’. This may be abbreviated:
The laws are expressed as freely formed conceptual systems. Because they may be in error the systems are hypothesized—i.e., seen as hypotheses.
Disagreement with observation may lead to correction. If, in time, confidence grows, we may come to see the hypotheses as natural laws and theories.
A hypothesis that is found at least locally valid is a natural law.
From the manner of their development, we cannot know natural laws to be if we do not know we have covered the entire universe. Presently, our sciences are not known to capture the entire universe. However, we can regard the theories of science as compound facts over limited domains.
Accepting the possibility of error allows the possibility of correction and thus valid theories—locally at least. Truth and error have the same source.
The first case above leads to a concept of logic as what must be satisfied by a concept or hypothesis to be realizable in some world. The second is empirical or factual consistency—a requirement that the concepts be realized in the world.
Science must be consistent with the known facts. If further facts disagree with a theory, either revision or revolution are necessary. A theory must of course be logically consistent—this is so obvious as to often not merit mention.
In a sound argument both consistencies obtain—in common terms, premises are true and inferences are necessary and valid. However, the two are of a kind since they both occur in conception as noted above—the two kinds are perceptual conception and free conception.
Where it will not cause confusion, ‘logic’ will be used in its ordinary sense and the one above.
In a deterministic universe, Logic would give no freedom; all would be determined.
To uncover the significance of Logic a careful conception of determinism is necessary. Consider it to be that a part determines the whole—a conception due to William James. In temporal determinism, an appropriately defined slice in time determines the whole (since we do not know the universe to be entirely spatiotemporal, the ‘whole’ here is a spatiotemporal part of the universe). In holographic determinism, a space of lower dimension determines the whole.
In absolute indeterminism, no part determines the whole.
In an absolutely indeterministic universe no possible states do not occur; and it also has absolute determinism in that all possible states occur. That is, in particular, an absolutely indeterministic universe would contain phases of determinism as well as creative mixes of determinism and indeterminism.
We will find that the universe is absolutely indeterministic in the sense defined and elaborated above.
Clearly determinism is ‘relative’. In a block view of the universe as all of its states, the universe is deterministic relative to itself even if it contains indeterministic phases.
Consider a cosmos that is partially isolated. Relative to the cosmos and to observers therein, the universe is not entirely determined (this is the meaning of ‘isolation’ in the sense just used). Thus the Logic of that cosmos allows freedom relative to the universe. In the block picture of absolute indeterminism, at every limited being, histories converge to and diverge from it—there are multiple histories. This is the freedom of limited beings. It is how, if the universe is suitably free, beings may merge with one another and as one Being.
That one Being is ultimate with regard to a process. Is there an actual ultimate? The block picture is perhaps ultimate.
Free will occurs in the creative interplay between the individually non-creative deterministic and indeterministic.
The universe has no creator in the above sense.
(One being or part of the universe may be implicated in the creation of another.)
Contingency or necessity—whichever is the case—may be considered the non-classical cause of the (manifest) universe.
(Existence of the manifest universe will be found necessary.)
If there is a satisfactory explanation of the existence of the universe it is that it is necessary, for the contingent has an essential connotation of the accidental.
Similarly, if there is a satisfactory explanation of our cosmos or world it must be necessity. Then, from symmetry all possible worlds must exist.
The essay now turns to proof of what may hold.
The void is the null being.
It is the absence of Being in that it contains no beings.
The concepts of the void and the quantum vacuum are distinct.
The following exist, i.e. have Being—beings, Being, the universe, power, experience, the world, and natural laws all exist (have Being).
If the universe is in a nonmanifest state, i.e. if it is the void, it has no beings—particularly, it has no natural laws. If from the void, no beings were to emerge, that would be a natural law (or laws). Therefore, a manifest universe must emerge from the void (the nonmanifest).
(There must be—phases of—something. An eternal void is impossible. The manifest universe is eternal in that phases of manifest Being are without end.)
