The Essentials of The Way of Being

Anil Mitra, Copyright May 29, 2020—June 15, 2020

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Outline
And summary

Prologue

The aim of the way of being is living well in the world and shared discovery and realization of the ultimate in itself and in the immediate. The way of being is discovery and realization of the aim of the way of being.

Discovering the way

Discovery of the way will be in terms of concepts, of which the main are, in order of development—the aim of the way of being, living well, the ultimate, the real, experience, abstraction, existence (associated with the verb to be), being, universe, possibility, metaphysics, reason, the aim of being, and means and paths of realization.

The real

We have an intuitive sense of the real as the foundation of things beyond experience of them. However, since intuition is not known to be reliable, foundation has been sought in substance. But substance itself is generally not founded. Therefore, we return to experience as a possible source of foundation.

Experience

Experience is subjective awareness. Not a denial, this affirms the real in intrinsic and instrumental terms. To see the real in terms of experience admits subjectivity but the acknowledgment is a way beyond mere subjectivity. Experience is the place and means of being, relation, meaning, knowledge, reason, and realization.

Being

Being as existence is an intrinsic and instrumental foundation for understanding and realization. The universe is all being, it is not created, it has no effective cause, and has no exterior. It is the place and source of all creation.

Possibility

The motive to consider possibility—the universe has no effective cause. What possibility is. Fleshing out possibility—kinds of possibility and the universe of possibility. Realization of the universe of possibility would not violate science or our experience of the world. Possibility is unsuitable as cause of the universe. Necessity. Unconditional being is necessary being.

Metaphysics

Metaphysics is knowledge of the real. Discussion begins with demonstration of the fundamental principle of metaphysics—i.e., that the universe is the greatest possible. Remaining topics are the relationship of the individual to the universe, objections and responses, the real metaphysics, and the real.

The fundamental principle of metaphysics or just ‘fundamental principle’—the universe is the logically possible, i.e. the universe is the greatest possible being.

The universe has identity; the universe and its identity are limitless; the individual merges with peak identity; there are effective and enjoyable paths to merging; it is an imperative to be engaged in living and discovering such paths.

doubt toward the fundamental principle and its proof is critical to establishing confidence in truth and significance of the principle. It shows the principle to be consistent with experiencee and science (since it is grounded in logic, it is automatically internally consistent); and it suggests two alternative stances regarding the principle—(i) to treat it as an axiom as foundation for metaphysics and (ii) to regard it as an existential principle of action.

The real metaphysics is a synthesis of pure consequences of the abstract fundamental principle and pragmatic knowledge. It is the ideal and practical instrument in realization of the ultimate it reveals.

The way

The aim of being. The means. Intrinsic and instrumental aspects.

Templates

There are two path templates, intended for adaptation to a variety of interests and individual and group contexts.

Review

Reviews the work. Illuminates crucial methodology, historical and original, that was tacit in the narration. Highlights and explains the conceptual source of the real metaphysics.

Epilogue

Looking back—discovery, emergence, and living the way of being has been a journey. The way ahead—moving forward, the way is suitable foundation for realization in this life and beyond.

Resources

Templates, works, knowledge resources, some traditions, reading, and glossary.

 

The Essentials of The Way of Being

Green font at the beginning of a section, marks a summary or the essentials of the section.

small capitals are used in formal definitions or explanations.

Prologue

The aim of the way of being is living well in the world and shared discovery and realization of the ultimate in itself and in the immediate. The way of being is discovery and realization of the aim of the way of being.

If the ultimate were not present in the immediate world, it would not be ultimate. If, then, there is a true ultimate that we do not see, it is because we do not see well enough.

The imperative to the aim is that living well—enjoyment—and pursuit of the ultimate ground one another.

The origin of the way is in history and the pursuit of meaning. It inherits ideas from primal to latest tradition.

It is presented as a contribution to discovery and realization. Readers may judge its contribution.

At the boundary of knowledge, ideas require reformulation. Inherited terms are imprecise and variant in meaning.

Understanding this work will require absorption of (i) the new and defined meanings of the concepts and (ii) the systematic relation among the concepts.

Discovery is not just a search for things, but a search for ideas, things, actions, and relations among them.

Discovering the way

Discovery of the way will be in terms of concepts, of which the main are, in order of development—the aim of the way of being, living well, the ultimate, the real, experience, abstraction, existence (associated with the verb to be), being, universe, possibility, metaphysics, reason, the aim of being, and means and paths of realization.

The flow of ideas

The flow of ideas in the work is intended to be (i) natural, from givens to sequelae, and (ii) rational. This section explains the flow and provides informal justification. This is efficient for understanding and to follow later formal argument.

Let us now explain the significace of the ideas.

Begin by asking what the ultimate is. This leads to a series of reflections.

The ultimate may be based in what is real. What we are presented with is conscious experience and its phenomena or appearances.

Experience will be pertinent as the place of significant and linguistic (concept) meaning; the place of relation to and being in the world; and the place and means of realization. Here, we will focus on the relation of experience and the real.

