The Way of Being | A Journey
Anil Mitra, Copyright © January 2, 2019—February 10, 2020
The Way of Being | A Journey
Introducing The Way
The Way of Being is a way of shared discovery and realization of the ultimate from and in the immediate. The Journey is discovery, evolution, and negotiation of The Way; it grew from a small venture to its present form.
This work is for use—a field manual. The essential parts are the Wide Angle View of The Way and the Templates for realization.
The plan for the manual is to rewrite it with the main items as a manual of use, the secondary items as elaboration, and the tertiary as demonstration, explanation, subtle material. Endnotes may be used for the tertiary items. It is important that the concepts listed in A Wide Angle View of The Way and the concepts in the text should match.
This manual is minimal with regard to concepts and their development. The website The Way of Being | A Journey has material on development and application of the ideas.
The choice of concepts for The Way is critical. The concepts are defined in the text; the observations that follow are informal.
▪ Being is the central concept—its importance is that as simply what there is it is inclusive, neutral to ideology (materialism and so on), and needs no further grounding; it is therefore ideal to foundation of knowledge of the world. ‘Being’ has been criticized as trivial, but ‘trivial’ can mean ‘conceptually empty’, ‘too inclusive to be useful’, or ‘transparent’. It is inclusivity with transparency that renders Being potent. It is at the center of the potent system of The Way.
▪ The potency of the metaphysics of The Way lies not in Being alone but in a set of concepts that include Being. The concepts did not arise fully formed. They were not posited from insight or intuition (but of course insight and intuition were helpful). They emerged incrementally from experiment with well known ideas. Their emerged power, consistency, and adequate capture of the real—all demonstrated—is the measure of their success. What emerged, and continues to emerge, is a system of concepts and a systematic metaphysics. Arbitrary systematic metaphysics should be doubted. But the system of The Way was found by construction rather than by arguing plausibly around the system of concepts or arguing from ideology or from narrow considerations of realism. Thus the system is emergent rather than imposed and its emergence has been critically subject to criteria of (a) adequate completeness relative to the universe, (b) consistency with empirical knowledge, especially science, (c) internal consistency of the system, and (d) adequacy relative to the real lives and ideals of human beings and human civilization.
The main ideas or concepts of the system are
1. Of the endeavor. Being and becoming (life and death); human—individual, enterprising union, social, and civilization; knowledge and action—tradition and progress, secular and transsecular; the greatest realization. Will there be mystery when (if) all questions are answered?
2. The generative ideas. Thrown-ness, eternal beginning, foundation begins in the present. The core ideas—experience, Being, beings, universe, void, logic (and possibility and necessity), and scientific law. ‘Logic’ has many meanings—here its main use is as the logic of certain inference but (as argument) it includes establishment of necessary fact or truth; in an expansive sense it includes reason (with understanding, especially intuition in Immanuel Kant’s sense), which includes science or ‘scientific method’—establishment of fact and law and their application; we may conceive it to include the logic of value—i.e. of aesthetics and ethics.
3. Generated ideas. Metaphysics, the world, the way.
About terminology and understanding the development—The words used for the concepts are familiar in everyday and specialized use. But as part of the emergence of the system, they were subject to two requirements—(i) adequacy in breadth and application, (ii) mutual consistency. Consequently the meanings here are both more inclusive and more definite than received common or philosophical meanings. To understand the system readers should follow the definitions and the development of their relations as part of the whole. Once the system is absorbed, readers may infuse the ideas with other meaning if it is enriching as well as done with consistency. Some readers may wish to follow only theabove and the for realization.
It is not assumed that time is but one of cyclic or linear or that there is time as it presents in our cosmos. But it may be seen from the metaphysics to be developed that there is change and duration and that in the entire universe ‘time’ has linear as well as cyclic characteristics with repetition only in limitless time.
It is particularly the human endeavor—individual, enterprising union, social, and civilization. What is that endeavor? Is it just social process with its diffuse aims? Is it an endeavor or just a happening? Is given or emergent, awaiting discovery and realization? Are our cultures, knowledge, and technology ‘on the way’ or mainly diversionary and relatively insignificant?
Of course, if all questions are answered.
Some meanings. A being is an existent—that of which some form of the verb to be validly applies; Being (capitalized) is existence. The universe is all Being—or Being over all extension and duration. Note that ‘greatest’ does not mean ‘best’; that is while the greatest may include perfection, the notion of perfection does not apply to the universe as a whole (in any comparative notion of perfection).
