The Way of Being
Anil Mitra, Copyright © February 2015—August 2015
The aims of this work are to demonstrate and present an ultimate view of the universe; and from this view to develop, be in, and record a process of realization for individual and civilization. The process of realization emphasizes connection of the ultimate and the immediate.
The development builds upon tradition which I understand as what is valid in human knowledge and practice from the earliest record to the present day. It is therefore essential to build upon and to see the limits of tradition.
The standard views are the secular, centered on science and direct experience, and the trans-secular which hold that there is more than is seen in the secular. The worldview of this essay builds on what is valid in the these views.
The secular is limited in that it cannot be argued that theories inspired by reflection and tested in experience are universal or even close to universal. When secular thought seems universal it is because we do not see beyond present experimental limits and the theories are strongly tied to what we see.
Trans-secular views may be seen as attempting to show what lies beyond the secular. However, claims to special means of knowledge such as insight and revelation are limits of many trans-secular cosmologies even where they are not inconsistent with experience.
In modern times the secular / trans-secular divide has received academic and political emphasis. However, the range from the secular to the trans-secular is inclusive of all tradition as defined above.
This essay seeks to find valid ways, new or traditional, to study and so to develop knowledge of the region beyond the current limits of valid tradition.
The outcome is a demonstrated world view called the universal metaphysics whose central assertion is that the universe is the realization of all possibility. This assertion is called the fundamental principle of metaphysics or fundamental principle (FP). This implies that there are no limits to the states (understood in a general sense that includes relation, process and so on) realized by the universe, i.e. that there are no limits to its power.
Since the fundamental principle concerns the region outside modern science we might doubt that it can be demonstrated. To respond to it the doubt must be articulated. What is it? It is that a claim seems to be being made about a region beyond all observation so far. Science talks of the empirical universe but how can I say anything at all about the whole universe? The full answer with definitions, explanations, responses to anticipated objections, and applications is in the main development that begins with the chapter on experience. The next paragraph provides the briefest of answers.
The universe as all that there is (without reference to its details) is a definite concept. Similarly the void as absolute absence a definite concept. As absolute absence, void can have no natural laws (e.g. the fundamental theories of physics of the empirical cosmos so far). If there should be a state that does not emerge from the void that would be a law of the void which has just been seen to be impossible. Therefore all states emerge from the void. That is the void entails and therefore the void and the universe are the realization of all possibility.
Particularly, the universe confers its power on individuals and universal civilization and so there is no limit to their realizations.
The work is devoted to showing the truth of these claims, illuminating their meaning, showing how realization may be approached, and developing and recording a process of realization.
The preview is a plan of content and aims; it contains no proof, explanation, elaboration, or example.
The introduction shows origins, motivation, and context; anticipates readers’ concerns; and introduces themes. The introduction is background to and explanatory of the content of the essay. However it is not part of the main development.
The main development
The main development has two emphases, ideas—experience through cosmology, and realization—the way of being through the template. The ideas constitute the foundation for knowledge and realization. In the introduction the aim of the way of being is stated as if it were ad hoc; however, the aim of the way is derived from the universal metaphysics in the later chapter on the way of being.
The resources are for readers who would enter into the process of ideas and or realization.
SMALL CAPITALS mark definitions and / or significant mention. The concept of definition is discussed under meaning.
The following is a selection of essential content from the essay.
In the beginning the aim was tacit. The explicit aim arose in process.
My cultural sources are reading and discussion in interaction with reflection, direct as well as cumulative experience and sharing (publishing) my thoughts.
The process has been one of passion and intuition in interaction with critical and dispassionate expression. The former is essential to significance, the latter to truth.
This process culminated in what I named ‘universal metaphysics’ which framed further process. This metaphysics is a picture of the universe as realization of all possibility. It shows, particularly, the immediate as ground for the ultimate and the ultimate as illuminating the immediate.
In understanding a work it is useful to anticipate its nature.
The nature of this essay
This metaphysics is ultimate (a) as a perfect framework for the universe (b) in showing the universe to be the realization of all possibility. That is, while the universe is shown to be the realization of all possibility, this does not provide local detail which requires local experience (e.g., science) which it is shown cannot be universal and precise. However, the metaphysics implies that imprecise or good enough knowledge is the desirable local instrument of action.
Understanding the essay
A new metaphysics will typically use some older terms but it must give its terms new meaning; some terms given new meanings are being, universe, the void, realism, logic, and science; and it is important to recognize that the meanings obtain fullness as part of the system of meaning—the picture. Consequently understanding will be enhanced by putting aside other meanings and uses, attention to definitions, and patience while absorbing the whole picture.
Most readers should anticipate that they will find the new metaphysics counter to their intuition and counter to worldviews from modern science or religion. The metaphysics may even seem to contradict experience and science; however the metaphysics is shown to be consistent with what is valid in experience, intuition, science, and ancient through modern worldviews.
Reading the essay
One of the implications of the metaphysics is that as a system of ideas, even supplemented by local knowledge, it must be essentially incomplete; completion requires acting upon the ideas.
Therefore the main content is divided roughly into two parts—the first, through cosmology, focuses on the ideas; in the remainder the focus is on process.
Readers are of course encouraged to follow their interest in reading the essay. Finally, however, the best understanding may be obtained by a linear reading.
The intended audience
Resources for readers
Readers who wish to enter the process narrated may find the supplement on resources useful.
Most of these topics appear in the contents. Some important topics that have novelty in their presentation are experience and the real world, meaning, adherence to being as meaning no more than be-ing (the ‘more’ is in but not of being as such), universe, cause and creation, first cause (the universe as all being is not created or caused, there is no first cause), possibility, what it means to be beyond space and time, natural law, the concept and power of the void (in showing the universe to be realization of all possibility and that there is no universal causation in any modern or traditional sense of causation and that both efficient and final causes have local significance but are different and should not be confused), resolution of what has been called the fundamental problem of metaphysics (why there is being at all) and replacement by a new fundamental problem (identifying what has being), theory of abstract and concrete objects that eliminates the distinction as essential, significant expansion and analysis of general cosmology including mechanism of generation of stable cosmologies (e.g. ours) without end, development of a way of being.
The themes occupy the rest of the introduction.
Metaphysics is the main theme of the ideas. Emergence of the other themes parallel development of the metaphysics.
The introduction discusses a number of preliminaries to metaphysics. Metaphysics begins with experience but without explicit mention of the term ‘metaphysics’. A preliminary discussion of metaphysics in general is in metaphysics and appraising metaphysics. In these discussions a number of meanings of ‘metaphysics’ are considered and one is selected for importance to the work (this is not a denial of the significance of other meanings). The meaning selected is knowledge of being as such. This meaning has been subject to a number of criticisms in the history of thought, therefore a justification of is given.
Then the particular metaphysics of the essay, the universal metaphysics, is developed, given interpretation, elaborated and deployed interactively to enhancement of the traditions of knowledge and practice (the fundamental principle of the metaphysics is that the universe is the realization of all possibility, i.e. its power is unbounded and therefore conferred on individuals). This system is used as a basis for realization. The universal metaphysics unfolds from experience through cosmology. Its foundation is experience through possibility, and law and the void. The framework is developed in the fundamental principle and realism. A practical system—the join of tradition, experience, and the universal metaphysics—is developed in extension of the metaphysics. The metaphysics is further developed and applied in objects cosmology.
Categories in metaphysics
The aim of the metaphysics in the essay is to illuminate the world and to support the way of being and realization. The topic of categories is peripheral to the aim. However it is an important topic in metaphysics from Aristotle, through Kant to the present time and it is inevitable that it should be a significant if tacit theme. The purpose of the categories is to build up a system of understanding.
The idea of the category is this. If being is the most general kind (as being predicative of all things that there are) then the idea of a category is a kind just below being in generality. Thus we do not expect a category to be as general as being except as we admit being itself as a category (it is expected that what is fundamental in science should be given place among the categories but since we are seeking the general the elements of science will not define or exhaust the categories). Some thinkers write as though this is the conception of category.
However when we look at the history of the idea another aspect of the category stands out. It is that a category as such should be known perfectly just as being as being is known perfectly. Thus we like to think that the categories of being are the categories of perception and conception. Of course the generality requirement is important: we would like the categories to be significant.
There is one more requirement that we might like categories to have. It is that there should be a system of categories that together stand as efficiently describing a portion of reality (efficiently means that the description is implicit so that details may be worked out in particular situations) and, further, in general metaphysics we would like that portion of reality to be reality itself so far as it is categorially describable. In summary:
This system emerges with the narration and summary lists of the categories so far are given at a number of points in the essay.
Theory of knowledge
The development of the metaphysics contains a parallel implicit account of knowledge—a theory of knowledge.
The outline of this theory is (a) as framework the metaphysics is ultimate in what it shows of the universe and perfect as depiction but it is incomplete in concrete particulars which are referred to (b) the human tradition of knowledge and practice in parallel with reflection and experience; (c) the metaphysics and tradition together form a perfect instrument of knowledge and realization; (d) it is understood that for the tradition perfection is understood as good enough for the ultimate purpose (and also in that final perfection as certain perfect depiction is neither possible nor desirable); however (e) traditional epistemology, so far as it diverges from the present account, retains its practical and local value but many of its final or ideal aims which were pertinent to a view of the universe as relatively closed are no longer pertinent in the ultimate and open view of the universe.
These and many other concepts are given reconceptualization in the essay. In many cases the reconceptualization differs from received conceptions. However, for logic, mathematics, and science the NEW CONCEPTUALIZATIONS, while founding and broadening, are dual to and mutually enhancing of (some, especially modern) received conceptions.
The notions of LOGIC and SCIENCE are re-conceptualized and the traditional systems are elements within the revised frames. In particular, along with Quine and in consequence of the universal metaphysics, logic and science form a continuum from the universal to the local.
The main developments are in the following sections: experience, meaning, possibility, and the fundamental principle (which provides the impetus and foundation for the reconceptualization) through cosmology.
Identity, space, and time
The main initial development is in identity, space, and time. This discussion begins with experience. Since the discussion of fundamental aspects of the world cannot be complete without at least a framework of understanding of the universe (e.g. via metaphysics) the discussion here remains ambivalent regarding some fundamental issues such as universality and relative versus absolute character of space and time. Space and time is revisited, primarily in general cosmology, where the ambivalence is significantly eliminated.
Mind and matter
It is important that the terms ‘mind’ and ‘matter’, while related to received concepts, are here understood in broad terms relating to the terms ‘experience’ and ‘being’. Further, the theme ‘mind and matter’ is developed because it is important in the history of thought; however, this theme is not fundamental to the development
The main initial development is in experience, world, and being. Much of this development is interspersed with the main discussion without explicit mention of mind and matter (the terms are to be understood relative to being rather than as fundamental in there own right as found and understood in our cosmos). As for identity, space, and time, the initial discussion is intentionally and necessarily left ambivalent. The topic is revisited, primarily in general cosmology, where the ambivalence is significantly eliminated.
A fundamental point to this theme is as follows. In an ontology with matter as the one primary substance, either the only mind would be as if mind or mind would be material (and it would be complex mind rather than mind as such that emerged for mind as such would already be there). However, the metaphysics to be developed is not a substance ontology: it allows infinitely many temporary as if substances but no actual enduring or eternal substance. The as if substances could be matter like (with as if mind) or mind like (and its forms would be at least as if matter). However, there would be no eternal non interaction between the as ifs. In some well formed cosmologies there would be one as if substance that over its period of duration functioned as substance.
The aim of being
On certainty, meaning, and the aims of knowledge
Let radical skepticism name a range of views from there is no such thing as knowledge—the very concept is without meaning (for the claim to make sense a concept of knowledge would have to be specified) to there is no certain knowledge.
There are persons who label themselves ‘radical skeptics’. However, I will argue that the significance of such views is to clarify the nature and aims of knowledge and so the aim here will not be to disprove the skeptics’ claims. The aim is constructive. It will be to address the skeptics’ claims so as to show that it is in the meaning of knowledge that there is reliable knowledge that is a basis for action. Here, there will be shown to be some certain knowledge but its certainty will not lie so much in fact as in the nature of experience. Later in the essay a system of certain as well as not so certain knowledge will be built up (and we will show that certainty is not always a possible or desirable goal).
I hold that knowledge-in-itself is an ideal but that knowledge-by-itself—without action—is empty (if coming to know is action then unless it has existed forever, knowledge-by-itself is logically impossible).
So at outset there is an interest in certainty but we do not want to be bound by it. The most liberal outset view is that there are degrees of possible and actual certainty and that each is appropriate to some situation. So a problem with the skeptic’s challenge and responses would be to think that there should be a single universal criterion for (perfection in) knowledge.
Descartes’ response to his program of radical doubt was to find and start with the certain: doubt that I am thinking is thinking; so there is thinking; so there is a thinker; and so the famous ‘I think therefore I am’. One criticism is the assumption of an I. A response is to say that there is awareness for doubting it involves awareness and to later argue for the I. But these arguments call into question what our terms mean. We might question the meaning of ‘I think therefore I am’ or ‘there is awareness therefore there is being or existence’. Are they truly conclusions from premises or are they, instead, disguised definitions or explanations of meanings of ‘I’ and ‘am’ and awareness and existence. Suppose I wonder what I mean by ‘I’. When I do not find a concrete thing it occurs that I may be a construct, metaphorical. But I could also think I was looking for the wrong thing. But what could a wrong thing be? It must be that I had an idea of something (concept) but found nothing (object); i.e. I had been trying to match concepts (ideas) with objects (in the world)—i.e., I have also been questioning the meaning of ‘meaning’ which we now see as the activity of matching concepts (ideas) and objects (in the world).
This discussion has raised but not answered some issues about certainty and knowledge. What are their roles? How much do we need or should be value certainty perhaps the insistence on certainty in view of certainty is pre-mature and acceptance of certainty is a virtue rather than a fault. Clearly the discussion suggests there is a give and take between the roles of certainty and meaning: if we do not know our meanings, certainty loses relevance; and to the extent that meanings are rough, there is no point to absolute certainty.
The line of thinking so far in this section suggests that we have or should have a clear and definite answer to all the issues raised before we get into the act of (i.e. a priori to) knowing and using knowledge. That is, we should know about knowing before we know about the world. Put in the way of the first sentence of this paragraph there is no reason to expect the a priori answer; put in the way of the second sentence we should expect to not have or be able to have the a prior answer. There is a third way of putting the point: since knowing and knowledge of the world is part of the world, the most useful or optimal a priori attitude is to expect the two levels of knowing (if indeed we should consider them separate) to emerge together.
That is the approach and one reason for the structure of the work—especially the beginning with experience and the emphasis on meaning. What we will find is (a) an ultimate and secure metaphysical framework (here ‘secure’ means that any uncertainty is no more than is given as part of being with intent and desire to be in becoming) (b) the metaphysics frames the remainder of knowledge including what is valid in tradition (our ancient through modern cultures and ongoing endeavors) which ranges from less than certain to certain (c) individual and civilization realizes the revealed ultimates (in which process individual and civilization are likely to undergo transformation) (d) for limited form realization is endless endeavor of variety and extension without limit, and (e) the absence of perfect security is an existential challenge that adds to the quality of the process—i.e., of living in the immediate.
Certainty and doubt as themes
When we approach knowledge we begin with the thought that perhaps all knowledge is suspect.
In beginning with experience, we find that there is a real world that is the object of and contains experience. This is seen to be certain. Understanding the importance of experience, leads to the theory of meaning of this document (anticipated by others).
This enables certain and precise knowledge of being as being, universe as universe, natural law as a feature of being, the void as the void, and realism as realism (to mention some elements of the certain). Thus the certainty of the universal metaphysics as framework (subject to the discussions of existential doubt which, to the extent that it holds up, adds to the existential challenge of realization). And so the certainty of realization of the ultimate.
Doubt is critical to certainty and is discussed at a number of points with regard to particular doubts and doubt in general. It is important to consider doubt in general in relation to the specific doubts. The combination leads to clarification of specific concepts as well as to concepts, meaning, issues of realism and proof in general. Discussion of doubt is immanent in the essay; explicit discussions are in experience > doubt and the already mentioned section on existential doubt.
However, local knowledge of detail is imprecise and uncertain in that we do not know its full range (but to demand precision within its range is unreasonable and to therefore think it is uncertain within that range if precision is not met is without meaning). But this imprecision is impossible but unnecessary and not desirable to overcome: it is the mark of what is, in its way, the perfect instrument in realization. The join of the precise and certain with the less than precise is the universal metaphysics in its inclusive sense.
Ways of thought
The aim of the work is part of and derives from the process of civilization, especially its disciplines of knowledge and practice.
