The Realizations of Being
Anil Mitra, Copyright © April 2014—January 2015
Essential material is shown in light blue font.
SMALL CAPITALS mark DEFINED and other special terms.
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The AIM of the realizations is, as far as it is good, to know the range of being and to realize the highest immediate and ultimate forms.
Though stated as a goal, the aim allows that the goal—to know… to realize—may be more process, perhaps eternal process, than a final and perhaps timeless state of being.
This template for metaphysics and realization is a scaffold. Significant development including proof and explanation is included only when pertinent to the aim.
The metaphysics developed and demonstrated in the narrative shows the universe to be the realization of all possibility. I will call this metaphysics the universal metaphysics or simply the metaphysics. This ‘possibilist’ metaphysics may seem naïve but we will see that its meaning is deep and its consequences of immense magnitude—e.g., that the universe is the realization of all possibility implies that it is far greater than our cosmos in extent, duration, and kind of being.
It is shown that this metaphysics frames meshes effectively with any realistic system of knowledge and action. Therefore the mesh goes far beyond what is standard and valid in ancient through modern traditions of knowledge and realization. Detailed knowledge and realization of the entire universe is shown accessible to LIMITED FORMS of being—especially the human-animal forms—but only in transcending limits and / or in eternal process.
Discussion of value (‘ethics’) is general—here I state a principle that is given clearer definition in the text. Though process and possibility are wide open, it is argued that the significant population of the universe is generally one of forms whose history is a trajectory through relatively stable and durable states. The good is the discovery and cultivation of this state-process. We are capable of knowing and creating in this process because we are part of it.
What are the highest forms? The metaphysics shows that in our present form we do not know but we can make reasonable hypotheses and experiment with (our) being in light of the hypotheses. That is, realization is an ongoing process in which, in limited form, we are always at the beginning. The metaphysics suggests that the highest forms will be the result of engagement of entire being—heart-mind-community (see the discussion in the chapter psyche). We may build upon blind process but significant forms will be intelligent and most likely require intelligent engagement in process. Some people may use the term god to describe the highest forms but the real issue—since we are at the beginning of knowledge—regarding god is the question: what is god? Because of our associations with it the term ‘god’ is likely to be misleading. The metaphysics shows that there are forms between human being and the highest but I will mostly avoid the term ‘god’.
The source for the narrative lies in the interaction of the traditions mentioned above, direct experience, and imaginative and critical reflection. For explicit detail see the general resource, the main statements, and the site page http://www.horizons-2000.org.
The plan for the template is to continue to refine its ideas and presentation and, in interaction with refinement, to use it together with detailed information as a template for reflection, writing, and realization.
To understand the system of ideas, it is important to employ the definitions given and to endeavor to see the system as a connected whole.
The introduction will: examine the relations of the aim to earlier and modern tradition; show how and to what extent the aim is to be achieved; and what kinds of interest the narrative may hold for audiences.
The approach to realizing the aim is centered, first, on the world: we will learn from the world rather than from preconception. Our idea of the world, however, is not that of fact alone. The way we see ourselves, our social world, our culture, and any beyond is laced with ideas or concepts. Our ability to grasp things beyond the immediate requires the formation of concepts. But no individual created our entire system of understanding (and action). Therefore it is essential to reckon with the human traditions of knowledge and action. We will be concerned to find what is valid in these traditions, ancient and modern. To be concerned with the world as it ‘presents’ to us and with tradition means that we must be willing to learn about the former and question the latter. That requires experiment and analysis—and synthesis—of concepts. In other words we accept no piece of understanding and knowledge as a priori to all experience.
As beings with limits we do not know all and certainly we may use the expedient of treating some regions of human knowledge—e.g. some essentials of logic—as if a priori but in the background we will seek to find their foundation. To accept a piece of knowledge, no matter how time honored, as absolute a priori—i.e. as necessary and refractory to all inner experience or thought and all outer experience—is mysticism. But is it possible to find final foundation? Commonly it is thought not but that common belief will also be subject to examination. In the goal of forward motion we find that the further back we go in understanding the further the goal may be enhanced. We will begin, shortly, with brief discussion of what we may learn from the human traditions of knowledge and process. What we will find is a system of understanding in the form of a metaphysics that will give both tradition and the endeavor an ultimate context. Of course we do not expect to know all things—the metaphysics itself shows this impossible for limited forms.
What we find is ultimate knowledge in some directions and ever openness in others. This knowledge, i.e. metaphysics, shows the in principle necessity of what is valid in the tradition which together with the ultimate character of the metaphysics results in a practical metaphysics—a union, developed later, of the metaphysics and what is valid in the traditions—for knowledge and its completion in action. The fundamental mottos of the approach could be expressed—‘no absolute a priori’ and ‘back to the beginning’ (when necessary or efficient in furthering forward movement). This could be mistaken for carelessness of approach but it is not—it need not be—for the learning of the metaphysics and the tradition is always available. On the other hand it is positive in how it addresses the issue of a priori knowledge—i.e., knowledge that is prior to all experience and being: it rejects the a priori while allowing elements of as-if a priori. This practical stance to the a priori is also backed conceptually from the metaphysics.
Tradition may be seen as secular and trans-secular. The secular is founded in what we can see—in the empirical—and today draws largely on science for its worldview. Some secularists insist that there is nothing beyond the secular worldview while others do not. However secularists do tend to think that the action is in ‘this world’. Trans-secularists hold that ‘this world’ is not all that there is and that there is much significant action beyond it. Many but certainly not all trans-secular views appear fantastic. Where such views clearly seem to violate our sense of reality, a fundamentalist is a person who holds to the fact and importance of literal interpretation. Others hold that the value of such views is non-literal—that the views have significance for morals and for non-literal meaning and its consequences. This does not imply that the value is positive for even non-literal meanings can have negative consequences. The judgment as to value is not easy for, as we know, science and truth can have negative consequences even when used with the best intent. And, even if we hold that the meaning of a trans-secular account is allegorical, surely a realistic trans-secular account is preferable if it should be available for such an account would be more powerful than allegory, would go toward elimination pointless debate among trans-secular fundamentalists and between secularists and trans-secularists; and it would not void a place and significance for allegory.
The metaphysical framework—the realization of all possibility—demonstrated and developed here (in chapters being through metaphysics) shows the universe to be limitlessly more extensive than revealed in science so far; at the same time it agrees with science where science is valid. The metaphysics has room for trans-secular views of all kinds except where the trans-secular contain self contradiction or contradiction of fact. What does the metaphysics say of the trans-secular views that do not have these kinds of contradiction? In the mesh with the valid parts of tradition, it is seen that the significant cosmologies must satisfy criteria of ‘reasonableness’ (the meaning of significance is elaborated later). The primary criteria are that (a) at each stage of cosmological process the cosmos (or cosmoses) must be self sustaining—i.e. stable enough to have some durability without external support and (b) the stages must emerge from earlier ones by processes that are simple enough to also not require external support. What is ‘simple enough’? It must be that the variations are random while the surviving outcomes will be those that are stable enough for some durability. This is primally simple in that is sufficient and does not depend on hidden factors. It shows that forces that are more complex or deep or powerful than what they generate are unnecessary and without significance (though not impossible). The metaphysics of the narrative is a framework for the tradition but also for much more.
The metaphysics does more than provide a picture of universe. If all possibility is realized, it does not follow that individuals do not die but that they must, in some way (explored later) transcend death and experience identity with the universe. However (clearly) this means that we do transcend limitation of form but that while in limited form this transcendence-realization must be eternal process.
Is there any doubt regarding the system of ideas developed? The system may of course contradict what we believe under a range of lesser paradigms or worldviews. However, as observed above the metaphysics and its mesh with what is valid in tradition (the ‘lesser paradigms’), experience, and reflection, has neither internal nor external inconsistency. That is, it is free of contradiction, paradox, or absurdity. Still—even though a demonstration has been given—there is some doubt whose nature and content I take up in the chapter metaphysics. The upshot is that the presence of doubt—and doubt regarding the nature and significance of the doubt—does not undermine the existential challenge of realization.
My interest in this narrative as in life has always been in ideas and action.
I have endeavored to develop the ideas simply. Where I have raised doubt and where I have addressed issues that are not concerned with use, one aim is to refine the ideas for power and use.
