The Way of Being
Anil Mitra © May 2018—September 2018
Updated September 25, 2018 @ 04:29:52
The table of contents may include a summary of essentials.
The Way of Being
Proof and elaboration are minimal in this version.
The aim of The Way of Being is understanding and realization of the ultimate.
The aim of this portable version is to provide a reference for practice of realization.
In line with this aim, the introduction in The Way of Being and Part I. World View are very brief. Proof, heuristics, and elaboration are minimal. In particular the only proof given is that of the fundamental principle of metaphysics that the universe is the realization of all logical possibility.
Consistently with the aim of this version, Part II. The Way is relatively detailed.
Main statements are black.
General elaboration is light blue.
Academic elaboration is dark red.
In definitions, defined terms are bold. The term ‘is’ associated with the defined term is to be read ‘is defined as’.
A discursive definition is a statement of the essence of the meaning of the term.
Discursive definitions are also called intensional.
An extensional definition lists the objects to which the term refers. Some thinkers hold that there are only extensional definitions but such is not held to be the case here.
If discursive definition is grounded in undefined terms a problem arises of to what the system of terms refer.
An ostensive definition of a term or name is in terms of examples of objects, or the object if the term is singular or sufficiently abstract.
With sufficient abstraction, ostensive definition may perfectly identify the object. Examples will be ‘Being’, ‘experience’, and ‘universe’.
Quotes and emphasis
Single quotes are usually references to a concept or term. Thus ‘Being’ refers to the concept of Being; i.e. ‘Being’ is the name of the concept of Being. Emphasis is used in referring to a phrase. Double quotes are used to quote other texts and authors.
ASM, the abstract metaphysics.
EH, existential hypothesis.
FP, the fundamental principle of metaphysics.
FQM, the fundamental question or problem of metaphysics.
PFM or TM, the perfect metaphysics (‘the metaphysics’).
PRM, the pragmatic metaphysics.
PSR, a principle of sufficient reason.
The phrase a principle acknowledges that it is not clear that there is a principle of sufficient reason and that whether there is may be clarified by considering candidates for what counts as reason—examples are cause and necessity.
This is an informal introduction to The Way. Formal development begins with Part I. World View.
Comment. Table of contents for this section. This is temporary. The purpose is to get at the essence and abbreviate.
Comment. End of table of contents. The red font of the headings is to remind that they are temporary.
The Way of Being begins in the immediate world as an exploration of immediate and ultimate realms. Its aim is to live well in the immediate and the ultimate—equally and in relation, with adequate attention given to both.
Context for the way is the human endeavor as it seeks to conserve and to change and explore. Tradition is what is inherited from human culture over time and continents and includes means such as reason, action and exploration; its traits include conservatism and change seeking and reason applied to the same.
The term valid tradition will be used to refer to assessments of what is true and useful in tradition. For the purpose of the way, what is important about such assessment will be seen to be that that it be pragmatic, in process and corrigible rather than regarded as final.
To know what that aim is or may be in explicit terms requires an understanding of the nature of the universe—and that of course includes the nature of humankind.
The aim of this narrative is to develop such understanding and to use it toward realization of the aim of the way. The understanding is developed in Part I. World View; a path of realization is developed in Part II. The Way. The path is tailored for general use by individuals and civilization. Two customizable templates for the path are given in Part II—an ‘everyday’ and a universal template. A Resource section provides further information and Internet addresses to sources for customizations of the path.
The narrative derives from tradition and from my experience and reflection. I have attempted to incorporate and to further tradition. In doing so I found it necessary to make departures from tradition. And so it will be useful to reflect on tradition so as to see its current validity vs limits—it is this that marks points of departure.
It will be helpful to reflect particularly on two pillars of tradition—science and religion; this is not limiting to the way for the aim is to explore their limits and uses rather than to take them as paradigmatic. Let us first look at science, focusing on physics. We will distinguish the terms cosmos and universe. The cosmos—our cosmos—is our empirical corner of the universe. ‘The universe’ is used in the sense of all that there is over all extension, e.g. space and time, and may be limitlessly greater in extension and kind than our cosmos.
Conservatism in science holds that the universe is what is revealed in science and may even deny that more be considered; this is absurd of course for it is consideration of hypotheses that advances science. Liberalism or rationalism allows imaginative and rational thought regarding the universe (for this paragraph ‘rational’ means empirical and logical constancy; but note that empirical consistency should not extend to the entire universe but only to the empirical boundary). Mere speculation is speculation that does not observe the requirement of rationality. However, art—literature—may engage at the boundaries between conservatism, liberalism, and mere but imaginative speculation.
Science(1) is empirical—it is based in fact; however, it goes beyond fact. It attempts to see patterns. Recognizing a pattern is useful in understanding and prediction because a pattern is a form that encodes a large amount of raw data in terms of a smaller amount of information—often, a much smaller amount. The patterns of science tend to be abstract rather than, say, merely visual or geometric. The abstract patterns of physics are often expressed mathematically; this makes them powerful but may also make them difficult to use. Because the data does not explicitly reveal the patterns but may suggest them, science encodes its patterns as tentative hypotheses. When we are relatively confident in the hypothetical systems they become ‘theories’. If we restrict attention to the empirical region so far, the theories may be seen as fact. Thus we sometimes tend to think of our current theories as final, even though we know better from the history of science and scientific revolutions.
However, because there may always be further data, because such data may not agree with our best theories, and insofar as theories aim to be universal they are regarded as revisable at least in principle. As an example, consider the big bang model of the cosmos. If we think that physics has essentially explored the physical realm and that future corrections will be only in the realm of improvement then we may think that the big bang model is essentially the life and death of the cosmos. However, the universe may be far greater than the big bang cosmos and it may be so consistently with the big bang model. We know this and yet tend to ignore it, especially because physics provides no way of currently seeing beyond. And so some physicists doubt that future physics will match the revolutions of the twentieth century. This may be simply because, just as before those revolutions, our vision and experimental resources were and now may well be dominated by existing theory and technology.
Conservatism in science leads to the view that current science is essentially complete even though realism in science implies nothing of the kind and allows the universe to be far greater than revealed. Suppose the cosmos to be essentially of the kind revealed in modern physics and its extent as revealed in the big bang cosmology; and suppose the extent to be infinite. Can the universe be greater? Yes—even if there is a consistent cosmology with a finitely distant beginning and end: that would in no way rule out a universe that is limitlessly greater in kind and extent. The cosmos may be embedded in such a universe in many ways, from the continuous to the discrete and from the patterned to the patternless. What limits understanding of this is that our imagination seems to be limited; not only is our imagination limited with regard to what there is, it is also limited with regard to what we think we can prove. For not only do we tend to think that current physical models show the entire universe; we also think that our current methods of science—even of thought—show the essence of the possibilities of imaginative, critical, and demonstrable thought (since culture does not or strongly tends to not see beyond its deepest thought, there is a limit at which human beings are natural and intrinsic conservatives). In Part I of the text we find this presupposition to be hopelessly wrong, explore alternatives, find the universe to be ultimately limitless, and show this finding to be consistent with science, reason, and experience. (It is important to understand that I am in no way implying that our science is ‘wrong’ in its empirical and demonstrated realm). We fill in lacunae in imagination and reason in conservative understanding for science as well as reason, generally.
But there are always some human beings with the ability and disposition to see or attempt to see beyond the natural conservatism of culture. They are not the cynics or mere rebels and discontents, though there are indeed cynics and rebels clamoring at the gates. Where do individuals with vision turn? They attempt to see, at minimum, worlds beyond the conservative world. But our conservatism sees this as essentially unrealistic. It can be unrealistic but is not essentially so and this is revealed even by the history of conservative science—the new is initially regarded with incredulity but itself becomes conservative in time. But the question remains regarding to what explicit avenues such visionary individuals turn.
They sometimes turn, perhaps unfortunately, to the false dogma of religion(1). However, often the beginning of a religion is a revolt against conservatism in intellectual, visionary, and political realms; conservatism and dogma enters when the revolt acquires power and therefore becomes naturally invested in conservatism. But in history and despite its excesses, religion has been significant to the growth of valid tradition. Religion is not monolithic; often thought of in terms of a cosmology, it is much more; parts of the religions lie within valid tradition.
