The Ordinary and the Extraordinary
Or, the ordinary
ANIL MITRA, © FEBRUARY 2015—March 2015
The Ordinary and the Extraordinary
Amid the haste of everyday life—work, family, friends, joy, and pain—we occasionally ponder what it all means. We ask questions. What is the universe like? What is our place in the universe?
Tradition gives us some answers.
The distant origins of science and religion are in primal cultures where the natural and the spiritual are seen as fused. I do not see the primal as less or more but I want to be simple—to see the larger questions in our terms. So I begin with science and religion as a simple dichotomous way of symbolizing our answers.
Science is empirical—to make predictions in our world we must know the patterns of our world. We do not see the deep patterns of science but we represent them in concepts that we discovery by making conceptual hypotheses and testing. We keep or reject the conceived patterns as they predict or disagree with what we see (observation). Many think it a waste to speculate beyond the science of the time while some think it wrong and yet others think there is essentially nothing beyond that science. This kind of thinking informs a worldview that may be labeled ‘secularism’. Secularism does not deny finer things—art and its value, higher human values, the good life; but it asserts that our lives and aspirations are bounded by a universe or cosmos as seen in science.
Some secular thinkers hold that the universe may well be more than as seen in science. What bases are there for this? (1) The history of science includes ‘revolutions’ that are marked by new conceptual understanding: new theories that agree with the older ones where they are valid but that disagree elsewhere in small to vast ways both empirical and conceptual (the way the world is). Probably more scientists, philosophers, and other thinkers think this way but do not speak of it because they do not want to be seen as speculative—that would not be proper and might well be bad for career and reputation. Thus the conservative position, the empirical cosmos is the bound of the universe, becomes the official position. This becomes a worldview which many though not all ‘ordinary’ people accept—perhaps explicitly but perhaps most often as the tacit default view that informs their days and hopes. (2) There is nothing in the reasoning or method of science that implies that what has been seen so far is the extent of the real. What is the possible boundary of the real? Logically, that boundary need not be defined by science so far: it may be boundless. That is, it is possible that there are no limits to the duration and spatial extension to the universe, whether the universe is entirely spatiotemporal, and the variety of being and the power of the universe.
If the possibilities are boundless, and since the boundless is not bounded by any limited form, is not the probability of boundlessness 100%? The answer has to be no, the conclusion does not follow, because we must have knowledge of the nature of the possibilities and not merely that they are possible. We can think in terms of an example. A sack has ten black and ten red marbles in it. What is the probability of picking a red marble (without looking)? The answer is obviously ½. Change the data to: a sack has some objects in it. Now what is the probability of picking a red marble? Assuming we can know nothing about the contents the best answer is somewhere between 0 and 1.
The discussion continues from item #2 above.
(3) The previous item established the range of possibilities consistent with what we know but nothing about probability. However, there are other ways of establishing probability. Item #1 established that the probability is at least significant. Another approach to probability is to note the special nature of the cosmos. The fundamental constants lie in the very narrow range required to support life in the cosmos. Also there seems to be no fundamental explanation for either the origin of the cosmos or the values of the constants except on an account that it is not special but one of many possibilities. In that case the probability is significant. But if we somehow reason to what those possibilities may be we then face the question of their origin. How far back do we have to go? Unless there is some principle of exclusion (we do not even have proof that there is such a principle) we would have to go all the way back to nothingness to have an explanation. But even that would not be enough. Why did it begin with nothingness? Unless there is an exclusion principle, the universe would have to cycle through all possible states to explain an atom of being. But this tells us what we might need for explanation, not about probabilities because once we go further back that before our cosmos which we know we are getting into areas of quite complete ignorance and so probability is likewise quite beyond estimation. Nonetheless we have found an explanatory principle. To explain any being whatsoever and, particularly, to explain our cosmos, the universe must, barring an exclusion principle, go through all possible states. It is a perfect explanation in that no further assumption has to be made. Then one of the states must be our cosmos. But if we allow that some unspecified state (or states) might not occur then one of those states might be our cosmos so we do not have a perfect explanation. Apparently there are two perfect explanations (a) our cosmos must occur (b) all cosmoses do occur. Of these, the first is peculiar but not the second.
