5 of all possible universes 6.
5 Greatest does not mean best. However,
the greatest must include the highest good (as well as the greatest evil).
6 This assertion is named the fundamental principle of
metaphysics and Being.
This is the key to
a ‘real metaphysics’, developed below, as proven knowledge of the universe
How is this known? Let us show it to be true.
A being 7
is an existent; Being 8
That is, ‘a being’ is simply that which may be validly predicated
(described) by some form of the verb to be. The standard forms such
as ‘is’ and ‘were’ are insufficient for ‘a being’ may refer to something
that ‘is here’ and ‘were there’ (the confusion of singular present and past
plural is only apparent for it is allowed that a ‘thing’ may multiply and
that a multiplicity may join as one).
Note that in saying ‘a being is that which may be
validly predicated…’ it is implied that a being is not just the
thing-itself but the concept-and-thing. It is not being said that
conceiving creates Being but that the two are bound together. Consider, for
example, a mountain. We have a recollected image of mountains which enables
recognition of a mountain as a mountain. But what is the mountain itself?
How do we know it? We know it, first, from the image that lies in our
experience; secondly we may walk around and to it, touch it and climb it
and view it from different angles—but all that registers in and only in
experience; then we may take in the reports of others and geological
studies of mountains and so on—and all that registers in and only in
experience. In saying that ‘all that registers in and only in experience’ it
is meant that while we may think there is objective information beyond
experience, it turns out that that further information is not beyond
experience (which does not mean that there is no objective information in
the sense of reliable information but objective information in the sense of
‘of the object’ is never just of the object but may be as if of the
object). That is it is in the essence of a thing
or object is that it is a
concept-object—i.e., objects are essentially concept-objects (the term
object therefore is not restricted to ‘thing’ but is identical to
‘existent’). And a nonexistent object
may be defined as a concept-object for which the object is null.
The use of ‘Being’ here is different from some of its common and
philosophical uses. The difference is that whereas it is often used to mean
something like ‘the essence of what is’ or ‘the higher forms of existence’
here it simply means ‘what is’. I will return to this point at the end of
As defined here, ‘Being’ (capitalized) is an
apparently trivial concept for it applies to ‘everything’. It has therefore
been called a non concept. But it is not a non concept—rather it is non
discriminatory. And in that sense it is trivial. However, its use, as seen
in what follows, is non trivial. Rather, it may be described as ‘profound’.
How is that?
In the first place ‘that which exists’ is a
definite concept whose foundation requires no reference to a further
concept. When asking ‘but what is existence’ it is often thought of
as difficult but the difficulty is in thinking that existence ought to be
defined in terms of something else—e.g. mind or matter, which is
problematic (i) what are mind and matter and are they things or kinds of
things at all (ii) why mind or matter, even if real, should define
existence. But clearly something does exist or else there would not even be
an illusion of existence. So taking ‘that which is’ as foundational is not
problematic in the way substance, e.g. mind or matter, is problematic.
But now another problem arises—the problem of what
has Being. While this is problematic, it is a second reason for the
‘profundity of Being’—in the following way. It leaves the question open rather
than a substance approach such as materialism which attempts to define the
known before it is known. Surely, even if we do not have an immediate
answer the question of what has Being, it is preferable to a possibly
mistaken answer such as a substance answer such as mind or matter (or even
process). The approach from Being also leaves open the question of what
lies beyond the empirical. It is not clear to me why so many persons prefer
an answer to the question of foundations that is even from their perspective
probably mistaken (and as seen in what follows is definitely mistaken).
Perhaps it is a need for security of thought and what there is rather than
an openness to ‘Being’. Perhaps it is the thought, perhaps implicit, that
‘what we have experienced as we have experienced it is essentially all that
there is’. Regardless, it is mistaken.
And it is also tragic. For in thinking that our
experience, e.g. our big bang cosmology, defines the extent of the nature
of the universe, we miss, as seen below, awareness our greatest opportunity
in Being in ‘this world and beyond’.
If the use of ‘Being’ here is superficially more
plain than other uses of the term, it contains and enhances what is valid
in the depth and breadth of those other uses.
The universe is
all that there is over all extension and duration.
The existence of the universe is neither caused nor
created by another being for there is no other being.
The void is the
absence of being.
The universe as the manifest universe-and-void is
eternal; its existence is therefore necessary for, in this context—
Necessity is that
which must obtain.
—for what always obtains and what must obtain have no
But this necessity is not based in any
But for the universe to necessarily be just the void or just
manifest would require presumption—therefore the universe must phase
between void and manifest states. And similarly, the universe cannot be just
our empirical cosmos or some particular possible world—it must be all that
is possible in the greatest consistent sense of possibility.