This process has evolved a range of ways—habits, paradigms, and practices—of thought, visited and revisited, reinforcing and opposing, that are may be seen as thematic and guiding. However, the ways have also been reductionist and unnecessarily constraining. A goal of this theme is to identify, understand, use, and critique the ways.
Some of these ways are (a) isolation of knowledge from action, (b) emphasis on certainty, (c) emphasis on uniformity of criteria—e.g. that all knowledge is or must be certain, that all knowledge is uncertain, that all knowledge is or includes projection of the knower, that no knowledge is entirely of the object, (c) the themes of form and ideals, substance and matter, (d) refractory a priori elements, (e) the opposites and oppositions of empiricism and rationalism, (f) that metaphysics as knowledge of being is to be taken as depictive knowledge of all being in all its detail and that certain and perfect knowledge of this is impossible (it is indeed found impossible to limited forms of intelligence but what will be called ‘pure metaphysics’ need and should not be knowledge of all being in all detail).
The ways will be visited in the development. However, attention to the ways is not a main purpose. The purposes of the visitation are (a) to illustrate the power of the universal metaphysics (b) to show some important cases where the ways have been unnecessarily restraining and in what ways they may have ongoing validity.
Secular and trans-secular world views
Knowledge of the world is invariably incomplete and so the supernatural arises perhaps in an attempt at explaining the world. In primal civilizations the natural and supernatural are fused. Anthropological analysis finds the fused picture of the world to be empirical and adaptive in a style of life in which humanity sees itself as part of rather than primarily as attempting to control the world.
In modernity there are two main modes of seeing and being in the world which are significantly split. The secular emphasizes the world of common experience and tends to a foundation in science. The trans-secular holds that there is more than is emphasized in the secular and tends to foundation in religious or secular metaphysics.
Thus the secular and the trans-secular are not exclusive. However they are often seen as in opposition due to secular reductionist positivism and or trans-secular fundamentalism. Though those who hold such views explicitly are not a majority, they are the widespread modern default.
A metaphor for the exclusive faces of secularism and trans-secularism is that of two small tangentially connected spheres in an infinite space of the real.
But since these tacit views are widespread the existential attitude of modernity suffers from impoverishment and conflict. If the universe is the realization of all possibility, modern humanity rejects the great opportunity of being (the secular position) or rests in the thought that all is already known (the trans-secular default).
The way of the ordinary—a way out of the secular / trans-secular divide
Whereas some metaphysics of the past is fantastic, another approach starts with the ordinary.
Would that mean starting with the immediate? That would ignore what we do not know. To start with the ordinary and without prejudice is to start with all things (entities, relations, processes and so on).
But that would be too detailed and its knowledge too imprecise to be a good place to start.
Instead the ordinary should be That which is common to all things. What is that? Consider that what is not common is what is different—e.g. one object is green, another is red; one is an entity, another a process, a third is a relation. What is common must transcend properties that differentiate. What does not differentiate is that an object is there, i.e. that it exists, i.e. that it has being.
However, the development begins with experience. The reasons for this are (a) talk of being in the abstract is so devoid of meaning as to lead to paradox, (b) it is in experience that being is registered, and (c) as the place of our being and as relationship to the universe, experience is a prime example of being and the place of connection to what would otherwise be an abstract understanding of being.
This discussion could now talk of the power of these ideas but that and more is developed in the main content of the work to which readers are now referred.
In the development of the ideas and the power, we never get truly outside the ordinary.
The ordinary is extra-ordinary
The essay begins with experience because, as we will see, it is the essential place of our being and relationship to the world—and so central to an understanding of being and becoming in and of the world; because it is a prime case of being; and, so, central to the raft of concepts that flow from being and found the metaphysics to be developed. It is experience that transforms the powerful but abstract metaphysics into palpable form.
The meaning of experience in this essay
This meaning of ‘experience’ is different from common meanings such as cumulative experience. It is more general than its usual meaning in philosophy where experience is typically restricted to the perceptual and so, in its typical philosophical use, experience is direct experience (perception) of the world (but not excluding experience itself). Here, the meaning is broader; as examples, thinking and an awareness of an experience are experiential. When it is necessary to emphasize that I am using experience a sense other than that of the definition, I will use terms such as ‘cumulative experience’, ‘common experience’, and ‘direct experience’.
The specification of the meaning above of experience above is not a verbal definition in terms of different concepts for awareness is at least roughly synonymous with experience (consciousness is another word with similar but not precisely the same use). Because experience is a fundamental feature of the world it is not to be defined in terms of something even more fundamental; we could employ the rather circular ‘matter is what is perceived; experience is the perception’ but that would be circular and incomplete (experience occurs in more than perception). Perhaps the best approach to definition is to mention experience and related terms such as awareness and consciousness and to provide examples as in the variety of experience. The definition, then, is that of a fundamental feature of the world which is pointed out and named. This kind of definition has been called ‘ostensive’—a way of defining by direct demonstration, e.g. by pointing. In a sense there is no defining: experience is given and ‘experience’ names the given. In a child’s first language, much learning must be is ostensive (you cannot define ‘mother’ as female parent when the child does not yet understand or know the words ‘female’ or ‘parent’). However, the same is true for adults regarding definition of fundamental entities, processes, qualities and so on. A verbal definition uses other words; if we used only verbal definitions then all definition would require infinite regress. So, for some things the definition must be by pointing or somehow showing rather than saying what they are.
The world seems to have at least two basic kinds—material and experiential. How can I explain to another person what experience is? Because experience is fundamental I can use other terms but such terms are synonyms, for example consciousness and awareness. Instead I have to evoke in that person his or her own sense of experience. I cannot explain experience in material terms for matter seems inert. But we are so used to verbal definitions that the idea of ostensive showing causes difficulty when first explicitly encountered by people who have already acquired some sophistication in the use of language. Generally, learning includes ostension and it is rough and ready. However for experience as experience, i.e. where the term does not refer to particular kinds and qualities of experience the term is precise.
Perhaps the difficulty with explaining experience is a source of doubts that some people have regarding whether there is such a thing as experience. Other reasons for this doubt are taken up below.
I will review the foregoing thoughts and use them as the need arises.
There is experience
It can be questioned whether various kinds or forms of experience—see the variety of experience above—exist as given in descriptions of them. However, questioning experience is (an) experience. Thus experience as no more than experience itself is a precise term that refers to something real. There is experience of experience even if there is experience of nothing else.
It is worth elaborating the argument.
That you are having some awareness as you read these words is indubitable. You cannot validly explain it away by saying it is something else because all that that is saying is that it is also something else (and not that it is not awareness). You cannot argue that the awareness is illusion for it might be but illusion itself is an example of awareness. Thus there is awareness and experience is another name that I give it. What this has done is to combine definition by pointing out and proof—which works here, even if you really want to doubt experience, because to doubt it is an example of what you doubt. It is important to point out (again) that what has been shown is that there is experience as experience; if I should experience a real world (other than experience itself), emotion, thought, willing, perception of color and so on the demonstration does not apply to these particular kinds or examples of experience.
Yet the assertion that there is (such a thing as) experience has been questioned. That I seem to have experience could be an illusion. But as we saw above having an illusion is also experience. Some people may consider such doubting neurotic. However, there are good reasons for doubting. The most obvious reason is that some of our common sense positions are genuinely mistaken. It is interesting in this case that doubting was a case of experience and that therefore there is such a kind. Doubting led to certainty of the conclusion; and certainty is important, especially in careful philosophical and metaphysical thought where we would build up an entire system of understanding on a relatively small number of fundamental concepts. But doubting also led to clarification of the idea of experience. But it led to even more. As part of the process we also learned something about the nature of concepts, definitions, meaning, truth and proof (here the proof has been to show that at least one experienced kind of thing—experience itself—is there; later there is extension to other kinds and then to proof in the sense of derivation).
Two reasons to have doubted experience already mentioned are (a) the difficulty in explaining experience and (b) the problem of illusion. The first doubt led to recognition of experience as a fundamental kind. The second doubt led to a confirmation that the kind does obtain and to a clarification of its nature (along the way we also learned something about concepts in general).
There are other reasons to doubt experience. One, especially significant today, is the thought from science that we live in a material cosmos. Under strict materialism i.e. the position that everything is made of matter and only of matter there seems to be no place for mind. Another source of doubt is the thought that the subjective is mere feeling without any real power or ability to cause and influence affairs. These two doubts are similar in nature and taken together may lead to the assertion that there can be no experience (mind) or, if there is, it is at best a shadowy and insignificant existence. Now under fairly widespread but often tacit hegemony of scientific materialism these doubts are commonplace even though often tacit. But it is efficient to express the doubts in positive terms for among the possible significant outcomes of doubting are to confirm or reject the doubts and both these outcomes are better than doubt in limbo. From the demonstration of experience it follows that the position of strict materialism is untenable. And as we will see, experience is not only causal but also the place of significance and our relations to the world.
The last observation leads to another doubt about experience: the doubt sometimes called solipsism that experience is all that there is. This is, like the doubt that there is experience, important because responding to it leads to further clarification of the nature of experience and to clarification of the nature of the real world. This will be taken up below in the chapter world.
Descartes: contribution and criticism
These are roughly Descartes’ arguments without depending on an I. The latter has been one source of criticism of Descartes’ argument but the I is not essential to the part of the argument concluding existence; and the I can be introduced later. In fact Descartes’ argument is or suggests a meditation on the meaning of the term ‘I’.
One reason the notion of the I has been questioned is that when an individual looks inside (at the place of the presumed I) for it they do not or seem to not find anything concrete or permanent. Despite that I can be happy; true happiness, is not under may control; but why should I assume the I is more than I find? If control, permanence, and so on are not found, the error would be in not calling what we do find ‘I’: that is, the criticism is based on assuming (without basis) a concrete I and then denying it on finding no concreteness.
A second criticism, not of the I itself but of its potency and reality is this apparent non-concreteness. However, that the I is (at least seemingly) not concrete does not imply that it is not potent; we will find immense potency. And to question to what ‘reality’ might refer on account of non concreteness is to question the nature of the real, the object, and the concrete; this concern is addressed later in discussing objects (where we find that that ‘concrete’ and ‘abstract’ are not absolute terms but lie on a continuum of which any particular interpretation is relative to an experiencer).
Another criticism is the dependence on experience rather than action due, for example, to the Scottish philosopher John Macmurray (1891-1976). However, it is only in experience that action registers. The criticism from action is one that minimizes experience without justification. However, emphasis on experience is not only also emphasis on the entire world but it in no further particular way minimizes the significance of action.
Ideas and action
Thus ideas and action are the essential means and ways of choosing, planning, and effecting change for change without ideas is mere process.
Experience and form
A system of complex experience cannot be mere formlessness. In a substance metaphysics, i.e. a metaphysics rooted in kinds or essences, a fundamental kind such as experience must go to the root of being (and so even pure experience is relationship). Our cosmos is a one substance cosmos for some practical purposes. The demonstrated universal metaphysics of the essay will not be a substance metaphysics; from the metaphysics, all form may be seen as originating from the void. Here, i.e. under the universal metaphysics, kinds of form can be temporary duals but must be ultimately one (since the metaphysics is turns out to be most liberal possible the word ‘under’ indicates no true restriction).
Though implicit use of the following conception of meaning has been made it is convenient to have deferred explicit discussion to the present point.
Concepts and reference
A HIGHER concept, e.g. unit of meaning, is (somewhat) different in its sense (however a higher concept may be a concept in the present sense); since the context will indicate the meaning I have chosen to not use separate words.
A primary reason for the present use is that in the present sense, concepts include percepts. This inclusion is useful.
The development will not depend on non referential concepts but we can talk referentially about non referential concepts; and it seems possible that most concepts that are not explicitly reference may have implicit reference. In what follows meaning will be referential meaning.
Concept, word, and language meaning
Gottlob Frege, 1848-1925, is my main source for this concept of meaning.
In this essay I will use the word ‘THING’ informally for ‘object’. The use will be indifferent to the distinctions between entity, process, relationship, one or many, localized and connected or distributed and disconnected, concrete or abstract.
Words may be but generally are not concepts: words may be simple—pure signs that have meaning only by association with a concept; or iconic—some part of their meaning is given by the shape or sound of the word, and compound—two words or a word and suffix whose net meaning is in part determined by structure and perhaps a convention about how structure is conceptual). In an atomic theory of meaning there are ultimately simple objects whose names are preferred to be simple. It is not clear that there are such simples and the metaphysics to be developed implies that there no simple objects.
Grammar is typically more than convention; the standard linguistic structures intend to capture some aspects of world structure (metaphysics). An example of a relationship between metaphysics and grammar concerns the validity and adequacy of the subject-predicate form of propositions as faithful to reality.
Concept as necessary and sufficient to meaning
The concept is necessary to meaning. We are in the forest when I say ‘tiger’. If you do not have in your stored memory a visual (or other) recollection of a large fearsome black-yellow striped cat you will not feel fear. But is there an object without a concept? I am not suggesting that things need to be known to exist. But can I communicate an object without a concept (the object may stand in for the concept as its own symbol)? Does the object exist for which there can be no concept? If the object does affect me I do have a (at least) vague concept of it; if it never affects me, I need no concept of it; if I cannot have a concept of it, I cannot specify it. Therefore: no concept, no object.
Effectiveness of linguistic meaning
Is the word necessary? I need to externalize the concept, to have at least some token of it, to communicate it. In language this is done with words.
Language (spoken, written, and imagined) is an effective means of communication and thought. It is particularly effective in critical thought.
Use, stability and fluidity of meaning
Generally, meaning is set by use and agreement which may be reified in dictionaries (and rules of grammar). An essential source of indefiniteness in meaning is the approximate capture of the whole or part of reality in use. Thus while use stabilizes meaning it also implies that meaning will have fluidity (with changing context which includes better understanding of the world).
Literal versus non-literal meaning
Perfect literal meaning is possible only where the world is atomized. However, the meaning of ‘atom’, here, is not that of an ultimate particle that is indivisible because it has no parts. Thus if the universe is defined as entirety, and used in reference to all detail it is non atomic; on the other hand if the reference or sense is universe as universe without reference to parts then the sense is atomic and reference to the universe in this sense is literal.
Thus while there is literal meaning, as a fraction of everyday concept and linguistic meaning, very little is perfectly literal. Nonetheless much meaning is at least roughly literal.
If, for example, I say When the shadow of the mountain reaches the edge of the camp we will begin our celebration, the meaning can be taken as literal.
Non literal meaning
Why is metaphor or simile non literal? Surely, many metaphors have a definite meaning in the minds of some speakers and some listeners. The meaning is non literal, however, because metaphor is often culture and context dependent and further because it will not evoke the same definite meaning even for the same listener on different occasions or a definite meaning on any occasion. Something similar could be said for art.
Is the Gospel of Mark, the first written account of the life of Jesus, literally true? Is literal meaning its meaning by intent or fact? Whatever the intent, there is no doubt that some followers take it literally. There are others, some who call themselves Christian (whether or not they are Christian according to edict or consensus) and some who do not, who find non literal meaning in the Gospel (and, in fact, in the Bible and other non canonical texts). What could such non literal meaning be? A general non literal meaning could be (a) there is more in the world than we see; and of that much is good and great and (b) that pervades the universe—the immediate and the ultimate. How would this arise? On reading the Bible many persons have problems with the content as literal. Of these some reject the Bible. Others find appeal, perhaps in the quality of the literature and the Biblical account of history, and for these or other reasons find some general non literal meaning as above. In the case of water from wine the non literal meaning might be to reinforce the idea of a general pervading power and to further suggest that that power is available to man. It is further interesting that (a) these meanings may or may not occur consciously and (b) even those who subscribe to the literal meaning may also feel the non literal meaning, even consciously.
What determines whether the Bible is literal or allegorical? I think it is not authorship or the canon alone; it is these but it is also how it has been and is read. The meaning of a linguistic expression—is it literal or allegorical must depend on context. We can write literally but also hope to evoke more than the literal content.
Thus, even in relation to instrumental purposes, the literal mode of expression is not a universal ideal.
Mythic holism is a term I use to refer to the kind of meaning immanent in traditions whose systems of referential meaning are not completely literal (at least canonically).
In primal traditions empirical knowledge of nature and knowledge of the spirit world are interwoven. Modern tradition often refers to this as superstition in a derogatory way. However, consider the primal context. There is empirical knowledge of nature which includes empirical knowledge of causes. Knowledge of causes is good because the possessor of the knowledge is more effective in the primal economy (hunting etc). However, not all causes are obvious. Therefore super-natural causes are posited. But what is the natural? It must be the empirical (which is relative to context). That is, the distinction between natural and the supernatural is some combination of fact and ignorance (and ignorance of ignorance). And while super-natural ascriptions sometimes assuage fears they are also possessed of material and therefore economic implication. Anthropologists have recorded when a taboo is violated and no ill results, the strength of the taboo weakens. The pejorative significance of superstition can arise, therefore, only when we (hold or believe that we) know better. In any particular tradition there will be true causes that are pejoratively superstitious from the point of view of another tradition. Thus the modern who thinks, explicitly or tacitly, that our science has fathomed essentially all of being is superstitious.