It also exists as the complement of every being relative to itself.
A heuristic ‘proof’ of existence of the void—existence and nonexistence of the void are equivalent.
Except that there is one, the number of voids is of no consequence.
Therefore we may take there to be precisely one void.
Two kinds of possibility are the logical and the real. A conceived state has logical possibility is that which if it does not obtain cannot be realized in any world. Real possibility is that which obtains in at least one world. In western thought a standard set of kinds, from experience in our cosmos, are natural, social (and of civilization), and perhaps the universal—which includes the unknown.
A more complete account of possibility is found in the Resources, p.49, according to kinds of logic and domains of the real (e.g. physical and mental).
The possible is always inclusive of or identical to the actual.
For a part of the universe, the real possible may be greater than the actual, for the actual is co-extensive with the part but something else may be accessed by the part, e.g. at another time or place.
For the universe—all Being over all sameness and difference and their absence, including space and time—if some concept is never actual or actualized, it cannot be possible.
That is, for the universe the real possible and actual are identical.
The logically possible must be identical to or greater than the real possible.
Therefore, the possible is always inclusive of or identical to the actual.
The supernatural has at least two meanings—(i) transcending this world altogether and (ii) not captured by the known laws of nature. These two are often conflated.
(A classification due to western culture for our world is the experiential and the experienced or material which includes experience as object; here the term ‘material’ is not used literally. The experiential is detailed as psyche and its aspects, e.g. consciousness, self-awareness, cognition, emotion, and volition; and culture. The experienced is detailed as nature (the elementary or physical and the emergent complexity of the living and associated psyche), society and civilization, and the universal—unknown. This is captured in the acronym PNSU.
Sentient possibility, is that which sentient organisms may attain in their Being, thought, and realized designs.
That all possibility should be realized is not paradoxical—which it might be if ‘possibility’ were to be used in some of its naïve senses.
Metaphysics is knowledge of the real.
In the discussion of Being and related concept, metaphysics has already begun.
This conception of metaphysics is complementary to other conceptions which it does not deny except where it may disconfirm them.
Metaphysics is possible—and potent—by construction. Potency is further developed below.
Existence of the void has been shown.
To what kind of possibility does the assertion above refer?
Naturally, all realized states are logically possible from the meaning of ‘logical possibility’ alone. For a logically impossible state is defined by a concept such that from the concept alone there can be no realization. An example of a logically impossible state is a square circle in Euclidean Geometry.
This section addresses objections to the fundamental principle.
Is the principle consistent with our experience and reason? That it is follows from the earlier discussions of science, logic and experience. Is it intuitively reasonable? It is more than that, for just as in earlier discussion of a satisfactory explanation of the universe, the fundamental principle follows if one accepts that our Being has a satisfactory explanation.
If we do not accept the fundamental principle as proven or that our Being has satisfactory explanation we may hypothesize it as a fully consistent universal law or principle or consider it to be an existential principle or hypothesis to guide meaning and optimal action.
This section is about consequences of the fundamental principle.
By construction we have shown an abstract metaphysics—thus an abstract metaphysics is manifestly possible. The abstract will be extended to the abstract-concrete later in this section.
The metaphysics is clearly potent—in the realization of all possibility, the universe is be ultimate.
Most of the assertions below follow plainly from FP. Even where there is appeal either to mechanism or intuition, if the assertion does not violate logic the conclusion must hold—occasionally, if not universally.
We have shown that there must be Being. This resolves what Heidegger has called the fundamental question of metaphysics—Why is there or must there be Being? From the pan-inclusiveness of Being, if we were to identify all beings—obviously we have not—we would have answers to all questions. Thus the fundamental question is—What has Being?
(Of course, there is a sense in which this question is not at all new. It is in part the question of the categories of Being.)