The ideas themselves—the metaphysics—show their own essential incompleteness. They show that knowledge and being are essentially incomplete without action that is grounded in ‘this world’ and aimed at the ultimate (of course knowing is itself a form of action and unaware ‘action’—movement that is not grounded in knowing at least to the extent that sometimes all that is available is risk—is not action). The ideas show the nature and necessity of the realizations; and that the realizations are the completion of the ideas in process. Ideas and action are not distinct compartments: each enhances the other and the two constitute a whole. It is important that realization is not esoteric: it must be grounded in the immediate and the ultimate
And so the narrative should appeal to the non-exclusive classes of reader defined by (i) general interest in the work as a whole—the worldview of the narrative and its main implications (ii) the interest in ideas, developed in the chapters ideas through metaphysics and (iii) the interest in the nature and ways of the realizations, founded in the ideas and further developed in the chapters realization through template.
A CONCEPT or IDEA is any mental content and in this meaning a percept is a concept. A REFERENTIAL concept is one that purports to have an object. In what follows the term ‘concept’ will mean ‘referential concept’.
An OBJECT is and can only be specified by a concept or idea—i.e., by mental content.
The term ‘is’ has two formal uses in this text. In a DEFINITION it means ‘is defined as’. In the second use ‘is’ indicates existence—i.e., that the concept has an object as intended. Thus when a definition is given, a separate statement of existence is given when existence might be problematic. Commonly, use of ‘is’ to indicate existence refers to the present time. Here it will also be used in the generalized sense of existence over some ranges of time and any atemporal sense of existence that is not in time.
Saying that an object is specified by—or known in having—the concept is an aspect of REALISM which is the view that the universe is known (of course, in varying degrees of perfection and completeness) and is there regardless of the ‘subject’ or knower. However, the concept is not its object. This gives rise to SKEPTICISM—doubt that knowing has any degree of faithfulness to the known. Perhaps the known is essentially warped; perhaps the universe is the creation of the knower. Given this challenge, how can realism be justified? It is important, first, to observe that realism does not deny that we create concepts, of which some are social constructs, but says that the concepts, including percepts, have some degree of faithfulness to the known which is real (‘some degree’ allows that there are distortions and even hallucinations but realism holds that nonetheless there is a real world of which we have some knowledge).
One response to skepticism is an IDEALISM in which ideas or concepts are the real world to some degree which includes the case that there is nothing but the world of ideas (mere appearances). The logical appeal of idealism is that it short circuits skepticism. There is perhaps a psychological appeal in which since the universe is our creation we are not encumbered with a reality that is independent of our designs—this kind of idealism allows the illusion that we are the masters of fate. Idealism is thus a counterfeit realism.
A first ‘real’ line of defense of realism is to observe that skepticism assumes what it denies for without realism it has no point (without objects, faithfulness has no meaning). This is a thin defense of realism but its main point is to show that the main point of skepticism should perhaps be to sharpen our understanding of realism rather than to take skepticism—we know nothing andor there is nothing but our ideas—seriously (except those who deny a world other than that of ideas, idealists agree on this).
The narrative provides a constructive defense of realism—i.e. it develops and defends an account of the universe of which we do and can have (some) knowledge and which exists independently of our knowledge of it and in so doing will demonstrate significant knowledge of the universe. Does this further the aim of the narrative? It will do so in showing (a) that we are in possession of instruments to follow the aim of knowing and realizing and (b) that the universe is real and far greater than our experience (‘mind’) and so our knowledge and realizations have real significance (in not being our product or already contained by us) and great significance (in being far greater than our present cumulative learning).
Concept and object are essential to concept meaning. Linguistic meaning results when a symbol—iconic or abstract, simple or compound—is associated with the concept-object. Inadequate attention to the concept may, it is well known, result in unclear meaning, confusion of different objects, and paradox. Above all, however, concept and object are dually necessary to the possibility and robustness of meaning—they are essential to meaning.
Here are some examples. The sentence ‘This sentence is false’ is true if and only if it is false—i.e. it is paradoxical; the paradox is not as sometimes thought due to self reference but due to the assumption that there is a reference (i.e. that the sentence has a truth value). If we equate the concept of religion to an empirical cross section of the actual religions we cannot have a concept of religion; this is exacerbated but not entirely due to the fact that we are the partial creators of religion. The same is true of language and therefore it is most likely a mistake to test some linguistic theory only on the languages of the world—or to think that language(s) can be specified by rules. But this is also true of things that do not appear to be our creations. The question, for example, of concepts that seem independent of our creation—for example, we often think the definition of the universe hinges on science but the incompleteness of science makes such a definition a possible source of confusion where confusion can be avoided (see the later definition of universe). There has been a line of thought according to which new knowledge may be uncovered by analysis of meaning so far which is clearly untenable. However we are now seeing that analysis of meaning is essentially complemented by synthesis and analysis and synthesis of meaning is the essential source of new knowledge (it is easy to interpret the method of science in these terms). This further suggests that the creation of new forms of being is a process of analysis and synthesis—breakdown and buildup—of being (this thought is pursued further in documents at http://www.horizons-2000.org).
Some concepts have no object. The concept of a unicorn occurs in some legends as a white horse like creature with a pointed and spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. As far as we know, the concept of the unicorn has no objects—this can be stated ‘there are no unicorns’; this is a matter of fact or contingency. Some concepts, e.g. the self-contradictory square circle, can have no object. In all such cases, contingent and necessary, we can think of the concepts of having ‘absence’ as the object.
The concept of being is essential to the narrative. Its power for the cosmology and metaphysics to be developed is its NEUTRALITY to such kinds as mind and matter, space and time or, as posited in some systems of belief, to universal love and conscious light. Its power for the realizations is to remind us that while the world has many forms or appearances it is but one—that which it is (and not the many that it may seem).
It may lighten the intellect to think of the universe in terms of matter, space, and time; it may warm the heart to think in terms of universal love. But if the universe is not these things it does not prevent us to think in such terms. However, to think in such terms without knowing of their truth is disempowering. On the other hand to think in neutral terms—in terms of being—is (a) empowering to discovery and truth, (b) replaces the minor empowerment of thinking in terms of fixed and anthropic terms by the major empowerment of alignment with the way of the universe. If the latter way is experienced with anxiety, it is the suffering associated with not yet seeing the truth. In the net, the way of truth is the way of enjoyment and the meaning and truth of this assertion will emerge in the narrative.
Some reflections on doubt
It will be useful to make some comments on doubt (Descartes was the ‘great doubter’—in investing doubt and in using it as a tool). It may seem that there can be excessive concern with doubt in general and particularly in relation to relatively trivial concerns. This is the occasion for the following observations.
Where we are interested in knowledge and if we want to know that we know we find from common error that we may not know even where we think or seem to know.
Therefore questioning what we think we know, i.e. DOUBT in every way that we can have doubt, is the first answer to error.
But doubt by itself is insufficient. It is essential to have something to doubt—e.g. knowledge claims or constructs or suggestions. This too can be doubted. Thus doubt doubts itself which has consequences (a) the first sentence of this paragraph and (b) that while in philosophy we may have the luxury of eternal doubt, even in philosophy there comes a time to put doubt aside (c) improving the quality of doubt and critical thought—and consequently a contribution to imaginative thought. In a sense the point of beginning is irrelevant. Imagination leads to error, leads to doubt, leads to improved critical and imaginative thought (this loop could begin with doubt). Doubt and imaginative thought interpenetrate: imagination improves doubt and itself; doubt improves imagination and itself. Put simply:
To be potent and right—or on the way thereof—thought (process) must be REFLEXIVE.
Doubting may not resolve all doubt but it will separate our knowledge claims into three classes: what we know, what we do not know, and what lies in between (what we know is often stated as that of which we are certain but certainty is a particular case of knowing).
That learning how and what to doubt and what lies in each of these three classes and what is significant and what is not is one of the reasons that the growth of knowledge is a cumulative and often seemingly slow endeavor. Some of these concerns are among Descartes’ concern with doubt.
