The Way of Being
Anil Mitra © May 2018—July 2018
Updated July 19, 2018 @ 11:53:14
The table of contents is a summary of essentials.
The Pocket Manual
About this work
The development of this work and its ideas has occupied many years. This version of the work, however, has occupied recent months.
The work describes and develops a worldview—a metaphysics—and consequences for living and action.
For information on the content, sources, and resources see the prologue.
This work is dedicated to those who would follow The Way of Being.
This text is to be an initial basis for two databases (1) one dedicated to the way and (2) later, a general purpose database for metaphysics.
The text is informed by the paradigms but the readers who expect merely reformulation may find themselves feeling lost. Publication is an assertion that the work is worth the effort, not just of reading but also of incorporation to life.
To overcome difficulty it will be helpful to give oneself time to absorb the conceptual geography of the text.
It will be useful to supplement these comments with the first two sections of the prologue.
Essentials are dark red and in the main text, details are black.
Secondary material is indented.
In a definition, the defined term is bold. Where the word ‘is’ occurs after a definition, it means ‘is defined as’. Also see the section Meaning and system.
The Way of Being is living in awareness of and toward the ultimate in balance and unity with the immediate.
In the main text, The Aim of Being will be found to be living well in The Immediate and The Ultimate as one.
The informal prologue is about the way and its roots.
Formal development—definition and demonstration is deferred to begin with Part I. A World View.
The prologue is informal; full definition and proof are deferred.
It is in human nature to conceive and build toward future realization while living in the present.
An aim of human being and this text is to find balance in this endeavor.
To understand the endeavor it is critical to enquire into practical and absolute limits to knowledge and realization.
Two limits can be identified: fact—an inner limit that constrains realization, and possibility—an outer limit to what may be known or realized. It is efficient to begin with the most lenient inner and outer limits; these are necessary fact and necessary or deductive logic respectively.
Are there any necessary facts? Here is one. The existence of experience (the word used here for consciousness or subjective awareness) can be doubted as illusion but doubt and illusion are experience. This is a necessary fact in that experience is given even if the experience of experience is an illusion (we can conceive of and will later see other necessary facts that require no datum at all). Therefore there are both experience and Being (existence). Another kind of necessary fact: the value of a measured quantity may be doubted to the degree of precision but we do not doubt it at a lower degree of precision.
How is logic limiting? Deductive logic is truth preserving inference. Given a concept or description—a set of facts—of what obtains, logic requires that no inference from any subset of those facts can violate any one of them. In this view logic is seen as structurally necessary rather than inferential (but the two views are equivalent). Thus logic is limiting because a violation of logic cannot obtain in any world. On the other hand it is most permissive—any other kind of possibility is a constraint over and above logical possibility. Logical possibility is even richer than might be thought from traditional logics, e.g. propositional and predicate logic. This is because those logics pertain to certain forms of propositions: propositional logic pertains to propositions without regard to their structure; predicate logic pertains to propositions of the subject-predicate form, allowing the quantifiers ‘none’, ‘some’ and ‘all’. The further richness may arise in that other forms of proposition may arise (this is not a reference to deviant or modal logics which respectively concern other notions of truth or properties of propositions over and above truth alone).
This combination of (necessary) fact and logic is often called ‘argument’; here we also call it Logic (capitalized).
Argument or Logic is the only absolute constraint for realism: if a description satisfies Logic it may obtain in some world; if it does not, it may not obtain in any world. Furthermore, it is the weakest constraint for realism: if it is satisfied, but the natural laws of a cosmos are not, the description cannot obtain in that cosmos.
In the main text it is shown realizations of the universe and beings are whatever is allowed by Logic. This is named the fundamental principle of metaphysics or fundamental (FP). The resultant metaphysics is identical to Logic.
That is, the limits of traditional paradigms, including science and common experience, are limitlessly exceeded. But, since logic is built into FP, there is no contradiction of science or experience. That is, our scientific picture has truth within the boundaries of observation—i.e. what is too remote, too large or too small, too strongly or weakly bound, to see with current instruments—and what obtains beyond those boundaries is limitless, e.g. limitless arrays of cosmoses and physical law, communicating strongly and weakly with one another and the void (absence of Being); their interaction with our cosmos would be weak, thus defining our cosmos and an independent epoch, or strong but disguised. But this limitlessness is not only quantitative, it is also qualitative—in terms of kind and variety of Being and identity. Particularly, the universe has identity which is limitless and which connects with our cosmos and identity over eternity. Further, cosmoses, individuals, and identities combine, peak, and dissolve without limit to variety, magnitude of peaking, and repetition. Whatever God may mean, we are part of it if it has meaning at all. But FP implies that there is a meaning of ‘God’ as beings higher than but also inclusive of our being.
The metaphysics above shows ultimate realization; which is perfectly known. Imagination and the hypothetical side of science build a picture of kind and variety of realization. Science and technology—their local material and psychological forms—is then an instrument of realization. So the local sciences of the cosmoses and the metaphysics mesh in what is called a perfect metaphysics. The realization does not require perfect science; that is the instruments of realization are perfect in their pragmatism. As a whole the perfect metaphysics has a perfect dual epistemology.
Ultimate realization of universe and Being are found limitless. Realization is communication-transaction among limited and limitless understanding and worlds.
It is clear that realization requires ideas (reason and knowledge). In our modern world we tend in science and religion to think that ideas are sufficient; this is because we picture ourselves as only human; and we therefore conclude that action is play within that framework. Consequently, ideas and action are both necessary but the understanding of them suffer from disjointedness. We now see that they are essentially one; they are not entirely distinct for experiencing is a kind of action but is incomplete without action; and without experience there is no action (it would be inert process).
Origins of the work
The origins of this work lie in my endeavor to understand what can, may, and will be realized. More precisely, I began with a fire for knowledge and understanding but came to realize that they are ultimately empty without action and realization (and of course learning in the process).
I began with science, art, and wonder as paradigm and inspiration. I experimented with evolutionary, materialist, process, relational, idealist (including mind as spirit), empiricist, and rationalist paradigms. I read widely in science, and philosophy and religion—western and eastern—and incorporated what I found significant in my thought. Travel, especially in nature, has been inspiration and more—in it I have found sources of the real.
I came to feel that intellect and feeling and even meditation alone were not enough; even if I knew ‘everything’ I would still be a limited being.
I concluded intuitively, over 1997-1999, that if the void could be shown equivalent to the universe, that might be key to understanding the real and its ways of realization.