There are people who think in terms of that boundlessness. ‘Boundless’ may not be the thought; the thought may be ‘surely this is not all there is, surely there is or may be more’. And more than a few think such thoughts. However, the numbers of people who enquire seriously into what that may be is probably small.
Beginning with primality one class of such ‘thinker’ thinks in spiritual terms. Given the notion of the natural as what we naturally know, the spiritual is realistic in the thought that there is probably more and perhaps even moral in wanting to know and investigating what that might be. Even though the religious cosmologies may seem fantastic, surely this is one of their functions: to think on and investigate that ‘more’ (the religious cosmologies have other functions too but they are not altogether ‘other’ for morals and culture are, ultimately, part of the cosmos—part of the universe).
But there is another class of thinker—one that reasons but is not limited by the empirical. This class recognizes that the empirical and scientific do not bound the universe and wants to enquire of what might and probably lies beyond but they do not want to be non or anti-empirical or merely fantastic in their thought. They use reason to attempt to investigate and explain our system of experience (awareness in all its manners, kinds, and forms) which includes all and any positive content of science and religion (the supra-natural) but also the issue of the nature of experience, of how we relate to experience, and the bounds of the universe revealed in the nature and fact of the universe. This kind of thinking (in the west) began in Greece with the idea that understanding and explaining the world did not lie beyond the world in gods or unseen forces but in the world. Simply put, the idea was that there is some pervasive feature of the world, some simple enduring substance, that we can see and that is the source of the complexity and variety in the world. Thus Thales of Miletus (c. 600 BCE) suggested that the world is made of water. This might seem far fetched but its virtues are that it seeks explanation of the world (1) in the world rather than beyond (2) in terms of something that is or seems simple (3) in terms of something rather pervasive (so even if ‘water’ is far fetched it is more reasonable than some unknown force). Thales knew that he was being speculative but he also realized that if we let doubt hold us back we will get nowhere: we may make mistakes but if we admit that we are being hypothetical we may correct hypotheses and so make advance. Thus Thales break with the superstition of Greece may be seen as the origin of western philosophy and the forebear of western science. Later, Thales line of thought came to be labeled ‘metaphysics’ which has its own history. Early metaphysics was frankly speculative. Plato was a height of speculation that was a mix of reason and explanatory imagination. Aristotle set up a language that continues to inform metaphysical thought. The scholastics adapted metaphysics to developing understanding of the universe as seen in canonical terms of the church and which also shape that canon. Their vice was their servitude—partial rather than universal—to the church; their virtue was setting up of terms suggestive of how to think on such issues. Early modern thinkers broke free of the shackles of convention and the church. The thinkers Locke through Kant were authors of a rational system based in and limited by the knowledge of their time. However, the terms of their though, adapted to newer views of nature, is immensely useful. After, Kant the idealist philosophers, e.g. Hegel, built up vast speculative rationalistic systems, perhaps on the model of science, but not subject to the empirical constraints of science. This was followed by criticism and more reasonable thinkers, especially the British idealists, culminating in the impressive system of A. N. Whitehead. Whitehead’s system however came at a time when philosophy had accepted a secular worldview centered in science. For much of the 20th century, metaphysics was suspect. Today, metaphysics has returned but, except perhaps for metaphysics in theology, in new forms which have in common that they recognize primarily this world, e.g. (a) as metaphysics of experience, (b) special problems of modernity such as space and time, free will and others, and (c) as study of abstract objects. The latest metaphysics still shows the secular / trans-secular bifurcation—i.e. the metaphysics of theology vs. the metaphysics of the immediate.
The modern situation then is that the divide between the secular and the trans-secular remains; the secular distrust of trans-secular systems is well founded but such distrust of trans-secularism is without foundation; and knowledge of what lies beyond the secular is wide open. Such distrust is not altogether unfounded. Where precise knowledge is wanted we expect foundation. On the other hand where forward motion or pure being in the present is wanted we do not want to wait for final foundation. Can we mesh these opposites? Are we at an impasse?