Over and above serious doubt we often find, in philosophical thought, a concern with difficulties and paradoxes that may seem excessive even when the concerns are interesting in themselves. The response to this concern is multifold. (1) Many of the problems of philosophy—existential and practical—arise in response to real human and practical issues. Even where they arise in the immediate, it is often that reflection soon takes us beyond the immediate therefore doubt is essential to knowledge. We discover that there are significant realms beyond the immediate and so it is not surprising we should frequently find ourselves amid doubt among the unknown or partially known. (2) Although particular doubts (do I exist, am I conscious, are we nothing but conscious experience) may seen to question what is obvious they are, typically, not mere puzzles but arise from questions arising in the attempt to know (and to know what we know). (3) Therefore while concerns raised may seem quixotic there origin is in significant issues. (4) Consequently their resolution—or lack thereof—is informative and of great conceptual and consequently practical significance (a number of examples arise naturally in the narrative). Further regardless of the status of resolution, the attempt at resolution often results in useful and powerful ways (‘methods’) of thought and discovery (and this argues against a priori principles and for common origins to method and content). (5) Many ‘critical’ systems of thought start with doubts regarding particular questions and conclude doubts for a wider class of questions (the extreme case being that skepticism that maintains real doubt for all questions).
Real CRITICISM therefore recognizes (a) the three classes—what we know, what we do not, and what lies in between and (b) that what we place in these classes is a temporary placement and may change with further experience and reflection.
The details of core material and treatment of significant topics that are not necessary to the aim of this document may be found in the document journey in being.
BEING is that which is.
Since ‘everything has being’ the concept of being has been criticized as trivial, even not a concept (since, the allegation goes, it designates nothing). A first response to this objection is that it also designates everything and that triviality of sense and depth of consequence are not exclusive (the entire narrative is concerned with depth of consequence and this shows the value of following through with thought even in the presence of initial doubt). A second criticism may be introduced in terms of an example: if I say that Sherlock Holmes does not have being then what it is that does not have being is or seems incapable of identification; thus ‘Sherlock Holmes does not have being’ seems meaningless. This is sometimes called the problem of negative existentials because it is usually stated regarding the concept of existence whose meaning is close to that of being. Resolution in terms of the symbol-concept-object notion of meaning is simple. ‘Sherlock Holmes’ names or is a symbol for a concept and its purported object. The concept is ‘defined’ in the writing of Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes is a consulting detective who lives at 221 Baker Street in London and has a friend—one Dr. James Watson, and so on). Then, ‘Sherlock Holmes does not have being’ means that there is no object corresponding to the concept. The problem of negative existentials has been especially associated with names (e.g. Sherlock Holmes) or ‘singular terms’ because it has been thought that a pure name is an identifier. However, names are pure identifiers only secondarily—i.e. when we already associate the name with a picture or concept which may be mental or physical and iconic or symbolic. The problem of negative existentials is one that occurs for all terms if we think that the term (non-iconic of course) is sufficient to identify and object.
This also clarifies the earlier objection regarding ‘everything has being’ for the phrase seems to mean that everything that has being does have being but instead it can now be seen that it means something quite different: that to every concept there corresponds an object and since there may be concepts that do not have objects, the concept of being is not trivial in the way that the objection seems to imply. It might seem that the objections and therefore the responses are concerned with minutiae and removed from anything important. However, we will see that such careful thought is immense in its consequences.
There is still another problem regarding being. We have defined being. However, a definition does not imply an object and so it is valid to ask but is there being? We might respond that the world is being. However, that leaves us with the problem of illusion. To show carefully that there is being and what it is that has being will turn out to be empowering and illuminating. To show that there is being we invoke ‘experience’ (this is the idea in Descartes’ famous ‘I think therefore I am’).
EXPERIENCE is awareness.
In this first meaning, experience is close to consciousness. It is in the nature of experience that we would say ‘experience is subjective awareness’. However, in the discussion on mind we find that in addition to the objective side (e.g., talk about awareness) all awareness has a subjective side (the feel of form, quality, and so on) and so the phrase ‘subjective awareness’ is redundant.
How do we know that there is experience? We are accustomed to the idea of relative proof; a proof of A would be as follows: A is implied by B, B is implied by C, and so on. We invoke axioms or premises to avoid infinite regress. However, regarding the being of experience we seek non-relative proof. Ask: is there anything at all? If there were not there would not even be illusion of things. Therefore there is at least illusion which is experience (so, not all proof is relative and note that while we have named experience we have done more: we have shown why and how it may be named).
There is experience.
It extends over the entire range of our conscious mental content.
There is an issue with this proof—although it is a proof it seems to lack substance. There is experience but it may all be illusion (or nearly all for if all is illusion it is not an illusion that there is illusion). We would like so show that not all experience is illusory—that the object of experience is ‘substantial’.
We should also consider the objections to experience from materialism. Some critical materialists have objected to the notion of experience it on the ground that it has no place in a material world. However, without experience all would be (seem) dark; but that is metaphorical: without experience, there would not even be ‘seeming’ (an error of critical materialism is of the form: if concepts of matter exclude reference to experience then matter excludes experience).
The proof above allows that there may be nothing but experience. Is this in fact the case? To resolve the problem will be empowering (doubt even when not immediately ‘practical’, again with Descartes, is empowering). The resolution is as follows. In experience we find, seemingly, experience itself and a seeming real world. In experience the magnitude and variety of the real world is found to far exceed the capacity for experience (of what is experienced as the individual). Therefore ‘all is experience’ is either self-contradictory or an alternative labeling for the revealed experience of a real world that contains experience. We conclude:
There is a real world which is experienced and which includes experience.
We could have concluded that there is being from the fact that there is experience. However, we can now conclude that
There is being.
Experience shows the variety of being to be rich and knowledge of being to be robust.
The UNIVERSE is all being.
There is precisely one universe.
The universe has no EXTERNAL CREATOR.
A DOMAIN is part of the universe (here, the sense of PART is such that the whole is a part).
An individual, a cosmological system or COSMOS, and the universe and its parts are domains. Domains, together with processes, relations, interactions, properties, and STATES of being are examples of objects.
A natural law is a reading of a pattern in a domain, typically in a cosmos; the pattern itself is the Law (note the capitalization: ‘Law’).
A LAW is an immanent pattern for a domain.
All Laws have being; all Laws are in the universe.
The VOID is the absence of being.
As complement to the universe (or any object relative to itself) the void exists.
A void is effectively associated with every object (e.g. domain or state of being).
Except that there is at least one, the number of voids is without significance.
The text follows common use in using the phrase ‘the void’.
The void has no Laws.
From the void, every possible object will emerge. In other words:
The void is EQUIVALENT to every possible object.
A proof is as follows. That an object does not so emerge is impossible for that would be a law of the void.
Every possible object or state of being obtains and is equivalent to every other.
The statement just above is named THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE of metaphysics.
It follows from the principle that something must come from nothing (the void).
The problem of why there is something rather than nothing has been called (by Heidegger and others) the fundamental problem of metaphysics and has been and continues to be recognized as a deep problem of metaphysics. The foregoing is a resolution of the fundamental problem. It is interesting to reflect—regardless of the foregoing analysis—that the problem of why there is something rather than nothing should be formulated ‘why must there be (at least some phases of manifest) something…’ for if there did not have to be something then there would be explanation of something without positing something else (e.g. a first cause).
With a LIMIT understood to be a state or object that violates neither fact nor logic but that cannot obtain, the fundamental principle is the assertion that:
The universe has no limits.
The universe is eternal and unbounded; its variety is without limit. There are no universal Laws.
If POWER is degree of limitlessness the universe is or has the greatest possible power.
Are there no limits to realization? Conceive, for example, that our cosmos is different than it is or that there are square circles. These are contradictions—the first of fact or science and the second of logic. However, they are not limits to the universe: they constitute the constraint of realism on the freedom of concept formation.
The constraint of logic is ultimate in permissiveness—in what it allows. What of the constraint of fact or science? It, too, is permissive for while it implies that the facts are facts we must ask what the facts are. Grant that it is a fact that the sun has risen every day on record; it is not a fact (or true concept) that it will rise tomorrow. Grant that the known laws of physics hold in our cosmos at the present time; it is not a fact that they will continue to hold, that they hold in every cosmos, or that the universe as a whole is cosmos-like at all. Thus facts, too, are immensely permissive.
Note that we can think of science as hypothetical and as factual—either thought is valid in its own framework: when we regard a scientific theory inferred regarding a limited domain as universal it is hypothetical; but when limited to the precise domain of fact it is factual.
If a concept ‘x’ satisfies the constraint of logic-fact its realization is POSSIBLE (we will abbreviate this: x is possible); otherwise it is impossible. There is a clear sense in which facts (and so science) can be brought under logic: if we know a fact obtains, then the claim that it does not obtain violates the logical principle of non-contradiction. In what follows:
The term LOGIC will generally refer to logic-science-fact or possibility. REALISM is the constraint of logic, i.e. of possibility.
