The Way of Being | A Journey
A Field Manual

Anil Mitra, Copyright © January 2, 2019—April 20, 2020

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OUTLINE AND SUMMARY
(The entries are links to the main content)

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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.

A Wide Angle View of The Way

1.      The endeavor of The Way is that of Being and becoming—the possibility and the potential—past, present, and future in linear or cyclic 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?

What is the role of knowledge and action—of tradition and of progress, the secular and the transsecular? What can be known? What is the greatest realization?

Will there be mystery when all questions are answered?

2.      The universe is the greatest possible.

Therefore there is and can be but one universe which is and must be limitless in extent, duration, and variety of Being.

The hypothetical being that does not affect our world is effectively nonexistent for our world.

3.      The universe is a field of Being.

The universe is a field of Being (as existence), experience (in its defined root meaning below, but especially as conscious awareness), and becoming—i.e., roughly of form, interaction, and formation.

4.      The universe has identity, which has form, formation, and dissolution without limit.

The universe is ever fresh.

The answering of all questions does not annihilate mystery.

5.      Individuals inherit the limitlessness of the universe.

From the immediate, individuals and their identities and worlds inherit this freshness limitlessness—merging with it.

6.      There are paths or ways to the ultimate; to engage in being on a way is an imperative and the enjoyment of Being.

A direct path or way is via the field of Being and experience. An indirect path is through death which is real but not absolute.

But always, a direct path ought to be sought while the indirect may be a temporary default or, where there is no clear option, a resort.

It is realistic path to mesh the direct and the indirect. Yet, it is essential to be alert to an opening of a direct path.

Paths to the ultimate are always in a process of development. This is part of that critical alertness.

7.      A practical distinction is of an everyday routine and the net universal process of realization.

The manual provides an everyday and a universal template, below—which mesh in practice, each designed to be adaptable to a range of life ways and attitudes. Here is an outline of the templates:

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8.      As discovery and realization are emergent, the paths and templates are in process.

The paths and templates will be made more specific and detailed in that they selectively will integrate ‘stages’ of various systems and may provide alternatives for different individual orientation.

Note that the everyday template includes traditional rooting in the immediate world—especially community, preparation for negotiation, and mindful negotiation toward the ultimate.

And—in line with the world of the twentyfirst century the following are also emphasized.

(i) Use of philosophy, science, medicine, and technology ethically in intrinsic and instrumental ways.

(ii) Recognition that in today’s world a political economics is possible and desirable, ideally as well as practically.

(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.

An everyday template

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Universal template

 

The Way of Being | A Journey

Files this document points to

templates for realization.doc

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 the outline and summary above and the Templates for realization.

A Wide Angle View of The Way

1.    The endeavor of The Way is that of Being and becoming—the possibility and the potential—past, present, and future in linear or cyclic time.

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?

What is the role of knowledge and action—of tradition and of progress, the secular and the transsecular? What can be known? What is the greatest realization?

Will there be mystery when all questions are answered?

Of course, if all questions are answered.

2.    The universe is the greatest possible.

Therefore there is and can be but one universe which is and must be limitless in extent, duration, and variety of Being.

The hypothetical being that does not affect our world is effectively nonexistent for our world.

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.

3.    The universe is a field of Being.

The universe is a field of Being (as existence), experience (in its defined root meaning below, but especially as conscious awareness), and becoming—i.e., roughly of form, interaction, and formation.

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.

4.    The universe has identity, which has form, formation, and dissolution without limit.

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 universe is ever fresh.

The answering of all questions does not annihilate mystery.

5.    Individuals inherit the limitlessness of the universe.

From the immediate, individuals and their identities and worlds inherit this freshness limitlessness—merging with it.

The immediate is the ground of and for realization; fertile in itself, only apparently distinct from the ultimate.

6.    There are paths or ways to the ultimate; to engage in being on a way is an imperative and the enjoyment of Being.

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.

A direct path or way is via the field of Being and experience. An indirect path is through death which is real but not absolute.

But always, a direct path ought to be sought while the indirect may be a temporary default or, where there is no clear option, a resort.

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.

It is realistic path to mesh the direct and the indirect. Yet, it is essential to be alert to an opening of a direct path.

Paths to the ultimate are always in a process of development. This is part of that critical alertness.

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.

7.    A practical distinction is of an everyday routine and the net universal process of realization.

The manual provides an everyday and a universal template, below—which mesh in practice, each designed to be adaptable to a range of life ways and attitudes. Here is an outline of the templates:

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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.

8.    As discovery and realization are emergent, the paths and templates are in process.

The paths and templates will be made more specific and detailed in that they selectively will integrate ‘stages’ of various systems and may provide alternatives for different individual orientation.

Note that the everyday template includes traditional rooting in the immediate world—especially community, preparation for negotiation, and mindful negotiation toward the ultimate.

And—in line with the world of the twentyfirst century the following are also emphasized.

(i) Use of philosophy, science, medicine, and technology ethically in intrinsic and instrumental ways.

(ii) Recognition that in today’s world a political economics is possible and desirable, ideally as well as practically.

(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.

Buddhism in its original form is a religion with a negative cosmology—it asserts that metaphysics and cosmology are not pertinent to its meaning and way of realization.

An everyday template

The source for the templates is templates for realization.html (doc) and changes should be made there; templates for realization.html also has information on traditional and modern ways and their incorporation to The Way.

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Universal template

A source for the dimensions is the document Experience and its dimensions.

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