Metaphysics and logic are one. This is Wittgenstein—from Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus—but not Wittgenstein’s meaning; Wittgenstein identified logic as metaphysics which may or may not be limited; here metaphysics is identified with logic or the greatest possibility.
The development has given an effective and universal intensional concept of logic in contrast to the received extensional and particular conceptions. It shows logic to be simultaneously conceptual and factual—i.e. with an intensional side (necessary but not a priori) and extensional side (empirical and contingent in discovery but possessed of necessity in character).
The fundamental principle necessitates all Being and is thus a principle of sufficient reason (PSR) though not in Leibniz’ sense of classical—e.g. temporal, contiguous, physical—cause as reason. In its inclusivity, the fundamental principle is the principle of sufficient reason.
“The existence of the universe has necessity” means “the non-existence of the universe is not possible”. As seen earlier this means “manifest phases of the universe” are necessary.
Can the universe be eternally manifest? No, for from the void there necessarily comes the power to annihilate the manifest.
Whatever deities there may be, they cannot be other than the universe; and their foundation is in necessity just as is the foundation of the entire universe.
The void is not the quantum vacuum.
The void is the ultimate ‘material’ though not logical primitive; the quantum vacuum is not primitive; the void is primitive to the quantum vacuum.
Explanation—given that the universe is the realization of all possibility, every being—individuals and civilizations in particular—must realize that possibility.
FP renders the concepts of abstract and concrete objects transparent.
From universe as realization of logic, all logical concepts are realized—i.e., concrete objects and abstract objects are both real and realized. Importantly, the distinction is not one of extensionality—e.g. spatiotemporality—or causality: instead, for the abstract these features do not survive the abstraction, each feature to greater or lesser degree. Concrete and abstract, as identified by us, may each have degrees of both; and the range from concrete to abstract is a continuum. The distinction is typically the mode of knowing: perceptual vs free conceptual.
The hypothetical being that affects no experience at all is nonexistent (in the earlier version of this statement only effective nonexistence was asserted).
Note that it is not said that perception creates the world. Rather, the world and experience are one.
The connection begins by recognizing a concrete side as a complement to the abstract. The concrete is common experience, exploration, and human cultures, regarded as pragmatic. What is valid in it is named tradition.
How do or may we realize the ultimate? As noted, the metaphysics so far does not show the how. What we do have is tradition regarded as pragmatic. The pragmatic has many limitations on its own terms (problems of epistemology including the possibility and faithfulness of even a concept of knowledge). Yet we know that the pragmatic has some purchase (FP implies further that it must). Tradition including reason and exploration—is the directly available instrument. In growing from being to being we improve or shed and rebuild. The metaphysics illuminates and guides the pragmatic in the search for ultimates; the pragmatic illustrates and fills out the metaphysics.
These two sides, the abstract metaphysics developed so far and tradition as pragmatic, constitute a pragmatic yet perfect metaphysics that illuminates understanding and realization of the ultimate. They constitute a whole—e.g., of Being in process or becoming.
The whole is a perfect metaphysics—a perfect dual metaphysics with perfection of capture (correspondence) on the abstract side and sufficient and therefore perfect pragmatic capture on the concrete side—and is thus inclusive of a perfect dual epistemology. This system will be called the perfect metaphysics, abbreviated PFM—or the metaphysics, abbreviated TM.
An ultimate abstract-concrete metaphysics has been constructed and is therefore manifestly possible.
The foregoing does not negate the significance of received systems of metaphysics and epistemology; rather it gives them context; and wherever they see our cosmos as the universe and therefore our modern cosmology as a boundary of Being, it renders them local.
This section is on some cosmological consequences of the metaphysics.
This version of the essay presents the barest cosmology essential to realization.
The distinction of metaphysics vs cosmology is a matter of closeness to the fundamental principle, generality, degree of abstraction vs distance from principle, particularity, and concretion. From metaphysics to cosmology is a continuum.