A critical aspect of this development was to move away from the paradigms—evolutionary and so on (above). I saw materialism, for example, not so much as invalid, but as ill defined. For what is matter? If it is the sensible, clearly we do not sense ‘everything’; similarly, our latest science is, even from its own history and method, most likely incomplete. At the end of physics, matter may be found identical to mind. But there is a more general concern. To see the entire universe in terms of a special aspect is likely to be limiting and distorting; and we certainly cannot guarantee that it will not be. Therefore, I realized in increments, to avoid all the potential and actual distortions, I ought to jettison the distinctions. How can that be done? Instead on focus on aspects of the world, by focusing on no special aspect or kind—i.e. to focus simply and only on what is there—i.e. on what exists. Now ‘Being’ has many uses but this is one of them and this is what I mean by Being. Being suppresses all the distinctions implied above. In some uses, Being is contrasted to becoming; in this work Being encompasses becoming; it is not in time or space but spacetime is occasionally immanent in it. I was so used to thinking in terms of the foundation of things, e.g. as matter, that it was difficult to think in these terms. But once I understood and became used to it, it was immensely empowering (there are of course subtleties that I continue to discover). Thus my thought transitioned from paradigm to Being. But a criticism of the concept of existence or Being has been that it is too universal to be of use; that since it is true of everything, it is not even a property—not even a concept—that as a predicate it says nothing. But the power of the concept that emerged included that Being allowed concrete and abstract distinctions and details to emerge without the prejudice of the ‘isms’ and informed only by Logic (and locally by science and art). The move to Being (with the perfect metaphysics) requires that causation and mechanism are not universal but that they must be found in local pockets.
As I wondered about the meaning of various concepts, I saw that the meaning of linguistic meaning itself is crucial. There are criticisms of the concept of meaning—whether there is meaning at all, that there are so many notions of meaning as to make inquiry into meaning meaningless, that analysis of meaning cannot reveal knowledge. I wondered about and came to realizations about the meaning of meaning. Words by themselves do not have meaning. If someone whispers ‘sher’ in the jungle, an English only speaker would not feel fear. Yet if the whisper was ‘tiger’ there would be fear—even though ‘sher’ translates from Hindi to ‘tiger’ in English. The reason is that the word ‘tiger’ is associated with a mental picture or concept in the minds of English speakers. Words as signs do not have meaning; a minimum for meaning to occur is a word-concept (or word as sign-concept). But a mere image of a tiger would not evince fear unless one knew about real tigers. Therefore what constitutes meaning is the word-concept-object (and starting from here one can talk about meaning, use, that meanings of words and other linguistic constructs do not occur in isolation but in mutual dependence—and hence the crucial need of system and ubiquity of at least informal system, families of meaning, indefiniteness of meaning despite apparent definiteness, need for definiteness in systematic treatments so as to avoid absence of meaning, sentence meaning embedded in sentence structure and so on). Particularly, and impressively, the notion of meaning just noted, resolves the problem of negative existentials with consummate ease. It is not things that exist or do not exist. Something exists as the object of a concept (for otherwise there is no ‘thing’ and the illusion of things without concepts arises because the association of word and object typically occurs subliminally). ‘Something’ does not exist when the word-concept has no object. This concept of meaning was crucial in seeing that Being did not require a substance foundation; that all that is necessary to assert Being is to see that to say ‘it is’ is valid (here ‘is’ is used neutrally, especially with regard to time).
This notion of meaning resolves issues stated above. Is there meaning or is it just an abstraction without an object? In terms of the present notion, it is not abstract and the object is quite definite. The issue of ‘too many notions of meaning’ is resolved by noting that the present conception is sufficient to its purpose here—i.e. referential meaning, and that the other notions where they concern more general meaning may be relevant but for referential meaning are inadequately conceived. Regarding knowledge from analysis of meaning, it is clear that mere analysis cannot reveal new knowledge even if it can be clarifying. But clarification is important. And noting that the present concept is simple-or-compound sign-concept-object, the concern with meaning is not just that of analysis but also of synthesis. That is, while we can separate meaning from knowing it static contexts (the social context is relatively static over, say, the life of an individual), the separation leads to inadequacy of both knowledge and meaning in changing and dynamic contexts. That is, since the object is part of meaning, analysis must be complemented by synthesis of meaning. With metaphysics as the most general if abstract of all knowledge, meaning and metaphysics can be definite only when conjoined; and the definiteness can, as we have seen, extend to the maximal or perfect metaphysics (keeping in mind that the metaphysics extends down only to some concrete detail).
For metaphysics, there is a time for imagination; and there is a time to build a system so that something definite is being said and can be compared against reality; and so that one can build again if the system compares poorly or is found limited. For this purpose, the word-concept-object concept of meaning is sufficient (supplemented of course by meaning in sentence structure of propositions and higher forms). The role for informal development and imagination is not eliminated and is efficient when employed in the periods between system. In this regard recall that the perfect metaphysics is ultimate in depth (foundation, for it encompasses all and requires no further foundation) while it is at most a framework with regard to breadth. That is, the perfect metaphysics gives form to the idea of a formless universe (where ‘universe’ means all Being over all extents of all kinds); but within that form allows formlessness, form, and formation; and the endless play of sub-system, science, variety, and peaking. Here, there is further room for critical imagination.
Just as meaning is significant to metaphysics, it is also significant to logic. What is truth? And what is the validity of the standard logics in which truth is two-valued (true and false)? And the significance of modal logics in which truth is not the only property of propositions that is of interest? Meaning is important here. The standard logics are those for non modal forms for which truth is bi-valued; and If our standard logics are the propositional and the predicate, should there be more? That can be seen as an issue of meaning. Can affect somehow be included in argument? Of course it can as a fact, e.g. a proposition about an emotional state, but can it be part of the Logic and not just the value of a logical variable? This too is an issue of meaning.
Another elementary reflection. Is logic truly limiting? We can now see how logic is not a limit on the world but a limit on concepts for them to be realizable. Thus even omnipotence cannot violate logical constraint—for violation of the concept is easy to imagine (e.g. a square circle) but unrealizable because a violation of logic defines a null object. That is, whereas sciences are limiting (only certain patterns obtain) logic demarcates absolutely unrealistic thought from possibly realizable thought (and the perfect metaphysics implies that the latter must ‘exist’). But now with this insight we can criticize even this meaning of ‘logic’: logic begins with truth preservation from one proposition to another. However, the form of the proposition is an assumed form of the world (e.g. true or false: one or the other and nothing else, and the subject-predicate form). Do such forms necessarily obtain? Or are they merely pragmatic? I do not know the answer but can suggest that they are pragmatic in the concrete but necessary in sufficient abstraction from the world. The discovery of Logic is an ongoing endeavor.
From such developments I saw that philosophy becomes immensely powerful when developed as a system of interacting concepts. One develops an idea; this leads to another; and another; one comes full circle; there are sub circles; one goes through this again, analyzing better with hindsight; in the end the world is immensely better know than in the beginning. Piecemeal philosophy is useful in this process; the micro analysis of concepts is important to the global process. But what the development shows is that it is an error to think that philosophy must be only piecemeal.