The philosopher Paul Feyerabend wrote similarly in Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975); I hold, however, that Feyerabend’s interpretation of different traditions was excessively relativist in finding no tradition capable of judging another. That judgment misses the essential point that every tradition has its truth and error (over and above explicit lie even in terms of the local canon maintained, e.g., for reasons of internal or external advantage).
There is a general issue of literalism. To what extent is it good (versus, say, poetry and metaphor)? To what extent can we know the truth of the literal? To what extent are we obliged to (try to) be true? What should I do when I know that your literal claims are (a) untrue and (b) destructive? The answers are difficult. In the end I have to decide where to take and where it is worth taking a stand (without being rigid).
A main concern is with presenting a system intended as transparent and literal—and true; and the claim of truth is not a mere claim: I have attempted to give proof (and while it is true that even standards of proof are relative, that in itself, cannot be used as argument against my proofs because the analysis of proof is part of the general analysis—i.e., I have attempted to analyze out the a priori).
However, it is and cannot be my intent to be entirely literal. I occasionally use language intended to arouse an emotional concern with my aims (for example as importance though not as proof of conclusions and aims). And I appeal to what is valid tradition as an element framed by my system regarding which I hope that no superstitious meaning is inferred. It is of course a fact that it would be difficult to eliminate all invalid but tacit positions but it is not necessary to do so. In relation to the aim of way of being it will be found later that full literal precision is impossible but also unnecessary; and it is therefore undesirable). This does not imply that precision is undesirable but what is sought is sufficient precision for instrumental purposes; too much focus on precision would be counterproductive in relation to the aim.
Possibility of precise meaning; examples
It does not follow that no meaning can be precise or fixed.
Thus, as noted earlier, the meaning of ‘experience’ as defined above is precise and real (it refers precisely to something in the world) because the term is defined with sufficient abstraction. The fundamental concepts that found the conceptual system of the essay will be defined similarly. These concepts include experience, meaning, world, being, universe, domain, the void, and realism.
Analysis and synthesis of meaning
We have analyzed the meaning of the terms experience and meaning with clarification will continue to see examples—especially world, existence, being, universe, void, and realism—with similar clarification and great effect. It will seem that analysis of meaning creates knowledge. In fact however, analysis of meaning cannot create knowledge but it can make explicit what is already known but explicit.
If we look carefully at the examples we will see that we are not merely analyzing meaning but we are correcting our meanings on the basis of cumulative experience that we have but have not used. Thus we are in effect synthesizing meaning. In the ongoing process I have incrementally drawn on reading, reflection, and new experience. Thus synthesis of meaning does include the creation of knowledge. But analysis and synthesis are almost inseparable for the moment we begin to analyze we also begin to correct—not merely reveal—by drawing on cumulative experience had but not used. The following repeats an earlier in different form:
In reflecting on meaning as concept and object we can see immediately why this should be true.
As noted earlier, definitions or explanations of meaning are marked by SMALL CAPITALS. In a definition or explanation of a concept, ‘is’ after the concept word means ‘is defined to be’ or ‘is conceived as’.
Perhaps the most common kind of definition of a word-concept is definition in terms of other words. If this were the only kind of definition there would have to be an unending chain of definition or words that are undefined in terms of other words (but defined in use).
However, we saw for experience that its definition was not a definition in other terms for ‘awareness’ is a synonym of experience. But, as we saw, experience is so fundamental that it may be defined by pointing it out and naming it. This kind of definition is, as noted earlier, called ostensive. The need for this kind of definition is clear by the explanation just given. However, as for experience, it should be shown that the definition names something definite. The alternative is, as in the case of axiomatic systems, terms may be left undefined (and to be interpreted in application).
Uses of ‘is’
The term ‘is’ has other fundamental meanings, e.g. to express existence. It is the third person singular form of the verb to be.
There seems to be no English form of the verb to be that refers to any collection of things, anywhere, over any collection of past or present or future times—or not in time or space at all.
Here, ‘is’ will sometimes be used for just that function—i.e. it will mean occurrence in or as any collection of regions of ENTIRETY.
The goal of this chapter is to elucidate the nature of the world in which we live with regard to its reality and kinds of content. We begin with experience—there is experience but, perhaps motivated by illusory experiences, we wonder whether there is anything else. We may call such doubt philosophical doubt and its utility is to clarify the nature of things—of ideas and the world—and so to secure further development that builds upon the basics that are established in attempting to resolve doubt.
It will first be useful to say something about existence.
What does it mean to say something exists? A basic aspect of the idea is that the thing really is there. However, illusion leads to doubt: (a) the gross doubt that experience might be nothing but illusion and (b) the subtle doubt that experience contributes to the form of things. The doubt itself is somewhat circular in that, given the contribution of the experiencer, it may be asked whether there are things in themselves or more precisely what is meant in asserting that there are things that, although we know them in experience, are not dependent for their form on the form of the experience.
What we have begun to see is that while the experiencer does in fact contribute to the experience, the contribution is not always essentially distorting. Thus we have seen that there is indeed experience. In the case of experience as experience the thing and the thing-as-known are identical. Further, there is clearly a world; the problem that was contemplated above is whether the world is nothing but experience as world. In this chapter, starting from experience we will establish that there is a real world which is experienced and contains experience. In later chapters we establish being as being, universe as universe, domain as domain and so on. This will enable the development of a powerful metaphysical framework for understanding the universe as a whole; it will depend for its precision and power on sufficient abstraction. On the other we will not find that the contribution of experience cannot be eliminated for the immediate and less abstract world. Then the metaphysical framework and practical knowledge will be meshed and it will be found that while we never get beyond experience into the real regarding the practical cases, we never need to for the practical can be seen as a tool in approaching the ultimates seen in the framework (this is of course over and above the fact that where something is necessarily impossible it cannot be desired or needed). With these thoughts in mind we can say that something exists if we can validly say that it is (the use of ‘is’ of course is temporal or not depending on the context: for a photon ‘is’ refers to its lifetime but a mathematical object such as a triangle is usually regarded as timeless).
The world object is used generically to not distinguish between entity, relation, process, or property; or between individuals and collections; or between concrete and abstract kinds.
This assertion seems to be suggesting that existence depends on being known. It is not. What it says, simply, is that generally the fact and form of being known depend on the contribution of experience. Particularly and trivially experience always contributes to the fact. Also, particularly, experience contributes to the form of the more concrete objects of the world. It also suggests that the object that cannot affect experience has no affect on our world and this is trivially true in that if it does not have a direct or indirect affect on experience it has no significance. This may be restated:
An issue that is implicit in the foregoing is the question of direct versus inferred knowledge. Generally, we must depend on both—the perceptual and the conceptual. However, in the case of experience the two coincide. This is crucial. It will be extended to the metaphysical framework just referred to and will include the concepts of experience, real world, being, universe, domain, natural law, the void, and realism.
Having seen that the concept of existence as defined makes perfect sense and is not beyond precise establishment, we should begin to extend the cases for which such precision can be established (cases in which, in Kant’s terms, the phenomenon and the noumenon coincide). This extension will begin below with discussion of the real world.
However, it will be useful to first discuss some traditional problems of the concept of existence.
Issues concerning existence
Is existence a concept?
There is a criticism that since existence is true of everything, it says nothing of anything and is therefore not really a concept or, is at most, an empty concept—perhaps like it is what it is. In the first place, since it refers to all things it is a concept. But let us analyze ‘is true of everything’ in terms of the theory of meaning. From the theory, we must talk of things in terms of concepts of things (even though we typically and conveniently conflate concept and object). True of everything might then mean that every concept has an object which is not true. Alternatively, what true of everything intends to say is that everything that exists does exist. It is thus not without meaning. Rather the meaning is trivial.
Existence is a trivial concept
In discussing being, we shall see that a power of the concept of existence is precisely its triviality (e.g. that it does not distinguish between things or even apparently different kinds of thing such as matter or experience). We might then say that existence or being play the role in metaphysics that the unknown variable ‘x’ plays in algebra. We might say that metaphysics is the algebra of being or of the universe.
The problem of negative existentials
There is a well known problem concerning being and existence. Consider ‘Sherlock Holmes does not exist’. If he does not exist then to what does ‘Sherlock Holmes’ refer? This is the problem of negative existentials. A simple resolution via an analysis of meaning (similar to the analysis of ‘true of everything’) goes as follows. ‘Sherlock Holmes’ is a name but as we have seen a name (word) by itself has no meaning; the meaning arises in association with a concept; and here the concept is supplied by Arthur Conan Doyle’s description ‘A consulting detective who lives at 221 Baker Street, London, and has a friend—Dr. Watson and so on’. Now we can see that ‘Sherlock Homes does not exist’ means that there is no thing (man) that corresponds to the concept ‘Sherlock Holmes’.
Existence of the real world
There is a sense in which I never get outside experience. In my immediate experiencing I recall apparently permanent features of prior experience; this ‘world’ is enhanced by the accumulation of apparently objective features of cultural learning. I know these features in experience but I experience them as objective. That I know them in experience does not mean that they are merely subjective for some experience may be perfectly and other experience practically defining and of objects. If my cumulative experience is insufficient to represent the accumulation of apparently objective features the world might be a fiction. That I can discover such features but that their nature is beyond my control suggests that:
There is a real world
To see this consider the assertion that there is nothing but experience (trivially of course there is experience of experience or the assertion that there is experience would not even occur; thus there is nothing but experience implies that there is a real world; however that is trivial; what we want to show is that there is a real world in the usual sense, i.e. that when we have experience of things, processes, relationships, people, worlds, stars, and a universe more than just experience, there is reality to the experience).
Now it could, at least on the surface of the matter, be true that there is nothing but experience but let us investigate its truth. If it were true then what is named ‘I’ would be in a world of experience in which it would be concluded that there is much more information than can be known by the apparent knower (myself). Thus the following two assertions are the same (1) Experience is of a real world that contains experience and (2) There is nothing but experience.
Although they are the same assertion the second one would require a very unwieldy relabeling (and an associated unwieldy system of acting) of the former unless the various centers of experience are thought of as one center. Thus the proof of that there is a real world shows that (a) multiple sentient agents in the real world is a most natural mode of description and (b) experience and the experienced are very intertwined.
Experience and significance
Experience is the place of our significant relationship to the world. Except for pure experience which can have the role of potential relationship, all experience would seem to be relationship (and even pure experience is internal relationship—which can be seen from the requirement from form). The metaphysics to be developed will suggest that experience is not relationship all cases but that it is relationship in most cases of cosmological significance.
Are there objects that have no effect?
Only objects that have some effect in significance at least significant effect (and thus what we cannot know cannot and need not be taken into account; which will also and nicely follow from the metaphysics to be developed).
Is the concept of self metaphorical?
Whether there is an I that experiences objects in a relationship between a putative knower and a putative known is metaphorical depends on the specificity of location and temporal permanence that is assigned to the I.
Entirety and the world
Is space-time universal?
That is, it is not insisted a priori that any or all parts of the world are characterized by space, time, or other such dimension. A gradation of characterization from absent to precise is a priori possible (the metaphysics to be developed will imply that this gradation obtains).
We begin with a preliminary definition that repeats the definition of existence.
In is second occurrence, ‘is’ means occurrence in or as any collection of regions of entirety. Thus Being is that which occurs as any collection of regions of entirety. The point to this form of the definition is that it does not assume time, space, and dimensionality or otherwise.
On the nature of being
What kind of a concept is being?
The definition could have read ‘Being is the quality of that which is’ for ‘being’ does not refer to any particular being (e.g. entity, process, relationship). Later, in objects we will see that the difference between quality, entity, process and so on is not as marked as we think (when we are thinking concretely).
Being is identical to existence
We saw that things can be divided into two classes (a) those that are there precisely as we know them and (b) those that are there but only roughly as we know them (and of these perhaps some are ever beyond precise knowing; but those that are not beyond precise knowing essentially have being as known even though we cannot yet use there knowledge as precise). Thus being and existence are identical.
And it is worth repeating what was said for existence (in an earlier version of this document: Versions\The way of being-essential-May 14, 2015.doc), ‘Now we may think that the entire world is imbued with just this uncertainty but (1) we have already the example of experience in hand and (2) the program before us is to expand this into an entire metaphysical framework. In fact an entire problem of the metaphysics to be developed will be to divide the universe into things that are precisely as known and things that are not and to then from that build up a system of knowledge that has a perfect side and a not so perfect but still practical or pragmatic side.’
Being is trivial
As for existence, the conception of being has been called trivial and, since it is true of everything, that it is hardly even a concept. The objection may be addressed as follows. First, with respect to foundations, triviality is a virtue. Second, consider the meaning of ‘true of everything’ has already been shown erroneous in discussing existence. Finally, as we will see a source of the power of the concept of being is precisely its triviality (e.g. that it does not distinguish between things or even apparently different kinds of thing such as matter or experience).
Being is a shallow concept; this is its power for it contains all depth
Thus being is not a deep concept. It is shallow and this shallowness is a source of its power. But while being as being is not deep, it contains or frames all depth.
This is an important point. Readers often approach being with the idea that it is deep beyond comprehension; what is true is that it contains depth. And many writers define being in simple terms but are eager to imbue being with a depth that is not possessed by all but only perhaps by some being. Unfortunately this is true of many writers whose otherwise excellent thought is marred by this lack of clarity.
Being in terms of entirety
Being and power
Consider the issue of whether to regard the absence of being (we will later call it the void) as being. Can I say ‘it is there’? Can I know that it is there? If the void is absence of the real, it seems a stretch of the concept of being to say that the void has being.
But the way in which I know of something is via some effect on me. For objects that I sense or perceive, the effect is relatively direct. If someone else experiences something and reports the experience to me, the effect it indirect.
The question regarding the being of the void, then becomes the question whether the void can have an effect. We would normally think that the void can have no effect; that for it to have an effect would violate causality; that even a pure potential is more than the void.
Our everyday intuition suggests that a pure potential is a thing. But what is the basis of the intuition? It is our experience with everyday affairs—if we are familiar with the idea of causality it is that potential is causal and cause must be something rather than nothing.
However for this to be necessary reasoning causation must be universal. On the other hand if causation is not universal the reason that the void cannot have an effect is eliminated. Later, we will find that the void is immensely potent. These thoughts motivate a criterion for being:
We may regard ‘that which is there’ as defining being and power as a supplementary criterion when ‘it being there’ is not clear. Alternatively we could regard the power criterion as definition and ‘it being there’ as supplementary criterion.
Properties of the universe
The universe is entirety.
The universe has being.
Relative to the universe there is no other or outside.
The universe is not created or caused
No first cause
Contrary to some intuitions regarding causation, the universe has no first cause and needs no first cause. All causation and creation are part of the universe. There is no a priori universal causation.
Domain: domains have being
Except perhaps for an empty domain, domains have being.
Where it is necessary to consider only sub-parts, the exception will be noted.
Creation and causation by domains
This implication will obtain in significant fraction of the cases.
It is not clear that ‘cosmos’ is a well defined term. Its use will be informal.
Our cosmos is not the universe
There is nothing in science or common experience or reason that requires that our empirical cosmos, interpreted according to modern physical theory or not, is precisely or even almost the entire universe. That is, as far as is known in empirical and scientific terms, the cosmos may be infinitesimal in comparison to the universe.
Relative sizes of the cosmos and the universe
From dual consideration of (a) the history of physics and cosmology and (b) the size of the space of possibility (phenomenologically and not just spatiotemporally), it is likely that the universe is greater than the revealed (empirical, conceptual) cosmos. Note that since possibility is not probability, possibility alone gives no estimate of how much larger (but if we were to make the confusion, we would conclude that the universe is infinitely large than the cosmos).
Later, from the metaphysics to be developed, the cosmos will in fact be infinitesimal in comparison to the universe.
The concept of possibility
Physical and cosmological possibility
Regarding the empirical cosmos as defined by today’s physical laws as context, an event that violated physical law would be physically impossible. If an event obeys physical law it is physically possible. If the cosmos from its initial conditions is headed to implode out of existence at some point in the future then our survival beyond that point would be cosmologically impossible even if physically possible. Whatever does obtain in the cosmos is of course cosmologically possible.
Possibility in terms of logic
The world does not violate logic. I could define a world that would violate logic (e.g. a world that contains square circles) but such a world would not exist.
Concepts violate logic in that they violate logical principle cannot have objects (unless some spurious object is posited such as the concept as the object or the non existent object as an object).