The universe has identity; its form and identity have no limits in emergence, extension, variety of beings, kinds of being including cosmos and law, peak and dissolution and magnitude of peak, and value; the cosmoses are limitless in number, magnitude, and variety, including physical law and sentient kind; and are in eternal mergence and emergence with the void and one another. That is, the only limits on concepts for realization are those of logic. The individual inherits this power. In the formulation of Advaita Vedanta, Atman or the individual self is identical to Brahman or the identity of the universe as its ultimate identity. Whatever may be divine or deity, it is not other than Being, e.g. our being.
Since all forms are realized, form requires no mechanism. However, a mechanism of formation is possible and therefore necessary. The mechanism of indeterminist-variation and adaptive-determinist-selection, suggested by the theory of evolution, is a creative result of two non-creative processes; it occurs necessarily but not exclusively—single step origins are also necessary. Though no exclusive, it is a likely mechanism for numerical preponderance; the formed phases of the universe are likely to be adapted and adapting systems. The adapting and self-adapting variation-selection mechanism is applicable in all origins of form, particularly cosmoses, life, and ideas; and perhaps emergence, generally.
Cosmology of formation is a basis for the empirically based physical theories of our cosmos. This base is not developed in this version of the essay. Current development is primitive; there are plans for future development.
See the section on Constructs, p.20. The development in this version of the essay is not dependent on the concepts of space, time, and world.
The concepts are listed in their order of occurrence.
aim of Being, ethics, general means, reason, reflexivity, imagination, criticism, transient, ground, intuition, place, home, world at large, sangha, teacher, original exemplar, inspiration, channel, focus, particular means, intrinsic, Buddhism, Hinduism, Abrahamic religion, yoga, cultural search, Beyul, art, immersive, philosophy, extrinsic, instrumental, sciences, technology, technology of advanced civilization, impediment, block, ignorance, suffering, attachment, anger, aversion, resolution, modern medicine, modern psychology, consciousness studies, nirvana, path, template, everyday template, dedication, affirmation, reflect, tasks, meditation, renewal, community, universal template, pure Being, process, vision retreat, relation, nature, psyche, shared immersion, instrumental transformation, politics and cultural economics, populating the universe, artifact, artifactual Being, universal, transformation
The ethics—the concept—is the good without distinction of state, process, or relation. The object or extension of the ethics is not given but in discovery.
The general means are shared reflexive reason (with imagination and experience and for which criticism is essential, intuition, and tradition. If reason is to be grounded, it should begin in the present, and reflexively employ all abilities and processes.
Reason is the general means and it is implicit so far—as in establishment of fact and pattern in science and logic. It includes also value, emotion, action, and experiment. It is reflexive—every aspect may interact with every other; particularly imagination and criticism interact (a) in understanding the world and science and (b) in improving imagination, criticism, and method such as may arise. It derives, especially, from tradition. Regarding an absolute foundation for Being and process, what has been seen in the Worldview, p.19, is that there is no need for an external foundation; Being, as seen, needs no other foundation. The beginning, for any being or beings is always where they are—from where they may simultaneously move down to foundation and up to realization and use. However, there is also foundation in the transient and return to ground.
What is the role of intuition in knowledge and realization? ‘Intuition’ has a number of connotations. One is Immanuel Kant’s conception of intuition as a ‘faculty’ that is inherently attuned to the forms of the real. Another is as an understanding of the forms of the world that does not have (quite) the certainty of proof.
Intuition is apprehension of the form of the real over the detail; it may be iconic and/or symbolic; it need not but may be perfectly certain.
Kant was writing at a time when Euclidean Geometry and Newtonian Mechanics were considered so established that he thought them to be a priori accounts of space, time, and matter. He therefore concluded that Euclidean Geometry and Newtonian Mechanics must be among the precise and formal forms of intuition—for otherwise knowledge of them would be impossible. The we would say today is that those forms approximately capture both intuition and world. However, that there may be forms or categories of understanding is a deep insight. Here, we have seen that experience, Being, the universe, the void, and logic are among the forms that are known precisely, at least in abstract—they are known formally and in intuition. It follows that the perfect metaphysics is precise in the abstract and precisely what we need in the concrete. The metaphysics grounds us in the universe.