These reflections on meaning, philosophy, and metaphysics are not just general reflections but they arose out of and in turn informed the metaphysical and other aspects of the development recounted here. We have just been discussing examples of this process. But now think of the Cartesian argument that there is Being. It begins with doubt as to Being and experience. But the doubt is experience; therefore there are Being and experience. There is a whole range of canonical dilemmas of which the Cartesian dilemma is perhaps the most fundamental. Here are some others. Is there an object of experience? This is the solipsist’s dilemma; we already have a primitive answer: we are aware of experience because there is experience of experience so here is an object. But, beyond that is there a real (external) world? Are there other minds? Is the system of world and minds just so; or is it a field in which individuals are concentrations; does the field have a material substrate; what is that material substrate—a substance or a neutral part of the form of experience; and are these distinctions exclusive; and if not exclusive is the more general field interpretation the truth while the more particular individual – world interpretation an approximation that is useful for a limited if important range of circumstances? More dilemmas. Is there free will and what is it? Why is there Being, experience, and free will? Something, rather than nothing? Must these obtain? Can there be experience (consciousness) without free will? Does physics (or determinism and causality) speak to free will (and evolution) or the latter to the former? Is there a resolution to dilemmas such as “Russell’s teapot”, the existence of higher consciousness, the possibility that the world was created five minutes ago and might end six seconds from now? My answer to these questions is that (1) when the dilemmas are considered in isolation some resolution is possible but much doubt remains, (2) when considered together philosophically much of the doubt can be eliminated and while doubt remains what emerges is a far more powerful picture than our doubt oriented secular world views, (3) the abstract metaphysics further amplifies and extends this process, showing a greater—the greatest—universe but not eliminating all doubt, and (4) the perfect metaphysics which is the abstract in mesh with pragmatic knowledge, e.g. the sciences, does not remove all logical alternatives shown by doubt but gives a realistic interpretation of many of them. The Cartesian resolution of the question of Being and experience, is beyond doubt. But what of the individual-world vs field interpretations of the range of experience? The metaphysics shows that the field interpretation is real while the other is a useful and real-istic interpretation. What of the possibility that the world began five minutes ago? That the Biblical story, if its internal contradictions are cleaned up, must obtain? When the metaphysics is supplemented by the creative variation and selection paradigm that we learned of in evolutionary biology, the following resolution arises. Yes, the ‘bizarre’ realities must obtain. Yet they must be so fragile and infrequent as to, at least in some sense, not have pragmatic relevance. We cannot do better than to think that our pragmatic reality has significant (but not absolute) purchase and live accordingly. Here ‘accordingly’ of course includes awareness and living toward the (stable) ultimate revealed in the metaphysics.
In 2002, equivalence of the void and the real was shown. This constituted the foundation of a (the) perfect metaphysics of ultimate realization.
This opened a flood of ideas and reason—demonstration gives confidence and shows how to build.
In the period since 2002, I came to understand the meaning of the above equivalence and to develop and act upon conclusions for the real and realization. This development is part of the content of this text.
For this work to flourish it must be shared. It is not merely to be read but also to be acted upon, to be absorbed into life. This is of course an invitation, not just to read and reflect but also to take part.
Realization, local and ultimate, is a theme of human history.
This development would not have taken place without sources in the literature. Since my debt is more of a general than a particular or scholarly way, it is near impossible to give detailed sources.
A general account of the influences is in Main influences for the way of Being.
This document emphasizes understanding of the real and realization.
Part I. A World View is on the real.
Part II. The Way is on realization.
The way includes adaptable templates for realization.
Comment. An alternate title is The Universe. It is crucial that the universe be defined as all Being over all sameness and difference (e.g. time and space). Some thinkers insist on less inclusive definition. However, the most inclusive definition makes for clarity and conclusions that are obscured without it. The word of course is not so important. However, in this text the term shall be ‘the universe’.
To clarify, a being is that which is validly predicated by some form of the verb to be, without distinctions of tense or place or implication that time and space pertain to the being. For convenience, ‘is’ may designate this generic form of the verb to be.
Simply, a being is that which is.
Becoming is coming into being, a distinction within Being in its present sense.
In some meanings of Being, it is identified with special kinds noted above. These other meanings of Being are not used here; rather they fall under the present use. However, where confusion will not arise, ‘Being’ may do double duty in its inclusive sense and in its contrast to the special senses, particularly the contrast to becoming.
At the present level of abstraction, Being and beings have no further distinctions—e.g. with regard to substance or kind.
Being does not make substance distinctions, e.g. of mind versus matter, or dualism versus monism, or non substance foundation (or whether the latter must involve infinite regress).
Being does not make distinctions of kind such as entity vs relation or interaction or power, process or change, place, quality or property and even trope, quantity, and sub-kinds.
Rather than spacetime, we may wish to consider sameness and difference as fundamental and to derive relation, space and time as special conceptual instances (see longer versions of the document, e.g. The Way of Being).
A further abstraction may be permitted in which the distinction between Being and beings is null. It is precisely this neutrality that gives the concept of Being its ontological power. It is of course essential to consider the distinctions which will be done later, especially in the section Kinds of Being and possibility.
From the very general sense of Being, a being (beings) also has a general sense that allows entities, processes, relations, qualities, and even tropes as beings.
It is inclusive and non-prejudicial in contrast to the distinctions made above.
Vehicle for action.
This given is abstract at a level that is sufficient to perfect knowledge of the fact of experience. It also follows that there is Being.
Experience is relation or interaction—a form of power: receptive experience, contemplative experience (or pure experience; which is inner relation) and motive experience (which includes active experience).
To doubt experience is experience (and requires experience of experience), therefore there is experience and Being—at least as experience. But is there an experiencer (self), and an experienced (world with other minds)? In the universe of experience, the notion of the self is that of a delimited self. The experiencer, therefore is a being in this universe; and its reality derives from, e.g., the experience of delimited motive control. But there is, indeed, a valid alternative interpretation in which the universe is a field of experience. This reduces to the self-world case when the field has value zero outside the self; yet the more general case may obtain and in obtaining would show the self-world case to be an approximation. Would the more general case be a world of pure formless experience? No, for the form of experience would be part of the form of the world, and there may be further form (‘matter’) that affects experience without being seen in it. Are there other minds? The ideas of agent and free will are aspects of motive and active experience and therefore obtain. There must be other minds because to deny them is to allow agent behavior without the form constitutive of agency. On the field interpretation, all minds are part of one.
It may be said to have ‘effective nonexistence’ (and will later be seen to be simply nonexistent).
A Nonexistent being—one that has Nonexistence—is one for which the object component of the meaning is contingently but not necessarily null.
Does Nonbeing have Being? Yes, when the concept has Self consistency and if we admit Nonmanifest Being that is Potential Being (potential because consistent)
Comment. May separate discussion of significant and linguistic meaning.
Meaning is crucial to understanding Being. It has to do with relations between experiencer and experienced mediated by experience. It has two weakly related aspects—significant and linguistic meaning. Significant meaning is significantly holistic and integrates emotion and cognition. Linguistic meaning tends to the atomic; it refers to the holistic via forms built of the atomic; and it integrates emotion by referring to it as an object; it is not initially poetic but may employ poetry over and above the atomic literalism.
An object is a being. A concept is any mental content; thus a concept is an object.
This is distinguished from another use in which a concept is, roughly, a ‘unit of meaning or understanding’.
Concept meaning is an association of a concept with an object.
A sign is an object that denotes a concept-object. If the structure of the sign contributes to the denotation it is a compound sign; otherwise it is a simple sign. The combined sign-concept is a symbol.
Only if there is a perfect system of atomic signs, do compound signs depict compound objects.
A linguistic meaning is a symbol-object. Linguistic meaning is a system of linguistic meanings.
