The Way of Being | A Journey—Essential Version
Anil Mitra, Copyright © October 16, 2019—December 18, 2019
CONTENTS WITH OVERVIEW
THE WAY OF BEING | A JOURNEY
In this work, it will be regarded as given that human culture places some value on discovery and realization of the ultimate and immediate as one.
In this time, science and religion—the secular and the transsecular—are main ways of discovery and realization. Though both have value, their truth will be found individually and jointly limited. The transsecular is limited in when it subscribes to dogma as truth. The secular is limited when it focuses only on what is experienced by the senses and by instruments. They are jointly limited when the main cultural complement to the secular is seen as the dogma of religion.
A foundational discovery of The Way is that there is one universe—‘our universe’—which is the greatest possible universe. This assertion is named the fundamental principle of metaphysics and Being.
The fundamental principle is perhaps the foundational discovery of The Way.
This essay will explore the meaning of the fundamental principle and show it to be consistent with what is valid in human knowledge, demonstrate the truth of the principle, and explore its main consequences for (i) the central aim of discovery and realization of the ultimate and, briefly, (ii) for reason and metaphysics.
A consequence of the principle will be seen to be that just human symbolic knowledge of the universe is always incomplete discovery.
There is Being.
The universe exists.
Existence and nonexistence of the void are equivalent; therefore the void may be taken to exist.
The aim of this section is to demonstrate and begin to interpret the fundamental principle of metaphysics and Being, abbreviated fundamental principle or FP. What is the fundamental principle?
The above a statement of the principle but before showing—even considering—its truth the terms ‘possibility’ and ‘greatest possible universe’ must be defined.
Consider the assertion it is possible that the possible is impossible; if true ‘possibility’ would be an inherently contradictory or paradoxical concept. However, from the definition of possibility the italicized assertion is it can occur that what can occur cannot occur—which shows that the apparent paradox results from a misuse of ‘possibility’ and is therefore not a real paradox. Just after the definition of possibility above we could validly have noted that ‘that which can obtain’ is implicitly consistent. But the this paragraph has made the consistency explicitly clear, at least in an example of seeming paradox.
‘Greatest’ does not mean ‘best’. ‘Great’ is not ‘good’.
Laws are beings.
The void has no laws.
All possible beings emerge—all possible Being emerges—from the void, for the contrary would be a law of the void.
Doubts arise. If all possible beings including events occur, how is it that we experience only a limited possibilities? This doubt will later be addressed as resulting from a trivial confusion about the meaning of ‘possibility’. There are further doubts. What is the ‘greatest possibility’ and what does ‘can occur’ in the definition of possibility above mean? Are there different kinds of possibility and if so what are they? Does the fundamental principle violate logic or science? These further doubts are be addressed below.
The physical laws of a world determine physical possibility and physical impossibility for the world. But is there a kind of possibility that does not have to do with the laws? Consider the classic barber paradox—there is a town with a barber who shaves everyone except those who shave themselves. From the meaning of the italicized phrase the paradox is that the barber shaves himself if and only if he does not shave himself. Such a barber is impossible. It is an impossibility, not from the nature or laws of the world, but from the meaning of the phrase in italics—i.e. from a contradiction inherent in meaning. This identifies another kind of possibility—possibility in terms of consistency of meaning. This is logical possibility (where logic is conceived in semantic terms which is appropriate here since we are considering the real). Since real—e.g. physical—possibility must presume logical possibility, logical possibility is the most permissive possibility.
Logical possibility is not a constraint on the world. One interpretation of logic is that it is inherent in the constitution of realizable concepts. It exists because of creative conceptual power—the power to create concepts is the power to create (imagine) both realizable and unrealizable concepts (unrealizable in any world due to logical constraint and unrealizable in particular worlds due to constraints particular to the worlds—e.g., physical constraints or laws).
If a being is logically possible it must be among the greatest possible.
If a being is logically impossible, it cannot obtain at all.
The greatest possibility is logical possibility.
Thus the fundamental principle does not violate logic.
Does this imply that the greatest possibility is revealed by our logics? Most probably not for (i) there may be limits in development of or errors in our logics and (ii) a logic, e.g. propositional and predicate logic, is developed in terms of the forms of representations (e.g., sentences) and there are forms that we only partially comprehend and there are almost certainly forms not yet conceived by us.
The universe is the realization of logical possibility.
The existence of the universe is necessary; necessity may be said to be the ‘cause’ of the universe and its manifestations.
In the common scientific meaning of causation, there can be no self-causation or self-creation (it would violate conservation principles of physics). However, necessity can be seen as self creation or causation; this is an extension of the common meaning. That this is not a true violation of the theories of science is shown below.
(It is necessary that) The universe phases between manifestation and the void.
Determinism obtains for a whole, e.g. the universe, when it is determined by a part.
Determinism is a more general concept than temporal determinism.
The universe is not and cannot be either entirely deterministic or entirely temporal.
The limits of the individual are situational and apparent but not ultimately real—that is, they have reality but are not absolute.
It is crucial to understand the nature of this limitlessness. A conservative view of the universe is that it is the empirical universe of science. But this is not required by science—it may seem that way because today’s science is always at the limit of what we have seen; it may seem to be required by theories or models that fit to the data but the models are not (known to be) empirical beyond the empirical region; but now the conservative may insist on the conservative view because to entertain a ‘beyond’ is speculative. However, (i) it is not inconsistent—i.e. it is consistent—with our experience and knowledge including science and (ii) a beyond is now seen necessary.
This is an effective place to resolve the doubt that—If all possible beings including events occur, how is it that we experience only a limited possibilities? The resolution is that the empirical cosmos is one possible cosmos and of course all possibilities do not occur in it but they may occur elsewhere… and now we have seen that they do occur elsewhere.
We can build a (partial) picture of the beyond as follows. It is logically possible and therefore necessary that there be an infinity of cosmoses identical to ours; but, further, that infinity may be multiplied by an infinity of kinds. Human beings are at a critical level of intelligence that permits conception of higher beings (toward which we might evolve) but are not at a level where existence or means of actualization toward such existence is clear. However, it is logically possible and so necessary that such beings exist. We may speculate but do not experience connection to other beings or lives. The higher beings would see and manifest such connection. The highest being is the universe in its greatest phase—whether state, process, or other.
The universe is deterministic in the perspective of the highest being. In other local perspectives the world and the apparent universe are a mix of indeterminism that is in transaction via process with structure (determinism).
Understanding—a picture—is being built in a ‘bottom–up’ process. But what is the limit of that building up, if any? Is there a complementary top–down view? There is! The constraint of all the real—e.g., of all physical law for our or any cosmos—is logical or the greatest possibility
Ecstasy and pain are givens—not to be excessively sought or avoided; the world is not perfect in the sense of 'ideal'; there is (at least seemingly) meaningless pain—as in the pain of cancer or of an infant; it is necessary to address pain where it is possible—but in balance with calm acceptance and with keen anticipation of the ultimate.
Reason is the use by Being of all Being to realize the ultimate; reason is reflexive in employing all dimensions of Being (and action) and the recursive use of imagination, criticism, and correction; reason includes tradition; it includes ethics—received and reflective; under reason, practice and action are distinct but integrated.
In the terms of eastern thought, and with ‘yoga’ defined expansively—just as reason is defined expansively above—yoga and reason are identical.