Now clearly not all things are certain but yet we may ‘have’ to act—i.e., we may find action imperative; or we may choose to act under some uncertainty. What degree of uncertainty? Enough, at least, such that we are not crippled by demands for certainty when we are sure enough that perfect certainty is not feasible.
Thus the universal demand for proof, often emphasized in education, is not optimal. This is not a cy to abandon proof. Rather, proof—what is necessary in formal knowledge—and intuition may reinforce each other.
Also note that formal proof is linguistic (in terms of signs) and thus for any definite system an at most a countable number of assertions—true or false. This does not imply that the number of assertions is countable—for the number of systems is not necessarily countable. However, a finite being will have access only to a finite number of systems in a finite time.
There are domains, e.g. some divisions, where formal symbols adequately capture their object for at least pragmatic purposes. This is not true for what is significant in either all existential concerns or the entire real.
That is, intuition may be essential to understanding the universe.
In this essay, some powerful examples are seen.
It is important that intuition and formal understanding are not in opposition but mutually reinforcing. However, some issues are pertinent—
1. Are there ways of overcoming the above limitation of formal understanding?
2. Are there further ways other than establishing perfectly known objects in the abstract and proof in symbols that may make intuition certain?
3. Formal understanding tends to be piecewise and subject to the foundational dichotomy of infinite regress or unfounded premises. Intuitive understanding tends to be whole but without foundation. In this essay these two issues are simultaneously resolved in the perfect metaphysics. How, and to what extent, may these resolution be furthered in special contexts—for example the specialization of the modern academic disciplines? Are there other approaches?
4. How shall or ought intuition, formal understanding, and their interaction play out in the future of Being—particularly for humankind and particularly in the realization of the ultimate? To what extent may intuition be formalized as in the metaphysics? To what extent may we have intuition of the formal, as we do for language?
Tradition, naturally subject to reason, is the other general means. It is drawn from the history of culture (see Resources, p.49).
The means are intrinsic—of Being—and extrinsic-instrumental or of the ‘material world’; they straddle the immediate and the ultimate; the distinction between the intrinsic and instrumental is not absolute and yoga-mediation are considered so as to emphasize their integration.
Regarding particular means, the following is representative and suggestive rather than complete or prescriptive. The aim is for individuals and civilizations to find The Way—their way, perhaps—rather than to be satisfied that some given prescription is The Way.
The intrinsic and the extrinsic straddle the immediate and the ultimate and their processes and two way transactions. The intrinsic and extrinsic are not distinct but should be emphasized because (a) it helps comprehensiveness and (b) some cultures emphasize one or other.
On the intrinsic side—the side of identity—we find religion and various catalysts of transformation of identity and realization of the universe. The reader ought to read, analyze, perhaps experience, and choose. The choice may be plural, eclectic, and experimental. We mention (a) Buddhism for its way of life and Hinduism for its views of the ultimate (taken as suggestive)—and the Abrahamic religions for inspiration, beauty, and some of their ethics, (b) Yoga interpreted generally as foundation for meditation and meditation, vipasana (analytic) and shamatha (calm abiding), in experimental interaction and search for centering and the ultimate-in-this-life and the route to the ultimate, (c) other cultural search and travel, especially to cultures that balance one’s own or the so far experienced, (d) Beyul—travel to depth of nature as catalytic to the ultimate within and without.
Meaning in art—appreciation and creation—is significant. The intrinsic approach to the sciences (below) is immersive. Philosophy, especially western philosophy, straddles the intrinsic and the instrumental.
