THE WAY OF BEING: RESOURCE VERSION
Anil Mitra, Copyright © December 2014—September 2015
This is the format of material that will not appear in the shortest version.
Though important to the aim, the introduction is not part of the formal development. It is effective to use some such as ‘being’ here while deferring definition.
The aim of the way of being is to know the range of being and to realize its highest immediate and ultimate forms.
Stating the aim is a good way to introduce the narrative. However, the concrete meaning (what is the range, what is ‘highest) will emerge later in the realizations: assessment, process, prospect. It is implicit in the ‘highest’ that the feasible and the immediate good are essential considerations.
Way of being
In the beginning we do not anticipate what the aim entails. We will find that it implies a way of being as:
The use of all dimensions of being in realization of the ultimate in the immediate and the ultimate as such.
In what manner and to what degree is the aim of the way achieved?
Here I consider the origin of and resources for the aim in civilization.
In parallel with the day to day of life, love, adventure, and civilization we sometimes wonder ‘What is it all about?’ Even in the background the thought is a driving force. It is of course the stuff of much thought but I guess that there is no reflection that everyone finds satisfactory. But some people find the possibility of questioning, reflecting on, and living ‘what is it about’ to be wonder-full.
It is hard even to find a foothold on the question. Why? Perhaps because we do not quite have the measure of the world or ourselves. A good place to start is in the here and now—even if we do not have it under control, at least we have it. But that is a beginning and so we wonder what else there is there and what is the significance of it all. If we had a view of the entire universe and our place in it—a worldview—that might be an appropriate measure.
There are two common kinds of worldview. The secular view holds that the real world is the world of experience and science and that what we are and what is good is centered in that world. The view is good as far as it goes and some people find it fully satisfactory but, as we will see, it is far from complete. When we think it essentially complete we do so because we think that the boundless realm of possibility is like what we already know in common experience. Some people are rationally and others existentially dissatisfied with the secular view. Many of these people, however, accept that they simply do not know the measure of the world.
The second kind of view, the trans-secular, holds that there is a realm beyond common experience. These imaginative and fantastic views address our sense of incompleteness but, as worldviews, they tend to contradict one another. And the secular and the trans-secular offer little mutual support (except that secular science offers psychosocial explanations of ‘religious belief’). Still many who hold to trans-secular do so as fact and as measure of the world. Some are prepared to die, others to kill for religion.
Is there another ‘third’ way—a way that is significant; a way does not appeal to a world beyond what an ordinary person experiences but that does not suffer the limits of ‘secular empiricism’, a way that is rational in its reasoning and so also in its self-assessment?
That question can be seen as a ground to The Way of Being. And the beginning ground is supreme simplicity. As used here being marks all existing things. It is so simple that it seems trivial and useless. But it shall be teased into usefulness. The next idea is the universe conceived as all being. Where are ideas, where are values, where is mind, where are stones, where is death and beyond, where is god, where is creation, where are space and time and beyond, and where is our ultimate destiny in this form or another? Whatever among these are real, are in the universe. Thus the universe was not created and creation and space and time are not its measure: they are of it. If there is creation it is in the universe, not of it. Now we come to the ideas of pattern and natural law! Are they made of ideas, are they of matter, are they mere descriptions, mere generalizations from data that have no more purchase than what the date already has? I do not know: but they are of being—they exist—and so they are in and of the universe—of its whole or its parts; or they are not and therefore nothing. Then the void: the void is the absence of being. Whether it exists or not, the laws do not pertain to it and so it must, rather like the quantum vacuum, have power but unlike that vacuum must have power without end. Therefore the universe and the individual inherit this power for otherwise would be a limit on the limitless, a bound on unbounded.
The evolution of these thoughts did not occur from first to last in temporal order; the system itself was the result of thought, error, correction, and thought again. Still they are a ground.
The purpose of the narrative is to express them precisely and develop consequences for ideas and in action. It is to define and realize the aim.
This section explains the aim—i.e. what narrative is about in terms of inheritance human civilization(s) The approach will be talk of and around the aim—its sources, what it means, how we can approach it. The discussion is in the form of a series of questions (Q) and answers (A) and in some cases where details are located in the text. It will, of course, be only a sketch; the narrative is a more complete response.
Here ‘Q’ stands for a question. ‘A’ will designate the answer and, in some cases, the place of a more complete response.
The aim was suggested by experience, imaginative thought, and critical reflection in interaction with primal through current traditions of ideas and practice.
A motive has been wonder and love of beauty in the world—nature, ideas, persons, civilization, the universe. The narrative is one outcome of seeking to cultivate the wonder.
Sharing and contribution
The aim of the realizations and the purpose to the narrative emphasize contribution to and sharing with the present and future of civilization and human being.
The aim was suggested by experience, imaginative thought, and critical reflection in interaction with primal through current traditions of ideas and practice.
A motive has been wonder and love of beauty in the world—nature, ideas, persons, civilization, the universe. The narrative is one outcome of seeking to cultivate the wonder.
Heart, mind and action
Without emotion, our lives are flat; without cognition they have no direction.
Application of ideas is not merely ‘good’: without action ideas would be ever incomplete; and without ideas, there would be no action.
This version is a resource for the compact edition and future thought and publication
A compact edition will be an overview of the essential ideas. A generic path of realization is derived from the ideas and tradition and adapted to a particular situation. Together with the ideas the path provides a manual that can be used as it is and / or as a template to be adapted to a range of individual situations and cultural contexts.
A general source is plan for study and action.
Aim of a compact edition
It is to be in process and therefore does not need to be finalized.
I will return to it from time to time during and after ‘experiments in becoming’.
I will use special styles or other marks for the essentials of the outline.
The form of definition is:
Geometry is the study of spatial form.
The definition above may be read ‘Geometry is defined as the study of spatial form’.
On the other hand,
Geometry is studied axiomatically..
Is an assertion.
Notice that the form ‘is’ of the verb to be is used in two different senses above.
More will be said on this later.
In some versions of this narrative definitions will be marked by small capitals. An example follows:
GEOMETRY is the science of spatial form.
This longer version provides a detailed supplement to the compact edition.
Ideas and action
The means of realization are Ideas (knowing) and Action (realizing); these are not distinct: knowing is a form of acting and there is no action in the world without knowing (which is both instrumental and affective).
An emphasis under the ideas is on the fundamental concepts; however the ideas include all forms of experience or awareness. Ideas include percepts… there is a more inclusive use of concept—concept as mental content—that includes the percept.
Ideas—especially thought, perception, feeling, willing and intending—are essential in negotiation and appreciation of the world; we can think of these divisions as distinct but, though the parts are not identical, their essential function is as a unity. Perception alone is a series of images; thought (higher conception) sees the unity; feeling connects us to self, other, and world; and intending is perception of the needs of action. Relative to the aim, however, the ideas are not an end in themselves. The aim concerns the entire organism—psyche and body—and community, e.g. civilization. The ideas are a part of this process.
The ideas include representation of the world. They provide a map for realization.
The ideas are not merely formal; cognition is infused with emotion: that is, mind-heart is a unity. Feeling does not prove an idea but marks its significance. Thus ideas are substantial.
The term tradition will here refer to what is valid in the collection of ideas and practices of known cultures of living beings from origins to the immediate present. It includes ways of being and knowing and their (encoded) principles and processes.
Tradition includes fact, and science, and principles of reason. The parts of tradition generally have local validity or truth.
Two non-exclusive and major modes of expression are the mythic-holist and the literal-atomic.
A dominant mode of expression in the modern world is the literal and the atomic. In other cultures the (often oral) mode has been the mythic-holist. However the range from literal-atomic to mythic-holist is a continuum. Scratching the surface shows the naïve literal-atomic and the naïve mythic-holist to have elements of one another. Particularization leads from the mythic-holist to the literal-atomic; appropriate permissiveness leads validly from the literal-atomic to the mythic-holist.
Logic and science
Adequately discussed later.
What is a worldview?
A worldview is view of the world—the universe—as a whole. A typical worldview will show the kinds of being and their relations to one another and the whole.
What forms do worldviews take?
The form of a worldview may be iconic, or descriptive as in a descriptive cosmology or myth, or systematic (e.g. scientific or systematic metaphysics and general cosmology). However, a worldview need not be explicit; worldviews may be implicit. Many of us have intuitively held worldviews; however, most commonly held worldviews, except perhaps the most formal, are a mix of the implicit and the explicit. A worldview need not be expansive or go beyond the immediate—an assertion such as ‘there is nothing in fact or need beyond what I know’ is a worldview.
Significance of explicit worldviews
Makes tacit presumptions explicit.
Can be improved and integrated with intuition.
If you as an individual and your culture have an interest in your place in the universe and your distant future (and whether there is one) you will be interested in a realistic worldview. Those thinkers whose domain is or relates to the big picture will be interested in worldviews—if only to reject the possibility of such a view.
If everyone has an at least implicit world view then the question must be: Why should we be interested in explicit worldviews? An explicit view cannot replace intuition and experience. The values to an explicit worldview, then, include (1) an explicit view is a source of insight and wonder, (2) an explicit view can help bring the implicit to light ant complement and correct it, and (3) an explicit view is capable of being subject to critical imagination and so to correction and expansion.
Significance particular to this narrative are:
Inclusive approaches to world views
Metaphysics as knowledge of things in themselves (question of possibility addressed later).
Cosmology as the variety of things and kinds, the nature of space-time-beyond, and their immanence in things as relative location and process.
See system of human knowledge for some elements of a complete system.
Standard views and their deficiencies
Primal—mythic-holist—narrative; nature / spirit and science / myth interwoven
The secular and the trans-secular
The trans-secular does not deny the secular realm and is therefore more inclusive.
Differentiated—literal-atomic vs. metaphor—nature / spirit and science / myth split
1. Secular: everything is nature
2. Trans-secular: acknowledges spirit; may be more inclusive: world as nature and / or spirit
Meaning of nature and spirit
Nature is known by perception. Spirit is what is behind, unseen.
On a ‘one world’ view in which not all is seen, the distinction is one of knowing: reality of the distinction is rather conventional.
Fundamentalism as a deficiency of process
The worldview of the narrative
The worldview of the narrative is (1) demonstrated (2) explicitly ultimate in breadth and (3) implicitly ultimate in breadth—it shows the ultimate nature of the nature and variety of the universe but explicit detail remains to be discovered (for limited forms of being).
Anticipating the importance of ‘being’
As used in the narrative, being is a quality of a concept and potential object (including entities, processes, relationships, and states of being) that distinguishes only whether the concept exists—i.e. whether the concept has its intended object.
It is this almost neutral, apparently trivial character that makes ‘being’ and related concepts powerful.
On worldviews: older notes
The idea of a worldview or cosmology
A worldview is a comprehensive picture, presented in words andor icons, of the universe and the relations of living being to and in it.
An importance of the idea of worldview is that (a) every culture and every individual has at least some implicit worldview (b) the view informs and is informed by the range of thought and behavior within the culture or society and (c) such views are instrumental in past, present, and future enjoyment in and success of the culture (society).
Modes of expression
The modes of expression are literal-atomic and mythic-holist. These form a continuum. Modern culture emphasizes the literal-atomic; primal cultures emphasize the mythic-holist; but each has elements of the other.
Perhaps the mythic-holist came first. But the mythic-holist may use rather atomic language. Therefore in origins, which are hidden from us, it is likely that both modes arose together. The likelihood of this lies in that the intuitive capability of literal-atomism greatly enhances capacity for symbolic and significant meaning but mythic-holism was likely better adapted to primal needs in relation to a ‘capricious’ environment. Later, when humankind emerged from subsistence economies, literal-atomism emerged as an instrument of control over an environment that came to be seen as controllable.
Mythic-holism is frequently oral, tied to a specific environment, adjustable in the face of experience and changing environments, spiritual and natural. It is adapted to adaptation. Mythic-holism does not exclude the fact and use of the literal-atomic for specialized purposes.
Literal-atomism frequently includes the written (today: electronic) as a means of preservation, improvement (e.g. study and research), communication, and transmission. While the literal-atomic may be deficient with regard to the holist aspect of the world, it is well adapted to sciences that emerged under its aegis. There is a tendency to specialization , especially because it is in specialization that precision and accuracy may be captured. However, the role of myth, too, becomes specialized. This leads to the fundamentalist distortion of the very nature of human understanding. The fundamentalism appears even in certain kinds of scientific positivism that argue that science is the only true knowledge. It may be possible that an enhanced conception of science may encompass all knowing (the conception would include process at least) but the kind of positivism in question typically defaults to (a) instrumental knowledge (b) the science of the present era. The issue of the mesh of myth, science, and worldview is taken up in the development.
The Standard Cosmologies
Secular, trans-secular (includes the secular)
The worldview of the narrative
I have long seen that negotiating the world involves local and global understanding and their give and take (many modern systems suppress the give and take and this has led to systems that are as unrealistic as they have been impressive—it has led to the criticism that the grand narrative, usually a derogatory term, should be eschewed in favor of local accounts that emancipate rather than merely inform; this point is taken up subsequently in addressing tension between idea and use).
From 1985 to around 1999 I developed a number of ‘relative’ worldviews (or to resort to rough use of terms defined more precisely later: metaphysics, cosmology). They were relative being based on an unfounded foundation. Around 1992 I began to seek a non-relative foundation (aware that this is commonly regarded as unattainable I did not feel that I would be guaranteed success). I had the intuition that if the understanding of the universe could be founded in the absence of being—the void—that this would enable a non-relative foundation. I was aware of the possible absurdity of ‘equivalence’ of the universe and the void (something from true nothing, e.g. possible violation of conservation laws) but I thought that it is our empirical cosmos that the absurdity could be avoided if I found our cosmos with its regularities to be embedded in a larger world without all of those regularities. What was the largest of such worlds—it would be the universe of the possible. I was unable to find a non relative foundation till in 2002 I had the intuition or insight to look at the properties of the void: in summary of what we find below, the void exists and contains neither being nor natural law. It was this that enabled the proof of the possibilist universe.
This proof is given in the development. A way is found about the doubt that the void exists (the present way was found recently and this moves this doubt from the realm of the essential to that of the critical).
So the view, then, of the narrative is a non relative foundation: the universe is the universe of all possibility. The conclusions are momentous. Though the view itself is not new the proof, the confidence in it, and the consequences drawn here, which are empowered by proof and consequence, are immense. It is important that though the view may seem absurd, the potential absurdities, especially conflict with experience and what is valid in our traditions.
Is this worldview truly non relative? The view is a mesh of a framework (the possibilist universe) and what is valid in experience and tradition. The framework is perfect and non-relative founded knowledge. The framed is ever in process and therefore has no perfect foundation. It is important that the mesh is a mix of the non-relative and the relative (the former frames and enhances the latter, the latter is instrumental regarding the former). However, the framework shows that no such perfection is possible or needed; and, as will be seen, the mesh is perfect-in-realization-of-the-ultimate.
A preliminary discussion of doubt is useful. The discussion is amplified and illustrated in the narrative.
Imagination and doubt
Imagination (concept freedom) essential to ‘seeing’ beyond the known.
Doubt essential to eliminating errors of free conception.
Each improves quality and content of the other.
Still action and risk remain essential; but reason makes action efficient and enjoyable.
Two roles for doubt
Critical—sparks correction, clarity, foundation.
Essential—doubt that, for now, we live with… (a) accepting what is doubted and / or (b) not. Suggested reasonable criteria—degree of reasonableness, significance. I.e., absurdity and paradox always grounds for rejection; certainty grounds to accept. In between, where not certain significance may motivate acceptance for we may judge that the gain outweighs the risk.
Criticism is constructive doubt—it reveals truth: the intent of criticism is to reveal whether the imagined is true or not.
Criticism and imagination interact:
1. Without imagination there is no role for doubt; without doubt, imagination remains primitive.
2. Imagination improves the quality of both imagination and doubt; doubt improves the quality of both imagination and doubt. Both in combination improve each separately and both in combination.
3. Particularly, with both in operation thought (with feeling) becomes codified as reason; process and action become codified as reasoned action (but the codifications cannot be taken as complete except where demonstrated).
Wide ranging cumulative experience and cultural immersion; openness, reflexivity (‘meta-thought’) and judgment; interaction with others; retreat.
Perceptual and symbolic imagination.
The essential sources of imagination (also of criticism) are:
1. Iconic percepts and concepts (the latter includes visual imagination)
2. Symbolic (especially linguistic) concepts (includes free concept formation)
Enhancing imagination and criticism
1. Wide ranging experience (a) general—as some experience of the world as whole (b) work—to be part of and gain some understanding of the process of civilization from the inside.
2. Broad reading and reflection (a) to know what has been done, for immersion in the culture, (b) as sources of imagination and critical method, and (c) supplemented by deep as well as specialized study to be part of advancement and to know what that takes. In relation to philosophy and metaphysics, broad acquaintance with the thought of the past is immensely useful; but philosophers and metaphysicians stand to gain much with acquaintance with science, religion, and the range of the system of human knowledge.
3. Willingness to learn, to criticize, and to be constructive in relation to all cultural paradigms—secular and trans-secular. Therefore to not retreat into the standard carte blanche rejections of religion, or science, or metaphysics, or traditionalism, or progress…
4. Interaction with others, listening (and arguing)…
5. Retreat—e.g., into nature, contemplation and meditation
A supplementary resource division suggests tools for ideas and realization.
The foundation of the ideas—The foundation of the ideas is in the notions of experience and being. The significance of being is its neutrality in relation to kinds (categories, substance) such as mind and matter: the approach from being avoids errors inherent in the kinds. The significance of experience is that it is the place of relationship and the container of what is significant in the life of beings.
The main conclusions in the ideas—The main result is the demonstration of a universal metaphysics which is ultimate (1) as a perfect picture of the universe (the sense of perfect is clarified in the text) and (2) in showing the universe to be ultimate in the sense that it is the realization of all possibility. There are conclusions for the possibility and nature of metaphysics, for the cosmologies of the universe, for the ‘cosmology’ of life and (human) identity, and a range of special conceptual and practical (immediate) topics.
The realizations—One conclusion is that the universe has Identity that is ultimate in its range and power; that this Identity confers its power on human identity; but that the realization of Identity while individual form is limited is an eternal journey of endless variety. Though this is given, intelligent commitment—passionate versus dispassionate as appropriate—makes the process effective and enjoyed. The part on realization develops (1) the idea of realization as a process in immediate-ultimate worlds, (2) approaches to realization (with sources in the universal metaphysics and tradition), and (3) templates that may be adapted to a range of (life) choices and paths.
The narrative as a manual
A précis of the narrative may function as a manual to understanding and realization.
As a manual the document has the form of example and template: it defines a particular path but the layout of the path is general in two ways (1) the foundation in ideas (2) comprehensiveness of the headings. Therefore the path / template may be adapted to other ways. Background for general adaptation and appreciation of pathways is established in the ideas.
The audience will have one or more of the following interests.
The general picture
The general picture of the nature of the universe and the individual as realization of all possibility—as boundless and unboundedly greater than in most standard secular and trans-secular accounts.
The ideas or concepts which include the interest of understanding the universe and knowledge of it: this includes the ‘academic’ interest.
Interest in universal realization.
Scope and originality
It is important that the scope of the document is broad and systematic where possible and appropriate; that it is original and ultimate with regard to depth of foundation, ultimate with regard to breadth or variety and implicit capture of the breadth of the universe, and revealed nature of the universe.
Emphasizes meaning; and formal and intuitive understanding—especially variant and system meaning, and re-education of the intuition
The narrative blends new ideas and perspectives with tradition from ancient times to the present. In understanding the work it will be useful to know that many terms including old ones do and must have new or variant meaning; that the work is a synthesis and so the individual meanings are not independent of the net view; that the net meaning is more than the collection of meanings of terms: it lies also in how the individual meanings combine to form a whole picture; and that re-education of intuitive understanding and forming a whole picture will be as important as the formal understanding and analytic picture.
Here I consider and suggest resolutions to issues that the audience may face.
Originality of the work
The work centers on (a) a system of ideas my work which includes a new understanding of the universe and (b) consequences for the endeavor of (human) being. I say this not as a claim of exceptional originality but because the reader who expects old ideas in new form would be misled.
What may make the understanding of the ideas difficult is not difficulty of the ideas but that while there are some new ideas all the ideas are necessarily touched by a new understanding that is ultimate in ways to be discussed and demonstrated. Therefore, knowledge of established concepts will not suffice to understand the concept meanings in this narrative and, in some cases, it will be unexpected simplicity that is a source of difficulty. Further, the system as a whole has meaning that most readers who have been educated in modern worldviews will not have seen or anticipated.
Ideas and action
The first part of the work is devoted to the ideas just mentioned. However the second part goes beyond ideas. It may be helpful for the reader to recognize the following. I have endeavored to connect the ideas with the action of my own life. To that end I have furthered the implications of the ideas for action. The second part of the work draws out some implications for action. However, what may be unexpected is that the account contains some details of and is incomplete without actual action. The systems from which I have drawn inspiration are various. The necessary enmeshment of ideas and action in life and narrative.
On meanings and intuition
A new understanding requires new meaning. Readers should be aware that the narrative frequently uses well known terms with new meaning. Further the system meaning is greater than the collection of individual meanings. This can be put in another way: the meanings of the individual terms are not merely a matter of definition; rather, understanding occurs when the system is grasped as a whole. This requires that time be allowed for assimilation.
The new understanding was enabled by a new system of ideas. This system challenged my intuition is likely to challenge readers’ intuition. The issue of intuition may be addressed by (a) carefully following the formal development, (b) remembering that the results are proved and are shown to be consistent with what is valid in our experience, traditions, and sciences, and (c) allowing time for assimilation.
Any significant new view, regardless of its intuitive status, must satisfy the following conditions for acceptance: it must be proved, it must be internally consistent, it must be consistent with facts and with older views where they are valid.
The development assures that the conditions are met. These are given and this should address issues of both validity and intuition. It may be worthwhile to point out that whereas the new view shows the large scale universe to be far greater and different from our cosmos, it is consistent with and even requires the existence of cosmoses such as ours.
Intuition and doubt
There is a technical notion of ‘intuition’ as the capabilities of an organism to apprehend the world. Thus, while different cultural systems may be different systems of reality, the intuitive capabilities of our organism may limit the range of the cultures. When we construct a system at the edge of this capability there may be difficult to overcome issues of intuition; and it may be difficult to distinguish these problems of intuition from formal difficulties (quantum theory is an example). Thus the sources of intuitive and formal difficulty may unclear. New systems of understanding should acknowledge such issues and other doubts. The narrative makes this acknowledgement and draws strength from it.
It is useful to note two kinds of doubt. One type of doubt asks questions whose resolution leads to greater clarity and certainty (so far as certainty is warranted). This may be called critical doubt. Another type remains unresolved; this is ‘essential doubt’. It is important to show that any essential doubt that we allow does not render the development absurd or untenable.
Features that address problems of understanding and intuition
Understanding the nature of the work
Valid tradition, ancient to modern, is useful. However, realization will also require initiative and discovery: the work is not a compendium—it goes beyond the standard worldviews of the tradition. The view developed will challenge intuition and understanding; so it is necessary to attend to meanings as defined, to the system of meaning, and to be prepared to reeducate the intuition (here is a readers’ guide). The view is internally consistent and though it may seem to violate cumulative experience and culture, it is in agreement with what is valid in them.
Doubt and its importance
I have raised and addressed numerous doubts. This may facilitate address of readers’ doubts. Doubt is crucial and it is via imagination and doubt that the present view developed. Thus I have no desire to suppress reader doubt or my own doubt (I suspect that some readers however would prefer to not encounter doubt and of course I am subject to the same preference at times but I always come back to a point where doubt is part of the only way forward). My address of doubt, and so whatever security-certainty may be possible, has a further function—it is an empathy with others’ doubts and so perhaps an aid in appropriate resolution of such doubts. In this manner I hope I may be contrasted to Sigmund Freud who sought to suppress publication of uncertainty. I hope I may perhaps be compared to Gottlob Frege who acknowledged the insecurity of the foundation of his famous Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, Vol. I (1893); Vol. II (1903), which, in addition to the positive contribution of the work, helped the twentieth century advance of the foundations of mathematics.
Parallel summary version of the narrative.
There is a summary version of the narrative that is intended to show the structure of the picture as a whole.
One criticism of earlier philosophy that arose in the twentieth century, roughly between the two wars, ‘critical theory’, has as one of its tenets that knowledge—philosophy—is critical, as opposed to traditional, to the extent that it seeks human emancipation, “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them” (Max Horkheimer, Critical Theory, 1982, 244). Of course, any implication that the traditional did not have emancipation as one at least implicit objective is not true. Further, any implication that all theory should be critical andor only critical in the given sense is also far from true. This is in part because emancipation requires at least some understanding, so far is it is possible, of the place of human being in the world and the universe as a whole. The narrative addresses these apparently and only apparently contrary objectives by providing universal and local accounts, by keeping them separate (at least to some extent and for purposes of getting both perspectives right) and connected—embedding-embedded. Being is one of the notions that enhances the neutrality of the connection while experience, understood in its general sense, is (the way of or into) connection-interaction-relationship.
Definitions and systematic development
While many of the terms used here are established terms, they have numerous meanings in the literature, and so are given precise and perhaps novel definitions here. The definitions here were arrived at via a fairly long process in which I tinkered with individual meanings while simultaneously attempting to security the integrity of the system as a whole. Thus it is important that the reader pay attention to the individual as well as the system meanings.
But the narrative allows ‘non systematic’ elements
It is important that the development is not systematic of necessity. I make this point not because it will necessarily be an issue of intuition but because the notion of system may cause unease to some readers (falling under the broad classes that may be labeled ‘analytic philosophy’, ‘continental philosophy’, ‘pragmatic’, and ‘practical’). What system there is arose naturally, was not forced (in fact it was a slow process of seeing that led to seeing system). Where it is useful to import learning from tradition this is done (and is crucial). ‘Ad hoc’ elements such as risk are admitted. This addresses the issue of the ‘grand narrative’ whose point concerns earlier overweening metaphysical and other theoretical developments—developments that sought to impose system on the universe. The present development of system is a natural and, in a manner to be seen, empirical framework. The particular and the local find a place within this framework.
Concepts that are both universal and local
The concepts of being, experience, universe, domain, pattern or natural law, and void, have been chosen to express and facilitate universality. That is, while the terms have connotations that are local in nature, their meaning here is universal and the universality derives from not admitting the local. Allowing other ‘connotations’ to enter while developing the system would strain development and understanding. It is especially important that these concepts derive their universality from their neutral character; therefore they implicitly include the local. The narrative develops a metaphysics based on the universality of the concepts and then admits, via argument, explicit dovetailing with local connotations and concepts.
And concepts that focus on the local and some of its degrees
Later, when developing the cosmological picture, the local-immediate element enters naturally from the way in which being and experience are conceived. Concepts relating to the local-immediate are identity and experience which straddle the universal and the immediate and ‘individual’, range of experience, local cosmology, politics, economics, and immersive knowledge, politics, economics, and action.
Attention to clarity in meaning as an aid to understanding and intuition
Attention to the concept of referential meaning is crucial. This kind of meaning is invariably a concept and the object(s) to which it refers (reference may be empty). Conflation of word, concept, and object in linguistic referential meaning is a source of immense confusion and much paradox and much sophisticated and intelligent—and useful—thought writing has been devoted to working around such problems where a simple clarification in terms of concept-object meaning would suffice. Here, recognition of the distinction of concept and object clears paves the way for clear understanding and development. I am not saying, of course, that mere clarification of meaning is a source of new knowledge (but it is often a way to make explicit what is already implicit). The present conception of referential meaning should be an important part of the reader’s conceptual toolbox. See meaning for more on meaning.
It would be formally satisfying to being with being but instead the development begins with experience. Why?
There is a range of related reasons. The primary ones are (a) that experience as defined here is the first example of being of which we have definite knowledge (we may be unsure of the nature of cognition and emotion and cognition versus emotion but experience as experience will be seen to be beyond doubt) (b) It is in and via experience as defined here that we know of being and its varieties (c) experience is the essential place (in an essential sense to emerge) of our being, our sense of significance, and of our relationship (active and receptive) to the universe and which includes our future on both sides of death and birth (which requires and will be given demonstration). Finally, when we come to being we will be able to approach it with grounding. ‘Being’ should and will be introduced as abstract (for it to have the power that it shall have) but what we encounter will be abstract but not merely abstract.
Thus informally we do begin with being. Why should we begin with being? Being is central to the development in a number of ways. In itself the concept and fact are able to and do receive ‘perfect’ foundation. If we were to begin with some lesser category we would not even begin to get off ground (What is matter? Is matter?). Yet if matter is real, the approach from being may (and will) found it; from being we will not need to presume matter (and the same is true of all lesser categories including mind). Together with other carefully chosen concepts (universe, natural law, void, and realism) it provides a perfect framework of knowledge. Then, the framework provides for establishment that it and the rest of (human) knowledge are perfect in relation to the essential aim established by the framework (the aim is not exclusive and therefore excludes no valid lesser aim). Finally the idea of being is an appropriate conceptual vehicle to frame our being in the world as such and in relation to the aim.
Experience names awareness in all its manners, kinds and forms.
Experience names awareness in all its manners (pure, receptive, active), kinds (cognition, emotion; conception, perception), and forms (quality, quantity, shape…).
‘Experience’ has many uses. This use is more inclusive than a common philosophical use that is similar to this one but limits experience to perception.
Experience as such
While experience has manners, kinds, and forms, a primary interest is in experience as such. The question whether there is experience and whether there are the manners etc are not the same question.
We can doubt whether there is such a thing as emotion. The meaning of ‘there is x’ is that we have a concept for x and know that it corresponds to an object. In a rough way of course there is such a thing as emotion and that the concept is useful. On the other hand in metaphysics we want precision and that is the meaning of the doubt. This is the nature of the present doubt. But is not doubting itself a form of experience? I.e., when we doubt we may doubt that we are doubting but surely the doubt and the doubting of the doubt are experience!
It seems that experience as such is beyond doubt for is not experience our lens on the world?
Doubts about experience
Is there such a thing ‘experience’? Is there anything but experience?
That there is experience is and has been doubted for a range of reasons. Materialists wonder how there can be such a thing in the material world. Behaviorists have argued that experience is subjective or that it is inaccessible to observation and therefore should not be studied (strict behaviorists have concluded that there is no such thing). Philosophers have doubted that there is experience from illusion but also in principle because it is necessary to establish that there is something before it can be claimed to be.
The specialist doubts can be given specific answers. The materialist error occurs when the materialist claims more than that the world is entirely material and further claims that matter excludes mind. The behaviorist errors are that while the content of experience is subjective it does not follow that its existence is subjective; and that it is inaccessible only to certain kinds of observation and therefore to certain kinds of study.
That there is doubt regarding experience and that there is illusion are examples of experience and this answers the first doubt of the philosopher.
But the second doubt of the philosopher is more serious. However, it is a little unfair for one cannot validly say something does not exist without first defining or having a concept of it.
I said above, as definition, that experience is awareness. But this is not a true definition; rather conscious awareness is a synonym for experience.
What then is experience? We can think of a range of rough synonyms (consciousness, awareness, sentient, attentive) and give examples (color of a sunset, fragrance of a rose, feel of a lover’s cheek, and the ‘inner’ awareness of thinking) but synonyms and examples do not a definition make. What is the problem, then, of definition. It is that experience is so fundamental an aspect of mental life that, while it is perhaps reducible to or explainable in material terms, there is no further ‘thing’ in terms of which it can be specified or defined. That is the source of the problem.
But the problem itself is that we expect terms to be either undefined or given in other (verbal) terms. That is the typical case, e.g. for axiomatic systems. However, it does not follow that the typical case is universal.
Let us therefore try to specify what experience is.
It is, over and above what has already been said, that without which we would be as if but not truly present or alive to the world.
What is matter? It is that which we touch or sense. What is experience? It is the sense itself.
There is no further definition of matter although there are descriptions (it has mass etc.) or explanation (it is what satisfies physical law—which is circular).
At a fundamental level on the material side there is matter as that which is sensed and there is experience as the sense itself. Both are fundamental but clearly while matter is immediate, sense is that to which matter is immediate: i.e. sense (experience) is more immediate than immediate (in terms of ‘being’ we are tempted to say it is experience that is being-itself). But we can agree that experience and perhaps matter are so primitive that they need no more definition than to be identified and named (this has been called ostensive definition).
There is experience.
The assertion that there is no experience contains an implied contradiction.
It is important that the meaning of ‘experience’ here is not restricted to the cognitive or the empirical. Perception and conception are important in interaction: perception reveals detail, perhaps error laden, conception helps correct and show patterns; thus conception is crucial to expanding and universal perspectives (from perception to conception there is a continuum that may be subsumed under the more general sense of ‘conception’ as mental content). Neutrality of perspective is important to equanimity and truth; however, willing, feeling, commitment, and action are essential to living and finding new realms for the emergence of truth (‘heart’ and ‘mind’ constitute another integrated and interlaced multi-dimensional continuum).
A second doubt is that experience has no object. Although this doubt may seem practically absurd it has been maintained. The main function of the doubt, it seems, is to clarify the nature of experience and the world.
Experience and the real world
It is clear that some experience is illusory. How then do we know that ‘real’ experience is not illusory? Should we not doubt the ‘reality’ of all experience? A first response is that illusion is experience so that at least the condition of being able talk of experience is that experience is experienced. So the real doubt at issue is that when experience appears to refer to something other than itself, the appearance is not just sometimes illusory but always illusory. That is, the doubt concerns whether there is an ‘external’ or ‘real’ world. That is, there is experience but perhaps there is nothing but experience. This is the solipsist doubt. It sometimes goes like this: I can be sure only of my own mind but how do I know that there is a world and that there are other minds? But the doubt should go further but what is this ‘I’ and what is ‘my mind’? The doubt could go like this: there is experiencing and experience of the experiencing but perhaps the ‘I’, the ‘my’ and the ‘mind’ are just illusory. The fact that there is experience of experience is in fact a first wedge into this doubt. But how do I know there is a real world?
The following are the same true picture: experience is of a real world that contains experience and there is nothing but experience—i.e. all is experience (though they are the same picture the labeling is different: the things I call objects in first picture are something like coherent systems of experience in the second).
Perhaps there is no logical difference between the two pictures but is there a ‘material’ difference? There is but it is not about whether the world is ‘matter’ or ‘mind’. Rather it goes like this. The second picture does not entail but suggests that there is no significance to the different kinds of experience. However there are great differences. Some experiences are under my control, some not. That is part of the concept of the term ‘my’: ‘I’ can sustain a stream of consciousness whose main directions ‘I’ do control, and ‘I’ do control ‘my fingers’ as they type but ‘I’ do not control ‘your fingers’ as you type. In fact just about every word in the previous sentence should have quotes about it, after al are ‘fingers’ fingers? The idea of the quotes in such contexts is to distinguish shades of meaning but if a solipsism denies that there are shades then it might as well drop the quotes. That is, the solipsist picture may be logically coherent but that is the only coherence it seems to have. The ‘material’ picture on the other hand is or can be both logically and practically coherent. That there is a real worlds and that there are other minds and so on is far more coherent than the pure solipsist picture. But is that all there is to the ‘material’ picture? Actually there is one more thing. Although I experience an I and I experience a real world that contains you and him and her and it that is not necessarily the beginning and end of all reality concerning even my simple and mortal experience (i.e. I am not here thinking of ultimate things). Even in the here and now, am I altogether the same identity that I was 20 years ago and am I altogether a different person and identity than you? I would have to say that though these are without question practical truths I cannot be sure that they are perfect metaphysical (i.e. in the sense of beyond all ‘material’ doubt) truths. This does not end discussion of the issue but will not take it up further because my goal, relative to this line of thought, is practical. It is one sort of thing that Ludwig Wittgenstein reflected on in Philosophical Investigations (1953, posthumous publication).
That all is experience has two interpretations over and above that it is one labeling of the world. A reasonable one is that the universe is a field of experience (experience would have to have a more general interpretation than human experience and would have to go down to something like primitive Leibnizian monadic feeling as relationship to the world including other monads from which our high level experience is built up; this is done later). The unreasonable interpretation is that the entire world is my experience. It is rather lacking in meaning because the question then arises: Who am ‘I’ or to whom does ‘my’ in ‘my experience’ refer? But allowing it to be meaningful it is unreasonable because ‘I’ know that ‘I’ do not know German (or huge parts of the range of just human knowledge) but ‘I’ know that ‘someone’ has that knowledge and that that is more than a mere illusion. ‘I’ know that ‘my brain’ does not have that computational / storage capacity; that there is no ‘rest of the universe’ and yet ‘the universe’ has that capacity.
Even pure experience is relationship—internal and / or potential. And there is nothing unusual about experience as potential relationship for it seems that all experience (even omitting such considerations as finite signal speed) occurs ‘after the fact’ (which has been taken as one of the reasons to doubt it but which is at most a reason to question the role of experience)..
The form of experience is that of relationship.
Experience is the place of expression and core of living being. Significance and knowledge are of the world but occur in experience.
The range of experience: a psychology
Necessarily a tentative framework for revision and in process filling out (the problem of premature definition and depth).
On a psychology for the aim.
If we take psychology to be a map of experience there can be no ultimate distinction between metaphysics and psychology. In this sense of ‘psychology’ logic is one of its departments. On the other hand psychology as the study of the aspects of mind such as cognition and emotion and their normal function and biological basis then logic cannot be derived from it.
In this work the goal of psychology is in service of the aim. Since concern is with the ultimate and the immediate, the pertinent range of psychology is broad. However, the first emphasis will be on psychology as relevant to the ultimate. This is primarily because a psychology for the ultimate can and will be given a firm foundation but a psychology for the immediate is much more difficult. The psychologies of different cultures are vastly different and essentially in process (this is of course well known at least in the West which is why there is ongoing academic research in the fundamentals of psychology). A psychology of the immediate, i.e. the intermediate form called human, should be an in process endeavor, especially for the aim.
I will of course use some common terms such as sensation, perception, thought, cognition, feeling, emotion, and will. I will refer to Indian concepts of mind as occasion arises. Especially significant is the insistence in some Indian systems that ‘mind’ and ‘heart’—cognition and emotion—are interwoven and not essentially distinct.
I will also use the terms ‘ideas’ and ‘action’.
The ideas include all aspects of mental processes and states pertinent to knowing and being in the world. They include cognition, emotion, willing, and intending; especially included are value, goal, and their formation and achievement; both established ideas of the history of thought as well as in process ideas are emphasized. Action is not mere physical process but is a ‘doing’ that is informed by and informs ideas; i.e. ‘action’ without the psychological component is not action.
A development that does not take the abbreviated approach from naming
Being is that which is.
Experience is awareness.
There is experience.
Experience is of a real world that contains experience.
This shows the robustness of the concepts of being and experience.
Preliminary on the means of study
Because of the probable interconnection of all fundamental kinds, to know the full nature of any one of them we would have to have a complete science of the universe. However, as far as is known in our culture, our sciences are far from complete.
Therefore we can only talk about the fundamental kinds, including experience itself as a kind, in terms of a complete account of the world in the best terms available to us—i.e., in terms of a complete metaphysics of experience. It is implicit in the term ‘complete metaphysics’ that it should be consistent for otherwise it would not be a metaphysics at all and that it should be capable of expression in encapsulated form (e.g. a fundamental and articulated system) in whose terms the whole follows.
Now we cannot know a priori that such a system is a full and valid representation of the entire universe. But there can be validation of various kinds after the fact. One approach is the scientific approach in which the system is subject to ongoing testing and is regarded as reliable as long as it survives tests of various kinds (comparison with data, with other theories, and internal consistency). For a metaphysics this would be different from what happens in particular sciences: we would be looking at the entire known range of inner and outer experience including the particular sciences. However, that, though satisfying, would be ultimately inadequate. Perhaps we could use the metaphysics with an attempt to frame or find the bounds of the range of experience. This would be useful but subject to the same criticism. Perhaps this is the best we can do and even if it is only the best we have done, it is a potentially useful and illuminating approach.
This sort of thing has been done in modern times by such thinkers as A.N. Whitehead and S. Alexander whose thought draws from the cosmologies of Plato, Locke, Newton, modern science and others. Their metaphysical systems have hardly appreciated because we in the West have been in a philosophical phase that is dominated by the scientific cosmologies. As we have seen, this is a mistake. Philosophy must not have disagreement with what is valid in science and it may benefit from science as inspiration and example but, for the advance of knowledge and understanding, it must and should not be limited or dominated by the scientific cosmologies. The metaphysical system of Whitehead is admirable and far in advance of passing of, as we tend to do, the scientific cosmologies as final metaphysics. I recommend systems such as that of Whitehead.
However, that is not the direction I wish to take.
I talked above of the bounds of the range of experience which since we never entirely get out of experience is also the bound of the knowable universe. But the knowable universe is also the effective universe because something that has and can have no effect on us for all time is as good as not existing (later we will see that there is no such ‘thing’).
The approach I have taken is to seek to find this bound and if successful (which it will be) to use the framework to see if a perfect system can be found.
Now we have certain fundamental ‘data’ (there is experience), certain ways of reason (conformity to experience, science, logic, ‘reason’ and ‘rationality’…), and certain notions of perfection (perfect faithfulness seems to be the dominant notion but if the universe did not allow universal perfect faithfulness it might also require that there be other meanings and standards of perfection as alternatives or as complements to perfect faithfulness). We considered philosophical and other doubt about experience and we saw that we cannot (logically) doubt the fact of experience: the doubt contains an implicit contradiction (this is of course at least in part a re-tracing of that phase of philosophy in which the Cartesian ‘cogito ergo sum’ played a significant role). Perhaps we have not considered adequately what are the ‘fundamental’ data, what are the true ways of reason, what are the adequate and fundamental notion(s) of perfection.
In this section so far I have outlined the approach to be taken. If successful, the approach may yield some advance. At outset we generally do not and perhaps cannot know what the magnitude of the advance may be. But it will be, if there is advance at all, somewhere between small and ultimate. But what is ‘ultimate’? It is in the nature of any comprehensive knowledge system that it should include its own criteria and, as a particular case, its own meaning and specification of the ultimate (as well as ways of reason and measures of perfection). This is the ultimate in Cartesian doubt. But we cannot have such doubt at all unless we construct something to doubt and so also to build.
On the nature of experience
I gave reasons above to consider experience as relationship.
How can we confirm and elaborate upon experience as relationship.
Experience as relationship
When I think of the gap between knower and known I am already idealizing the situation for there is a certain continuity of matter and cause among knower and known.
But I can think as follows. There is experience. The experience is as if of an object. But experience is also as if reflexive—I seem to experience the experience. Now think of the experienced ‘fact’ that my will (as experience) has a boundary: it applies to part of the world (‘my body’) and only indirectly to the rest of the world. It is in the context of these experiences that it is natural that experience finds a locus of what in language we call ‘self’ and, given language, the as if experiencer with language ability comes to associate with the ‘I’.
But the loop above is a complex loop of subjectivity; is there a way out? Whitehead’s way is one. Another is the approach to talk of experience as such which we have found capable of objectivity: there is experience (as such). This, in what follows, is the beginning of a metaphysics.
But can we do more? Yes. I picture the description in concrete terms: a person and the world (which includes the person). The person ‘experiences’ and object—the world itself or a part of it. This is a rough picture but it is adequate for the present argument.
Draw or imagine a boundary around person and object. Whatever experience is (we talk of the ‘thing’ not its definition or concept) the experience of the object lies within the boundary. Now we cannot say that experience is the relationship between the person and the object or the system of relationships within the boundary. But we can say that the experience cannot be other than arising out of the relationship.
But ‘arising out of’ is inaccurate. What we mean and should say is that experience is an aspect of the relationship. It could not be otherwise (even though the picture is rough).
There a number of ways in which the picture can be improved with regard to (modest) precision and (modest) detail.
Elaborating on experience as relationship
The implications are immense. Experience and matter are coeval. But more: matter as say particles is an aspect of experience which is the whole relationship. This is no idealism, it is no materialism: it is realism. The so called on off nature of our consciousness is a result of there being thresholds of some kind: sufficient intensity that, combined with the capacity of self reference, is the occasion for bright experience of experience (self-reference which is sometimes associated with paradox appears as a source of power). Consciousness has been said to be evolutionarily adaptive. What we see, instead, is that experience is fundamental; what is adaptive is its form.
Although experience must include a base of ‘form’ / ‘matter’, a material cosmos may be non experiential. This does not invalidate the arguments above. But whether this is possible and, if so, what would be the destiny of such cosmoses, their relationship to and intermingling with experiential ones seems to be an open question on the basis of reflections so far. Resolutions await a metaphysics (in this narrative, the ‘universal metaphysics’).
More on experience
Experience names awareness in all its manners and forms.
Experience is relationship; it marks significance; it is the place of expression and core of living being.
Experience has being.
The term mind refers to the occasion of experience in all its manners and forms.
To be significant is to have at least some small, vague, or indirect effect in experience.
This is not to say that experience is all that is significant.
The experienced has being—it is the (real or ‘external’) world; the world includes experience; and experience is ‘reflexive’ in that there is experience of experience.
Where are the arguments?
The document template has the arguments that there is experience (also a naming of a fundamental kind), and that there is a real world that contains experience.
Generally, referential meaning—the kind of meaning of primary importance in this development—is a concept (sense) and its object(s) (reference). In linguistic meaning, concepts are associated with symbols and their conventional and depictive combinations (e.g. compound words, sentences); this is important to the effectiveness (and limits) of language in thought and communication.
Two meanings of ‘concept’
One meaning is ‘unit of meaning’ or higher concept.
The more inclusive meaning is that of ‘mental content’.
Referential concept and linguistic meaning
While not all concept or linguistic ‘term’ refer explicitly to some ‘thing’ that is the main interest in this narrative. It is not that there is any meaning that is not of interest but that referential meaning is the means of study, whereas other kinds of meaning are significant as object of study (of course because of their significance in living).
Particularly we are interested in concepts that intend to refer to ‘things’—i.e., entities, process or processes, relationships, qualities and quality-hood, concreta and abstracta, and states of affairs.
An important point about this is that without a concept there is no (effective) object. But that is all that is required for an ‘object’ that has no effect on us at all for entirety and eternity and therefore no effective concept is at least as if it does not exist (it would be in a eternally separate universe forever cut off; later however we will see that there are no eternally separate ‘universes’).
Why is there no object without a concept? Imagine that you are in a forest when I yell ‘tiger’. Imagine also that somehow, as an English speaker, you do not know that word or the related concept (a large dangerous cat with black and yellow stripes). You will look at me with puzzlement. If you are familiar with the concept but do not associate it with the word you will still look at me with puzzlement. If you are familiar with the concept and I say ‘large cat with black and yellow stripes’ it might take a moment to register but once it does, you will probably feel alarm (at least) and fear. This is the meaning of and the reason for ‘no concept no object’.
It also explains the word-concept aspect of linguistic meaning. For this aspect of language to work you must have a vocabulary of terms, each of which is associated with a concept. So now if you do not have the deficit of the previous paragraph, the moment I yell ‘tiger’ you will almost immediately associate it with the concept (a mental picture of a large cat etc) and fear (or perhaps the word itself will evoke fear. This is of course why language is efficient but also one reason that it is ambiguous (in this simple case ‘tiger’ has two associations: large yellow cat etc and fear).
There is of course much more to language even if we limit attention to the referential case. Thus the meaning of ‘A tiger ate him.’ does not follow from the meanings of ‘A’, ‘tiger’, etc; if you know the word meanings you may of course guess the sentence meaning but to know the sentence meaning you will at least have to know that some aspects of reality have ‘subject-predicate form’ and how that form is pictured (Wittgenstein’s term) in sentences (and the specific convention for English which does not allow ‘Ate him a tiger’.) Thus the form of a sentence (and other structures such as phrases and compound words) are also conceptual.
Language, by the way and of course, is efficient not only for direct communication but also for storage and transmission across time and generations; this is the communication function. The other function is representation (word-concept: object) which includes thought as transition from known to unknown representation. Which came first: communication or concept-object? Given that experience is simultaneously relationship (communication) and object (the represented), it is hard to say. But we can hardly doubt that the in the development of language speaking and thinking (and their generalized forms) were intertwined.
Completeness of this conception of meaning
Focus on the object is obviously essential. Without a concept there is no object. Therefore the concept is essential for without it there is no reference and words do not denote anything.
It is in this sense that the present conception of meaning is ‘complete’: it makes meaning possible; it shows lesser notions of meaning to be impossible (except that the present notion is implicit in the explicitly lesser notions).
Crucial significance of this concept of meaning
Without it there can be no meaning at all (it is implicit in ‘day to day’ thought).
Clears confusions due to (a) multiple associations of terms (b) acknowledging that even a single association comes in shades of ‘color’—i.e. a multidimensional continuum. There is a tendency to assume that when we come from the ‘same’ culture we have the same system of meaning—but this is an approximation to the truth. Although the ‘meaning gap’ between cultures, there are various gaps within a culture and these gaps have many dimensions—class, gender, locality, political orientation, education, personality, race and more. In ‘serious’ discussion attention to meaning is critical to the ‘seriousness’. If a person who makes a claim that is open for discussion makes clear his or her meaning, there will often be a net saving in time and a more productive outcome.
Resolves paradoxes that assume an object without a clear concept, e.g. direct association of word or sentence with an object.
Essential to clear development of conceptual systems.
Enables discovery of implicit meaning (which shows why analysis of meaning has been mistaken as a source of knowledge).
But generation (the process) of meaning is generation of knowledge.
Naming and proof
The expedient of naming is as abbreviated definition (concept meaning) of a given in terms of symbol, concept, and object.
Meaning and proof—the naming of the given encapsulates definition of the given and proof of its existence. This aspect of proof is outside the premise-to-given dimension of proof; it identifies and names givens which function as premise; and it is valid only where the concept defines something whose givenness is beyond question. We may question the given in general but there are cases in which we find it, after questioning, to be beyond further question. An example is being: that there is being is beyond question because that there is (verb to be) a question shows that there is being. In such cases proof by observation is just as certain as deduction.
In other words we are talking of situations where soundness is collapsed into definition and observation of the object. Note that a sound argument has been defined as follows: a deductive argument is sound if and only if it is both valid, and all of its premises are actually true—otherwise, a deductive argument is unsound—Validity and Soundness, from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. However, the definition should be: a (deductive) argument is sound if and only if the conclusion is true and the truth follows from the argument (and not by coincidence or two canceling errors etc). Then, the IEP definition actually provides criteria which follow from the definition here and the nature of deductive argument.
More on meaning
The focus is on referential meaning which requires concept and object (the object may be null). In linguistic (referential) meaning, concept and object are associated with a symbol which makes for effectiveness in thought and communication. Word symbols may be iconic or non iconic. Sentences are iconic which is aided by convention (standard form varies according to language).
Proper attention to meaning is essential to clarity and to avoiding paradoxes that arise from assuming that there is reference.
Meaning is crucial
The concept of meaning is crucial but I will nonetheless write it as secondary. I begin with an example. It is important to note that concern here is with referential meaning and not with more general concept or word meaning (a different use of meaning in this narrative will be that of ‘existential or significant meaning’).
Statement of the problem of negative existentials
A reason to begin with this problem is that it occasions careful understanding of meaning (the choice of problem is dictated by this fact and that the problem is significant in itself).
A common problem of being occurs in use of the closely (in fact equivalently) related ‘existence’. Consider ‘Sherlock Holmes’ does not exist. Well, then, to what does the name in quotes refer? This appears paradoxical and is generically known as the problem of negative existentials. Let us provide a resolution of the problem—one that I regard as the essential resolution.
Meaning as word and object is inadequate
A common concept of meaning is that a word is associated with an object (an object is not necessarily a ‘thing’). If I say ‘tiger’ you are likely to think of a striped animal with which you are familiar from pictures or zoos or encounters in India, Indonesia or Siberia. Without the association to a picture—mental andor in books—the word ‘tiger’ conveys nothing.
Referential meaning lies in concept and object (or sense and reference)
Thus, really, meaning lies in the relation between a concept and an object. For efficiency in thought and communication the full concept may be replaced by a partial one (an outline) or associated with a symbol that has no intrinsic similarity to the object—this is what happens in linguistic meaning. This account of meaning has been criticized as not taking into account non-referential meaning such as the expression of pain when I say ‘ouch’. Perhaps however all utterances have some oblique or implicit reference but this is not an issue for the present discussion which I limit to referential meaning since that is what is needed here.
Resolution of problem of negative existentials from the concept-object meaning of meaning
So, now, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ is not merely an empty sign or a mere association but the concept is defined as a man who lives 221 Baker Street and so on as described in the writing of Arthur Conan Doyle. Now, ‘Sherlock Holmes does not exist’ means that there is no actual object corresponding to ‘Sherlock Holmes’. Bertrand Russell said something similar—i.e. that a singular term such as Sherlock Holmes is a disguised or implicit description. Now we know that names are not disguised at all; their meaning comes from association with a picture.
Resolution of the liar paradox from the concept-object meaning of meaning
This is crucial. Consider ‘This sentence is false.’ It is one form of the famous liar paradox. It is true if false, false if true. Consider, instead, ‘This sentence is true’. It is not even seemingly paradoxical: it is true if true, false if false. But which is it? The problem is that it has an implicit reference, its own truth value, which (before the era of Russell) was commonly thought to obtain for all grammatical sentences. But now, this theory of meaning identifies the problem. Not all sentences, even if grammatical, possess truth values. (E.g. ‘It is raining on the non-existent planet Zebron.’ This, incidentally, suggests a well known necessary condition for there to be meaning and to avoid paradox: the universe of discourse must be non-empty for such classic laws as that of the principle of bivalence to be able to hold.) So there is potential paradox even in ‘This sentence is true.’ for it is suggesting the false assertion that it has a truth value. The resolution for the truth teller paradox as well as for the liar paradox is to recognize all reference and to note that there is none. It also follow that it is not self-reference that is the source of paradox but, rather, empty reference.
Referential linguistic meaning
Referential meaning then consists in a concept and its object (many objects can be interpreted as one). In linguistic referential meaning the concept occurs by association with a word. But the association is not fixed and linguistic meaning derives some confusion and much power from this. In using old terms with new meaning, as in this narrative, we avoid confusion by re-definition; and the power comes from the new definition and system of concepts but also, provided we are careful, from old associations.
An exclamation ‘ouch’ does not appear to have an object; but with an expanded meaning of object perhaps an implicit object can be found. The forms of expression other than assertion, e.g. directive, commissive, expressive, and declarative, are not primarily about reference. Declaration, commission, pure expression; perhaps these too can be expressed purely in terms of concept and broad object. This is a small project for study.
This suggests a problem with the style of much modern analytic philosophy: the piece meal analysis. The problem is that when each individual piece or concept of philosophy is analyzed exhaustively on its own the analysis rests on limited meanings of other terms. What is required is often that the entire system of meaning be improved simultaneously—a perhaps daunting task but a necessary one.
A use of the term ‘meaning’ which does not have the present connotation of concept meaning occurs in the phrase ‘the meaning of life’; this kind of meaning may be called significance or significant meaning.
What we may conclude is that without meaning, i.e. concept-object, the notion of object itself is not vague but empty. With meaning, the notion becomes clear. But the object may be approached two ways. First is empirical or perceptual and the concept—which is either the percept itself or generalization from the percept. Second is conceptual in which the concept is stated first, and an object is then found. These two ways are not essentially distinct (but as we will see later, the former is preferentially oriented to ‘concrete’ objects with which we are intuitively familiar and the latter is preferentially oriented to ‘abstract’ objects with which we may not be so intuitively familiar).
It may be thought that we are allowing objects to depend for their existence to be conceived (perception being a special case of conception). The response to this is as follows. As far as our knowledge is concerned, objects are objects-as-known. This, however, does not make them dependent on our knowledge of them. It simply makes it clear what we are talking / thinking about. Further, what it admits is that many objects are objects-as-known for all that this is saying is that the knower contributes to the known. But is this universal? No, for, as we will see, there are immensely significant cases where object-as-known is the object.
Gottlob Frege in his 1892 paper Über Sinn und Bedeutung (On sense and reference) argued, as I did above, that a meaning cannot be the object a word (name) refers to. If my memory is correct, I derived the concept-object / sense-reference notion of meaning from Frege. Of course reflection shows the necessity of this: without ‘sense’ or some kind of referring image, at least an implicit and partial one, there can be no referred to object.
Myself, Ogden and Richards
I later derived the word-concept—object conception of linguistic meaning (in the simple case of linguistic word meaning) as necessary because words alone, i.e. pure symbols without at least implicit iconic content, cannot refer. I later learned that this idea was already present in The Meaning of Meaning: A Study of the Influence of Language upon Thought and of the Science of Symbolism (1923) by C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards.
The application of concept-object to clarity and removal of ambiguity generally and particularly to resolution of negative existentials and the liar paradox is mine but I do not know whether it is the fist application.
Incidentally, as Ludwig Wittgenstein noted in Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus (English ed., 1921), even where words are pure symbols, sentences are or can be depictive in virtue of their structure.
Subject-predicate form as pictorial
For example the subject-predicate form means that the predicate is predicated of the subject. In a particular case the subject-verb-object form of English (e.g., ‘The cat played with a rat.’; note that here ‘played with a rat’ is the predicate) and many other languages is a form in which the subject acts, the object is acted upon and the verb specifies the action (this form is the most common one but there are others and some, even, in which there is an ‘agent’ instead of an explicit subject).
This does not come close to being comprehensive with regard to what has been written on meaning. There is a notion that we understand the meaning of an assertion when we know the conditions for its truth. In the case of the ‘correspondence theory of truth’ is clearly related to the concept-object meaning of meaning regarding. But there are other ‘theories’ of truth. I shall do an analysis some day but meanwhile I must complain that we will never do better than languish around with multiple theories, mere ones at that, until we abandon the systematic piece meal approach (without of course abandoning its occasional use where nothing else is available and as preliminary to further analysis). Further there is much analysis of meaning concerning non referential meaning and to referential meaning with differing illocutionary or para-locutionary force such as the assertive, directive, commissive, expressive, and declarative. These are interesting, even to the present analysis, especially as we are concerned with action but I shall not take them up here as I think we already know enough for our need (but remain open to further written and unwritten thought).
This is a different meaning of ‘meaning’. It is ‘the meaning of life’. Concept and significant meaning both occur in experience while they are of the world.
Sameness and difference
Difference is the most elementary pattern.
Utter sameness is absence of difference.
In utter sameness, there is neither thing, nor pattern, nor knower or known.
Identity and time
Sameness with difference refers to identity of person or object and marks time.
In this sense, identity is not sameness with regard to every property. What change in time are intensive properties of an object, including being.
Identity and existence of objects and persons
From the discussion of experience, seeming and being are ultimately inseparable: there is no being without it being experienced. This is not to say that experience is the cause of the being. Rather, it says (a) epistemologically, being that is eternally without an effect in experience is eternally as if not in existence (from the metaphysics we will see that we can drop the as if: there are no separate ‘universes’; from the discussion of experience the duality of being and experience goes down to the elemental level—if there is one, otherwise down through all levels except as noted in on the nature of experience). and (b) metaphysically to be is to be experienced.
Also from the discussion of experience, the identity and essential similarity of the object and person is an aspect of experience that gives such existence no guarantee of eternity but may see it as the mingling, coming together, and dissolution of separate identities. The ‘may’ of the previous paragraph follows on (a) assumption no ultimate sub or super elemental level but no actual destruction or creation at any level (b) the metaphysics to be developed which does not require or allow ‘no actual destruction or creation’.
Difference without identity marks space.
What changes in space is the object or part.
Space refers to ‘extension’ as time refers to ‘duration’. ‘Extensionality’ is a general term spatiotemporality.
The nature of space and time
From the conception of space and time they are not frameworks external to what is but are immanent in what is.
Consider the phrase ‘all that there is’. If ‘is’ has the connotation of particular sets of times and places or if it has the connotation of all time and space but only time and space then there may be ‘things’ that fall outside ‘all that there is’. However, if we relax these limiting connotations of ‘is’ then there is nothing outside ‘all that there is’. Later we will regard ‘all that there is’ in this sense as the universe. It will then follow that space and time cannot fall or be framed outside the universe but must be immanent in it.
The only dimensions of extensionality
Relative to identity, the modes of difference or extensionality are space and time.
Extensionality is the generalized notion of ways of difference of a person or object. Time and space are examples. From their conception as exhausting the ways difference can occur regarding identity—i.e. sameness versus difference, they are the only ways.
In a treatment in which, at least in the beginning, we chose to avoid our intuitive connotations of space and time we would use alternative terms, e.g. duration for time-like difference and extension for space like difference (and the notion of extensionality would refer to duration and extension). The terms space and time would be could then be introduced together with the following distinctions.
Where precise and where vague
Where and to the extent that identity is not well defined, space and time are not well defined.
Why or how they are interwoven
To the extent that the modes of difference are not well distinguished.
To the extent that identity is not universal, space and time are not universal.
Two ways of being beyond time and space
Absence of identity
Space and time are not absolute—they are immanent in being
Space and time are immanent in being (and have being). That is, their essence is that they are not absolute and external grids—they are relative. But a domain can have an as if relative space-time grid (perhaps set up by another domain).
Space are immanent in and have and time have being.
Being names that which is (in any set of regions—e.g., in space-time and / or not).
Note that this naming is a contraction of a definition (Being is that which is) and the later ‘proof’ that there is being).
Not in space-time could mean ‘outside’ or ‘abstracted’ from space-time.
The meaning of being
Not some special or higher being; not an essence; not particular to having sentience (these connotations are not used in the main development here but may add ‘richness’ in derivative development).
Distinguishes only existence from non-existence.
Does not denote ‘beings’ or ‘a being’. However, in discussing objects it will be seen that the distinction between entity, process, relationship, and quality depends on level of abstraction and is less significance than is suggested by the common metaphysical and grammatical distinctions.
Except if the void is regarded as existing, the meaning of non-being is either that of potential being or metaphorical.
There is being
We have seen that there is experience of a real world that contains experience. That there is being, therefore, is beyond doubt.
The brief definition above may be spelled out as follows. Being is that which is in any collection of regions in space and / or time and / or other dimension and / or no dimension at all.
From experience, the proof is trivial. It does not tell us much about the variety of being but that is a problem that will occupy much of the narrative.
The proof of being is profoundly simple when understood. Yet it has been a difficult question in the history of philosophy. The essence was to find what is beyond doubt and this is due to Descartes. The existence of being is a ‘fact’, i.e. it can be used as a premise in deductive arguments.
In this case what was proved amounted to a fact. Later we extend this to deduction (of a general framework). The establishment of the fact of being is important to the nature of deduction as well as to the deduction of the metaphysics. The argument will be sound, i.e. premises will be true, deduction valid.
Then we find the place of induction in the general framework. The latter will not be marked by certainty but the framework will show certainty of detail to be impossible and not desirable.
‘Is’ and existence
Use of ‘is’.
The generic ‘is’
A deficiency of the English language is that it does not have a term for the most general ‘is’ in the sense of ‘is in some regions of space-time and / or not’.
Existence and being
Have been distinguished but will be seen to be the same.
The problem of negative existentials resolved by appeal to meaning
If Sherlock Holmes or unicorns do not exist then to what do ‘Sherlock Holmes’ or the term ‘unicorn’ refer? This exemplifies the so called problem of negative existentials (and shows that it as acute for general terms as it is for singular names). The resolution is trivial. The terms are explicit or implicit descriptions and the generic solution is that ‘does not exist’ means that the description has no object. The significance of the resolution is that while terms (especially singular terms such as ‘Sherlock Holmes) are sometimes regarded as being associated with objects, there can be no association without a concept associated to term. This is an example of the potency of the theory of meaning developed above.
Importance to metaphysics
Being is all inclusive and well established. Some metaphysical systems begin with categories that are not known to be inclusive and / or not perfectly established. Such systems are therefore not known to be complete or well established; further they are speculative at outset and generally require speculation to be inclusive.
A metaphysics that begins with being is not necessarily subject to (such) error. As such, beginning with being introduces no error. There is being: this is a perfect metaphysical assertion. Beginning with being permits development of perfect metaphysics. The perfection will of course have to be demonstrated (as is the case for the metaphysics of this narrative).
Importance to human being and realization
The inclusive character of being allows for careful understanding of our being and, in combination with metaphysics, for understanding of what may or will be realized and the means of realization (supplement from the approximate knowledge of tradition will help in incremental experiments).
Some problems of being
Being is trivial
It is so general that it refers to everything—or to nothing. Response: that it is trivial does not imply that it is not empowering (see Why being? above).
Being cannot be known
This is the Kantian objection and though Kant’s answer is incorrect (Euclid and Newton did not enunciate a priori forms) the form of Kant’s answer is correct (Experience, Being, Universe etc. are synthetic and precisely known as such).
Knowledge of being as being is a very special case
Response 1. We already have perfect knowledge of experience, real world, and being. Perfect knowledge of being as being will be seen to be inherited by all being as a unitary object (universe), domain, pattern and natural law as such, the void which will be instrumental in developing a powerful metaphysical framework and its principle of reason called ‘realism’ that includes ideal forms of logic and science. The framework shows that the universe is the realization of all possibility and that individuals inherit this power but only in process while they are in limited form.
Response 2. The framework will be filled in by tradition, experience, reflection, and action. These are of course not perfect as in perfectly faithful to objects. However, the metaphysics shows that such perfection is neither possible nor desirable in the path of ultimate realization. Thus perfect faithfulness is not universally desirable and further an alternate notion of perfection as ‘good enough’ or ‘being-in-the-world’ is appropriate to ultimate realization and its approximation this side of death. In this sense we are perfect but such perfection does not avoid error or pain (or joy); rather, error and pain acquire significant meaning.
What has being?
What among our ideas are truly real? We have begun to answer this and the issue of how to answer it. The narrative is a meditation on this question and its answering.
Being and human being
As human we are interested in human being.
The interest in being empowers this while not excluding the non human. We are enhanced by similarity and difference.
In this narrative we will be interested in the special concerns of human being but we will emphasize ‘similarity’ and ‘universality’ over difference and details of human psyche.
What is the essential problem of metaphysics?
I.e. what is the essential problem of knowledge and study of being? Heidegger has called the question of why there is being at all the fundamental problem of metaphysics. However, here we demonstrate a surprising and trivial solution (one that has been ‘staring us in the face all along’). We also show that the question ‘What has being?’ deserves the title ‘fundamental problem of metaphysics’.
But is not the foundation of metaphysics to be found in substance?
Purposes of foundation include (a) power to explain the complex from the simple (b) soundness: for any predictions to be correct (c) to be complete: to cover the varieties of experience (d) on the affective side: to expose the world in its wonder. The last two points are somewhat in conflict but for the fact that explaining is not explaining away and, further, we find final depth but every open breadth to being.
Here we will find that ‘being’ is adequate to the task but substance falls short on (a) through (c) above.
Must there be being?
From the premise of experience, we conclude that there is being. But to conclude that there must be being along these lines we would have to know that there must be at least one case of being (e.g. experience).
Later we will show that there must be phases of manifest being as well as phases without manifest being.
The universe is all being.
The meaning of ‘all’ in the definition above has no restrictions of belonging to particular sets of time and place or only to time and place; it refers to extensionality (time and space / place) and beyond extensionality.
The universe has being.
There is precisely one universe.
There is nothing outside the universe.
Self creation of the universe by the universe can mean only emergence from nothingness. This lies outside what is intended in religious and theological connotations of creation.
The universe has no creator; it is not created.
This does not show what kind ‘possibility’ refers to—e.g. physical, supernatural, or logical.
The universe and possibility
Definition of possibility
Possibility is a concept that is relative to a region of the universe and a principle in the following sense.
Given a region of the universe and a general principle of what can exist that is consistent with that region, then the possible is what can exist that is consistent with the principle.
Examples of regions are the cosmos, earth, a laboratory, all of life, an axiomatic system whose objects, abstract or not, are regarded as defining a region.
Examples of principles are, physical law (pertinent to the first three examples above); for life the principle that we normally accept is the joint principle of physical law and the principles of biology. The axiomatic system is at once a region defined by the basic undefined terms and a (compound) principle defined by the axioms; this example may seem artificial relative to the real universe but later, in objects, it will be seen to be real.
Does everything in the universe satisfy ‘biological possibility’? Since not everything is living (in the usual uses of ‘living’) obviously not.
We often think that all actual things must satisfy the laws of physics.
However, there may be other cosmoses with other physical laws. The physical laws of our cosmos did not and will not always necessarily obtain. As a collection of cosmoses and their background of transient becoming to the un-manifest there may be no universal physical law.
Above, logic was not mentioned as a ‘principle’. However, it would generally be regarded as implicitly present in all examples. Thus for every principle above, logic would generally be implicitly present.
Logic does not seem to have the status of the other principles. What is its status. How can an existing object fail to satisfy the laws of logic? If it did fail to satisfy a law of logic the ‘law’ would not be a law! However, the conclusion reveals a flaw in thinking: logic does not pertain to objects. There cannot be a square circle but I can form the verbal concept: ‘a square circle’. Logic pertains to concepts as referring to objects. It says that a concept that violates logic can have no object. It is a constraint on concepts for realism. The concept exists but it has no objects (therefore as an object itself logic does not pertain to it but we could form another concept such as ‘the concept that has precisely one object and precisely two objects’ which would violate logic).
Therefore, regarding objects (the universe) logical possibility is the most permissive kind of possibility: if a concept violates logic, it has no object and this is not a limit on the universe.
Some philosophers have held that logical possibility is not the most permissive. Alexius Meinong for example held that a square circle is a non existent object. There is a large literature on this topic. However, the concept of meaning derived here implies that what Meinong should have said is that the square circle is a concept and (but) it does not have an object. The point can be put more precisely. In geometries in which there are circles a circle is not a square. Therefore the concept ‘square circle’ i.e. ‘the figure that is both square and circular’ is ‘the figure that is both square and not square’. It is a concept all right but it has no object.
There are and can be no objects to concepts that violate logic. That is logical possibility is the most permissive of realistic possibilities.
The actual and the possible
Obviously what is in the part or region, i.e. what is actual, is possible. However, not all possibility is actual.
The actual may be identical to but cannot exceed the possible. The possible cannot be less than the actual but may be equal to it (these consequences of the conception of the possible and the actual could easily be made more precise in the language of sets or collections).
Since there is nothing outside the universe:
For the universe the possible and actual are identical.
The universe and possibility
Although possibility and actuality are identical for the universe, there is nothing in the above discussion that pinpoints precisely what either possibility or actuality are for the universe.
We can say, however, that whatever that u-possibility is, it is as or less permissive than logical possibility.
If our cosmos is all that there ever was, is, or will be; and if its physical laws were, are, and always will be the same, then the u-possibility is physical possibility. This could turn out to be true but we have seen that it is not necessarily true and, further, the history of physics suggests that it is not true.
The universe and Logical possibility
We will find below that u-possibility is logical possibility. That is:
The universe is specified by logical possibility.
This will open up a range of problems, especially the apparent contradiction of our everyday experience of limits and questions such as ‘if there are no limits to possibility except logic why does our cosmos not stop existing and so on’. The response is that that as well as continuing on are both possible and that the fact that it has not stopped existing and that the ‘u’ of u-possibility is logic are not in contradiction. As an explanation of the apparent stability of our cosmos this is of course a less than satisfactory explanation. Later, further problematic issues will be identified and resolved; these will include an explanation of the apparent stability of our cosmos.
The conception of Logic
One concern that this opens up is that of the nature of logic. If our logics are in an ongoing state of discovery, what does that imply for logic and the universe. It will be seen to imply, first, a new conception of logic (Logic) and, second, that are logics are topics within Logic and, except perhaps for the logics whose meaning and consistency are well established, they may be but approximations to Logic (it would seem that in Logic there is no such thing as ‘approximation’: it would seem that either some proposed logic is part of Logic or it is not).
The conclusion that the universe is all logical possibility will have immense consequences for the magnitude of the universe itself, for the nature and destinations of individuals and civilization. Many consequences will be part of the elaborations to follow the proof, below, that u-possibility is logical possibility.
A domain is a part of the universe.
The non null domains have being (a null domain is a part that contains no being).
Although in analogy to the empty set and the zero force as force we may assert that the null domain has being we do not make this assertion at this point in the development.
One domain may participate in the creation of another.
A pattern is a particular (set of) arrangement(s).
Patterns have being.
So far as the pattern obtains other arrangements do not obtain. In this sense a pattern is a limit.
A cosmos is a domain that is causally connected in terms of a set of ‘physical’ laws.
A more general notion of cosmos is that of a domain that has been so connected but that there are ‘parts’ that are no longer causally connected. Thus our ‘empirical cosmos’ may be part of a larger system that was once connected causally.
How could such disconnects come about? Probably the main way is that physical laws change. A ‘super’ big-bang, for example, could involve formation of a number of regions according to weak causal laws and, subsequently, some of the regions would develop, as part of their origin / growth,, stronger causation such as cosmos-wide finite signal speed of interaction.
It is not inconsistent with our valid traditions and their principles or reason that the universe is greater than our cosmos without limit to space-time-beyond and variety.
It is allowed by (neither inconsistent with nor required by) by tradition (and its principles of reason) that universe is the universe of all possibility—i.e., it is the greatest possible with regard to space-time-beyond and variety of being.
In the twentieth century, secular thinkers came predominantly to see our empirical cosmos as the universe. However, there is nothing in reason (especially philosophy or logic or science) that implies the case that the empirical cosmos is the universe (or that implies not the case even though the history of science strongly suggests ‘not the case’).
That is, reason and philosophy and science allow much more. The greatest that they allow is that the universe is the universe of all possibility or greatest possible universe (any picture that violates fact in its empirical domain or logic is not possible). The existence of myriad other cosmoses and more, even ephemera and ghosts violates neither fact (including science) nor logic.
The fact that the universe of all possibility is allowed by the tradition (e.g. science and principles of reason) is not that the universe is universe of all possibility.
The searchlight metaphor
One way of visualizing this limit to science is in terms the ‘searchlight’ metaphor emphasized by if not due originally to the twentieth century philosopher Karl Popper. A searchlight at night shows only what comes under its beam and so we do not see what is outside the beam. We can redirect the beam but there is always something outside it. And of course we can extend the metaphor: at sufficiently large distances the beam is not intense enough to reveal anything. The situation with science is similar. We see what we see but what is more we tend to construct a vision of reality based on what we see and even though we have no justification in thinking the vision complete, what we see confirms the vision.
That science may not have revealed all even in its own domain is rational and may be further understood in terms of the searchlight metaphor: the light reveals what falls under its beam. The science of any particular time like that: it sees what it has seen but knows little to nothing, according to how remote it is, of what is unseen.
But even the known is not merely empirical—the great theories are a conceptual construction over or give and take with the empirical. And it cannot be merely empirical for the empirical is nothing more than facts that we already know. Just as it is naïve to think that a searchlight has revealed all, it is naïve empiricism that thinks there is nothing beyond the empirical
The natural laws of our sciences are readings of patterns.
Provided we recognize that it is local, the (object of) the law may be conflated with the pattern.
The patterns themselves may be thought of as Natural Laws.
We will think of the real patterns of myth-holism as cases of natural law.
Natural Laws have being. This will be written as:
Natural laws have being.
In ascribing being, here, it is not implied that the Laws and patterns are perfectly faithful or universal.
A parallel route to pattern and natural law
Patterns have being.
The discussion will now be of some elementary patterns—those described in terms of space and time. This could be done with the aid of the universal metaphysics. It is done here (1) to clarify primitive intuition and understanding of such patterns and (2) so that later application of the metaphysics may show some enhancements (and methods for the same) of the primitive and bring out some of the power oft the metaphysics.
Difference and sameness
Difference is the most elementary pattern.
Sameness is absence of difference. In utter sameness, there is neither thing, nor pattern, nor knower or known.
Duration and extension. Extensionality
Sameness with difference is identity and marks duration.
In this sense, identity is not sameness with regard to every property. There is sufficient similarity to mark identity of object or person.
Difference without identity marks extension.
Duration and extension are experienced in terms of some ‘origin’. The ideas of duration and extension without regard to an origin become time and space. However, time and space measures are marked from some origin (which need not always be the same).
We use the term ‘extensionality’ as a generalized notion of ways of difference. Then, duration and extension are examples or parameters (I do not use the term ‘dimensions’ because it will be convenient to reserve that term for another use) of extensionality. Are there other parameters?
Duration and extension the only parameters of extensionality
The definition in terms of identity shows duration and extension to be the only parameters of extensionality.
But they do not universally obtain
This however, does not imply that the measures invariably obtain. Where identity is vague the measures may be vague; where the distinction between the modes of difference is indefinite, the measure of space and time may be perspective dependent; and where identity approaches lack of identifiablility, space and time may approach not being. The so called ‘abstract objects’ (contrast to the concrete) may lack, say, spatiality (and causality) andor temporality in another way; for discussion see coverage of abstract objects in objects.
Space and time have being.
Space and time have being.
Space and time are not absolute but relative
The question arises whether space and time are absolute or relative. What this means is as follows. They will be called absolute if, where they obtain, they stand independently of the world itself. On the other hand, if the world itself is definitive of space and time measures, they will be called relative. That they seem to arise in being and that they have being suggests that they are relative.
But since there is nowhere else that they can arise—the universe has no outside—and, further, from their conception they must be relative (but since domains have outsides, there may be domains with as if absolute spacetime).
And their measures may depend on perspective or observer
What Einstein showed has the interpretation that sameness with difference depends on perspective—on the observer. However, this is eminently clear from the notions of sameness and difference. That is, the measure of time or space from one perspective may depend on the measure of both time and space from another perspective. And as in Einstein’s general theory, the measures are affected by accumulation of being (read density of matter).
Now consider some specific elementary patterns
The diverse phenomena encapsulated in laws of natural science and in oral / mythic traditions are examples of patterns.
An example of pattern: the Newtonian system
As an example, the laws of physical science are usually stated in terms of ‘elements of being’ that change in relation to space and time. More specifically Newton’s elementary particles had intrinsic properties (mass) that were fixed, their size was zero and they had no other properties relevant to the Newtonian system; their spatial condition (position) changed over time (position was regarded as ‘extrinsic’). The way in which they changed was determined by forces that were in turn determined by the particles, their positions (and in some cases by their motions). Thus the idea of force could be eliminated so that a system of particles formed a system whose dynamical evolution was self-determining.
The laws and mythic forms (regarded as objects of stated law and myth) have being.
Tradition—here the word is used in the following non-traditional manner: it is the collection valid patterns of natural science, oral traditions, and other ancient through current cultural systems—applies within an empirical domain: our cosmos. In this sense (let us allow for completeness that humans are not the only possessors of culture even though of course humans are most familiar with human culture) nothing is outside tradition. The non standard metaphysics to be developed lies within tradition. However, in order to give relief to the development here, it will be convenient to use the word tradition to not refer to the metaphysics of the narrative and to use it primarily to refer to what is recognized as standard in the cultures.
Note here that there are standard views on the nature of science and its process as well as alternatives. A current standard view is that every transition to a newer theory is an approach to the universal. However, if the universal were not approachable (and we will find this to be the case) then the thought that we are asymptotically approaching the universal would be false and self-defeating). An alternate view is that the scientific theories are facts but only within limited regions. This alternative has concordance with (a) the metaphysics that we find (we will see this later) and (b) the picture of logic and science that it suggests (and perhaps first due to WVO Quine) that they are of the same kind but that the distinction is that logical truths are universal while scientific truths are particular (and as we now see, local). This view also conduces to the thoughts that (a) logic is revisable and (b) that the proper comparison between science and logic is that the development of logics and sciences is inductive while their application is deductive (naturally only in their domains of validity for it is precisely this that makes them deductive, i.e. that the conclusions are given but only need to be worked out). Later we will see how and where mathematics fits in this framework.
On tradition, literalism, and mythic or metaphorical holism
Tradition has a variety of forms of expression. The literal is thought to simultaneously define and refer to the real. Metaphor is suggestive and as such may include an element of the literal. Allegory is a story told as fact but that refers to truth in another realm, e.g. the psychological. Myth as deployed in ‘primal’ lifestyles is a holist but differentiated approach to truth ‘here’ (in the apparent or ‘material’, the need of which is obvious) and beyond (in the inexplicables in the apparent). The latter arises in needs for explanation in the material realm (adaptation) and, at least correspondingly, adaptation of psychology to the material realm and beyond (thus while spirituality must include elements of speculation, it is not without realism; and, this is there even in modernity and its investment in science and so on; and without which what is adaptive would also be eliminated; and therefore the inclusion of which is optimally adaptive).
Faithfulness in the depictive aspect of tradition
Tradition is almost invariably without perfect and pure literal content. However, mixed modes of expression may have faithfulness in depicting the world. An explicit interest in this narrative is this depictive character.
Empirical limits of the greater part of tradition
In the following use of tradition will include the ideas of experiential discovery and reason.
Tradition is not empirically known to extend beyond the cosmos.
Nature of the beyond: assessment of the cultural systems
What, then, is the beyond like? The human perceptual system is attuned to the local environment. The term ‘local’ not just a spatiotemporal region but depends on the conditions of adaptation which include that the main human senses are sensitive only to certain ranges and thresholds of stimuli. However, humans do extend the senses with instruments and, more importantly, do immensely expand via concepts the range of the local. It remains true, however, that there is a tendency in every culture to view the limits of the cultural system as the edge of the universe even though it is not that edge. Why? One reason is that the cultural system has some adaptive functions that the history of the culture has not encouraged it to overcome even if the overcoming were within human limits. A second and related reason is that education into the cultural system is a task of becoming in itself and that therefore even the accomplished individual tends to see the world as defined by the culture. However, what this shows is that the cultural view of the edge is in fact only the edge of the perceptual-cultural system. What is outside is unknown but is often culturally relegated to zero and this is true in both ‘primal’ and ‘advanced’ cultures.
Nature of the beyond: assessment in terms of possibility
What is the nature of that outside? I will discuss it in terms of a concept of possibility.
On realization of possibility and its consequences
Possibility is that which is not inconsistent with the patterns and reasons of tradition. The greatest conceivable universe is the realization of all possibility. It would have limitless arrays of cosmoses of limitless variety. Of these, some would be replicas of ours. Among ours and the replicas, some would have ghost cosmoses—ones not in current interaction with the host—passing through them. These would occur against a background universe. The universe itself would have identity and manifestation in acute, diffuse, and ‘absent’ phases. This power would be conferred on individuals (who, when assuming ultimate identity would coalesce with the universe).
Possibilism in history of thought. How the present view is an immense advance
The idea of a possibilist universe is not new and has been seen in a range of contexts. Plato envisaged a hierarchy of being from matter to god. The idea of a chain of being persisted in Greek and Scholastic philosophy and in modern times, especially in theology. The Advaita Vedanta philosophy that the individual 'I’ is a particular manifestation of a universal and potential ‘I’ hints at philosophical possibilism (which is quite different from anthropological possibilism that asserts that, within environmental constraints, culture is determined by social conditions). The principle of plenitude asserts that in an infinity of time all possibilities are realized; Kant held this to be true but not proved (it is not true for a possibility may have zero probability).The philosopher David Lewis assigned reality to the ‘possible worlds’. One realist (rather than instrumentalist) interpretation of quantum mechanics involves the idea of many worlds (however the significance is not that of possibilism even though an argument of possibilism has been made from quantum theory). What are the differences of these versions of possibilism from the one to be developed? The main difference is that the present version is proved. Consequently it enables a vast elaboration and application of a possibilist and ultimate metaphysics (as follows). Particularly, for example, it does not actually prove that all possibilities will occur given infinite time but shows that time is eternal and that all possibilities are already occurrent in the space-time and the connected non space-time regions of being.
Remarks on cultural relativism
It may be useful here to express some thoughts on cultural relativism. First, every surviving culture must have sufficient knowledge—literal or mythic—to permit survival. From what we have seen so far, no culture is thus guaranteed to approach absolute knowledge of all things. Second, it appears that any culture may have immense and impressive knowledge of some things pertaining to the natural and social world. Third, when cultures interact there is often a gap that makes seeing the ‘meaning’ of the other system. What I take from this is that even though in some ways any culture may approach ultimates, the world is varied enough that every culture pertains to some niche and that although some inter-translatability of systems is possible, entire translatability is not—precisely because the niches are not identical (and perhaps for other reasons as well). Therefore while I do not see different cultures as inherently lying on a superior-inferior continuum, I do not regard the cultural systems as devoid of true realism. The previous comments have been rather on the epistemic side. There are political reasons for disparaging other cultures but this has not to do with ‘correctness’. However, I do think that I the interests of ‘correctness’ which includes the future realizations of the human race that cultural cooperation—not only political and economic but also intrinsically cultural—is good.
The fundamental principle of metaphysics or, simply, the fundamental principle.
Derivation from the non manifest
Whether there is manifest being or not there is ‘always’ the non manifest; when there is manifest being the non manifest is with (‘alongside’) the manifest. However, all laws are of manifest being; therefore there is no law in the non manifest. Consequently objects emerge from the non manifest for the contrary would be a law of the non manifest. Further if a logically possible object were to not so emerge that too would be a law. Therefore all logically possible objects emerge from the non manifest.
In the following ‘possibility’ will be logical possibility.
The foregoing demonstrates a possibilist view of the universe: the universe is the universe of possibility.
The italicized phrase is the fundamental principle.
Statement in terms of possibility
An ‘objective’ statement
All possibility emerges from the non manifest.
Or the universe is the realization of all possibility.
In terms of concepts
Subject to logic there is no restriction on the realization of concepts.
Statement in terms of realism
Definition of realism
In this paragraph, for brevity, ‘fact’ will refer to ‘fact-science-logic where valid’ (here, science is regarded as the laws or principles regarded as a fact on their local domain of validity rather than the laws or principles regarded as universal). Since the metaphysical framework is consistent with fact, the sole limiting principle of the metaphysics is fact, which is now labeled realism. However, since ‘fact’ is limited, this constitutes a redefinition of science and logic.
Regard natural law as local empirical fact rather than universal projection. Define realism as the system of constraints of fact and logic on concepts.
Then realism is the appropriate criterion for possibility—if a realistic object does not emerge from the non-manifest that would be a law of the non manifest. Therefore what obtains is far greater than revealed in science and logic.
However, our sciences and logics are limited. Therefore realism constitutes a redefinition of science and logic which we could label Science and Logic but collapse into a single concept—realism. This realism is already under way in the tradition but is clearly open to vast, perhaps unimagined realms of discovery.
Under this umbrella, every realistic concept has an object. The concepts of mathematics, so far as consistent, therefore have objects (see objects). The putative view of mathematics as deductive and science as inductive is based on comparing argument in a system of mathematics with argument to arrive at a scientific theory. However, if we compare arriving at a system of mathematics with arriving at a scientific theory we see that both are formally inductive while argument under a system of mathematics and under a scientific theory are both formally deductive. That is, mathematics is or can be seen as science: where the natural sciences refer to concrete objects mathematics refers to form as an object. Logic can be brought under the umbrella of science, following the argument of WVO Quine: whereas the ‘truths’ of science pertain to some worlds, those of logic pertain to all worlds. This means that logic is revisable as is science but on account of the greater universality logic seems a priori but in fact its revisability is less frequently manifest than the revisability of science.
It follows that the universe is the universe of all possibility, the greatest possible universe, or the universe of realism (this is the meaning of ‘universe’ in what follows). This is called the fundamental principle of metaphysics (abbreviated fundamental principle).
What we have called Realism redefines—in fact defines the concepts of—science and logic individually and as one.
A vast framework (‘metaphysics’) for understanding.
From logic, science and experience. We’ve already seen that this is not an objection. The framework is consistent with science and experience.
From common sense. The common sense objections are part of the objection from experience. It is important to observe that the good common sense part of experience is important to everyday living (and more) but to think that it projects to the universe is without base. I.e., it is bas common sense to think that the universe is subject to good common sense.
From the magnitude of the conclusion. This is not a true doubt but it is reason to doubt. However, as reason to doubt its aspect in reason itself is no more than reason itself which has already been satisfied. But relative to consequences it is reason to remain alert to doubt and error (but also to the positive consequences).
A remaining doubt concerns the existence of the non manifest. A formal response is that the existence was not assumed. However, this is not entirely satisfactory. The response, amplified later, is to regard the fundamental principle as a principle of action for which there is a degree of effort that makes for a greater outcome than no allocation at all (in technical terms: there is a degree of resource allocation that optimizes or at least makes for less sub-optimal expectation of outcome).
The notion of possibility used thus harbors potential paradox. A trivial example is that ‘it is possible that the possible will not occur’. This is similar to the paradox of the ‘set of all sets that do not contain themselves’. Such paradox can be avoided by a careful specification of the set of possible states (or sets) so as to exclude paradox. I think this would be parallel to the introduction of axioms such (e.g. Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice, commonly abbreviated ZFC) in set theory that avert paradox there.
Potential for paradox abounds in the notion of possibility. ‘It is possible that the possible will not be realized’. The resolution is similar to that of the liar paradox ‘This sentence is false.’ The problem is that, contrary to expectation prior to the early twentieth century, not every apparently well formed referential sentence (assertion) has an object or truth value. Consequently a precise language is necessary. One such ‘language’ is the Zermelo Fraenkel formulation of set theory. Such languages have potential application in the present situation.
The void is the null domain (absence of manifest being).
The void is the non manifest
The have the same concept: the non manifest.
Existence or being of the void
From realism, the universe must go through non-manifest or void phases. Thus the void (the non-manifest) has being; knowledge of it is perfect; and this (to repeat) implies perfection to realism.
I.e., the void has being even though it contains no being.
The void contains no law
From the fact that the non-manifest contains no law.
The concept of the void is ultimately simple
It is pure absence. It contains no being, no law, and, insofar as they exist, no matter or idea or concept.
Its simplicity contrasts with that of substance. Substances are posited, they have properties that are posited, their existence is not given, and derivation of change and variety and flux from their deterministic absence as in substance is not just contrived but impossible.
Not a substance
In so far as substance is deterministic or has a kind (determinism is severely limited, kinds are limited).
More powerful than substance
Generates and explains far more than ‘this’ world.
Not characterized by simplicity or complexity
Conceptual simplicity does not imply actual simplicity.
The number of voids is effectively one
A void may be regarded as attached to every element of being. However, except that there is one, it makes no difference how many voids are considered to be.
It will be seen that significant metaphysics has already been developed. It will be the basis of the metaphysics to be developed here (and to be called the universal metaphysics). But let us first introduce metaphysics.
Though metaphysics has already begun it is convenient to now take up the concept and its development formally.
The concept of metaphysics in this narrative
Metaphysics as perfectly faithful knowledge of being.
Why perfect faithfulness? Metaphysics versus practical knowledge. Later integration.
The meaning of metaphysics here is knowledge of being. Because knowledge is not the known, the possibility of (perfect) metaphysics has been criticized, especially since the critique of Immanuel Kant. However, we have shown that there is perfectly faithful knowledge of being (the argument from experience). As just knowledge of being, metaphysics would be trivial. However, we have shown that there is perfectly faithful knowledge of being-as-being (i.e. we have not shown perfect knowledge of detail in general) as well as a set of concepts (the section, the universal metaphysics) that constitute a perfectly faithful framework for knowledge of the universe. Because the perfection of this knowledge framework has been positively demonstrated it overcomes the critique of the possibility of metaphysics.
In what follows the framework will be filled out. The criterion for filling out detail cannot of course be perfect faithfulness. Here the critique of faithfulness is valid and true. However, the framework itself will be used to show that (a) general faithfulness of knowledge is impossible for limited being but (b) such faithfulness is unnecessary, a false ideal, in relation to bridging the immediate to the ultimate and (c) other criteria of ‘perfection’ are more appropriate.
Why is metaphysics important? The importance of metaphysics as conceived above is important as framing all action and nearly all significant questions. However, in modern times the importance of metaphysics as conceived above (which is close to the original conceptions of the Greeks, especially Plato and Aristotle) has diminished in importance because the Kantian critique remained unanswered. Therefore other conceptions of metaphysics have arisen. Here, however, the critique has been answered and therefore the present meaning and its significance have been restored. To repeat, there is scarcely any significant issue of knowledge or action that receives the best response of which we are capable without resort to metaphysics. Even when explicit metaphysics is rejected, there is invariably some implicit metaphysics that frames or is a background to explanation. In this narrative metaphysics is significant because it helps define and frame the aim.
The nature of metaphysics, its criticism, and response to criticism have begun above. There are however other criticisms and other conceptions of metaphysics. To understand the situation better it is useful to review a brief history of metaphysics.
Focus only on definition, not on detail that may or may not be there. For example in ‘experience is awareness in all its forms’ focus only on the fact of awareness and the fact that there may be forms but not on the specific forms.
Then, from experience through the void we already have a vast metaphysical framework (it is only a beginning and remains to be completed and filled out). The development continues in the universal metaphysics.
Two classical branches of metaphysics
Two classical branches or connotations of metaphysics as understood here (1) general metaphysics—knowledge of being as being (and related concepts known perfectly as such though not in detail) (2) special metaphysics (e.g. the religious cosmologies and a range of speculative metaphysical systems from the history, western and eastern, of philosophy and metaphysics.
Objections to metaphysics and responses
Impossibility of perfect knowledge—i.e., of general metaphysics
But we already have demonstrated a vast framework. We expand this below.
Speculative character of special metaphysics
The objection is obvious. Here, however, we will demonstrate all assertions.
Generally, however, there is a misunderstanding of the nature of speculative metaphysics. Both science and metaphysics are speculative. In science activity is called ‘hypothesis formation’. The difference is that the natural and other sciences are about some particular area of experience whereas metaphysics is about all experience. But where science tries to return to its empirical roots by testing the hypotheses the situation in metaphysics is different on account of the generality. On this account, metaphysics is concerned, first, with common experience and the entire range of it. Therefore in metaphysics the first concern is bringing into the framework what we already know in some sense. Regarding this the adequacy of a metaphysics can be plainly seen (the difficulty is establishing whether the range of experience is covered, whether there are exceptions and so forth). Once this is established, the range of metaphysics can be extended either (a) by introducing special hypotheses for special situations (as in science) and / or (b) by deduction from the general metaphysical scheme.
Note—many of the systems have good arguments, may be shown to avoid inconsistency, and have been and may well be useful. However, systematic character, elegance and other beauty, good argument, and lack of inconsistency fall short of proof. Therefore the metaphysics of this narrative has an emphasis on deductive proof.
There are other classical conceptions of metaphysics
There are other things named ‘metaphysics’ from Greek to modern thought. They are different concepts (though perhaps similar in content or intent). However, this matters not. What matters is that (1) I use the one definition consistently (2) that it be significant (i.e. sound and consequential). Others may use the term for other definitions but to have a range of different and non equivalent (or not clearly equivalent) notions and think ‘this is metaphysics’ is illogical (or vague) and precisely unnecessary.
Today metaphysics has different conceptions
New concepts of metaphysics
The study of the nature and range of experience as experience (roughly metaphysics is phenomenology).
The study of abstract objects.
New activities under metaphysics
Identity; space and time; causation, freedom, and determinism; and mind and matter
Reasons and responses
The classical concept is thought to have failed or be inadequate. However, I have shown it to be sound and immensely powerful.
Other activities have arisen and are now thought to be metaphysics. Response. Some of these are new but fall under metaphysics as defined here. Others are different conceptions for which the response is the same as alternate classical conceptions of metaphysics.
The significance of metaphysics
Our secular and trans-secular thought is severely limited. There is no standard system, modern or earlier, to fill the ‘void. We already see how metaphysics fills this void. The development continues.
Most importantly, the developments of metaphysics here are crucial to the aim of the narrative.
A brief history of metaphysics from its origins to the universal metaphysics
1. Original if unnamed and uncritical metaphysics is found in the oral narratives of primal tradition in myth regarding origins of the world, forces present in the natural world, and codes of conduct in relation to the world. These are not entirely uncritical for there is always the tacit criticism of ‘action’ (success enhances, failure diminishes the community). But the codes of conduct are not entirely uncritical. In some primal communities individuals retain freedom: the codes are important but not compulsive. If breaking a code has no negative effect the strength of the code is diminished; if there is a negative effect it is strengthened. The individuals of such communities understand ‘criticism’ (and those of us who think science has truthfully found every last niche of being are ‘primal’ in this regard).
2. From the modern vantage point the primal traditions may seem marked by superstition. However, the truth of the situation is that as subsistence lifestyles, the occasions to separate the known from the unknown as an endeavor in itself are limited. Many oral systems are highly effective in relation to human needs maintaining an effective and sustained subsistence economy (this is factual though not universal) and addressing the emotional spiritual needs that arise for an imaginative and symbol (language) using being. Though not atomically rational, the system of thought regarding the known and the unknown (the natural and the spiritual) is effective and affectively rewarding. And, also note that if we think that science has found every niche and that what it has found is perfect, we are also being superstitious. Yes, it is true that not all of us secular moderns think of science this way but it is also true that many people in primal societies do not regard their narratives as absolute or rigid. This gives us pause to reflect on religion: secularism (here the view that the secular world is all) rejects religious cosmologies as superstition; however, while specific pictures may be wildly speculative, (1) this does not imply that all present or future cosmology is bound by the present scientific picture and may go immensely beyond that picture (2) the religious cosmologies have allegorical and related values just as the secular modern often places significant value in literature.
Origin of the secular—trans-secular divide
3. It is when we become able to go beyond subsistence that we have the (time) resources and the (economic) occasion for knowledge as an institution—and therefore the distinction of the known and the unknown, and of imagination as criticism. It is then that the secular and the trans-secular may bifurcate and then that the possibility of superstition arises. Of course the distinctions that have just been stated as discrete probably lie on a continuum.
4. In Greece, the first explicit metaphysics replaces the superstition of Greek religion. It becomes a vehicle for imaginative cosmology, psychology, ethics, morals, the science of the time, history, social organization and politics, art, and more (see system of human knowledge). Though not uncritical, this metaphysics is imaginative and descriptive (rather than mathematical) and not unempirical but broad rather than detailed in its occasional empirical contact with the world; the cosmology goes far beyond the empirical but its virtue is its imagination and its attempt at completeness without the elements of superstition.
5. The thought of Rome, of the Medieval era and the Scholastics, of India and more is significant to the history of metaphysics. I have neither expertise nor time to develop it nor space here to acknowledge it with any justice. It is significant however to the universal metaphysics. See, for example, some Historical sources of the void and the metaphysics. Here are some further examples. Nicholas of Cusa (http://www1.umn.edu/ships/galileo/library/cusa1.pdf) writes ‘in the Absolute Maximum everything is the Absolute Maximum’, ‘everything is in everything else’, and numerous other statements that though mystically intuitive in their basis have resonance with the present rational system (incidentally as we have seen, to be rational is not at all to exclude emotion). Johannes Scotus Eriugena wrote that the universe (nature) the ‘totality of things’ including those which are and which are not (over all time and space) (John Scottus Eriugena: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; I do not recall the reference for the phrase ‘over all time and space’). In Vedanta (the Indian system), Shankara writes of the sameness of self and the ‘all’ (Atman and Brahman). He writes (Indian Philosophy, 1957, S. Radhakrishnan and C.A Moore) that either Brahman is known or not—i.e. either we need not or cannot prove it which is the closest Shankara comes to proof but which is not because it assumes existence and ignores that knowing is or could be a process from not knowing to knowing… but Shankara does come close to suggesting a necessity of a causeless cause which is insightful and useful though in fact not the case revealed here but close enough to have suggestive power). All these ‘inputs’ have been useful at various stages of the development of the universal metaphysics. However, the proof is original (as far as I know) and this and its concept and method lend new (additional) meaning to the notion of proof, to logic and science, to metaphysics itself. Particularly, they do not merely validate the thoughts (above and others) of the thinkers: the universal metaphysics shows what the thoughts could or should mean and thus their validity (in many cases) or otherwise.
The modern era
6. The philosophies of the idealists Descartes and Leibniz and the empiricists Locke, Berkeley, and Hume are not pursued here. They are interesting. However, relative to the interests of this narrative their role is as precursor to Kant.
7. In the modern era, with the rise of reason, ‘reason turns on itself’ and finds the fundamental Kantian criticism the gap between the knower and the known. This implies for Kant that except when the categories of thought and perception are the categories of being, metaphysics as knowledge of being is impossible. Thus, in taking Euclidean Geometry and Newtonian Mechanics as true, Kant (and Schopenhauer) found space, time, and causation (and others) to be among the categories (today we know that these categories are in question but Kant’s approach remains valid—should we be able to find true categories). However, what this implies and what Kant finds is that metaphysics beyond the categories is impossible (i.e. even if not in violation of logic or experience claims regarding matters not known in experience cannot be regarded as known; and this includes most if not all religious deisms and cosmologies and corresponding psychologies). In that mind contributes to knowledge, Kant’s metaphysics has been called idealist; in so far as his idealism transcends the gap between knower and known, his metaphysics is transcendental; i.e., Kant’s metaphysics has been labeled transcendental idealism.
The rise of system
8. The rise of science and its significance for metaphysics. The significance is twofold: metaphysics would reproduce (a) the precision and (b) systematic character of science. Reproduction would, however, often be and be seen as mimicry. This would be further reason for the decline of metaphysics
9. The rise of system. Still, metaphysics continues as in the thought of such thinkers as Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Although Hegel’s thought is an (absolute) idealism in that existence is essentially self-comprehensive as a whole, it is simultaneously tendered as a realism: this, says Hegel, is how the world (universe) is. Perhaps in response to the growth of science and reason, Hegel’s metaphysics is a grand system. Though put forward as real and laced with reason, it is also highly speculative. This, combined with the modern secular turn lead to widespread if not universal rejection of the ‘grand, universal, speculative systems’ of metaphysics. As imagination, speculation is essential to human endeavor. However, when put forward as fact speculation becomes suspect.
A variety of conceptions of ‘metaphysics’
10. Now the history of metaphysics has been more than that of thought on the nature of the universe. Plato is in many regards a model of a non-dogmatic approach to his thought on the nature of being. Aristotle continues this attitude but takes it further: he asks what is the nature of this thought (the label ‘metaphysics’ comes later). Therefore there always have been other characterizations of metaphysics. Here are some alternative characterizations as the study of (1) being as such (being-as-being), of first causes, of unchanging things (2) categories of being (i.e. just below being in generality) including universals (concerning whether such things as redness exist or are mere names) (3) substance (e.g. mind, matter… posited as the fundamental nature of all being). In modern times the study has moved away from cosmology to more specific issues arising from science and an interest in basics rather than the grand picture (which I presume to be a result of the fact that science putatively provides that picture (Metaphysics—Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) such topics as (1) modality, (2) space and time, (3) persistence and constitution, (4) causation, freedom and determinism, and (5) the mental and physical. In a modern continuation of the older metaphysics it has been suggested that metaphysics be considered (1) as metaphysics of experience—i.e., let us think of experience (awareness) as defining a universe (which includes experience) and describe that universe and any of its patterns and (2) metaphysics as the study of abstract objects (in contrast to science which is the study of concrete objects).
11. As I have noted elsewhere the ‘real question’ is not Which (combination) of these meanings is metaphysics. We must go back to the meaning of meaning: word-concept-object. If we think in terms of word-object (‘metaphysics’-metaphysics, in this case) we naturally end in confusion. Each meaning is a different concept. But there is overlap and / or relationship in the meanings (they constitute a Wittgensteinian family of meaning), But the family semblance is beside the point I wish to make (which is not that one meaning is the meaning). It is rather that the meaning used here is (a) a possible, (b) valid, (c) immensely significant, (d) is capable of subsuming what is valid in all other meanings. That is the answer to the question we are asking when we ask ‘What is metaphysics’? Sometimes we must answer the (approximate and approximately understood) question to know what the question really is.
The restitution of metaphysics
12. The possibility of metaphysics remains widely criticized. While this has significant acceptance there is no modern consensus. In the early twentieth century from the inroads in science into (apparently) all niches of being completed the displacement of religion (in the minds of many, especially the educated and the intellectual) and metaphysics suffered nearly the same fate. Thus the immensely creative Process and Reality (1929) of A. N. Whitehead was not received with enthusiasm. The philosophical sway of the time was the positivist influence: all conceptual systems could be derived from fact and metaphysics (as superposed over or on fact, let alone constructive metaphysics) was eschewed. Since then that positivism (e.g. that of the Vienna Circle) has floundered (there is for example no deriving Einstein’s theories from fact) but the suspicion of metaphysics remained from (a) the gap between knower and known (b) the speculations of special and systematic metaphysics and (c) the assumption that the natural sciences (including the science of mind) had taken over all reality and the supposed function of metaphysics. This still constitutes the dominant worldview (2015) even though as we have seen (even ignoring the universal metaphysics) there is no basis for this (the view is of course reasonable relative to our empirical cosmos). Today metaphysics has risen again in significance and work in the field but it has received new interpretation. While the new activities are significant in themselves, here it is the presumption that the ‘old’ metaphysics is dead that is criticized, denied, and an alternative given. The restitution is not precisely to the old metaphysics as such.
An open slate
It is putative among those who accept metaphysics that its nature is an open slate.
Back to fundamentals
13. Let us, therefore, go back to fundamentals (this discussion anticipates some of the developments that follow). Being is that which is; there is being. This is beyond question (and is simultaneously analytic and synthetic—rue in virtue of meaning and true in virtue of experience). Simultaneously, domain, universe, and the concept of natural law—though not the content of natural laws—can be brought under the umbrella of metaphysics. This much is beyond all doubt. Then comes the introduction of the void which is worthy of doubt but to which doubt we have responded. That is the entire metaphysical framework of being, experience, universe, domain, natural law, void, and realism (i.e. the pure universal metaphysics) has been shown to be an ultimate system in two ways (a) it is demonstrated and therefore non-speculative and, particularly, its system is ‘natural’ rather than imposed; and (b) it show the universe to be ultimate. The criterion for this metaphysical system is that of perfect faithfulness. Finally the entire tradition of knowledge (terrestrial or other) was brought under the framework; here the criterion was not perfect faithfulness but one or other of the related ‘good enough’ and ‘emphasis on being-in-the-world’). It is important that these criteria need no apology: ‘good enough’ is often immensely though only locally precise; more importantly, except for the pure part, the metaphysics itself has shown that we can do no better but need do no better in relation to the aim of the narrative which is now revealed as the ultimate aim of being (in saying this it is not implied that the ultimate is better or not better than the immediate but that it includes the immediate).
14. In an earlier point I mentioned that metaphysics ‘becomes a vehicle for imaginative cosmology, psychology, ethics, morals, the science of the time, history, social organization and politics, art, and more’—it becomes a vehicle for what is valid in tradition. That tradition may be called the tradition of human knowledge and practice-which has disciplines, methods (which may include methodology: how to think about method). To have significance, to be more than a system of curiosity, any metaphysics should be capable of this and more. What should it do? (1) It should refer to a fundamental element or elements—desirably not in need of further analysis and capable of being a framework for the universe as represented in valid tradition. It is desirable that the framework should show the boundary of the possible if not the actual. In the universal metaphysics the actual and the possible are shown to be identical and possibility is ‘logical’ which leads to a re-conceptualization of logic. (2) It should be capable of showing a fundamental aim for being (human-animal being for us) and should, as framework, suggest how this aim may be approached. (3) Although it may derive from various sources and imagination, it should be capable of being proved which must be shown (directly by proof—as for the universal metaphysics) or indirectly by showing that a proof exists (4) But more than proof it should ‘reveal itself’. What does this mean? In practical terms it means that metaphysics should flow directly and unquestionably from our ‘being-in-the-world-as-experiential-beings. That is it should carry the elements of its own proof which is commonly thought impossible but which we have found to hold for the universal metaphysics. This point may be relaxed as follows: alternatively, our knowing and being which are imperfect from some points of view (perfect faithfulness of knowledge) should be shown perfect from some alternative point of view which is also shown to be its essential point of view. A combination of the foregoing is also possible: a framework that is perfectly faithful and a fill in (e.g. tradition) that is perfect to its task relative to the framework derived from our being-in-the-world (an evaluation of whether it is perfectible on the criterion of perfect faithfulness would be conceptually and practically useful: it would be conceptually useful in telling us that we have knowledge—tradition—that has limits of precision and that is and must be good enough for the fundamental and other aims; and practically useful because we would neither desire nor ‘waste’ time trying to achieve the unnecessary and unachievable). Note that while in a certain obvious sense epistemology is part of metaphysics: metaphysics is knowledge of being; but knowledge is or has being; therefore metaphysics includes knowledge of knowledge; but knowledge of knowledge is epistemology; therefore epistemology is properly part of metaphysics. This suggests not that one is before or superior to the other but that both must emerge together. This is precisely the development of the universal metaphysics. (5) It would not just frame tradition but it would (a) show how the elements of tradition flowed from it or meshed with it (subject of course to the limits of item #4) or (b) show how the system of elements and individual elements should be ideally modified; which includes the revelation of further categories of being. What elements? Precisely those stated at the beginning of this paragraph and more generally those of a system of human knowledge. This entire system would of course not be metaphysics in its core present sense (knowledge of being as being) but, on the expanded notion of a practical metaphysics, it may be taken as such (a further comment on the practical is pertinent: a philosopher asks of a crooked wall whether the crookedness is of the wall or of perception and / or representation and the real and practical answer is of course that it is of the thing even while it is the form of the perceiver allows the perception… but then the philosopher reflects on the situation where the wall is crooked but we and even our best instruments cannot see it… the situation is like that of scientific theories that are only possible when prior theories have exception, concepts can explain that, and measurement from new technology make the appropriate measurement… then the thought occurs how we know this… and Kant’s answer was that the categories of being and knowing are the same… and it can now be observed that while the universal metaphysics does not have Kant’s categories it nonetheless has categories from the perfect to the practical… and so we can know the crookedness of the wall in some cases… not in others… and still in very real and appropriate ways have perfect universal knowledge which includes knowledge of the essential limits of knowledge in the present and, as corollary, the freedom of this not knowing / being in that there is always something to come to know / be, something that keeps our being eternally fresh). All this is satisfied by the universal metaphysics. It might seem that there is nothing left to do. We could sit back and enjoy being forever. This is not the case at all; the point has been discussed before: the ultimate is the ‘limit’ and effectiveness and enjoyment flow from intelligent commitment. The universal metaphysics shows that the being of the universe as well as our being are ultimately identical and ever open; i.e. in being in process, intelligent-committed-risk-taking-sharing, amid joy and pain, we are being in the ultimate (with variety and peaks and dissolutions as detailed elsewhere). (6) The practical metaphysics—the mesh of the framework and valid tradition—should be a prime tool in working out the aim in so far as that aim can be methodological (while of course leaving the rest to adventure).
Hypothesis, speculation, and reason
15. The universe is the object of realism. This is not speculation. What would be speculation is the attachment of probability and significance to the objects (of realism). But ‘speculation’ has more than one connotation and speculation as a dirty word is rank speculation, speculation for only its own sake, speculation that would pass off as fact. On the other hand we do not call the hypotheses of science speculation even that is what they at least initially are. Speculation that is also self and otherwise critical is not ‘dirty’ but part of the process of becoming unless one has the superstition that what science has revealed is (almost) all there is (superstition is belief in supernatural causes and it is super-natural to think that nature-revealed-so-far is nature). While reason often validly presents its outcome as free of hypothetical procedure, its process must include hypothesis. This is true not only at the forefront of knowledge but even in recreation and learning.
The concepts of being, experience, universe, and pattern (as conceptualizing no more than their definition—i.e. understood without reference to their details) are perfect; they (define objects that) have being.
From the study of metaphysics has already begun: being, experience, universe, pattern (including natural law), void, and realism define a sound metaphysical framework that, as framework, is ultimate (a) in capturing the universe perfectly and (b) in showing the universe to be ultimate.
This framework is named the universal metaphysics or simply the metaphysics.
Extension to all valid knowledge
The framework will be filled out below to extend to all tradition and all possible valid knowledge (but the ‘fill in’ will be regarded as perfect only for criteria to be justified but not according to perfect faithfulness). When the framework is filled out below the names ‘universal metaphysics’ and ‘the metaphysics’ will be retained.
Many proofs from the fundamental principle are so trivial (some of course are not) that proof may be omitted. What is important is interpretation, which will be given, and challenge to intuition. The issue of intuition may be addressed by (a) carefully following the formal development, (b) remembering that the metaphysics is proved and consistent with tradition, (d) in remembering that where even hallowed principles of experience and physical science are violated, these principles are, after all empirical (examples are the conservation laws and the so called non inter-penetrability of matter), and (d) allowing time for assimilation.
The fundamental principle asserts that the universe is the universe of possibility. It follows that (a) many proofs of very consequential but unexpected results will be so trivial as to not require explicit demonstration and (b) that the results, as is the case for the principle itself, will often be very counterintuitive.
Obvious proofs will not be given. However, there will come a point where proof will be indicated and given. It is anticipated that the future development of the metaphysics will have parts that are immensely difficult (e.g. to human minds); this is a consequence of the metaphysics. However, the metaphysics also says (as made explicit below) that there will be an ‘evolution of intelligence’ that will be at least in step of the demands of proof. Further, any given form may find new approaches to conceptualization that make proof much easier. Perhaps, as has already begun, we will find mixed human-computer approaches to simplification.
The problem of intuition should be overcome by (a) attention to the proof of the fundamental principle and its basis in the given (b) attention to the fact that the principle is not in violation of the tradition (even though it is surprising relative to traditional worldviews) (c) careful attention to the meanings of concepts and the system of concepts as defined and developed here (acknowledging but not directly using other meanings) and (d) allowing time for familiarization.
The simple cases do not exhaust the possibilities. Consider for example ‘every cosmos is an atom, every atom a cosmos. Is there a source for figuring such complex possibilities and more in detail? Here, we might begin to encounter issues with the logics so far and the evolution of logic (at the border between logic and science).
Even in simple cases of imagination care is needed to ensure that no implicit impossibility has been admitted. Here the modern logical systems, axiomatic set theory (to avoid paradox) and mereology (analysis and theory of part-whole and part-part relations; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mereology/) may be useful.
A complete critical - rational development of this process is impossible but in process developments of our science, logic, metaphor-myth-allegory would seem to be open ended and the territory vast.
These approaches give us leverage in the findings below regarding the general cosmological picture, identity and death, The Real, and the issue of nature and spirit.
Begin with the world and our being in the world… this is of course a repetition of what was said above under aim and approach.
I.e., with knowledge and experience so far and then with further experience, imagination, criticism, experiment and becoming.
Our knowledge is the only place to begin
Except for pure risk, there is no place to begin other than with knowledge, experience, and the world as we find it. But since we want to go beyond this, we seek further experience, imagination, criticism, experiment, and becoming. This is of course the process of knowing and being but it is explicitly spelled out to our purpose.
Particularly, begin with our cosmos—its cosmology, space-time, mind-matter as we know it, individual-civilization, and knowledge of symbol.
Need for systematic account of knowledge
A systematic account of the tradition—here understood to include the ancient and the modern, the literal and the mythic—is invaluable to realization of the aim revealed by the metaphysics.
Note greater system and detail in a system of human knowledge.
Now turn to how to deploy this beginning…
I.e., to fill in details for the metaphysics. Note in the following that there is overlap among and within the details of the principles.
It was seen in objects that Realism leads to a far greater population / variety of being in the universe. More than that it provides an approach to understanding the place of the concrete against the timeless and perhaps space-less background.
Depth, power, breadth, and limits
Thus the depth of the metaphysics as foundation is ultimate. Explanation terminates at the void (or equivalently at any element of being). Surprisingly it is an absolute and non relative foundation (it is non relative in that it refers to no further or deeper foundation and absolute in that it does not need to so refer for its own foundation).
The following brief excursion into ‘cosmology’ further shows the power of the metaphysics. Thus the power of the universe is without limit to ‘breadth’: the identity and being of the universe occur in acute, diffuse, and void or non-manifest phases; there is no limit to their variety, extension, duration, peak and magnitude and quality, and dissolution. The Aeternitas (all knowing and being manifest as one) of Thomas Aquinas and Brahman of Vedanta are the peak of peaks. The individual inherits this power for the contrary would be a limit on the power.
Does this mean that the individual has no limits? The answer is that as long as the individual remains in limited form, the approach to the ultimate are eternal process. Would this not be experienced as essentially stale? No, for the variety is without end, ever fresh (the issue of memory is dealt with in cosmology).
Death, pain, and joy
Though not part of the development of the metaphysics, some conclusions from the fundamental principle regarding these human issues are placed here to show the power of the metaphysics. They are explained further, particularly in general cosmology.
Death is real but not absolute. In life, death is a reminder of its preciousness.
From the fundamental principle, our lives are necessarily mosaics of pain and joy. This (significant) meaning to pain is extended later. What might one do when faced with deep, inescapable pain, especially pain that seems to serve no purpose, pain and death of an infant? These questions are addressed later in pain and enjoyment.
The word ‘explanation’ has many meanings. We may want explanations (a) because they satisfy a desire to know or understand and / or (b) insofar as knowing enables knowledge of good ends and right action toward them (motives a and be are of course related). With this in mind, a first criterion of a good explanation is that the unfamiliar should be explained in terms of the familiar. So in trans-secular systems where God is regarded as original truth, God is a preferred explanation of the world and its origins. The explanation is also preferred insofar as it offers a way of salvation. However, this is an explanation of the familiar and the relatively simple in terms of the remote and the complex (God knows all). It is therefore not an instrumentally empowering explanation. On the other hand the theory of evolution is an instrumentally empowering explanation of living organisms: while it may seem complex, when understood it is seen as an explanation from simplicity to complex form. Thus evolutionary biology offers a route to understanding living form and medicine where religious faith does not. The desire for explanation is an original motive to metaphysics. Thus earlier metaphysics were often substance based: they were explanations of change and complexity in ultimately simple and unchanging substances. The universal metaphysics goes beyond even the simplicity of substance: it makes no assumption at all. Further, in combination with tradition (science) it provides enhanced instrumental explanation; and it builds upon traditional faith in showing the ultimate and ways to it without positing (assuming, truth by declaration) the fundamental nature of being and the ultimate. In the present metaphysics, there is no first cause: the universe is and requires no support for its being; it is (may be) explained from nothing—the ultimately simple—which requires no further explanation.
Note that universal metaphysics as explanation violates intuition in its related but distinct ‘common’ as well as Kantian senses. However, this is not a contradiction or absurdity, and its resolution is in re-education: the expansion of common intuition and the modification of Kantian intuition (the replacement of Kantian categories by the more fundamental categories, especially those of experience-being, universe, domain, law, void, and realism).
Existence of the void: a principle of Realism or Logic-Science
The existence of the void is a principle of Realism or Logic-Science (capitals signify reconceptualization but will be used no further in this regard).
The concepts of being, experience, universe, and void are perfectly faithful in that they are concepts with precisely defined objects. That is, they constitute metaphysics as perfectly faithful knowledge of being. Thus they constitute a Kantian-like framework which is perfect because while Kant’s categories were too detailed to constitute metaphysics, the abstract character of the four concepts above permits perfectly faithful knowledge even though there is an experiential gap between knower and known.
Though not the categories of Kant, we have found categories in the sense of Kant (categories of being and knowledge and, simultaneously, solutions to the problem of knowledge).
These are perfect in the abstract, i.e. as long as we are not looking at details within them (the abstraction suggests triviality which, however, is not the case). In discussion of an extension of the metaphysics these will be supplemented by practical categories that include detail.
It would seem that this metaphysics might be trivial. However, we just saw that it is far from trivial.
What is the place of tradition, especially local culture, in the metaphysics so far? If the universe is limitless with regard to possibility it must confer this power on local forms. However while we (individual, civilization) are limited, realization of peak power is a process. The imperfect aspects of culture-tradition play an essential role in this process (and they include of course experiment, trial, and reason). Further the metaphysics shows that they are essentially lacking in the sense of perfection as faithfulness. On the other hands they are the essential practical tools of process. Therefore in a practical but also existential sense (i.e. they include the notion of being-in-the-world) they are perfect in their way—imperfect as pure knowledge but perfect means.
As an ultimate framework for all being, the metaphysics is also an ultimate frame for valid tradition. The frame and tradition are complementary. The metaphysical frame illuminates and guides tradition; tradition-in-process inspires, fills out, and is an instrument for action within the framework.
The framework as framework is perfectly faithful depiction; the tradition is not. However, the framework shows that tradition-in-its-detail is never perfect in this sense but that since it is the only instrument we have (it includes our in process knowledge and their in process principles), tradition is perfect in a practical sense. This sense is ‘good enough’ knowledge which includes both the instrumental and knowledge as serving and deriving from being-in-the-world. Thus the metaphysical framework and tradition complement each other and the result is a practical metaphysics that is perfect in an extended sense.
The extension is perfect in an extended sense that, for the metaphysical framework is perfect depiction and for the tradition is ‘good enough’ and ‘there can be no better’ or in the non-depictive sense as ‘being-in-the-world’; and the components of the extension are necessary to and enhance one another (the term the metaphysics will hereafter refer to this extension of the framework). What is valid in tradition and common experience and its process can be validly appended to the list of perfectly known objects (provided the meaning of perfection is as just extended).
It will be useful to consider an example of the interaction: in some but traditions death is considered absolute. The metaphysics will later show that death is real but not absolute. This is one of many examples that show at a deep level that the metaphysics is a system of interaction among tradition and framework: the tradition illustrates and inspires the framework and the framework enhances the tradition, often showing where it may be raised from tentative to definite.
The (extended) metaphysics can, therefore, be regarded a single coherent system. The sense or concept of being is not changed by the extension. Error will not accrue if the ideal framework and the practical objects are not conflated (except where conflation is shown warranted).
It is useful to consider another example. If our cosmos is formed from a single pure eternal kind (‘substance’) the kind must somehow include experience and world (we might call these mind and matter). That is, experience and world are two sides of the same kind (on the substance view). They are not different—but how so? World is, roughly, being-as-being and experience is being-in-relationship. Now focus on the universe. Substance is untenable because it would be a law of the void. But from limitlessness of possibility, the universe must have identity that is conferred on individuals (at least as process). From this perspective, too, experience and world are meshed as one.
What the example shows is that the metaphysics and tradition are not just complements but that they form a union that is mutually enhancing and, as already seen, perfect.
That is, the result of the union of the metaphysics and tradition may be regarded also as metaphysics. The former is universal, pure and epistemically perfect. The latter is universal, practical, and practically perfect. The meaning epistemic perfection here is ‘faithful depiction’; the meaning of ‘practical perfection’ is that of the best possible means of realization.
The metaphysics is a perfect, unique, ultimate, and practical metaphysics!
Clearly, Logic is a part of metaphysics. However, only where its necessity is positively known can we say that its truth stands above revisability. It is only the pure metaphysics that has been shown to have positive truth. In that realm, premises and argument are certain. For other concerns neither premise nor argument is certain and, as we have seen, the distinction between induction and deduction is not as important as we have thought. Except in a pure metaphysics, e.g. the pure metaphysics, neither premise nor argument is ever perfect; validity and soundness of argument is a matter of degree and judgment.
More on categories: older notes
The abstract categories of the perfect metaphysical framework are supplemented or filled in by the detailed and ‘practical’ categories (beginning with extension of the metaphysics). These are the ‘good enough’ and the ‘being-in-the-world’ which are perfect, not only in the practical sense but in that we can and need have no better (they can be improved of course but there is a limit to the improvement which we cannot and need not exceed; and though we can reach the limit there is always a judgment as to whether we ‘need’ to—i.e. a balance between the imperative to precision and the imperatives of being-in-the-world and becoming or realization… and a balance between a technological imperative to precision and an economic imperative regarding the cost versus benefit of precision).
The good enough and the being-in-the-world include a host of detail, including the categories of Kant-Schopenhauer (and, within realism, many other systems, rational and feeling and, of course, cognitive-emotive.
Some older notes on metaphysics
Metaphysics is analysis of being.
The analysis so far is perfect and will be further and perfectly extended to an ultimate metaphysical framework and then, in a different sense of perfection to understanding of and being in the entire universe.
Metaphysics is possible
It follows that, contrary to much received opinion, metaphysics in the traditional sense of knowledge of being-as-being is possible and for a far greater part of being than was generally imagined in the pre and post critical eras.
And, here, actual and ultimate
The metaphysical framework will be ultimate (a) in framing the entire universe and (b) in showing the universe to be the realization of all possibility.
Perfection so far will be extended in another but appropriate sense of perfection to the tradition
The analysis so far of being, experience, real world, universe, pattern (law), universe, part or domain, and the void is perfect in the sense of faithful depiction (the knower generally contributes to the known but the concepts noted refer perfectly). This perfection will be extended to ‘realism’ and thus bring fundamental and general principles of knowing and being under the same umbrella of being. Then there will be an extension to all knowledge and being; here there will be on perfection of depiction but there will be perfection in a sense that is practical / centered on limited being. The perfection in the latter sense would not obtain on the standard cosmologies but flow from the new metaphysics about to be established.
The developments described meet the Kantian critique
The contribution of the knower to the known is well acknowledged in a number of cultures, especially modern western philosophy. Immanuel Kant developed an analysis of the contribution—perceptually-conceptually—and developed this into a critical and constructive epistemology-metaphysics. It seems to me that Kant presumed the contribution of the knower to be universally present (I regard this as obvious, at least naïvely and without further reflection) and as universally affecting the knowledge. But we have just shown that the effect is not universal and shall be continuing to develop a metaphysics on this basis. It remains true of course that there is a vast empirical realm for which the contribution of the knower does affect the knowledge. However the development of the metaphysics where the knower does apprehend the known (thus the metaphysics is empirical) but does not affect the knowledge or its validity will diminish the importance of the realm in which the knowledge may be distorted. This is because the metaphysics reveals a far larger realm than recognized traditionally and shows the latter to be transitional in the service of the former.
Notes on the Kantian critique and construction
Kant noted the fundamental contribution of the knower to the known, i.e. to the phenomena; he concluded that the real, the ‘noumena’ cannot be known by the senses but that we can know of it conceptually. He then observed some fundamental categorial aspects of the phenomena—the world as known. These are among the Kantian categories of being which include, and which Schopenhauer later identified as the essential categories, space, time, and (Newtonian) causation.
Because the Euclidean Geometry and Newtonian Mechanics of the time seemed to perfectly describe reality, he concluded that the categories of understanding are the categories of being. Further, because the knower contributes, in general, experience of the world as it is can occur only if the categories of understanding are the categories of being. He is therefore simultaneously answering the critique of knowing and deducing the structure of the world and of knowing.
We now know that the geometry and mechanics of the world are not Euclidean and Newtonian.
However, the principle of the critique remains methodically valid, negatively, in relation of the general contribution of the knower but positively, in that for some categories the contribution may be null.
The present response to the Kantian critique is to appropriate it appropriately
Whereas the contribution was null for Kant because of the attunement of the knower, it is null in the present development for different reasons. In the case of the metaphysical framework it is because of the abstraction of the categories is ‘binary’—something does or does not have being (two-ness is not as important as that the categories should be ‘digital’); we have already seen this. It will be perfect for the tradition where it is sufficient for the purpose at hand, and we will show that such purposes arise the moment we begin to move beyond the immediate or where we find being-in-the-world essential over ‘manipulating’ the world, that the knowing be good enough for those purposes (which will be clarified later).
We will find categories that, though not the categories of Kant, are categories fully in the sense of Kant. That is the categories that we find will be simultaneously resolutions of the problem of knowledge and categories of both being and knowing. (Some of these categories have already been found though not identified as categories.)
The process of discovery in this narrative did not start from a search for ‘categories’. Rather it was a search for the real. It was later that I realized that the Kantian framework was applicable to the discoveries.
This analysis now continues and includes extension of the meaning of perfection
When approximation is admitted it will be noted. We will then search for alternative interpretations of ‘perfection’.
Unity of experience: metaphysics, logic, mathematics, science; and an afterthought on affect and metaphor
Comment. The content of the following earlier ‘detail’ sections may be imported here later: logic, mathematics, and science.
In this section on the unity of experience we attempt to bring all experience under the umbrella of realism. The developments suggest the importance of openness regarding realization beyond our present stage of evolution.
What is accomplished is robust practically significant for metaphysics, logic, mathematics, and science. It is tentative for the affective dimension except as we admit potential reference just as we do in science. In that case the practical significance is more potential than realized. However, the significance is more than immediately practical. There is an enhancement in our conception of the range of experience, of a higher sense of the range that includes—say—logic and poetry under a single umbrella without diluting logic or reducing poetry; and the unity brings into relief the question of the relative merits of the two sides in realization. The question is not resolved here but it is possible to imagine an integrated approach as well as particular paths that emphasize the different sides of experience.
The unity of metaphysics, logic, and science as elements in Realism is argued above. A precursor to this was seen in natural law where it was argued that logic and science are of the same kind. How far does this unity go?
It will be useful to say a few preliminary worlds about knowledge, logic, and science. It seems that an ultimate intelligence might perceive all things (this is perhaps self contradictory but it is put as a thought to consider rather than as an assertion—we will not base the development on it—but still it is useful to note that some thinkers hold that under quantum theory a part can know the whole universe). Such an intelligence would know all and would not need to ‘think’. Yes, for its knowledge to be significant, it might need to ‘know’ the data at various levels—the minute atoms of data as well as the various integrations of the atoms as wholes. But perhaps it might be a more accessible adaptation of primality to have some degree of binding—perception and base feeling—mixed with some degree of freedom—higher concept formation and subtle feeling not completely independent of control. The two would act together to be more efficient than the parts even while the whole itself would not be finally perfect—but this would give meaning: being in process… though sometimes but not always peak meaning (but which also lies in process). Then the hypothesis of science is capable of error precisely because it is free which is precisely also while it is capable of true.
Now we sometimes think that the world cannot violate logic (which would be true if our logic was or logics were perfect)—or that logic is a limit on the world. But that is not precisely what logic is about. In our freedom of concept formation we can formulate statements or concepts about the world that are locally incorrect (our world is in the shape of a cube) and other statements that cannot be correct under any circumstance (our world is in the shape of a cube and the shape of a non-cube such as a sphere); for the meaning of ‘the world violates logic’ would be that the impossible is possible. Thus the nature of logic is not that the world cannot or does not violate it but that it is the constraint on concept formation that prevents their violation in any world. I.e. the world does not violate logic because logic is universal; rather to not be in violation of the world our concepts must be logical (which emphasizes the empirical origins of logic).
Here then is a fundamental similarity between logic and science. In the process of science, too, we can make free concepts (hypotheses) that do not ‘agree’ with the world but the process of experiment with concepts enables finding conceptual systems that do have agreement (limited of course in that science is not about the whole world but a part of it in terms of both kind and range of object).
Metaphysics, logic and science
By the twentieth century ‘logic’ came to mean strict deduction and its techniques while ‘science’ became identified as an inductive process. The distinction has truth but is based on a comparison of (deductive) reasoning under logical systems with (concept forming inductive, i.e. reasonable but not necessary hypothetical) reasoning toward scientific theories: the contrast is true but artificial. Non-artificial comparison and contrast, however, is as follows. Arriving at a logical system is typically inductive and often requires trial and error correction—this is as it is in arriving at a scientific theory. On the other hand making conclusions from scientific theories is typically deductive— just as for logical deduction within a logical system. Thus logic and science compare naturally where traditionally they have been artificially contrasted. But there is a contrast for logic and science are, if more alike than typically thought, clearly not the same. Where then is the contrast? WVO Quine has argued that the essential difference is that:
Logic and science are similar in that they are about our knowledge of the world but the distinction is that logical truths are universal while scientific truths are particular (and as we now see, local). Logic is universal, science is local. That is, a scientific theory is about a particular phase and / or part of the universe, logical systems are, to the best of our knowledge, true everywhere (‘in all worlds’) (we can go so far as to say that if the ‘world’ of a scientific theory is just its data points it is a fact or that if it is just a narrow enough interpolation among the data and some reasonable but not universal extrapolation then it is essentially fact as witnessed by the utility of scientific theories, even those that have been superseded by newer ones). This view also conduces to the thought that logic is revisable; and that logic seems a priori because, being more general than science, its truths would be less frequently revised and its origins are more remote (the view of the revisability of science is far more commonplace than that of the revisability of logic).
Now this does not imply that there is no non finality in logic—there are simple logical systems that do seem quite final; but there are also parts of logic that are not particularly esoteric regarding which there is no final formulation in sight; and realism suggests that there are vast spaces for experiment in logic—or that everything must be transitional in science. Here is a conclusion that we have already drawn, that appears to be necessarily true, and that is both logic and science: the void (necessarily) exists.
Logic as conceived here is perfect but ever under development, ever incomplete. Science and logic are approximations.
Summary so far: logic and science are both about the world; however, logic is universal and emphasizes consistency while a scientific system is about some aspect of the world and while conceptual consistency is important the very fact that about some aspect implies that there must be close empirical contact with relevant region of data.
We now bring mathematics into the same fold.
Where does mathematics fit into this framework? Mathematics, too, has parts that seem final and parts that are most likely going to be revised; and perhaps there are completely unknown fields in mathematics. But what is mathematics?
Let us begin with tentative argument In its beginning, mathematics was empirical: number and geometry, for example, concerned aspects of the world. In time a distinction was recognized: whereas science was about particulars, mathematics was about form. (That we can think of mathematical objects as distinct from the empirical is probably the result of evolution of human ‘intelligence’—the brain; this does not of course imply anything about the reality of the mathematical objects). This enabled an abstract turn in mathematics that began at least as early as Greek thought which, though dormant during 16th through 18th century advances in algebra and analysis, accelerated once again since then. The axiomatic approach heightened Greek thought as well as the later turn for in axiomatization, the terms of the axiom system clearly need not refer to the actual world. However, we now—that is after the fundamental principle—see that if an axiom system is consistent then it must refer to the actual world. The ideal form of mathematics had led to the idea that mathematical objects (e.g. number) must be real but since number is not physical (e.g., a number is not located in space) numbers do not reside in this world but in a world of ideas or forms (Plato) or, in modern terms an abstract world that we also refer to as Platonic. However, we have now learned (i) that there is but one world and (ii) a consistent system of mathematics must have reference in this world. Can we then think of mathematics as a science? Yes, in that it refers to the world: in its beginning, mathematics was most probably empirical and we can still view Euclidean Geometry and number as empirical even though intuition, the (seeming) necessity of mathematics, and so the seeming reality of its forms suggest otherwise. However, the way we study mathematics has become different—it is largely symbolic and formal and this is important for this permits any given mathematical structure to be applicable to more than one domain and it simultaneously enables a precision that makes mathematics more rigorous than the natural sciences. Thus mathematics is no longer pursued in the primitive empirical sense and, correspondingly and especially on account of its power, mathematics has largely come to be viewed as symbolic-conceptual-axiomatic-formal. However, the rigor and symbolic approach come at a price. Since we are not talking of an actual structure, we do not know whether we have fully captured any structure or whether ‘full capture’ makes sense. The ideas of Gödel suggest that it makes at most partial sense for Gödel demonstrated that for any sufficiently powerful formal system, there are truths not captured by the system. What that means is that the formal system has not completely captured the world. This, after all is not really a price for logic and natural science are likewise; it is a price only relative to certain hopes that the greater and greater rigor, power, precision, and apparent non reference to the empirical of mathematical thought had led us to expect. A further comment is in order. It is that while we have seen unifying similarities among logic, science, and mathematics we also see that they remain different. Science is relatively concrete. Logic, so far, can be abstract because it is general. On the other hand mathematics is abstract because it refers to form rather than particulars (another way of saying this is that the object to which it refers is what is common to multiple objects of a given kind). But, now, from realism the contact with the real is re-introduced into mathematics and even though the particular systems are not empirically founded, realism shows that as long as they are consistent they must have objects in the one universe. As we will see these objects are, for axiomatic-symbolic systems, abstract objects. We will also see that we may regard mathematical objects as residing in a Platonic ‘universe’ which is not a separate ‘universe’ but a net within the one universe.
Let us return to the question What is mathematics? Theories abound. It is a branch of logic (Logicism), it is the manipulation of axiomatic symbol systems chosen with consistency and applicability in mind according to consistency preserving rules (formalism); it is and must be, at root, a branch of intuition that is plain and deep (intuitionism) but all else is constructed; and Platonism that asserts that the concepts of mathematics have objects but that these objects are not in ‘our world’ but in an ‘ideal’ Platonic world—a world, perhaps, of ideas or forms. However, the metaphysics (realism) tells us that insofar as the conceptual systems of mathematics are consistent—do not violate logic—they must and do have objects in the one universe (see objects for further discussion). The number one, for example, then, is not be something like one stone or one human being but something like what is common to all systems of one thing—and addition (say) is not performed by counting two sets of stones and then counting their join: addition is defined symbolically: it is neither empirically confirmed nor disconfirmed (it would be a surprise if it were empirically disconfirmed and while we doubt this possibility, it is quite possible that there are regions of apparently consistent symbolic thought that are not beyond empirical disconfirmation). Now the point is, just as it was for logic, that regardless of what the object of the number one is (or for any mathematical concept or system), provided that the object / system is a consistent it there is and must be an object.
Then, mathematics becomes the science (or sciences) of the forms of our world—of the one universe; but because it concerns more general (‘abstract’) aspects it is more conveniently studied in abstract (axiomatic, conceptual) terms; but hence, also, the difficulty with completeness and consistency of sufficiently powerful systems of mathematics. Now the sciences of the world—the natural sciences including psychology and perhaps the social sciences—can be seen in a similar light: if the science is consistent, then—even if it is only an approximation to its said object in our world—it must have precise a precise object (which may be compound) and one of these objects is an abstract of our world. How? Three ways: one—focus only on the data points; two—require only sufficient accuracy; three—change the criterion of ‘faithfulness’ to good enough for some purposes. Now, above, we observed that mathematics is the science of the forms rather than the ‘things’ (these are not ultimately different). But, in the beginning, arithmetic and geometry were very empirical: it was later that the axiomatic approach arose as powerful codification of the forms. Here we see the distinction between logic, science, and mathematics break down. They are all systems with objects in the world; they all have at least some perceptual-empirical and some higher conceptual side. What then is the difference? It is this: though the theories may have a major conceptual side, they remain close to the empirical (general relativity was accepted only after sufficient empirical confirmation); and while logic and mathematics have an empirical side, our formal study of them is primarily symbolic and conceptual as described above.
Summary update: mathematics falls under the umbrella of science but it is about form and therefore emphasizes the conceptual side. It may be intuitive in approach but to count as acceptable its formulation must contain no untruth (especially explicit / hidden contradiction) and its method must be truth preserving and therefore emphasizes logic (the application of science also emphasizes logic as it often does mathematics when the forms of nature are simple enough to be captured by our known mathematical forms). Thus mathematics lies in between the particular sciences of the world and logic with regard to formulation (axiomatic vs. conceptual over data) and requirement and possibility of rigor under the system (logical deduction). Hence the strength of mathematics (precision and rigor) and weakness (the symbolic approach has no general guarantee of completeness and of course there is no general guarantee of consistency except in some especially simple and some demonstrated cases).
Final summation: we have brought metaphysics—pure and practical, logic, science, and mathematics under one umbrella. If we were to choose a general label we might choose ‘metaphysics’; but perhaps it would be more appropriate to coin a new word.
Comment. For later investigation. The sharp distinction between the empirical and the conceptual, the synthetic and the analytic seems to be blurring. When the varieties of logic, which are not considered here, are taken into account, the blurring seems more pronounced. It suggests, not that there is no distinction, but (a) perhaps that ‘everything’ is empirical and (b) perhaps the distinction is a ‘continuum’. What is the variable that defines this continuum? One possibility: universality. The proto-metaphysical framework (i.e. up to introduction of the void)is simultaneously synthetic and true in virtue of its meaning. If we accept existence of the void then this is also the case for the metaphysical framework. A point for reflection: how far and in what way does this also hold for the entire metaphysics (framework + tradition + process etc)? Depending on how far this goes we may find that the analytic / synthetic division is a function of ‘degree of omniscience’. Note that if the universe is the object of logic, i.e. the realization of all possibility, then the analytic is co-extensive with the synthetic.
Affect, metaphor, and indirect and potential reference
Here consider an integration of the affective side of being with the previous integrations.
The thoughts in this section are tentative but interesting and potentially powerful and empowering.
Can feeling or mixed feeling-cognitive (emotion, ethics, intending, willing, and metaphor and poetry and music) be brought under the same umbrella as the cognitive endeavors such as the sciences, mathematics, and logic? Emotion is important as motivation in the cognitive but it would be a mistake to conclude from this that emotion and the cognitive disciplines are at some root level the same or similar. However, this is what the principle is: anything can be brought under the one umbrella if or to the extent that it is an experiential state and we know that it has objects. It is not hard to show that there are ways in which the above aspects of the mixed endeavors have objects but it would be harder to show that is all that that is all that there is to them. And if they are only experiential, then what of that? Well there is as we have seen nothing that has no potential object. But what if that is all that they are—potentially experiential (and in our unawareness we do not know whether they are actually or merely potentially referring to some putative object)? In response ask—what is the value of the experience? The value is that we cherish—or despise—the experience. All experience is ‘of the object’—either in the first order or in the second: the object is experience itself.
But how can we say all this is ‘logical’? Here is how: experience is relationship; so if it is not logical there is neither actual nor potential object (‘logic’ / ‘realism’ is not being used vaguely; rather they are being used in the sense defined here which has been immensely broadened by the fundamental principle). Think of a scientific endeavor; we make a hypothesis; it has no object but we do not know this; so even if without ultimate value it has in process value. Similarly with general experience; much of that experience has ultimate value; but even where it does not it may well have in process value. In process value is at least on the way to ultimate value.
One is tempted here to complain: we are making a confusion regarding logic; we are reducing poetry and so on. However, this is not what is happening. On an ‘everyday’ level logic is what we have thought it to be and poetry is what we have thought and felt. On the other hand we have immensely broadened logic and we are now broadening the meaning of art and poetry. Whatever function that has in the lives of peoples and cultures continues undiminished. But now the cognitive and the mixed have new broadened—the word may be preferred to ‘higher’—senses. On the side of the cognitive, it has been broadened its scope has been broadened by showing it equivalent to an ultimate-perfect metaphysics; on the side of poetry (the mixed) we find that even the most sublime metaphor is also metaphysical or logical (in the broadest sense). Any affront that my formal and poetic sensibilities experiences is due to equation of the older traditional meanings of the terms and not the ultimate meanings.
The main question, to which I do see a clear answer (yet) and to which I don’t know that a good and useful answer is possible, is how, apart from the significant points of the insight and the fact that forward process may well enhanced by it, such an answer might come about and what form it would take. That doubt regarding significance, however, is excepting:
That there is this new significant insight on the unity of the experiential endeavor of being and that forward process in understanding the endeavor may well also be practically advanced by the insight. The question arises, for example, what the relative roles of the cognitive and the affective might be in universal realization. It is hard to tell, for as powerful as we find our cognitive endeavors our human minds may well have limits here. On the other hand we can hardly assert that because the affective and the mixed have given us wonderful images of the universe that those are ultimate rather that ultimate-to-us. But reflect on the roles of the perceptual (direct and of the world but including experience), the feeling (the tying bonds with the world including experience and others), and the conceptual (the overlay that integrates and for which subtle feeling is also significant). It would then seem that forward process not just in this life but also across death which is relative but not absolute will be an integration of the divisions of endeavor. But all this is already seen in the metaphysics.
Summary: the metaphysics—metaphysics as presented here—already contains an image of ultimate realization of all and highest being and process in terms of all dimensions of the being of individuals and cultures.
Also see imagination, doubt, and criticism.
The immensity of consequences of the metaphysics should lead to doubt. Let us therefore allow doubt. If doubt is essential (rather than merely critical or refining), this must be good for it is an existential challenge to act in face of uncertainty (though not absurdity in this case). The metaphysics may be adopted as part of the existential attitude: it then becomes an action principle in the sense that appropriate action and resource under it maximizes expected outcome.
More on doubt and existential attitude
The essential doubt about the metaphysics concerned existence of the void.
The situation is the same as for any realist (no factual or logical inconsistency and eminently reasonable) proposition. That is, provided there is no inconsistency or absurdity, and further provided that there are excellent reasons to regard the proposition as true, we are often willing to tolerate some doubt. It is important here that the source of doubt has more to do with the magnitude of the significance of the proposition (existence of the void) than with doubt about its proof.
Examples of doubt regarding all significant propositions
Examples abound in science but especially in mathematics.
The existence—though counterintuitive relative to standard worldviews—is not absurd, not paradoxical, and not inconsistent with what is valid in the worldviews (which includes their principles of reason). Further the given proof makes the existence highly reasonable.
Plausibility arguments for existence of the void
There are various plausibility arguments regarding existence of the void. One rephrases the proof—the laws apply and the patterns are of manifest being but not of nothingness. Another is that there is no significant conceptual difference between existence and non-existence of the void.
On account of the potential for great return on the investment, we therefore adopt the metaphysics as an existential attitude or principle of reason.
Of course, we have seen that the doubt is groundless; it is prompted by the magnitude of the proposition and unclear thinking; but since experience and being are limitless, the metaphysics is valid as a principle of thought and action that stands against nihilism.
Enabling character of ‘existential attitude
This is more than ‘attitude’. It is optimization of expected return. However, attitude is significant for it empowers action.
Since certainty would be a guarantee there is an existential sense in which uncertainty (where not absurd) is prized over certainty.
In so much as we have ignorance, the existential attitude is maximally enabling.
The metaphysics as a ‘scientific theory’
The quotes are important because I do not want to claim to derive support from the power of science.
Doubts have been recorded. It is not that the metaphysics has any kind of inconsistency (it may of course be counterintuitive). Instead we are not 100% confident of its basis. The same obtains for any universal scientific theory such as the physical cosmologies of Newton, Einstein, and quantum theory-as-fundamental-to-all-matter. Einstein succeeds Newton. Newton continues to have a domain of validity—a limited one whose limits are shown by Einstein. But we are not confident that Einstein projects beyond our empirical cosmos. Einstein is a projection on the empirical cosmos, a projection that is immensely successful so far. This is part of what marks it as science. More explicitly, it has survived test and criticism.
We may view the metaphysics similarly. It is consistent with all the theories above in their domains of validity. But is the metaphysics capable of test? That has the consistencies so far count as a criticism that it has survived. But can we perform experiments that might invalidate it? If we were ever to come against some absolute limit that fell short of the ultimate revealed in the metaphysics that would count as a test that it failed. Though tests are remote they are not ruled out—i.e., the metaphysics, though tinged by the analytic, is also synthetic.
But there is one difference. Where it seems that no detailed science can be universal, the metaphysics is already universal.
Is this an asymmetry? Apparently, yes—except when science is viewed as process: in this case science as process is seen by and in the metaphysics as approach to the universal and thus partner to the metaphysics (these remarks may also apply to the mythic holism of narrative accounts of the world).
Some weakness of some critical approaches are (1) they exempt themselves from criticism, (2) the criticism assumes that knowledge is uniform with regard to the concept and realization of perfection—there is precisely no need, as we have seen, for the concept to be one: we have seen perfect faithfulness in the metaphysical framework and perfection in imperfect faithfulness where it is optimal in relation to the aim (not that more precision / accuracy are not practical), and (3) they ignore subtleties. An example of the first weakness is ‘no knowledge is possible’; but the claim itself is knowledge. The counter-criticism is not subtle for the original claim can be rendered ‘most knowledge of the world involved distortion’. The second weakness was addressed as it was mentioned. Now, for the third weakness, consider the earlier argument ‘Even if the void is not manifest, outside manifestation there is no law. We may consider this outside the void. All possible objects emerge from the void since the contrary would be a natural law of the void.’ If we are thinking that the void must be manifest then we are imposing our intuition (which we assume to be logical) on the universe. We would be avoiding subtlety on the ‘ground’ that our logical imagination is blocked by our anti-logical intuition.
For realism, doubt must be recursive, it should not be single in its criteria where there are multiple values to knowledge, and it should not be unreflective in application of a naïve intuition confused as logic.
Yet it would be a mistake to think doubt unimportant; that would be take doubt about doubt un-reflexively.
Doubt and imagination are crucial in the history and future of understanding and knowledge.
Detail: learning and doubt
One of the points to reflective thought is to understand the world in new ways. It is not the goal to justify or reject our common understanding. This has two sides: understanding and the world. With the rise of secularism we have come to think, sometimes explicitly though often by default, that secular thought has the measure of the world. But secularism does not know this. But the ‘student’ (i.e. all of us) should expect that he or she is in state of both knowledge and ignorance on the sides of world and understanding. The role of the teacher (including the teacher within) is to have neutrality to the issue, letting understanding and world emerge as they may. Neutrality, however, is ‘double edged. For commitment is also important as motivation: the question is of course ‘what kind of commitment’. We want commitment to the process or emerging insight. Occasionally, though, commitment to a position results in working out of the position and so advance by new understanding or by rejection of mistaken understanding. Doubt and commitment partner well.
The fundamental problem of metaphysics
Something from nothing
We saw that the universe does and must go through non manifest and manifest phases. This resolves what has been called the fundamental problem of metaphysics—i.e. why there is (manifest) being at all.
There is a more direct proof that avoids the issue of the existence of the void. It is that if the universe were in a state of absolute nothingness there would be no laws and therefore something would emerge.
There is a more direct proof that avoids the issue of the existence of the void. First, however, it is useful to be clear about the meaning of the question. Is it Why is there always something? The problem springs from the fact that we observe something (the world) here and now and it may then occur to us to reflect on why that is the case. So we are not asking why there is always something because that is not truly a question—it assumes that there is always something and then asks why. But our observation does not tell us that there is always something: it tells us only that right here and now there is something (perhaps it is only my immediate experience but still that is something). So the question we are asking is Why is there something right now? But that is not quite right either. Our world is an occasion of something-ness and it is not precisely in the here and now. And perhaps there have been and will be other worlds. Can we ask the question so that it is neutral to these distinctions? Yes we can and the question to ask then is Why is the universe not eternally in a state of absolute nothingness? Now even that form of the question leaves open the meaning of ‘eternally’ for does that not presume that there is time? So whatever ‘eternal’ might mean in a state of absolute nothingness, it is already contained in the concept of absolute nothingness. The question now becomes Why is the universe not absolute nothingness? We can still question the question. If the universe is absolute nothing-ness is that not something? I.e., absolute nothingness contains nothing but perhaps it is not nothing—which is somewhat analogous to the existence of the empty set. The issue of nothingness not being nothing is suggested by the power of the void. But that may be a mistake of my intuition: the thought that something cannot come from nothing is still lurking in my intuition when I think that thought. So the power of the void can still be there with void as absolute nothingness without violating any ultimate principle even though it might violate my intuition and even the ‘laws of physics’. So we may now ask: Why is the universe not in a state of absolute non-manifestation? The answer is that in absolute non-manifestation there is no law (laws have being) and therefore for nothing to emerge would violate the no law condition. Another way of putting this is that absolute non-manifestation is an inconsistent or self-contradictory concept (the inconsistency however is not superficial). Thus the fact that the universe has states of manifestation, i.e. that it is not absolute non-manifestation, is a point of logic. And we have seen elsewhere that the existence of the void alongside the manifest universe is also a point of logic. We are closer to the heart of the issue than we were at the outset of the question.
We can also ask whether there is always something. But the meaning of this question depends on what we mean by something. If the void is something then there is always something but not necessarily always manifest being.
It is also interesting to ask why we ask the question of something from nothing. The question may arise in a moment of puzzlement or wonder. I might ask What is the meaning of my existence? But I may go below that and wonder that I exist at all and then why there is a manifest universe. Or in a moment of nihilism I might worry that being is unstable… These thoughts are part of the motive to the next section.
The significance of enquiring about something from nothing
The name ‘fundamental problem of metaphysics’ was used by Martin Heidegger. It is the subject of the first chapter of his Introduction to Metaphysics (trs. Gregory Fried and Richard Polt, 2000, 2 ed. 2014). The original Einführung in die Metaphysik, based on a 1935 lectures, was printed in 1953. I cannot do justice to the work as I have not read it yet. Yet it is interesting to think of approaches to the question and its significance. In the present work it is significant because it is a challenge to which the work rises and responds. Further the response is immensely powerful for the rest of the human endeavor of knowing and being. But I have recorded doubts. That other thinkers also think that being and the being of being are important only adds to the importance of doubt.
Still it is interesting to ask of the significance of the question and possible approaches to it.
Surely, with Heidegger, it is the question of questions—the first question to ask of being. Why? First, it is part of our fundamental sense of mystery. Second, we would anticipate (if we did not know that the problem has fundamental resolution—by which I mean that the solution is not an exotic one but gore to the core of the nature of being) that a solution would shed light on being, its meaning and—as we have seen—all metaphysics and endeavor, especially the nature of the universe in metaphysics. Derivatively, it would be significant for the human endeavor—not because the endeavor is secondary or otherwise but because the endeavor is in being (and as Heidegger points out we are among those beings that can question the nature of being).
How then might the problem be ‘solved’?
1. That there is being does not imply that there must be being. However, perhaps a ‘demonstration’ that there is being may shed light? How is this demonstrated? First, we must be clear about being. Being is or characterizes what is, without qualification as to the nature of the ‘is’ in ‘what is’. That is the ‘is’ shall be more general than the simple temporal ‘is’ of common English: it shall be in some regions of all being where region is not pinned down to space-time or not space-time, not pinned down as concrete or not concrete (abstract if concrete and abstract are exhaustive); further it shall not imply any category such as matter, mind, or spirit—and it shall not be restricted to experience or being experienced even though being experienced may be fundamental to our best knowing of being; it may perhaps be restricted to the manifest but that should, as we have seen, be open—but apart from this non-being and probably even potential being are metaphorical in their proper use. Finally, if being characterizes what is then being is not an object—at least on the primitive perhaps naïve meaning of ‘object’. Perhaps being is a property—the property possessed by all things that are? Could it also be a property of things that are not (because there are no such things or perhaps if the collection of such things has being). On a higher level of the notion of object, a property is an object; perhaps nothingness is an object—so in this sense being is a thing. This is in line with the intent and idea that being respects no category. Second, the demonstration should be fundamental rather than clever. The Cartesian proof comes close but must be divested of its particulars ‘I think therefore I am’ becomes ‘experience is the fundamental mark that there is being’.
2. Is there any way, then, that the simple fact that there is being can imply or implies that there must be being? That is, given that we know here and now that there is being (the empirical cosmos) does that imply that there must be being here and now; does it imply that there must have been being and that there necessarily be being? The point to the questions even if far fetched is the suggestion that we can tease out some fundamental truths by careful understanding.
3. One way is to ask the meaning of non being, i.e. absence of being. This is precisely the approach of the present text. That is, while the simple fact of being does not seem to logically imply necessity of being (there could be some unseen logic lurking under or at the surface and that is interesting but thus far I have not seen such a subficial logic), investigation of the structure of being (I should perhaps say being-as-present-to-us but that, in the end, is all we have anyway) does logically imply the necessity of being (without assuming the fact of being). It could be counter-argued that assuming a structure to being is assuming being but the response to the counter is that what we have really done is to specify the true sense of the ‘void’.
4. Although ‘is’ does not implicate experience, experience is the only way we know the meaning and fact of ‘is’. We can ask a number of the foregoing questions with ‘being’ in the premises replaced by ‘experience’ or ‘being and experience’.
5. Does the fact of experience (or being): imply the necessity of experience or being, that being and experience must have been; that they must be; and, over and above this the nature of the spatiotemporality or other of ‘is’ and the various questions that occur in relation to these the ‘spatiotemporality or other’. The present narrative has investigated these questions and, though questions remain, has found significant answers from structure of being and experience. It is important that I did not assume a structure because it was allowed that the manifold of being did not have to be of any ‘extensional’ kind—that it could be spatiotemporal or other (including non-extensional) or mixed.
A new fundamental problem of metaphysics
This does not imply that there are no fundamental problems of metaphysics. What is or are the problem(s)?
The fundamental problem of metaphysics is that of determining what has being.
When we see that everything has being—entities, processes, interactions, thoughts, questions, answers, depths, and, insofar as they exist, matter, mind, spirits, persons, gods, lives and histories—the answer to the question ‘what has being’ is the answer to all questions. (‘Everything has being’ is a vague notion but is now permissible from realism as defined earlier for its meaning is that what exists is the entire world of concepts that are realistic.)
The answering of this question, already begun, continues.
There are questions of fundamental interest to humankind—to many individuals—to which the tradition, including science, provide a range of answers from speculative, to symbolic, to literal but all incomplete:
What is the being of our cosmos—and of the universe?
What is my being—and what is my relationship to (any) universal being?
The metaphysics, we see, frames and illuminates ultimate answers. This would be a kind of death if it were not for the fact that variety and extensionality were limitless, ever open, and ever fresh. The formulating and answering of these and related questions—and of Kant’s famous three questions ‘What can I know? What ought to do? What may I hope?’—are part of the fundamental question.
And while the metaphysics provides a ‘depth’ answer, it leaves ‘breadth’ and ‘peak’ open. Therefore, except as metaphor or symbol or allegory or moral, no answering that aspires to definiteness can be complete. Here we begin an answering—a framework that shall, for those individuals and cultures and civilizations of this and other cosmoses and natures that so desire, be filled in according to local experience, thought, passion, and action.
So much of the history of knowledge, especially science and philosophy, have been fraught with the doubt that even where there is clarity and depth there are questions whether the world has been captured faithfully—and even what such capture may mean. The metaphysics removes this doubt with a fell swoop: it shows perfect faithfulness where it is important and possible and that another kind of perfection is fundamental elsewhere (without implying that faithfulness has importance at all).
That is, the fundamental problem, is that of determining to which of our concepts there concept objects in the sense of perfection.
Why is perfection important? The significance of the question is heightened by the fact that even in the most accurate scientific theories we tolerate some inaccuracy. The response is that we tolerate inaccuracy in science because we have reached the current limits of accuracy but we use science as a practical instrument. Science is practical; by contrast it is immensely useful to have some systems of perfection—i.e., neither the perfect nor the practical is better: each has its use and (we have seen) that the join is mutually enhancing. Perfection is important where (in addition to rather than over and above the practical disciplines) we would and can talk with certainty. Metaphysics is a perfect complement—a complement with perfection to the practicality of other systems including science. The metaphysics is the metaphysics of the present development and we have seen it to be perfect. The sense of perfection of the metaphysics however is not uniform. How shall this potential problem of ‘imperfection’ be addressed? It already has been addressed: no error will accrue provided, except where a conflation is shown to be warranted, there is care to not confuse the ideal framework objects with the practical objects of tradition.
Why is the problem of determining what has being the fundamental problem? It is a fundamental problem because what have being are the objects of the universe. When we reflect that it is not just ‘things’ that have being, but also patterns and processes and laws—whether of literal-atomism or mythic-holism—and (as we shall see in considering objects) that even endeavor has being, we see that this problem is the problem. It is therefore the fundamental problem.
The power of being
The power of the concept of being, now emphatically clear, will continue to emerge in what follows.
The development so far amply illustrates the power of the concept of being. This power will continue to emerge. Particularly seeing limited forms as cases of being—as distinct from just matter or only mind or only spirit—will be empowering in any path to realization of what we have already seen to be necessary, i.e. the peak of being.
But what is this power? What is its nature? It is that in invoking such kinds as matter, or mind, or spirit, or symbol, or space and time as fundamental we would be committing to possible error (in view of the developments so far it would be committing to real error). However, commitment to being is the absence of such commitment; this constitutes avoidance of error. Yet it is not commitment to no commitment; this is further avoidance of error and allows truth to emerge (and as we have seen this truth is not contingent on the standard categories even though it deploys the categories to certain ends).
More on the power of being (1)
Being stands above particular kinds (and, regarding, the non-manifest as also lying within being, it stands above kinds altogether). Therefore it is no subject to the limitation and error of such kinds. This is the essential power and all power is derivative from this.
The power of the concept of being (2)
We can summarize the power of the concept of being.
In its generic nature it stands above category and so the development is not subject to errors that might result from foundation in categories such as mind and matter. It stands above doubt and existential attitude in suggesting the neutrality of sufficient detachment as counterpoint to sufficient engagement. This might seem to trivialize being but as we have seen so far it does not.
The universe is all being. There are a host of consequences but particularly that all categories are equivalent at a fundamental level. This leads to elimination of the a priori—we can derive or see how to derive principles of reason and thought about the rest of the world from the same source.
Since laws have being there are no laws in the void and the fundamental principle follows.
These are some of the main points so far.
More will emerge, particularly in development of cosmology and in understanding the scope of realization and our place as ranging over that scope.
In recent thought concrete and abstract objects have been regarded as real but different from the concrete: the abstract are partially or totally outside the physical world. The problem: What and where are the abstract objects?
We will find that the distinction is artificial—both are in the one universe. Unlike the naïve empiricism of JS Mill, however, this will not be in contradiction with the idea of the abstract as formal or platonic. Rather, it will entail a reinterpretation of the formal.
Significance and present purpose
The nature of the world and objects
Clarification of the nature of the world and of objects generally. No concept, no object. Not an idealism; reveals the fundamental character of experience. All objects are in the one universe. There are no separate platonic, conceptual, or other universes
Resolution of the problems of abstract objects; significance for cosmology and the nature of the real; unity of experience: metaphysics, logic, mathematics, and science…
Significance for realization
Examples: the variety of modes of being—what we may be, memory or survival of identity across death and transition through the void.
Other ‘applications’ in the narrative
The concept of abstract object and the metaphysics enable a clearer and comprehensive conception of ‘object’. This metaphysical clarification has significant and multidimensional consequence.
The remaining topics in this chapter on metaphysics.
The concept of the abstract object
No fundamental distinction between the abstract and the concrete
Just one kind of abstract object
Objects in general
Just one kind of object
All objects are in the one universe
Any Platonic ‘universe’ is part of the one universe
Objects are concrete or abstract. Though these seem distinct the metaphysics shows that they are ‘equally real’ (within realism, every concept has an object). They seem different, not because the abstract are essentially non-concrete but because abstraction omits certain concrete features. Specifically, abstraction may omit parts or wholes of space, time, and causality. This union of the abstract and the concrete has significance for cosmology and the nature of the real.
The modern concept of abstract object (see Abstract Objects Stanford—Encyclopedia of Philosophy) contrasts with the notion of concrete object. The latter refers to our familiar worldly objects such as books and bricks and the objects of science. The abstract objects are exemplified by a novel (not the book), a cuboid (the form of the brick), and the objects of mathematics (when defined by symbols and concepts). Clearly the concrete objects exist in space and time and are causal. Where do the abstract concepts reside? If a novel is not a book itself, where is the novel? Where is a mathematical object such as the number one? This suggests that abstract objects lack all or some spatiotemporality and causality (thus there are mixed objects).
According the metaphysics, there is one universe and all objects are in it. Further, within realism, all concepts have objects. I.e. the abstract objects (as objects) reside in the one universe. That is, it is only to the degree that the universe is non spatiotemporal that abstract objects can be truly non spatiotemporal and this is one source of abstract objects. Another, but not essentially different source, is that while the abstract objects are in space and time, the abstractness of their definition results in spatiotemporality and causality not being relevant to their nature (in the case of mixed objects the relevance is partial).
That is the abstract are not essentially non-concrete; rather abstraction omits some concrete features. Conversely the concrete are known perceptually and since the percept is a concept and not the object, the concrete are tinged with the abstract.
Thus the abstract and the concrete are not essentially different. They are both in the one universe. Of course the approach to conceptualization may be different. In defining the concrete, the empirical is emphasized; for the abstract the conceptual is the crux. But, in as much as meaning invokes both concept (including percept) and object, the distinction between the empirical and the conceptual is not as great as we tend to conceive it. This lack of distinction between the empirical and the conceptual is heightened by the metaphysics. Thus all objects are abstract from some perspective but concrete from another
This extended notion of object will vastly extend the cosmological picture and will be immensely useful in understanding its nature.
It follows from earlier discussion that mathematics is a science (the disciplines of mathematics are sciences) and that so far as they are realistic all concepts of logic, mathematics, and the sciences have objects in the universe.
Here, then lies an immense realm ripe for new understanding (perhaps, and I have some hope, that this understanding will be over and above the cumulative knowledge of logic, mathematics, and the sciences so far.
As noted earlier, the explicit concept is new (twentieth century) even though the implicit root idea is not.
A detailed discussion now follows.
Earlier notes: objects in general
Just one kind of object
What we have shown is that there is no essential difference between the abstract and the concrete objects. The abstract lack some of the detail of the concrete, e.g. space-time-cause, but not essentially—they are there but the abstraction renders them null (alternatively, they do not survive the abstraction). They are known by different means (the abstract conceptually, the concrete perceptually) but, first, the conceptual and the perceptual are not essentially distinct, second, the difference in mode of knowing is not essential (even though it is immensely useful and powerful to have different approaches) and, third and finally: the concrete-abstract distinction is not ‘real’.
All objects are in the one universe.
All objects are in the one universe
Because there is precisely one universe the abstract objects are in the universe and not in another, e.g. Platonic, universe. As described above they are not truly atemporal but, rather, time is not part of their character (definition). Where they are non-spatial, as in the case of number, the non-spatiality occurs in manner similar to the non-temporality. The abstract objects are, to repeat, in this one universe.
Any Platonic ‘universe’ is part of the one universe
They may seen as Platonic but not as residing in a separate Platonic universe; alternatively we can see Platonic ‘universes’ as abstracta within the one universe. What this means is that their definition is primarily of the higher conceptual type (whereas the concrete objects are defined in terms of ‘lower’ concepts, i.e. percepts).
The concept of abstract object and the metaphysics enable a clearer and comprehensive conception of ‘object’. This metaphysical clarification has significant and multidimensional consequence.
The points immediately below constitute summary of applications detailed in what follows.
The concept of the void.
And to show spatiotemporal domains merging non spatiotemporal domains, especially as background; it shows a place for the concrete against a timeless and even space-less background. And, it may be used to show the place of Civilization in this merging.
Discussion of ‘mind and matter’ (quotes indicate that matter and mind are used in a generic sense for aspects of being rather in an attempt to have precise reference to imprecisely known / vague objects in our cosmos).
Nature and spirit—insofar as both exist—are one; the distinction arises on account of incomplete knowledge.
It is clear that the conception of the abstract object shows a far greater population to the universe than the concrete alone.
In It is also used to show a way for Brahman and Aeternitas to transcend but not be beyond space and time.
general cosmology the concept of abstract object is used to resolve doubt regarding the universal metaphysics and the survival of identity across death.
The concept of the void
It is appropriate and convenient to (re) consider the void at this point. The remaining ‘applications’ are discussed in later sections.
Objections to the void as absolute nothingness
There are reasons to suspect ‘absolute nothingness’. If something comes from the void, some say, surely the void is something and not nothing. Where does this thought come from? One place is our intuitive discomfort with something from nothing which is based, first, in everyday experience and, second, from the conservation laws of natural science. How can something emerge from nothing? The response of this narrative is twofold (a) experience and science do not of necessity extend beyond the empirical world; we should respect them at least for most purposes within that world (but since ‘this world’ connects to any beyond we should be alert to exceptions—i.e. exceptions to our characterizations of experience and science are expected and are not violations of such generalizations (b) except however that the most general principles, ones that should apply in any world, should not be violated but since such principles are the principles of logic there is no problem because something from void-as-absolute-nothingness, despite discomfort felt in its regard, is not a violation of logic (the question of how universal are our particular logics is a valid question and is dealt with at a number of points in the narrative).
Alternate characterizations of the void
What then might the void be? It would perhaps be a vague something. How might this work out?
This is an interesting idea.
Perhaps, then, the void is not pure nothingness but 'something' which is effectively nothingness: it would have no differences or distinctions, i.e. no patterns and therefore no causality and no spatiotemporality. This is an interesting idea.
It would no doubt make certain kinds of rational minded people pleased. It might satisfy conservation of energy, even; and, still, since there would be no law the fundamental principle might follow.
Problems with the alternate characterization
How would it satisfy conservation of energy? Energy would have to be infinite. Then energy might be conserved but, in fact, would have no real meaning since adding a finite or infinite quantity to infinite quantity of the same order does not change the infinity. Creation of a finite energy cosmos would not change the infinity of the energy (the energy of pattern-less-ness is indeterminate). This is not a logical problem but it is a problem for the kind of rationalist described above (the one who does not differentiate between different aspects rationality—the universal and the particular—and confuses the particular plus his or her intuition of it for the universal).
A further problem. If the void is mere pattern-less-ness, how does the fundamental principle arise? Perhaps we should face its not arising. On the other hand no arising of pattern would violate pattern-less-ness; hence the fundamental principle. The memory of identity problem but that is resolved by the transients in communication with the void and the structured systems.
But the main problem is how to prove existence of the pattern-less but not nothingness void?
Therefore we go back to the nothingness void from which both the fundamental principle and the pattern-less void follow.
And further proof of existence of true nothingness is easier than that of the 'grey' void even though the two are the 'same'. And what is wrong with the rationalists of the above stripe is that they are insisting on their contingent reality projecting beyond the domain where it is known to be valid. To the rationalists of the above stripe I say, get over it and enhance your rationality to accept, since it turns out to be the case, that the only universal rationality is the necessary rationality.
Now the hard headed rationalist will dislike this whole endeavor. It is not accordance with the principles of science. These are the policemen of science. My response: science is not a principle—it is ultimately an empirical endeavor despite the great beauty and symmetry of some of its theories (e.g. the older classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics, and the newer relativistic theories of Einstein, quantum theory of particles and fields, and statistical mechanics). There is of course value to policing, it steers traffic in the right direction; but sooner or later the road meets the ocean or the edge of the galaxy or empirical cosmos and here we need not only new ways to steer but to rediscover the nature of steering.
Still the idea of the ‘no pattern’ void or the ‘in between true nothingness and form’ void may be useful conceptually and practically… and ‘argumentatively’. I call it the pre-void or proto-void.
Significance of the term ‘proto’
‘Proto’ typically suggests ‘coming before’. However, the proto-void does not come before—or after—the void in temporal terms.
The sense in which it comes before is that as we look deeper and deeper for layers under immediate ‘reality’ the proto-void occurs before the void.
Purpose of the discussion
The purpose of the discussion is (1) to uncover the nature of mind and matter, (2) and so to illuminate the nature of nature and spirit, and (3) consequently to talk of and illuminate The Real.
Mind and matter are not different kinds but it is only incomplete knowledge—ignorance—that sees them as such.
Mind is the name of the place—in other terminology not in alignment with the metaphysics—of experience and its manners and forms.
If to ‘being-as-being’ we give the name ‘matter’ then, since experience is relationship, mind is the name of ‘being-in-relationship’ (or interaction).
Understanding mind and matter in terms of substance: a thought experiment
Since it is often thought of as a substance, understanding may be approached via a substance approach to give insight and show the contradictions of the approach. The insight gained then enables formulation in the universal case (the metaphysics). Discussion will not go into details of ‘substance theory’ except to note that substances are uniform and unchanging and therefore do not interact.
If matter is the sole substance of the universe, then, mind is either an aspect of matter or there is no such thing as mind (there may be as if mind). Therefore mind and matter are essentially interwoven at the core but this is an understatement: they can be no more than different aspects of the same thing.
The universal case: relaxing the assumption of substance
The difference in the universal case is that while ‘being-as-being’ and ‘being-as-interaction’ need not go to the same depth they will invariably meet at whatever depth there is.
That is, mind and matter are not different kinds but it is only incomplete knowledge—ignorance—that sees them as such.
There is a realm of spirit.
Nature and spirit are not different kinds or realms but it is only incomplete knowledge—ignorance—that sees them as such.
However, there is no non interaction and no ultimate distinction. We may conceptualize the apparent distinction within the lack of distinction as we did for mind and matter (indeed mind vs. matter and spirit vs. nature are similar and overlap).
‘The Real’ is another name for the same—for Aeternitas and Brahman.
Aeternitas and Brahman
The metaphysics shows realms that may appear to us to be beyond the individual in this world. We have called the ‘acme’ of this the Apex, Aeternitas, and Brahman. We may think of the ‘beyond’ realms at all levels as ‘spirit’.
In what follows I use the term Apex for acme of the Apex.
Aeternitas and Brahman are more than names
But as characterizing ultimates it is more than a name. How so? It is the real to which the positive endeavor of life seeks. Therefore The Real is the ultimate form of the real.
Relationship between the real and The Real succinctly describes our place in the ultimate.
Clearly death is real but not absolute—i.e., death is not Real. This theme is visited again below in death, identity and memory, where the survival of identity across death as well as the void state is taken up.
The explicit meaning of the metaphysics lies in its proof, interpretation—e.g. in terms of realism, particularly in the terms that every realistic concept has an object. The explicit meaning is in depth—in setting up a framework for application.
The implicit meaning is in implications—in the hierarchy of implications at a range of levels of detail and significance; that is, the implicit meaning is in breadth or cosmology.
Cosmology is the study of the variety, extension and duration of being.
That is, cosmology is a continuation of metaphysics.
Some purposes to development of cosmology
Knowledge of the world. Knowledge of ‘our’ power in the world.
Our being in the world—past to present to future and, perhaps without question, to past ‘again’.
Work out the implications of the cosmology and power for the ideas, thought, lives, and realizations of sentient being.
Work out principles in parallel with the content of and action under cosmology:
General cosmology is the broadest study of cosmology. It is concerned with variety and identity in general. It makes no reference to stable or adaptive systems.
The first principle of general cosmology is the fundamental principle.
It is supplemented imaginatively but not critically by tradition, experience, and action.
We have already observed and shown various features of space-time, especially that are the two essential and only ‘coordinates’ of extensionality; that they are relative but may be locally as if absolute; and that extensionality is not universal. Therefore I will not repeat details of the features or the proofs.
Aspects of the cosmological picture are now developed. This begins in this section with the general and abstract, proceeds in subsequent sections to the particular concrete—i.e., the stable cosmologies—and then cosmology of identity (and life) which derives from the general and the concrete.
Wide angle view of the universe and our prospect.
Sets stage for stable cosmologies, particularly cosmologies conducive to sentience and significant meaning.
Manifestation and identity and its scope
The universe is a manifold of acute, diffuse, and absent manifestation, identity, space, time, causation, and variety; these have no limit but realism; they peak in Aquinas’ Aeternitas and Vedanta’s Brahman (all knowing and being manifest as one) or the Real of some formulations that emphasize the difficulty in apprehending the ultimate object which, however, seem to ignore the difficulty of estimating the difficulty and which also are unaware of the present development that sheds lights on these issues as well as the limits on the various putative hyper-assessments of our limits (which hyper-assessments are political and ego-centric in nature). This power is conferred on the individual. While in limited form, however, realization is eternal process; overcoming suffering is significant but we do not wait for it in the path of realization; and the path is made effective and enjoyed by intelligent (cognitive-emotive) commitment (including passion). Pain and enjoyment are a mosaic; this gives meaning to pain. Death is real but not absolute—it reminds us that this life is precious. The briefest answer to the question of memory across death is that in the abstract the individual is already in the ultimate. Such memory is not micro-memory of all detail but may be memory of dispositions established and / or memory as part of a larger organic process or organism.
The variety of local or cosmological systems and their laws is without limit. The cosmoses may be seen as lying on a grid connected, sometimes by explicit space-time, but generally via the incompletely-extensional whole (universe). Every atom is a cosmos, every cosmos an atom. All limited cosmoses are repeated in precise and variant forms, as far as ‘possible’ without limit. A cosmos has the possibility of self-annihilation at any moment (or not); therefore infinitely many will self-annihilate. Further for any cosmos there may and so for many there will be annihilator events and annihilator cosmoses. All this occurs against a background at many levels from void, to proto-void, to semi-form (note the analogy to the quantum world and vacuum). Our cosmos is repeated in its precise and variant forms without limit as an infinitesimal part of this grid. It is possible that a cosmos will have ghost cosmoses that are at most temporarily isolated from them (there is no ultimate disconnection or non-interaction). Therefore a limitless sub-collection will have such ghost cosmoses, each passing through the other(s) with barely a whisper. Temporally, even though this is probably at least partially metaphorical, the cosmoses which have a limitless range of small to large scale manifestation, may be seen against a transient to void background. The universe, as we have seen, has no external creator. However, there may be local creation of one cosmos by another. That is, there may be local ‘gods’. It is possible that the story of the Bible (or Koran or similar ‘Hindu’ accounts), in some form made self-consistent, is realized in some cosmoses; therefore the stories will be realized infinitely often. The same is true of all fiction.
Detail of general possibilist cosmology: an earlier account
In greater detail, manifestation and identity cycle through acute, diffuse, and absent phases; and there is no limit to the extension, duration, and variety of these cycles and their peaks (i.e. the variety is so great that there is no mere repetitiousness and, of course, there are peaks within peaks…). The variety of local or cosmological systems and their laws is without limit. The cosmoses may be seen as lying on a grid connected, sometimes by explicit space-time, but generally via the non-extensional whole (universe). Our cosmos is repeated in its precise and variant forms without limit as an infinitesimal part of this grid. It is possible that a cosmos will have ghost cosmoses that are at most temporarily isolated from them (there is no ultimate disconnection or non-interaction). Therefore a limitless sub-collection will have such ghost cosmoses, each passing through the other(s) with barely a whisper. Temporally, even though this is probably at least partially metaphorical, the cosmoses which have a limitless range of small to large scale manifestation, may be seen against a transient to void background. The universe, as we have seen, has no external creator. However, there may be local creation of one cosmos by another. That is, there may be local ‘gods’.
Note that in viewing the universe as an abstract object for some purposes we can see how it is a non-spatiotemporal reservoir for memory. This is a rather abstract argument that is drawn out below
Inheritance of power
The individual inherits the power of the universe.
Why it is not a contradiction for two individuals to simultaneously inherit this power
While in limited form realization is eternal process (of approach to the large scale picture of the universe).
The identity of the individual constitutes a problem. In going through non manifest phases how is there the memory that is necessary to identity? And how can Brahman and Aeternitas be facts when process is eternal. There are two approaches to answering this. A concrete but somewhat unsatisfactory answer is that between the absolute void and sentient form there are grades of formed-ness including a proto-void that is the container of memory. Then, the individual is an expression of dispositions (from Vedanta); it is this that survives death; and for the individual, perhaps no more is remembered; but within Brahman all is known—at a higher level—and therefore remembered (it is possible and therefore individual lives will generally be mosaics of enjoyment and suffering: more on this later). But this concrete approach is not altogether satisfactory because of eternal process. A second approach is abstract. Recall that the concrete may also be seen as abstract. In the abstract approach spatiotemporality and causality reside in spatiotemporality plus non-spatiotemporality and causality plus non-causality; and in this largest ‘domain’ all is (possible); that is what is said is true even though I do not understand how its truth manifests.
In greater detail, manifestation and identity cycle through acute, diffuse, and absent phases; and there is no limit to the extension, duration, and variety of these cycles and their peaks (i.e. the variety is so great that there is no mere repetitiousness and, of course, there are peaks within peaks…).
Commentary on recollection of past lives. As far as I can see, I have no recollection of an earlier life. Some people are reputed to have such memory. On logical grounds I cannot—as far as I see—rule this out (only ‘as far as I see’ because as suggested earlier, Logic may turn out to be more restrictive than we think it). However, in significant terms such truthful recollection seems unlikely (though not necessarily dishonest). So, then, what is to be said about reports of past lives? There are at least three questions. (1) Are the reports reliable? (2) What significance does this have for the present life of the reporter? (3) What is the significance for the continuity of identity? Regarding (1) I think that there is clearly doubt. Regarding (2) it is in part up to the individual to see the significance—it is subjective; however what will the significance have been at the end of the empirical cosmos? If we do not think that our cosmos is a finite part of an infinity then it would follow that all significance will come to an end. Regarding (3) I think that there is little significance because (a) there are better reasons to think that there is continuity of identity and (b) the kind of continuity in question does not seem to be particularly interesting (I admit of course that some people find it quite interesting).
The form rather than the fact of recollection (past human life doubtful in fact and significance)
I suggest the following. What we remember in any set of similar lives is at least what is constant over them. Thus I may remember my form but not know that I am remembering it: if form is the same then form and memory coincide. This would be interesting because every instance is another opportunity (therefore it would be functional to forget what varies; this does not prove the case that forgetting is universal). However, as part of a larger organism with greater memory ‘I’ may remember more; in this life, therefore, what is important to memory is realizing andor being on the path to realizing higher consciousness; but this is what is important from the general perspective of the nature of our being (and not just the question of memory).
The preservation of memory would occur, abstractly, from the fundamental principle; and more concretely via communication among the void, the proto-void, and the cosmological.
Issues of the form
At a given level
What is constant (rather than detail of what is different); of seeking what contributes to general realization (increment and large scale)
To seek merging in transcendent form (form that transcends individual experience); merging and meaning of Brahman.
How is memory preserved?
The preservation of memory would occur, abstractly, from the fundamental principle; and more concretely via communication among the void, the proto-void, and the cosmological.
The proto-void and the ephemera
The potency of the void is at intuitive and conservative (physics) odds with is being null. Therefore there is a tendency to assign the void some or at least ‘proto’ being. This would be in error—a violation of the concept of the void.
However, the void must ‘generate’ transients that lie between the null and stable / sentience ‘friendly’ cosmologies.
This is the proto void which is proto in the sense of being before the void in the conceptual progression from significant and stable being to non being.
The proto void may be implicated in the preservation of memory across death and cosmic dissolution.
The void presents as so potent that we are inclined to attribute power and ‘stuff’ to it. However, the reason we may want to do this is that our scientific (though not logical) reason and intuition tell us: no manifest being, no power. But a lesson of the metaphysics is that this kind of reason and intuition are misleading. The void has power even though it contains no being. We are of course so accustomed to causation that we will think of the power of the void as causal. But that is metaphysically unnecessary; but it is allowable provided that we admit a vastly different notion of causality than the scientific-intuitive one.
Still, the metaphysics implies that there is a proto-void that has much ‘stuff’ and causal power (here the significance of ‘proto’ is that of coming ‘before’ from the direction of the more rather than the less complex). The main reason to bring this up is that it may provide a place to fill the science-intuition versus metaphysics gap without compromising the metaphysics.
The ephemera are roughly related to the idea of the proto-void. Imagine yourself in the place between being awake and sleep. You are imagining shapes and colors and spaces. They are like shadows—they seem to have no causality of their own. How could they depict reality? The do depict reality except of course that there may be intrinsic contradictions as in logic, as in the art of M. C. Escher. They are real. But are they significant? In themselves they are significant at least as depictions of a ‘shadow world’ and as a source of imagination. Perhaps, also, they are pathways to and from absence of being and formed being. We will be investigating significance below.
Some details of general cosmology
Identity, space and time
We saw earlier that ‘To the extent that identity is not well defined, space and time are not well defined. To the extent that the ways of difference are not well distinguished, space and time are not. To the extent that identity is not universal, space and time are not universal.’ It now follows that within possibility, all such cases obtain (note the similarity to and inspiration from Einsteinian space-time-matter).
Local creation, gods and significance
Fiction and its significance
Principles of general cosmology
Search for concepts includes realization and error. ‘Confirmation’ is realization.
Possibility and significance
Experience (including the outcome of action), presence, intuition, and the metaphysics are among the heuristics.
The problem is to search for concepts and evaluate them for possibility and significance.
Experience, presence, intuition, and the metaphysics are among the heuristics.
A formal approach—developing and using existing and new abstract theories—will also be useful. Examples are set theory, mereology, logics, theories of abstract objects, and various mathematical systems suitable to the study of complexity.
Developing and using existing and new abstract theories.
Examples—set theory, mereology, logics, theories of abstract objects, and various mathematical systems suitable to the study of complexity.
Supplement—a system of human knowledge.
General cosmology stages the stable cosmologies and cosmology of life and identity which further bring out the significance of the general.
Above we saw that the consequences to the metaphysics are immense in magnitude. But what is their significance? Some consequences, e.g. the eternity of identity, are obvious. But others, e.g. the truth of fiction, are not obvious. The cosmologies taken up below for their intrinsic significance help to answer the issue of the significance of various aspects of the general picture.
Our cosmos has a degree of formed-ness and stability. The universe is a collection of formed stable cosmoses against a transient-void background. What principles are available to explain form and stability?
Let us elaborate the foregoing question. We have seen that the universe is a limitless collection of formed stable cosmoses of variety far greater than suggested by our cosmos—i.e., the fundamental laws and not just constants have limitless range. This is just a beginning for ‘every cosmos is an atom, every atom a cosmos’ and all this occurs against a void-proto-void-transient-ephemera background.. What principles are available to understand their form and stability. For example what is the source of physical structure and particular structures such as the laws of physics of our cosmos; what is the source of life—and what are the kinds of cosmos that are necessary for or facilitate life and lower and higher sentience (and what further high forms of sentience may there be)?