Some experiences some are labeled concepts, which we think of as having real objects. When we would avoid illusion and error, we question the reality of the objects and the precision of the concepts. But we can take another attitude. Regardless whether they are real, knowledge of alleged objects is always further experience. If, then, we regard the world as a field of experience, without committing to it being really or only so, we may use that framework as a neutral canvas on which to analyze the real and the precision of concepts. We begin with a neutral sense of ‘things’ as concept-object pairs, reality as a concept-object pair. Can we then rediscover the world as a system of objects in the naïve sense but without naïvety?

Not entirely. However, we will do better—but it will occasion some revision of the value of knowledge.

Begin by questioning the real. Is anything real? Yes, experience itself is given (even illusion is experience). That is, there is experience—i.e., experience exists.

Consequently something exists (or there would not even or there would not even be illusory experience) and there is a universe (everything that exists). How can we know these assertions to be true? It is abstraction. There is abstraction in saying ‘something’ and ‘everything’ and it is this that enables their truth. There are some objects and there is an object named the universe. There are beings (existents) and there is being (existence).

This abstract real is a framework from which the reality of a world may emerge.

Details of the flow

Let us now fill in the flow of ideas to from experience to metaphysics. Briefly, in experience, there is a sense of what is possible and feasible. The discussion of possibility examines this idea, and from the possible, metaphysics finds what is real and ultimate, reason (including tradition), and design for paths to the ultimate. Metaphysics will emerge as knowledge of the real. We now fill in some detail.

Being is existence—that which is (the verb to be). In abstraction, which is to omit detail that results in distortion, being is just existence. It is therefore well founded but as foundation, the question of what has being is left open. The former is a strength, the latter a seeming weakness. However, the open question is also a strength for it avoids prejudice. It will turn out that that being as nonprejudicial foundation enables discovery of an ultimate and well founded metaphysics.

The universe will be ‘everything’—all being, not just in spacetime but inclusive of spacetime. This inclusivity is critical for then there is nothing outside the universe, not even cause and this is essential to the development in that all causation and being are to be found in the universe.

Possibility has two aspects—the world and its boundary. Knowledge of the world is in science and experience, which are pragmatic. We will find knowledge of the boundary of the world to be logic, which will be found perfect in a sense explained later.

Metaphysics is knowledge of the real. The metaphysics of the work is a demonstrated synthesis of the pragmatic and the perfect; it reveals the universe as realization of all possibility (i.e., ultimate); and that the individual realizes this possibility which entails that realization is an ultimate value; this imperative is, however, not a duty at all cost but an imperative to live well as way to the ultimate—it is the aim of being. The pure and pragmatic form a synthesis. The pure illuminates and guides the pragmatic; the pragmatic illustrates and is guide toward the pure ideal. The pure side shows the universe to be ultimate; the pragmatic is instrumental in realization of the ultimate. In relation to the ideal, the pragmatic is the essential instrument; therefore, while imperfect under some traditional criteria, it is perfect in relation to the ideal. The synthesis, named real metaphysics, is epistemically perfect in relation to the ideal of realization of the ultimate. The metaphysics is metaphysics-in-action, experimental on its pragmatic side, and embodiment of reason. Regarding the question of the possibility of metaphysics, the pure side is metaphysics as knowledge of the real where knowledge is perfect representation. The entire metaphysics is knowledge of the real, with knowledge understood pragmatically on the pragmatic side; but this is also pure from a new conception of the criteria of knowledge that is entailed by the pure side.

Reason is the means of realization. What is valid in tradition is implicit in reason. To be on a path is to live in reason, not just to follow. Tradition is useful on the path but ought to be regarded experimentally rather than dogmatically and finally. Some useful traditions are as follows. From the west—science, humanism, and liberal religion. From the east—meditation as experiential transformation, yoga as support for meditation, and Advaita Vedanta as intuition of the ultimate (grounded in the development below).

What follows is brief—it telescopes an entire history of philosophy and reason. What is implicit from that history, but significant in the development is reviewed later.

The real

We have an intuitive sense of the real as the foundation of things beyond experience of them. However, since intuition is not known to be reliable, foundation has been sought in substance. But substance itself is generally not founded. Therefore, we return to experience as a possible source of foundation.

There is an intuitive sense of the real as the foundation of things. The appeal of the idea of foundation that it would give our endeavors security and certainty. However, when moving beyond the field of intuition which is not known to extend between experience, we ought to inquire into what ‘the real’ might mean.

Our direct experience and reflections seem unreliable as foundation. A commn approach to foundation is to find it in subtance—the substances of things or the substance of all things. However, the problem of substance is that, no matter how firm it seems, a substance is a posit and every posit requires another, leading to infinite regress.

Perhaps then, we can go back to original experience to find foundation in it rather than under it (i.e. rather than in sub-stance).

Since there is a history of difficulty in locating the real as a definite thing in the world, one meaning of the real is that which is the immediate object of truth.

How can we find truth amid experience? Perhaps, even though it seems unreliable, it is what we definitely have, and it would not refer the real to posits—to something else. But can we find reliability in experience or ought we not to be too keen regarding reliability and certainty? And, to backtrack, what is experience? We now turn to these issues. We will summarize our findings, later, in §§ Metaphysics > The real.

Experience

Experience is subjective awareness. Not a denial, this affirms the real in intrinsic and instrumental terms. To see the real in terms of experience admits subjectivity but the acknowledgment is a way beyond mere subjectivity. Experience is the place and means of being, relation, meaning, knowledge, reason, and realization.