Today we tend to view religion in its most politically powerful and conservative form, i.e. through the lens of its dogmatic attitudes and institutions. A false alternative to science and secularism is, for example that by living in righteousness we will inherit a kingdom of an everlasting good life. What is especially unfortunate for this discussion is that religious dogma our major cultural paradigms for the alternative to conservative science. Confronted with the thought of alternatives to our scientific and secular paradigms even liberal thinkers tend to reject the idea because it is religious cosmology that naturally comes to mind. Further it is often a cruel paradigm. And in the modern world, given the power of secular education, given places of economic plenty, there is little motive to seek beyond secular science and art; many find the false paradigm repugnant; and an unfortunate opposition arises between those who believe and those who find the dogma false. Yet, there may, even in secular term be visionary and realistic realms; and we find such realms in Part I. The realms we find are ultimate in a way described shortly.
The narrative will not turn to formal religion or the world religions for foundation. However, it may refer to religion as symbol or inspiration where appropriate. And it may be developed to found further and future investigation of the idea of religion without regarding religion as received. There is place for an open search; it is immaterial whether it should be called ‘religion’.
It is worthwhile saying a few words about a view of primal religion or spiritism (based on some reading of anthropological accounts). Explanations are valued because they enhance survival and quality of life. But there is much in the world that is above transparent explanation. So—the world is imbued with spirit, but the transparent and the occult (unseen) side are interwoven in primalism. Taboo—prohibition—arises as part of this but also as part of small scale politics (e.g. of the sexes). There is reasoning behind this, for spirit force and taboo are strengthened or weakened according to experience. This is culture in which the world is not split into the secular and religious and secular dogma and religious dogma. While our science confers power and our religion may be of insight and beauty (together with its negatives), it is not clear where our culture will lead. We may be able to learn from primalism.
This ends giving motive to the development: we have seen the rational and empirical possibility of going beyond the standard scientific account of the universe and the fact that the dogmatic religious alternatives are literally false and therefore misdirecting; we will now explore the approach to an alternative in this development
We have given motive to the development. In the remainder of this introduction to the Way of Being, I will briefly explore the approach I have used.
Let us focus again on science. Keep in mind that I am not focusing on science as paradigm but rather to understand its limits and so perhaps the nature of overcoming such limits. Science, as I have emphasized, is revelatory and useful. However, I have also looked at some limits to science so far. Let us focus on the limits so that we can explore how to overcome limits. It is sufficient to consider some limits to physics.
Modern theoretical physics posits fundamental entities and their behaviors. The entities are such things as particles and fields of which there are currently four known fundamental kinds—gravitation, electromagnetism, the weak, and the strong. The behaviors are given in the constitution of the entities, including interactions, and equations governing their evolution. At present there is no coherent and unified account of the four forces but I am not considering this to be a limit of interest for even if incomplete, theory, e.g. the semi-classical theory of gravitation, is as of the present (2018) very successful in its predictions.
The limits are twofold. They concern the entities and their behaviors as encoded in the equations.
First, what is the foundation of the entities? They are posited but are they ultimate? We know they describe but we do not know why they are the way they are or if they are truly fundamental. But if we are interested in the ultimate nature of the world, then the entities provide no answer. Perhaps there is no answer and there are thinkers—scientists and philosophers—who think that that is the best we can do; that we cannot provide ultimate answers (and most secular thinkers might say, at least, that it is our best so far). The idea, it is said, is that we can know what the world is like at a certain depth but not why it is like that or at ultimate depth. The second limit concerns behavior or equations. The equations are a hypothetical posit on par with the entities. Consider the question of the next developments in fundamental physics. We can at best guess at what they might be—perhaps in string theory or perhaps in loop quantum gravity which currently appears to hold more immediate promise (2018). However if achieved, would that next development change the fact the equations remain a posit, and that it is accepted because of coherence and beauty and because it ‘works’? The tentativeness and non-fundamental nature of theory will not be changed as long as theory is a posit rather than necessary. This is the second limit. Both limits involve that we have not seen deep enough or far enough.
The first limit above is related to the philosophical issue of substance—is there an ultimate foundation to the nature of the world and, if so, what is it? The current secular answer tends to be materialism or physicalism though some thinkers, perhaps a minority, would admit ‘mind’ either as a dual or in terms of a monism with a material and a mental side. The appeal of substance is that it is thought to be simple and unchanging and generative of the complexity and change in the world. But is substance fundamental? Does it not have the problem of being an unfounded posit? The history of substance philosophy is long.
At this point a suggestion arises. Martin Heidegger brought it up in the twentieth century. It efficiently arises out of the question—why should we seek the foundation of the world in something other than the world: either a simple part of the world or something other than the world? Perhaps it is effective to seek the foundation of the world in no more than the world itself. Now a counter to this is that it would be trivial in nature and powerless in providing understanding, integration, explanation, or prediction.
But perhaps not. Should we not explore before concluding? And, to take an example from mathematics and logic, is not the idea of the trivial, e.g. tautology, powerful? The block universe over all sameness and difference and their absence (e.g. spacetime) is a trivial idea but to see it is as far from trivial as can be. So this approach is one undertaken in the narrative and is found to be ultimately powerful (in a sense that I will explain a few paragraphs from here and explore formally in Part I (World View) of the main narrative).
How shall or may we ‘found the world in itself’? The idea is to not look beyond the world (it is important that this is not a prohibition to looking beyond but an alternative to be explored simultaneously and perhaps to be adjoined to looking beyond). We seek a concept that encapsulates the thought about the contents of the world that they are there in the world and that says no more. A candidate for this is existence. Something exists if it can be validly said to be in the world. This is equivalent to the concept of Being—something has Being, i.e. is describable by the concept of Being, it can be validly said to be in the world. Existence and Being have been criticized as being empty (saying nothing) and as trivial. Well they are not empty for if there is a concept that has an object, the object exists; if there is no object, we say there is no existing object—this avoids the seemingly paradoxical colloquial form, ‘the object does not exist’. (The paradox would be that of negative existentials for a retort to the colloquial form is ‘What object?’) However, they are trivial—yet as we have seen triviality does not imply absence of conceptual power or depth. To the concept of Being we will append a number of other concepts to round out the idea of the world—universe—as itself and (as I have discovered by experiment with the concepts) to develop a powerful system of rational metaphysics. The concepts include the universe as all Being, beings as parts of the universe, power or interaction as measure of Being, the void as absence of Being. A further concept is experience (in the sense of consciousness and consciousness of and distinct from other uses of the term) which is the concrete place of our being and acquaintance with and knowledge of Being; and, as we will see, our effective identity with Being. Another concept is possibility which leads into the important concepts of fact, logic, and reason.
It is also important to ask whether we can found knowledge on these concepts and whether such knowledge can be universal and necessary. The answer is that we can and will; and that such knowledge can (and will) be universal and necessary. That we can begins with observation that the definitions of the concepts (as suggested above but stated formally in Part I and Part II of the main narrative) is sufficiently abstract such that the concepts correspond perfectly to their objects (even though the notion of correspondence is generally in question). That is the beginning or foundation; and necessary and universal knowledge is further developed from the ideas of logic and perfect fact that emerge from the concept of possibility.
This knowledge will be an abstract metaphysics of the universe as a whole and will show the universe to be ultimate in a sense to be described shortly. However, there remains pragmatic knowledge outside this abstract perfection; we will also see how the join the abstract and the pragmatic as one.
This is an appropriate place to inform readers that to understand the world view of the narrative it is essential to follow the terms as defined here (in the formal narrative beginning with Part I).
Let us now address the second limit of science (physics) mentioned above. What is the limit or end to the sequence of equations of physics e.g. from Newton to modern theoretical physics to perhaps loop quantum gravity to beyond? If we cannot foresee the next development, it would seem that we can hardly even think about the ultimate. However, we can. And it is the fact that we are asking of the ultimate rather than the proximate that makes it immediately and presently possible. If only we would see it.
We can—and we can assert that an ultimate boundary to the equations of physics is logic. A familiar issue arises—surely this is trivial? And by now the answer may be familiar to the point of obviousness—it is trivial yet deep; and the truth and depth of the answer will be shown in the narrative. The means is via the same concepts noted earlier, i.e. from Being to possibility (and related concepts).
I used the term boundary above because logic is not a limit on the world. Rather, while science is a limit on a world in the sense that it allows only certain patters to obtain logic disallows only those descriptions of patterns that are necessarily unrealizable, e.g. due to a contradiction, rather than contingently unrealizable.