Regarding logic as context, a square circle is impossible (assuming a geometry in which circles and squares are definable such that a circle is not a square). Whatever does not violate logic is logically possible. Logical possibility is the most liberal kind of possibility. Physical possibility presumes logical possibility but a logically possible state of affairs may violate physical law. Thus levitation, i.e. hovering above ground without any means of support, is physically impossible (given the physics of our cosmos) but logically possible.
Possibility for the universe
Many other kinds of possibility could be formulated and considered. However, we shall need but one.
Regard the universe as context. What obtains, i.e. what is actual, is obviously possible. What does not obtain (over entirety), i.e. what is not actual, is out of context and so impossible or, equivalently, not possible. Therefore:
But what is possibility for the universe—i.e. what kind is it? It is not necessarily any of the kinds considered so far. Clearly it is not divine possibility for any divinity would be part of the universe. But the thought is suggestive. It may be far fetched to think that humanity can create laws of physics but perhaps if we were able to lever enough energy we could begin something along those lines. Let us look at the kinds considered above in a search for universal possibility.
The universe will be found to be maximally permissive in this sense.
Physical versus logical possibility
Physical and cosmological (scientific) possibilities seem too restrictive: surely there may be myriad other cosmoses with perhaps laws that are different from ours in ways not imagined yet in our history (“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”) But logic seems too liberal: there are gold mountains (infinitely repeated too). And, with some philosophers, there are illogical objects that obtain nowhere but as concepts (the theory of meaning developed earlier rules this out and in any case it enriches being in no way for the illogical concepts already exist as concepts).
The tension between logic and science
Perhaps what we need is to redefine ‘logic’ or ‘science’. But this brings us to the issue of the nature these concepts. Our understandings of logic and science have labored too long under the idea that one of their differences is that inference under logical systems is deductive while inference of scientific theories is inductive.
Reconceptualization of logic and science
The proper comparison is that inference of the systems is highly inductive in both cases and under the systems is deductive for both. The similarity is seen as further enhanced when we consider (with thanks to WVO Quine) logic and science are both coded cumulative experience of our use of concepts but logic is or tends to be universal while science is local (thus it is that Quine argues that logic is revisable which is the case in finding logics that apply to broader contexts than so far).
The tension remains that if we make redefinitions as suggested, logic seems too broad to define the universe while our sciences seem too narrow.
When the word ‘all’ is used there is potential for paradox; for example, all sets—i.e. the set of sets. A source of contradiction is assuming that apparently well formed linguistic constructions have objects (and some standard resolutions that seem to work well are type theory and the standard axiomatizations of set theory). However, provided we are open about what ‘all’ means in ‘all possibility’ there need be no paradox. Still, the above mentioned approaches to paradox resolution may be useful in developing the universal metaphysics further.
There are trivial paradoxes such as ‘it is possible that the possible is impossible’. This is a simple confusion of meaning.
Sameness and difference
An object can be seen as different and in different perspectives yet the same. It is not claimed that there are never difficulties with this notion but that the difficulties are not universal (in fact, that there are difficulties but that difficulties are not universal, is related to essential problems of a continuum of ill to well definition of identity-hood, space, and time, and their interwoven character).
An object named ‘x’ and an object named ‘y’ can be identical in all their properties and yet not be identical. I.e., there may be physical laws that would require that they be identical but this does not follow on logical grounds (unless being this object can be somehow be a property).
Identity and time
The definition of identity appears circular. However, it points out a fundamental characteristic of being and therefore is not circular.
This conception of identity is emphatically not that of identity of properties.
Object and personal identity are not essentially different.
Only objects experienced at least indirectly, i.e. via there effects on what is experienced directly, have significance (later we find that existence implies that there must be at least indirect experience).
Extensionality and its kinds—space and time
Since sameness is sameness either with or without difference, space and time are the only kinds of extensionality (this does not fix their dimensionality).
Immanence of space and time
Space and time are immanent in to the universe—that is, they are relative rather than absolute.
Space and time are not absolute
But one domain can set up an as if external space and time grid for another (for example, a cosmos for its galaxies). Except for this there is not even as if absolute space and time. If our cosmos is isolated, its space and time are and cannot be other than immanent.
Space and time are not universal
There is no implication from the derivation of space and time that they are universal (later, from the metaphysics, it will follow that they are not and cannot be universal); or that they invariably be precisely definable and measurable; imagine, for example, a cosmos such as ours where space and time have quite precise measures precise, a background that lacks difference, and a continuum in between that ranges form vague to precise difference (again, from the metaphysics to be developed it will follow that such situations exist in a significant fraction of the cases).
Degrees of vagueness and interwoven-ness
Insofar as the modes of difference are vague or lack differentiation, space and time may be vague and interwoven (which will be true in a significant fraction of the cases).
The example shows one way of being beyond extensionality (thus far it is a priori possible, but the case will follow from the metaphysics to be developed). Another way is via abstraction. Where the concrete is spatiotemporal, the immanent abstract may be atemporal; and the immanent abstract may connect the concrete spatiotemporal to the concrete non spatiotemporal (from the metaphysics to be developed ‘may’ above can be replaced by ‘will in a significant fraction of cases’).
Must space and time obtain?
It may seem as though space and time have been derived from prior principles. However, the derivation assumes that there is difference. Must there be space and time? The metaphysics to be developed will imply that there must be but that they cannot be universal.
‘Law’ will not be capitalized in the sequel.
Properties of laws
A pattern is either imposed or immanent. In either case the pattern is in the universe and has power; therefore patterns and laws have being.
The concept of the void
Properties of the void
The void may be regarded as non manifestation. Consequently the void exists (doubt will be taken up later).
The point to saying that the void has no positive kind is that absence might be considered to be a kind (but the void would be rather than have absence).
Significance of the void
The system of concepts obtains its full meaning from the conceptualization of the individual notions and in the web of relationships that constitute a system. No one concept stands alone as sufficient on its own. However, a handful stand out as particularly important and these include experience, being, universe, law, void, and realism.
This would not remove the significance of time or received knowledge but show them as having a place in a larger universe that included but was not defined in their terms.
I spent roughly a year pondering (among other things) how to prove the universe, from its properties, was equivalent to the void.
Existence of the void may be criticized regarding (1) assertion of existence of absence for existents should be real and (2) if the void is equivalent to all being then it is or has potential which is something rather than the void.
In deriving the metaphysics we will bypass assumption of existence. However, it is useful to address these doubts.
We defined the void as absence of being and found that being has the characteristic of power. Whereas we are not sure whether absence implies existence, power does. This immediately raises the second doubt for is not power something? We saw that it is not necessarily something? Why? The answer came by looking at the source of the thought or intuition that potential must be something. The status of the intuition is that is suggests doubt regarding existence of the void but does not prove it for it is logically possible for absence to have potential. The reason for thinking that potential is something is our experience with cause and effect: where there is a material effect there must be, we think, a material cause. That is the intuition in question is projection of causation; however this is not justified.
What is metaphysics?
Metaphysics will be understood in terms the family of meanings it has in philosophy. However, in philosophy it is not perfectly understood or uniquely defined. I will use an older meaning. It is a meaning that has been criticized in the modern but I will justify the meaning.
In this essay metaphysics is knowledge of being as being
It is easy to see why this meaning has been criticized. In the following I will raise and respond to criticisms of the conception of metaphysics as knowledge of being as being.
Criticism A: Experience is not the object
In the first place, since experience—perceptual and / or higher conceptual—is not the object it would seem that perfect depiction is or at least may be impossible.
The objection is valid when it comes to knowing the details of the world in which perfection is at least contentious. Thus Kant, in answering to this criticism, argued that perfect perceptual knowledge of natural categories of the world is built into our intuition (Kant called this the transcendental aesthetic). Kant took those categories to be those of Euclidean Geometry and Newtonian Mechanics which we now know to not be the world categories (and we have no reason to think modern science provides us with world categories). However, we have already seen and remarked that we know experience as such (and knowing something entails that we know that that something exists); and that we know the real world as such (whose existence is also known perfectly). Thus we know being as such and already know definite examples of it (the being of experience and the world); and we also know universe, identity, space and time, law, and the void (which are all examples of being). It is important that these are not known precisely in all detail but that is not the claim; rather the claim is that we know the being of these things as such (and whether the knowledge is trivial or not remains to be determined).
Criticism B: The question of perfect faithfulness
Another point is significant: the objection takes for granted as do realms of critical and constructive thought that perfect precision is the criterion that we should be using.
It is important to point that perfect depiction is a tacit but often unstated criterion for knowledge because it is often unstated. I am not going to universally reject this important criterion—there is no reason to do so. However, once stated it can be considered as to where it is appropriate and where not.
It is important that the core of a metaphysical system that I call knowledge of being as being should satisfy some criterion regarding depiction. But can it satisfy perfect depiction? Error and illusion in knowledge and perception suggest not. But here the new categories (relative to the Kantian and other categorial systems) have been chosen for perfection. Experience as experience, real world as real world, being as being, universe as universe, natural law as natural law are all perfectly known. As stated earlier, this perfect knowing does not refer to particulars of the categories such as types of experience or details within the universe. In the case of experience where I know that I am having some particular experience it is not a claim about the kind of particular experience or, generally, about the object of the experience. However, in the case of experience as experience or being as being and so on as the object of experience, the knowledge is perfect.
We have satisfied this criterion of perfect depiction for the new categories (experience etc) but, crucially, we will find out via proof that this cannot and should not be the criterion for all knowledge (for all purposes). This will be significant in extending the metaphysics under development from the realm of perfect precision to another realm that will be found perfect via proof in another and appropriate sense.
Criticism C: The claims of science
Two special criticisms from science are (i) science now occupies the role of knowledge of being and (ii) science shows that metaphysical knowledge beyond its borders is impossible (note that the term ‘special criticisms’ is used because general criticism from science is tacit in the criticisms above).
Criticism D: The claims of epistemology
Some aspects of epistemology are considered above and through the essay—usually without explicit reference to epistemology.
The importance of epistemology has risen in the modern period. After the first enthusiasm of turning away from scholasticism to rationalism, rationalism began to look upon itself. Since Newton, his mechanics had come to be regarded as necessary consequences of the observations. David Hume pointed out the lack of necessity to the mechanics as well of the nature of space, time, and causality. Immanuel Kant responded; he attempted to restitute mechanics through causation (with remarkable success for the period); but remained critical of any metaphysics beyond his system. Today, we know that Kant’s constructive system is a partial failure (because space, time, and mechanics as understood by Newton are only approximate categories of both world and mind). We have retained and amplified Kant’s doubts; today there is interest in metaphysics of a kind that does not satisfy the definition of this essay—e.g. (1) as the logical study of experience itself rather than what it is experience of and (2) as the study of abstract objects which, in the study in question, are contrasted to the concrete objects studied in the sciences.
I begin with some general remarks. If metaphysics is knowledge of the universe and the universe is all things; and if epistemology is the study of knowledge then, since knowledge is in the universe, epistemology is part of metaphysics. That is, epistemological claims are metaphysical claims. This is important (it does not, of course, invalidate epistemology or its importance; nor does it validate the rest of metaphysics). But the metaphysics of this narrative is validated on its own ground; that metaphysics employs dual criteria and, showing them to mesh and be sufficient to knowledge claims is part of showing the validity of the present metaphysics. In other words the metaphysics does not and does not need to look elsewhere for validation; further it is shown that this self referential aspect is neither paradoxical nor does it lead to tractable or refractory infinite regress.
It may be enlightening to consider the claims of epistemology in some detail. (1) What is knowledge? The metaphysical system is multi-conceptual in this regard. Regarding the pure part—regarding experience, being, …, realism as such—the metaphysics is perfect depiction. Regarding the part that seems to be incapable of perfect depiction, the criterion of being good enough in relation to the aim of the metaphysics as well as to being-in-the-world, is found to be the best possible as well as adequate. The conclusion is that a uniform conception of knowledge is neither necessary nor desirable. The mosaic and meshing conception is maximally effective. (2) On what axes can we contemplate knowledge? We can consider the nature of knowledge (just done), the information-knowledge-understanding axis, precision, and probability of truth. The mosaic nature of knowledge is seen to be well suited to the information etc axis. Precision is critical because it is often tacitly assumed that it should be absolute. Here, the mosaic enters again: the perfect part has absolute precision which it meets perfectly; the practical part has less than perfect precision which it meets imperfectly according to the depictive criterion but adequately in relation to the best possible and to achieving the aim of realization. Here, probability enters because we are not certain of the derivation of the fundamental principle. Generally, this is not a criticism because it marks almost every aspect of knowledge. However because the pure part of metaphysics claims perfect knowledge it is a criticism. The response to this last issue is contained in the discussion of doubt and existential attitude (it is important that the doubts do not consider internal / logical or external / empirical consistency).
Criticism E: Special metaphysics
There is a host of metaphysical systems from the history of ideas that speculate special kinds of being. These include (a) the imaginative systems of the Greeks (b) the scholastic-theological systems of Christianity between Greece and Rome and the modern era (c) various systems of European, British, and American idealism. Though some of these are useful as richly suggestive, their speculative character was part of what led in the twentieth to near wholesale abandonment of metaphysics.
However, the twentieth century also saw the rise of metaphysics of experience. This is the useful attempt to understand our entire range of experience in terms of fundamental aspects of experience itself. This is useful because (a) it may lead to enhanced understanding not only of experience as such but also to integration of what is valid in experience itself and religion and science and (b) while natural science is useful in understanding experience what they have taught us is limited and often misleading (the fault is not of science itself but of faulty conclusions from it).
This is not and cannot be an a priori justification of particular systems of metaphysics of experience. That justification, for example in the case of A.N. Whitehead’s Process and Reality of 1929, can only come from painstaking examination (and regarding such examination we should distinguish the main theses and themes from particular conclusions).
Criticism F: Critical theory and the meta narrative system
In the twentieth century the term ‘grand narrative’ or ‘meta narrative’ has been pejoratively applied to metaphysical systems and other meta narratives of the past.
This criticism has come from critical theory which holds that our narratives should be relevant to the condition of humankind but that meta narratives offer legitimization via an incomplete-able master idea. A variety of responses could be given. Perhaps the most important one is that truth is necessary to relevance and therefore truth and relevance should be evaluated case by case rather than by a meta-meta narrative such as critical theory. It is common counter-criticism of the grand narrative idea that Jean-François Lyotard who brought the term grand narrative into prominence (in the 1984 translation of The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, 1979) has himself has spoken of “the great narrative of the end of great narratives” (such as progress, enlightenment emancipation, and Marxism) (in his The Differend, 1988). That is, the idea that the grand should be globally replaced by local more modest singular narratives is itself grand.
Criticism G: System
The problem of special metaphysics is significantly the problem of system—i.e. castles of ideas whose foundations are shaky. This is similar to but more general than and predates the criticism from critical theory. It is one of the main reasons for the twentieth century abandonment of metaphysics (the other being a failure of imagination and criticism in the face of science).
A response has already been made that failures of particular systems do not imply failure of all systems.
However, there remains a general attitude among some thinkers that is critical toward system as such. The attitude is consequent to the thought that the world is so varied that it cannot be brought under system—that the attempt at system minimizes the world and is a symptom of a failure of nerve of a thinker who cannot approach the varieties on their own merit.
General response to criticism: The metaphysical system of this essay
In this essay, as the reader may see so far, the metaphysical ideas are being built up one by one from direct experience that is so precise that one and same experience count as percept and higher concept (there is interpretation but it serves to illuminate rather than to secure the meanings). The one by one character is not quite true—it reflects the unfolding of the essay but, in fact, the system emerged as a whole from a period of trying, reflection, and improvement.
Thus the system is not systematic just so as to have a system. It is systematic in the first place because it began to emerge as such in response to self-correction. The initial steps were experiment with material, process, and idealist views that (a) were roughly equivalent despite the outward differences and (b) were incomplete because, invariably, something had to be posited. This was the origin of the choice of being simply, and without commitment to kinds such as mind and matter, as that which exists. Narration of this process is omitted from the main development of the essay; however its impact is present and significant.
The next step was seeing that the universe and the void are equivalent. At that time I saw the universe as the universe revealed by science, especially physics. However, I saw that to actually show the equivalence of void and universe I would have to interpret void as the complete absence of being and dually the universe as all being over entirety. However, that was not enough and it remained to realize that I should focus on the void and its properties. I further had to see that natural laws have being and that therefore there are no laws in the void. It is this that led to the fundamental principle of metaphysics and ultimately to the universal metaphysics.
Other developments paralleled this. One was the crucial question of where human being fits into the scheme. I experimented with a number of notions: intuition, organism, and others before arriving at experience as not only a good answer to the question of fit but also further empowering the foundation giving it flesh. Thus: there is experience, there is a real world, and these are definite and significant cases of being.
Thus, along the way, I began to see the importance of the system to coherence and, therefore, to its actually being able to say something which could then be criticized for acceptance or rejection and further improvement.