Demonstration. The universe is the greatest possible. The existence of a manifest universe is either necessary or not necessary; if not necessary, it enters a non-manifest (void) state; in a non-manifest state there are neither prescriptions nor proscriptions (laws); so from the non-manifest, manifestation must emerge; i.e., the existence of a manifest universe is necessary. But if necessary, manifestation requires no premise and therefore every possibility must be manifest (though not necessarily simultaneously). That is, the universe is the greatest possible in the sense that if there is a possible being in the most inclusive sense of possibility, it is in the universe. That the universe is the greatest possible is named the fundamental principle of metaphysics and Being abbreviated to the fundamental principle or FP.
Alternative proof. A number of similar demonstrations are possible. Another is as follows. Here is an exhaustive set of possibilities—the universe is (i) permanently manifest (existent), (ii) permanently nonmanifest (the void), or (iii) has manifest and nonmanifest states. In cases (i) and (ii) the existent and void states, respectively, are necessary. However, these are asymmetrical outcomes of the perfect symmetry of unconditional necessity. Therefore the universe has manifest and nonmanifest states and so at least some possible states are necessarily realized. But for just some possible states to be realized would also violate symmetry. Therefore all possible states are realized.
Heuristic arguments for FP as intuitive support for proof. If the existence universe has an explanation, it cannot be another being (there are none) or just possibility (existence would be accidental); therefore existence must be necessary; and now symmetry would imply that all possible states obtain. Another heuristic is to note that the boundary of all scientific theories must be the possible.
Attitude to the fundamental principle. If one doubts the demonstrations—as I do—then, noting that it is consistent with our ‘valid’ cumulative experience including science, and noting the tendered proofs and heuristics, the principle may be regarded as (a) as a fundamental postulate or axiom and (b) an existential action principle.
Introduction to science. Science is thoroughly empirical. A scientific theory is a description of the empirical, usually brief because it describes a pattern in the empirical; therefore it is not valid to project science beyond the empirical. That is—the fundamental principle and science are not in contradiction (in fact FP requires our cosmos and its science but also that there is limitlessly more in the universe). The ability of free concept (hypothesis) formation makes theories possible; the concept may agree with the empirical (be valid) or disagree (be in error); validity / error are essential; and error is corrected by adjusting the concept to the empirical. To the best of our current knowledge, our cosmos—the empirical cosmos—is a realization of scientific or natural possibility—the physical cosmos is a realization of physical possibility.
Introduction to logic. There is a further source of error, not disagreement of concept and the empirical (percept), but internal disagreement within the concept such that realization is impossible even if the universe is the realization of the greatest possibility. The elimination of such disagreement lies in the discovery of logics—a logic is arrived at by eliminating such error from a symbolic form of description (e.g. sentence as atomic; and the sentence as a subject-predicate form); and logic is the general character of logics. Thus whereas science is empirical over consistent relations between ideas and fact, logic is empirical over consistent relations among ideas—i.e. over ideas regarding possibility of realization. That is—logic is empirical (our forms of logic are therefore but some forms). The greatest universe is (must be) at least as great as the logical (else it would not be greatest); but if a concept in referential (intentional) form is not logical, it cannot be realized; therefore the greatest possibility and logical possibility are identical (but our logics are not known to have captured all logic and it is near certain that they have not and will not in the foreseen future). The universe according to FP is the realization of logical possibility which exceeds natural possibility according to our science.
About the field. ‘Field’ is a common term in science and metaphysics. Its use here is equivalent to saying that the universe is a distribution or collection of Being (beings). That is, it makes only the trivial—yet potent—assertion that the universe is a collection of what there is.
About experience. In a first meaning, experience is conscious awareness in all its forms. It is the place of meaning—significant and linguistic—the place of our Being (though not the place of all that is significant).
About beings and form. Form is that which distinguishes beings (it has or is ‘body’ and is in extension and quality is an aspect of form); form has symmetries—perfect and incomplete; perfect form is, by itself, eternally static which, since it is a restriction of allowed states, would be ruled out by a symmetry argument of the type give earlier (therefore there is no form that is perfect in the sense of perfect symmetry); therefore form is associated with formation (which includes what is often identified as becoming vs process or mechanics of form but which distinction is a model but is incomplete for in more inclusive models, e.g. quantum theory, the distinction is blurred), which is associated with interaction—which is either necessary (due to possibility and which may be seen as interaction with the void) or interaction with another manifest formed being.