How will this limit—or lack thereof—be expressed? If the universe is all Being over all spacetime (more precisely over all sameness and difference and their absence) it is given; and relative to it no part is undetermined. However, for a contingently defined and limited being—an individual or a cosmos—its possibilities of realization are not given in the being itself. What are the boundaries of the realizations of the being? They are (i) the universe itself and (ii) given by Logic which is the universe. What is this Logic? It is the join of the facts for the being and of logic where logic is the system of constraints on concepts for realization in any possible world.
The assertion that the boundary of realization is given by Logic is called the fundamental principle of metaphysics. The resulting metaphysics is named the perfect metaphysics (PFM, or ‘the metaphysics’—TM)
We observed that both our limits involved not seeing with sufficient depth or distance of vision. We have addressed the issue of depth. It will turn out that the answer regarding depth is also the answer regarding ‘distance’ and this is not surprising for the distinction between depth and distance of vision is not fundamental.
Let us briefly explore some consequences developed in the narrative. The universe has identity. The universe and its identity, occur in limitless cosmoses with limitlessly varied forms including physical law and life and sapience; such relatively stable cosmoses occur via near symmetry in transient interaction with the void; individuals partake of and realize the universe and its identity. There is a way to enjoy this eternal process and to render it feasible and efficient. It is not sufficient to understand this in terms of secular tradition which sees the individual as materially limited or dogmatic religion which is not exploratory. ‘Limitlessness’ implies migration of identity into the universe at large. However, it is likely that there should also be a material or formed side to the migration—the use of local cosmologies in migrating. For human civilization this would be made efficient by exploring all avenues: material, transcendent, and primal.
Another note to readers. The foregoing may be found counter to intuition and experience. However, by the very conception of Logic it cannot be counter to experience; it must be consistent with experience, reason, and science (appreciation of these facts will assist in understanding and intuiting the developments of the narrative). Further the claims are demonstrated. Therefore the reader will benefit from being patient while intuition develops. It is important to follow the development in the narrative. The earlier suggestion on adhering to definitions of terms is pertinent.
If however, as I do, readers also find the essential claims doubtful—though consistent with experience—I suggest that the fundamental principle and the perfect metaphysics be regarded as reasonable universal laws much in the way that Einstein postulated two fundamental principles—constancy of light speed and the principle of relativity—as the basis of his revision of the fundamental concepts of space and time. A related attitude, encouraged by the fundamental value of the metaphysics is to regard it as an existential hypothesis and a principle of human action.
In the development, the ideas of fact and logic will be at the center of an abstract metaphysics. This will form a framework for valid tradition, including exploration which may be regarded as a pragmatic metaphysics. The abstract frames, illuminates, and confirms the pragmatic. The pragmatic forms an instrument to explore and realize the ultimate revealed by the abstract. Together the abstract and the pragmatic constitute a perfect metaphysics. There is an associated dual epistemology—demonstrated perfect correspondence for the abstract, good enough for the pragmatic; yet the good enough need be no better even where it may be better (e.g. in valid traditional search which is now not negated but illuminated and placed in universal context); and thus the dual is perfect in its realm of application. There is also an ethics revealed by the perfect metaphysics—we will realize ultimates and therefore we ought to or at least may enjoy making the process efficient and enjoyable. It is to the latter end that Part II of the narrative aims.
1. Print this at an appropriate point this morning—9/25/2018.
2. Use temporary subtitles in non-standard style to break up long sections and paragraphs—identify, organize, and minimize points.
Edit. Re-elaborate, minimizing—especially the preliminary.
4. When concepts are treated in more than one place, label each main occurrence ‘concept(1)’, ‘concept(2)’ etc and later collect material together or cross reference.
5. Review and execute comments.
6. Carefully id main / general / academic points.
7. Identify main terms; de-id main terms in the ‘preliminary’; supply glossary.
8. Scrunch and TOC frame format.
9. Print version. Revert table of contents to Heading 1,1,Heading 2,2,Heading 2A,2,Heading 3,3,Heading 3A,3,Central,4
10. Eliminate this planning section. Revert to document and database design.
1. Home = general + links to: world issues – dedicate-affirm – the way. Details = essays; modify index (eliminate about), index-detail, amitra, and amitra-detail; implement then eliminate or make a secondary link: design. See site design.
3. 1st version® path, world.
In the world
1. Continue to develop the main essays and the resources.
To exist is to be validly describable by some form of the verb is.
Thus for the sun exists we could write, in uncommon usage, the sun is.
Formally, to exist is to be validly predicated or predicable (knowable in terms of) by some standard (English) or generalized—form of the verb to be—existence is neutral to further predication especially location or locations in sameness and difference (e.g. spacetime) and their absence, entity vs relation or interaction vs process, number, quantity, quality, and gender.
A being is that which exists. The plural form of ‘a being’ is beings.
This is not circular for beings and existence both refer ostensively to the elementary verb to be.
A collection of beings is a being—i.e. beings may be ‘compound’.
In contrast to beings, Being (capitalized) is the quality common to all beings.
Being is existence. It is neutral except in that it distinguishes only existence. This neutrality is a first step toward the power of the metaphysics developed later.
From discussion of ‘to exist’, to have Being is to be some ‘where’ in sameness, difference, and their absence (where implies a region but not necessarily a connected one).
Being is sometimes associated with the ‘divine’. In the present meaning the association is null except of course that if the divine should exist it would have Being.
Being is sometimes contrasted to becoming. It sometimes refers to special kinds. Here, becoming and the special kinds lie within—are cases of—Being.
Being is not a being but with sufficient abstraction the distinction is null.
The discriminatory ability of Being within neutrality renders it an ultimately powerful concept.
The extreme—ontological—neutrality of Being renders it trivial yet powerful. The power lies in its absence of definition in terms of something else such as substance (e.g. matter and mind) or process. It avoids pre-judicial pre-commitment and permits the nature of beings to emerge. Special kinds are not forced and may therefore emerge without pre-judice.
This gives rise to the question of how Being is or may be recognized. The following is suggested by Plato in The Sophist.
Power is interaction—affecting and being affected.
Power is the measure of Being.
The measure of Being is not a kind or substance but Being itself. The measure of Being is not something other than Being. This avoids both prejudice and foundational regress.
Power is cause but not in any special sense.
The hypothetical or conceived being that has no power does not exist.
A nonexistent being is defined by concept whose object is contingently or necessarily null.
The term nonbeing or potential being may be applied to a being in a phase of nonexistence. Nonbeing and potential being have Being.
A necessarily nonexistent being is one that cannot exist, e.g. due to a contradiction in its conception. An example is a square circle. Such a being could not exist in any world.
A contingently nonexistent being is one that could exist—could have a non null object—but that does not exist, e.g. a fictional being. A fictional being that did not follow our physics could exist in a world with another physics provided it is not necessarily nonexistent.
The concept of Being will be found a potent vehicle for action, growth, and transformation.
How does sapient Being mesh with Being? It is via what we will call experience. We now turn to the concept of experience which will be shown to be the place of our Being and medium of relation to all Being. This concept of experience, defined just below, is related to but distinct from informal use of ‘experience’ as ‘life experience’ or ‘experience of’ or ‘everyday or common experience or putative learning from the same’.
Experience is and names the given that is subjective awareness or consciousness.
Thus experience has Being.
Experience is the place of our Being.
That experience has Being is an end result of Descartes’ cogito ergo sum reflection that begins with radical doubt.
Without experience we would be robotic. Our ‘being’ could not have intrinsic significance.
Experience is the place of significant meaning.
There is a sense in which we never get outside of experience for the conception of the ‘outside’ also occurs in experience.
The hypothetical being that affects no experience even indirectly is effectively non-existent for sentient beings.
Such a hypothetical being will be later seen to be non-existent.
The point is—will be—not that experience creates Being but that experience and experienced are one and inclusive of all Being.
Kinds of experience include cognition (perception-conception), emotion, agency, and action.
The significance of the term ‘experience’ relative to ‘consciousness’ is that the former especially includes the idea of ‘experience of’ as well as neutral meanings of consciousness.
A standard view of the world is that of persons and other centers of experience (sentience, sapience and so on) in a medium that is neutral in having no experience (I avoid the term ‘material’).
Yet, to continue with radical doubt, it seems possible that there is only experience—this is ‘metaphysical solipsism’ (it cannot be quite correct for at least there is experience of experience). The solipsist argument is not that solipsism is true but that it is indistinguishable from the standard position. And indeed it is unless it is also saying that the entire world as experience is the product of a limited ‘intelligence’. That is not possible by the definition of the term ‘limited’ and it renders solipsism as a neutral metaphysical position as follows.