The meanings of terms in this document are not to be conflated with meanings in other formal or informal use; to do so would lead to misunderstanding and confusion.
A fundamental term for an axiomatic system identifies an undefined term. The system of terms and axioms must be consistent. Significant application and completeness is desirable. In science, the terms and axioms typically correspond to elements and laws, respectively; and the application is typically hypothetical. In metaphysics the terms and axioms typically correspond to fundamental named givens and necessary relations; and the typical case the application is real. Of course, metaphysics and science may merge; then, the real and the hypothetical must be distinguishable and distinguished, else the application is hypothetical.
A Whole is an entire object; a Proper part is some but not all.
The term Part often means proper part but here it shall mean some or no part and since all is also some, here the whole, proper parts, and the null part are all parts.
There is exactly one universe.
There is no manifest being outside the universe.
The void may be regarded as part of the universe; and as outside the universe.
The following amplifies the earlier definition of a being or beings.
Metaphysics is knowledge of the real. Via the abstract, we have already begun metaphysics. Particularly, there is metaphysical knowledge. Metaphysics so far may appear trivial but it is a shell for the powerful metaphysics now about to be developed.
Recall the definition of the void as the null part of the universe.
Demonstration. If the universe enters a void state, the state exists. This same state or being exists together with or alongside every being.
All ‘voids’ and null parts are identical. There is effectively one and only one void.
However, (1) the given proof is straightforward and involves no ontological sleight of hand and (2) existence of the void is not inconsistent in experiential, scientific, and logical terms. Further, there are alternative proofs and heuristics. One heuristic is that the existence and non-existence of the void are equivalent.
An existential heuristic begins with the assumption or axiom that our existence has a foundation. A demonstration then follows. (1) The foundation must be necessary, for the contingent is not a true or ultimate foundation. (2) The foundation cannot be in another manifest datum, no matter how primitive or simple, and so must be in the non-manifest, i.e. the void, must therefore exist. And now, since existence of the void entails existence, we may express this pithily though imprecisely as the foundation of Being is in Being. Precisely, however, the foundation of All Being is in any being (since all beings are equivalent to the void).
Also see the later section On certainty.
The naïve concept of possibility may be ill defined and paradox ridden. The following renders the concept of possibility consistent and potent.
Logical possibility is the outer reach of all Being or universe—there can be no beings outside logical possibility. Logical possibility is the outer constitution of Being; it is not a limit on Being.
A specific being or kind of being is defined by a constitution; logical possibility must be at least implicit in the constitution.
Such kinds of possibility are limits or patterns over and above the logical. These are the limits of the being or kind.
In particular there must be endless phases of manifest and Nonmanifest Being (“something from nothing”).
This derivation need not have invoked the void; for the Laws pertain only to beings (but since we see only beings, we imagine their qualities to extend beyond them).
In the following, conclusions that follow trivially from FP are stated without proof.
In confirmation of an earlier observation, the (hypothetical) object that has no effect on experience (or that has no power) does not exist.
These are but local and immanent; but it is necessary that there be phases or epochs with them (they may be as-if absolute in sub phases). The stability of our world and its laws is necessary, locally with regard to space and time. Such behavior may be termed normal.
This resolves the fundamental problem of metaphysics (Heidegger)—i.e., of why there is something rather than nothing. It shows that both something and nothing are necessary.
The fundamental problem of metaphysics is now the elaboration and understanding of kinds of Being.
The universe and its Identity—and individual identity—cycle endlessly through dissolved (void), formative, and peak phases without limit to variety, magnitude, extent, or duration—realizing relatively isolated domains, i.e. epochs or cosmoses, limitlessly with limitless range of physical law and strong causation but interrelated weakly.
All objects are effectively experience-experienced or concept-object. There is no object in itself in eternal isolation. This relational notion of Being and knowledge is further confirmed below. It implies that there are no things-in-themselves to be ‘known’; further we never get out of experience because even the object is conceptual; but it is not an infinite regress situation because a small number of iterations suffice: the experience, the experienced, and the experience of their relation. Still, however, there may be objects that are perfectly rendered in the concept (i) by sufficient abstraction, (ii) by perfect cognition of the concrete which is generally seen as impossible in the correspondence sense, or (iii) by relaxing criteria of perfection to ‘good enough’ or ‘pragmatic’, perhaps for some defined purpose.
Which follows from the earlier conclusion that object that has no power (or effect on experience) does not exist, Being is relational.
There is no knowledge of the thing-in-itself because there is no thing-in-itself.
However, there may be and are objects rendered perfect their concept (i) by sufficient abstraction, (ii) by perfect cognition of the concrete which is seen as impossible in the correspondence sense, or (iii) by relaxing criteria of perfection to ‘good enough’ or ‘pragmatic’, perhaps for some defined purpose.
Here, the main purpose for which perfection obtains is realization of the ultimate revealed by FP. It combines the abstract and relaxed criteria stated just above.
Our experience of concrete limits of local being and knowledge is not illusory but part of the greater revealed whole. Though limited and pragmatic in its local setting, the pragmatic is ideal in ultimate realization for the ultimate shows there is and can be no better instrument. We have revealed a metaphysics—the perfect metaphysics or just the metaphysics: abstract knowledge of an ultimate universe and personal identity joined to tradition-as-the-pragmatically-valid in all cultures. It has a perfect epistemology—a dual one with perfect correspondence in the ultimate realm; it is pragmatic in the concrete realm but this is perfect in relation to the ultimate aim. The dual is that of abstract-perfect and concrete-pragmatic. Local limits are not locally overcome but this is shown impossible and so unnecessary.
FP reveals the universe as realization of all logical possibility. The Aim of Being is living in the immediate and ultimate as one. Relative to this aim tradition—the valid in all cultures—and the abstract metaphysics constitute an integrated perfect metaphysics of an ultimate universe according to perfect dual epistemic criteria: perfect correspondence for the abstract universe and pragmatic for the concrete.
The elements are otherwise called categories. They are defined by concepts at or just below Being in inclusivity.
Further categories, some already considered, are the abstract and the concrete; form and formation; identity, interaction, dynamics, and extension; and—as markers for mind and matter—Being, experience and attributes.
Comment. Related sections include Meaning and system; Doubt; Logical possibility; Patterns, laws, and Laws.
Reason is means of analyzing and executing activities well. It is tacit above. It is in the world, so part of the metaphysics. To avoid static metaphysics, we regard the metaphysics and reason as one. If we seek perfect foundation, the result is despair. We begin where we are, remain in process, seeking foundation and realization at the same time. What should the elements of reason be? Argument is establishment of truth—by establishing fact and drawing inference; both facts and inference have degrees of confidence from certain to strong to weak; doubt and criticism, imagination and confidence are dual. We have seen instances of certain and necessary fact and inference; the necessary are abstract and cradle our deductive logics; the strong cradle concrete sciences which we have seen have pragmatic perfection. Among our faculties are experience: cognition, emotion for bonding to the world and source of (pragmatic) value, and their integration; action; and learning. Among our resources are our systems of knowledge and practice. As part of the metaphysics, reason has its perfect and pragmatic sides. It is the essential means of realization. Reason includes both material-instrumental as well as experiential-intrinsic means; but the two are not distinct. Reason is reflexive; all its elements (just described) must interact for reason to be its ‘best’; including imagination and criticism of reason itself.