That is, beings have form, interaction, and formation—of their own and within the form, interaction, and formation of the manifest universe.
Form and interaction may be thought of as ‘matter’ like and ‘mind’ or experience like, respectively; but the distinction is pragmatic for mind must have form (it is not no mind without body but mind is or has form and therefore body); and both aspects are in process; and as knowledge is the result of coming to know, duration is essential to mind.
A root meaning of experience. Experience and form have a root meaning—the elementary level at which they are primitive to but not possessed of human-like consciousness or experience.
The emergent metaphysics. In its first meaning above experience is conscious awareness. There is experience—experience has Being—for to doubt experience is experience (Descartes’ argument). And there is experience of experience for without it ‘there is experience’ would not have meaning. Thus there is a world or universe that contains experience. Some conventional or normative contents of the world are self and body (‘I’), others (human beings and other organisms with degrees of life, sentience, and sapience), which, together, constitute the world or total environment. Another interpretation is ‘metaphysical solipsism’—the universe is identical to (what is thought of as) the experience of a single (human) being; which, while seemingly absurd, is at least difficult to logically distinguish the conventional view. Solipsism suggests another interpretation—the universe is a field of Being and experience in which individuals are focal, compound, layered, and ‘bright’ centers of conscious experience and the environment is not devoid of experientiality but its level or intensity is low or zero but not null (null would imply that it is incapable of high level consciousness even if compounded and layered as it is in sentients). Which of the conventional and field interpretations is real? They are both real for the field must obtain per FP; and the conventional is at least an approximate or pragmatic description of our world. Thus the emergent metaphysics is ‘dual’ (though not a dualism)—the perfect (the field) in which the conventional is immanent but localized (the two are meshed). Metaphysical solipsism is not impossible but might occur in unstable worlds. This emergent metaphysics might be called a perfect metaphysics but here it will be called the emergent metaphysics or just the metaphysics (in other work, it has been called the perfect metaphysics). It is a mesh of the ideal system (experience, Being and so on) and traditional or pragmatic knowledge (though imperfect, the pragmatic what is as if true for some purposes). The ideal inspires and illuminates the pragmatic, it shows what may and will be achieved; and the pragmatic complements the ideal as instrumental toward the achievement.
Emergent reason. Terms such as reason have many meanings; particularly, understanding (knowledge) and reason (inference) have been distinguished; but in the history of ideas, while distinctions are important, unities are often suppressed because incomplete knowledge counts as scholarship. If we think of reason as the best developed and developing approach to action in the world then emergent reason under the metaphysics is an interacting join of direct knowledge the world—via perception; thought and inference—imaginative and critical, with feeling, value, and intuition; and action under the aegis of knowledge and thought.
Identity is sense of sameness of self. The universe and its identity cycle through formation, form, dissolution, and void; there are arrays of cosmoses without limit—and physical laws without limit; these are the cycles with and without repetition of what has been called Brahman.
The immediate is the ground of and for realization; fertile in itself, only apparently distinct from the ultimate.
The ways to the ultimate do not and cannot avoid ecstasy and pain. But calm enjoyment of realization is preferred to excess or stagnant ecstasy. And pain ought to be addressed with compassion and the best available means, e.g. in medicine; but the best resolution of the problem of pain is to be on a path.
The direct path is the result of unusual development in intrinsic or experiential and instrumental or external ways—it is a direct route to the ultimate in which the individuals and worlds merge with and become the ultimate. In a given world the direct way may be rare; in the universe it is the way. Note that the distinction between the intrinsic and external is one of convention for the experiential and the ‘material’ are not distinct.
In the indirect path individuals and worlds diffuse into the universe where the essence of identity is preserved for another becoming—a process in which with loss of awareness an eternity is a moment. There are occasions on which death is the most direct path; otherwise, it is a loss of opportunity if used to avoid path difficulties.
Regardless of path, the merging of self (Atman) with the ultimate (Brahman) is given. But it is the choice to engage and of how to engage that determines efficiency and enjoyment.
There are paths and templates of ways to the ultimate (e.g., in the religions). All paths themselves are in process. About process—“In the life of the spirit we are always at the beginning.”
Foundation begins in the present.
The systems of human cultures are available for deployment; but none is final; and similarly The Way is not to be seen as final but a call to be in process.
Notes. The paths of this manual are in process in light of the fundamental principle and reason; and draw upon and integrate some elements of the received ways of human cultures. See the document A journey in being-complete for greater detail.