The world is a field of experience with heightened centers (persons including many—‘other’—minds and so on) as a matrix in an environment of non heightened experience (relatively neutral). In this field there are, in addition to experience, experiencers and the experienced which includes experience itself. This justifies calling the world ‘real’. Is there a body and an environment? Yes, in that experience has form. The special case of this neutral metaphysics in which the body and environment have at least parts with null or zero experience is the standard case above.
Solipsism is useful in revealing that without further analysis the standard neutral metaphysics and standard ‘material’ position above are indistinguishable.
This will be empowering in the sequel.
Agency, too, may be doubted. Do we have free will? The crucial question is, really, about the concept or meaning of free will. First, free will is about having, knowing, and creating options; and then about choosing from among options. The doubt about free will cannot be that we do not have it but that we cannot distinguish between having free will and having an illusion of free will. Ask whether we create or discover physics. The patterns are there; we discover them. But how? We do that by creating concepts—laws—that describe the patterns. Obviously, we are creating too. That is not an illusion. That is an example of free will at work. We use the same ‘faculty’ in seeing-creating and choosing from among options.
It has become clear that doubt—questioning received views—is critical in seeing what is true.
Though it is not emphasized in this text version of the way, a program of radical doubt is powerful in building a post-scientific metaphysics and is at work behind the scenes in the narrative. Note of course, that we are using the term ‘science’ in a rather conventional rather rigidly non-abstract and empirical sense.
In beginning and continuing with doubt as an element of understanding, it is built into the process of understanding rather than merely applied to understanding.
In experience we find as-if objects as part of an as-if real world. What is the nature of the as-if object, e.g. an as-if mountain. There is a visual experience that we label the visual image. The mountain can also be touched and walked around. Other minds report experiences and for convenience the concept may also include or be associated with a sign. Effectively there are concepts and something that is unchanging relative to the conceptions. That is the pragmatic object. Generally sign, concept, and object may be compound.
Sign, concept, and object constitute linguistic referential meaning. (or concept referent
Sign, concept, and object constitute referential meaning or, more specifically, linguistic referential meaning (without the sign it would be concept meaning or conceptual referential meaning).
For this development it will be sufficient to consider only referential meaning.
With sufficient abstraction, e.g. as for Being as Being and experience as just experience, sign and concept perfectly capture the object and we may think in terms of perfect correspondence; otherwise the ‘capture’ is pragmatic and we may think pragmatically, per the paradigm discussion of the mountain above, in terms of sufficiently good capture in terms of rough correspondence and coherence.
Knowledge is understood to include reason.
In talking of compound sign, concept, and object we have ventured into the realm of knowledge, e.g. science(2) wherein the compounds include patterns.
Knowledge is reliable capture by a concept of its intended object. This suggests that the criteria of this conception of knowledge is pragmatic and coherentist. However, it is allowed from the discussion of meaning that reliability may approach correspondence.
A law or theory is our hypothetical concept or reading of a pattern. Given a context over which the law is seen to hold, it is factual over the context or hypothetical relative to universalization. In either case, it is the freedom of concept formation that permits both agreement with the ‘real’ and disagreement or error.
Such error can be (i) due to incompatibility within the concept and (ii) incompatibility with the real. The method of eliminating #i is logic, and of eliminating #2 is science.
A fundamental observation—Laws and patterns of nature have Being. This follows from—is empowered by—the neutrality of the conception of Being and is an example of its power. The conclusion and therefore ‘Being’ are fundamentally empowering in what follows. It will empower conclusion of the fundamental principle of metaphysics that the universe is the realization of logical possibility.
If we were to eliminate incompatibility within the concept as well as agreement with simple premises (ones that are not recognized as patterns) the method is argument and could be also called Logic which, over and above the requirement of logic, incorporates consistency with facts. Both Logic and science are constituted of the discovery of the method and its application and thus they can be seen as falling under a compound which we could call Science. This Science can be seen as a compound of fact and pattern but since patterns are compounds, Science is at root a collection of facts.
On the abstract side, perfection may occur via (a) abstract ostensive definition or (b) axiomatic formulation, together with Logic. But how do or can we trust Logic? In the standard cases we do so from transparency, soundness, and when possible, completeness. In the abstract case, knowledge may be perfect in a correspondence or at least as-if correspondence sense.
Comment. Critique the above.
Comment. Move reason to a different (later) point?
(The method of this) Science has been seen to include imagination (hypothesis) and criticism in a range of modes (experiment, the requirement of consistency). Experiment may be extended to include action and exploration. These elements are used reflexively (as defined in the next paragraph) together with judicious allocation of personal and institutional resources. These are elements of reason.
Reflex use of the elements of reason here means that each element may be applied selectively or mechanically to or with other elements where such application is within or perhaps even strains the scope of the elements. Thus criticism is to be criticized; as is imagination; but imagination is to be applied also to find new ways of both imagination and criticism.
While Science is open to revision, we will discover an abstract side that is perfect. We will label this abstract metaphysics (ASM). Valid tradition will be what is valid in received knowledge. To render ASM instrumental we append valid tradition to result in a perfect metaphysics (PFM or the metaphysics—TM). It will be found perfect (i) on the abstract side, from abstraction and (ii) the pragmatic side, not in the sense of precise definition of an object, but in that it is adequate as well as the best available, in combination with the abstract, relative to ultimate goals revealed on the abstract side.
Comment. Enter system of human knowledge and action above regarding tradition? Or where?
The universe is all Being or all beings.
The universe is a being (in that the whole can be regarded as a part). I.e., the universe exists.
A more complete definition—The universe is all Being over all sameness, difference, their absence.
Given a being, it is a part of the universe.
The neutrality of the concept of Being was seen to be empowering of experience as a measure Being and indicator of its variety. The inclusivity of the concept of universe as all Being extends that power. It is not that other concepts of ‘universe’ are invalid but rather that they are individually and systemically not as empowering and may lead to confusions. Similarly, the definition of the void below as excluding all manifest Being continues the empowerment that has already begun. The following exemplify the empowerment.
The universe exists (this repeats an earlier assertion).
There is one and only one universe.
For the universe, the possible and the actual coincide.
The universe has no creator. All creation is immanent to the universe.
All concepts and their objects are in the universe.
For a region of the universe a nonbeing is a being that does not obtain but that exists in another.
What are called abstract objects(1) in the literature are simply the objects of sufficiently abstracted concepts that some physical attributes such as cause, sameness and difference (e.g. spacetime) are abstracted out. There is no essential difference between the abstract and the concrete objects. Just as a concrete conception does not necessarily have an object if the universe is conceptually limited, so an abstract conception does not necessarily have an object.
However, all concepts—concrete or abstracts; everyday; linguistic, logical, mathematical or scientific—and any objects that they may have are in the universe.
No thing is outside the universes.
However, it is not a contradiction to think that nothing (ness) is outside of the universe. A contingently null (e.g., a golden mountain) or necessarily null (e.g. a square circle) may be thought of as outside of the universe.
The void is the null part of the universe or of any being; it is the absence of manifest Being.
From its definition, the number of voids is indeterminate—i.e., it is from zero to an infinite number.
The void—or voids—may be regarded as part of or outside the universe.
If the void exists, it is eternal.
If the void exists, the universe is eternal.
It is not a contradiction of logic or science to assert that the void exists.
It is later shown that there is effectively one void—the void.
The location of the void has no significance (though no thing is outside the universe, the void may be regarded as being outside).
Logical possibility is what is allowed by Logic.
Logical possibility is the requirement of logical possibility and factual possibility.
What are the Logical possibilities? Are they not just the actual? In a block universe perspective they are (i.e. over all sameness, difference, and their absence—e.g. over all space and time and not just over past and present). But for a part of the block, regardless of its determinism or indeterminism, where there is a degree of interactive isolation, there are always multiple possibilities.
Logical impossibility is what is not allowed by Logic.
The Logical impossibility does not exist.
The Logical impossibility may be regarded as being or existing outside the universe.
A special being may be defined in terms of its concept or constitution which defines its allowed—contingent—states.
Real possibility—i.e. possibility—for a being is what is consistent with the concept or constitution of the being. Possibility for a being does not and cannot exceed the logical.