Parallel to experience as the core of significant being, civilization emerged as the vehicle of concerted action by sentient beings. And the concept of tradition as defined here emerged as framed by the metaphysics and as giving it an instrumental character.
Justification of the present sense of metaphysics
The discussion so far has justified the reintroduction of an old sense of metaphysics. It does not attempt or intend to show that other senses have no use or validity and it need and should not. In fact it cannot for the various senses of metaphysics are different symbols and so there is no issue of primacy or privilege (these issues arise particularly when a thinker would appropriate a symbol by appropriating a sign).
But to introduce some particular meaning, old or new, that meaning should not be merely justified logically and epistemologically for these two conditions do not by themselves imply significance. The essay itself will show the significance of the meaning of metaphysics used and for the metaphysics to be developed.
However, some other uses are so different as to have the same sign ‘metaphysics’ but be different symbols (in that even family resemblance is absent).
There are other valid senses of metaphysics. The different meanings may of course be compared and even joined—perhaps as part of a larger enterprise, e.g. philosophy (which, from the tacit default secular worldview has come to have meanings that, though useful, are very and unnecessarily limited.
Note that the statement does not specify to what kind of possibility it refers. This is because the proof below will enable determination of the kind.
The address is that while causality is (may be) very real for most behavior in our cosmos and similar phases of being, to think that the entire universe must behave causally (in the common senses of causality) is in error. That is, if causality were universal (in the common sense) there would be a violation but we have no empirical knowledge of (common) universal causation (and we now have conceptual demonstration that it is impossible).
The conclusion is midway between the skeptical position of Hume (causation is merely the perceived succession of events that have no real connection) and the notion that causation is a very real phenomenon. Events are connected but it is a contingent fact of our cosmos (that its laws are the way they are) and not necessary for the cosmos (and certainly not for the universe). Hume’s point was correct in that causation and law are not logical consequences of data but was incorrect in thinking that only data and logical consequence are pertinent.
Clarifying the statement of the principle: concepts
Of course ‘every state’ is vague just as is the phrase ‘all objects’. This can be cleared up from the theory of meaning (earlier). To talk of—to deal with—states, the concept is necessary. What the proof (so far) suggests is that if I have a concept it can be realized.
Constraints on the concepts
But this is going too far, for the square circle (i.e. the illogical concept) is not realized. So the concepts in question must be logically possible. Must they be physically possible or satisfy some more restrictive possibility? No, for if they must be then that kind of possibility would be a law of the void. But is not logical possibility a law? It is part of the freedom of concept formation that we can conceive impossible concepts (those whose realization is impossible). I can imagine (a) a square circle and (b) that our cosmos is not what it is. That these concepts are not realized is not a law or limit: they are constraints on the freedom of concept formation (which constraints it is sometimes useful to imagine being violated, e.g. in the creation of new scientific and logical hypotheses).
Logic and science
In the first place, these considerations show that the concepts (of states for the fundamental principle) must be logical. In the second place they show that they must satisfy science where it is valid (the cosmos cannot be other than it is). But as we have seen logic and science can be brought under the same umbrella. Logic is universal while science is local. That is a preliminary approximation for we might find that some of our supposed logics are not universal. Similarly, our local sciences may be more than local but, from the fundamental principle, they cannot be universal—if they were universal there would be laws of the void.
Continuum from science to logic
So we revise: there is a continuum from the local to the universal of applicability of conceptual systems (this has been seen earlier in the introduction > topics and themes > logic and science). The more universal we label ‘logical’ the more local are ‘science’. What should we name this?
Logic or science?
I have considered naming it Logic or Universal Science. I would prefer Logic as shorter. I would call it logic with the understanding that it is still under discovery. The name suggests what we have inferred: that there are constraints on our concepts for realism but that there are no limits on the universe (e.g. to its extension, duration, and variety of being).
Further properties of the void
The thoughts above that the only requirements on the real are consistency under logic and science suggest a name: realism. ‘Realism’ is a natural name for reason integrates, in a natural way, two main elements of reason: realism is agreement with what we know conceptually and empirically. What is this agreement? It is that to refer to what is real in the universe the net conceptual system must be consistent according to logical principles and with the requirements of science. To require consistency according to logical principles is to require certain necessities. What are the requirements of consistency with science? If we think that the empirical cosmos is the universe then consistency with science accords science a universal necessity that we have seen it does not have. The universe is far greater than the empirical cosmos therefore while the net conceptual system must agree with what is empirically valid (i.e. in the empirical cosmos) it is free of this empirical restriction outside the empirical cosmos. What is the nature of this freedom? It is taken up in principle in the section on an experiment in thought—a being who perceives all things, and in detail in a number of places, especially the chapter on cosmology.
Let us flesh out realism.
Given a state of being, its form is consistent with predictability. However, the universal metaphysics requires this consistence for some realizations of that state but openness—that successive states are not at all determined—for other realizations. This defines ABSOLUTE INDETERMINISM: given a state, successive states cannot be predicted (in general). On the other hand given a state, all states may and will follow. That is, absolute indeterminism is also an atemporal kind of ABSOLUTE DETERMINISM.
The aim of the section is to find relations between determinism and regular causality on the one hand and absolute indeterminism on the other.
Although it is not completely determined, the history of our cosmos and our history on earth are causal. Past and present process and choice influences but does not determine the future. Against this, the metaphysics informs us that the universe which is so much more than our cosmos is infinitely open.
Imagine a being who sees (perceives) everything (the uses the idea of such a being to suggest conclusions that are then demonstrated). To know facts the being may but will never need to make inferences. We on the other hand do not know everything as fact. We live in a causal domain; we can, within the realm of causal physical law, infer some facts from others (this can be restated: from particulars and generalities we can derive other particulars; for certainty the derivation would be deductive therefore tautologous). Outside the domain the rest of the universe is somewhat disconnected (by being only in some kind of weak, past, or future causal-type relation). Imagine as a first thought that this is the realm of the logically possible. From realism such phases must obtain within the expanse of the temporal and the atemporal.
Now recall the relation of the concept and object (from discussion of meaning). A far improved thought is to consider the extremes of universality of concept. The all knowing phase corresponds to the universe in a fully realized phase, compact, defined, without further significant possibility (because as fully realized all significant possibility is realized). The partially knowing phase (us etc) corresponds to an open phase, great possibility. It is significant to ask what the relationship is between beings in two different causal phases.
The limitless phases of the universe
This power is of course inherited by domains, states, men and women and gods.
It will be worthwhile repeating the above later.
Two further thoughts. The question of God, Brahman, Aeternitas (the all knowingness of Thomas Aquinas conceived as a single eternal moment) is not whether they are but what they are. And the fact of our being is not that we face eternal nothingness but an eternity of ever freshness in which, if God etc have meaning it is that we are part of that process.
The fundamental principle in terms of realism
The fundamental principle can now be restated in conceptual terms of realism (understood, not as a definite and complete prescription, but as remaining under discovery):
It is important to remember that realism is logic and science understood as follows. Both are experimental. We often take our logics as a priori but if they were truly a priori, i.e. following from nothing, they would be truly arbitrary. For example, some aspects of logic and experience (as very local science) are coded in language and therefore their formation, the result of the evolutionary emergence of language, may be opaque to us. The logic side is what we have found universal; the science side is particular and therefore local. Most importantly, both are under discovery. If our science is local, say to our cosmos, realism (logic as universally constraining and science as no more than locally constraining) then the rest of the universe is wide open subject only to the constraints of logic and the fact that the cosmos is the way it is.
Proof under realism
It follows that the universe is without limit in extension (space), duration, and variety of being (a particular case: the scenario of the all knowing being above is necessary). Thus:
The difficult proofs will emphasize advances in logic and science. Such advance will be (1) the development of logic (for modes of expression) and sciences (of modes of being—the matter, life, and mind of other cosmological systems and the great background from the formlessness of the void and the continuum from the void to the cosmoses) and (2) application of logic and science.
This will not complete the development. Realism implies that for us death is real but not absolute and that we are part of ultimate process (Brahman, the acme of being). While in limited form, however, that process is ever lasting and must occur not only via in-formation (knowledge) but also by formation (becoming). That becoming will not be guided only by knowing but also by immersion and discovery.
The fundamental problem of metaphysics
There is a more direct solution: if the universe is in a non manifest state there are no laws. Non emergence of something would be a law which would violate the condition of non manifestation. Therefore there must be phases of something.
That there must be (phases of) being is resolved. The question of What has being remains. Since it is not only things that have being but also patterns and laws and instances of the satisfaction of laws, resolving the issue of what has being is fundamental to knowing and being in the universe. We have begun to answer this question with the notions of experience and being through realism. An outline of a detailed answer is given in extension of the metaphysics. Cosmology is concerned with the detailed answer—of course it will be possible to given only some details. However, as will be seen a full and detailed account is not as interesting as might seem. What is interesting—an essential aim of being—is being in the process of realization.
Are there any doubts about realism as understood above? Yes but before getting to the important doubt reflect that realism has been set up so as to be consistent with experience of the world and science; it has been set up so as to be logically consistent. Thus the potential criticism that experience etc are violated has already been addressed and shown void.
Of course, realism will violate common sense. It is not adequate to respond ‘so much the worse for common sense’ for it is important for common sense to be important. And it is not adequate to respond that common sense contains much or some nonsense for what we are concerned with is sound common sense. We need some measure of sound common sense if our lives are to avoid neuroses. This is because we cannot or should not be doubting every moment that the immediate world is the way it is. That is because the immediate world has regularities. One of the regularities is the unexpected. So even if we deem only the immediate world important common sense is sometimes going to be wrong; it needs to be occasionally questioned for immediate purposes. And if you think that post-immediate purposes are important then you will of course question common sense in that regard.
But the main criticism of the proof of realism lies in treating the void and / or the non manifest as being real (as existing). It is not a logical doubt: the void does not lack an object due to inconsistency; it is not a physical doubt: the void does not violate physical law (physical law does not apply to it). In fact the concept of the void has a logical object, i.e. absence, but are we justified in thinking of this as a real object? I think so but am not sure. But I think I am more sure of it than I am sure that there will be a tomorrow on earth for that can be doubted on logical as well as physical as well as real grounds (tomorrow is not real). We doubt anything that, even if it violates no principle and even if we have excellent reasons to hold it, is materially significant. But the doubt about the void is not the doubt of material significance for the claim is not a material claim. However, the claim has material consequences of great magnitude (perhaps there is another point of view in which realization of absolutes is not a material consequence but a material given but I do not appeal to that view here). This is the reason for the doubt and its importance.
The doubt is in the first place a real doubt. And in the second place it is reason for scrutiny. The principle of realism is an important principle that should be looked at from every angle imaginable.
What am I going to do with the doubt? It is important that I consider the consequences of realism. If the possible is realized then we are on the way to becoming the absolute. Therefore I do not have to have belief or faith. I recognize that the expected outcome of a life is optimized when some energies are devoted to action under the principle. In fact the existential aspect of the principle is enhanced by doubt for if I am certain of the outcome I might tend to do nothing—to let it happen (even if the principle is certain I would be mistaken in just letting for as we will see, intelligent and committed action is effective and enjoyed action).
Important postscript on realism
While the details of realism, i.e. logic and science and their future development, are wide open as to concept (the concepts of the different systems) and content (what falls under them), their broadest conception fall out of the fundamental concepts of experience, being, universe, natural law, and void.
From realism, i.e. that the universe is the realization of all possibility, the universe confers this power on individuals (the contrary would mean that the universe is not the realization of all possibility). That more than one individual should simultaneously realize the ultimate is not a contradiction because they would coalesce in doing so.
Recall from above “That all possibility is realized implies that DEATH is and must be real (not just empirical) but is not and cannot be ABSOLUTE.”
Beyond personal and cosmological death our future being is realized elsewhere—for example and therefore necessarily on other cosmoses with entirely different physical laws. While we are in limited form, realization never gets further than this sort of thing (as far as the entirety of our being is concerned; we can of course have some incompletely adequate vision of or approach to the ultimate and think it ultimate). Therefore we do not need to and while limited in form we cannot know the geography or physics of those cosmoses. That is, while in limited form our cultural systems framed by the perfect depiction of the universe in its general features by the metaphysics, form a system of realization that need not and cannot be bettered as such (which is not to say that there is no occasion or immediate need for a better physics). Relative to an aim of ultimate realization, the net system (the metaphysics and tradition) are perfect. In this sense the extension of the metaphysics to frame all tradition will also be perfect. This expanded metaphysics may be called a practical metaphysics or, provided we do not do so from confusion, the metaphysics. We will also see examples of the improvement of this picture as follows: it will further turn out that some general features of the geography at a level below that of the purely metaphysical will be capable of perfect depiction.
Now it does not follow that the concern with proper thinking in philosophy, especially of knowledge, and precision in science and technology has been voided. The concern remains valid but it is now not as ideal a concern as it has been under the thought that our science is a handle on the entire universe. It is a practical concern but more. It is one instrument in the achievement of the ideal (ultimate).
The metaphysics is universal in that it implicitly captures the entire universe as the universe of realism. Since the manifest universe can be seen as originating in the void, it is a non relative foundation—i.e. it refers to foundation which does not depend on further foundation. As the realization of all possibility (a) there can be nothing outside the object of the metaphysic and so the metaphysics is ultimate in breadth and (b) it is shown that the universe is ultimate in breadth—i.e., variety, extension, and duration of being.
Some fundamental concepts are listed at a number of places in the essay. Here is a relatively complete list of primary and secondary concepts (the distinction is based, first, on what is more and what is less fundamental and, second, on the uses to which the metaphysics is put in this essay).
Realism is interpreted as a join of logic and science in carefully understood terms—restricted in some ways and extended in others. Tradition refers to what is valid in the cumulative cultural systems of knowledge and practice. Note that the concept of concept is subsumed under experience and meaning.
Theory of objects
The following are conceived (by sentient beings): entity, a process, a relationship, an interaction, a property (e.g. redness), a trope (e.g. an instance of the color red), a state of affairs, a referential sentence generally and specifically a propositional sentence or the complex concept it stands for, a form, a simplex (some parts in the case that there are parts), an abstract (e.g. a simplex), and a complex (any collection of the foregoing or complexes subject of course to disallowing those concepts that entail contradiction or paradox). Therefore they all define objects—i.e., the idea of the object is far more general than the idea of the thing.
If the concept entails a contradiction then there is no object. Otherwise, the fundamental principle implies that there is an object.
There is a contemporary distinction between abstract and concrete objects (similar yet distinct from ancient distinctions between forms and the perceivable things that embody the forms). In modern understanding, concrete objects are perceivable—a result of their being in time and space and causal (causally efficacious). They are the common objects such as chairs and atoms. Abstract objects, e.g. the objects of mathematics, a poem (contrasted to a printed copy of the poem), are called abstract because we do not touch them they do not reside in space and are not causal. They are thought to exist but they do they do not exist in the spatiotemporal universe (one thought is that they are convenient fictions, another is that they are intuitions, another is that they exist in an ideal or Platonic world). That is the modern understanding and its problem is to clarify the nature of the concrete and the abstract (including the place of the abstract) and their difference.
The universal metaphysics eliminates any essential distinction. If a concept is consistent (entails no contradiction) it has an object in the one universe. The number one may be regarded as what is common to all collections of one object, a poem is the poetic content of the written copy (though these specifications are rough, precisely how to make the definitions is not at issue here). Then, in so far as the abstract are not spatial etc it is because what is abstracted omits those features. So there may then be a gradation of objects from concrete to abstract. How? One way would be to consider successive refinements (simplexes); and if the original object is sufficiently fine in its constitution, the successive refinements may form a continuum from the concrete to the abstract.
But what is the difference? The study of number must have begun empirically but it later became more convenient to study number conceptually. Later (perhaps even now with computer search assisting proof) the study of number may become concrete again.
Given that a concrete entity may be seen, e.g. in the physical case of our cosmos, we may ask When we sense the concrete entity are we sensing it as such or are we sensing the constituents and then forming a concept (percept) from the sensa? This would not be to argue that there are no concrete objects but that the meaning of ‘concrete’ is other than the meaning given to it from everyday experience.
Note that and how the fundamental principle and the concept-object theory of meaning are used in arriving at these conclusions. Also note that this explains the modern confusions about the distinction. And finally note that while we could think we have formed a concept of a perfectly abstract object it would reside in the one universe and to have some significance it would be capable of some effect (it could of course reside wholly or partially in a domain temporarily causally isolated from our cosmos).