Rather than to impose it by fiat, such perfection in reason as there may be will emerge from analysis.
There is an often pedantic but sometimes useful elaboration of terms relating to reason—rationality, logic, argument, rhetoric and others. The essence of these terms is here incorporated under reason. The scope of reason is further expanded to include ‘heart’, ‘mind’, ‘action’, ‘the human element’—but all within a shell of rigor.
1. To seek foundation but not absolute and final foundation; rather to begin in the present with what we have and know; and to then work outward—simultaneously down to ground and up to Being and its conception.
2. Use of all faculties—cognition, emotion for bonding to the world and source of (pragmatic) value, and their integration; action; and learning.
3. Using resources that include the perfect metaphysics which implicitly includes systems of knowledge and practice.
4. Including material-instrumental and experiential-intrinsic means (the two overlap).
5. Argument—establishing facts and drawing inferences in degrees of confidence from weak to strong to certain to necessary. Establishing facts with certainty establishes truth. Certain or valid inference is deductive and truth preserving; its realm is where conclusions are implicit in the premises, especially logic and mathematics; if the inference is correct it is ‘valid’ and, further, if the premises are true, so is the conclusion and the argument is ‘sound’. The aim of argument as described so far is to establish truth. But we can extend the meaning of ‘argument’ provided we are careful to maintain the distinction between the certain and the probable. In strong but not certain inference the conclusion does not follow strictly but is suggested strongly by the premises and a prime instance is derivation of laws and theories of science. However, proving a scientific result from a theory may be deductive, and arriving at useful axiomatic systems may be inductive. Note that in science, we may often say that there is a realm where the pattern induced is certain; what is not entirely certain is whether and how far that realm may be extended. The realm of argument is wherever knowing and choosing are involved and this may be in the abstract and concrete sciences but also in parts of other disciplines including technology, exploration, humanities, art, and religion.
6. Meaning—recognition of the crucial nature of meaning to knowledge and understanding. Particularly its relevance to logic. It is in meaning that we see the source of standard logics—why and where truth should be two-valued and non-modal; and how such logics should be propositional and predicate; and seeing that there may be extensions to the standard. And then in seeing and analyzing the significance and forms of variant and modal logics.
7. Reflexivity—use of all elements of reason including imagination, doubt, and criticism; in mutual and self interaction, which emphasizes most effective use relative to aims, particularly the Aim of Being.
Existence of the void obtains or it does not. We doubt its certainty but not that it can be certain. Perhaps the existence of the universe is necessary—could it be otherwise? If it could be otherwise why is it not? It would seem that the existence of the universe is and cannot be contingent. Therefore it ought to be necessary. But if it is necessary, then by symmetry ever logically possibility ought to obtain. And that includes the void. And then, given all that, the pragmatic metaphysics has a necessity—certainty for the abstract part, adequacy and perfection for the role of the concrete part.
Granted existence of the void, the conclusions have certainty. What would be still in doubt is the nature of logic, and whether the range of Being may thereby be captured.
Given ‘experience’, however, there is a range of certain facts. Being itself; the external world, other minds, free will to within interpretation; note that external world and other minds are issues of interpretation as much as they are fact.
Cosmology takes the metaphysics into the study of the variety, kinds, and extension of Being. Where metaphysics emphasizes perfect knowledge, cosmology also emphasizes the pragmatic and the concrete.
The realms are (1) the general which is extension of the metaphysics; it is creative but has no general ‘mechanism’ of creative process, (2) the cosmology of formation which begins with the general and supplements it by paradigms of lesser generality and abstraction, particularly the experienced (world) and experience (awareness); sameness and difference; the experiencer (self, identity) and space-time; the physical paradigm for the processes of identity and world; and the evolutionary paradigm for the origin of a formed world and the probabilities of such formation (the mechanism of creativity is described below), and (3) mutual implications of general cosmology, cosmology of formation, and physical cosmology for our cosmos; and extensions to other cosmological systems.
They are just those described above.
Random variation shows no preference for adaptation and is not creative; selection is selection for near stable form and is determinist so also not creative; but the join of the two non-creative processes is creative. From the void, the first selections are self-selection; given existing form, there is also environmental selection.
The source of creativity in adaptation is that of indeterminist variation from the existing—the void or any determinist structure—and then selection for stability and thus structure (just structure if staring from the void, further structure if starting from given structure).
The cloud of non-form and its continuum is in transaction with form; and any discreteness and finiteness required for form. This is the paradigm of efficient formation. Note that for essential novelty, indeterminism is necessary because novelty is not contained in what came before. The question of efficiency, therefore, concerns, not the paradigm so far, but whether it must be incremental or saltational (large steps); heuristically, until shown otherwise, it is incremental (however there will be saltations on the scale of the limitless universe even if they are infrequent).
The Abrahamic Cosmologies, cleaned to eliminate contradiction, obtain but their artificial and in-organic conception seems to render them devoid of universal and significant (literal) meaning. The most likely ultimate cosmologies are those in which ‘Being itself’, is the adaptive cosmological process; it finds its way; it is not created or specified in fragile yet dogmatic terms. We are part of that.
Comment. In brief final treatments, this section will be eliminated. In longer versions, the material will be integrated with the main section on cosmology. Meanwhile, the section may be placed in an appendix.
From the perfect metaphysics—the universe is realization of all possibility. The universe is a field of experience; all its parts are in interaction. The universe is a field of Being, sentience, and agency.
Experience, experiencer, and experienced (objects that include the first two as objects). The experiencer is the self with experience labeled the place of mind and the experienced labeled the world.
Identity is sense of sameness of self (personal identity) or object (object identity). Difference with sameness constitutes change (time) and difference without sameness constitutes 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.
Sameness and difference, space and time, where they obtain, are immanent in Being—the universe; the universe is not ‘in’ sameness and difference or space and time.
Given any non sentient ‘realization’ there is a higher sentient realization; it is in sentience that there is conscious choice and degrees of freedom of will; it is in sentience that there may be mastery over destiny.
Given the limitless transactions of the void with all beings; how is it that our cosmos is stable? It is because it is possible and that is one perfect explanation; another, more efficient, explanation will be given in the next section on the cosmology of formation. That all possibilities are realized universally, allows but does not require a given cosmos to be limitless in some regards.
Perfect metaphysics goes far beyond our main secular and transsecular paradigms; it shows that what all beings will achieve is far higher than traditionally thought.
In showing us this necessity, it gives us new aim, new direction, new ideals, and new hope.
General cosmology does not show efficient means of realization. Such means begin with cosmology of formation.
From the fundamental principle, given the void or any state, all possible states emerge; and such emergence has one or multiple steps. While stable systems are one necessary outcome, this gives us no insight into the mechanism of formation or its likelihood.
Incremental mechanistic traverse through near symmetric, near stable states to greater complexity is more likely than single step origins.
Where there is ‘blind’ formation, it gives rise to sentient, aware, intelligent formation.