Although it is in experience and so we naturally think that possibility for a being must be less than the Logical, that is contingent upon the conceived constitution being ultimate.
It is in the nature of the real that Logical possibility is at least implicit in constitution of all beings.
It is useful in thought experiment to conceive beings that violate Logical possibility or aspects of constitution (or both). ‘Logical possibility’ has been used to refer to violation of constitution but that is not the use here.
Universal possibility is possibility for the universe and is identical to the actual for the universe. It does not exceed but may in principle be less than Logical possibility.
Possibility may exceed the actual where there is indeterminism—i.e., where knowledge or context do not determine the whole (universe over all sameness, difference, and their absence).
Natural possibility is whatever is in accord with the patterns (e.g. laws and theories) of nature and perhaps other constraints such as the bounds of a cosmos. Physical possibility is an example of the natural and may be conceived in terms of the known laws of physics (even though the laws may be imprecise, they are at least a rough guide).
Sentient possibility is what is possible for sentient organisms to achieve or to design and construct.
In a world, feasibility is what is pragmatically possible; knowledge of the feasible is almost invariably incomplete—except in dogmatic attitude. The ethical is what is feasible and desirable in terms of our understandings of the good and/or the right.
The term metaphysical possibility will have a number of senses—(1) as real possibility (different from natural possibility insofar as science of nature is incomplete), (2) possibility in terms of some specific metaphysical system or supposed metaphysical constraint (useful in thought experiment), and (3) possibility in terms of the abstract and perfect metaphysics developed in the next section (the outer boundary of which is defined by the abstract metaphysics and is identical to logical possibility).
What metaphysics is
Metaphysics is perfect knowledge of the real.
Because ‘the concept is not the object’ the possibility knowledge itself has been doubted. Naturally, therefore, metaphysics has been doubted.
However, from abstraction, metaphysics has already begun even in the sense of ‘perfection’ as perfect capture of an object by the concept—see Being.
Further, in the spirit of criticism we ought to criticize perfection as perfect capture. Though that notion of perfection has been central to confidence in knowledge, it does not follow that it is the best possible in terms of ultimate uses or aims. We will resolve this ‘tension’ by accepting perfection of capture where it is possible and by adjoining to it pragmatic or ‘good enough’ knowledge such that the combination is a dual metaphysics and epistemology that is perfect in relation to the ultimate as revealed by the knowledge—metaphysics itself.
As noted in the Abbreviations the following terms are used: ASM—the abstract and perfect capture side, which will capture the universe as a whole and reveal it as ultimate realization of (Logical) possibility; PRM—the pragmatic side constituted of valid tradition as defined earlier; PFM or TM—the perfect metaphysics or, simply, the metaphysics, the perfect dual according to dual criteria as described in the previous paragraph. The perfect and pragmatic sides of the dual, it will be shown, is interactive—the abstract cradles and illuminates the pragmatic and shows what may be achieved while the pragmatic is the means; the abstract relates us (Being) to the ultimate; the pragmatic relates us to the immediate; the perfect dual relates the immediate to the ultimate.
Development of the metaphysics now begins with the fundamental principle of metaphysics or, simply the fundamental principle, abbreviated FP.
The fundamental principle of metaphysics states that the universe is the realization of (all) logical possibility.
Demonstration is in two steps—(1) existence of the void and (2) use of #1 to conclude FP. We begin with a demonstration of #1.
If the universe enters a void state, the state exists.
This same state or being exists together with or alongside every being.
Therefore the void exists.
This implies FP as follows.
The void has no laws. Therefore there are no limits (boundaries) to realizations of—emergent from—the void.
The void realizes all logical possibility.
The universe realizes all logical possibility, which is the fundamental principle and concludes its proof.
All beings have some effect on experience (they leave some at least transient impression in the experience of some being).
The hypothetical being that has no effect on experience does not exist.
Again, we see the utter triviality of the concepts—Being, beings, experience, the void, and possibility, and careful definition—and their simultaneous depth and power of consequence. We continue to see and develop that depth and power.
The perfect metaphysics, PFM or TM, is a join of the above abstract metaphysics and valid tradition as pragmatic. The abstract shows what is realizable in the ultimate and illuminates the pragmatic, and the pragmatic relates us to the immediate and is means of realization.
Doubt and consistency
It is natural to doubt the principle from the ontological nature of the proof and the magnitude of its content and consequences that follow.
Therefore it is critical to see that since the principle asserts Logical possibility, there is and can be neither internal inconsistency nor violation of valid fact, experience, or valid tradition including science.
However, consistency is not proof, and therefore state alternate proofs, heuristics, and attitudes to the principle.
Doubt, alternate proof, heuristics, and attitudes
Alternate proof—existence of the void is equivalent to its non-existence.
A heuristic—assume that there is fully satisfactory explanation of our existence. To be satisfactory, it must be necessary and not just possible or probable. Further, to be satisfactory, it could not take as prior or foundation any specific state of the universe. Therefore prior or foundation must be the universe in any state whatsoever, including the void. However, from symmetry, no particular consequent or founded state could be the only consequent or emergent. That is, all logically possible states must obtain, which is FP.
A second heuristic—consider the possibility post quantum / relativistic physics. What may it be like? Our best answer today, early twentyfirst century, will speculate. But then what will come after that, then next, and so on. We may get to a point so removed from experience as to constitute ‘wild speculation’. However, we can be sure that no future science will reveal that the universe exceeds the logically possible. That is, the fundamental principle is the limit or envelope of all possible future science.
An attitude—if it is true, FP shows that the universe and all beings realize the ultimate (logical possibility). Given consistency and this ultimate what attitude should or may we take? And how may we decide? Our principle shall be to maximize the value of the outcome. That is, we ought to allocate resources between the immediate and the search for and realization of the ultimate. In terms of this value principle we ought to allocate resources to that search and realization. To this end our attitude to the fundamental principle, if we do not accept its proof, shall and ought to be to regard it as an existential hypothesis. But even if the principle is true, we, similarly, to regard it as an existential truth.
A second attitude—rather than to prove the fundamental principle let us follow the breakthrough path that has lead to some of our most fundamental science. As an example, consider special relativity. The breakthrough was, instead of constructing it from classical physics, constant light speed, length contraction and so on, to propose the constancy of light speed (along with the principle of relativity) as fundamental principles. Therefore, along those lines, let us propose the fundamental principle of metaphysics (along with Logic as constraint or law of concepts for realization at all) as a universal law.
The meaning of the metaphysics
The explicit meaning of the metaphysics is in its statement, the meaning of the terms in the statement (particularly Logic, Being, universe, and possibility all explained earlier); and the demonstration, heuristics, and attitudes. Particularly, Logic is the kernel of the consequences; the demonstration empowers use and means of use; and the attitudes are sources of reasons or motives and ethical attitudes toward the metaphysics.
The implicit meaning lies in metaphysical and cosmological consequences, and consequences for a path of realization revealed in outline by the metaphysics.
There is one and only one void.
In greater detail—there is (effectively) one and only one void. That is, except that there is at least one, the number of voids has no relevance.
The void is eternal and universally present.
The universe is eternal.
Comment. The discussion anticipates some parts of cosmology. The distinction between metaphysics and cosmology is somewhat arbitrary but, if a distinction is to be made, metaphysics is concerned with the general and principle and cosmology with kinds, variety, and extension of Being and elaboration and application of principle. Cosmology is concerned with the universe at large and includes special concern with form and formation; and out cosmos.
The perfect metaphysics (PFM or TM) as described early in this section on Metaphysics is established.
Given FP, many consequences are trivial and therefore ‘demonstration’ is omitted. What is important is the intuition or imagination and, of course that the imagination be subject to critique and rendered practical.
Why is there Being at all rather than the void or nothingness? This has been called the ‘fundamental question of metaphysics’ by Martin Heidegger. The answer is now clear—from FP, there must be Being. this suggests a new fundamental question of metaphysics (FQM)—What has Being? This question of course is addressed in just about every section of Part I of the narrative; particularly see Kinds of Being and Cosmology.
It is now clear that from the perspective of the universe, all beings are necessary (subject to Logic). This is of course not true from the limited perspective of our cosmos. Thus Leibniz’ principle of sufficient reason (PSR) holds in this necessary or Logical sense but not in Leibniz’ original sense in which ‘reason’ meant ‘cause’ as it is found in the cosmos.