The question that arises is How can we think on these issues? The bifurcation seen above is that of exclusive focus on the immediate or the ordinary versus emphasis on the extraordinary without sufficient connection to the ordinary.
Free conception has arisen—i.e., the world is not given: there is something beyond the immediate. Concepts of the immediate (nature) and the beyond (myth) interwoven. Experience influences concepts but analysis of concepts not formalized. A ground on which later civilization may fall back. Process beyond this level is not given to be absolute; it is ‘relative’ (to new circumstances and aims).
Separation of knowledge of the immediate and the beyond. Early science and religion (as separate). Religious cosmology primitive relative to the primal. Science advanced but only relative to new circumstances and aims.
Critical attitude to cosmology. Uncritical attitude to completeness of the cosmology. Semi-critical attitude to method.
I pass over vast tracts of metaphysics—not as intrinsically unimportant but because for the present purpose they can be subsumed under metaphysics I, next.
Critical attitude to completeness of the cosmology. Critical attitude inherited from or simultaneous to science of the modern era: the method of hypothesis and test. Differences between metaphysics and the sciences: (1) Sciences concern particular phases of the real; metaphysics is interested in the general. (2) The testing of the conceptual systems of science is for external (empirical) and internal (consistency of the terms and conceptual systems). Metaphysics is not essentially different but has further layers: to data is added common experience carefully understood and therefore also the conceptual systems of science; has further concerns: human experience is a concern, therefore concerned especially with morals and aesthetics but these are to be brought into / interpreted as aspects of the metaphysics; internal consistency remains of course important but there is more freedom.
…from the a priori modes of criticism to criticism as part of the metaphysics (made possible by transition to the ordinary). Thus perfection is not pre-determined but by the metaphysics itself. It turns out that a non relative framework system is possible. It turns out that a single valued meaning of perfection is impossible and undesirable. For the framework perfection is perfect precision of the ideas; for the rest (‘tradition’) perfection is ‘good enough’ (and related criteria). The metaphysical analysis reveals these criteria.
Analysis of the ordinary taken-to-extreme is (i) to repeat, perfection and simultaneous emergence of fact and method for the framework (ii) ultimate depth of the framework (the non relative foundation) (iii) ultimate breadth of the universe is revealed (iv) thus the ordinary acquires new significance but so does the esoteric which, from ultimate breadth, emerges as fact, and (v) what the new metaphysics with suggestion from tradition reveals is a vast range of stable cosmologies of being-experience (intelligence and feeling as and perhaps more significant than matter even for cosmological purposes), reality of special metaphysics (e.g., trivially, the logically cleaned up, religious and earlier metaphysical cosmologies) but equivocation on their significance: the remote-god-cosmologies having apparently minimal significance and the immanent-god-cosmologies receiving interpretation (not entirely new) of the process of human and similar entities as a stage in the process of emergence of levels and forms of experience (consciousness).
At this stage the identity of being and experience—cosmos and intelligence or intelligent feeling—is manifest. Our stage—somewhere from the animal to human—is a dawn of this stage.
Imagine an ordinary object such as a block of wood (you can choose your favorite ‘ordinary object’ if you wish; mine tends to be something from nature, often a tree, but for the present purpose a tree has so many aspects that it might be misleading).
For practical purposes a block of wood is a block of wood. It is true that if I want a precise description of the block I must begin by acknowledging the universal gap between knower and known (the situation is that, at least naïvely, I do not know the nature of that gap and so if I want to claim knowledge I must admit the gap). Practically, however, for ordinary purposes the block is a block. Mechanical carpentry does not need philosophy: philosophy might even be detrimental to practice. On the other hand adherence to such practical concerns (only) would not be merely detrimental to philosophy or ‘deeper’ understanding: it would prevent it altogether. So when I want to look deeper I acknowledge that what is sufficient for practical purposes is insufficient for ultimate purposes. The block looks like a cube, say, but is it precisely a cube—and is it capable of being a cube when its surfaces cannot be perfectly flat (atoms) and when I do not know whether space is perfectly Euclidean? These distinctions are important to some ways of beginning metaphysics. And careful metaphysics is important to considerations that take us beyond the known world. And if all is flux then our survival will depend on going beyond the known. So if survival is important, so are the distinctions.