Human civilization is the web of human culture across time and continents. Universal civilization, a given, is the matrix of civilizations across the universe; it is one vehicle of realization of the ultimate.
The ideal ultimate Being is both result, designer, and builder of the universe. All beings merge with the ideal ultimate; are already merged even if manifestation and awareness are minimal; thus all Being is interwoven, even in absence of concrete mechanism and cause. This ultimate Being or “Beings” may be called ‘God’, ‘Aeternitas’ (of Thomas Aquinas), or Perfect Buddha.
We already participate in the ideal. There are instruments of realization of that participation. Reason is the general instrument. Civilization is both vehicle and instrument. Further instruments are taken up below and in Part II. The Way.
The main abstract science is metaphysics. Its vehicle is referential meaning—concept and object, especially linguistic referential meaning—sign (simple and compound)-concept and object. Its instruments include grammars, logics, and mathematics.
The difference between the abstract and the concrete is anthropocentric. From a universal perspective, the abstract emphasizes the concept and the general, the concrete emphases the percept and the particular.
The concrete sciences (physical, life, of mind, and social) with technology are instrumental means of realization; they include means of perpetuation of the individual (which may enhance efficiency and quality but not the fact of realization). Intrinsic means are implicit above and taken up in Part II. The Way.
The origin of physical form and therefore of the substance of physical sciences is in the section Cosmology of formation. Thus (a) any indeterminism in physics is residue of original indeterminism, (b) any real physics will have a formative (“creative”) side (e.g. emergent which may be determinist or determinist-indeterminist mesh), (c) the quantum vacuum is not the void but perhaps residue of emergence from the void.
On psychology and agency
Realization and its dynamics
Source. civilization and society.html.
The kinds of Being include the elementary natural (natural), and the emergent complexity of life and the experiential agent (of psyche), interactive group (society, civilization), and ultimate (and ‘unknown’). These are also our phases of growth.
Civilization is movement of communities of beings outward from local environments. It is used in the sense of being-together, not being-over. Human civilization is the collection of human communities over time and continents. Universal civilization is the web of civilizations across the universe.
Life has struggle and overcoming. Beauty and pain. Amid the tumult there is serenity, in which we may ask—what is this beauty, this pain, this experience about? Yes, it is about a sentient agent in the world; yes, it is about adaptation. But that does not touch the essence of the experience. What is it; why is it; how is it. I am the being that can ask “What am I?” And the limit of the answer has to be that I, my experience, the universe, and its Being, are necessary. What I am, what we are, what Being is—these are projects.
Logical-universal possibility is broader than the natural and the experiential (agent); however, from the metaphysics the natural and experiential achieve the universal: for any non sentient (‘purely material’) realization, there is an experiential-agentive (aware, designing) realization whose formed aspect is greater.
All Gods and religious cosmologies stripped of logical inconsistency are realized; however, from the paradigm of adaptive or efficient formation, they are most probably neither frequent nor stable; in the universe as a whole they are remote. Any ‘real god’ would be just a more potent being but possessed of frailties like the Greek Gods whose frailty might demand they be appeased.
This ultimate Brahman or Aeternitas (derived from Vedanta and Thomas Aquinas) is our being and neither asks nor needs worship, other than being true. Pain and joy on the way to Brahman are not absolutely avoided or sought or else they become distracting objects; but they may dissolve in Brahman (because of ultimate power).
The ideas are preliminary and abstract. The ultimate is the ideal; the way must also emphasize the concrete.
The foundation for the way is the immediate in transaction with the ultimate.
We find that we live in the immediate and the ultimate. We therefore adopt this as the aim of Being/
The main variables of the way are defined by (1) kinds of Being and phases of growth or stages of life: experiential (psyche…) vs material (nature, society…) vs Being-as-Being (universal…) and (2) further primary characterization according to identity, mode of being in itself and the world, process, necessity, and ultimacy
1. Of psyche or mind and culture—characteristics: identity-inner, mode of being in itself and the world-intrinsic, process-transforming, necessity-essential, and ultimacy-ultimate.
2. Of nature, society, and civilization—identity-outer, mode of being in itself and the world--instrumental, process-sustaining, necessity-contingent, and ultimacy-immediate.
3. Of the universal and unknown—the join of the characterizations and beyond—the realm of the concrete to abstract metaphysics.
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.
Examples of impediments or blocks are resentment, attachment and desire, anger and aversion, and ignorance.
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.
Place, community, and leadership. Is leadership essential? Yes as inspiration, channel, and focus; but authority is institution for its own sake rather than realization.
Comment. See everyday process template for details.
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; 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.
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.
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, 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. Eliminate overlap with Historical sources and resources.
the way-template.html (this version)
portable version (this version)
system of human knowledge.html—systems of knowledge and practice
conceptual outline-essential.html—a conceptual outline for the way of being
paradigms of formation and dynamics.html—to be developed from existing documents
life and its origins and evolution.html—to be developed from existing documents
psychology as science-experience through agency.html—to be developed from existing documents
civilization and society.html—to be developed from existing documents
The preface for conventions and suggestions on reading the text.
The prologue for context and origins.
The section on reason.
Comment. Combine with canonical dilemmas.html.
In seeking secure knowledge, doubt—acknowledging that security is not guaranteed—is essential. Both knowledge itself and knowledge of security can be doubted, so doubt helps illuminate both. Doubt is discriminatory, illuminating where security is perfect and where good but imperfect. Thus doubt is more discriminating than philosophical skepticism as the position that no knowledge is certain or that no knowledge is possible. That is, doubt is constructive as well as critical and this is argued further, below, in Dilemmas of knowledge or epistemology.
Begin the search for secure knowledge by considering experience—the term used here for consciousness, subjective awareness, or phenomenal awareness. But what is it? Its essential characteristic is the subjective feeling in being aware. Is there experience? To doubt experience is experience—the medium of doubt is experience—therefore there is experience. Since our definition was really provision of synonyms, we have provided and ostensive definition; i.e. fundamentally, ‘experience’ names a given. The argument here is a tidied rendering of Descartes’ cogito.
Given that there is experience, there is Being or existence for there is experience. There is also a world—for the world is just the entirety of whatever exists.
Since we can doubt that there is anything, if we want security, we should doubt it. However, doubting leads, in this case to certain knowledge. Perhaps there are other doubts or dilemmas that are also illuminating.
A skeptical attitude toward our standard ways of seeing the world is conducive to seeing the truth of the matter. The certain truth of the matter as far as we can tell may, of course, be entirely negative in a non committal sense (for to be certainly committed to the negative may itself not survive criticism).
However, some dilemmas or skeptical positions do have resolution. Further, when we see a collection of dilemmas together, we may find systematic errors in our skepticism and this may enhance resolution. In some cases we may find that seeming oppositions are merely different interpretations. Skepticism about reason improves reason. Skepticism about skepticism improves our understanding of its role and roles for imagination in critical thought.
Above all, where our common or even standard view of the world may be piecemeal and laced with doubt, viewing a range of skeptical positions and working with them simultaneously may result in a gestalt of reason and system (or paradigm).
That is, systematic skepticism may be a way to see the world as it is. Naturally, we must be skeptical about knowledge too but also skeptical about criticism of the possibility of knowledge. It ought not to be necessary to make this elaboration for knowledge is a real part of the world.