Experience and its signifiance

experience is subjective or conscious awareness in all its forms.

There is experience—e.g., denying experience is experiential. There is experience of experience, which enables direction of focus, and without which we would not know that there is experience.

An individual is an experiencing self (‘self’, too, is part of the experience; the definition is not a commitment to the existence of individuals—this will follow later).

Effectively, there are—we are—individuals (which is not an implication that that is all we are; it allows but of course does not require that each of us ‘is’ the universe).

There is a sense in which we remain in experience, for to know of experience is experiential, and to validate experience as knowledge, we refer to further experience.

Experience is effectively the place of knowledge, significant meaning (‘the meaning of life’), and our ‘being’.

Some details on the significance of experience

Let us further reflect on the significance of experience.

1.    Experience is the place or medium of aliveness—the place, metaphorically, of our essence—for without experience we would be essentially inert. Whatever we become, it is effectively in experience—experience is the place of our realizations. When something is significant, it is so in experience, that is, experience is the place or medium of significant meaning—the ‘meaning of life’.

2.    Experience is the place of our relation to self and world—there is experience-of-the-world, experience-itself or pure experience, and experience-in-action. Even experience-itself or ‘pure experience’ is internal relation and potential external relation.

3.    That is, experience is relational. This suggests that a fundamental description of the real is as relation and change or field and change (rather than object, relation, and change in a spacetime manifold)

4.    Experience is reflexive—i.e., we have experience of experience. This, with memory, is key to reflection and directing experience to ends. This is key to making living beings more than feeling robots, possessed of free will, especially aware of self and world, capable of internalizing the blind mechanism of evolution and rendering it as conscious design for a world.

5.    Effectively we remain in experience—confirmation of experience is via further experience. Therefore concepts and objects are places in experience—the concept is identified as ‘experience of’ and the object as ‘experienced’. This does not mean there are no true objects or world but that it is one description of things—a neutral description that is a way to what objectivity means and what objectivity there may be. Since we do not get out of our experience, the experiential real may be said to be the concept-object pair, which is relation. If this projects to the universe, the truly real may then be said to be concept-object relation reinterpreted at the root of ‘being’.

6.    Since concept and object are, at least, palces in experience, experience is effectively the place of concept meaning (a concept or experience and its possible referents), language meaning (language: sign systems associated with concept systems), and knowledge (meaning realized). If we see an existent as a concept-referent (object), we can say it exists when there is a referent, and that when there is no referent, it is nonexistent. Experience is an effective place of existence.

7.    As the place of knowledge, experience is more than the place of intrinsic realization, it is the instrumental means.

8.    These reflections show that experience has greater significance than it is often given. In what follows we explore an extended meaning of ‘experience’.

Summary of the significance of experience

Experience is the place and means (intrinsic as being and instrumental in becoming) of being, relation, meaning, knowledge, reason, action, and realization. To ground the way in experience is effective; it is not a denial of the world.

Experience—abstraction and interpretation

So far we have discussed how experience is the effective place of aliveness, meaning, and ‘being’. We have discussed how, if experience is projectable to the universe it is effectively the place of the real? We will show how ‘effective place’ may be replaced by ‘place’ or ‘medium’, how the projection may be true, how experience is ‘being’. We are not quite ready to do so for this will require further development. However we can set up a framework for doing so via abstraction and interpretation.

abstraction is elimination of detail from a concept, such that what remains is true to the object (more precisely, true to an abstract of the original object).

So, with sufficient abstraction, knowledge would be perfect—perfect knowledge would perfectly map the real. We will find significant perfect knowledge. However, we will need more.

pragmatic knowledge is knowledge that is imperfect or not known perfect in depicting its intended objects but which is good enough for at least limited purposes.

An interpretation is a model, picture, description, pattern, theory, of a part of the world that is consistent with experience. If the part is the world, the interpretation is an interpretation of the world.

1.    In naïve examination of the experience of things, we do not know what is real. However, abstraction to just experience-itself reveals experience as real. Then, we can say there is experience or experience exists and there is all of existence. So, to anticipate definitions, there is being and there is the one universe. This perfect or pure knowledge is trivial but will be enhanced in two ways. First, it will be the path to revealing a truly known ultimate character of the universe. Second, from ideals derived from this ultimate character, our pragmatic knowledge will be found perfect for negotiation of the universe (the ideal will necessitate changing the criteria for perfection). The perfect and the pure will be synthesized as a real metaphysics, perfect by the emergent criterion of perfection. The real metaphysics provides an emergent conception of reason that is defined and explained later.

2.    Examination of experience provides interpretations of the world that together with the real metaphysics provide a real picture of the world.

Here are the essential interpretations.

1.    The universe is not the void. The universe is not an ‘empty’ or nonmanifest world, i.e. it is not the void (as defined later), and since there is experience, the universe cannot be the void. However, that the universe should phase among the manifest and the void is an interpretation.

2.    The universe is not a strictly material cosmos. Matter is that which can be sensed or experienced but does not sense; mind is what is experiential. To be material is to be constituted or made of matter, and only of matter. To be strictly material in the case that matter is exclusive of mind. Since the universe contains experience, it cannot be strictly material. It may, however, have material attributes.