However, that is not the direction in which I want to go. Here is where I want to go. For practical purposes, the block is perfectly well known. That is not merely practical or pragmatic, it is deeply metaphysical. If my criterion is practice, then my knowledge is perfect. Early metaphysics and even modern metaphysics do not acknowledge that because it accepts the implicit criterion of perfect precision. Perfect precision is important if we want to look into the future precisely. But we do not know that we can get such perfect precision. So we must recognize different criteria of knowledge and acknowledge that they might not be the same even at root. Now that may or may not be the case but the case is that ‘we do not know’. So the best we can do is acknowledge different criteria and that the criteria may not be equivalent (but they are not equivalent, there may be a way, perhaps perfect, of having the different criteria mesh). So then, for some purposes—the practical or the precise within limits of tolerance—the block is perfectly well known.
The same could be said of a thought (the thought itself, not its content), a tree, a living organism, a human being in all its (I’m tired of saying he/she) variety, or even the universe.
Admittedly the practical criterion in these cases (so it seems) would or should be very rough. But are there things for which the practical criterion of what can only be rough knowledge in many cases becomes precise for the ‘things’ in question?
We must ask what it is that makes knowledge rough. An answer is that we are looking at detail.
Something is there—the ‘block’—but if I were not there my knowledge of it would not occur. So my knowledge of the block is not the block (if the terms are simplistic what it points to is not). But for some practical concerns my knowledge is perfect. Therefore I may equate knowledge with known (for those purposes). But even when I do that I recognize that the concept is not the object. Importantly, whether the concept is or is not the object and whether there is or is not some way the two can be equivalent or whether there is or is not some way in which they are part of the same larger object called a concept-object, the point is: it is the concept that enables dealing with and talking of things.
There is a block means I have a specific concept that corresponds to the thing; there is no block means I have a specific concept but it does not correspond to a thing. In that sentence I could replace ‘is’ by ‘exists’. I am not saying that existence depends on being seen. Rather I am saying that without experience, we cannot talk about anything. Suppose we are in the jungle. I yell ‘there is a tiger’. If you have no mental picture of tigers you will look at me with puzzlement. For information to have been conveyed you will have to already have an association between the sound of the word ‘tiger’ and a mental picture of a tiger (things with four legs, black and yellow stripes, that kill and eat weaker prey including human beings). And if you have that sound-picture (word-concept) association you will likely feel fear the moment I yell ‘tiger’.
There is a block.
There is a tiger.
There stands a proud human being.
These and many other similar sentences have perfectly precise practical meaning (language-concept-object relationship). Metaphysically, however, they are precise only in practical terms. On the classic and often abandoned metaphysical sense of perfect precision they are absolutely imprecise and wrong (or meaningless) because anything less than perfect precision is unacceptable. That is why that notion of metaphysics is so often abandoned. It cannot even do practical service let alone its putative service of knowing the (so far) unknown.
Then: is there anything at all?
Yes: there is something for if there were not there would not even be the true versus practical versus illusory perception of things.
This is really Descartes’ argument ‘I think therefore I am’ divested of the presumption of the term ‘I’.
Is there anything at all?
That reply has two meanings. First as reply to the question that preceded it. But second, and importantly, just as a wild but true assertion (true in the sense of something perceived to be the case where the perception is perfectly precise).
This is ordinary beyond ordinary ordinariness.
From ordinariness taken to the extreme we have established precisely that there is something. It is quite trivial. Yet it is deep because it establishes that something exists precisely where we wondered whether any such thing could be established.
The source of power is that ‘there is an x’ is generally much more discriminating than ‘there is’ something. ‘There is an x’ chooses from the universe some very specific thing or things ‘x’. ‘There is’ chooses only things that are (in the universe). I.e. one way of looking at our derivation is to see that there is a universe and therefore ‘there is’. The extra ordinary is extraordinary.