As foundation or ground of all Being—the universe—there is neither possibility nor need of substance as some special and unique but universally grounding kind. The void or any state of Being may be seen as universally grounding—in that from any state all states emerge.
In that all states emerge from or are determined by any state, the universe, seen over all sameness-difference-their absence, i.e. as a ‘block’ is absolutely deterministic. On the other hand, that there is no one set of states that emerge, the universe is absolutely indeterministic.
Identity may be defined as sense of sameness of self or object.
Comment. The following paragraph is long and may be broken up, placed in Cosmology, and referred to from here. Review it carefully and relate it to the mention of indeterminism in earlier discussing possibility. Improve the block universe discussion to distinguish temporal determinism from indeterminism; note that for a spacetime temporally determinist region, the whole may be determined if the region is a holograph but this is not general—(a) relative to such regions the whole may be partially causally and deterministically isolated but more generally (b) regions are neither perfectly spacetime or causal so determinism is always very local.
This is a good place to discuss definition of the universe as all Being over all sameness, difference and their absence. Let us first consider identity, space, and time. The field of experience revealed an experiencer and experienced; experience and experiencer are among the experienced. The experiencer is the self; experience the place of mind, and the experienced is the world. Self, mind, and world may be regarded as labels; we should now establish these ideas from identity to self and more from primitives. Identity was defined as sense of sameness of self (personal identity) or object (object identity). Difference with sameness constitutes change marked by time or temporal duration; and difference without sameness space or spatial extension. When spatial relation mediates change in identity over time, the relation is interactive or causal. Though space, time, and identity can be made objective—sometimes and to some extent—in the sense of being measurable, space and time are interwoven in identity as spacetime (note that spacetime may be seen as a marker and what is real is change and extension). If we view the universe as all Being (which implies all Being over all sameness, difference, and their absence) we get a static view of the universe as a ‘block’. It is the view or description that is ‘all-at-once’ or static (it is the description, not the universe that is static); it is a view that suppresses time or change as moving on a continuum or discretum, but it does not make time or change unreal as is sometimes claimed (but may make time or even change less fundamental or different than otherwise thought); and here it is not intended to explain the flow of time; but it is nonetheless a view that is useful and a source of insight. This is a view of the universe as a block universe which is distinct from the universe as growing block universe in which the future is not seen as real. In a temporally determinist space and time ‘universe’ the block would be a block of distinct world lines or tubes (except for anomalies); it need not have a boundary and might close on itself. In the temporally indeterminist case the world lines of the universe would at least occasionally diverge / converge. Generally, from PFM, the divergence / convergence would be overwhelming but there would be regions of simpler behavior. Though complex certainly beyond visualization and probably also beyond analytic-axiomatic formulation in discrete finitary language, it is a block. Thus it is given and so from the block point of view it is a determinate universe. However, consider a region of the universe; or a part thereof. If the part is a slice of time in a relatively causally isolated part, and the part is deterministic / not deterministic then the ‘future’ is determined / not determined. However, now look at any part. The part (let alone knowledge of the part) does not determine the whole even though the whole is determinate. That is, the whole is indeterministic relative to the part. For a local being in an epoch or (nearly) causally isolated cosmos, the degree of determinism for the cosmos is an empirical or constitutional issue; the rest of the universe is undetermined subject to Logic. The following is a rough description of dynamics in our cosmos. Change in spatial relation among identities is relative motion. A natural motion is one that occurs without cause as defined above. Deviation from natural occurs under and is a function of the magnitude of cause. That is, cause—given by identity and relation—is the source of deviation from natural motion (e.g., rate of deviation from natural motion is a function of cause). Some causes (‘forces’) can be identified with distribution of identity the notion of natural motion expressed in such a way as to eliminate explicit cause. Similar formulations of change in personal identity and trajectories can be written but a useful quantitative theory is not available (for a qualitative approach to identity dynamics see the way of being-Aug2015-pocket manual.html). However, a qualitative theory is not beyond all grasp. Here we take a pragmatic approach that begins with reason and is further developed in Part II. The Way).
The universe has Identity. The variety of realizations of Identity, their extent over sameness-difference-absence, their peaks of Being-as-identity and Being-as-extent (form and any ‘matter) and dissolutions and remanifestations are without limit. Individuals inherit this Identity (this is Atman-Brahman as told in Advaita Vedanta). That the extents of form are without limit implies, not only limitless cosmoses with minimal interaction (epochs) to significant interaction and limitless physical law, but also that with any given cosmos, e.g. ours, there are limitlessly many passing through with barely a whisper.
ASM, the abstract metaphysics, shows the realization. It can be understood in the following way. Ask about the relation between an individual human being and its identical replicate. Are the same, or one; do they share the same mind? Materially, in this world, we think that that oneness ought to obtain no more than the oneness of two different human beings. Therefore, if the replicates are to share identity, it is necessary, also, that different human beings—and all identity bearing beings—should share of identity. From FP, Yet we do not seem to. I do not have inner access to your thoughts. However, I do not have inner access to all of ‘my body’. Now, ASM requires that all this ‘knowledge’ (the identities and knowledge of body) obtain; therefore they must not occur at the level of explicit bright consciousness. But they must obtain. How? How is not all important to the fact that they obtain but it is of interest in realization. One way but not the only way is as follows. Think back to multiple cosmoses present with this one. Think of identical cosmoses to this one and near identical cosmoses. They may have different histories. At any region of the universe there is a set of overlapping cosmoses. These are the bearers, universally, of the ‘identity’ of this cosmos. Similarly, the myriad copies of a human being, are the bearers of a universal identity of that being and its merging with the universal. According to this possible explanation I am my copy in a distant cosmos; I am in Brahman, and I am Brahman. But I am you; and therefore the particular I is not more or less special than the particular you. This explanation is logically possible. Therefore per ASM it necessarily occurs but is not necessarily unique.
The foregoing shows what occurs. It does not show how. The how is given by the pragmatic side. ASM shows that as ‘Being’ moves from cosmos to cosmos in the path to the ultimate, our beings, as sentient-sapient-agentive, discover and deploy the ways of the cosmoses. Here the pragmatic side, PRM, is paramount.
In longer versions of the narrative I develop a tentative dynamics of psyche a general instrument. Here, reason, defined earlier, will suffice as the general instrument.
It is important to say a few words about the relation of PFM to tradition. Begin with an example. Today’s physics reveals a ‘big bang’ cosmos with behavior down near to the initial singularity well described by quantum theory and general relativity. Two tacit dogmas would be that that is essentially all physics (no one says this but many behave as though it is true) and that we should not speculate further (with similar remarks regarding what people say). The first dogma is simply untrue; it is not always a dogmatic attitude but simply practical—let us get along with the real business of physics. The second may be a consequence of the first but it is too dogmatic. What we should not do is to speculate and call it something else; and we should not speculate beyond physics and say that the speculation is physics or is in any way derived from it. Here, however, we are not speculating. What we have said is necessary. In that it is not clear how ultimate are to be achieved we could certainly label the means rational speculation but the end is given. It still need to be said that PFM notwithstanding, the tradition is important in its own realm; its ‘method’ and criteria remain important; however they are revealed as very local and non universal in many aspects that are often assumed universal; and they are illuminated and placed in context by PFM.
The universe and its identity are ultimate in realization; individual identity merges with universal identity.
This is given; in itself it is not a choice and therefore cannot be ethical. The ethical may be to accept or resist. In fact the immediate is valuable in itself, as contained in the ultimate, and as on the way to the ultimate; this is one source of the ethical. But another source is, given ultimate realization, how this may be made efficient, how enjoyable, what choices to consider along the way, and how to balance the immediate and the ultimate.
The aim of Being is realization of the ultimate; it begins with living ethically (well, enjoyably) in the immediate which it continues into the ultimate.
Metaphysics and reason
This continues discussion begun in Knowledge and reason.
Doubt and imagination yield powerful understanding of the world even before invoking the full perfect metaphysics, PFM:
1. Being. Analysis of Being reveals the nature of the real. It undercuts need for substance or further foundation showing that the real is its own measure.
2. Experience. Analysis shows the interwoven character of experience with the real and Being. Being is not another thing outside experience—i.e. Being-experience is one; there is no suggestion that one creates the other.
3. The universe. Universe as all Being is dually empowering, (a) as above and (b) in the whole oneness of the universe which eliminates questions of creation, of whether this or that existent is in or not in the universe. For example spacetime does not have universal purchase but where it obtains it is as a whole immanent rather than absolute, imposed, or external.