There will be objection to bringing logic (deduction) and science (fact, induction) under a single umbrella. Here is justification for doing so. First, facts are concepts (recall that a concept is mental or representative content and the medium of knowing facts is the percept-concept). Second the distinction between deduction and induction is of course valid. However, the application is not valid. It is based on the thought that inference under logic is deductive while inference of science (laws, theories) is inductive; though true, the conclusion of a difference is mistaken. For we should compare inference under logic with inference under science and both are deductive; and we should compare inference of the laws and theories of science with the derivation of the systems of logic (propositional and predicate calculi and so on) and both are inductive. It is of course not being argued that logic and science are identical but only that certain putative differences—particularly those that show them as different in their subject and method—do not obtain. Both apply to the world; the derivation of both is inductive; derivation under both is deductive. What is different is scope—logic treats of all contexts, science of special ones.
As seen earlier the problem of why there is or must be something has been called the fundamental problem of metaphysics. However, this problem was trivially resolved by the fundamental principle. This suggests re-conception of the fundamental problem.
The FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM OF METAPHYSICS may be conceived as concern ‘what has being’ or ‘what objects are there in the universe’ or, more precisely, to what concepts do there correspond objects.
Because two conceptions separately consistent might together entail a contradiction an improved form of the fundamental principle is:
Realism is the only constraint on (understanding of) the universe. That is, the universe is the realization of all possibility.
It is clear from concern regarding separately consistent conceptions that in the assertion above the term ‘possibility’ is preferred to ‘possibilities’.
Though maximally permissive, realism is not as permissive as may be thought. The future of logic or realism will include working out what forms the universe has under them.
It is obvious that impossible concepts are not realized but the fundamental principle implies that all possible concepts are realized. Thus the fundamental principle is that all possibilities are realized:
Given any object (especially domain, state of being, or individual), the only constraint that any other object should be accessible to it is realism.
Every object is equivalent to every other object.
Logic-science (fact) is a constraint on concepts for realism, not a limit to power. For precision the phrase ‘constraint to’ in the previous paragraph should be replaced by ‘constraints to concepts that specify’.
The immense freedom of being allowed and required by realism would seem to violate our empirical knowledge. However, the same freedom requires the existence of cosmoses such as ours that seem self contained with regard to empirical knowledge—seemingly though not ultimately cut off from the rest of the universe. Worlds such as ours may be called NORMAL.
Under realism, the PROOFS of many propositions—e.g., in cosmology below—are trivial. Yet, realism must harbor much that is difficult if not impossible for any given limited forms (of individual) to intuit and prove (and so the disciplines—metaphysics, abstract and concrete sciences, yoga(s) or science(s) of transformation of being, and political economy—of the future must be ever in process and complemented by participation and immersion). Realism defines the concept and future LOGIC-SCIENCE regarded as one (differentiated only by the universality of their truths).
The following abstracts material from the main assertions (the detail is included here because it clarifies cosmology and continuities of identity across unmanifest states).
SAMENESS and DIFFERENCE are basic in that they require no definition.
IDENTITY of object is enduring (sense of) sameness with or without difference.
This concept is not the identity of logic and mathematics.
Identity is an object.
SELF or PERSONAL IDENTITY is an enduring sense of sameness of self (in the following identity usually refers to personal identity).
An INDIVIDUAL is a being with self identity.
Some reflections on mortality
This section is a reflection of some human significance but, since its concern is explicitly addressed later, is peripheral to the main narrative.
Is human identity limited—especially in time? This concern, which is answered below, is a fundamental concern. Were it not answered below we might want to call it the true fundamental problem of metaphysics for there is a real sense in which the destiny of consciousness is more significant than the future of the ‘material’ side of the universe. In earlier times and in idealist thought identity (especially human identity in the form of soul) has been seen eternal and even limitless. Today, under the influence of science, we tend to see the universe as matter (or matter energy) and frequently as our empirical cosmos. Consequently, secular thought tends to see birth and death as absolute events: the coming into and going out of existence of a unique identity. It would seem however that even those who make this affirmation tend to see it as tragic. What is the validity of the conclusion that our identities are limited? Obviously the universal metaphysics shows them limitless but it will be useful to argue the case without reference to the metaphysics.
It is important to see, as observed earlier, that what science shows as valid is in no way known from science to be the entire universe. Here the secularist is prone to think and even argue that while this is true, it is very probable that modern science has shown the essence of the universe. Again, this probability estimate does not emerge from science for it assumes what it claims to argue: that the region outside the empirical region is small.
Can we say anything, then, about the limitations on individual identity without referring to the metaphysics or equivalent? The conceptual difficulty (i.e. over and above all desires to see our selves as not constrained by mortal limits) of seeing identity as limited is that then becomes an inexplicable and unique event. On the other hand the difficulty with regarding identity as limitless is our common experience that everyone will die—in addition to the fact that, at least apparently, limitlessness is not supported by materialist science (it is worth pointing out that, though not logically pertinent, the tendency to the tragic view of life may be seen as a defense whose source is the desire to see ourselves as immortal). Reflection seems to be unable to transcend this point.
However the following thoughts do arise in this regard. Given that ‘my identity’ has arisen from a universe that I may barely know it may well be that the likelihood of the ‘same’ identity recurring without end is significant. Secondly, uniformity and susceptibility to explanation—which, in opposition to uniqueness and mystery, are great heuristics in the advance even of science—suggest that individual and heightened consciousness and identity arise out and thus belong to a universal field of lower consciousness thus making particular identity universal in its reaches that are temporarily below the threshold of its own heightening. This pan-psychism is of course anathema to much scientific-secular thought but is not anti-scientific and preserves the uniformity principle of science (responsible in large measure for the success of the Newtonian, Darwinian, and Einsteinian revolutions in science).
The idea of extensivity is essential to cosmology and implicit in the idea of mind.
DURATION is marked by identity or sameness with difference.
EXTENSION is marked by difference without sameness.
There are no other modes of difference.
EXTENSIVITY is marked by sameness and difference. It is the conceptual precursor to spacetime. Objects are identifiable only in extensivity.
SPACETIME is the only extensivity.
From these considerations we can see that the Newtonian cosmology should give way to the ‘relativistic’. Extensivity is, in consequence of its nature as just seen, immanent in being—it is therefore relative rather than absolute (but there may be local as if absoluteness… note that the term ‘relative’ is being used in different senses); and from immanence, extensivity is non-uniform as the local qualities of being are non-uniform. Where identity is minimal and vague so is extensivity; where it is more defined so is extensivity; where sameness and difference are not fully distinguishable, neither are extension and duration; and from immanence it is the local nature of being that defines dimensionality
In today’s philosophy, especially the modern analytic tradition, an ABSTRACT OBJECT, e.g. number, is thought to not be characterized by extensivity. However, without difference there is no identifiable object, abstract or concrete. Further, from and within realism, every concept has an object in the one universe—all objects, abstract and concrete, are in the one universe (so, abstract objects do not reside in another universe of ideal forms, nor are they ‘mental objects’). The difference between the concrete and the abstract, then, is characterized by the fact that the concepts that define the latter have at least some degree of extensivity left out in the abstraction. It would seem natural, then, the concrete are known empirically while the conceptual and symbolic are natural modes of definition of the abstract.
COSMOLOGY is study of the variety and extensivity of being.
The universe has identity and MANIFESTATION, without limit, in acute, diffuse, and absent or void phases.
The universe is the void, an ill formed and transient background, and transient forms from the background (the quantum vacuum has similarities to the void; however the void is true absence while the vacuum is not—something from the vacuum is not something from nothing). Some of these forms are more enduring than others (generally, on account of greater SYMMETRY or articulation—i.e., ADAPTATION or self-sustaining form); these include relatively enduring cosmological systems and individuals. The fundamental principle implies that there is no universal mechanism of formation; however it is reasonable to think that:
The majority of enduring forms emerge in an adaptive process: one of INCREMENTAL variations and selections in which each state in the process is a relatively stable form. The variety, occurrence, and co-occurrence of individuals and cosmological systems and their forms are without limit.
It is expected that a count of adapted forms and histories will overwhelm a count of transients because (a) of the durability of adapted forms and (b) the transients are unlikely to have sentient beings capable of seeing and counting. However, even if ‘invisible’, the void and the transients are of essential significance to understanding the universe.
Also from the fundamental principle:
Continuities of identity across DEATH which is real but not absolute and across unmanifest phases define the concepts of individual and universal SOUL.