3.    The universe is experiential. To say this does not deny matter for it allows referents of experience. In a substance cosmos, the elementary root of experience, if there is any, is among the elements for emergence from non-experiential elements is categorially impossible. Therefore, a substance cosmos with experiential beings must be essentially experiential. This does not mean that the elements entities (e.g. particles or fields) are experiential as we are but that they have properties such that complex organizations such as brains have consciousness. This is of course emergence but within a category and not of one category from another. Further, it does not imply that such a cosmos is non-material; it means that ‘mind and matter’ as bound together in the one substance. If matter is thought of as ‘stuff-in-itself’ then experience is ‘stuff-in-relation’ and root experience (the elementary properties) subsumes root matter. The universe may be considered strictly experiential, with the value of experientiality equal to zero in some of its regions.

4.    Experientiality is the one and final category. First, as just seen it can subsume mind and matter—conscious and non conscious existence (or ‘being’ in anticipation of the treatment of being). Does the series matter, mind… continue beyond consciousness (e.g. as an infinite number of attributes of God as asserted by Spinoza)? Given that the essence of matter is ‘stuff’ while an essence of mind is ‘relation’ the next in the series would be ‘relation in relation’ which is just relation and therefore mind or experientiality. Therefore (contrary to Spinoza) experience is the final category and since it contains the other category (‘stuff’) it is the one category. The richness of the world is in its variety, not in its kinds (or Spinozan attributes).

5.    There are inert or strict material cosmoses (somewhere) but this would not be an interpretation of our cosmos. In an initially experientially inert non-substance cosmos, there may be emergence and infusion of experientiality.

6.    Our cosmos is a substance cosmos for pragmatic purposes. So far as this obtains, it cannot be a strictly material cosmos—as in what may be called the standard secular view. But an extension of the standard secular view that allows at least one of root, emergent, or infused experientiality is a (valid) interpretation. The root interpretation is the most parsimonious but not necessary.

7.    The universe is just the contents of my mind (‘my’ refers to what is thought of as an experiencing self). This position is called metaphysical solipsism. It is absurd in the sense that it grossly contradicts our common view of the reality of the world and in that if the cosmos is as vast and complex as we think it is and my mind is as limited as we think typical minds are, then my mind cannot represent the universe (but it could consistently feel as though that is the case). The use of the view is not that we think it real, but that in challenging what we think sensible, it encourages us to rethink our common sense and philosophical views toward a view that is true in its concept (intension) and object (range, extension).

8.    The universe is a field of experience (with change)—i.e., in anticipation of introduction of the concept of ‘being’, the universe is a field of experiential being. The latter allows an open universe—one in which all possibilities occur, in which all consistent imagination of kinds of thing and world are realized. The field of being view is useful, first, because it is consistent with experience and all the views in the previous items are special cases of it. It is therefore a framework for analysis. It is important, secondly, because when the real metaphysics has been established, we will find (i) that all said kinds of cosmoses discussed above exist, at least for limited periods (ii) the universe is essentially a field of being and experience (iii) though our cosmos is substance like—is pragmatically a substance cosmos, it meshes with the entire universe beyond the current empirical boundary and (iv)

9.    The universe is an open universe—one in which all possibilities occur, and all consistently conceivable kinds of things occur (‘possibility’ is analyzed later). That is, while all the above kinds of cosmos occur, including inert and solipsist cosmosed, the open universe itself is one universe of the greatest possibility (which means that all possibilities occur, which in turn includes but is not the same as ‘best’). Defining an open universe as a universe of the greatest possibility, it would be an experiential field of being, that has peaks without limit in which all beings merge in peak being and experientiality. Further, such universe would not be peak without excaption but would phase among all interpretations. Note, that it is not being said here that the universe is open, but that that would be consistent with experience and therefore an interpretation of experience.

Is the universe open? Or is it much less—perhaps just our cosmos on the pragmatic substance interpretation?

Analysis of experience allows a range interpretations. The metaphysics to be developed will (i) require the open and (ii) instances of all interpretations. The universe would phase among the peak-open and the other interpretations, including the void.

Being

Being as existence is an intrinsic and instrumental foundation for understanding and realization. The universe is all being, it is not created, it has no effective cause, and has no exterior. It is the place and source of all creation.

a being will be a term for an existent (anything that exists); being will mean existence.

Thus, the use of ‘being’ here is not in the tradition of ‘being’ as higher, spiritual, essential, or special (which may be taken up under ‘kinds of being’). Here, being is very ordinary, even trivial, and this is a source of its power.

That a being is a concept-referent is implicit; in a given environment, e.g. our world, it is effective to suppress the concept and think of a being as a thing-in-itself; but when we want to move beyond common context, it will be essential to remember the concept-referent nature of being. Another context in which the concept may be suppressed or ‘forgotten’ is with sufficient abstraction. The context of existence without reference to kind of existence is just such an abstract context.

Within experience, being is effectively relational. We will find that the most effective description, at the very root elements of the world, beyond the abstraction of being-as-being, is one of being as relational and in process.

power is giving or receiving effect—i.e., power is effective cause.

The hypothetical being that has no power, self or other, does not exist.

The measure of being is power.

The universe is all being.

The universe exists—it has being.

The universe has and can have no effective cause or for a cause or creator is another being—and for the universe there is no other being. It cannot even be ‘self caused’ for that presumes it to exist to create or cause itself.

the void is the absence of (manifest) being.