Commonly, necessity is an inference—e.g., if X then Y (where X and Y are
assertions or propositions). In this case, however, X is the ‘empty proposition’.
This concludes demonstration that This is the
greatest of all possible universes.
Whatever is consistent—logical
10—must be part of the greatest; but that
which is not consistent 11 cannot exist. Therefore the greatest
and logical possibilities are identical.
The idea of logic is, simply,
whatever it takes for our referential concepts to be consistent.
Logic arises in experience as follows. For a
concept in referential form to capture a part of the world, it must conform
to the world—to facts via observation and patterns or theories by
hypothesis and their adjustment to facts. However, the very structure of a
concept may render it incapable of reference at all and the constraints
that render concepts capable of reference constitute logic (or logics).
It is worth noting that the theories (science) may
be regarded as precise if they refer only to what is so far empirical and
if the criterion of capture is pragmatic, e.g. ‘good enough’ for some
purposes. But it is part of their empirical nature that they are not known
to be universal or perfectly precise. And universality and precision (i)
would be improbable (ii) will be seen to not obtain.
The precision of logics is due to the choice of
simple and discrete forms of expression whose primitive forms can be
inspected without error. The limitations of logic in relation to knowledge
are (i) even where a logic is precise, its symbols may not capture the
world precisely and (ii) there may be primitive forms that are not as
discrete as the traditional forms and are therefore subject to distortion.
How can a ‘thing’ be not consistent—or consistent—is a natural question to
ask of what is being said at this point. The response is that when we talk
or think of a ‘thing’ we (must, as noted above,) have a concept in mind or
else we are not truly referring to anything at all and this is the way—one
way—to paradox. That is, a ‘thing’ is a referential concept—a concept that
is capable of or intended to refer to something—and its referents. If there
is a referent, we say “it exists”; otherwise we say “it does not exist”.
12 is possible, actual, and its content is
what is allowed by ‘logic 13’
Here, metaphysics is (defined as)
knowledge of the real.
This is logic in an ideal sense as follows. Our logics follow from
consistency of common forms of reference—e.g., the propositional calculus
from consistency among propositions without consideration of their form;
the predicate calculi are the same and, further, include consideration of
subject-predicate form. Limitations of our logics are (i) where the forms
are inadequate and consistency inadequately implemented (ii) due to as yet
unknown forms of reference. Ideal or absolute logic refers only to the
result, perhaps only ideal, of lifting these limits.
One might react to identifying knowledge of the
real—i.e., metaphysics—with logic with the thought that “but logic is
sterile”. However, logic itself is neither sterile nor rich. What is
required by logic may be sterile; however what is allowed by logic is
rich—there is nothing that is more plentiful. However, it is true that what
is given in identifying knowledge of the real as logic requires
‘critical imagination and action’ to know and realize the implied richness.
This is a specification of the concept of the vastness of the universe but
not the vastness itself—i.e., not the referent of the concept. The ‘actual’
vastness of the universe—the object of the concept of the vastness—remains
to be discovered and realized. This is the Adventure of The Way of Being.
The metaphysics above arises from experience for
Being-as-just-Being, the universe-as-just-the-universe, the void, and logic
are all experiential concepts devoid of distorting detail. Similarly, tradition—as it lives in the individual and
culture—is active and experiential. As the metaphysics and tradition flow
from experience, they are ontologically one. However, they are also
epistemically one in that (i) the metaphysical side is perfectly faithful
in its capture of the universe and its ultimate forms, including those
forms as determining values (ii) the tradition side is ‘good enough’ for
local purposes but so far as it is all we have with regard to detailed
knowledge, it is the perfect instrument for achievement of the ideal 15.
The metaphysical side and tradition form a perfect instrument for
achievement of the ideal that may be called the perfect metaphysics,
the real metaphysics 16, or just the
metaphysics. Some consequences follow
Tradition remains imperfect according to traditional criteria of
perfection, e.g. perfect faithfulness to referents. However, the
appropriateness of such traditional criteria is open to question, even for
Those persons and ideologies that deny metaphysics have been misled by some
combination of (i) excessively speculative metaphysical systems and (ii)
attributing excessive concreteness to ideologies such as materialism and
certain dogmatic religions. Where the Buddha eschewed metaphysics, he was
not denying it but, rather, directing the individual to the importance of
living well in this life; it was a reaction, perhaps, to the metaphysical
denial of this world in the metaphysical thought of his time.
Only consequences for realization of the ultimate are taken up. There is a
range of consequences for metaphysics, cosmology, science, and society that
are not taken up here. It may be noted that the consequences are
fundamental in depth and universal in breadth.