Journey in Being: prologue

Anil Mitra PhD © July 2010, IN-PROCESS Friday, July 16, 2010 7:02:54 PM
July 16, 2010



Purpose. 1

The prologue. 1

In the beginning. 1   |   Metaphysics. 3   |   Demonstration, doubt and faith. 5   |   Journey. 6   |   Being. 7   |   Science. 7   |   Religion. 7   |   More metaphysics…... 7   |   Everyday life. 7   |   Psychology. 7   |   Method. 8   |   Transformation. 9



State the central and main themes, essential results, inducements to read

As alternative to an introduction, will not present a comprehensive overview or outline. The narrative is its own outline (plus table of contents)

In the following a single italicized and capitalized word, e.g. Metaphysics, refers to a chapter in the essays at

The prologue

In the beginning

The goal of the journey has always been the entire Universe

The immediate is the ground; the ultimate the aim. The immediate is not definite; it expands and contracts. Neither immediate nor ultimate are essential. The whole is essential. Process is essential; in process the immediate and the ultimate may merge (it will be seen that they do merge but only to again acquire distinction)

The sum of human knowledge and experience so far provides some ground for the journey. But this sum contains signs of its own limits (in Metaphysics, the limits of this sum are demonstrated)

Science has a dual aim—precision or truth and utility. Therefore, science cannot wait for perfect knowledge

Early, the success of Newtonian science, led to a belief that science was perfect knowledge. Later, the scientific revolutions led to the thought that all science is tentative. In truth, science reveals some local patterns; when regarded as universal science is tentative

Science reveals, at least approximately, some things that are in the Universe. Even today, the expanding frontier of science has lead to a tacit belief that what is outside the world of science must be very small in that it will be like the inside or that it will be soon known. However, in truth, science itself makes no pronouncement on the ‘outside.’ It tells us not whether that outside is infinitesimal or infinite (in extent or duration or variety of being.) Therefore when writers such as Richard Dawkins conclude from science that there almost certainly is no God, they stand in error. It would be correct to conclude that science does not reveal any traditional god

Religion. Perhaps the strongest traditional argument for the existence of God is the argument from design. The argument goes that the intricate structures of life and nature are improbable without a creator (the argument is not logical or necessary: if the components of structure such as particles are there, then given enough time, it is probable that structure would emerge.) However, science shows that the emergence of structure is not, after all, improbable. It is only our ignorance, now dispelled by biology and physics, that makes such emergence seem improbable and our illogic that may make for conflation of the improbable with the impossible and our blindness to therefore postulate an even more improbable God. Therefore, science does not disprove design or disprove the existence of God; rather it shows design and God to be unnecessary to creation (the necessity of a creator from design begs the question ‘What created the creator?’) Science leaves open the questions ‘What lies beyond the known universe (our cosmos)?’ and ‘What is God and is there God?’ It is only ignorance of the nature of science that makes us conclude that science closes these questions

When non-dogmatic and experimental, Religion may be taken as standing together with science as part of the human tradition of knowledge and experience (perhaps we could view as the dogmatic side of religion as an experiment interrupted.) We can identify a number of functions of religion. First, religion presents a picture of the world, of human nature, and the place of human being in the world. A picture of this kind may be seen as a map of the territory (as we saw above, science so far provides only a local map.) Essential to this ‘function,’ most religions present a metaphysics or metaphysical cosmology—outer or universal and inner or human; they present, almost invariably, a picture of humankind as incomplete and in process; and they present a universal and a worldly ethic. The universal ethic concerns the relation of humankind to the entire Universe; the worldly ethic concerns behavior in this world. Religion may have tacit function. Shared belief is a form of identity and difference: the core versus the outsider. The belief systems of hunter-gatherers orient individuals to various modes of sound behavior in the local environment (this is said without the suggestion of perfect behavior or primal harmony; hunter-gatherers do sometimes destroy their resource base.) The agrarian way of life permits specialization of function, the establishment of writing and scripture, and of systems of belief that become detached from immediate life