Note that here, spirit refers to an attitude—that there is more than the ‘mundane’ and to seeing and being that ‘more’; soul includes what is often referred to as spirit in the sense of that ‘more’).
The next paragraph explains the continuity and defuses its apparent paradox. The key to the explanation is to understand the unmanifest as on the boundary of spacetime and therefore as incomplete or transitory absence. The state of development of the idea is that it is stated in intuitive terms. However, realism requires its truth.
Identity occurs only where there is extensivity or sameness and difference. In the void and the near void where sameness and difference range from absent to minimal there is little that could be extensivity or identity. This is the reservoir of primal identity and, especially, of its continuities or soul and the continuity occurs because the absolute unmanifest is transient.
Within spacetime (or spacetimes) there are HIGH FORMS, e.g. individuals including local GODS, generally the result of increments as described above, which are not eternal or limitless in their being and knowledge.
The ABSOLUTE—the limitless being and knowing which is roughly the AETERNITAS of Thomas Aquinas and the BRAHMAN of Indian thought—transcends but is not beyond space and time.
The previous paragraphs in this discussion of cosmology define some hierarchical LEVELS OF BEING.
Since any object is equivalent to every object:
All individuals are equivalent to the universe and have its cosmology of manifestation and identity.
That different individuals are equivalent to the universe and its manifestations is not contradictory for their identities merge in realization of the equivalence.
This section is important in showing the place of mind in the universe (for details see main conclusions of the realizations).
From the section on being, experience in its first meaning covers the entire range of conscious mental content. Other features such as attitude and action are also regarded as associated with mind but as far as conscious content goes, they are particular activities associated with experience and therefore mind. Does the extension to non conscious mental content require such further features?
Let us think of a SUBSTANCE is an immutable kind that is one of one or more constituents of being (substances do not interact because interaction requires change). A substance ontology is one according to which the universe is made of substances (a non substance ontology would be one in which there are no immutable constituents of being). Since any state is equivalent to all states there can be no substance ontology. However, it will aid understanding of mind to see to \what extent substance ontology may provide an adequate account of being.
Let us define MATERIALISM as the substance ontology that matter is the only substance and STRICT materialism as further requiring that matter exclude mind. On this view there is no experience (there could be behavior as if there is experience) and so strict materialism is false. Substance alternatives to strict materialism are (a) ontologies that admit other substances instead of matter or dualism in which matter is but one substance, and (b) to relinquish strictness. An ontology without matter has the problem of explaining matter—unless all substances are the same at root and are therefore not other than materialism. Dualism has the problem of how interactions occur. The surviving alternative is to relinquish strictness—i.e. to see mind as an already known or so far unknown aspect of matter. This is admission that our knowledge of matter is not final and so, on substance ontology, there is a ground substance but to call it mind or matter is not meaningful.
Therefore on substance ontology, experience occurs at the root of being and is bound together with matter. Since experience is relationship (interaction) it is the effect of the experienced (even pure experience is an internal effect). Given an identity, the association with it of a substance or faculty of experience, is often—commonly and philosophically—though metaphorically referred to mind: this is the METAPHOR of mind (as though it is something over and above experience). On the same metaphor, MIND is being-in-relation or second order being while MATTER is being-as-such (‘being-as-being’) or first order being. Mind pervades the universe and what we experience as identity is its concentration in extension and continuity in duration.
How is this modified under realism—i.e. under the deepest understanding where substance ontology is relaxed? The universe is equivalent to the void—and so realism does not allow substance (it does not only disallow ‘stuff’ such as mind and matter, but also process, relationship, interaction, property, word, god, or any other proposed substance as the substance of all being). Now, realism not only allows but also requires normal worlds such as ours in which there are as if substances—i.e. substances as long as the normality of the world is not violated. However, while in our limited form though we have rarely if at all seen exceptions, there are indeed exceptions of immense magnitude of mind (and matter) reaching to the root of being (as required by realism). Generally, neither mind nor matter pervades; where they do, they have the foregoing character; and as we have seen this normal character dominates significant reality. In the normal realm all phenomena are experiential in an extended sense—the effect of one element of being in another—and experience in the sense first introduced is a concentration of the experience in the extended sense. It remains true that while there are other ‘correlates’ of mind, e.g. attitude and action, they are essentially experiential and defined by some further but not alternate condition.
These considerations show a consistently expanded sense or concept of EXPERIENCE in which it is the inner aspect of an element of being whose outer aspect is interaction with (other elements of being in) the universe.
In this second meaning, experience includes ‘unconscious’ processing and far more. Insofar as experience is relationship and mind requires experience, that there can be mind without a more elementary form is a contradiction of meaning. However, the logical material requirement of mind is minimal.
From the perspective of an individual, identity is the place of experience which is the source of a metaphor of mind as a place or object in the individual. Non-metaphorically, mind is an alternative term for experience and its varieties.
In this sense mind pervades the universe and what we experience as identity is its concentration in extension and continuity in duration.
Because matter and mind are being itself and being in relationship, respectively, there are no further terms to the ‘series’ that begins with mind and matter. Spinoza’s thought that the series is unending is an error based in substance ontology. There may of course be infinitely many kinds of quality or property.
We have seen that experience is one aspect of interaction all the way to the root of being and that in formed worlds all awareness is experience (has an experiential side). However, there are arguments that even relatively high level awareness may be non-experiential. Let us consider one such argument. A brain in which the corpus callosum, the bundle of axons that connect left and right hemispheres, has been cut (usually to reduce epileptic symptoms) is referred to as ‘split’. Experiments with split brain persons show that the individual responds to events in the field of vision without reporting or being able to report awareness of the events. This phenomenon has been cited as an example of awareness without consciousness experience. However, there is an alternate explanation. It is that there is more than one region of awareness—a peripheral that takes in stimuli and a more central one that is aware of awareness and makes reports of awareness possible. In normal individuals these regions are in communication but for split brain individuals communication is cut off and this blocks central awareness and reporting of the visual awareness. The explanation that purports to show that there is awareness without experience does not do so because there is an alternate explanation.
The conclusions of the previous two paragraphs are examples of resolutions of problems of mind (and matter) from the present necessary account of mind and matter. Other problems of mind and matter may also be treated on this account. This is done in the following documents: main results and details of the realizations.
It is rather characteristic that valid science as knowledge is truth but its function is instrumental; concepts are essential but a system (a theory) is ever open to test (this of course takes the goal of a theory to be universal; alternatively, as a description of some phase of being and provided that we do not project beyond that phase, science—theory—may be seen as fact). Symbols are complemented by INTUITION which shall here connote an embodied sense of the real, including and complement to symbolic representation (embodiment is a deep goal and the sense a means of realization). Intuition is crucial in realization in that what is true and there is not always under bright light. In any attempt at ultimate comprehension in terms of symbols, there is the possibility of paradox. Intuition is a guide at the border of paradox-paradise / consistency-exclusion of riches but instrumentality. But, so as to avoid mere speculation devoid of realism and potential for realization, it is also important for intuition to be critical and in interaction with analytic criticism. The critical analysis for the issue of continuity of identity is likely to straddle the logic-science border which, since the universal metaphysics requires limitless realization, is likely to not be a sharp border or divide.
In developing the consequences of realism it is realism itself that provides proofs while, where explicit analysis has not yet been developed, intuition or heuristic works toward finding the forms of being that exemplify what is proved. Further, while realism provides proofs, intuition suggests the proofs and what to prove. For the present purpose all that is valid in tradition and experience falls under intuition.
METAPHYSICS is KNOWLEDGE of being.
Though widely criticized in modern thought, a powerful metaphysics in just the above sense has been established in the considerations above. That is, we have been engaging in metaphysics and constructive demonstration of its validity and a system of it without using the term ‘metaphysics’.
Realism, exemplified and elaborated in the cosmology, defines a PURE metaphysics named the UNIVERSAL METAPHYSICS and called, simply, THE METAPHYSICS.
How has this been possible? The foundation of the metaphysics is in knowledge of being (that there is something that exists), universe (that there is all being), Law (that there are patterns), and the void (absence of being). Thus the foundation is empirical but also precise since abstraction has omitted detail whose non distortion is not guaranteed. The foundation has a number of crucial elements. The use of being rather than substance such as matter or mind as fundamental avoids confusions due to lack of clarity in the questions of what, e.g. substance, to choose as fundamental and the nature of what is chosen. Virtually all discussions of the universe in the literature are characterized by vagueness and uncertainty regarding what it is and what it contains. Is the universe the empirical universe of science? Are my ideas in the universe—and if so, where are they? If there are gods, where are they—are they in the universe (the idea of god-the-creator makes this issue particularly problematic)? Using being as that which exists and the universe as all being cuts through the lack of clarity in these issues and problems in thinking about them. To the extent that they exist ideas, gods, space and time, the discovered and the undiscovered are all part of the universe.