The theory resolves the seeming essential difference between Platonic forms as very real causes but abstract objects as non causal. The causation of Platonic forms is final. How would this come about? What must give a Form its form cannot generally be random happenstance but the possibility of form, e.g. symmetry of relation among objects constituting an instance. It is important to see that this is not teleologic—i.e. in coming together the objects are not seeking the final form; rather, when they do come together in symmetry, the arrangement is self sustaining: this is what gives the Form its form and the instance its form. Now, in contrast to this case, the said non causality of the modern abstract objects refers to efficient causation—the causal chain over time. However, even though the abstraction omits some or all such aspects, it (may and generally though not universally) selects for Form. I.e., some abstract objects are Platonic forms.
Importance of the theory
It enhances knowledge of the variety of objects and is thus an advance in cosmology (the study of the variety, extension, and duration of being).
Mathematics, logic, and science
We have encountered a unity of logic and science. The truths of logic are at a universal end of the continuum of truths of the world, those of science are local. It is interesting that the divide is a blurred, perhaps a continuum, rather than sharp. The unity is that both are of the world, first as revealed by Quine’s reflections on the origins of logic and science, and second as confirmed by the fundamental principle: if it entails no illogic a concept has an object but apart from the universal which are such because they are constraints on concepts the rest are laws or patterns and so cannot be universal.
Does mathematics have a place in this continuum? If so, where? First think about the nature of mathematics on its own ground. Though it may have beginnings in the concrete (e.g. the natural) and though it may use logic, it is neither: in its post empirical form mathematics is not about concrete objects and it is not logic because each mathematical discipline requires axioms and terms over and above the logical. But given a mathematical system or structure (perhaps suggested empirically and arrived at via intuition) expressed in axioms regarding undefined terms the structure is built up by logical deduction (guided by intuition and requiring guesses at proof fragments) and, frequently, finds application in the world and in the natural sciences. The deductive part is the building up of form (the formal structure) or, rather, seeing it because it inheres in the axiomatic (tautology); and the application is possible because the world / natural science have the form (at least approximately). We may think of mathematical systems as studies of forms. But if the axiomatic foundation is consistent, from the metaphysics the system has and must have an object (or objects) in the one universe: these are the forms as abstracts immanent in the concrete. That is, mathematics is of the world. In this it is like the natural sciences. The difference is the abstraction of the objects. Therefore, where in the natural sciences we study the concrete, in mathematics it has become effective to study aspects of the world expressed in symbolic terms (i.e., the form is understood in intuition but its formal side is captured by the axiomatic system). Consequently, just as physical theory is incomplete, there is no surprise that many mathematical theories about real forms but expressed symbolically are also incomplete captures of those forms (except in simple cases). Mathematical systems are sciences just as are the natural sciences; the difference is in the abstraction of the objects; naturally the empirical data are different in kind (they are various and include intuition, the forms of the concrete sciences; but, largely, the formal criteria of a deductive system are internal); and the fact that the forms are abstracts, i.e. simples in relation the range of the concrete from which the abstract may come, encourages the precision of mathematics but also that there may be limits to on the power and precision with which we capture and wield forms in symbolic terms (that is, from this perspective, the still remarkable theorems of Gödel are not surprising; and that while it not unexpected that there may be limits to human mathematical capability, three things are opened up (a) human mathematical advance by finding new forms, (b) habitation and / or technological construction of new forms as an advance in mathematical capability, and (c) that beings made up of a different physics, probably in another cosmos or perhaps another stage of this one, will have the potential for greater mathematical—and general intellectual—ability).
The nature of mathematics
Let us sum up some conclusions.
Of course we hope for application in the real, concrete, and empirical world but this does not mean mathematics is about that world per se. There is an ideal sense in which mathematics is not empirical. However, as a human activity that does not imply that it shall never return to the empirical root. Still:
The universal metaphysics shows that even as mathematics may have the above ideal sense it is also the study of the real; and that there is no conflict between this point and the ideal conception. That is:
The question of concern then is about the best way to study mathematics and the current answer is that it is primarily achieved by the pure deductive system (with considerable heuristic input from imagination and simulation by hand and or computer). Then, from earlier comment on mathematical systems as sciences of the abstract:
Similar remarks may be made about logic.
If being about the universe is a source of incompleteness of an abstract system, what is the source of its incompleteness as a deductive system? That is, what is the characteristic of an incomplete system? A trivial and obvious answer is that it is only for certain deductive systems that incompleteness proofs go through, so the question now concerns the nature of those systems. To approach this question note that Presburger Arithmetic is simpler than elementary number theory and that the former is decidable and complete while the latter is not; so perhaps it is some kind of complexity that makes number theory undecidable and incomplete. However, with appropriate conditions Alfred Tarski showed the decidability and completeness of elementary algebra (real numbers) in 1951. Since elementary algebra is (at least seemingly) more complex than elementary number theory, Tarksi’s result seems to rule out complexity as the sole criterion for incompleteness and decidability. Note that Tarski required conditions certain conditions of elementary algebra and that the fact of discreteness of the integers seems to make for complexity in the resolution problems that are very simple to state and understand (e.g. Fermat’s last theorem). These considerations suggest the following tentative guess for a criterion in simple terms:
In the foregoing criterion complexity and so on are regarded as tacit in expression and representation.
Metaphor and art
Whether evocation and so on are essentially non referential in some part is an open question but if the answer is affirmative, evoking may be referring as much as referring is evoking.
The theory shows that there are forms but that they are immanent in the world, e.g. as abstract objects immanent in the concrete. But there is no particular reason that an object should not be considered to be its own form except that for a form to be useful it should (a) refer to more than one object (b) refer to the members of a class of objects with common characteristics, and (c) possess such symmetries as to make comprehension of the form within the grasp of a relevant class of sentient, e.g. human, beings. The collection forms that are useful in this sense are a sub collection of all forms, probably a small sub collection. These correspond to the Platonic Forms and include or perhaps are the mathematical forms of a class of sentient beings (e.g., human). We expect that our mathematics is useful to a small set of universal structures but of course allow that this small set may be highly useful (applicable).
Cosmology is the explicit study of detail that is implicit under metaphysics. It includes physical cosmology.
Particular aspects of cosmology such as space and time have additional defining features.
A common twentieth and twenty first century default view of cosmology is modern physical cosmology. However in view of the fundamental principle, our physical cosmology is an extremely special case of general cosmology. Its principles are observation and physical law.
General cosmology is cosmology without restriction.
An aside on supertasks
One interest in alternative physical laws begins with the idea of ‘supertasks’. I cannot add 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8… in a finite amount of time (and I do not have an infinite amount of time; of course we can find the result easily as a limit to be 2 but the interest here is in mechanical addition because there are more complex series for which limits may exist but we may not be able to find them by evaluating a limit; further while we may be able to get arbitrarily close to the limit in a finite amount of time there are situations where we might want the precise result). A task such as computing the above sum mechanically in a finite amount of time is an example of a supertask. Perhaps impossible under our laws of physics, it would be possible under other laws (including the law of no law). Given that some tasks that are impossible on a Newtonian world view are possible in a quantum world there are interesting concerns local to our cosmos (1) tasks possible and feasible on the Newtonian view, (2) tasks possible and feasible on the quantum view, and (3) tasks possible and feasible on likely modifications of the quantum (and relativistic) views.
The series to be summed above is but one kind of task. The range of tasks includes the intellectual and the technological.
On some physical laws I could perform a play myself, moving rapidly between one character and the next spending most of my time as the characters and occupying minimal time in transition (if the time spent being character A is 1/10 of the total time I could emit light bright enough to simulate normal brightness; alternatively I might occupy multiple characters simultaneously; if the different laws might affect a classical audience I might use my power to shield them from untoward effects.
The only principle of general cosmology is the general principle of cosmology—the fundamental principle (of course particular cosmologies may be studied as examples of general cosmology).
No peak is eternal in its concrete form; that would be a law of the void—a violation of the fundamental principle.
A difference between this metaphysical concept and the common idea of God is the idea that the latter has particular interest in us which causes doubt when no help is forthcoming. In the metaphysical conception experience of the universe is a mosaic of pain and joy. This is the meaning of pain; that pain is sometimes unrelieved does not cause doubt about the metaphysical power. Ultimate power is already within us. As understood here, Brahman is not waiting to work for us but our working is already an example of Brahman working.
It was noted earlier that the individual inherits the power of the universe.
Realization of the ultimate is given to the individual but we anticipate that effectiveness and enjoyment are generally enhanced by intelligent commitment.
Space and time
We saw that given our experience of difference there must be space and time. From the fundamental principle there must be difference and so space and time (but the fundamental principle requires that it cannot be universal; and the structure of experience requires or at least suggests that there cannot be another dimension beyond space and time). Similarly there must be cases of discrete, vague, and absence of space and time; and discrete as well as interwoven space-time; and cosmologies with immanent or relative space-time; and cosmologies with absolute space-time set up for them by other domains. For the universe, however, all space-time is immanent.
We saw that there is numerically one universe. However, it is conceivable that there are two or more non interacting domains (they would have no significance to one another). FP implies that there is no eternal non interaction (since interaction is possible). Therefore dynamically there is one universe.
However there is no universal causation (in the common sense). There are domains that do not interact for any given finite length of time.
We saw that from the concept of the universe there can be no first cause. The fundamental principle implies that no first cause is necessary. The manifest universe can be seen as necessarily emerging from a state in which the universe is void; however this is not causal in any sense that is close to the usual sense of cause.
Mind and matter
The terms ‘mind’ and ‘matter’ are used here in a generalized sense.
Experience is the occasion for the term ‘mind’.
We saw that from our being, experience is a given. This shows us the sense (concept) of experience and so of significance. But now, from FP, experience and significance must be (exist; more generally, FP implies that anything that does exist must exist).
We saw that formed experience cannot be formless at base. Therefore in a one substance metaphysics mind and matter must belong to the same root. Matter would be being as being and experience would be being in relationship.
However, the universal metaphysics is not a substance metaphysics at all. The universe is equivalent to the void (and therefore to any state of being). Every state is equivalent to every other state. All manifestation can be seen as coming without cause from the non manifest.
Therefore one form of matter and another form of matter can coexist. Similarly, one form for mind and another. And, similarly, a form mind and a form for matter. Essentially the universe is a no substance universe; but there may be infinitely many as if substances.
However, FP implies that the different as if substances are and cannot be eternally non interacting. And in a cosmology with mind (experience) and matter (form at all) that has effectively (as if) just one substance, mind and matter must be two sides of the root. As stated above matter and mind will be the root itself and the root in relationship, respectively. That we have regarded mind and matter as distinct substances or, more recently, mind as emergent (i.e. code for ‘we do not understand’), is not of the phenomena but of our limited understanding. In a many as if substance situation the minds and matters should all have form (no form implies no form of thought) but these forms may be at least temporarily non interacting. But (a) in that temporary situation every mind-kind will have its own form and therefore as it were substance and as it were cosmos and (b) in eternity the different matters / minds, if they remain manifest, will join at root. And of course it is not known that that is not the present situation.
But there is more. Ask Is not consciousness a mere accident in an alien neutral universe? The secular answer should be If so it is no more an accident than the alien neutral material universe itself! That we would emphasize the accidental nature of consciousness over that of the material is to think that being material is a fundamental property while having awareness is not—which is supported by projection but not by fact. However the universal metaphysics supports the centrality of significance in the universe. By itself it says that much great structure will be significant. However, it does not imply that all or most great structure will be associated with or a product of intelligence.
Nature, spirit and the real
Similarly, in general there can be multiple modes of being.
However, in a one substance cosmos, spirit can be only the result of our ignorance of nature (but ignorance is a natural state; postulating spirit is natural; it is a source of science).
But, the one cosmos substance is an approximation and temporary. If the first source of the idea of spirit is ignorance, that is not the essence of the global or eternal source. The assumption or projection of spirit as necessary because the surface as such is not understood may lead to superstition (in the pejorative sense) or knowledge including science and philosophy. And it is important that sometimes it is not possible to distinguish the path to superstition from the path to knowledge.
The Real is what lies behind. But that is no more than outlined above in discussing general cosmology.
What are the principles of formation of apparently structured and rather stable cosmoses such as ours?
We can see three levels of description of nature. (1) A primarily descriptive level informed but not explained by concepts, (2) An elementary level at which there are structures that have forms of structure and behavior that are described by laws that do not refer to the origins of form (3) A more global level that has forms of behavior that are explanatory, typically via increment and adaptation, of the origin and perhaps form of the elementary level.
In detail under #3, given a primitive or adapted situation, random increments occur over some kind of population because the situation is not one of perfect stability or symmetry. Those outcomes that have sufficient symmetry and stability survive as more than merely transient.
It is important that #3 apparently first arose in formulation of the theory of evolution in biology where it is immensely successful. There are some beginnings of this kind of explanation in physics and there are doubts about it from thinkers who think that the canon of physical thought is already established. But it is the explanation of explanations because it establishes the complex from the simple. Yet from FP it is not essential to existence; on the other hand it seems essential to the nature of order.
At a fundamental level the driver of increment is the fundamental principle. At this level the universe is fundamentally indeterministic (all states are achieved / no states are not). At an adapted level there is residual indeterminism (if perfect symmetry is achieved it would be frozen but for the destabilizing influence of other systems and, ultimately, of the void).
The adapted systems could be generated by the void. However, the mechanism of increment finds pathways of stability so that there is a high frequency of long lived adapted cosmoses. It is reasonable to think that this process is the origin of most structured cosmological systems (since population is proportional to frequency x longevity).
The general picture is that of an indeterministic void background and therefore transients from it. Some stable cosmoses emerge in one indeterminist step but most emerge from the mechanism above which is the mechanism of formation of the cosmoses and their patterns (including laws).
Realization and the significant meaning of pain
Freedom of will
Physical law and the structure of our cosmos
Adaptation is a general principle for stable cosmoses.
Our cosmos has further features that make for life, intelligence, and novelty. Conservation of energy is an apparent necessity for stability (hyper and hypo conservative will be explosive and dead, respectively). The particular laws and physical constants are significant to our form of life: a small variation would make the cosmos sterile. Conditions such as the preponderance of certain elements are also important. This makes understanding life without some sort of supra cosmic adaptation improbable except if there are further principles that make intelligence and life likely. The quantum is one such for (a) it makes for both structure and novelty via indeterminist process arriving at structured states and (b) it operates at a micro level. The theory of the void has similarities to the quantum vacuum.
The content of this section is somewhat tentative and its improvement may come from many sources—especially from reflective interaction with the metaphysics.
From physics we often think of some laws as having universal application. Of course the thought is far from universal but it raises the question of the nature of natural law. We begin with examples.
What would it mean for the field equations of General Relativity to be universal? It would mean that the entire universe behaved according to them. There is no reason to think that that is even probable (even in the empirical cosmos they are probably approximation at best). What would it mean for the Standard Model of particle physics and related quantum mechanics to be universal? One implication would be that that model had existed for all time.
It is difficult to see how our physics of the large and of the small could be necessary. If they are necessary then the options are (a) no universe at all and (b) only a cosmos or cosmoses with those specific laws. It is not clear how there could have been an initial singularity (big-bang) or even gradual beginning because this would be a contradiction: the options do not allow for ‘coming into being—especially of the laws’.
This leads to the following questions. Did the laws come into being? How? And if so can they be universal. The answer that emerges in this essay are (a) no natural law of the types in physics are universal (and that if the metaphysics to emerge is beyond doubt then the variety of such laws is without limit) and (b) the laws themselves do come into being via what is most likely a process self adaptation from a void background in transient interaction with states of minimal form.
Some views of natural law are that they are (i) mere descriptions of observation, (ii) true by convention, (iii) imposed, and (iv) immanent. These in fact are some of the attitudes to law mentioned in A. N. Whitehead’s Science in the Modern World (1925).
The first two interpretations are different in nature than the last two. The first two suggest that the laws are arbitrary in some sense and the last two suggest necessity (if only local and temporal necessity). But there is no essential opposition between the two groups. The laws of course could have necessity while also being our descriptions of the necessities and subject to aspects of convention or even fashion (particles versus waves; not that I am not suggesting even that the particle wave duality is a true one but only that one or other of such paradigms may have greater or lesser influence that results from non scientific factors).
There are streams of thought that emphasize mere description and convention over necessity. It is important to recognize two sources of such trends: (1) skepticism and the critical attitude and (2) conflict among views of different cultures. Regarding skepticism, there are two attitudes I will consider (a) that there are always alternatives to our explanations of fact and (b) that there are no facts. The position that there are no facts is very strange in some ways for it singles out a very special class of fact (data) but ignores that the skeptic him / her self is a ‘fact’. Of course there are alternative explanations but the ones we choose are the ones we choose are the ones that have so far proven (practically if not ideally) most economical conceptually and effective empirically and instrumentally (and provided we limit claims to the empirical realm they do not just agree with fact but reveal pervasive form). A skeptical objection could now be ‘but fact and theory are thoroughly interwoven’, to which the response is, again, the one regarding alternative explanations. Regarding conflicts among different cultures I think it fair to say that every cultural system has degrees of success and degrees of error for, even when we try to eliminate error we are not always successful but some net success is necessary for survival. Given that, I think it also fair to say regarding different views that different cultural systems occupy different niches and so the question of conflict need not arise (but seems to arise only when one cultural system is reductively but inappropriately interpreted in terms of another).