We may speculate that in their origins, the traditional religious metaphysics were, relative to background knowledge not unreasonable. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void…’ rings a little of modern physical cosmology (big-bang.) The religious cosmology introduces God as a substitute for its own ignorance of the physical world. Overlaid on this perhaps is the desire of the common psyche to make its beliefs concrete and absolute; and there is perhaps the power relation between the keepers and believers of faith

Today, we may say from science, that what lies beyond the edge of the known lies somewhere in the range from the infinitesimal to the infinite in terms of extension, duration, and variety—later, in Metaphysics, it will be shown that what lies beyond has no limit in extension, duration or variety

We may therefore conclude that science is silent on what lies beyond its border; and that in taking systems that are not unreasonable as temporary mythology to be absolute, religion has abandoned one of its own true agendas of open experiment in thought, feeling, and being: we will see later that our present form of being is not our ultimate form and therefore experiment or journey in being is essential: religion is not merely about understanding the world, it is also about becoming—in—the Universe. This latter assertion could, from the human traditions of science and religion so far, be taken as a hypothetical frame for action; however, the framework is demonstrated in the metaphysics


We provide some development of the Universal metaphysics which is shown to be the one metaphysics. The metaphysics and its showing is very incomplete here. Details are at

Being is what is there—what exists (somewhere and somewhen.) There are a number of traditional problems concerning existence that are resolved in the narrative. Of these, consider two. First, what does it mean to say that, e.g., unicorns do not exist—specifically, if they do not exist then what is it that does not exist? The essential resolution is that ‘unicorns do not exist’ means that there is nothing in the world that corresponds to my concept of a unicorn. Even when I say ‘tigers exist’ the same problem arises but is suppressed because I know what I mean: the objection does not present itself. But it does arise for the statement ‘tigers exist’ has no meaning unless I have a notion of ‘tiger;’ and this is true even if tigers are present and visible for when I say ‘there is a tiger, right there’ for if no one else present has the notion of tiger no one else will know the Object of reference; in fact with out a notion of ‘tiger’ I could not even have an intended Object of reference when I say ‘a tiger is stalking us.’ A second problem arises from the first where it seems that existence may be predicated upon knowledge; the resolution of this problem is deferred to the narrative where it is also shown that the occasional traditional distinction between being and existence is a non-distinction

We commonly attempt to understand the world as mind or matter but these notions are not clear; they may lead to rough understanding but not an understanding on which we can place absolute reliance. As what is there, being makes no commitment a substance of the Universe and therefore avoids the potential error of commitment to substance (mind, matter, idea, proposition…) Perhaps Being is too unspecific to found a positive metaphysics. Clearly the openness of Being permits development where the specificity of substance may shut it down. Later, Being is revealed as an empowerment to development of the positive metaphysics. We will see that there are universal Objects that can be known perfectly in addition to the practical, e.g. scientific Objects, that are known well enough for some purposes

When we read a law we read a pattern; Law is that pattern. Law is a form of Being; entities, processes and interactions are not the only forms

The Universe is all being; it exists, contains all Objects including all Laws; it is trivial that the Universe cannot have an external creator—this is a trivial conclusion from a clear understanding of ‘Universe.’ The Void is the absence of being; it contains no Objects and therefore no Laws; the Void exists

The Void is equivalent to every element of being; specifically, the Void and the Universe are equivalent. The transformation from a Void state to a manifest state is not and cannot be deterministic

A substance would provide deterministic foundation of the Universe

Therefore, no substance is required for or capable of being substantial to the Universe. The Void or any element of being may play the role of substance except that the foundation is not deterministic

Because the Void is equivalent to any element of being, the extension, duration and variety of being in the Universe is without limit. Subject to Logic, what I conceive and what any being is capable of conceiving must exist (somewhere, somewhen)