We saw that there is a real world that contains and is known in experience. Thus, our knowledge is in the universe. This eliminates the vagueness and certain insecurities that we feel about the nature of knowledge (of course it does not remove uncertainties about the validity of knowledge claims: as in the establishment of the facts of experience and being, such claims require case by case or class by class examination). The foregoing recognition shows us that concept meaning, too, is in the universe. We introduced linguistic meaning as defined by concepts, their objects, and associated symbols (the source for this notion of meaning is reflection on the thought of Frege and others). This concept of meaning is especially empowering to the analysis of individual meanings and the nature of meaning. It illuminates the realization that meanings are experimental and all (at least most) fixity in meaning is at most transitional—i.e., fixed within certain contexts and for certain purposes. Above all, perhaps, this conception of meanings shows us (a) that without the concept there is no meaning (and inadequate attention to the concept leads to the confusions of meaning just noted and to a range of semantic and logical paradoxes) and (b) that since knowledge is in the world there is no a priori knowledge. This places fact (science) and logic on a common level with regard to the nature of their truths. The distinction, then, is that the logical truths are common to all contexts. Therefore, while particular facts and logics may be obscure to us, the role of fact and logic (‘realism’) in defining the universal metaphysics is clear (and what is open to limited forms is endless discovery in the realm of knowledge—particularly of fact-science and logic—and endless realization in the realm of being).
This pure metaphysics is LITERAL and PERFECT knowledge of being under the CRITERION OF VALIDITY as FAITHFULNESS to the object.
It is obvious from the separation of knower and known and from examples of error and illusion that the literal perfect faithfulness is not universally coherent or realized in everyday knowledge and TRADITION (the institutions and systems of knowledge and know how of human civilization and cultures, ancient to modern including the abstract sciences such as logic and mathematics and the empirical sciences of matter, life, mind, and society).
The universal metaphysics implies that, for vast realms of traditional empirical and instrumental knowledge, perfect faithfulness is neither possible nor (on account of its impossibility and because our cosmos is an element in a far, far greater process) desirable. However:
For limited form there are and must be criteria or forms of validity such as (a) GOOD ENOUGH faithfulness and (b) knowing as part of our IMMANENCE-IN-THE-WORLD. The former is an instrument of adaptation—an expression of the fact that we do negotiate the world; the latter has focus on enjoyment on being-in-the-world rather than exclusively on manipulation and criteria related to manipulation of the world.
The good enough criterion is exemplified by everyday knowledge and values and by science (which is an extension of the everyday) and, of course, in some cases and for some purposes, ‘good enough’ is very good. Immanence-in-the-world is exemplified by the MYTH-HOLISM of oral traditions and modern thought, e.g. that of Heidegger and interpreters.
It is important that myth-holism is not in opposition to but includes the other modes, especially the literal. These modes constitute a continuum defined by degree of explicitness of concern with criteria from the perfectly literal to immanence.
A great part of our tradition derives its significance from these other criteria of validity.
The universal metaphysics and valid elements of the tradition combine to form a PRACTICAL METAPHYSICS that inherits the ultimacy and perfection of the metaphysics and the empirical and instrumental character of the traditions. How? Though remote, the universal metaphysics requires ‘tradition’ locally (e.g. our cosmos); and the tradition is our local instrument in beginning exploration of the universe. The practical metaphysics integrates the approaches to knowing—the perfect, the instrumental, and the enjoyment of living in the world.
This join is also ultimate, not as perfectly faithful, but as being the best possible system of universal understanding in the realization by beings of universality as seen in the cosmology.
In greater detail, the practical metaphysics develops as follows. The tradition gives us rough understanding of some forms or CATEGORIES OF BEING such as EXPERIENCE, REAL WORLD, IDENTITY, SPACETIME, and MIND-AND-MATTER. While these are not perfectly universal and do not exhaust the forms, they may be refined under the universal metaphysics. The metaphysics, which is remote in its EMPIRICAL and INSTRUMENTAL connection to the details of world, illuminates the traditions and requires that they have significant validity; every tradition is a temporary empirical and instrumental connection to the world and yields to or is simply replaced on the way to the newer and sometimes higher forms of being and knowing. This is possible because the metaphysics and the tradition complement one another: the validity of the metaphysics stems from its conceptual remoteness or ABSTRACTION from empirical detail; the strength of the tradition, especially of science, is its approach to empirical detail.
The development of the practical metaphysics deflates any apparent conflict between the pure metaphysics and valid tradition including experience. Speaking metaphorically, it shows that we live in TWO WORLDS: the immediate and the ultimate—i.e., the ‘everyday’ world with its real but now seen not absolute limits and the limitless universe. Speaking in terms of realism there is just one world—the universe revealed in its unity by the metaphysics whose particulars are woven together in the practical side of the metaphysics—‘practical’ knowledge is not merely practical.
It is understood that the two worlds are one even though they may be experienced as separate. Part of the aim of the narrative is to see and experience the worlds as one which for limited forms is a process. We may experience the universe as ‘many’ worlds—the immediate vs. the ultimate, nature vs. society vs. the universal, space and time; to talk of these as worlds is metaphorical and a goal of realization is their experience as one. In what follows ‘two worlds’ may be regarded as standing for ‘many worlds’ but it is the join of the two—the immediate and the ultimate in process—that is fundamental.
The separation of the metaphysics as conceptual and the tradition as empirical is not absolute but one of emphasis. The foundation of the metaphysics was seen to include the empirical; the abstract sciences of the tradition are conceptual and the empirical sciences hypothesize concepts over empirical data (which may be rejected if clearly in disagreement with newer data).
There is a further benefit to the join of the metaphysics and tradition: it is the refinement of our understanding of the categories of being and (a) their elevation in many significant aspects to perfect faithfulness and (b) improved understanding in other significant aspects of what is only imperfect andor local.
Is there empirical evidence for the metaphysics? It is of course empirically founded. Being as being, experience as experience, universe as universe, void as void, Law as Law, and that there is no Law in the void are known empirically and perfectly. From our experience we know of reasoning and its nature even if we do not know its full nature just as though we know the fact of being we do not know its variety. The conclusion that the fundamental principle is realism is now seen to be empirical in that it is the simplest of conclusions. However, what I mean by the question at the beginning of this paragraph is whether there is empirical confirmation of the predictions of the metaphysics. We have seen that the metaphysics favors the worldview of modern physics (quantum, relativistic) over the classical; and the metaphysics gives favor to adaptation over pre-formation. These are modest confirmations (or non disconfirmations) of the metaphysics. However, the metaphysics definitely predicts that we have come nowhere near the end of science. And it predicts some aspects of being that are or shall be part of experience. Therefore the metaphysics is open to disconfirmation. However, this is not the end of the story. We have seen that the metaphysics is realism and that realism (logic-fact) are and must be only at a beginning (according to the metaphysics). The ‘confirmation’, an ongoing affair, of the metaphysics lies not only in empirical testing but in experiments in reason and discovery and creation of form.
There is some modest evidence for the metaphysics. The openness to evidence is ongoing in that the metaphysics implies that we are at the beginning of science. However, the main ‘prediction’ of the metaphysics is that our modes of reason and being are open to discovery and creation.
Are there any doubts about the metaphysics? A proof of existence of the void was given: the existence is consistent via reason with the nature of being and it cannot be inconsistent with experience. Yet to treat the void as an object and the magnitude of the conclusions give reasons for doubt (it is important to reemphasize that the metaphysics harbors no inconsistency of fact or reason though, of course, particular applications of it may be erroneous and inconsistent). This is similar to doubt for any significant proposition. The doubt may be regarded as EXISTENTIAL: the aim of action under the metaphysics is reasonable but not guaranteed. If there is doubt, the value of engagement and its expected realizations are greater.