Could the laws be imposed? Taking the universe as a whole, where would this ‘imposition’ come from? Nowhere—of course! That is, the laws can be imposed only by one domain on another.
Could they be immanent? Let us look at Newton’s Laws of motion and gravitation precisely because they are currently (2015) held as approximations. Certainly we do not think there is a God causing the planets to move in arcs described to great precision by the laws. If they are at all imposed then it seems most likely that it was the influence of another domain on the early (or perhaps also the later) epochs of our cosmos. And surely something like this is also true of the replacements for Newton’s theories.
That is, the opposition between imposition and immanence is not a true opposition but one of which epoch of a phase of the universe we are looking at.
From the cosmology so far the greater population of cosmoses in the universe are likely to have laws that are immanent in the sense that they come into being contemporaneously with the things (entities, relations, process…) to which they apply; and that this contemporaneous process is one of increment, not necessarily always small, through stable self-adapted (because near symmetric) states. This must be rather precisely what it means for the laws to be immanent. That is also the richest meaning of saying that the laws have being (but certainly not the only meaning).
Still the cosmology allows for two other possibilities. (1) That for some cosmoses (probably a very small minority) law and object arises in a single step and (2) Another domain is implicated in the origin (also perhaps a minority… and the greater the degree of implication perhaps the smaller the population except perhaps in the case of intelligent intervention; note that the interpretation to be given to the intelligence is that it should be intelligence that has arisen naturally rather than via mystical and / or divine process).
The forms of the concept stand in and contain relationships. It is inevitable (FP) that some of these will be experiential. In the beginning the experiential may be minimal in their intelligence but once their organization gets to a certain level they become able to influence their own evolution (for better and worse which is one of the prices of intelligence).
Two things are happening or beginning to happen. Consciousness such as ours is not emergent relative to the primitive level but a focusing, layering, environmentally receptive, self reflexive etc of it (and it is thus that whereas primitive experience is not biologically adaptive it is its higher level that is for the higher level is simultaneously intelligent, feeling, and higher conscious).
The other happening is that of the two better or worse cases above there are pathways of better. The highest reaches of form are anticipated to be those of intelligence. It is where feeling, intelligence, and civilization—not always in the same combination—take over the form of a phase of the universe. Where one culture emphasizes the internal (experience), another emphasizes the external—knowledge of the world and technology; in Civilization both may be present and mutually enhancing. We asked of the meaning of Brahman. Here is one such meaning and we are powerfully aware of it; and it will be instrumental if not in this life, then in another; but it is not instrumental for or to us: we are the instrument.
But even if only in some cosmoses there is significant feeling, what is its source? Or must it be without explanation? Answer: the void is without limit to its power; it is source and memory reserve for consciousness across individual cosmological death.
The facts of life in our cosmos suggest that for intelligence and life there must be a micro structure that supports complexity and inheritance.
Our civilization is the web of human communities across time and continents. Universal Civilization is the matrix of civilizations, human and other, across the universe.
Civilization and the individual are complementary modes of process.
The adapted systems, we have seen, are (probably) the most populous; and, from near symmetry it is reasonable to think of them as embodiments of form (as conceived earlier in form). We now see why these should form a small sub collection of all forms: they are the forms possessed of high symmetry, for which a cosmos that has the forms is likely to have sentient (e.g. human) form of sufficient symmetry (intelligence) to be capable of mathematics for (some, perhaps many) of the forms of the local cosmos.
Sufficiently formed domains
Earlier we remarked that our cosmos is close to being a (an as if) substance cosmos. Consequently elementary experience is present at the root with matter: matter is being as such, mind is being in relationship.
Readers may of course react ‘but surely atoms do not feel or think’. The response is of course they do not have feelings and thoughts such as humans do but that there is in common to atoms and human feeling and thought a common primitive kind without which, at least in a substance cosmos or ontology, the only kinds of feeling or thought would be the as if kinds.
However according to the fundamental principle, the thought of a substance cosmos is an idealization.
We saw that in general there can be infinitely many as if substances but that they must ultimately meet at the root.
A sufficiently formed domain is an idealization in which substance like behavior is the essential mode. However, such behavior will also occur at the universal level in the emergence of significance.
Other examples occur: having discernible laws of physics, having one signal speed, participation in the greater form of the domain (just as we so far infinitesimally participate in the form of our cosmos).
The universal metaphysics implies this behavior at the level of the universe. It will of course be a peak behavior; concretely it may seem constant but it will not be eternal (the only eternities will be in the abstract).
It is important that for every peak of magnitude H, there will be peaks perceived in significance of magnitude S, as well as peaks constructed of / by and so also perceived by significant forms of peak-magnitude C, such that C and S are both greater than H. That is:
Functions of doubt
Critical, radical, philosophical—concerning uncertainty that may be removed: to provide certainty (as is possible), to clarify.
Existential and essential—doubt that is not removed but due only to uncertainty, not absurdity: to provide principles of action, depending on estimate of probability and maximizing outcomes.
Attitude in face of doubt
Principles of action: maximizing outcome.
Action with confidence in face of existential doubt, pain, and joy; thinking with critical doubt.
Doubt and its functions
Here, two kinds of DOUBT recognized as natural—critical and existential.
Critical, radical, and philosophical doubt
An example of CRITICAL doubt concerns experience. Doubt that there is experience leads to establishment that there is experience. However, the establishment is more a recognition of the meaning and given character of experience than a proof in a traditional sense. A second doubt is the doubt that experience has objects; this leads to seeing that there is a real world which is the object of experience and contains experience. Thus critical doubt establishes and clarifies.
Essential or existential doubt
The essay has a single but important case of EXISTENTIAL doubt—it is a single doubt with many facets. The doubt concerns existence of the void. Given a sub domain of the universe, clearly its complement exists except perhaps in the case that the domain is the universe itself. The development bypasses this doubt by beginning the proof of the fundamental principle with the phrase ‘If the universe were in a void state’. However, the conclusion is so momentous that I have not satisfied myself that all doubt is removed (it is crucial to recognize that the existence of the void and the fundamental principle violate no principle of reason whether rational or empirical). There are alternate proofs, some rational and some heuristic and yet, still, I find myself unable to claim that all doubt has been removed. It is difficult to be sure whether the doubt is rational or psychological; yet to assert this uncertainty is to entertain rational doubt.
This existential doubt is not negative. The fundamental principle implies realization of the ultimate but does not tell us when or how that will happen; and it assures us that we will experience both JOY and PAIN (and suffering)—the negative and the positive—on the way (and this is one source of meaning to pain; and though it is possible for pain to far exceed joy and all bound, it is likely in stable life forms in stable cosmologies that pain should not far exceed pleasure and here the meaning of pain is enhanced as it aids survival; and the meaning of apparently pointless pain is that as an efficient survival mechanism it cannot be so precise an adaptation that it occurs only to ensure survival—rather, its effectiveness depends on a balance between being sufficiently particular and sufficiently generic). The effect the existential doubt concerning the void is to add sharpness to the quality of the existential concerns relating to the fundamental principle.
Where the fundamental principle implies the ultimate nature of the trans-secular, ordinary sense from, say the history of science, suggests the vastness of the trans-secular region; and modern science, especially quantum theory, already suggests its accessibility and negotiability for currently limited forms (e.g. human being).
Human beings are of course in some real and good sense morally free to conduct their lives as they see good. How is this conditioned by the universal metaphysics? The metaphysics entails significance of the entire universe—the immediate and the seemingly remote ultimate. Individuals are free to select their focus but the metaphysics suggests the ultimate value of a dual focus on the immediate and the ultimate. The value of the ultimate is so great that we are beholden to dedicate some resources to it (a formulation in terms of optimizing expected outcome is possible and may be instructive). In this regard:
The elements below follow from reflection on the world in light of the metaphysics.
Though it is given that the ultimate will be (is) realized, effectiveness and enjoyment are enhanced by commitment and intelligent application.
However, there is no sure and definite path. There is no final system or nirvana—although there must be bits of nirvana along the way. Being is a mosaic of joy and pain. Empirically, it seems improbable that the ultimate will be materially realized in this life; and empirically death seems absolute. However death is real but not absolute. It would then seem that realization of the ultimate in this life, though possible, is improbable (this of course is uncertain for probabilities can only be estimated when something definite is known of the space of possibilities).
So there are two important concerns. (1) How we behave in this life, our attitudes and behavior toward the immediate and the ultimate affects the quality of our own lives. Perhaps an individual’s contribution is small but the sum of contributions is not. (2) Similarly this life is a contribution to the ultimate. We are realizations of dispositions (even the empiricist will recognize that our existence shows that the universe has a property that enables life) and behavior and attitude in this life contributes to the total dispositional character and future of the universe. Perhaps the individual’s contribution is infinitesimal but now to arrive at the total contribution we sum over Civilization across the universe. From this perspective not just the individual but humankind, collectively and in communication, may contribute.
Therefore the way cannot be a given system to be followed by all. It must be an enunciation of principles (a) such that the principles are self referential in a self enhancing way and (b) supplemented with a flexible and adaptable framework for thought, attitude, and behavior.
From the metaphysics. Individual and universal identity are the same; both are processes with the individual approaching the ultimate; in the atemporal perspective they are one timeless ultimate. This vision of some ways is shown and made full by the universal metaphysics.
The aim is explained as follows. That we shall realize the highest forms is given (even though we do not know the object of highest form). However, while in limited form the approach and retreat are eternal process. What we have seen so far leads us to expect that enjoyment and effectiveness are enhanced by intelligent commitment (direction, feeling, and care) of which knowing is a prerequisite.
The way of being
UNIVERSAL REALISM is another name for The way of being.
The MEANING OF LIFE is necessarily that of being in the way of being
Though external inspiration is significant, an ultimate resource in the way from dark to light must be within each individual.
Divisions of charismatic inspiration versus the authority of Patriarchalism; authority versus process, leader and follower, guru and pupil are temporally but not ultimately real.
Traditional sources—ways and catalysts—are elaborated below under elements of process.
These follow from the origin of this work, the nature of human process (as part of a universal-general and an adaptive-stable and sentient cosmology).
The elements that follow are given without explanation or apology as to, e.g., cultural dependence for they are not intended as absolute or fixed. There is of course the universal framework as well as the attempt to give universal context.
In stating and elaborating the elements it is useful to recall that entity, process (and relationship, interaction, mechanics—and more, e.g. universal and trope) are aspects of being.
The nature of identity, space, and time.
Dimensions and places
Nature is the ground of being and a source of inspiration.
Thinking in terms that predate modern science, direct experience of nature is superficial in the sense that there is clearly more than what we see (nature has form is what we see but we do not see how forms come about or perpetuate); this is one source of the idea of an inner power or spirit. Myth arises in creating stories about what lies beyond direct vision; and sometimes myth may be functional in ways not intended. Modern science shares some elements with myth but where myth is adaptively correcting, science has evolved ways of self-correction regarding representation (but may be globally sub-adaptive). Thus the atomic theory of science may be the scientific response to the primal occasion for spirit (quantum theory might be the ‘spirit of matter’ and the theories of relativity a response to primal cosmology). Thus it is that living forms and inheritance, which may have been regarded as a manifestation of spirit, are now seen in science as a manifestation at the meso-level (in between micro and macro) of the micro-level.
Nature is primal being and its two primal aspects of being-as-being and being-in-relationship—is primitive to higher forms.
Psyche is the place of be-ing, individual or person, identity, significance, and relationship to the world.
In contrast to some ways, alienation is not central. Psyche reflects the ultimate. Process acknowledges the essential significance of but does not wait for perfection in this life. Perfection is understood as finding balance of process and enjoyment. The process and its aim give meaning to the mosaic of pain and joy. Enjoyment and effectiveness are enhanced by intelligence and commitment; emotion and care.
Psyche is the significant aspect of the higher forms: embodied sentient intelligence (it may be thought that there is such a thing as pure not embodied psyche; however, consider that any intelligent psyche must have form and feeling: that form and its support are the body).
Civilization—local and or universal, is the shared endeavor of being.
Its dimensions are culture—disciplines of secular and trans-secular knowledge and practice; the material and artifactual—economics and technology; and political or group process.
For vibrant realism, every individual and culture is an occasion for renewal in the way (with inspiration in the learning of the past).
Care is essential to the forward motion of civilization and being.
Technology, mentioned specifically below, the disciplines, and the being of civilization are instruments on the way to universal Being and Civilization.
Civilization begins with groups, community and community enterprise. I see civilization as group endeavor at the highest level (and avoid pejorative connotations). Thus some features of civilization are (1) The highest level of group endeavor—civilization is the web of communities across time and continents; and:
Civilization is the matrix of civilizations across and populating the universe; (2) Civilization nurtures the individual and the individual fosters civilization; and (3) Thus far, civilization is not consciously intelligent in itself but part of its functioning is to multiply intelligence.
Artifact and technology
Artifact and technology are the instrumental or extrinsic aspects of psyche and civilization.
The inner aspect is control and flow of self, the outer of the real world.
The ultimate in the immediate
The previous dimensions were regarded above as instruments in seeking the ultimate (and the means are also aspects of process below).
Here, we seek the join: the ultimate in the immediate.
We seek pure being. It is self as mirroring the ultimate.
In the ‘dimensions’ and their process we seek the ultimate. It is a process beginning in the immediate and aims at the ultimate.
That we aim and seek is essential but when this becomes exclusive may become a block to appreciation of the ultimate in the immediate.
There is a range of approaches to the ultimate in the immediate—meditation, knowledge, service, devotion (which are in fact the yogas of the Gita).
The means are ideas and action.
The means follow from the nature of sentient being—(a) representation and change, i.e. (b) intelligence and form, i.e. (c) ‘mind’ and ‘body’.
The form of the mechanics stated earlier can also be seen as analysis and synthesis of being (just as the process of knowing can be seen as analysis and synthesis of meaning or word-idea-world, i.e. concept-object).
The mechanics is the way of small increment but does not rule out the large step; it is committed and attempts the best use of abilities, especially intelligence, perseverance, and meditative retreat; it must deploy given (human) form but is also committed to transcendence of that form by process and real union with greater / ultimate form.
The mechanics constitute efficient means and may be explained as part of adaptive process versus possible but improbable one step process and improbable sustained unstable states.
This follows from the nature of adaptive process and intelligent being; and from the fact that given any level of structure, there is a significant form created by intelligence that is greater in its level (and of course vice versa but this is not relevant to the point being made except that sometimes intelligence should seek to change the change-worthy, live in the process of the unchanging, and have the wisdom to know the difference).
Reflexive thought and action
Reflexive thought reflects on itself; it is self-conscious and attempts to be self-enhancing and self-correcting. The process can be extended to include action.
Since the universe has no other, all organization is eternal or self-organization resulting from self-organizing (adaptive) process. Reflexivity of thought is an aspect of self-organization in an intelligent phase.
Ways and catalysts
A mechanics has two special elements—ways of living, and particular catalytic activities such as meditation, fasting, and exposure.
The ways and catalysts correspond roughly to a division of change or transformation as: (a) continuous / rational-feeling / attitude versus (b) discrete / risk-chance-consolidation / deep-embodied. The ‘versus’ is conceptual—obviously their efficient occurrence is interactive and parallel.
Disciplines and practices
The tradition offers disciplines or received knowledge and practice. The disciplines are intrinsic (for the being of individual or civilization) and external (for the environment or support).
Culture includes the discipline of disciplines in transition.
Disciplines and practices are the ways and catalysts as inherited from tradition.
Change is either intrinsic or in external circumstances.
The two combine in artifactual being (supported, independent, assistive, and interactive).
The modes refer to the dimensions of change, especially psyche versus civilization and artifact.
In universal process these dimensions are practiced as immersive and objective.
The metaphysics shows the achievability of the goal as objective but not by rational-mental (therefore instrumental or control) means alone.
The dimensions and processes as well as the phases of a life and community lead to the notion of phases of action or emphasis on the way to the ultimate. There are natural progressions in which beginning or completing one phase can be preliminary to beginning another; and in which phases occur naturally or optimally in parallel.
For each phase there are appropriate and variable times and places whose selection is part of process.
Since we begin without full consciousness of our living process it is natural to begin with our propensities. Later, we see more and fill out our process. The process is reflexive. This is reflected in the times frames of the table in universal process.
It is also reflected in the section details of the implementation below
These follow from the elements and dimensions arranged according to the present phase of my process.
Comment. This section to be omitted from the short version.