(iii) Rejection of the ideas that secularism is a full means of negotiating the ultimate; and that the major religions provide more than partial understanding or means or that their positive and negative cosmologies are always more than symbolic.
Traditional and modern ways are seen as resources for The Way and its discovery under the real metaphysics. Perfection according to the ways and individual criteria are useful but seen as experimental, subject to values from the real metaphysics, and should remain in balance with being on a path to the ultimate.
The template is adaptable to a range of
1. Life stages and situations,
2. Orientations to the nature of self and universe,
3. Everyday circumstances,
4. Individual vs shared activity, and
5. Special activities and explorations.
The adaptation can be made by selecting
1. The elements,
2. The order,
3. The emphasis,
4. The timing, which may be explicit or written in, and
5. To balance structure and its abandon to favor a fresh outlook and approach.
Dedication—I dedicate my life to The Way of Being; to living in this world and the ultimate as one. The Way or Means—To shared discovery and realization of the way under emergent reason in its pure and pragmatic dimensions. The Path—To shedding bonds of limited self so that I can see the way so clearly that even in difficulty life is flow over force—and so moving toward positive light; and to realizing the ultimate in this life and beyond.
(In the dedication and affirmation, ‘I’ may be changed to ‘we’.)
“That pure unlimited consciousness—transcending all principles of form… that is supreme reality. That is the ground for the establishment of all things—and that is the essence of the universe. By That the universe lives and breathes, and That alone am I. Thus I embody and am the universe in its ordinary and most transcendent form.”
Reflect on realization, priorities, and means; employ simple reflection, (calming) meditative emptiness (Shamatha) for re-orientation of purpose and energy, contemplative or analytical meditation (Vipasana) to see what is essential now and in other time frames (see ‘experimental yoga’ below for details).
3. Realization—work and relationships, ideas and action, yoga-exercise-meditation-share in practice and in action, tasks and meals. Other activities or ‘engagement in the world’ (—e.g., languages, art).
Experience as conscious awareness in all its forms (receptive or ‘attitudinal’, pure thought-emotion, and ‘actionable’) is fundamental—it is the place of meaning and our Being. One does not transcends experience (one does transcend one’s experience in life and in merging with greater Being) but yet there is perfect knowing. Experience is key to yoga in two ways—as a direct path to higher experiential Being and via knowledge and action as a platform for transformation.
Beyul—a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is travel and being in nature, sometimes to remote places, in search of extended experience of self and the ultimate, with openness to inspiration.
Experience traditions for learning and impact on identity.
A source for the dimensions is the document Experience and its dimensions.
A source for the dimensions is the document Experience and its dimensions. For further information see system of human knowledge… (doc) and its supplement (doc). In a journey in being-outline.html see § A system of the world and § Templates > § Site sources.
The aim of The Way of Being | A Journey includes realization of the ultimate in and from the immediate.
A many faceted problem faces us. Let us describe it together with approach to resolution.
Essential concepts will be seeing the truth, rational-emotive living, yoga*, secular tradition, default secularism
1. How to see the truth. From the seeming finite, it may be hard to see how the ultimate-as-demonstrated is true, let alone achievable. An approach is not just rational seeing but rational-emotive living.
Rational-emotive living. To see the truth of the
ultimate a first step is to review the demonstration and its heuristics. The
demonstration itself may be affirmed simply—“Because there are no constraints
in the non-manifest (void), the manifest (universe) is necessary. Necessity
of just the empirical universe contradicts the symmetry that is the essential
simplicity of the void. Therefore, of necessity, the real universe is
realization of the greatest possibility.”
3. Yoga. Yoga is of mind and body emphasizing mental and physical exercise and exposure to nature and culture—in practice, action, and world-community. The meaning of ‘Yoga’ is at most suggested by tradition. Important as tradition is, we recognize that its self-definition is its essential limit.
Absent a final metaphysics, the intensional notion of Yoga must be open; but given the metaphysics the intensional meaning of Yoga is reason—i.e., the real metaphysics itself. From the real metaphysics—especially the limitlessness and essential ever freshness of the variety, peaking, and dissolution of Being—the extensive meaning of Yoga is and must be ever open.
4. The secular tradition to the present day. Secular knowledge and technology of transformation and exploration—for individual and world-community… as detailed in § A system of the world in a journey in being-outline.html.