This is powerful because we have gotten precision where we were in doubt but what we have gotten precision about is still rather trivial. Can we do more? Yes; we will do much more in a formal account of metaphysics. There we extend the present kind of analysis to a framework for the world (and subsequently, with different but essential criteria of perfection, to the whole world). Here, however, is a little preview of the magnitude power of the world and so of the ordinary in informal terms which will be taken up formally in a formal account of metaphysics below.
If ‘what is’ is ordinary, what lies outside it? At most ‘absence’.
But absence means absence of laws (even).
Imagine something. Imagine it as a whole. What is left over beside the something? It is absence! Absence exists (this is not a very good argument but it is a heuristic and therefore useful one; a formal argument is given later in a formal account of metaphysics).
But since there are no laws in absence, absence must generate everything possible—i.e. there are no possible but unachieved states of being.
This is so contradictory to experience that people find it unpalatable. To the everyday person it violates ‘no free lunch’, violation of the thought that there are surfeits and deficits, violates the ethic that things must generally be worked for. To the scientist it violates conservation laws, especially of energy. To a philosopher it violates principles of causation. But if you accept that there is true absence then the generation of all possible states of being follows at once. Nothing comes from nothing says, in effect, that nothing is more than nothing: it is not just not something; it is the ‘cause’ that prevents nothing. Nothing comes from nothing contains an implicit contradiction (there is much apparent contradiction here, but in realism all contradiction is defused in principle; the beginning of this defusing begins in the next few paragraphs).
The universe has no bound to the states it achieves. It has absolute power.
It confers this power on all its elements or parts (the contrary would contradict its absolute power).
Individuals are parts.
Our experienced limits are, e.g., temporal. In the vastness of time (and beyond time which if such a thing is logically possible must from absolute power also be) our temporal limits dissolve.
Death which is obviously empirically and existentially given is therefore real but not absolute.
‘This life’ has no absolute meaning.
Now this reveals power and significance but we can doubt the informal analysis and we can question the significance for our present lives. These issues are addressed below.
For this account see the section History of the metaphysics in the realizations-resource version.
This account takes off from where we were left in the ordinary
There are many connotations of ‘being’—the ultimate Being, deep being, the essence of one’s being—i.e. human or sentient being. But let us go back to etymology. Not because etymology is determining of meaning but because it illuminates this case. Being is derived from the verb to be of which ‘is’ is the present singular case.
Define being as that which is—as the quality of things by virtue of which I can say ‘that is’.
Being is that which is.
I can now say (even if I have metaphysical doubt about what there is) there is being.
That is the power of the ordinary.
Note that the various special connotations of being have been jettisoned. That is, we are not referring to those connotations. This does not mean that those connotations are ‘wrong’ or ‘better / worse’ but, simply, that I am not using them and therefore in what I write here this (that which is) is the meaning of being; other writers validly use other meanings; what is not valid is when one meaning is confused with another or others without showing the equivalence of the two or more meanings.
But you might say that there is being says almost nothing, that it is beyond trivial. This is a common argument against thinking about being—it says nothing, it is universal therefore unknowable, and, on the other hand, it is self-evident therefore not worth discussing.
But ‘trivial’ and ‘not deep’ or ‘not profound’ or ‘too easy’ or ‘simple’ or ‘too simple’ are not the same thing—
Already we can see the depth of the concept of being. Even if the content of the concept is simple, it is the first concept we have encountered that corresponds perfectly in the sense of absolute precision to its (an) object. But in my narrative ‘being’ is also the beginning of a metaphysics that is perfect but also non trivial in its content which is the universe which it finds to be ultimate.
One more thing about ‘is’. In English ‘is’ is present tense singular. When I say is I typically mean somewhere. There seems to be no English word that means ‘is’, ‘was’, or ‘will be’. There seems to be no English word that means ‘exists in some region or regions either marked by space and time or not’ (where the ‘not’ signifies modes of extensionality other than space and time and / or modes other than extensionality—assuming of course that such modes are logically possible).
So, now, I introduce an extended meaning of ‘is’: is means exists in some region(s) of space and time and / or not. In the following definition the first ‘is’ is the ‘is’ of definition and the second ‘is’ is the ‘is’ as defined above.
Being is that which is.
The simple statement-definition hides and conveniently suppresses a welter of careful thought.
Experience is subjective awareness (in all its manners, forms, and kinds).
Do I have emotion? That depends on what ‘emotion’ means; and the proper meaning of emotion is still under debate. I do not doubt that there is emotion in the ordinary sense but I do and should doubt that there is metaphysically precise emotion. Why should I do that? I would do if I wanted to use emotion to some purpose that called for absolute precision. There is a sense in which all we have to go on is experience in its most general sense whose purview is everything mental. So if I wanted to use experience to build up a precise picture of the universe I would want a precise picture of all aspects of experience. That is a valuable project taken up by some philosophers, e.g. A.N. Whitehead in Process and Reality (1929). But my goal here is to use ordinary things, e.g. experience without distinction as to kind of experience, to frame understanding and so to see how extensive that understanding can be (of which we got a hint in the ordinary is the extraordinary): we want precision with regard to scope rather than detail (precision with regard to scope may be a foundation for detail after scope has been established). I want to begin with experience for the human reasons stated below but also because I cannot doubt experience.
But some careful thinkers do doubt that there is experience. Is there experience at all? Sentience is what makes sentient being different from non-sentient being such as a rock (assuming a rock to be non-sentient) or a living being that behaved as if sentient but that was not. Sentience is so fundamental a notion that it is not defined in terms of something more fundamental (of course, it might be understood in other terms, e.g. the material; and we may doubt the efficacy of experience—I do not—but that is another story that I briefly discuss at the end of this section). The real fallacy of denying sentience is that we expect to define things in other verbal terms while forgetting that the chain of explanation (to be an explanation) must end somewhere (sometimes the end of the chain is infinitely remote). The fallacy of the denial of experience does not stem from thoughts such as materialism or scientific behaviorism: those are just reasons for doubt. But they are bad reasons because they take unjustified positions (e.g. ill thought out materialism: there is nothing but matter and matter excludes mind, and behaviorism: the realm of mind is the subjective therefore existence of mind is subjective) as basis of criticism. From the fundamental character of experience or sentience, then, there is no further defining in other concepts but the defining is a naming: experience names the awareness in our (‘consciously’) aware presence; here the chain of reasoning is not just finite but very short. The doubt about experience is valuable. It sharpened understanding.
As said I can doubt emotion and cognition (not that I practically doubt those things but rather I doubt there adequacy of a functional or otherwise specific account to perfectly capture the reality of mind). However, I do not doubt experience. I cannot doubt experience because doubting is experiencing. That is (a definition, followed by a true assertion):
Experience is awareness.
There is experience.
Or: experience has being.
We could have approached this via a deep argument: (1) functional—here are the varieties of experience, (2) material—what is the relationship of two material particles (Leibniz monad argument), (3) evolutionary—experience (awareness) is adaptive (it is not; rather it is the varieties, intensities, focusing, and self-referential aspects, i.e. the more than mere aspects of experience that make it adaptive).
But why is experience important?
It is our presence (to the world which includes our selves).
It is the place of our more than just being.
It is relationship. It is the place of our being-in-the-world or universe as human / living beings.
It is how being and human being connect in the sense of perfectly precise metaphysics.
(Doubts about the efficacy cite experiments that show that subconscious decisions to act precede awareness that ‘I am deciding’. Of course: we should not want to consciously process everything: that would be inefficient. The body has much awareness that is not focally conscious—some think it unaware but it is probably just dim consciousness perhaps below some threshold of intensity (I use the term ‘probably’ because I am not providing an argument here: the argument is in the realizations-resource version): the quick reaction to fear without thinking the situation through is valuable. The situation, however, is rather like an army. The troops react, act; they see immediately. The command center learns later; develops strategy; communicates back to the front. The obvious analogy is this: the front line corresponds to un- / dim awareness while the command corresponds to clearly conscious consciousness. Here, then, is another example of doubt sharpening thought.)
It is useful to say a little about the kinds of experience. For convenience we may call them ideas (thought, perception, feeling) and intending and willing that parts of action (over mere process).