Existence of the void has not yet been established.

To create would be to create from the void for to create out of something is not to truly create. Therefore, to repeat, the universe does not and cannot self-create—it has no effective cause.

Possibility

The motive to consider possibility—the universe has no effective cause. What possibility is. Fleshing out possibility—kinds of possibility and the universe of possibility. Realization of the universe of possibility would not violate science or our experience of the world. Possibility is unsuitable as cause of the universe. Necessity. Unconditional being is necessary being.

Since effective cause—everyday and physical or ‘scientific’ cause—is not the cause of the universe, it cannot be foundation for understanding of the universe. Since science and logic are twin elements of reason, let us therefore seek cause and understanding of the universe as a whole in logic—in the possible and the necessary. To seek causation in logic is contrary to our scientific paradigms and intuition of cause as effective cause; however, this ought not to prohibit us from considering a kind of cause as somehow located in logic. This will require to clarify the concepts of possibility, necessity, and logic.

A possible being is one whose concept does not prohibit its existence.

Let us flesh out possibility—the kinds of possibility and what is possible.

If the prohibition lies in the nature of the world(s) under consideration, the kind of possibility is real possibility. Examples of real possibility are physical (e.g., laws and theories), biological, and psychological (which includes sapient possibility). But these are not the greatest possibility, for even if the physics of our world prohibits existence here, the physics of another world may permit it.

logical possibility or conceptual possibility is that which is not prohibited by the concept itself. If the concept violates logic, there can be no existent (referent) in any world. Logical possibility is the greatest or most permissive of possibilities. Because our forms of expression are limited, our logics do not constitute (all) logic. Real possibility presumes and is bounded by logical possibility.

logic is the requirement on systems of concepts as conceptual, i.e. without regard to particular reference, for the structure of the system itself to not rule out. That is, logic is a necessary requirement for existence.

What is the range of logical possibility? The logically possible universe is far greater than the empirical universe. Detail is spelled out in the section on metaphysics; here let us provide just a taste to show its significance. The logically possible universe has identity; it phases between manifest and nonmanifest; the manifest phases have limitless variety, and peaks; individuals merge with peak being and in so doing, inherit the power of the universe. Of course, it is not being claimed here that the logically possible obtains. However, a demonstration that it does indeed obtain is given in the section on metaphysics. Would the universe as logical possibility violate science or common experience? No—for science and its theories are empirical and are not known to obtain beyond the empirical boundary. And clearly, common experience lies within that same boundary.

Is it reasonable to think of possibility as cause and basis of understanding for the universe? If we are seeking to understand why the universe should exist, possibility is unsatisfactory, for to say the universe is merely possible is to allow that the universe might never have existed in manifest form. Since effective cause and possibility have been ruled out what remains is either (i) the universe is necessary or (ii) the universe has no cause, either effective or necessary.  Let us therefore, perhaps against our intuition of cause, look at necessity as cause.

A necessary being is one whose concept requires existence—either explicitly or implicitly.

A being whose nonexistence is impossible is necessary.

An unconditional being is one whose existence has no exception. For example, if the universe were temporal, an unconditional being would necessarily be eternal.

An unconditional being is a necessary being.

Since unconditional existence makes no presumption, an unconditional being must manifest in all its possible forms (but not all forms need to co-manifest for the being to be unconditional).

Metaphysics

Metaphysics is knowledge of the real. Discussion begins with demonstration of the fundamental principle of metaphysics—i.e., that the universe is the greatest possible. Remaining topics are the relationship of the individual to the universe, objections and responses, the real metaphysics, and the real.

Metaphysics is knowledge of the real. In discussion so far, some metaphysics has already been established and, so, some metaphysics is possible. However, this is not a justification for traditional metaphysical claims. We now turn to establish further metaphysics. The metaphysics of the work will be named the ‘real metaphysics’.

The fundamental principle of metaphysics

The universe as the manifest universe and the nonmanifest or void is unconditional and therefore necessary.

Therefore, the universe must exist in both its possible forms—the manifest and the void.

The universe cannot exist unconditionally (e.g., eternally) as just one of manifest and nonmanifest.

The universe phases between manifest and nonmanifest.

The universe cannot exist only as one of its logically possible manifest forms, e.g. the empirical cosmos.

The universe must exist as all its logically possible forms.

Realization of an ‘illogical’ form is impossible. An immediate consequence is—

The fundamental principle of metaphysics or just ‘fundamental principle’—the universe is the logically possible, i.e. the universe is the greatest possible being.

There are individual selves.

The universe and the individual

The universe has identity; the universe and its identity are limitless; the individual merges with peak identity; there are effective and enjoyable paths to merging; it is an imperative to be engaged in living and discovering such paths.

Observe that the logically possible universe is far greater than the empirical universe. Based in the fundamental principle, let us now spell out the detail of the logically possible universe begun earlier, which we now know is the universe—

1.    The void exists. There is neither law nor logic in the void except empty logic.

2.    The universe is the open universe defined earlier. Recalling that an absurd world is one that appears bizarre, e.g. the solipsist world, but is logically possible (another bizarre world would be one, imagined by Bertrand Russell as a challenge to our sense of the real, just like ours right now but created complete with our memories just five minutes). What is the significance of such worlds? It is just that such worlds whose form or formation lack symmetry and formation, would seem to be unstable, and therefore of little effective significance.

3.    The universe includes arrays without limit of cosmoses similar and dissimilar to ours. It includes worlds of myth, subject to removal of inconsistency.

4.    It includes realization of all consistent mathematics and other ‘abstract’ sciences. These include possible physics and biology of other worlds.

5.    It includes that all formed cosmoses may be embedded in and in transient communication with backgrounds of lesser form, including the void. The formation and evolution of a cosmos is also the formation and evolution of its laws and logics. The backgrounds often form portals among “worlds”.

6.    Has identity. The universe and its identity phase between and nonmanifest and manifest; the manifest phases are limitless in variety, extent, duration, and peaks of being and their dissolution; there are individual selves as persons in the world; there is an also true interpretation of the universe as a field of experiential being, with the environment as minimially experiential, individuals as heightened centers of experience, and the universe as phasing into manifestation with peaks of being and out of manifestation; individuals inherit the power of the universe and merge in its peaks. The universe is ever fresh for individuals while they are in limited form.

7.    Since the we realize the ultimate, which is limitless, and since death is real, it follows that death is not absolute. The limitlessness of the universe implies that it is a mix of indeterminism and determinism, of transience and form; we find our selves as forms, but we transcend death and the boundaries between our limited selves in the mix of form and formlessness beyond death. Perhaps, as some traditions say, some individuals transcend limited being in this life.

8.    There are efficient and enjoyable paths to the ultimate. To be on a path is not just to follow but to engage in discovery and realization. There is pain, which is unavoidable, but being on a path, while it does not eliminate pain of self or others, is, together with direct address of pain employing modern treatments, the optimal approach to it. The paths ought not to be just Apollonian or Dionysian, for both elements are necessary and enhance one another. The meaning of being (‘the meaning of life’) is living well on the way to shared discovery and realization of the ultimate.

9.    Given universal flux between the manifest and the nonmanifest, the realization of all possibility no matter how transient, and the initial mechanistic character of evolution; and, further, if enjoyment is an imperative, then to engage in an efficient path to the ultimate is also an imperative. That is, the aim of being is the aim of the way of being.

Objections and responses

doubt toward the fundamental principle and its proof is critical to establishing confidence in truth and significance of the principle. It shows the principle to be consistent with experiencee and science (since it is grounded in logic, it is automatically internally consistent); and it suggests two alternative stances regarding the principle—(i) to treat it as an axiom as foundation for metaphysics and (ii) to regard it as an existential principle of action.

1.    The fundamental principle and its implications contradict science and common experience. Response—science and its theories are empirical, they do not necessarily project beyond the empirical boundary and common experience lies well within that boundary.

2.    The empirical cosmos cannot be embedded in a larger universe. Response—this objection is explicitly rejected above.

3.    Our world does not exhibit all possibilities. Response—it is logical that a world exhibit one possibility at any time and that it has one history; but all worlds taken together, may exhibit all possibilities.

4.    These conclusions are theoretical and have no value. Response—via experience, they are both conceptual, instrumental, and what they reveal has value.

5.    Though demonstrated, there is residual doubt on account of issues of proof and the magnitude of the conclusion (alternate proofs and heuristics can be given but do not remove all doubt). Response—the doubt is valid. However, that the universe is realization of the logically possible is internally and empirically consistent. Further, what it reveals is of intrinsic and instrumental value. There are therefore two positive alternate attitudes or stances to the fundamental principle—(i) given its consistency and power, to treat it as an axiom (ii) given the magnitude of its consequences, to regard it as existential foundation for thought and action.

6.    Metaphysics is impossible. Response—(i) consistency has been shown, demonstration and other justification been given (ii) it is not metaphysics in the sense of mere speculation sense but grounded in experience. It may be noted that much of our useful knowledge is metaphysical in the hypothetical sense for scientific theories have at least an element of projection on experience rather than derivation from it.

7.    Darwinian evolution is mechanistic. This is indeed the empirical truth. However, it does not follow that, once begun, it may not engage in furthering its process in ways not subject to mechanism. Since this is logically possible it necessarily occurs. That it may occur in our world is not unreasonable.

The real metaphysics

The real metaphysics is a synthesis of pure consequences of the abstract fundamental principle and pragmatic knowledge. It is the ideal and practical instrument in realization of the ultimate it reveals.

We arrive at the following system. Abstraction reveals the universe as the greatest possible, which spelled out as the possible forms is a pure metaphysics. Traditional knowledge, which is limited on traditional criteria, is an instrument of realization, and perfect from two criteria—(i) traditional perfection on a path is unnecessary (ii) it is an effective instrument in realization of the ultimate. This is or may be called a ‘pragmatic metaphysics’. The abstract and ultimate frames and illuminates the pragmatic; the pragmatic illustrates and paves the way to the ultimate. The synthesis, reason-in-action, is named the real metaphysics.

This metaphysics is a real synthesis in that it has implications for science, e.g. (i) the quantum vacuum is not the root of being (ii) spacetime, where it obtains, cannot be a framework for being but must be immanent in (part of) it (iii) the cosmos has ultimate grounding in necessity (iv) the mechanism of variation and selection from Darwinian evolution must have purchase beyond biology, for example in the formation of cosmoses, where it is not a necessary ‘mechanism’ but an efficient path to formation and a possible reason there should be preponderantly more observation of formed cosmoses in the universe than transients. Further, while this evolution is mechanistic in its initial phase, once intelligent, it may and therefore must, at least on many occasions, contribute with foresight to its own realization.

The real

The earlier analysis of experience shows that the universe is effectively experiential. Given an initial position that understanding may be essentially limited, the concept (‘intension’) of the real begins our most effective understanding. However, we have seen that the referent (‘object’, ‘extension’) of the real is constituted of two parts (i) a perfectly faithful (and ultimate) framework for the universe and (ii) local and pragmatic knowledge. In terms of an ultimate value that emerges from this real (the object) the synthesis is perfect—therefore, it is not a corruption of this concept of the real to say, in the context of that value, that the real is that which is. In perfect faithfulness as a criterion for local knowledge we may say either (a) the real is a pragmatic notion or (b) there is no true real.

The way

The aim of being. The means. Intrinsic and instrumental aspects.

The concept of ‘the aim of being’ is clear in its meaning, but it is not clear that its object can be definite. The real metaphysics makes it possible to see what the aim of being is. To repeat an earlier conclusion, the aim of being is the aim of the way of being.

The means of realization is reason, which is the real metaphysics, and which incorporates the ‘traditions’, which include science as well as traditional systems such as yoga, and their experimental and reflective interpretations and importations.

As noted earlier, experience (consciousness) is the place of realization in intrinsic and instrumental terms. It is intrinsic in that all realization occurs within experience—not ‘my’ experience or ‘yours’ but in experience which includes the merging of you and I in peak identity; it is instrumental in that it is within experience that, for example, scientific and technological transformation occur. From the intrinsic aspect, the means emphasize reflective reason and meditative practice; from the instrumental they emphasize science and technology as steps to physical transformation, exploration, and population of the universe.

Templates

There are two path templates, intended for adaptation to a variety of interests and individual and group contexts.

The essentials of an every-day template are—rise early-dedication-affirmation, review, realize (reflect-write on the way and yoga-exercise-share), exploration, evening renewal and community, and sleep early.

Essentials of a universal template are—pure being and community, ideas (reflection, writing, publishing), becoming (nature with psyche; civilization, society, and community; artifact; universal and incompletely known), and Universal Being.

See the resources for detailed templates.

Review

Reviews the work. Illuminates crucial methodology, historical and original, that was tacit in the narration. Highlights and explains the conceptual source of the real metaphysics.

This work began with tacit questions on the nature of the real. There was no commitment to received ideas, but there was, effectively, an initial commitment to the thought that the most effective description of the world would be the most real. There was no commitment to an absolute real.

We found, via experience and abstraction, a system of knowledge of the real that synthesizes the absolute and the effective—pure and pragmatic knowledge that constitute the real metaphysics. The pure is absolutely faithful by abstraction and the pragmatic is ideal in its support of the pure. And, of course, the pragmatic by traditional criteria of faithfulness falls short of perfection. This suggests that though traditional criteria have their place, their relevance to our endeavors is limited—particularly, its assigned importance in modern thought is an overestimate.

As a further outcome, the universe was found much greater than usually held in secular and transsecular thought, that is, particularly in science, philosophy, and myth—even myth and other fiction interpreted symbolically. This outcome, part of the real metaphysics, may be largely credited to the choice of experience and being as fundamental and the implied rejection of foundation in substance—e.g., material, mind, or process. This is a positive outcome but, looking back, it may be seen as a lifting of the negative cloak of substance, which has obscured the real (these insights stem from the thought of Aristotle and Heidegger who, however, weighted down being with chains of their making).

Epilogue

Looking back—discovery, emergence, and living the way of being has been a journey. The way ahead—moving forward, the way is suitable foundation for realization in this life and beyond.

It is foundation for my life and immersion in the world. I will live my life in the way and in sharing the way.

This work draws from and is and is an explicit and implicit summary of a history of exploration of human destiny. There is a place for every generation to envision and write as text, their vision of their future in light of reflection on the world and, so as to sustain its light and shed its burden, the thought and exploration of the past.

Resources

Templates, works, knowledge resources, some traditions, reading, and glossary.

Templates

Detailed versions of the adaptable templates are available online—(i) everyday template (pdf) and ms word version (ii) universal template (pdf) and ms word version.

Sources

Works—this work is a summary of principles and main ideas. Conceptual and practical details are in the very in-process—the essential way and a journey in being (longer, blueprint for the way of being to be written at a future date).

Knowledge resource—A system of human knowledge.

Some useful traditions—(i) western: science and technology, humanism, and liberal religion and (ii) eastern: meditation as experiential transformation, yoga as support for meditation, and Advaita Vedanta as intuition of the ultimate (which has grounding in the real metaphysics).

Reading, influential thinkers, and web resourcesthe essential way has suggested reading, influences on the way, and the way of being website resources. The home page for the way of being is a resource for further material.