There is a wide range of skeptical positions or dilemmas. The dilemmas that follow are all issues that I have faced over the years. Initially they were considered in isolation. However, I noticed that considering them as a system is more empowering than the net result of their separate consideration.
The aim and design of the system that follows is to support the building of a worldview that is (a) ultimate with regard to the world as well as knowledge of the world and (b) sees the immediate and the ultimate in intimate relation.
Our concern is metaphysics and action in light of metaphysics. Why a system of canonical dilemmas should be especially empowering is further considered below in Dilemmas of knowledge or epistemology.
The dilemmas begin with a repetition of the Cartesian dilemma.
1. Is there anything at all—i.e. is there Being; or are there beings; can we be sure? Can there be certainty regarding this (and other issues, as taken up below)?
As seen above there is experience and there is Being.
2. Is the measure of Being something other than Being—or should it be Being itself?
But then what would be the measure of something else? A foundation in something else must be circular or endless regress.
The measure of Being can only be in Being. But how?
3. Is power or interaction, therefore, the measure of Being?
Yes, for the hypothetical Being without power cannot exist (for it does not even have meaning—in the sense that there is a definition or concept without an object). Experience is a case of power. The hypothetical Being with no effect on or in experience is effectively non-existent and we later see it to be simply non-existent.
That is, Being or beings do not exist in isolation (but it is not being said that experience or power create or cause Being or beings)
4. Beyond power, are space, time (or spacetime), and cause the most basic aspects of experience? Or are the basic aspects sameness, difference, and perhaps quality?
5. Is there more than just experience—a real or external world.
6. Is there a self associated with experience?
7. Does experience have substance? I.e. while experience has form which could be considered its own substance is there a substance or substantial substrate from which the experience arises? Must there be a substrate—or is this just perhaps the case in physical and certain metaphysical contexts?
8. Are there other minds?
9. For experience, external world, self, substance, and other minds, if existence is affirmed is a more inclusive interpretation of world as field of experience possible?
What is its significance? Does the more inclusive interpretation contradict the less inclusive or does the former contradict just strict materialism or strict physicalism? What is the significance of the more inclusive for Being—generally and in terms of the perfect metaphysics to be developed?
I name these issues canonical dilemmas because (1) we can progress toward resolution a priori to detailed experience (2) these dilemmas and others simultaneously makes their consideration simpler and can raise the power of a priori thought to a powerful level of understanding of the world not obvious in the dilemmas taken individually.
The foregoing dilemmas are ontological. The list may be extended
10. Does the world have a substantial nature or is the fundamental nature of the world just Being or existence?
This is a repetition of the earlier issue of the measure of Being, in the form of the suggestion that the measure is substance.
11. Should free will be defined as an unconstrained capability? Is there free will? Are free will and determinism compatible? What are the implications for physical determinism.
That is, is not the conception of free will the most important issue regarding free will—from which will flow an answer to the question of whether there is free will?
12. Does physics decide the free will issue and other aspects of mind?
It is common, today, to think that physics is determining regarding mind. This issue begins a train of thought, of which one consequence is that knowledge of mind—since it is first hand knowledge—is or may be determining of aspects of physics such as determinism and whether the physical is also the mental. In reflecting on this it is important to remember that physics is almost certainly incomplete and therefore its proper role is to suggest than to determine regarding mind. Similarly, paradigms suggested by physics and materialism—non teleology, universal mechanist cause—are not required by physics but only absent so far in it and therefore unnecessary to it so far.
What would we be assuming to decide that it does—essentially that physics is complete and that it is ‘everything’ (though not necessarily that everything can be computed).
Thus our knowledge of mind (and evolution, especially the creative aspect) may determine aspects of physics.
If mind is emergent and physics is complete and everything then mind must be physical.
We can now see an aspect of how putting all the dilemmas together can be useful. First, there are parallels between the cogito and free will arguments (but of course they are not identical) and, second, we observe that if we regard physics in too reductionist a way, there can be no mind.
Further dilemmas enhance the development of metaphysics.
Dilemmas of ontology were about the fact and nature of Being. Modal ontology is about necessity. In the next dilemma the word ‘must’ signifies that the concern is with necessity.
13. Must there be Being and experience? Must there be beings and the void? Must there be the universe (see discussion of the concept of the universe under Dilemmas of concept and linguistic definition or meaning).
Is logic that which mediates the necessary aspect of the relation between experience and experienced?
Clearly, given experience there must be Being and the universe: from the fact of experience, the existence of Being and universe necessarily follow. However, do the necessities follow ex-nihilo? Should the consequence be necessary or merely probable, perhaps highly probable, or possible? And should it be ex nihilo or contingent?
Of course, there is a sense in which necessity ex-nihilo is most satisfactory. But must this be the case? That is, could it be otherwise?
If the universe must exist ex-nihilo, is it the existence of just some cosmos; or is all logical possibility necessary? From symmetry, it must be the latter. All this also follows from existence of the void.
If the universe must exist, is the necessity temporal or logical? The latter merely says that existence is necessary but not that it is causal or temporal. If necessary, there is no need for a first cause. The logical necessity, if it exists, exists outside time and space and Being but is insubstantial and immaterial; that is, the location of its existence can be taken to be anywhere and nowhere.
If the void exists or must exist it could not be otherwise (see arguments in the text). So is existence of the void necessary? The existence is argued in the text. However doubt remains and this is the fundamental dilemma of metaphysics.
14. What are the essential constraints on the real? Are they defined by (1) All fact and all law, both contingent and necessary? Or (2) Only by necessary fact and law?
In #2 the constraint is limited to givens (e.g. the fact of the givenness of experience) and their logical consequences (e.g. Being, universe, and, as seen later, the void).
In #1 it includes also scientific fact and hypothetical (but tested) inference—which is reasonable in its application in our cosmos but not otherwise.
15. Does the void exist? Or is it a vacuous concept—or, as some people claim, not even a concept?
I call this dilemma modal because we do not observe the void and therefore need to prove or somehow show its existence. To regard reasoning that the void exists as sound, the reasoning or proof must be necessary and show necessity.
If the void ‘cannot’ be conceived in pictorial or geometric terms can it be conceived in analytic terms?
Clearly, our laws of physics would not extend to the void; for they are not ‘nothing’.
Would the ‘laws’, e.g., of causality, mechanism, non-action-at-a-distance, non teleology, non-vitalism, naturalism, and so on extend to the void?
Comment. I place the issue of existence of the void because it seems that a satisfactory proof of its existence (and later of the fundamental principle) should be a necessary and absolute proof if it is to have the significance of certainty and final foundation that we might want.
16. Is doubt entirely critical or is it also constructive?
And should / must it be constructive? Relative to what rational criteria?
It is both; it is deeply constructive for it is critical not only of first order knowledge claims, i.e. claims about the world as world, but also second order claims, i.e. claims about knowledge.
For example the naïve holy grail of knowledge is correspondence truth—the concept corresponds to the object (with more or less precision); next we could look at coherence and pragmatic ‘theories’. But why should pragmatism be seen as less than pure? And why, especially if it should arise naturally, ought a mixed ‘theory’, say correspondence-coherence-pragmatic theory be seen as impure? Why should giving up on perfect precision, even if it could obtain, be seen as impure?
Naïve first order doubt may impose these notions of purity and impurity, second order doubt may relieve us of their excesses. The perfect and ultimate metaphysics to be developed is a prime and ultimate example of perfect dual epistemology (according to a an argued value).
More generally, doubt or criticism and imagination interact—each infusing the other intuitively and enhancing the other formally.
17. Is knowledge of the object? If it is not how is it possible? Must the nature of knowledge be pure correspondence or pure coherence or pragmatism alone? If not is a dual account possible and ought we to consider such an account ‘impure’?
18. Is knowledge that is beyond the a priori essentially uncertain? Can it be synthetic? What are the realms of certainty? Is there a problem with uncertainty or is its acknowledgement empowering of our possibilities and realizations.
We will see that though Immanuel Kant’s synthetic a priori categories are in fact contingent, there is in fact a priori of immense significance.
19. What is the ultimate in realization?
20. Where does certainty obtain? Not at all? Regarding only the abstract?
We have seen and continue to find that (a) certainty obtains very generally regarding certain abstract though not non concrete concepts, e.g. Being, experience, universe. Existence of the void is on the border between certainty and doubt. That is, its existence may be regarded as and existential (meaningful, risk laden) proposition. Regarding pragmatic certainty vs uncertainty, we find that it is locally an important issue but universally the local uncertainty of the pragmatic does not render it imperfect in a value sense.
21. Do the various dilemmas that arise have only individual force or is there also force derived from the system of dilemmas?
This issue has been addressed in a previous item in the discussion of mutual implications of physics and experience in the section Dilemmas of ontology.
Comment. Examples have already been encountered.
22. Is a word the bearer meaning? Of fixed meaning? Or is meaning something else and flexible?
Here, for metaphysics it is sufficient to consider referential meaning. Analysis of linguistic referential meaning and its necessity and sufficiency for certain purposes is given in the text. For general purposes meaning must balance fixity vs fluidity. However, for a metaphysical system definiteness is essential. Fluidity must be allowed, however, when formulating, modifying or comparing metaphysical systems.
23. How should the universe be conceived? Should or must the universe conceived of as (1) all that is observed, (2) all that is material or physical, (3) all Being over all extension (sameness, difference, and their absence), or (4) all Being and all non-Being over all extension?
Of course there is a certain freedom of definition. The concepts #1 and #2 empower certain real and pragmatic considerations. However, #3 or perhaps #4 is immensely empowering of and necessary to any complete metaphysics (and to not have it leads not only to incompleteness but also to confusion). Therefore, regardless of the term used, the concept #3 is useful. In this work ‘universe’ refers to #3 (and sometimes #4); I may use the capitalized version ‘Universe’ for this purpose. I will use the terms empirical universe, physical universe, epoch, cosmos, etc. for the lesser concepts.
24. Should Being be conceived of as that which exists some ‘where’ in extension? Or should it be contrasted to becoming? And should it admit distinctions of higher vs lower beings; and distinctions of entity vs relation vs process and so on?
First, of course the concept should be precisely defined and consistently used. Second, it is crucial that the concept of greatest neutrality be used in the metaphysics. Here, the term will be ‘Being’. We will allow the distinctions by employing modifiers. This is discriminatory ability within abstract generality is immensely empowering.
We have seen or hinted at why in the context of metaphysics terms should have precise meaning. Such terms include experience, Being, beings, the void, the universe, power, logic, possibility and others. Here we do not pursue examples beyond universe and Being.
25. Is our Being accidental? Are we alone? Essentially?
26. What is the source of significance and value? Is it found or created? Where does it lie?
27. Is experience the core of our Being? of all Being? Is it the place of both significant and concept meaning? Note here the merging of epistemology and value.
28. Is the aim of (human) being to live well in this world? To also aim at the ultimate? To live in this world, the immediate, and the ultimate?
29. Is the universe constrained only by logical possibility—and what is logical possibility? Or are their further constraints? And would the constraint only to logical possibility violate common experience and science? Can we argue to this single constraint heuristically? ‘Logically’? Or is proof such proof absolutely impossible (some would claim so, e.g. those who argue something from nothing cannot be proved)? Would proof resolve the dilemma of ‘something vs nothing’?
30. If we can prove that the universe is the realization of the logically possible, does it follow that the hypothetical being that has no effect on experience does not exist? And would experience, then, rather than some mode of experience (substance, matter, relation, process, trope…), be the final measure of what has Being?
Comment. See the discussion of distinctions not recognized by Being.
Comment. In the following it will be useful to admit universe as logical possibility for some purposes (it is proved in the text).
31. Are mind and matter substances or but two sides of Being? Are there further attributes in the sense of Spinoza? Are properties limitless in number?
32. Are space, time, and Identity immanent or external to Being? Is there a universal Identity? Are its limits also the constraints of Logic? And then would it not follow that we are it?
33. What are the general and efficient cosmologies of creation? Is it essentially deterministic? If ‘logic’ indicates it cannot be, how does creativity arise from the non creative processes of random variation and selection.
34. Is it true that for any realization of the universe there is a higher sentient realization? If so is that alien to us? Or are we part of that universal identity—against materialist and Abrahamic paradigms? And should we therefore not incorporate a non Abrahamic but Vedantic-like notion of God to any ultimate cosmology?
35. Is the real question regarding the ultimate to accept some widespread and perhaps dogmatic version? Or is it to define (discover, create the concept of, realize) the ultimate? Is it to accept limits? Or to negotiate limits on the way to the ultimate?
And what are those concepts of the ultimate? Is it the fiction of Abrahamic religion? The non-God and Karma of Buddhism? Vedantic and Hindu monotheism vs Hindu Polytheism? Received pantheism and panentheism (and what is the meaning of those terms: i.e. pantheism as just nature worship or nature as divine).
Or is it the eternal ultimate of peaks and dissolutions always in process in which we partake? Can the ultimacy of our Being be anything other than necessary?
And limits? Given limitlessness, what should we do with the widespread thoughts “oh we are so limited and humble” and “we should not enquire into the ultimate”?
36. What is the process of formation of our cosmos? Is it efficient and probable or not so but still logical, e.g. a single step? The latter would seem to be extremely improbable relative to the efficient model. This would eliminate the pragmatic but not possible realism of an Abrahamic Cosmology or the five minute prior creation of our cosmos.
This document—the main template with outline… and the portable version— portable version
The portable version
Improve the outline; make the portable document; write the main version on the road from the template and outline
Improve the outline. Work out the relation between Being, beings, non existent Being, non manifest Being, and potential Being
Short / long
Being / experience
Form of experience / mind
3. The Way
4. Appendices… resources…
Style Central = main statements and essentials; change color to black, red… – Central 2 = detail; change indentation vs color – Normal = general and academic – Star* the non main headings for later conversion to ‘A’ headings (sub headings of non main are non main)
Stories—on the road
Resources—have a page in a high level directory!
Canonical dilemmas—combine with canonical dilemmas.html.