The enhancement by PFM is:
4. The void through the perfect metaphysics—the union of the fundamental principle (ASM) and the valid in tradition. Whereas the previous items are powerful in elucidating and giving context, the perfect metaphysics is empowering of the real. The universe is ultimate. But more—for example, since the universe is the realization of Logic, all concepts (and so concept-objects)—abstracted or concreted, provided Logical—are in the universe. The section Metaphysics through Part II. The Way is testament to the power of the metaphysics.
Subject to logic, all concepts have objects that are in the one universe. Thus what are called abstract objects in the literature are in the universe; they are not essentially without extension (sameness and difference, e.g. space and time but extension is more or less abstracted out in forming the concept).
Comment. The section will also review kinds of possibility.
In that Being is characteristic of all that is real and nothing less, Being is not a kind.
The (ultimate) nature of the real is not as something else.
We have seen that the real—Being—is effectively given in experience. Experience is intertwined with Being at the highest level.
To say that experience is of something—an object—was given meaning.
Some high level Kinds of Being are experience, experiential, and experienced which constitute the real world.
The highest level of classification of objects is the experiential (self, agent, psyche, and sometimes the subject) and the experienced.
The real world may be seen as two realms—the term ‘worlds’ is metaphorical—the realm of psyche and the external realm.
This further divides conceptually as a set of four pragmatic kinds of the real world or kinds of Being. The first is psyche. The remaining are of the external—the natural, the social, and the ultimate (and unknown). These are also appropriate as dimensions of Being and our phases of growth.
Let us repeat the definition of these four pragmatic kinds of Being in greater detail. The first kind is the world of self, agent or psyche. The remaining are constituted of the external—the natural (the elementary natural or physical and its emergent complexity as life as well as associated agency or psyche), the social or interactive groups of persons or selves, and the ultimate and unknown. These are also appropriate as dimensions of Being and our phases of growth.
This suggests the acronym, PNSU—psyche, nature, society, and universal-unknown—for the kinds or dimensions of Being and phases of growth.
Civilization is movement of communities of beings outward from local environments and into the world and the universe. It is used in the sense of being-together, not being-over. Being together does not exclude constructive competition. Human civilization is the web of human communities over time and continents.
Universal civilization is the medium or matrix of civilizations across the universe. To civilize the universe is to make it explicitly aware and agentive, and to make it cohesively social. The achievement of the ideals of course may be occasional—but is then eternally occasional. Significant meaning is eternal if not always manifest in the agent.
In the present sense to be uncivilized is not to be primitive or lacking the economy, culture, and technology of what we think of as large scale civilization. To be uncivilized requires that the individual or group understand the value of being together yet explicitly work against it.
Comment. Review for more / less.
Identity, sameness and difference, dynamics.
Comment. Remark on reason as dynamics.
Identity, space, and time.
Cosmology is study of kinds, varieties, and extension of Being—where extension is (experience of) sameness and difference and their absence.
Cosmology is not essentially distinct from PFM but emphasizes its elaboration. It is a basis for exploration and realization.
There is a trend in science and philosophy (2018) to identify to identify cosmology with the ‘big bang’. Though successful, it is at root based in the empirical and so there is no basis to project it to the universe. Further, PFM shows cosmology to be far greater than revealed in physics.
General cosmology is cosmology without restriction as to kind of Being. The section on General consequences of the metaphysics has significant results on general cosmology.
Its method is PFM with reason, emphasizing both criticism and imagination.
In order to say something it presumes some general notions such as identity, cosmos or epoch as a realm whose state is relatively undetermined by the rest of the universe for some purposes (e.g. for a period of time).
Many results in the sections Being, Universe, and Metaphysics may be labeled ‘General Cosmology’. In Metaphysics see, especially, the sections on Particular and General consequences of the metaphysics.
Cosmology of form and formation
General cosmology implies the existence of cosmoses with form but provides no understanding of form.
This takes us into the pragmatic side of PFM.
Two approaches to form are via (a) near symmetry and relative stability and (b) formation which seeks to explain symmetry and stability.
Biological evolution provides a general paradigm of incremental evolution, with each indeterminist step resulting in new relatively stable form due to near symmetry. Because transient forms are short lived, the formed universe is effectively populated by relatively stable epochal cosmoses. When sapient, (beings in) the cosmoses becoming self designing and creative. For any possible realization there is a greater sapient realization.
The paradigm of incremental or self adapting evolution is one in which two non creative processes—indeterminist increment and capture of stable form ex nihilo at first and then also by existing form—join as creative. The paradigm from biological evolution has application also in abiogenesis, cosmos formation and evolution, and creativity in sapient beings.
Of special interest in cosmology of form and formation are levels, modes, or Kinds of Being (see the section Kinds of Being). The kinds are the psychic: the experiential or experiencer-experience-experienced; the natural (physical and living); the social; and the ultimate (and unknown). Particularly, there interest in identity (object and personal), spacetime, and cause (dynamics) at all levels.
Our cosmos is an example of a physical cosmology with sentience, sapience, and agency. FP implies that it is but one of limitlessly many with limitless variety of physical law. Perhaps our laws are model laws but this is not clear to me. The methods would be those of the previous cosmologies, our physical law, Logic, mathematics, analogy, and imaginative hypotheses—the abstract-concrete sciences. Any claim to completeness would likely be speculative.
An artificial cosmology is a cosmos constructed of or augmented by artificial intelligence and robotics. The previous methods would be augmented by artificial intelligence, robotics, computer science, and space technology. There would be special interest in mutual augmentation of man-machine intelligence and other performance (cybernetics).
Cosmology: summary of methods
1. PFM—a mesh of the abstract with logic; and the pragmatic (valid tradition of human knowledge and action).
2. Reason and heuristics, including imagination or creative concept formation.
Identity, spacetime, and cause
Comment. Adequate discussion is in General consequences of the metaphysics. The material may be imported here. Alternatively, refer to that material from here.
The document now takes up The Way.
The ideas are preliminary and abstract. The ultimate is the ideal; the way must also emphasize the concrete.
The aim of Being is realization of the ultimate; it begins with living ethically (well, enjoyably) in the immediate which it continues into the ultimate.
The second part of the narrative is about living this aim—realizing the ultimate from the immediate.
There is a related optimality issue. The ultimate has some value—perhaps infinite; but it seems remote. The immediate has some value—perhaps finite; yet it is not remote. What is the optimum way to devote efforts to the immediate vs the ultimate—insofar as the two are distinct? Perhaps there is no urgency to be analytical about the concern. We often regard the immediate world with urgency? Certainly the immediate has importance but perhaps that importance requires that we take a calm view toward it. Further, individuals have different inclinations. There will be those who insist on the immediate and those who insist on the ultimate. What is important is that we pay attention to both for they complement one another.
The plan of approach is to be generic rather than detailed. This is neither the secular nor the religious approach to life. It has in common with the secular that a balance between cognition and emotion ought to be in balance but not that we should think that our common secular worldviews define the universe and our aims in life. It has in common with religion that it takes a larger view than the secular but not that it is limited by dogma and not that it is prescriptive; rather it is principled, analytical and necessarily experimental—experiment with Being is essential because PFM provides at most a skeleton view of a path in the universe. A religion may give the individual a sense of the real by being prescriptive, but prescriptivism is invariably misleading with regard to the real even though it may function as symbol and allegory.
The preliminary sections of this part are a template of ideas that may serve as a guide to principle. It emphasizes the intrinsic-immersive (Being) and extrinsic-instrumental (‘material’: natural and social science and technology); the individual and civilization; the immediate and the ultimate; and the realms of Being ‘PNSU’: psyche, primitive and complex nature, society (and civilization and technology), and the universal-unknown.
There is, in a final section, some detail: two generic templates for path and action that are designed to be adjustable and customizable to particular situations, both individual and for civilization—an everyday template (with elements of personal planning) and a universal template (with elements of universal planning), which are suggested from my experience rather than prescriptive.
The final sections provide customizable templates for a range of approaches.
There is a supplementary part with Resources to enable individual-civilization in generating and selecting customized detailed principles and path.
We begin in the immediate—our world—which is already in contact with the ultimate.
The Aim of Being is being in the immediate and ultimate as one.
Of Being—experiential vs material: psyche – culture, nature – society – civilization, universal – unknown.
Of Being—experiential vs experienced.