The variety includes cosmological systems without limit; physical law without limit; realization of story and myth without limit—subject to Logic, there is no fiction—literature is a great source of knowledge of being (the apparent conflict with common sense will be resolved; an aspect of this resolution is that the common behavior of this world in its own domain is necessary)

One part of the Universe may be implicated in the creation of another part. There is local creation; it appears from science that the ‘self-creation’ of evolution is most likely but it is hard to conclude this with certainty regarding the entire Universe. There are local gods; we may conclude from science that this is rare but it is hard to conclude this with certainty. The actual status of ‘natural’ versus ‘interventionist’ process is likely more subtle that simply more versus less likely

This variety is known implicitly; it cannot be explicitly known; it cannot be constructed by design

(Therefore,) Individual identity and Universal Identity are equivalent (there are phases of identity of the two identities)

Because knowledge and design of variety are beyond explicit process, even though realization of Universal identity is necessary it is efficiently approached by partial design and experiment in transformation of being; and enjoyment and effectiveness of process is enhanced by lightness of intent. A blind process on the way to the ultimate acquires intent and partial design; I have not proved this particular claim but shown it reasonable and probable. Every realization of ultimacy follows and is followed by absolute dissolution. The process has infinite joy, perhaps infinite pain, infinite ennui; there is absolute eternal recurrence admixed with unending variety; and there is also the personal eternal recurrence of a Nietzsche and the other recurrence of Nietzsche—that of the petty, the scholarly oxen, the ever wallowing in the mud and the mistaking it for process or progress. There is no escaping this. Life and suicide provide no escape

There is a place for a Journey of experiment, partial knowledge, design, transformation, and adventure through infinite varieties of being and strange and infinitely beautiful and perhaps infinitely horrendous ‘landscapes.’ The journey is individual and shared. It begins in this world with our traditional understanding (enhanced by the new metaphysics.) In the journey, cumulative learning may be termed religion. This idea of religion would be the engagement of the being of the entire individual in all dimensions of being and perhaps the entire community in the realization of all being (which includes the local.) It will not be stagnant like the traditional religions which abort and abandon their ‘true task’ (in favor of comfort and control.) This idea of religion will be one that has a side that is ever in-process; an always learning, always overcoming; the word spirituality will become unnecessary. The image of God in psyche, which is shown in the narrative to be essentially and ever present: the notion of an inert Universe being an illusion, is that of movement toward the highest good (and understanding of this highest good for we cannot assume that the inherited notions of good and evil—with or without philosophical and other augmentation—shall even have meaning against the background of all being. But since process is absolutely indeterministic we can be reasonably sure that good and evil will always have meaning as long as there is sentience and that these meaningful ideas will have some realization)

Demonstration, doubt and faith

The essential assertions above are demonstrated; they are not presented as articles of faith

I have Doubt regarding the demonstrations. There is no doubt about the logical and scientific consistency of what is asserted; what may be doubted is the positive assertion. Therefore I explored doubt on many fronts and alternative proof. Doubt remains

The Logic referred to above is not the traditional system of logics of modern logic. Rather, this notion of Logic starts with the observation that except for the requirement of logic, every conception of a state of affairs is realized—exists. But what is this logic? Let us look closely at it (detailed treatment is left for the narrative.) Every single traditional principle of logic has been criticized and come under scrutiny even the principle of non-contradiction whose violation in traditional systems of logic leads to absurdity: every proposition becomes true if there is a single violation (and therefore the negation of every proposition is also true.) But there are non-traditional systems in which this inflation of truth is avoided. Where does that leave us with logic? There are two related notions of logic (1) principles of necessary (i.e. not merely probable) inference and (2) principles of form that assertions must possess in order to have reference to a possible state of affairs. Consider ‘an apple that is entirely green and entirely not green.’ Can the description refer to anything, i.e. is there an ‘apple that is entirely green and entirely not green?’ We might think not because we think that such reference would violate the principle of non-contradiction—but we have allowed doubt regarding this principle. Therefore, think of Logic as the principles or rules that concepts or assertions must have in order to have the possibility of reference (we may not know what these principles are but we know that the principle of non-contradiction and other principles such as the principle of the excluded middle and the principle of bivalence are candidate principles.) From the metaphysics, if a concept has the possibility of reference it has reference. Therefore, define Logic as what concepts must satisfy to have reference (then, it will follow that Logic is the one law of the Universe or, alternatively, there are no Universal Laws.) This concept of Logic is not empty because the entire range of traditional and modern logics are at least approximations to it

This Logic, it seems, would be the only necessary truth. But, as seen, doubt remains. Therefore, perhaps, there is no (universal and detailed) certainty but Logic is the highest of certainties—or, perhaps, there is a range of certainties and Logic stands at the higher end of the range

What to do with this doubt? First, there is doubt about doubt: I doubt that I know but I do not know that I do not know: skepticism is not an option—it does not follow from my doubt regarding knowing that I do not or cannot know. Second, it does not follow from the doubt that I know that what I tender as knowledge is not true; and the knowledge tendered is perhaps the only path into higher realms: I have an option to keep or discard it as a hypothesis that may be the only source of final and true power (power in rather than power over being.) Finally, if there is no certainty so far there is no certainty so far and that must and can only be good to know

What to do with the hypothesis of being—of the Universal metaphysics? I can treat is as an hypothesis for action and transformation. Even though there is doubt the approach from hypothesis cannot be faulted as lacking in integrity. I may fault it for being unreasonable or consuming valuable resources but there is a simple counterargument: I do not say that all my effort, all my life, or all of anyone’s effort or life shall be devoted to the end (I do not even say that any particular individual or society should devote any effort to the end.) I do say, however, that there is value to devotion of some effort; all or most individuals have diversions and down time—there is no cost in devoting some time to the hypothesis and what stands to be gained is the ultimate: even if that ultimate is not paradise and even if it contains pain there are paradises along the way (according the metaphysics.) My attitude to the hypothesis, the metaphysics, may then be that of faith. Faith is not mere belief and it is far from dogma. Faith is the attitude that leads to the most positive outcome; thus faith is not unwavering; it is not a uniform attitude; it includes doubt and question and also the lifting of doubt and action; it moves forward at times; at others it questions the lifting of doubt and question and at yet others it questions their imposition. This faith is an instrument of the universal religious practice. Under its aegis I am allowed to occasionally be an ordinary man without faith or aspiration to the higher, to overcoming my known self; at other times I am that aspiring and overcoming or trying creature. I can be the lowest of the low in energy and aspiration; I may aspire to the highest of the high


1.      Above

2.      I describe my personal process of discovery as a journey. This process has been multi-dimensional, multi-faceted, non-linear with changing outlooks and goals based on discovery. It began as a quest for understanding as the main explicit component of realization with my process through the world—physical, traveling, feeling, aspiring—as the ground of the process. It grew into one in which I realized that transformation was not only more complete but that it was also essential. The personal journey is an example of the journey of an individual or community

3.      The process of all being may be seen as journey

4.      Further, as in Journey







More metaphysics…

Objects—the Object; unified theory of Objects; enhancement of variety

Cosmology—the concept and its principles; variety; process; mind; identity and death; space, time and being

Worlds—the intersection of the metaphysics with the traditional disciplines with implications for method and disciplinary studies (natural and social science; humanities, philosophy in general, literature, music, art; symbolic disciplines—language, grammar, logic, mathematics; and the system of disciplines)

Journey in being


Everyday life




Practical—implications of the theoretical developments


I mean real psychology (not the academic versions with its roots in behaviorism and its insistence on ‘science:’ no problem with science and what is empirical but the flat academic interpretation of science and ‘empirical’ is not a golden route to the relation of the individual to the world)

The individual is in the world; therefore relation to the world includes (relations to) self

One part of psychology is the group instinct. An interesting statistic: people tend to believe an assertion repeated five times even if by the same source. Another interesting piece of information: an exception to this herd instinct regarding belief occurs in depression

What is the purpose of life? Many answer “To help others.” But what is it that we are helping others do or become?

In earlier writing I identified four realms of being—the natural which includes the material, the social, the realm of psyche or spirit which includes mind, and the unknown or universal. Now, from the Universal metaphysics there is partial conflation of the unknown and the universal

These realms constitute the development of the individual. From fertilization, development is primarily natural; while there is mind it emerges from the biological perhaps as the first glimmer of feeling (etc.) After birth, natural development continues along with exposure to the world including society. I learn nature and society. Society provides culture and it is in culture that I am first exposed to the ideas of self and psyche which I now read amid my growing experience. Physiology is important but what is primarily important about it is how it relates to and underpins psychology. It is then in experience that I begin to see, and perhaps, later through culture and independent thought to learn about the idea and the shape of the beyond the immediate: the unknown and the universal. I establish a relation with the universal and its shape. In Metaphysics through Cosmology we see that far more can be known of the universal than hitherto thought but that an infinite variety remains ever waiting to emerge from the remote unknown into the light of awareness

Thus nature ® society  ® psyche  ® universe provide also a sequence of growth. It is an overlapping sequence

And these provide the leitmotifs of psychic development and the necessary parallel development in the body

What are the tasks?

  1. Development of natural capacities
  2. Understanding the world of society and culture; liaison with that world
  3. Understanding of self and other
  4. Overcoming of self

The overcoming of self is in this world and the ‘next,’ i.e. the immediate and the ultimate (there is one world ‘this’ and ‘next’ are metaphorical)

If my metaphysics is mistaken there is no ‘next.’ But ‘this’ is challenge enough. ‘Next’ is symbolic and metaphorical: a map for self or psyche. There is still understanding and overcoming in the realm of psyche. Where is the locus of the conflict of life and death instinct (death instinct is the giving up—the weariness of struggle, the life instinct is the converse; and these occur in the realms of nature, society, and psyche itself.) Who speaks here? The Veda, the Upanishad, the Vedanta, the Greeks, perhaps the major and other religions, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Jung; and literature and art and music

If my metaphysics is real, the journey opens up into a dual physical-psychical realm of ongoing interaction. This realm already opens up in this world in the sphere of the shaman, the yogi, Tibetan Buddhism, Tantra but it is strangely outside the mainstream of the Modern West (where in the west is it practiced in undiluted form?) Of the world beyond there are hints in Vedanta, Hume, Wittgenstein. The major groundwork is MetaphysicsMethod; in these threads we see the interaction of psyche and psychic-physical discovery; this must continue on in the journey with especial emphasis of psyche for its potential for realizing, knowing, and catalyzing transformation


The hints so far of discovery that there is not only more to being than conventionally held but there is more to method—to the how of discovery are taken up as a thread in Method. Method goes beyond its modern conception; it arises in interaction with content—i.e., study of the world and how to study arise in interaction

Much is said in the main essay. Here are two observations of pertinence

  1. The method of arriving at the new metaphysics in which we have perfect knowledge of the Universe is focused on a new conception of abstraction
  2. The future development of knowledge of physical, social, and psychical worlds must depend on immersion in these worlds as well as upon attempts at rigorous and objective analysis. This is already understood to at least a limited extent in social sciences and sociology. We now understand it in a full sense in the natural-psychical world


What to transform, what goals, how?

The beginning—the immediate; social self and its limits; transition to real being—knowledge, courage in facing what I do not know and can not know; knowing that these and there boundaries are not definite. A goal—what is real in the life of body and soul, the physical and the psychic in this world? The main immediate goals—forward motion and discovery in this realm

Then—engagement of the entire being, body and psyche and morals or goals toward the ultimate

How—ideas from the tradition… above and in Journey. Engagement of the whole psyche and body—thought and physical transformation. Experiment with transformation and goal. The approach revealed by the admix of these thoughts and the Universal metaphysics—the dynamics of being which begins as incremental in psyche, body, and morals or goals