Now just a few more thoughts to show the power of being as being and experience and experience (‘x as x’ simply means x as understood here).
There is a beautiful and simple account from documents such as the realizations-resource version (the account brings out the power of being in the ordinary sense but it would take this discussion to far away from its purpose to repeat that account here).
The universe is defined as all being (over all space and time and/or not).
The definition is ordinary. It does not refer to the contents of the universe or its nature—whether it is it matter or not, or mind or not, in or of space and time or not…
Let us look at the power of this ordinary concept.
There is nothing outside the universe. So far as concepts, ideas, minds, ideas, atoms, numbers, philosophy, metaphysics, streams of consciousness exist, they are in the universe.
If a creator is external to the created the universe has and can have no creator.
But self creation would be creation from nothing—which would not be creation but emergence.
The universe has no creator. It is not created.
The sense of ‘is’ above is atemporal.
Relative to a conception of reality, something is possible if it satisfies that conception. If the something is actual it is obviously possible. But if it is possible it is not necessarily actual. Possibility is larger than or the same as actuality.
Regarding the universe as the real, the possible is actual because there is and can be nothing outside the universe.
Relative to the universe, the possible and the actual are identical.
Now that, ‘the universe as real’ is a true but only a partial specification of possibility. Further specification is possible. Examples are physical possibility (satisfies the laws of physics of our cosmos), logical possibility, and even moral possibility (if the universe is essentially moral everything must be moral even those things that do not seem moral).
Note that logical possibility is the most inclusive. Something that is not logical, e.g. a square circle, does not and cannot exist (except in certain deviant metaphysics that, e.g., conflate concept and object—i.e. the regard the concept as the object at least in those cases that the object itself does not exist). Therefore physical and moral possibilities presume logical possibility but logical possibility does not presume physical or moral possibility (unless we have some how immensely underestimated the restrictiveness of logic or, more likely, use a very broad notion of the physical or the moral).
A domain is part of the universe.
The meaning of ‘part’ includes the connected and the un-connected.
In a more inclusive sense of part things are parts of themselves. In this sense the universe is a domain.
In the following domain is used in the sense of ‘proper part’—i.e. the part is not the whole.
If a domain exists the remainder called the complement also exists.
A domain may be created.
One domain or part may be implicated in the creation of another.
A pattern is a set of arrangements. It ‘allows’ some but not other arrangements.
Natural laws are patterns.
The laws of our natural sciences are examples of natural law.
In a hunter gatherer society the observation that there are ebbs and flows of natural resources that depend on the specific resource is a natural law.
Natural laws have being (they are in the universe).
There is nothing about a natural law that entails that it projects beyond its empirical realm, especially to the universe.
A cosmos is a connected domain defined by a uniform set of natural laws or theories called physical laws.
Other laws or theories are particular or local. Examples are theory of evolution and the law of black body radiation.
We often think of our cosmos in empirical terms. There are empirical limits such as the size of the cosmos set at 80 billion light years (not 13.8 billion or so because of the expansion of space). Whether it is 80 billion light years rests on the assumption that the cosmos began with the big-bang and that light speed is uniform and the maximum possible speed (and in which case the limit of the cosmos is also the limit of distant observation). There are empirical limits to smallness that we might never exceed in terms of known particle physics. We tend to imbue these laws / theories with an absolute character. We tend to think that there is nothing beyond the cosmos (except in terms that remain speculative). However, there is nothing that is necessary to these various limits.
There is nothing in our cosmos or observation of it that requires that its laws are universal or uniform.
There is nothing in our cosmos, observation, or reason that requires that it is the only cosmos or that the universe is essentially cosmos like in nature.
The laws are of manifest being.
They are not of the non-manifest (even if the non manifest is empty alongside the manifest).
Since the non-manifest has no law it generates every possibility (the contrary would be a law).
What kind of possibility?
Logical possibility says: if I have a concept that does not violate logic it is possible. However, if a concept violates true logic it cannot exist.
Therefore, if a concept does not violate logic the object exists (atemporal sense).
Logic is the only constraint on our concepts for existence.