The metaphysics began simply—with being as that which is. An assessment of the power of the idea is now possible. In avoiding commitments to such kinds as matter, mind, extension, process, and quality or property, an ultimate scaffold for understanding has emerged—ultimate showing and capturing the ultimate character of the universe. The metaphysics also avoids commitments such as the universe as matter or pure consciousness or love. If it were to avoid commitment to truth, the metaphysics would be disempowering. However, to reveal truth can only be empowering; to reveal the greatest truth must be great empowerment.
Is there a way in which the universe is or can be thought of as pure love? In some traditions cognition and affect are thought distinct and one valued over the other. However, roughly, cognition and affect are to one another as means and values. Every act of cognition is imbued with some affect; no occasion of affect is devoid of form; and there is no separating the two sides of mind.
AFFECT will refer to joint cognition-affect—to cover MEANS and VALUES. GOOD (the good) will describe the self-sustaining aspects of adapted and durable forms. EVIL, then, refers to destructive aspects.
From the metaphysics there is no limit or ceiling to the good. Where the good emerges it is special—and especially valued. As destruction of the good, evil has a ceiling. Evil may hurt but cannot exceed good (in general). This gives meaning to evil and pain; they occur in the good and because there is good (of course this is no justification of evil acts but a perception of the reason for their being).
The neutrality of being implies that the universe cannot be essentially evil and so adaptivity of form implies that good bounds evil, that abandonment and pain do not exceed care and love. The good which includes all affects among its dimensions is not the essence of the neutral universe. However, it is the essence of non-primitive formed sentient kinds. It is this character of the constructive affects that make them values and give meaning even to the negative affects.
What is the highest form of being? If we do not know it in full we may still be able to say something of it. The metaphysics shows that every creation is followed by dissolution. However, this does not imply a limit to the height of the forms. What is the nature of the highest form? Is it the result of mechanical process? Practically, mechanical process is the blind aspect of process (even if it does, in adaptation, result in seeing). From this perspective affective involvement in the universe, especially in its own being, will result in the high kinds without limit; this will occur when the reign of mechanism gives way to a reign of affect (cognition-feeling). From the perspective of essence affect is the place of significance and significant meaning and so the place of the good or the high and therefore of the highest forms is the affective kind.
The good is the essence of higher affective sentience and its place in the universe. Affective sentience is the place of the highest good and in this regard knows no limit.
In this narrative I have not made explicit mention of EPISTEMOLOGY—study of the nature, possibility, and criteria for validity of knowledge. However, these epistemological concerns have clearly been addressed above. Importantly, what has been seen is that metaphysics and epistemology are not and cannot be separated (of course the concerns may be treated separately but the treatment will always be incomplete without recognition of the essential connection). What is the source of this connection? It is that knowledge is in the world—knowledge is an object even though we often treat it as something outside ‘the world’ (and the source of this distinctness has sources in our psychology and in the question of objectivity in which it is important to give special consideration to the nature of knowledge and which may be taken to but does not imply distinction). Particularly, the clear non distinction of epistemology and metaphysics stems from the earlier conclusion that ‘There is a real world which is experienced and which includes experience.’ The issues of possibility and criteria have been adequately addressed above regarding metaphysics and, briefly, for science. Let us review the criteria more closely. The framework—the pure metaphysics—is empirical. We know that there are experience, being, and universe. But the framework is already rational in the identification of those phases of experience—experience-being-universe—as empirical. The framework is also rational in another way: seeing and deploying the nature of reason (logic and science) and seeing that these are within purview—are not a priori even though they may seem to be a priori. That is, reason too is knowable even though not empirical in the sense of sense-experience; but with a reasonably expanded meaning of ‘empirical’ to experiment with ideas, rationality is empirical. Thus the framework is empirical and rational. The inclusion of practical knowledge (e.g. science) is possible when we change the criteria to ‘good enough’ (which in some cases is very good). And this is not ad hoc for the metaphysics shows that there is no better interpretation of knowledge according to which there is a ‘better’ criterion.
Behind all this lies the mythic-holist scheme which requires no special justification because it is transitory between non cultural knowing and literal-cultural knowing—i.e. its honing occurs more in action (and selection) than in explicit definition of the nature of knowledge and cultivation of, say, representation and validation. However, from our perspective we can now see how myth-holism has its own intrinsic ‘validity’ and is further significant in (a) being a container for our more literal-objective modes and (b) being a possible position of retreat if our literal-objective modes should prove unavailable (due, e.g., to catastrophe) or unviable (e.g. as the unwitting—or witting—cause of catastrophe). It should be added that ‘retreat’ is not intended as negative but, rather, positive in that (1) myth-holism is in some ways more grounded and universal than literalism and (2) it is a ground from which to uptake again the way to the ultimate.
From the metaphysics there is no static ultimate. The ultimate is process. Limits are relative.
The conclusions below follow from the metaphysics.
While in limited form being is BEING-IN-REALIZATION—that is, a relationship between the immediate and the ultimate on the way to the ultimate; this is given. What CHOICE does limited, e.g. human, form have? It is to ENGAGE in the process with the WHOLE BEING. This, it may be reasonably argued from adaptivity, is immensely more likely than acquiescence to be ENJOYED and EFFECTIVE in realization.
For limited form, realization is a journey that is ever fresh; it is without limit in variety and extensivity.
From limitlessness, realization for limited forms must be an endless process in ever freshness, limitless in variety, extension, peaks and their forms and magnitudes, and dissolutions—a journey in being. There will of course be challenges—ennui, pain, difficulty of vision. One overcoming of these challenges is in seeing and finding ways to see, even in process, identity with the ultimate. However, this overcoming—described in the traditions—does not and cannot relieve us of the essential present limitations of form and of the necessity of actual realization. A way of the ideal is to ‘live in two worlds’—the immediate and the ultimate as one and to find ways to do so.
Is there realization of the ultimate and experience of it in this life? Yes. Is this ‘eternal’? In living in the two worlds of the immediate in the ultimate, this is the eternal in the present in balance with being on the way to the ultimate which is without end. There is pain but it has meaning. Pain from illusion or non-seeing has overcoming in process. Realizations outweigh negatives.
The net process is this. There is realization is in ‘this’ world as above—its only completion however is to also be in process. The process itself is simultaneously incremental—the mechanics below, a continuous approach to higher realms—and seeking singularities—portals to higher realms. What is accomplished in this life is on the way to the ultimate.
This can be elaborated as three steps—1, 2, 3, below. The steps will be prefaced by a motivation.
When we want to extend common human experience of the world—e.g. quest for knowledge and understanding, spiritual search—we begin with ways in which it can be extended. Though the following are different they are and need not be entirely distinct. (A) One way of experience is seeing concrete and abstract patterns or concepts. Seeing that we have such concepts we think to form such concepts. This may seem to be mere imagination. However, concept formation may be applied to itself—to the relations among concepts and the world; this in fact happens over history; and one of the perhaps not always too self-conscious trial and error process outcomes is that of consistency among concepts (‘logic’) and between concepts and the world (‘facts’, ‘science’)—this is repetition of earlier discussion. One concept arises in asking ‘What is the greatest conceivable universe?’ It is the universe of possibility. We have seen that subject to realism this is the one and only universe. This defined the universal metaphysics. One constraint of realism is that of fact which pertains to the empirical or local part of the universe—common experience and science. The practical metaphysics is, roughly speaking, a join of the universal metaphysics and local knowledge. We saw that while the pure (universal) metaphysics shows what is possible, the practical metaphysics includes the universal and is instrumental in showing what is feasible and how to achieve it. (B) A second extension is the extension of direct experience as in simple imagination and various well known and innovative practices—meditation, yoga, cultivating dreams, and others. This extension must be subject to the constraints of realism (fact and logic) but this leaves open a vast ‘logically permissive’ space beyond ‘science’ and ‘common experience’. (C) How do we negotiate this area where there is no empirical knowledge (we can know of truth here but we do not directly know the truth)? This concrete extension of realism requires action and analysis of the outcome of action (details of this process are described in item 3 below and it is clear that this has kinship with science even though both of the following kinds of thinker would disagree: those who favor science as the only way and the other extreme of those who would marginalize science).
In thinking of psyche we may refer to the modern western ‘mind’ and to the ‘totality of mind, conscious and unconscious’, to the Greek ‘soul, to the Sanskrit ‘citta’. Because thinkers in India have seen emotion and cognition integral—i.e. neither privileged over the other, citta has been translated as heart-mind.
Perhaps we should think of heart-mind-body-spirit-soul-community. The point is important because we are thinking of psyche in relation to realization. In this text I will write either psyche or heart-mind, sometimes drawing the latter out as heart-mind and more.
