The way of being

Anil Mitra, Copyright © March 15,2021. Revised April 7, 2021.

Home page for the way of being

Contents

Prologue

The world and the way

Epilogue

Notes

 

The way of being1

Prologue

The way is a quest to discover and realize meaning. Its sources include in history and experience.

Though common thought and paradigms see being as limited,

It is consistent2 that being should be limited in immediate but limitless in ultimate form. Truth of this limitlessness is shown below—and named ‘the fundamental principle of metaphysics’.

Consequences of the fundamental principle include (i) realization of the ultimate is given (ii) but enjoyment is greatest when it is sought to develop and follow intelligent paths to the ultimate in and from the immediate (iii) received culture is a pragmatic but not ultimate complement to path initiatives. The join of the fundamental principle, received culture, action, and reflection results in a ‘real metaphysics’ as the best possible understanding of the universe in the ultimate context.

The aim of this presentation is to show to myself and others, the truth of these thoughts via reason, rather than as dogma. Therefore, though I assert that there is an imperative to engaging in paths, to see the imperative ought to be reasoned, and to engage ought to be a matter of choice.

Here are some concepts and ideas essential to the way3, presented informally4. To understand the way, it is essential to follow meanings5 as introduced here6.

Being7 is trivially foundational for it seeks foundation only in itself. The significance of being is (i) as in-process it avoids limits of traditional foundationalism, coherentism, and regress (ii) though trivial in an obvious sense, it helps enable a depth foundation for all being while allowing openness in discovery of variety (iii) in avoiding direct appeal to ideas of essence8, it is a lever to discovery of the nature of beings—including our being.

Awareness9 begins as our window on being, but since we never get outside it, is effectively our being. But analysis of awareness also shows it is the world in a perspective (i) wider than the objective perspective of being in itself (ii) does not deny or negate the objective perspective but rather places it in context (ii) ultimate, as container for the real and the limitless10.

Enjoyment is not essentially about pleasure, but better relations to and among pleasure and pain, acceptance and seeking, and cognition and feeling.

Let us now turn to development of the way.

The world and the way

Unfolding the way of being

A being is that which may be validly known to be—i.e., to exist. Being—i.e., existence, is the essence of beings as beings.

The being that is unknowable does not exist.

The void is the absence of being or beings. The being and non-being of the void are equivalent and so it exists—the void is a being. Since limits have being, the void is limitless.

Therefore, the universe conceived as all being and the individual are without limit to their form and identity. The universe phases between the limitless and the non-manifest. That the universe is limitless, i.e., the greatest possible being, is named the fundamental principle of metaphysics.

This cosmos is a being. Its science has pragmatic truth for the cosmos, but the cosmos and its cosmology are one of limitlessly many, of lesser and limitlessly greater form and variety of physical law. The relatively stable cosmoses are in more and less transient transaction with one another and the void.

In their present forms, individuals have limits. Limitlessness is realized in merging with one another and the universe11, 12. This realization may occur continuously with this life or, more often, beyond death—which is real but not absolute.

Reason is effective negotiation of the universe and its ultimates from and in the immediate. It is a shared iterative process of knowing and valuing, acting, enjoying, evaluating outcomes, and learning and advance. There are received ways of realization, which cannot be true beginnings unless absorbed to the reason of the individual or a culture.

Pleasure and pain are inevitable; enjoyment is their effective negotiation on the way to the ultimate. Though ultimate realization is given, enjoyment is enhanced by shared and reasoned discovery and realization.

To be on a real path may begin with received ways but requires reasoned negotiation. If enjoyment is a value, to be on a path of realization in and from the immediate is ethical and aesthetic.

Awareness is here conceived as experiential consciousness in all its forms. There is a sense in which we do not get outside awareness. In this sense, awareness is our intrinsic being and our instrumental being—i.e., the intrinsic and the instrumental are one. The intrinsic and instrumental define two interwoven threads of realization—the way of feeling-seeing-thought-meditation and the way of world knowledge, science, the ‘dimensions’ of being, the humanities, religion, action, and technology. These ways could be labeled mind and matter. Awareness is the place of all significance.