On the extrinsic or instrumental side—roughly, ‘of the world’—are the external realms of nature (and the sciences—in our cosmos the physical, the biological, and the human and psychological), technology, and exploration. The sciences include the natural and social—sociology, economics, and political science and philosophy. The technology of advanced civilization may be explored as an aspect of populating the universe.
Also see the Resources, p.49.
Readers may substitute a meditation from their experience. Imagine being at a mountain lake surrounded on three sides by a cirque dusted with recent snow. The approach to the lake is via a difficult ravine—the outlet. Imagine gazing at the lake and the cirque. Tomorrow we will climb and walk the cirque, navigating unstable boulders, occasionally climbing to the ridge. One is at peace; and contemplation of the lake diffuses outward toward the universe. One is centered in ‘Being’. The centering merges with the picture of the universe revealed in the perfect metaphysics.
At home one may recreate that centering via meditation. We would like to bring that attitude toward everyday action and interaction with the world and other persons. We do not attain perfection, yet there are ways that have promise—e.g., the ways of Buddhism, Christianity, and Krishnamurty. These are just a sampling. One can explore and experiment with personal enhancements. We bring this to the world. This is the process of ‘meditation in action’. It is a process because we do not wait for perfection to act toward realization. We act, practice, and experiment.
The aim is simultaneous action and self-correction, perhaps with sharing in a community. The aim is for attitude to converge in an intuition of perfect Being and process. This is meditative intuition. As long as not realized in the present, it remains dual aim.
Its realization necessarily occurs, even if it seems remote. To consciously and intelligently approach makes it more accessible.
Once achieved, it is not permanent. Still it is achieved again. The cycle has endless variations and is ever fresh. One works with pain as it arises. The ever fresh process is eternal.
Some significant examples are ignorance including mass opinion and its emergence, suffering due to ignorance, inadequate appreciation of and over concern with impediments, attachment and desire, anger, and aversion and resentments.
Pain and suffering are unavoidable and so, where possible, should be sufficiently alleviated to promote process which in turn helps alleviate suffering. Efficient realization is must be a balance of resolution of blocks and engagement in realization—for meaning and efficiency.
We ought to seek sufficient alleviation of pain and suffering but not to pretend that alleviation is always possible. Modern medicine, modern psychology, and consciousness studies complement earlier tradition.
Nirvana is not pure bliss but seeking realization even in adversity, dual with overcoming adversity as part of realization.
The Everyday template, p.45; is adaptable to the needs of work or freedom from work; to home and world; choice of routine; and dedication and affirmation.
The Universal template, p.47, is adaptable to choice of intrinsic and instrumental foci, and may guide the foci of individuals, society, and civilization.
The templates in the extended versions of the essay have further details and links. See the Resources, p.49.
1. Rise before the sun—dedication to The Way; affirmation of the aim.
2. Review-meditate—reflect—on realization, priorities, and means.
3. Realization—work; relationships; ideas and action—yoga-meditation in action.
4. Tasks—daily, long term. Meals.
5. Experimental yoga—with meditation—in nature. Posture.
6. Exercise—aerobic—in nature—photography—explore.
7. Evening—rest—renewal—planning and review—realization—community.
1. Being Pure Being, community—Everyday process
2. Ideas Relation, knowing—Reason; art
3. Becoming Nature with psyche—Nature as ground: Beyul
4. Becoming Civilization and society—Shared immersion
5. Becoming Artifact—Artifactual Being as Being (realized) and as adjunct
6. Becoming Universal, unknown—Transformation aimed at the universal
7. Being Universal—Being in the universal.
The two templates provide a base for development and realization.
See the Resources, p. 49, for priorities for the way.html.
what is given, what remains
What is given is an ultimate vision of the universe and path of realization with templates.
What remains is to live and improve the vision and The Way.
This section is derived from my process. Because readers’ appetites and inclinations will differ widely, this section is suggestive.