Let us introduce the term ‘psychology’. What is a psychology of realization? It may draw from an express psychology (e.g. Buddhist, structural, functional and so on) but its first purpose will be to catalyze vision and knowing to see, experience, live in, and be the two worlds—immediate and ultimate—as one. For limited form the term ‘be’ in ‘be the two worlds’ is understood as process. What are the express terms of such a psychology? It must be in process (process details are in a separate document, psyche and path). Here, let us state some reasonable principles for such a psychology.
Some PRINCIPLES of a PSYCHOLOGY OF REALIZATION are as follows.
The aim is realization of the ultimate—in and via the immediate, in-process while in limited form, and exploration and realization as far as possible of the ultimate.
The following principle is pragmatic as well as required by the metaphysics.
Sources include the express psychologies but its primary source is experiment, reflection, and learning. The psychology is immanent in process (not above it).
The form of the psychology may include ‘parts’ or elements but it must be holist—in practice this means that it will not exclude interactions internal to psyche or external to it. The latter includes what is in causal or constitutive relation with the explicitly psychological parts.
It is therefore whole-interactive with regard to: cognition-emotion—heart-mind-body-soul-civilization—(and their constituents such as perception and thought); and with regard to nature and universe.
While human psychology must obviously include adaptations to natural, social, and inner worlds it is valid to question whether there is adaptation to the universal as seen in the metaphysics. The metaphysics shows the following.
There is adaptation to ‘depth’ via the human ability of free concept formation for we have seen this in the development of the metaphysics (the source of this freedom is perhaps human adaptability via thought to new contexts). Yet we are not already adapted to the immense variety of being beyond our normal realm—i.e. our explicit adaptation is to our immediate world; still a being with the power of free cognitive-emotive concept formation in icon and language is adapted to the universal in an in process way.
This is clear for the free concept part of cognition but even here we tend to revert to normal paradigms.
Thus the aim of the practical parts (practice and ritual) psychology would include developing and sustaining this freedom while maintaining adequate respect for the immediate or normal. It would further include sustaining this balance between freedom and ‘necessity’ with regard to all elements noted above: the elements of cognition, cognition and emotion (heart-mind), mind and body, individual and civilization, and nature and universe.
The WAY is engagement of the whole being (‘heart-mind-body’ and community) in knowledge and realization of higher form in this world and in ultimate process.
Here there is a manner in which we are each on our own; in which we enjoy and reflect; take risks—perform experiments in being; learn and consolidate or reject increments and other measures of process. We develop our own ways and catalysts of change.
CATALYSTS shake our sense of the real at all levels of ‘heart-mind-body’—they open us to the voice of our unconscious, to casting off limits of traditional thought and views of the world, and to perception. The action of a strong or deep enough catalyst may bring the individual temporarily close or even to death. An example: the vision quest with its days of fast, isolation, and exposure to the elements and other danger is highly catalytic.
The WAYS are ways of life that are conducive to and embody the ultimate and its realization.
Simultaneously, others are in the same process. The process is communal. Together, we compare learning—develop traditions shared among peers and from generation to generation. There are venerated and charismatic TEACHERS but to think in terms of mastery over transience is stasis.
At a more inclusive level the process involves civilization. HUMAN CIVILIZATION is the web of human community across time and continents. UNIVERSAL CIVILIZATION is the matrix of civilizations across the universe. Civilization nurtures the individual, individuals foster civilization. The metaphysics requires and suggests that Civilization forges its way to becoming an individual.
The WAYS are grounded in a MECHANICS OF TRANSFORMATION and being which employ the RISK—EXPERIMENT, REFLECTION on outcomes, CONSOLIDATION and REDESIGN (in view of learning, even when there is consolidation) and re-experiment in the INCREMENTAL and SINGULAR process of realization (at root the process is not a priori and therefore A-RATIONAL—neither rational nor irrational—which is empowering because there is no dependence on some more fundamental principle). The ways are enhanced by life pattern—ACTION, THOUGHT (HEART-MIND), and CATALYSTS. The ways included ESTABLISHED WAYS which in turn include DISCIPLINES and CATALYSTS. Simultaneous to—as part of—process, the mechanics initiates, establishes and enhances the disciplines, ways, and catalysts: the mechanics is simultaneously a discipline of action-practice and a DISCIPLINE OF DISCIPLINES.
The established ways are (a) INTRINSIC (of the individual—of heart-mind-body, e.g. yoga, often mediated by a teacher or ‘guru’ via ideas and ‘RITUAL’ aimed at reaching depth of the individual, often enhanced in a spiritual community or band) which are not distinct from (b) the INSTRUMENTAL (e.g., modern science and technology). The distinction of the intrinsic and the instrumental is roughly that of PSYCHE (‘heart-mind’) versus the PHYSICAL (body-environment) but there is obvious overlap and meshing of psyche and the physical and so of the intrinsic and the instrumental. The mechanics of transformation is: action and risk based in reflexive rationality of values and means, aims (i) at two levels—the entire being but also at the ways and disciplines and (ii) and incremental consolidation in being and knowledge—especially of PSYCHE-IDENTITY-NATURE (‘science’) in light of the metaphysics and the traditions (not to be limited to current western academic foci and method—generally but especially for PSYCHOLOGY; shall include focus on use and usefulness in transformation and realization).
The ELEMENTS of transformation include: VEHICLES (individual and civilization), MEANS (ideas and action), MODES (intrinsic and external to identity—e.g., the focus of YOGA and the focus of science), DISCIPLINES (accumulated-formal and oral-mythic—and their mechanics; also classed as conceptual and active which includes technology and ritual and the open discipline of disciplines), and PLACES (intrinsic: psyche, and external: nature and civilization—i.e., society).
These the ways and elements suggest PHASES: (a) TRANSFORMATION: IDEAS, BECOMING (individual-civilization and artifact-technology) and (b) PURE BEING.
Discussion so far suggests a template for phases of action toward realization. The template that follows is tentatively designed to be deployed toward a system of phases and activities that constitute a path of realization. It is important that the template is intended as a functional guide rather than as a theoretical system; therefore while it may be useful it is not essential and should always be supplemented by reason from fundamental considerations. The template is designed to be as complete as is reasonable and so for any particular instance some entries may be omitted. In the template the vertical stroke | distinguishes practice from development of practice and may be omitted when the focus is one or the other.
To avoid redundancy the template has been placed below in
A secular view is that our normal world is the universe. Trans-secular thought describes greater worlds that in some views are distant from ours. In the universal metaphysics all possibilities are realized: our world is embedded in the limitless. There is experience named pure being—the ultimate in the present—living in two worlds as one; sometimes taken for the ultimate, this is not the end of realization. Engaged realization is becoming (discovery and transformation) and being (be-ing-at-this-time: sustaining). In summary:
One PATHWAY is interaction among BEING (SUSTAINING) and BECOMING (discovery and transformation) mediated by PURE BEING. Sustaining (be-ing) emphasizes shared spiritual practice and life of ways and catalysts. Becoming emphasizes transformations in ideas—and ideas toward transformation, individual identity, shared identity in civilization, and artifact. Because process is eternal, relative to it we are always at the beginning. However, there is a parallel state of being and attitude: pure being is an ideal state informed by transience and the real, always being-in-two-worlds as one.
The universe is eternal; we are ultimately the universe; there is no distinction between ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ and ‘in process’; the thought that I am at the beginning enhances process but may also detract from realization. Thus while I have emphasized beginnings I should also emphasize realizations.
In greater detail: BEING-SUSTAINING is founded on spiritual practice—simultaneously awakening, maintaining, and living. Awakening and maintaining are interwoven as—daily review and practice of catalysts and ways. Mundane sustaining activities are integral to this and it is sought to infuse them with practice and so use them toward becoming. Being-sustaining is individual andor in a spiritual community where each enhances the other. PURE BEING is an ideal state informed by transience and the real, always being-in-two-worlds as one. It mediates be-ing and becoming in the beginning, in the process, and awareness of (real but not absolute) death. Knowing death-transience and the real, in turn, illuminate and motivate pure being. BECOMING with the following phases: ideas (metaphysics), review, and design; transformation of identity (nature, catalysts, ways); shared transformation (civilization, world, community, shared intrinsic ways, e.g. yoga—a spiritual band); artifactual transformation (shared instrumental approach including abstract and natural sciences and technology).
The implementation for this document is outdated.
For a current implementation see the following documents: