THE WAY OF BEING
Anil Mitra © AUGUST 25, 2015—March 08, 2017
The AIM of The Way is shared discovery and realization of the immediate and universal real for civilizations and individuals.
The Way has roots in my thought and experience, and world CULTURAL PARADIGMS of cosmos, life ways, REASON, and VALUE. SECULARISM, today closely related to NATURALISM, emphasizes experience and reason so far: Often felt complete, secularism is consistent with very different ROBUST other worlds, natural laws, and perhaps even reason. TRANSSECULARISM, metaphysical-rational and religious-emotive, tends to limited realism or mythic literalism. The paradigms deny a potential vast unknown or see it via dogma. Potent but distorted, they move and limit civilization in time.
To overcome the limits, we uncover uncritical universalization of modes of naturalism and criticism and so free imagination from paradigmatic blindness. This reveals and enables proof of deep truth: the Ideas justify METAPHYSICS as knowledge of the real: they prove a radical, visionary, universal metaphysics—envelope of all truth, ultimate in showing the universe to have local but no essential limitation, that shows ideas as essentially incomplete without action, and that is deployed toward a way and practice of realization of the ultimate in The Way. Its perfection is conceived and shown. It critically incorporates and goes beyond the paradigms and their PRIMAL sources. Grounded in experience, it is a mesh of the local and the ultimate. Apparent conflict with experience and paradigm is resolved by attention to meaning. Re-education of intuition, required by the radical metaphysics, requires patience to see the matrix of ideas as a whole.
The essay is ongoing dialog among ideas, action, the real, and our place in it. Its world picture is a matrix of known and new ideas chosen as comprehensive of the real in terms of being, universe, experience, and difference. I provide design essentials for discovery and realization. Blue font text may be omitted at first reading. Resources amplify and consolidate material, and suggest research programs, sources, and resources.
The essay is dedicated to freedom in IMAGINATION, reason and action toward to realization for individuals and the world.
This section explains the narrative flow of The Way.
The ideas flow from general-abstract to particular-concrete. Every stage derives from earlier ones. After a foundation in a critical and complete account of meaning, the ideas begin with Being and universe as given and so neutral to kind and content as to accommodate a range from empty to greatest possible universes. The metaphysics shows the universe as greatest—inclusive of but far greater than our empirical cosmos and natural science. Similarly, a maximally inclusive cosmology moves from abstract to particular while admitting neutral notions of mind and matter. Spacetime, relation, and a dynamics are derived from identity. The final section in the ideas derives a mechanics of realization to be used in The Way.
The way deploys the ideas to set up the aim, attitude, imperative (ethic), and nature of paths—immediate to ultimate. These set up interwoven and adaptable everyday (immediate) and universal (ultimate) process templates. An evaluation of the path so far precedes presentation of the templates.
As relational, truth requires REFERENTIAL MEANING to include a CONCEPT (any mental content) and its OBJECTS (note that while concept-object separation is crucial to analysis, the join is important in intuition). Referential LINGUISTIC MEANING associates signs with concept-objects; pure signs have no intrinsic meaning; structure contributes to compound sign meaning. This concept of meaning is essential to its possibility, clarity, adequacy, and definiteness. It is crucial later in defining Logic; its neglect results in many semantic and logical paradoxes. Online resources supplement this discussion.
The UNIVERSE is the whole world over all DIFFERENCE and its absence. There is exactly one universe.
The use of ‘is’ above, is an example of a need for language that allows but does not force fine to coarse categories.
A BEING (object) is the universe or part of it (not necessarily concrete, causal, spatiotemporal, or connected), ascertained by difference only and finally in knowing. No being is outside the universe—all are in it. A collection of beings is a being.
BEING (capitalized) is the property common to all beings. There is Being. Beings are not Being but have Being—they EXIST. The universe—all Being, all creation—is, itself, neither created nor caused; it lies outside meanings of ‘creation’ and ‘cause’. This beginning and allied ideas found the metaphysics.
The VOID is the null being or absence of Being. It is not clear from this definition whether the void exists.
POWER, the ability to affect, may ascertain Being, absent direct knowledge. Thus even unsubstantial POTENTIAL is later seen to have Being; and NONBEING, as potential of an earlier being to REMANIFEST, has Being. Not all Being is some-thing.
For a being, a STATE is POSSIBLE if the concept of the state, simple or compound, does not violate the CONSTITUTION (difference from other beings) of the being (this is not a reference here to possible worlds metaphysics). ACTUAL states are possible. Possibility is LOGICAL (of logos, word or concept) when the constraint to obtain bars only the impossible—i.e. is inherent only—and is of but is not a limit on the world. REAL possibility, over and above the logical, is marked by constraints inhering in beings. Logical possibility is the most LIBERAL—a state cannot be real but not logical. UNIVERSAL possibility has the universe as the being. Some beings or domains are marked by NATURAL LAWS (e.g., of our cosmos), which, so far as true, are true LIMITS or constraints and define NATURAL (e.g., PHYSICAL) possibility. As PATTERNS, natural laws have Being. We later distinguish SENTIENT vs. NON-SENTIENT possibility.
Let ‘>’, ‘³’, and ‘>>’ be ‘includes’, ‘includes or is the same’, ‘includes far more than’. For a being possibility ³ actuality. The following inclusions for possibility obtain: the logical ³ universal ³ natural ³ physical. We normally expect that the first inclusion is ‘>>’ and all but the last are ‘>’. What actually holds? We now turn attention to this question.
If the universe is non manifest (a void state), there are no laws. Therefore, all logically possible states emerge from that state for the contrary would be a law (this proof is also plausible).
But the void is present with all beings (a being and the void are just the being). So the universe is the realization of all logical possibility, i.e. it is limitless, for the universal actual is identical to logical possibility (this will be further clarified below). This is the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF METAPHYSICS, fundamental principle, or FP. It is the pivotal result of the ideas. This section now explores its metaphysical consequences.
Emergence from the void (a) shows the void to have power and so Being and (b) as explanation, is ultimate foundation. Except that there is one, the number of voids has no significance.
FP is identity of the logically possible and the universal actual. It implies a NORMAL sense in which our cosmos and laws are as in tradition and infinitesimal compared to the logical-universal. The meaning of ‘normal’ includes that, except logical NECESSITY, what we regard as necessary or impossible from regularities of the cosmos, are but locally very PROBABLE or very improbable. I.e., there is local ‘conservation’ but universal violation of normal laws.
Let us explore logic. Known logics exemplify it, at least roughly. In LOGIC, constraints inhere in and only in concepts; seeing facts as constraints among percepts, include facts in logic and, to avoid confusion with logic, rename it LOGIC (capitalized). A law of nature is a fact on some domain; elect this view this over law as universal hypothesis—thus Logic includes science (and tradition). But this seems strange because we see logic as deductive, science as inductive. This resolves in that discovery is inductive for both and inference under both is deductive (sciences and logics remain distinct). Thus Logic disallows only violation of fact and conceptual constraint. Define the UNIVERSAL METAPHYSICS (also called the metaphysics) as what Logic allows (logics, cosmoses, their sciences—ours or other, robust or not, and more). Then FP and the metaphysics are equivalent. Here, then, we find the metaphysics as (1) Identity of universal actuality and Logical possibility, (2) In process, (3) A join of logic and science. In abstract objects the metaphysics is seen to include systems of mathematics as abstract sciences.
The object of the metaphysics, so understood, is the universe—the real. I.e., the metaphysics is a REALISM that obtains in that the real is the object of what Logic permits. Let us flesh out the metaphysics or realism. A PURE part stemming from the notions of beings and possibility, pure metaphysics, shows the limitlessness of the universe; and, since its primitive founding objects are known precisely, it allows perfect faithfulness as its EPISTEMIC criterion. Valid pragmatic traditions including science—as validated cumulative experience—are locally and approximately faithful but this is all that is needed (or possible in so far as our form is limited); it is perfect from the point of view of adequacy and instrumentality in negotiation in and just beyond the normal. The pure and the pragmatic form a joint system: the pure will frame, clarify, extend, and be fleshed by the pragmatic; their criteria are PERFECTLY ADAPTED: each to its ends and both jointly to the metaphysics and The Way.