Our awareness or experience has more than one interpretation, of which two are (i) the common one of individuals—selves and others—in an environment or world (ii) that the universe is just the experience of one individual (e.g., that of the reader as a center of subjectivity). The former cannot be true of a strictly material world—it can be true of a world in which there is one kind which is a join of the mental and the material, understood generally. The latter interpretation, ii, has more than one further interpretation of which two are (a) the individual is a human individual and (b) the individual is the universe. These define some interpretations of our experience. In terms of a pragmatic view of the universe as our cosmos, the common view i is tenable while ii a can be ruled out only on some assumption. Item ii b is possible on a pragmatic view but seems unlikely on our common paradigms. However, given limitlessness of the universe ii b is necessary, and it allows and therefore requires that i and ii a be—exist as—limited cosmoses. Item i defines our cosmos, item ii a is also a possible, therefore real cosmos, but, from pragmatic considerations, most likely just possible, and therefore of relatively short life and limited population and significance.

Power is conceived as the ability of a being to take part in giving and receive effect from itself or another. The being that has no power does not exist. Powerlessness and unknowability are identical; there is no powerless being. From limitlessness, power is the root form of awareness. As power requires extension and duration, the universe is characterized by form and formation. Mind and matter and their ‘dimensions’ of extension (space) and duration (time), are the essential kinds and while there are limitlessly many attributes, there are no other kinds. But matter and mind are one, as they are form and formation of being.

The abstract and perfect knowledge above may be joined to our pragmatic knowledge. The perfect illuminates and guides the pragmatic; the pragmatic illustrates and is instrumental toward the perfect. Though the pragmatic is imperfect by traditional criteria, it is the instrument available to beings in limited form. Thus, in terms of the value revealed, the join forms a perfect instrument, which will be named the real metaphysics13, which, extended to all aspects of being (the ‘mental’ and ‘material’ above), is identical to reason.

Epilogue

Living the way of being

The aim of the way and of being is shared and reasoned discovery and realization of the ultimate in and from the immediate14.

Notes


1 A brief account of the way of being site, http://www.horizons-2000.org, The site is © Anil Mitra, 1997 to the present time. Its unpublished pre-internet origin goes back to 1986.

2 That is, there is self and experiential consistency. These include logical consistency and consistency with science.

3 Here is a more complete list in their order of occurrence in the main development, linked to the occurrences—quest, a being, being, the void, universe, individual, fundamental principle of metaphysics, death, reason, enjoyment, awareness, power, real metaphysics, and aim. Earlier occurrences in the prologue—being, awareness, and enjoyment.

4 Formal development follows.

5 It is also essential to see that the metaphysics or worldview presented derives from the set of meanings as a system or ‘Gestalt’.

6 A word such as ‘being’ a weight of received meaning. It is essential to put the received aside while absorbing the present meanings. Later, the present meanings may be seen as enriched by the received. In a critical vein, the choice to accept or reject the present view is open to reason.

7 That ‘which is’, ‘which is there’, ‘exists’…

8 For example, being as the essence of the universe or of our being or of the highest being.

9 Experiential consciousness in all its forms.

10 These assertions are shown in a précis of the way of being, where the meaning of ‘awareness’ is extended to the primitive of awareness in being as such and the extension is found both adequate and necessary.

11 There is no contradiction in all beings as limitless, for the limitless is realized in their merging as one limitless being.

12 The ultimate being into which the merging occurs is a peak being which may be named, e.g., Brahman—as in Advaita Vedanta.

13 There ought to be doubt regarding (i) the existence of the void (ii) its consequences—the fundamental principle, the limitlessness of beings, and the real metaphysics. Note, however, that existence of the void is consistent (see the earlier note on consistency), and the fundamental principle is a true consequence. Alternative to proven truth, two further attitudes the fundamental principle are effective (i) to see it as a consistent postulate on the real (ii) to regard it as a consistent existential principle of action as basis for realization of the highest being.

14 Here are some resources for realization—(i) dedication and affirmation (html, pdf) (ii) everyday template (html, pdf) (ii) universal template (html, pdf).