1. Of psyche-mind and culture—characteristics: identity-inner, mode of being-intrinsic, process-transforming, necessity-essential, and ultimacy-ultimate.
2. Of nature and society-civilization—characteristics: identity-outer, mode of being-instrumental and technological, process-sustaining, necessity-contingent, and ultimacy-immediate.
3. Of the universal-unknown—join of the characterizations and beyond—the realm of the concrete to abstract metaphysics.
Reason is the general means.
The ways are the ways of sustaining and transformation of the religions, spiritual practices, and therapeutic techniques.
Our adaptation is (i) non-dogmatic, (ii) experiential, learning, and eclectic according to reason, and (iii) not exclusively transsecular; includes material transformation where efficient.
An example—Buddhism: the four truths and the eightfold path. I mention Buddhism, not as a prescription but because it has at its core a psychology and a healthy but incomplete detachment from dogma.
Blocks, resources and growth
Impediments are blocks to effective reason.
Examples of impediments or blocks are resentment, attachment and desire, anger and aversion, and ignorance.
Efficient realization must be a balance between resolution of blocks and engagement in realization—for meaning and efficiency.
The resource is reason which includes ways, catalysts, instrumental means, and programming.
The catalysts are similar to the ways but more focused and emphasize the cathartic.
Examples—Meditation: (1) emptying, (2) exploration of inner realms, (3) contemplation of the ultimate and understanding death as catalyst, (4) in action. Also see the templates for further examples such as Beyul.
Physical exploration—aims: Civilizing the universe; universe as identity.
The means include metaphysics and physics of eternity.
Theory and technology of minds in machines or machines as minds—(1) the essential conditions for embodied mind, (2) theory, (3) evolution, (4) self-design.
The individual is the ‘locus’ of realization.
Where we live, place and home may be conducive or counter-conducive to realization.
The conducive is important. However, it is also important to spend time in the world at large.
Sangha—community in The Way
Sangha and building sangha—community of shared aspiration, ways, and action.
Teachers and exemplars
Is leadership necessary? It is useful and efficient as focal point, organizer, inspiration, and organization.
The original exemplar is essential. The individual aims at independence in the way.
Place, community, and leadership. Is leadership essential? Yes as inspiration, channel, and focus; but authority is institution for its own sake rather than realization.
The open world
For the open world, see the world at large above, in the section Place.
The path is presented as two templates that constitute a program that is adaptable to individuals and situations—e.g. at home and in the world.
A brief adaptable everyday template for home and world.
1. Rise before the sun. Dedicate to the way. Affirm the aim.
Dedication (W Wilson). I dedicate my life to The Way of Being—to shared discovery (ideas) and realization (action and choice); to shedding the bonds of limited self and culture and so to see The Way so clearly that even in difficulty life is flow over force (opening to the real in individuals and the world); to realizing the ultimate in this world and beyond (inner and intrinsic ways in the dimensions and elements of the real).
Shared affirmation (A Gupta). That pure unlimited consciousness that is all Being alone is supreme reality. That is the universe—its life and breath—that am I. So I am and embody the self-transcending universe that is all Being and has no other.
2. Review and meditate on realization, priorities, and means.
3. Realization. Work; relationships; ideas; develop the way (the way-template.html, the way-outline.html, the way-pocket manual.html, the way-main.html; also see document and database design.html); network; shared action; days for engagement, days for renewal.
4. Tasks. Daily, long term.
5. Experimental yoga, in nature; posture. Experimental meditation—part of yoga: analytic / contemplative, for daily action, and the ultimate. Meditation as Being and vision (see dreams in item 7).
6. Exercise (aerobic: in nature; and photography)–explore.
7. Evening. Rest, renewal, realization, and community. Tasks, preparation and dedication of the next day and the future. Sleep early. Dreams as Being, vision, and inspiration.
A brief adaptable universal template.
Comment. See universal process template for details.
Template format: ACTION – dimension – detail (hyperlinks are italicized).
Template (in printed versions see the resources section for links):
1. BEING – pure Being, community – everyday process; developing the way—in the world, as part of the way; vision retreat.
2. IDEAS – relation, knowing – reason; art.
3. BECOMING – nature, psyche – nature as ground: beyul.
5. BECOMING – artifact – artifactual being as realization and adjunct.
Comment. Epilogue? Into the world? Or… ?
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.
Comment. Collate with preliminary material
Final material—issues resolved, resources and sources, glossary / index, plans.
About the narrative in the document
Origins of the way—my explorations, human culture.
Motive in the commonly acknowledged and unacknowledged limits of science and religion in themselves and as revealing the universe; and the possibilities for overcoming the limits.
Concepts fundamental to such overcoming. Informal description of a consequent ultimate metaphysics and its consistency with science and necessity from reason. Informal description of consequences of the metaphysics.
Suggestions to readers on understanding the text.
Comment. More detail when the sub-headings are done.
Proof of the fundamental principle and the metaphysics.
General consequences and consequences for realization.
A system of knowledge founded in the metaphysics of the narrative and the human traditions of knowledge—system of human knowledge and action.html. Has plans and suggestions for study.
Some dilemmas that are instrumental in the development of philosophical understanding of the world—canonical dilemmas.html.
I state the reasons for the suggestions below. In suggesting a reading, I do not endorse all views in a text.
Science and its limits—Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1934. Popper emphasizes that if a theory has claims to universality it must be revisable. I read this to imply that physics has seen what may be a minute fraction of the universe in extension, duration, and the kinds of entities and laws in it.
Religion, its limits, and significance— My thought is opposed to the dogma of religion but not to religion as inspiration. In this regard I recommend John Hick, The Fifth Dimension, 1999. This is a popular but not a simplistic account by a writer who has been called one of the most significant philosophers of religion of the twentieth century. The arguments I find useful are as follows. Hick does not argue the literal truth of dogma. He does not deny science or the limits of the cosmos as described in its standard cosmology (I am in agreement with the non-denial but not with the standard cosmology as showing the extent, duration, and variety of the universe). Rather he finds a spiritual dimension to the world to be consistent with science and suggested by experience and reason. He uses the word ‘spiritual’ to refer to potentials and dispositions of or in the world and not to mean ‘non material’ or ‘supernatural’ (the title of the book may be misleading as to intent and content of the book; Hick does not seem to think of the spiritual as beyond space and time). Note two differences between Hick’s thought and the metaphysics of this narrative—Hick accepts the material limits of the standard cosmology and he accepts a material account of the universe (the account in this narrative is neither material nor trans-material but depends primarily on a concept more neutral than matter, mind, or spirit and finds those concepts at best secondary). What is further useful in Hick’s thought for the purpose of this narrative includes (1) the importance of extra-secular or trans-secular but not trans-rational exploration, (2) evaluation of religion in terms of its ‘dark’ and light sides, and, specifically, (3) the value of traditional religion to oppressed peoples in terms of quality of life. Regarding the latter he finds, in agreement with common analyses, access to education and adequate income diminishes the psychological need for religion but to condemn the exploration (as distinct from the institutions of religion) is to limit human potential and the psychological needs of those in poverty.
The religions. I do not present a system of religious practice for my approach is more open that that; I prefer direct encounter with the world with sources, even in science and philosophy, primarily as useful rather than definitive. However, readers may wish to synthesize my ideas with religious practice. The religions or religious philosophies most aligned with my thought are Mahayana Buddhism and the Advaita Vedanta of Indian Philosophy. One may find practitioners, especially of Buddhism in major cities of the west, and students of Indian Philosophy in major universities of the west.
The Internet. In addition to the printed literature, readers will find the Internet useful in supplementing their reading and explorations. Many publications are available at no cost on the Internet. Readers may find my website the way of being and my History of Western Philosophy.html useful There are useful Internet Encyclopedias—Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, PhilPapers: Online Research in Philosophy, and The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (https://www.iep.utm.edu/). My web page useful links.html has further links (I do attempt to keep the links up-to-date).
A suggestion. The modern literature is useful—but modern philosophy, especially modern analytic philosophy, has what I consider to be a severe limitation relative to the present narrative. The metaphysics of this narrative reveals by proof that Logic is the boundary of the universe. It is that the worldview of the modern literature is dominated to a significant degree by the modern worldview from physics, especially the standard cosmology of the ‘big bang’. Now, while if questioned many modern thinkers might deny having that view but it is in fact the common view, especially in publication. As I have explained in the narrative, even on the logic of science, this is not known to be anything like a complete account of the universe.