1. Read, reflect, experience, and write broadly, deeply, and reflexively.
One begins with appetite. The process leads to further thoughts for reading etc. Reflection on what one is doing is crucial. I frequently step back and think “what do I need to read or experience”, “how shall I synthesize and write my thoughts”, “what have I learned that may be useful in the process”. One is asking meta-questions—if there is a question, one is asking “what is the meaning of this question”, “how may I answer it”, “how do others approach such matters”, “are there general principles” and so on.
2. Learn from but deeply question our culture—so as to overcome its limitations.
I have learned much from our culture. It is important to understand its main paradigms, learn from its sources (texts, universities) but also to question what it presents as most obvious and rational. I hold that science is aesthetically and intellectually wonderful, useful, and applicable within the empirical domain. Yet, by questioning, I realized that that domain is infinitesimal
3. Learn from the realms of nature, psyche, society-civilization-culture, and the universal-unknown.
My learning is also from experience in culture but also in nature, the nature of mind, and reflecting the unknown. I have had occupations from university professor, to mental health, to the restaurant business. I have traveled widely in different cultures and in nature. My travels are not for simple pleasure alone—but I have looked for what I can learn about the world.
4. The process may be without end. The way is always at a new beginning. I have thought many times “I have found it”, only to find that there is more.
5. Here are some thinkers and sources I have found particularly useful (for extensive lists see the next item and subsequent sections).
Some thinkers on metaphysics and Being that stand out are Plato (The Sophist—“the definition of being is power”), Wittgenstein (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus—on logic as metaphysics), Heidegger (Being and Time—on the fundamental nature of being), and Adi Samkara (the Indian philosopher of Advaita Vedanta—in A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, Charles Moore, editors—for the identity of Atman and Brahman or the individual and ultimate selves and, interestingly—for he was writing in the eighth century CE, what is essentially the Cartesian cogito argument).
I have learned much from John Searle on consciousness (The Rediscovery of Mind, 1992); John Hick on religion (especially his book—The Fifth Dimension, 1999); Pema Chödrön’s How to Meditate, 2013; Chagdud Tulku’s Gates to Buddhist Practice, 2001, for practice of ‘Being’ and vipasana meditation; and, finally, Ian Baker’s Heart of the World, 2004, for Beyul—regarding nature travel, identity, and spirit.
6. My reading has been extensive. It has been in popular, scholarly, and original literature. If you are interested in my reading and experience here are some sources.
The following sections.
▪ essays.html—current and past editions; and for archive, history of western philosophy, bibliographies and more
▪ shared immersion—search for the term ‘immersion’ in the browser
▪ artifactual being—search for the terms ‘artifact’ and ‘artifactual being’
▪ system of human knowledge and action.html—for knowledge: human cultural traditions, modified in view of the perfect metaphysics
▪ main influences.html—influences and sources
▪ document and database design.html—resources and plans
▪ concepts.html—for The Way
▪ canonical dilemmas.html—a systematic approach to methodological skepticism
▪ possibility.html—on logic and possibility
These topics are not touched or skimmed in this essay.
▪ Abstract objects
▪ Possibility, necessity, logic, and reason
▪ The canonical dilemmas attempt to found a worldview that begins with doubt and what is beyond doubt. Imagination is essential but also subject to doubt. Some essential aspects of the dilemmas follow—from methodological skepticism through the issue of projection from the empirical.
▪ Metaphysical skepticism; kinds of argument from skepticism—self reference (solipsism), necessary (general vs our world) – from nothing and from symmetry, probable – from adaptation and from symmetry and stability (general vs our world).
▪ Substance vs Being (and related concepts—sameness, difference, absence, experience, beings, universe, possibility, necessity, logic, science, and Logic).
▪ The cogito argument—doubt exists.
▪ Solipsism vs SSV, ESSV, FOE. What is necessary, what is necessary in our world, what is stable and probable.
▪ The empirical, inference – projection (law, cause, Russell’s teapot, the possibility that the world was created five minutes ago and similar alternate ‘realities’); necessity (general, our world), the stable and the probable.
▪ Free will.
▪ World as experience.
▪ How the intension (nature) and extension (extent) of human knowledge is modified and rewritten by the metaphysics of the essay.
▪ Metaphysics as Logic.
▪ Original cause and necessity rather than ‘material’ cause. Necessity vs contingency or accident.
▪ Conventional dimensions of out world—psyche, nature (material and living), society and civilization, and universal – unknown, or PNSU.
▪ the way-pocket manual.html—main and portable version
▪ the way-template.html—document template
▪ for other current and older versions see the site
▪ document and database design.html—document and site plan
▪ An outline can be derived from the versions above.
▪ However, the purpose of this outline is to get at the essence.
▪ Ideas to enter.
▪ Edit. Test links and rectify faulty links.
▪ Format and chisel.
▪ Give visual relief to the main ideas from the point of view of realization (the metaphysics is already given prominence). Arrange for the following, as far as possible by associating styles with current content and making tables of contents that include links to those styles.
The paragraphs in style Central constitute a general outline. I would like to incorporate
1. An outline for the intellectual content focusing on Being and beings, experience, meaning, possibility, logic and science, metaphysics and cosmology.
2. An outline for realization focusing on the immediate and search for the ultimate, the standard paradigms and their limits, the metaphysics and cosmology appropriate to understanding-developing-following experimental-traditional pathways, and the templates.
A print version can be derived from this web essay. Further needs include:
▪ Internal links replaced by page number links.
▪ An index with page number references.
▪ Eliminate the resources section (except perhaps to summarize general reading and experience).
▪ So as to eliminate the need for external links provide the address to resources.html—‘for resources enter the following to your browser address bar http://www.horizons-2000.org/resources.html. Future external links to the main text may be dealt with in the same way.
The links below are to definitions or main occurrences.
Abrahamic religion, absolute determinism, absolute indeterminism, abstract object, action, affirmation, aim of Being, anger, art, artifact, artifactual Being, Atman, attachment, attitude, attitudinal, aversion, being, Being, Beyul, block, block view, Brahman, Buddhism, cause, channel, civilization (our civilization, universal civilization), community, concept, concrete object, consciousness studies, construct, contingent, continuum, cosmology, cosmos, creative, creator, criticism, cultural search, culture, dedication, determinism, difference, dimension discovery, duration, effectively nonexistent, ethics, everyday template, exist, existential principle, experience, extended standard secular worldview – ESSV, extension, extrinsic, fact, factual consistency, field of experience, world as, focus, form, formation, free conception, free will, fundamental principle of metaphysics, general cosmology, general means, ground, Hinduism, home, hypothesis, ideas, identity, ignorance, imagination, immediate, immersive, impediment, individual, inspiration, instrumental, instrumental transformation, intrinsic, intuition, isolated, limitless, logic, Logic, logical possibility, logical precursor, meaning, means, measure of Being, mechanism, meditation, metaphysics, modern medicine, modern psychology, multiple histories, natural law, nature, necessary, necessity, nirvana, non-classical cause, nonexistent, object, one Being, original exemplar, particular means, path, perceptual conception, philosophy, place of meaning, place, PNSU, politics and cultural economics, populating the universe, possible worlds, power, pragmatic, primal culture, primitives, process, psyche, pure Being, pure consciousness, real possibility, realization, reason, reflect, reflexivity, relation, renewal, resolution, sameness, sangha, satisfactory explanation, science, sciences, secular paradigm, selection, sentient possibility, shared immersion, space, spacetime, spatial extension, standard secular worldview, suffering, tasks, teacher, technology, technology of advanced civilization, template, the perfect metaphysics, the void, time, tradition, transformation, transient, transsecular paradigm, ultimate, universal, universal law, universal template, universe, variation, vehicles, vision retreat, Way of Being, what is given, what remains, world, world as field of experience, world at large, worldview, yoga.