A Profession of Conviction
On the power and use of profession and affirmation.
ANIL MITRA © April 21, 2013. REVISED August 05, 2014
Why conviction? I have demonstrated the assertions so why do I need conviction? It is because of a tendency to resort and retreat to standard ‘default’ views.
Experience is the essential place and ground of Being and knowing.
This requires that ‘experience’ should be appropriately and properly understood. Given this, even science, reason and logic are divisions of experience.
From experience and reason our standard secular and trans-secular disciplines—especially science and religion—have domains of validity. However, their principles give neither logical nor probable extent of the extent or variety of the region beyond.
There is no limit to the attainment of Being and beings.
The ‘beings’ include individuals, civilization, and the Universe.
There is an apparent paradox: individuals are limited but what can ‘limited’ mean if not that the whole is not realized? The paradox is lifted in recognizing that limitation (boundaries) is part of the concept of ‘individual’ and that ‘outgrowing’ this constraint (not limit) is given by limitlessness. In the process, different individuals merge.
The Universe has acute,
diffuse, and non-manifest phases of Being and Identity.
The apparent paradox remains pertinent but has been addressed above.
Limitlessness is basis for an ultimate and universal metaphysics that agrees with the received disciplines where valid and reveals an unbounded region of limitless variety beyond.
The ‘disciplines’ are standard means for endeavor. They are methods (ways of doing, knowing) and have methods (e.g. method of science). They are of course incomplete and imperfect. In this item ‘discipline’ emphasizes discipline of knowledge.
The metaphysics is implicit representation of the Universe; and therefore container and envelope for all valid systems of explicit knowledge—received, developing, and future. All systems merge smoothly into the metaphysics.
Though implicit in its entire reach, the metaphysics reveals at once an explicit realm far beyond the realms seen in received knowledge.
‘Received knowledge’ includes that of standard secular disciplines—especially science—for factual knowledge of the universe and also far beyond the secular and trans-secular—especially art, literature, and religion—for imagination and insight into the realm psyche.
Together, the disciplines, metaphysics and experiments in Being (break down and buildup) are means of understanding, living in and negotiating the immediate world and apparent limits on the way to realization of universal identity.
The ‘break down and buildup’ is also called analysis and synthesis of Being and meaning which is method and part of the universal metaphysics.
I shall not be ashamed to profess and live according to these truths.
A phrase in the mold of ‘shall not be ashamed to profess his faith’ occurs at a number of places in Christian scripture and practice.
My point of empathy with ‘professing one’s faith’ is that if one has views are against the mainstream then expressing them may be difficult. One may be shy about such expression because one puts not just the view but oneself open to judgment. There may therefore be a tendency to retreat or, in compensation, to overstate or state the views too stridently.
What is the difficulty in expressing a counter mainstream or radical view? It is not just exposure. There is possible hyper-exposure for what is different is all the more visible and perhaps in proportion to the degree of difference. This is a consequence of exposure but the exposing is itself difficult because those in the mainstream will have difficulty even seeing something outside—it may not make any sense in their terms of seeing and understanding.
The following quote is taken from The Catechism of the Catholic Church—‘Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie.’
I must add, therefore, that this is not my concept of faith. In fact I have two concepts regarding faith. The first is that there are certain regions of our experience that are beyond all question. These are parts of our animal being but as human beings they become beyond human question by questioning them. Every individual must do this for him or herself; every generation must ask the questions anew.
A second meaning of faith derives from the first. When we start with the rock solid meaning above we may push forward from that initial point to a place where doubt begins. We may then continue to push forward while not contradicting what we know—common experience, science, logic and so on—and with reasonable address of doubt but without complete elimination of doubt. In that situation to act upon what we will have conceived is in the character of an experiment. Because the framework is not internally or externally inconsistent it is not an absurd experiment. When the framework reveals something of (immense) potential worth the value of experiment is also of (immense) worth. It may be catalytic of outcomes to have faith in the framework. What then becomes of doubt? I think it is in human nature to live that ambivalence that on the one hand is ambivalent but on the other and for some purposes suppresses ambivalence. In other words there is a higher level of ambivalence at which the lower level is sometimes ‘switched on’ (e.g. for truth and to enhance understanding) and at other times is switched off (e.g. for purposes of action and progress in absence of complete knowledge which is after all essential in human being). This is simultaneously truthful and pragmatic.
The reader may turn to the journey in being site, http://www.horizons-2000.org, for full development. Here it may be useful to provide a commentary on ‘experience’.
What does the word ‘experience’ mean? The word has more than one meaning and so it is important to specify the meaning here. The sense here is roughly that of having an experience of something, e.g. of the warmth of the sun on one’s face. This is where many writers leave the topic—perhaps after giving more examples and talking around it and stating words to the effect that experience is so fundamental that it can be pointed out by example but not by definition in terms of other things. I agree with the point to such approaches but differ (a) in thinking that we should round out the notion of experience a little more than is usually done and (b) in thinking that while experience is fundamental, the process of reflecting on what it means to ask and attempt to answer the question ‘What is experience?’ can give us significant insight into experience. Particularly, regarding (b), I notice that our acquaintance with experience shows that (i) The form of the question shows that we have experience of experience (ii) Experience is or seems to be of something—e.g. while the experience is the warmth of the sun it is at least indirectly experience of the sun. However, in contrast to (ii) there seems to be something that we call ‘pure experience’. That experience seems on the one hand to be of something and on the other in and of itself (the pure case) is somewhat paradoxical. A possible resolution is that there is no difference between ‘experience of’ and ‘pure experience’ in themselves but ‘experience of’ is or seems to be of something. Another resolution is that even ‘pure experience’ is ‘experience of’ but the object is internal to the individual or organism. The former explanation distinguishes experience from a material substrate (the ‘seat’) and makes for a dualism that is difficult to resolve and if we think of experience and matter as things in themselves then the dualism is impossible to resolve. Now the thought that they are things in themselves is precisely the thought that they are (different) substances and this shows both the source and difficulty of ‘substance ontology’. The resolution, which takes some showing (refer to http://www.horizons-2000.org), is as follows. Our simple notion of matter is that it is ‘in itself’ and our fist notion of experience may be that it is experience of. This suggests that experience is relation and since experience is in and of the world it must be relations among matter (which in a more careful view is not merely ‘in itself’ but is also a system of relations—e.g. forces and fields). This is the resolution shown definitely at http://www.horizons-2000.org. Now come back to the issue (a) of rounding out the ‘kinds’ of experience. Experience is not merely feeling in its primitive sense. Emotion, perception, thought, willing all lie within experience. Thus there is experience associated with action, with cognition-emotion, and what we think of as pure experience. This leads to the idea of the kind of solipsism that is the view or challenge to realism that there is nothing but experience. The resolution of this challenge is that this view and the conventional view (there is experience but it is experience of a real world that includes experience and experiencers) are alternative labelings but the first labeling is one in which there is one cosmic experiential system and the second is one in which the experiencers are limited in their experience and capacity for experience. From this it follows as in http://www.horizons-2000.org that experience is the ground of all Being and knowing including logic and reason. From the two different ‘labelings’ it follows that this is consistent with the more conventional view that there is a ground of logic and reason outside experience. The views are equivalent; the conventional view is powerful in requiring the individual to go beyond his or her own experience including thoughts and actions; the present view is powerful in providing a unified approach to understanding and that, carried out as a to its conclusion, leads to a powerful and ultimate universal metaphysics.
Journey in Being—http://www.horizons-2000.org.