The ultimate in the present
A time of being in the moment and / as being in relation to the fact of death and its real though relative nature.
Times. For all times but emphasized after substantial achievement of becoming and / or in relation to knowledge of and / or approach of death.
Places and phases. All.
Everyday practice of thought, presence, and action
Times. All times, naturally.
Places. All places.
Phases. All phases.
Ideas are a phase of action but have distinction from external action.
Ideas are essential to external action, i.e. becoming
Selective according to needs of realization. The metaphysics, related, and ancillary material.
Essential to realization (reflexive: nature of knowledge).
Times. Ideas and action are generally interactive. Since my ideas are relatively complete they are now secondary to action. They support action. I may and hope to return to ideas and writing later.
Places. All. Emphases: field—notes, home—essays, sharing, publishing.
Design is part of knowledge but it is convenient to place it apart.
Design and planning for the entire process. Includes phase selection and design.
Times. As for knowing… and as needed in action, below.
Places. Home and in process in the field.
Conceptual background for the phases of becoming
The parts for this section were originally under the sections of becoming below.
Continuous with becoming and sub phases including everyday practice; emphasizes thought and experiment with practices as well as special initiatives (nature… below).
Times. Optional preliminary to action. Ongoing and as needed in interaction with becoming.
Places. Home and in process in the field.
Becoming and action
Times. The ongoing and immediate priority.
Places. Selected for ground, contact with the real, vision (quest), and inspiration.
Emphasis: civilization as such.
Civilization and individual in mutuality. Support and shared endeavor.
Times. In parallel and subsequent to transformation of being and identity.
Places. Cultural, spiritual including primal, intellectual, and political centers.
External means (technology) in interaction with and support to civilization. Support, synthesis with organism, independent.
Times. In parallel and subsequent to civilization.
Places. Centers of philosophy, science including the symbolic, and technology.
Tension between the immediate and the ultimate
There is in the western tradition a set of findings that Aldous Huxley, following Leibniz, called the Perennial Philosophy because they are found in every age and civilization (ref. Eknath Easwaran, The Bhagavad Gita, 1985, Vintage Spiritual Classics Edition, 2000, p. xv): (1) there is an infinite, changeless reality beneath the world of change; (2) this same reality lies at the core of every human personality; (3) the purpose of life is to discover this reality experientially.
Some Eastern traditions find that the ultimate is experienced in this life.
The argument here is that the ultimate-in-this-life, though good, is an approximation to the ultimate (and almost always a small approximation at that). There cannot be an objection to the ultimate-in-this-life as part of this life (in balance with immediate matters). The objections would be and is to any idea that this might constitute the entire journey, either in fact or in concept.
What is revealed here is that the ultimate-in-this life, realization of the Perennial Philosophy, while good, is at most the beginning of a journey—a first step on the way. Further, while there is very much more in the way of real form that is in principle available even in this life, full realization is far more likely in continuation beyond death (the effectiveness of that process is enhanced by realizations in this life) and, especially, that full realization now or later is part of an eternal and partially cyclic process. The journey is never over; but it is never essentially stale; there is always and perennial freshness. The most realized among us remain in and on the way.
Comment. This section will be omitted from the short version.
Right everyday thought, practice, and action for being in the present and the ultimate as one.
I find adapting to circumstance energizing. Presently, rising hours before the sun is adaptation the rhythm of the day—after a time of work there is still an entire day of light, especially in winter.
This routine is for home, in society. It is adaptable to other situations—special events, culture (travel, living) and nature immersion …
This routine is not intended as rigid. The order is alterable, elements may be combined, and details may be collapsed. This may be done on a small scale in response to daily need or on a larger scale for the variety of contexts.
Table for being and becoming
Template for the phases of realization
The website http://www.horizons-2000.org has general resources. For resources specific to this document see some resources, the realizations-resource version (with some details maintained in a detailed plan for study and action). Extensive resources are listed in the 2014 document Journey in Being-detail and the not-so-recent (2009) Journey in being-detail.html.
Purpose of the resources
The aim is to provide resources for readers who would enter the knowledge and / or becoming processes of the essay. A reader who would use the text as a system may refer the parts The way of Being through Template. They would adapt this material and supplement Everyday practice of thought, presence, and action and System for ideas, action, and pure being with material of their own choosing, perhaps following some of the suggestions below. However, the first aim of the essay is entry into the process, not system for successful systems which arise in response to the occasions of an era tend to become formulaic. This is the reason for the generic character of the presentation and of these resources.
The main resource for any reader is her or his presence and initiative in the world.
Perhaps I can assist this process by stating my resources. Even as a personal list these resources are very incomplete with regard to breadth and detail. However, I shall repeat that the aim of this resource section is to give readers a beginning in finding their own direction relative to this work.
The purpose of the following selection is to be useful in stating and following a universal aim. There is special focus on the mechanics and the process.
A personal history of ideas
A driving force has been beauty—the dual beauty of the world and of ideas (see a personal account of nature as source, below). Thus, at least implicitly, I have always regarded knowledge and action interactively. I now see that knowledge requires completion by action and that without knowledge (ideas) there is no such thing as action. Knowledge and action require one another.
In the beginning and throughout my process was driven by beauty and the practical and ideal concerns of this world and the ultimate.
The background to this account is my early and ongoing broad interest in ideas and their history. Perhaps breadth is not essential but for me it was immensely useful to my process of understanding and discovery. That process began with a material and evolutionary perspective, saw limitations to that perspective, sought a perspective that did not deny matter and time but that would transcend it, along the way experimented with a variety of idealisms, found the idealisms wanting and not too different from the materialisms. Finally, after much experiment, I arrived at a place where it occurred to me as reasonable that the perspective I sought would be possible if the universe and nothingness were equivalent.
This thought did not come out of a vacuum but there are suggestions of the equivalence in modern physics as well as modern and ancient thought. Nowhere, however, did I find an explicit statement or proof of the idea I sought. The system of this essay arose in some main steps interspersed with study, reflection, criticism, and increment. The entire process was inspired by the notions of the ultimate, civilization and its process, and nature (the latter is described below in nature > a personal account).
The main steps were (1) the experiment with paradigms (materialism etc) and realization that perhaps the universe is equivalent to the void the key to going beyond paradigm, (2) seeing this idea in intuition but failing to prove the equivalence, (3) realizing that the key to proof is to carefully define and look at the properties of the void (it is the null domain, it exists, it contains no natural law) and following up with proof (given in the essay), and (4) developing and elaborating the resulting metaphysics and applying it to a range of concerns—primarily realization, and secondarily but most usefully to a range of problems from the history and current situation in ideas.
Regarding our religions, as for any actual institution, we can see faults and positive aspects. My personal inclination has been to not ignore the multiple faults (they require redress) but to emphasize what is beautiful, what I could learn in relation to the immediate and the ultimate. I have learned (a) the generality that as allegory religion points to the idea of an ultimate where tacit secular thought is closed by self satisfied unseeing (ignorance in a non pejorative sense), and (b) special transformational aspects in or related to the religions such as affirmation, meditation, yoga (the eastern schools), the Beyul of Tibetan Buddhism, the vision quest of Shamanic practice. The theory of meaning has led me to think that religion (the concept) is not the empirical sum of the religions.
The significance of breadth, depth, and time
Depth is significant; it is the experience of being deep and good at one thing and therefore the ability to contribute; but the experience of becoming good—of learning—is useful in itself as building confidence, as learning how to learn, and as complement to breadth.
Breadth is important too; I refer not only to learning but to the range of modes of useful activity. It is not essential to cover the entire range but still knowledge of the range as a whole—a bird’s eye view—is good as familiarity with the world and as ground that provides experience and information for judgment. Breadth of knowledge and experience is useful (a) in providing a toolkit of ideas and experience from which to draw and (b) as informing us of what we do not know—as a guard against that parochialism and insularity that results from being ignorant of our ignorance.
Obviously acquisition of breadth and depth takes time. Balance between learning and achieving is important. Knowledge of what one can achieve is important (one should be open about this because it is not just things like testing but also doing that provides this knowledge). The process is incremental and interactive for acquisition of depth is part of achieving and acquisition of breadth shows us how we might make the balance between learning and achieving. A single formula is not universal but the discussion of this section is not a prescription—even the person who would be a specialist will benefit from exposure beyond career and specialty. I do think that the aims of the way of being of this essay are well met by breadth and depth in combination
Introduction to knowledge resources
The site http://www.horizons-2000.org gives some of my general sources. Here I state some main influences which are the western and eastern traditions of philosophy including metaphysics, trans-secular process, the abstract and concrete sciences, art, literature, technology, and history. The internet has a number of useful general resources such as encyclopedias—see a list of useful links. Also see a system of human knowledge and practice.
The following lists, very partial even as personal sources, are of persons whose writings have taught and inspired me.
Veda Vyasa (date and authenticity unclear), Thales of Miletus (624-525 BC), Parmenides (dates uncertain, born about 530 BC), Plato (424/423 BC-348/347 BC), Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC), Adi Samkara (788-820), Johannes Scotus Eriugena (815-877), Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), René Descartes (1596-1650), Baruch Spinoza, Baruch (1632-1677), Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716), David Hume (1711-1776), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), Hans Vaihinger (1852-1933), Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), Karl Popper (1902-1994), Ernst Mayr (1904-2005), Carl G. Hempel (1905-1997), Kurt Friedrich Gödel (1906-1978), Willard Van Orman Quine (1908-2000), Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001), John Searle (1932-), Richard K. Nelson (1941-), author of Make Prayers to the Raven (1983), Hugh Brody (1943-), author of The Other Side of Eden (2000).
The most influential have been Plato, Samkara, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Popper.
I admire persons but hold that, from history, it is the ideas that are most important. The main use of the ideas may require interpretation but is not interpretation as such—it is to attempt to go and see further. I find that this use is best facilitated by finding what is best in the works which requires appreciation over detraction and evaluation over mere criticism (true criticism is of course identical to true evaluation).
The anthropologists Richard Nelson and Hugh Brody have made up for my lack of actual experience with primal cultures in appreciating the beauty and power (and problems) of a primal way of life, especially in the far north of the American Continent. If you have the impression that I admire that way of life you are correct; however, I hope not to judge that versus my present way.
Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Charles Darwin (1809-1882), James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Ernst Mayr (1904-2005), and the creators and developers of quantum mechanics and modern physical cosmology.
Religion stands against the secular assertion that the secular is the only real and the only value. In this religion is absolutely true.
I have found the religions and their leaders, in fact or legend, informative to my thought and inspiring in my life.
Any movement is likely to have negative sides and uses. However, the problem of our or any time is to attempt to understand and negotiate beyond the secular in a way that is best for the time.
I have admired what I have read of the lives many religious persons and leaders and saint like persons, especially Buddha, Jesus, and Gandhi. However, I make no recommendation to the reader except to follow their own path (or non path).
The ways and catalysts
Developed earlier and below.
Developed earlier and below.
Comment. Update at the source.
The mechanics is the way of small increment but does not rule out the large step; it is committed and attempts the best use of abilities, especially intelligence, perseverance, and meditative retreat; it must deploy given (human) form but is also committed to transcendence of that form by process and real union with greater / ultimate form.
There is a tradition of nature as inspiration, especially among primal cultures and the east.
Cumulatively, I have spent roughly two years in designated wilderness areas in the United States and Mexico: times of health, enjoyment, friendship, and occasional risk. My findings are as follows. (1) I discover the truth of the place by immersion. (2) The discovery of new places is wonderful. (3) Repeated return to one place is greater immersion. (4) Going with others is enjoyable. Minimalism and isolation are the greater immersion and inspiration (just as living is inspiration). Immersion is connection to the ultimate and the beginning of incremental transformation. (5) Being in nature is a ground and gateway to the ultimate (just as for primal peoples and civilization). (6) Nature is a place where I have received great inspiration for my thought (but so is my civilization, so are my cultures). Perhaps the two greatest conceptual realizations are #1 in 1999: that the equivalence of the universe and the void would lead to an ultimate true non substance metaphysics (while hiking one afternoon on a trail in the Trinity Mountains of Northwestern California) and #2 in 2002: in the shadows of the same mountains in the cool just before sunrise, that to look at the properties of the void rather than the universe is the key to the equivalence of #1.
Perhaps what readers may derive from this are the inspiration of nature and the selection of his or her own special places. They would discover their personal Beyul as an element in their transformation.
In Tibetan Buddhism, Beyul refers to special places, mythical or real, that are beautiful yet remote and hard to find. The finding is a pilgrimage in which the seeker finds the truth of the place which is also the truth already but hidden in the seeker’s self. A good reference is Ian Baker’s The Heart of the World, 2004. This personal account of Beyul refers to original Tibetan and earlier Western sources.
The process of civilization also offers support as well as mutual search and realization. It offers audiences, institutions, disciplines, and fellowship in endeavor (these have overlap).
The modern world offers an array of institutions—universities, libraries, the internet as information resource and as sharing via blog and publishing, churches, spiritual groups and teachers, publishers.
The institutions provide audiences, teachers, the advantages of institutional setting, and fellowship.
Some groups and institutions focus on other regions and cultures of the world.
Science and sciences (concrete and abstract), philosophy, anthropology, technology, art, religion and religions, yoga of the Gita and other systems, Tantra, and vision quest.
If knowledge, nature, and civilization are considered ground resources the higher resources or vehicle include mind and the universal which, on the metaphysics, are mirrors of each other. Mind is implicit in the resource development section below and other places in the essay but explicit repetition is useful.
Mind is not to be distinguished from emotion or heart or from the body. Psyche and organism might be alternate useful terms. However, the most inclusive term is being.
Study of psyche
Some issues in the study of psyche are: mind and body; the functions (quite different on different accounts even,, say, within western academic psychology); and the function—what is mind and what is its role?
Mind and universe
Taken up in the next topic.
As for mind, this study is implicit elsewhere. Per the universe the essence of mind and universe join in identity.
Mind, knowledge and experience of the universal
In theory as in the discussion under being; experientially as in meditation and other approaches such as the ways and catalysts and the experience of Beyul as bringing out deep characteristics of mind and the universal (though the particulars of our minds are very local, mind itself is the essence of significant being).
Development of metaphysics is study of the universe.
21 Developing Resources 2015
This material is especially intended for the printed manual. The material overlaps earlier material of this chapter but (a) omits much of the resource system I have already used and (b) emphasizes resources I want and or might need, especially for the path ahead.
Material that it repeats from the original version of detailed plan for study and action has been deleted there.
Destiny is that part of the future over which we have reasonable effect. Obviously we do not control ‘everything’—nor do we want to for openness and uncertainty are sources of significant meaning. However, broad engagement, as we have seen is good, and the broad aim is also to find what we may rather than have specific outcomes.
The attitude of this essay is that our process is a mix of arrival, transience, and destiny. We would live in the immediate and the ultimate—each is incomplete without the other—and both are processes.
Since we do not know what will be helpful breadth of knowledge and experience are important; it has been and continues to be a part of this endeavor.
Comment. Knowledge for development. Publication and sharing.
Narrative mode and philosophy
Design and planning
Science and the sciences
Foundations of ethics and value
Ways and catalysts
Artifact and art
Publication and sharing
I am satisfied with the essential content (this document does not contains all developments and applications of the metaphysics so far and no doubt there will be improvement and new considerations). However, improvements in formulation, and details and style are certainly possible. The main change to be made is in what I learn in the years to come.
Write an informal prologue motivating the metaphysics from the point of view of (a) the person who wonders whether there is more than imagined in the secular, trans-secular, and personal views (b) the question of What there is in the universe to motivate the argument regarding realization of all possibility. Note that such a prologue might best be combined with the preface and the introduction.
Writing a final version
The present documents—this one and shorter versions—will be used as a basis of an accessible publication for a wide audience. This will be written during and after transformation of being.
Write a simple and non technical manual. Emphasize motivation and explanation over technicality, proof and rigor.
Issues for reflection
Continue to reflect and write notes.
The big picture—the main ideas and flow.
New TOPICS and THEMES.
Points and arguments to make, clarify, improve and / or shorten. Distinguish between explanation, motivation, and proof. Regarding proof, where there is heuristic argument make sure that the distinction between the heuristic and the formal deduction is clear. Where the argument is informal and / or probable, make this clear.
Uses of single and double quotation marks. The issue of use versus mention.
Breadth and depth of experience and awareness in the secular and trans-secular realms: nature, culture and society (civilization), relationship, psyche, art and artifact, the sacred and the universal.
Table for a system of pure being, ideas, and action
Template for the phases of realization
Following are some resources, primarily knowledge for study and development. Details are in a detailed plan for study and action.
Narrative mode and philosophy
Design and planning
Science and the sciences
Foundations of ethics and value
Ways and catalysts
Artifact and art
Institutions, persons, and places
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