Logic is a constraint on concepts for realism, not a limit.
Violation of fact is also violation of logic in which premise and conclusion are identical.
In this sense science and fact are part of logic. However, ‘fact’ and ‘science’ must be interpreted to have only local application for this sense to apply. This extended sense may be called realism.
We can doubt this proof the proof of the principle of ‘every possibility realized’ but absurdity is not one of the reasons for doubt: ‘every possibility’ means that our cosmos ‘must’ be just as it is. The principle of ‘every possibility’ does not say, however, how the cosmos originate but just (trivially) that it did and non-trivially that there are many other similar as well as dissimilar cosmoses (and more). How did they originate? The principle says every possible way. However, it seems likely that the most likely origins and the greatest population density of the universe by cosmos-like entities is via increment from some other state, especially the void, by a process of increment and selection of near stable (near symmetric) states. Now the proven principle violates neither logic nor experience nor fact. If you still doubt it then note that by the end of this piece you will see that it is an effective action principle that optimizes expectation of the value of outcomes.
Realism is the only constraint on being.
Being and the universe have no limits. I.e., every realistic (‘logical’) concept obtains.
Because our logics are found rather than given this redefines the concept of logic (and the effective concept of realism). Our traditional logics and sciences are approximations to realism / Logic (and possibility) in this sense.
That the universe has no limits, i.e. that the universe is the realization of realism / Logic / all possibility has been established and is called the fundamental principle of metaphysic or, simply, the fundamental principle.
Therefore the universe must enter non manifest and non manifest states.
This solves the problem of why there must be being at all—i.e. the problem of something from nothing which has been called the fundamental problem of metaphysics.
Something from nothing has a simpler solution. If the universe is non manifest there are no laws. Therefore something (and ‘everything’) must emerge.
Something from nothing can no longer be called the fundamental problem.
The problem of what has being is open and, with careful reflection, will be seen to be the one problem. What is the future of the cosmos and my consciousness are, for example, parts of this problem.
The void is the null domain.
It is the absence of being.
It is the complement of the universe.
As the complement of the universe the void exists.
But that ‘proof’ is invalid because existence of complements is true only for proper parts.
However, from the fundamental principle, the non manifest has power and, also, the universe enters into non manifest states of being.
Therefore the void exists.
There is at least one void.
A void may be associated with every element of being.
The number of voids is not relevant (except that there is one).
The power of the universe, i.e. that all possible states are realized, is also the power of the void.
The void is not the quantum vacuum but the two have similarities.
A metaphysics has been uncovered. Its principle is realism. It is ultimate in depth since it constitutes foundation without reference to another level. It is demonstrated rather than speculative. It captures the universe and shows it to be unbounded in extensionality (space, time, etc), beyond, and variety.
It is in a sense The metaphysics. It is now called the universal metaphysics or, simply, the metaphysics.
The metaphysics is only a framework—but an ultimate framework.
It requires that our cosmos, its laws, and any possible physical law to obtain; and limitless repetitions of these (within realism / Logic); all against a void and proto-void / transient background. However, it tells us nothing of our particular status—human being as being, animal being as being, cosmos as cosmos.
But it does imply that as we expand to universal being we will encounter and shed like the skin of a snake innumerable physical-like laws each of which we will not transcend in that form. Therefore we cannot know all laws and we do not need to know them all because they are all temporally experienced and we, even if we can, do not need to know our own laws precisely. Thus in the path of realization, perfect and full knowledge of laws, even if such perfection has being, is impossible but also unnecessary and not desirable. In this practical ‘good enough’ (or being-as-being) sense the metaphysics and local knowledge mesh; the local knowledge is perfect in the sense of better is not logically possible or existentially necessary; and the mesh is prefect in the sense of being the way of realization… a way of being which must of course include action.
But what is the way? I.e. what is its manner? If the individual realizes ultimate power—i.e. all being, how is that to be? It is given. However, it is reasonable to think, efficiency and enjoyment of the way is immensely enhance by intelligent-committed action.
And what are the dimensions of the way?
The way of being is the use of all dimensions of being (especially ideas and action) in the transformation of being and the realization of all being.