This template employs and covers the dimensions of Being and phases of human life. It is adaptable to a range of foci corresponding to different interests. Though they may do so, it is not intended that an individual should or shall undertake action in all dimensions and details.
The template is adaptable to a range of personal orientations, contexts of sharing, and life stages and situations.
The adaptation can be made by selecting the elements, the emphases, and degrees of shared versus individual endeavor.
1. Being—Dimensions (a) Pure Being… (an aim), Being as if timeless and without restriction to place in the present (b) Community—a spiritual home and sharing community (‘Sangha’).
Detail. Everyday process bridges the immediate-ultimate. Vision retreat. Explanation. Being in and search for home and universal yogic connection is important. Home and community are ground. Home is a place from which to look out on the world with wonder and invitation to the real. Community ought to be supportive of truth and development in truth, encouraging yet critical, not steeped in either secular or transsecular limits of vision or dogma. Normative truth in Sangha or community leads to truth and transformation of persons; and real truth of enlightened and transformed persons gives back to normative truth in Sangha.
Detail: Reason; art. Explanation. Ideas are the first place of Being, significance, and action; and are instrumental in realization.
3. Becoming—Dimensions: nature, psyche, and their interactions; immersion in nature as a place of Being and catalyst to the real. Effect on culture and understanding of the universal.
Detail: Nature as ground for the real and renewal (in system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.html*)—focus on nature as gateway—e.g., as in Beyul: quest for the real (in The way of being-essential.html*) as in Tibetan Buddhism; the focus is nature as gateway. Explanation. Nature is inspiration on multiple counts—an essential place and image of Being, catalyst to meditation and ideas. Life in nature exemplifies Being. What is the be-ing of animals? Nature is a path to the real. Meditation (yoga) is an intrinsic way to centered and transformative attitude in this world, and shedding limitations (bondage) of self and growing into universal life.
4. Becoming—Dimensions: civilization and society (culture and its dimensions; instrumental and immersive politics and economics). Contribution of culture to understanding of the universal. Institution is a twofold aspect of this phase—(i) accessing the range of social and cultural institutions of society (ii) building specific institutions for realization and community.
Detail. See Instrumental modes of transformation (in system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.html*) for a shared approach to transformation, community, civilization and population of earth and universe). Intrinsic and instrumental thought (social-political-economic philosophy—see politics and cultural economics.html) and action—(i) meditation is guide to action and shedding bondage of self (ii) the system of knowledge is a guide to comprehensive secular and transsecular elements of local through global action. Explanation. Civilization is vehicle for and path to the real.
Detail. A dual approach to transformation of psyche and civilization. What is a good attitude and approach? (i) Awareness of self and limitation—and acceptance and openness toward it; but to openly aim at the highest in this life and beyond (and their interaction and recognition of the poverty of exclusively secular and exclusively—dogmatic—transsecular approaches). (ii) Cultivation of the attitude in meditation-yoga-practice. (iii) Laying out dimensions, levels, and foci of action. Dimensions of the world (psyche, nature, society and civilization—secular and transsecular, the universal): see system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.html for systematic detail. Levels: individual to universal. Foci: assessment of problems, opportunities, and targets of action—see § Challenges and opportunities in Journey in Being-detail.html. (iv) Action in the context of and by community or Sangha; there is no limitation of Sangha to just small scale or spiritual communities.
5. Becoming—Dimension: artifact (technology, especially as enhancing Being in the universe). ‘Civilizing the universe’—i.e. universe as peak consciousness via spread of sapient Being.
Detail. Artifactual Being as realized Being (find ‘artifactual being’ in system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.html*); and as adjunct (science and technology of advanced civilization on the way to the ultimate; use of computation and networking in realization—as adjunct and as independent identity). Address of pain via modern medicine and therapy, supplemented by what is good in the traditions, is important to individuals and realization by civilization—either in part or in whole. Explanation. Artifact has potential as Being, reservoir of our Being, and auxiliary in our search for intrinsic and instrumental Being (e.g. the spread of ideas and civilization).
Detail: Transformation aimed at the universal. Catalysts—dynamics, catalysts and catalytic states.html* (on catalytic transformation), ways (in the realizations-resource version.html*: on religion as a source for transformation), in everyday process, and renewal, knowledge, technology, developed-deployed in transforming Being-civilization. Explanation. The path to Being. Where secular and transsecular paradigms visualize completeness or impossibility of completeness, there is neither completeness nor impossibility. This action is on the way to the ultimate.
Detail: Being in the universal.