The POTENCY of the idea of Being so far includes avoiding paradigmatic prejudice. As the pure and the PRAGMATIC, each on its criteria, are perfect, the FOUNDATION is perfect (this reflects an idea—perfection does not pertain to the world as whole). Contrary to a long tradition of post-enlightenment criticism, there is potent metaphysics as knowledge of Being. Its source: perfect CATEGORIES—beings, universe, Being, void, possibility, and pragmatism. This contrasts with the imperfect if useful categories of Kant and Schopenhauer.
It is clear that many significant results follow TRIVIALLY from FP. In what follows we do not give trivial PROOF—even when common paradigms and intuition are or seem violated.
FP resolves issues of the concrete and the abstract. FP: every Logical concept has an object. Consequences: no essential difference between CONCRETE and ABSTRACT objects or beings (abstraction omits concreteness, e.g. cause and space); Being is a being; realisms—Logical, MATHEMATICAL, and SCIENTIFIC—on par: from FP, mathematical systems are abstract sciences of forms which are real (and in Platonic worlds as parts of the one universe); all content—perhaps neither literal nor explicit, e.g. art—that has possible objects has real objects; DEATH, real but not absolute, is reminder that this life is no less significant than the ultimate and so to live well; the ultimate abstract is a RECEPTACLE of DISPOSITION to emerging-merging-reemerging identity of substantial beings; local science as locally valid but otherwise shed like snakeskin in transcending a cosmos; religions as allegorically real and socially significant but premature if taken literally; which suggests THE WAY OF BEING, the aim of wholeness, of real religion, as discovery-realization of immediate-ultimate Being by limited beings using all Elements of Being and agency.
Why is there Being at all? This fundamental question of metaphysics (Heidegger) is resolved. A new, appropriate, fundamental question is: What has Being—to what concepts do there correspond beings? All fundamental questions can be put in this form—identity, below, abstract objects. Even the how of becoming has Being. A prime example of cultural distortion: we argue GOD’s existence but the essential issue is What such ideals can mean!
The most elementary pattern is difference across the universe’s oneness. IDENTITY is sense of SAMENESS of object or person. Difference with and without identity mark TIME (duration) and SPACE (extension), respectively, which would so be the modes of difference; then the universe is Being over all spacetime and its absence and perhaps other modes. Spacetime (difference) is IMMANENT in the world, not absolute, has and is of Being; relations among identities across extension mediate change over duration. Identity is transparent only when local: space-time-identity does not always separate into its components. Where identity is fully absent, so is spacetime. Process, relation, and state have being. An EPOCH is a realm of fact relative to which the rest of the universe is not determined.
The universe is a field of Being and identities (entities, processes, relations—not substances) are its concentrations.
In a first conception EXPERIENCE is subjective awareness in all its forms; related to sentience and consciousness, it is distinct from, e.g., cumulative experience. Introduction after FP avoids SUBSTANCE issues of ad hoc kinds as real and other equivocation. Its not entirely distinct modes are PERCEPTIVE (reception), REFLECTIVE (pure but potential real), and ACTIVE (agent). Seemingly ephemeral, experience is real, has Being; FP implies a fundamental extension et. seq., of experience, above, as interiors of relations—i.e., as essence and coextension of Being. It is an evident principle that experience-experienced (mind-body) should be studied each on its own terms and on mutually informing rather than reductive terms.
The real world is known in and contains experience (solipsism and materialism are but alternate labelings). Experience—pure and engaged—is relationship, place of AGENCY which requires CHOICE (and, so, free will), and SIGNIFICANCE but experience is not all significance; subject-object meet in experience as one.
The ‘universes’ of significance and destiny are fields of experience and agency; and sentient agents (beings) are their concentrations. Assertions and reasoning for sentience follow; those for agency are similar. All peaks of form are accessible to sentient form. We might expect that all actuality >> sentient actuality; but from FP, for any form there is greater sentient form (and vice versa). The field of experience and agency has no limit; it is effectively and essentially the universe.
Only in sentience are there PAIN, SUFFERING and joy and agency; so in and only in sentience are there pain, its sometime temporal non-overcoming, its universal cycles of release and overcoming into JOY (bliss, calm abiding) and dissolution.
The Gita’s fourfold YOGA and MEDITATION-VISION QUEST are identity with the real—present-as-ultimate (in a broad sense practice includes science, reason, philosophy, and their methods). As expansion of awareness, meditation is concurrent to discovery and realization of the real. It may begin with a range of techniques as a good foundation: Shamata—calm abiding, and vipasana—insight; Gates to Buddhist Practice, Chagdud Tulku, and Beyul, nature pilgrimage to evoke true self as told in Ian Baker: The Heart of the World.
The universe has identity. Identity and manifestation have no limits—especially to variety, peak, extension, duration; cycle endlessly—without simple and universal periodicity—in acute, diffuse, and non-manifest phases in relatively remote epochs; universal CAUSATION is at most weak; causal connectivity is at most local (in creation-destruction, time has causal direction); beyond ours, there are cosmoses, natural laws, physical and living forms without end or limit; these occur meshed to a void-transient background; only some occurrences have mechanism; every atom is a cosmos, every cosmos an atom; individuals and civilizations inherit these powers—while in limited form realization is eternal endeavor; LOCAL CIVILIZATIONS (webs of cultures across time and continents) merge with UNIVERSAL CIVILIZATION (capitalized, the matrix of civilizations across the universe) and Being; discovery and realization beyond a cosmos—beyond the normal—is a limitless and eternal journey. What is the identity of self? In overcoming limited form individuals realize the ultimate—BRAHMAN (Upanishad), AETERNITAS (Thomas Aquinas), or PERFECT BUDDHA. But for process even these are local peaks.
General cosmology does not follow a strict substance metaphysics—i.e. one of fixed kinds and no emergence of or interaction among kinds. In monism, experience and Being are coupled through and through; in dualism their interaction is inexplicable. In general cosmology kinds and forms may occur independently but must at times merge, emerge, and export—kinds-forms are not substances and are organic to being. Our cosmos normally approximates monism. The constitution of beings is normal—only normally inviolable (see possibility): beings have no absolute real limits or impossibilities.
If the metaphysics and cosmology read as fantasy—as if entering a strange land—their truth is cast in Logic. Where access is improbable, cosmology of form, next, seeks the probable. Then The Way seeks access to the ultimate (via intelligent commitment that enhances enjoyment and likelihood), transforming it as needed to the probable.
The only universal way of origin of FORM is that of INDETERMINISM for NOVELTY and DETERMINISM for form. Evolution suggests a general incremental mechanism: indeterminist variation, then selection of adaptive states and a rough optimum step size: if larger, the probability of non viable organisms is high; if smaller, larger steps achieve more. From FP, such ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS origin is generic if not universal; details depend on context; it is causal in a general though uncommon sense; it can explain populations in the universe in terms of the product of frequency of origins and longevity or relative stability; it would explain the origin of form, cause, and laws for our cosmos. There may be other mechanisms but from FP, mechanism is not necessary—there are single step origins.
Generally, function and form are in rough proportion; in a SINGULAR EVENT increase in function is far beyond such proportion. FP implies singular events—events at a threshold of function. Some factors are self-reference and micro-organization of macro-function. Such events partially explain origins of life from complex molecules; origins of human and linguistic intelligence; a hypothesized, perhaps imminent, immense leap in and dominance of computational and networking intelligence; and, from FP, conscious intelligence—with our being among its dispositions—as driver and form of peaks of universal being. Singularity may be a norm in origin of essentially new forms and approaches to the universal.
Physical cosmology and its origins
Aim: show conceptual basis from general cosmology for an indeterminate space-time, relational-experiential cosmology.
Origins. Vacuum transients arise in hierarchies of scale from the void. All possible worlds occur; an efficient mechanism is informed by modern cosmology—small near quantum transients combining as large scale near determinate-symmetric-stable hyper-dense state with some near classical behaviors. A DYNAMICS—change in semi-determinate relational identity depends on duration of interaction or ‘force’ across extension, and on inertia to change. Experience as relation is integral to the dynamics. Essential issues: represent semi-determinate identity; whether this entails process indeterminism; account for dual origin of force-inertia. Aim: improve-particularize-quantify. In realms of opaque measure and difficult analysis, e.g. beyond the empirical cosmos, simulation guided by cosmology may show a way: see online resources for DIGITAL MODELS whose principle is LAYERING from the void and random to mechanism.
The ELEMENTS of a Way of Being are primitive basis of a MECHANICS OF THE WAY OF BEING—of realization. From ‘difference’, there arose a tentative IDENTITY-RELATION-PROCESS MECHANICS. The following are tentative.
ELEMENTS OF IDENTITY—DIMENSIONS OF GROWTH: NATURE (physical, biological), CIVILIZATION (individual, society)—often tied to PLACE; PSYCHE (cognition, emotion, integration as personality), and the UNIVERSAL (immediate, ultimate).
ELEMENTS OF RELATION include the natural—FORCE, FIELD, FLOW, CHEMICAL; of civilization and society—COMMUNICATION: BEHAVIORAL, and LINGUISTIC expression; of psyche—EXPERIENCE, INTELLIGENT AND PASSIONATE COMMITMENT; and universal—ONE and MANY. As FORESIGHT, experience and choice mediate identity and process; the mechanics is incremental (see Cosmology of form), and large step: seeing-choosing-risking-acting-consolidating the SIGNIFICANT and ULTIMATE. It is self-examining-referential, ever under discovery, an active part of the metaphysics. It employs-develops The Way, catalysts and ways.
ELEMENTS OF PROCESS include the natural—MOTION, FUNCTION, EVOLUTION; of civilization and society—LOCAL CIVILIZATION or POPULATION and INSTRUMENTAL MEANS: WAYS (revelation-illumination), DISCIPLINES, TECHNOLOGY, ECONOMICS, POLITICS; of psyche—COGNITION (MIND-THOUGHT) and EMOTION (HEART), and ACTION. INTRINSIC MEANS: CATALYSTS (fracture-integration), PRACTICES, IMMERSIVE ECONOMICS and IMMERSIVE POLITICS; and the universal—ULTIMATE and IMMEDIATE, BRAHMAN and ATMAN—UNIVERSAL CIVILIZATION. Universal and local cycles of BECOMING, PEAKING, and DISSOLUTION.
The AIM of The Way is now seen as a universal aim of Being: to know the range of significant Being and realize its highest immediate and ultimate forms for all beings and Civilization.
An ethic for the aim, implicit in the Introduction, is this: given that intelligent commitment enhances realization and enjoyment, what energies should we devote to the aim? The oneness of the universe implies the worth of devoting resources to the aim as ‘duty’ and joy. Quantitative choice, individual and social, may recognize that resource allocation is already integral to our secular and transsecular institutions. ETHICS are driven by ‘heart’, channeled by thought or ‘mind’, and encoded in culture. ‘Rational ethics’ stems from mind and heart—there is no ethics without reason, emotion, and value.
Though we should DOUBT the universal metaphysics, it is consistent internally and with all we can know. Its argument is at least highly plausible—from the proof, and, e.g., that as a form of OCKHAM’S PRINCIPLE it is minimal regarding what is not in the universe (i.e., the ‘strong principle of plenitude’).
We therefore adopt universal metaphysics as an EXISTENTIAL ATTITUDE—valuable in itself and as affording the greatest likely immediate and ultimate outcome of life. Without intuition immersed in attitude, intellect is impotent.
While accepting temporal limits this side of death—while living in this world—we also live in act toward the ultimate.
Being is ever on the path, sometimes consciously, to design and affect DESTINY. Individuals and civilizations peak at stages of ultimate realization; in death and decay they dissolve into and transact with the receptacle of eternal Being. The greatest cultivation of the present occasion of Being is essential: in the singular case, this life as the only life, it is the occasion; in the eternal case, the alternative is as if condemned to eternal death.
Everyday process is a personal, flexible, adaptable routine for living in the immediate as ultimate. Universal process is an adaptable process for living in the immediate for and with openness to the ultimate. An approach is to select from these templates; they are adaptable to a range of situations and phases of life and civilization—and deploy the mechanics. RENEWAL, critical to practice, is reflected in the templates.
It is crucial that the everyday and the universal reflect each other and both reflect the immediate and the ultimate.
The path of Being so far
An evaluation of The Way of Being—the ideas are relatively complete but always under review. The ultimate is given to all Being but normally only felt, seen, or potential in ‘this life’—transformation is ongoing.
This brief template is adaptable to a range of ways and phases of life. It requires complement by a practice (see the index). Dedication and meditation infuse and are practice for life.
Everyday process template
The actions and dimensions of Being in this template are sufficiently complete. The details show a program of my design; here they are illustrative and suggestive.
Universal process template
Resources, essential to discovery and realization, are cultivated by accumulation, imagination, criticism, and excision.
Resource emphases are dimensions of Being, particularly breadth and depth of experience, ideas, knowledge, and practice—all studied reflexively for method, too, has Being.
Topics emphasize breadth and depth and include: metaphysics, philosophy and narrative mode; design and planning; science and sciences, abstract and concrete; ethics; catalysts and ways; civilization; and art and artifact—see Topics for study. Sources include Plato, Adi Samkara (the Vedanta), Descartes, Hume, Kant, Charles Darwin, Karl Popper, Kurt Gödel, and a range thinkers and doers in natural science, cosmology, and religion.
Online—The Way of Being site; A longer version of The Way; The Way: sources and details; Ground of the real; Beyul: Quest for the Real; Civilization; Shared immersion; Cultural economics-politics-ethics; Artifactual Being; Catalysts; Ways; Study topics. Older versions of The Way have sources and glossary. The following have plans Study topics, Modifications. Highlights is an overview. Finally, here is: a digital model of the early universe.
Universal metaphysics as resource. essential problems of metaphysics Resolution of the . Nature, possibility, and development of a full and robust metaphysics. Universal metaphysics as absolute-ultimate framework for knowledge, philosophy, science, mathematics, art, and destiny. It enables a potent attitude to doubt. Perfect DUAL EPISTEMOLOGY for pure-pragmatic metaphysics (imperfect by traditional criteria, the pragmatic, with science, is perfect in its function in the dual scheme). Necessity, power and robustness of Frege’s concept of meaning. The nature of Being; the universe as the greatest possible. Resolution of fundamental problems—Human Identity and Source of Being. Cosmology—transient origin of stable cosmoses from the void. Indeterminism as essential in itself and to equilibrium between form-change and mechanism-chance. Foundation of creative-critical thought and measured freedom of will. The nature of object identity. Implication for the interwoven nature of space-time-matter and dynamics of change. Spacetime is the only measure of difference. Being (void), not substance, as absolute foundation. Nature of matter-mind as being-relation in near substance cosmology; necessary general realization of this; therefore there is no categorial mind-body issue; so mind is organic and from adaptation, intense feeling arises with cognitive freedom. The variety of forms of mind-matter is unlimited but there are no further attributes. The entire rational system of concepts has an object. This entails dual reconceptualization of logic and science. There is no essential distinction between concrete and abstract objects—the abstract are real and in the one universe; there is no other Platonic universe; and insofar as the abstract are acausal, atemporal, and non-spatial, it is because those features omitted in abstraction. The concrete-abstract distinction is not real but lies in the main mode in which they are known. The concrete are empirical; the abstract are known conceptually, in symbolic, often axiomatic terms; and from this greater simplicity, are known with greater definition and certainty. Natural laws have being; the void has no laws. The metaphysics shows and provides an instrument for the highest realization. Treatment of all essential metaphysics begins (began) with the simplest cognition—difference. We then saw measure of difference as spacetime and no more. Modes of being are experience-experienced; no more. Kinds of knowing are concrete-abstract; no more. Modes of instrumentality, perfect and pragmatic and no more, are sufficient to ultimate realization. The realm of the will-be-accessed-by-identity is the limitless infinitesimal to the limitless ultimate; no less.
The index is in the full print edition.