Glossary

aim of the way of being              realization of the ultimate in the immediate and in itself—i.e., in this world and beyond; it is important that concerns with the ultimate and the immediate are not exclusive; it is shown that the aim of the way of being and the aim of being are identical

the way of being                        discovery and realization of the aim of the way of being

the real                                      because it is a pertinent and realizable meaning, we adopt the historical meaning is of the real as that which is the immediate object of truth;

experience                                  subjective or conscious awareness in all its forms; its significance is that it is the place of our ‘being’, significant and concept meaning and that it is capable of being rendered effectively objective as perfect knowledge and container of instrumental means of realization

individual                                  an experiencing self (‘self’, too, is part of the experience); the concrete and ultimate reality of the individual is not implied by the definition but follows later in the work

significant meaning                   ‘the meaning of life’

reflexivity of experience             experience is reflexive in that we have have experience of experience, this is crucial in the ability to direct thought toward ends, making us agents, and knowing that we have experience; there is a more general sense of reflexivity as the horizontal and vertical reference of experience to experience as a means of knowing and realization and therefore as constructive and critical in knowledge and realization (this more general sense is implicit in this version of the way)

concept meaning                        a concept or experience and its possible referents

language                                   sign systems associated with concept systems

linguistic meaning                     concept meaning associated with language

knowledge                                  concept or language meaning realized

referent                                      to what a concept refers; ‘referent’ is preferred to ‘object’ because the latter is restrictive in suggesting ‘entity’ but we wish to remain neutral to such kinds and their existence

existent                                       generally, a referent to some form of the verb to be; particularly a concept-referent or concept-object; crucial because the idea of a pure object is without meaning (and may be used in analysis of concepts, particularly in the meaning of nonexistence); in the case of pure knowledge by abstraction, this reduces to the object; for pragmatic knowledge, the reduction is also pragmatic

intrinsic realization                   within experience

instrumental means                   as the place of knowledge, experience is more than the place of intrinsic realization—it is the means of realization of physical forms

abstraction                                elimination of detail from a concept, such that what remains is true to the object (more precisely, true to an abstract of the original object)

perfect knowledge                      knowledge that perfectly maps the real

pragmatic knowledge                 imperfect or not known perfect in depicting its intended objects but is good enough for at least limited purposes

interpretation                             a model, picture, description, pattern, theory, of a part of the world that is consistent with experience; if the part is the world, then the interpretation is an interpretation of the world

metaphysical solipsism              thesis that universe is just the contents of my mind of the experiencing self; not usually intended as serious but as a means to sharpen the meaning and knowledge of the real or external world; (‘my’ refers to what is thought of as an experiencing self

absurd                                       used to describe a view that seems to grossly contradict our common view of the reality of the world but that is not (at least) logically impossible; not usually presented as serious but as a means to sharpen or improve upon the common view; metaphysical solipsism is employed to show that (i) if our cosmos is a substance world, the substance must have experiential being at root as well as material form (ii) the universe as field of experiential being, with peaks and dissolutions) is an interpretation (of experience and, later, from the fundamental principle of metaphyiscs, that this interpretation is true)

open universe                             a universe of the greatest possibility

a being                                      an existent (a concept-referent pair which for the real metaphysics is effectively just a referent)

being                                         existence; note that as ‘existence’ the concept of being has been regarded as trivial and even a non-concept for ‘everything exists’; however, in light of the analysis of existence, not everything exists; a referential concept without a referent does not exist and, while this seems odd relative to usual usage, it is critical to the understanding and conceptual power of being

power                                        giving or receiving effect

effective cause                           power

universe                                     all being; it is crucial that the universe is not defined as the empirical universe, the material universe, the process, universe and so on—for it is in being nonspecific that the power of the present usage emerges, e.g. in showing that the only reasonable cause for the universe would be necessary cause

the void                                      is the absence of (manifest) being; the void is later shown to exist; in alternate treatments, the void is shown to exist since its existence and nonexistence are equivalent; here we do not use this proof as the present approach to proof via first proving the fundamental principle is more illuminating and avoids the questionable equivalence of existence and nonexistence

possible being                            a being whose concept does not prohibit its existence

real possibility                           possibility in which the prohibition lies in the nature of the world(s) under consideration

logical possibility                       or conceptual possibility is that which is not prohibited by the concept itself

logic                                          the requirement on systems of concepts as conceptual, i.e. without regard to particular reference, for the structure of the system itself to not rule existence of a referent; that is, logic is a necessary requirement for existence

necessary being                         a being whose concept requires existence

unconditional being                   one whose existence has no exception

fundamental principle                or fundamental principle of metaphysics—the demonstrated principle that the universe is the greatest possible, i.e. the logically possible (note that ‘greatest’ includes but is not the same as ‘best’

doubt                                         doubt is critical in metaphysics, especially here in establishing confidence in truth and significance of the principle; doubt is also implicit in considering interpretations of experience

stance                                        attitudes toward a claim that is consitent and reasonable but remains hypothetical; positive stances are indicated by alternative proofs and heuristics and by conceptual power; here, alternative stances toward the fundamental principle are to regard it as (i) a metaphysical action and (ii) an existential principle of action

real metaphysics                        synthesis of the (i) abstract knowledge leading to and stemming from the fundamental principle (ii) the pragmatic knowledge of tradition and action

aim of being                               the aim of being if there is one; the real metaphysics makes it possible to see that there is one and that the aim of being is the aim of the way of being