General: three levels of description
Since every origin complies with the metaphysics, this is the most general explanatory principle. As explanation it is trivial; it does not satisfy our usual associations of explanation of macro phenomena being locally causal at root; but it is still profound; and at this most general level no more than generic explanation is to be expected.
The origin of a specialization of form, stability may derive from another specialization that is less specialized but still not the most general picture; but for foundation without further foundation this must lead us back to the general case.
But we are also interested in more specific processes that explain form and the population of form in the universe. These include the standard processes of experience, science, scientific and metaphysical cosmologies as well as metaphysical systems tinged by cosmology and other particularization—and their forms and principles.
It is inherent in the general process under the metaphysics that it need have no explanation or mechanism or understanding other than that the metaphysics requires it. But we also interested in more specific processes that are explanatory mechanism in the sense that we can see how they occur as more frequent, but perhaps not so universal processes. Any reasonable mechanism is necessitated by the metaphysics; what the metaphysics does not require is that such mechanisms be universal. The metaphysics contains all more specific ‘explanations’ but is not limited to any of them. Thus the metaphysics is the ‘parent’ of all principles.
It is sufficient to consider origins from the void.
We may consider origins from any state but there is no origin that is more general than origin from the void; we choose the latter because it is maximally explanatory—i.e. the explanation / mechanism of formation from the void need posit no further form.
Because there is no form in the void, the origin of form is indeterministic. But form has at least some degree of determinism. A goal of explanation is to illuminate the ‘balance’ between indeterminism and determinism—between absence and occurrence of form. A classic mechanism is stepwise via indeterministic increment between stable states where population is maximized where the product of frequency and longevity is a maximum. Fecund transients are very short lived. Perfect symmetry is frozen. The optimum lies somewhere in between.
It is in the stable structures that local mechanism and causation, partial as if determinism, structured space and time are to be found. That these structures originate from the void constitutes an ultimate explanation.
So we now face the question of the detail, the mechanism of such a process. What is the process of origin of form from the void? The void has no form; therefore the process cannot be determinist in the usual sense (it is determinist in quite another sense in which all form ‘comes’ from the void). But the same is true at every step: the origin of new form, i.e. form not at least implicit in the old form, must be indeterministic.
Would the origin of form be large step or incremental? From the metaphysics large steps do occur; such steps need have no explanation other than the metaphysics requires it. However, it is reasonable that (a) small steps from an already formed system are most probable (b) the net process is not ‘seeking’ an end in form (this is inherent to non-determinist origins) (d) that the individual steps show no preference for stability (e) but that stable outcomes are (by definition) longer lived and (f) that some kind of near symmetry (and thus conservation) is inherent to relative stability (the problem with perfect symmetry is that perfect symmetry and stability are ‘frozen’ in their perfection. Thus there is a balance between stability and the need for process. This balance will lie, as part of a distribution, at a place where the product of longevity and frequency of origin (fecundity) is a maximum. This shows that contrary to some opinion, emergence of structure requires indeterminism which occasionally finds relatively formed states whose behavior is a mix of determinism and indeterminism. There is no other mechanism at this level of generality. The most common way in which this occurs is by some kind of incremental variation and selection. There may be other alternate mechanisms and explanations to the incremental and within the incremental there may be specialized cases. However, it is interesting that the universal metaphysics requires that this incremental mechanism is not the only way but is a definite way—i.e., it is not merely a hypothetical mechanism. Thus we have given two arguments for incremental variation and selection—a reasonable frequency-longevity argument and a necessary metaphysical argument. A classical argument for determinism has been that ‘new structure cannot emerge via random process’. However, this ignores that the very notion of essentially new structure is excluded by the concept of determinism; and what we now see that ‘pure randomness’, if we interpret it as absolute indeterminism is not so random (indeterminist) after all. The history of form is a path navigated a the boundary of stability and instability. It may be obvious to many readers that these thoughts derive inspiration from both modern evolutionary biology and the ideas of symmetry and symmetry breaking in modern physics and cosmology.
Standard science so far does not explain the origins of our cosmos (there are some ‘non-standard’ explanations). The metaphysics requires the origins and end of our cosmos. However, specific and understandable explanatory mechanisms (e.g. causal-like) will have to be sought somewhere between standard science and the metaphysics.
There are some scientific explanations, these include the ideas of Lee Smolin in which a population of cosmoses generates more cosmoses via black holes and there is naturally population selection of the more stable systems which are, from the picture itself, the ones more productive of life and sentience. The ideas are (a) that we look beyond our cosmos and (b) that we look at populations in which the evolution of life is at least a metaphor—it is not suggested (or denied) that cosmoses and other universal structures have something like DNA or sex.
There is no compelling reason to think that origins obey our laws of science, particularly its conservation laws such as conservation of energy.
Unlike some the current speculative cosmologies of origins, there is no compelling reason to think that the origins come from situations in which our conservation laws (e.g. mass-energy) hold. In fact the metaphysics requires that ultimate origins (from the most general case / the least formed case, i.e. the void, the proto-void, and the ephemera) must be non conservative (conservative is not opposite to but is a particular case of the non conservative continuum).
Origins from a non conservative background provide an explanatory template for conservation laws: conservation of energy, for example, lies at the stable interface between deflation of energy dissipating and inflation of energy generating proto-cosmoses.
More on principles: Estimating simple adapted and significant probability and population
Analysis of experience a useful preliminary
Before discussion of general principles note that an analysis of matter and experience, i.e. of matter and mind, will enable a more careful understanding of experience. Consequently the general analysis of cosmology will not be simply linear but different departments and levels will be mutually informative.
Examples of general principles whose use is illustrated below are (a) symmetry and stability (b) incremental adaptation at a range of levels of hierarchy and extension and (c) estimation of significance—i.e. what are the features of a ‘cosmos’ that contain world aware beings. A complement to the principles is that the improbable is also necessary but, generally, less significant.
Thus there is a balance here between sufficient stability (the operative terms are relative stability resulting from near symmetry) and so longevity versus sufficient remove from stability for fecund generation. While modern theoretical physics (quantum theory, vacuum fluctuation, bubble cosmoses) may be suggestive, biology—adaptation and its process—shows us a principle. Here there is a paradigm of this balance between stability and fecundity. The significance of such models is that they explain the population of the universe by form over transient; they explain the forms also ever in process—origination—stable evolution—decay; and they help explain the nature of significant form.
Special: the forms of our world
Special principles would begin with the particular forms, laws, and narratives of the world—and these enable (with imagination, criticism and so on) more detailed scenarios. Always remember that what is possible is necessary. How, then, is probability estimated. Begin with well known features such as the estimated narrow range of cosmological constants that allow a cosmos suitable to emergence of life, mind, and intelligence.
Special: going beyond
But we may also go beyond our laws, not just to different values of the constants, but also different forms of law. What principles can we find here? Approaches include (1) Learning from our laws and their forms, including near symmetry, relative stability and how it comes about that there is simultaneous symmetry and symmetry breaking (there must be a balance between stability on the one hand and on the other hand effective origins and change, the related (2) Conservation laws, e.g. momentum and energy and reasons that a conservative universe is stable (non conservation means extreme dissipation or extreme inflation and of course extreme inflation may be a path to relative stability) and dissipation laws (e.g. entropy and, remembering that these laws seem to be statistical in nature, how they may contribute to structure and form—from the simple ‘usefulness’ of friction to the complex relations between entropy and life), (3) Learning from the ‘forces’ of our cosmos—the strong and weak are implicated in binding of particles, the electromagnetic in radiation and chemistry, and the weaker gravitation, since it is or seems strictly attractive, in the larger scale structures, (4) The scales of our cosmos—microscopic to macroscopic and how, e.g., the microscopic gives rise to possibility of form and variety at the level of organisms, and (5) ‘Accidents’ such as the abundant occurrence of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon; the abundance on earth of water and the special physical and chemical properties of water including its anomalous expansion and that it is a medium of chemistry and solution.
Special: alternative and extreme natural law
What is the value of finding alternative laws, e.g. alternative physics? First there is a filling in of the picture of what the universe is like. This may be enhanced by computational intelligence and perhaps even realized by technology (computation itself or other such as micro-technology down to particle levels). Second, consider an alternative physics such as one in which time is sufficiently accelerated so that we can perform ‘super-tasks’. What is a super task? I use a definition somewhat broader than seems to be current. A super task is one that is logically possible but immensely difficult to unrealizable within the physics of our cosmos or a limited collection of cosmoses. However, if ‘super-physics’ permits super tasks then distinction emphasized above between the merely possible and the significant may have some to absolute break down.
What this suggests for population significance that while within realism all stories are possible, the ones that follow the foregoing template are probable. Thus while many of our traditional accounts are imbued with moral and psychological significance, their significance for cosmology is not great or, more precisely, does not appear from the developments so far to be great. Naïvely, the account of incremental origins from humble (void) beginnings seems counterintuitive—surely God was necessary to explain the beauty of the world—closer examination shows it to be the most probable explanation (including that if there are hierarchies of gods, their origins too is generally incremental). Somewhat similarly, quantum theory has some explanatory power for local origins (up to, say, the level of Lee Smolin’s kind of account) it is clearly deficient for its lack of explanation of the origin of the theory itself and its conservation laws (but note that on some accounts ‘anything is possible’ under quantum theory).
In an advanced stable cosmology there is the prospect for intelligent commitment to populate and discover or uncover the apparently less stable.
Our cosmos as a model example
The patterns (laws) and entities (physical—particle and interaction; and living and sentient) and their general form.
The ‘accidents’ (the values of the constants, the abundance of hydrogen and oxygen…)
How may we go to an account that is more general than one based in our kinds of law but yet more specific than a general incremental account. What principles might we uncover? Approaches include (1) Learning from our laws and their forms, including near symmetry, relative stability and how it comes about that there is simultaneous symmetry and symmetry breaking (there must be a balance between stability on the one hand and on the other hand effective origins and change, the related. See the comments on Smolin’s kind of account earlier. (2) Conservation laws, e.g. momentum and energy and reasons that a conservative universe is stable (non conservation means extreme dissipation or extreme inflation and of course extreme inflation may be a path to relative stability) and dissipation laws (e.g. entropy and, remembering that these laws seem to be statistical in nature, how they may contribute to structure and form—from the simple ‘usefulness’ of friction to the complex relations between entropy and life), (3) Learning from the ‘forces’ of our cosmos—the strong and weak are implicated in binding of particles, the electromagnetic in radiation and chemistry, and the weaker gravitation, since it is or seems strictly attractive, in the larger scale structures, (4) The scales of our cosmos—microscopic to macroscopic and how, e.g., the microscopic gives rise to possibility of form and variety at the level of organisms, and (5) ‘Accidents’ such as the abundant occurrence of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon; the abundance on earth of water and the special physical and chemical properties of water including its anomalous expansion and that it is a medium of chemistry and solution.
See alternative and extreme cosmologies next.
These overlap the stable cosmologies
Exploration of the world and metaphysical possibility.
Exploration of the world—our cosmos and its laws are one scenario out of limitlessly many implied by the metaphysics.
Exploration of metaphysical possibility—what is the universe like, what variety and identity are there, what is the origin of our cosmos and its laws and what is its relation to the rest of the universe? Thus far there are two pictures (a) our cosmos and variations (b) the metaphysics of this narrative. Not only do we want to explore the latter in its full range but we are also interested in special cases—laterally and from the level of our cosmos on up.
Note that some thinkers interpret ‘metaphysically possible’ in restrictive terms such as (a) should not radically violate our laws and (b) mind requires a body. It is interesting that while these two requirements should be interesting, they are not necessary. Particularly, if we are interested in the most general case, Logic is the only restriction and (b) if we are interested in the origin of our laws (and mind) it is essential to start from more general scenarios.
Are conservation and symmetry essential?
Is there any element of our laws that is universal? E.g. conservation, the ‘universal’ constants including speed of propagation of fundamental forces.
There can be no radical departure from our laws; mind requires form and so a body—are these physically, reasonably, or metaphysically necessary?
Generalization and variation of known laws, principles, and conservation (Noether’s theorem).
Generalized pictures of origins from laws that span a range of conservation and non conservation; entropy (and dissipation and availability); conservation and symmetry.
Fiction and realism.
There will be pockets of improbability but generally the foregoing population picture will obtain. There is a vast theory of possibilist and probabilist form awaiting development.
The stable cosmologies are our first prospect in terms of probability, duration, and meaning. It is generally the self-adapted systems that will have anything more than the barest sentience (see further discussion in cosmology of life and identity below).
They would be the foundation for the peak of being and perhaps rendering of new heights of stability in what otherwise may have seemed unstable.
…and these higher forms of sentience, being locally adapted, will be less to see other self-adapted systems and very unlikely to see transient systems. Thus while the formed cosmoses will be high in population, their sentient forms will predominantly see only their own cosmos (at least until such sentience adapts at a still higher level—organically or culturally). At a certain level of evolution there will be a tendency to see the local cosmos as absolute but think or conceive beyond this situation. Since we can at least think of and, as this account shows, even reason about higher cosmoses and the ultimate we are perhaps higher in this sense though fairly obviously far from ultimate.
Approach to the ultimate
Though realization is given to limited form (the individual), intelligent and passionate (committed) engagement enhance effectiveness and enjoyment of the process.
Implications for relations to the ultimate
Local forms are necessary to the way (a first source of meaning); a second source: identity across death and dissolution.
What circumstances over and above the universal-possibilist case does the probabilist case hold for relations of limited forms to the ultimate? Importantly, local adaptation (perception and free concept formation) enable understanding that goes beyond organic adaptation. This may and as we are now reading does enable universal understanding—some knowledge of the ultimate. Thus knowledge of approaches to the ultimate are also enabled (perhaps the knowledge is not too great but the metaphysics shows that realization for limited form is always at a beginning). These approaches may be ideational (e.g. meditative practice), behavioral (nature immersion, service, mutual spiritual practice) and technological (moving beyond earth to universal civilization via material and information technology).
God—particular versus diffuse, concrete—e.g. person—versus abstract, remote versus immanent
Abrahamic type conceptions of god, divested of inconsistency, are realized. However, these realizations are seemingly not probabilist and therefore the significance of the ‘gods’ is primarily symbolic. Remote personal gods are thus apparently of less real significance. What of local personal gods? These, too, seem improbable except as far as life is part of the ‘god-process’ and this appears to have some significance. However, here it is the abstract god (of which the concrete is a special case) that appears to have the greatest significance for it includes the ultimate. We are as noted earlier strands and dispositions-realizations within this process and therefore it is here that we find the ultimate into which we may enter.
‘God’ as the process of ‘our’ realization (‘error’ as essential)
We have via intelligence some, if very partial, control over our fate and evolution (such control is one common meaning of the word ‘destiny’). It is possible and therefore will occur that we (at least in identity beyond death and together with organism from the corners of the universe) rise to the level of constructing peaks of the universe (there will be depths too). That is some peaks will be the result of intelligence. But is this not also reasonable? I.e. as structure and process become capable of degrees self-world knowledge and ‘control’ is this not (a) likely to be most effective in populating the universe with higher / self-aware structures (b) the very conception of intelligence? It is in the nature of significance and of the void background (no external god) that such peaks, whatever the mechanism, are the highest significance.
Begin by considering the specifics or our organism rather than ‘universal organism’. We have seen that origins to the present state of our organism have been significantly not under our control (this is fairly obvious). However, it is also clear that we are able to affect our evolution if only minimally (and often adversely). This is of course not new for since the origin of life on earth, life is among the factors that affect the biosphere (life and environment) and the changed biosphere provides new niches and opportunities. What is qualitatively new is perhaps only the result of a single or a few quantitative changes among which is our intelligence (the meaning of the term requires clarification; surely it involves all elements of psyche including perception, physical capability, and emotion over and above mere cognition; and perhaps it should be defined implicitly: ability to apprehend and negotiate the immediate-and-the-ultimate). Perhaps the latter is not particularly remarkable but it is in the nature of our organism that we find it remarkable. In any case, the outcome is qualitatively remarkable even though it is clear that we are far from what is possible.
What is possible? It is clearly possible that that we can—organism can—become greater authors of our own evolution and the evolution of the universe. Two questions arise. Is this likely to result in the greatest variety-height of form? What is its consequence for ‘significance’? The metaphysics itself is neutral on the first question: it allows great variety and height of both conscious and blind form. However, there is clearly some probability advantage of ‘intelligence’ taking over from ‘blindness’ (perhaps the real issue is the nature rather than the issue of intelligence). Given this, the metaphysics requires that there will be peak phases of the universe that result from intelligence; and that from the identity of being, we will be part of such phases (not necessarily as this human civilization). The issue for significance is twofold: the peak phases of intelligence will be phases of consciousness and therefore of significance. Further, however, ability to appreciate the peak is (part of) significance.
But there was an assumption in the previous paragraph in the equation of intelligence and consciousness. How can we argue about this? Some philosophers and evolutionists have argued that consciousness was selected in evolution for its greater adaptivity. There is an error in this argument: surely a non-conscious organism could have instrumental if not conscious intelligence. The argument should go back to basics. We saw earlier that organism and experience (‘mind’ and ‘matter’) are constitutively interwoven at root levels. Thus there is no separating organism and experience. What is or may be selected for in evolution is articulation, processing ability, concentration of experience, freedom of pure experience, self-reference of experience; and this does not result in the higher experience that is our consciousness but, rather, it is that consciousness.
Given stable organisms in a stable cosmos under the paradigm of adaptation, pain and enjoyment are in adaptive balance. This gives further meaning to pain.
We saw earlier that the metaphysics implies that pain and joy are a mosaic and that that gave meaning to pain. In stable cosmologies pain and joy are adaptive; therefore, pain will not exceed joy (roughly). This gives further meaning to pain. This does not exhaust meaning for we may actively search meaning as in the human endeavors of psychology and religion.
The significance of the word ‘enjoyment’ is that whereas joy may be interpreted as in-itself, enjoyment suggests active engagement of life, feeling, and thought.
In stable cosmologies pain is adaptive. However, pain will normally have limits; this and joy, too, are adaptive.
There are instances of pain that, as just instances, have no meaning. Their meaning derives from the adaptive need for pain to be a general rather than too specific mechanism. In a universe with a traditional god it is hard to given meaning to meaningless pain.
We asked the following questions earlier. What might one do when faced with deep, inescapable pain, especially pain that seems to serve no purpose, pain and death of an infant? Some answers are as follows. Because the mechanism of pain must be general there will necessarily be times of apparently purposeless pain. The purpose is that pain is general but while that might address ‘meaningless’ pain it does not explain pain away. There are two situations to consider. (1) The pain is yours—that of the individual. (2) The pain is that of someone else, perhaps someone who is capable of understanding the meaning of pain or perhaps an infant (or animal) who cannot. When the pain is the individual’s they may have various resources to address the pain (painkillers, medical treatment, elective suicide…) When the pain is someone else’s , the same options are available except, of course, for elective suicide. In all cases understanding the meaning of pain may be helpful—with or without ‘treatment’; empathy with self or others (to know their joy and suffering as your own. Understanding in advance may help with meaning and acceptance of pain and suicide (the understanding is an aspect of spirituality). However, it is inevitable that there will be situations that are intolerable in the moment and for which no preparation will be adequate (which is not to deny that some individuals are capable of accepting intolerable pain). This is a part of life and it is important that whatever one’s understanding and spirituality that this be acknowledged. This is an aspect of any true spiritual understanding, e.g. Buddhism which refers to suffering as pain, mental or physical, that is the result of ‘ignorance’; the aim is to overcome this ignorance. Part of that overcoming is knowing that there is intolerable pain but not dwelling on it or not living in fear of pain.
‘Meaning of life’
Since there is nothing outside the universe, any meaning is being in it—its being and process.
Meaning of life—significant meaning, lies in being in process, i.e. in negotiating the immediate-ultimate.
There is nothing outside the universe; there is no external creator. Therefore there is no true meaning to be sought in these ideas.
In some existentialist positions we are alone in the universe; we are our own seekers and creators of meaning; this is sometimes seen as close to nihilism.
Here we see the truth of the existentialisms. In the ultimate we are the universe and its meaning and significance. But how does this affect the immediate? It gives us the knowledge that even though we may not have the ultimate in meaning, it is part of our destiny. To enjoy it optimally, however, we must engage; we accept the mosaic of joy and pain, the experience of success and failure. There is nothing outside the process therefore being in the process is (the source of) meaning; the thought that there might be some ultimate and external authority on meaning is based in the errors that see the universe as created by such agency and that see the ultimate as a state of frozen perfection.
The way of being is all being—the use of all dimensions of being (individual, culture, civilization) in realization of all (essential, highest) being. The way is eternal process of approach to peak and dissolution. This would be monotonous but for limitless variety and limitless quality of the peaks.
This is given by the metaphysics.
A universe of meaning
Here the sense of meaning is that of significant or existential but not concept or linguistic meaning.
Love and light as meaning?
Some religions and philosophies hold that that the universe is essentially one in which ‘love and / or light is the transcendent principle’—the universe is love.
It seems to me that a universe of only pain or ennui would not have existential meaning (some might disagree but I think that the disagreement is based on the possibility of something beyond just pain).
However, it does not seem that the universe is one of pure love or that love is the direction of meaning. Still, as a mosaic, love and joy must occur in the universe. They are meaningful but not meaning itself.
The universe as it is
We have seen that the universe is essentially meaningful to its significant intelligent populations.
Meaning comes from being in process—the mosaic of pain and joy, commitment, intelligence on the way in the immediate to the ultimate
It is interesting that the logician Gödel argued that if life is rationally constructed meaningful there must be an ‘afterlife’. From its premise, the argument is at least reasonable and afterlife may be equally interpreted as eternal life. However, for the argument to be deductive it seems that it should be analytic, i.e. the cessation of ‘my consciousness’ would occur only in the absence of meaning.
The eleventh hour
‘The eleventh hour’ as the last moment that something can be done became popular in the 19th century but was used earlier. It alludes to the book of Matthew in the New Testament (20:1-16) (Wikipedia: the parable of the workers in the vineyard) in which workers arriving at the eleventh hour of the workday are paid a full day’s wage. The parable has the meanings or interpretations that even those who come to Christianity late in life will still earn the full benefits of the joys of eternal life and that God’s grace is given but not earned.
Some persons object to this as an unfair aspect of Christian thought: why should someone who becomes Christian just before death have the same benefit as a lifelong Christian? Of course the same kind of question may be posed regarding someone who was brought up Christian and who never questioned the faith. However I think that the real meaning of the parable is that truth and faith are a struggle, that some are ‘faithful’ only by luck and the real issue is that we come to truth (whatever it is) and not when we come to truth. In the present context the meaning of the parable is this:
Arriving at meaning and truth is a process. We might have success before death (relative not absolute); we might have failure and shame; this is temporal. In ‘another existence’—another expression of universal disposition the opportunity arises again and its different occasions constitute a sequence from the limited to the limitless. There is always resolution; shame and success dissolve and arise again. This is not reason for fatalism for we (all being not just being on earth) are the universe in its creative process between blind nothingness to Aeternitas or Brahman and back but always with freshness. As seen earlier, intelligent commitment (thought and perception in step with feeling, passion, intention, and action) is essential to effectiveness and enjoyment. The traditional ways provide realization in ‘this’ life but that is a projection of the ultimate onto our cosmos.
The notion of religion could be discussed here. However, religion is more than a system of thought so I defer discussion of religion to the later section on religion.
The individual realizes the ultimate. While in limited form this realization is eternal process—a journey in being. This follows from the metaphysics.
It is in overcoming limited form that the ultimate, i.e. the Aeternitas or Brahman, are achieved.
The first main section, Journey: process, makes explicit the so far implicit idea of a journey; it then derives and discusses derives some dimensions (of being) for the journey and elements of process; redundancy is allowed.
Path of realization, derives an approach ‘universal realism’ and a generic template. The way sets out a plan; the plans are mine but may but are sufficiently broad in form that they may be modified to suit other path designs.
Nature of realization
Enjoyment and effectiveness are enhanced by intelligent, committed and passionate engagement. The process always begins here-now and connects to the ultimate.
This does not exclude detachment from too much investment in outcome.
The ‘journey’ connects the immediate and the ultimate. It begins here, in this world. It is incremental but saying so is not to exclude significant steps.
Magnitude and enjoyment of the process of realization
The extension, duration, variety, peaks and their magnitudes, and dissolutions are without limit; the ultimate is approached but not achieved; it is only in overcoming limited form that the ultimate is achieved.
Further, enjoyment and effectiveness are enhanced by intelligent, committed and passionate engagement (which of course is not to exclude detachment from too much investment in outcomes and so on).
The ‘journey’ connects the immediate and the ultimate. It begins here, in this world. It is incremental but saying so is not to exclude significant steps.
Immersion and the disciplines
The cosmology developed above is derived from that of modern society. This is appropriate for modern cosmology and the metaphysics go a long way (to the ultimate). It is not the point here that the primal and other traditions have no intuition of the ultimate but only that in the here developed way is one way that suggests how to realize.
How? Of course we use the suggestions of all tradition but the final mix is imaginative and critical (the primal have critical aspects as in the strengthening and weakening or strengthening of prescription according to experience). But the modern cosmology and metaphysics suggests some ways (as developed below). The primal and other traditions can add to this.
The intrinsic and instrumental disciplines—the traditions of the east are, though limited just as the west too is limited, developed beyond western psychologies of being. I call these disciplines intrinsic because they apply to our being in contrast to the extrinsic or instrumental disciplines that apply primarily to the environment or instrumentally to the individual.
The oral narratives of some primal traditions may be described as immersive (there is no need to generalize; we learn from examples). What this means is that the narratives are not templates to apply but are also lived. This is a significant learning that can be made from the primal (though of course the idea of immersion is not absent in western thought as in the poetry of William Blake and many others and the experience of the western mystics).
What does immersion mean? First, what is non-immersion? The western sciences tend to non-immersion. The natural sciences are essentially objective in their orientation. The social sciences are significantly objective and instrumental. Technology is the technology of instrument and control. To be immersive is to blur the boundaries, to join the oppositions of object and subject. Our social sciences and efforts should merge, thinkers will be actors (e.g. VI Lenin and MK Gandhi); but actors will be thinkers. Ultimately this will be the way of a natural science that leads to realization. The theory of experience shows that ‘electrons’ have experience. There will be no way but to be involved at all levels. But how? We begin with the closest to our niche of being.
Some detail follows.
The natural sciences are primarily constituted of conceptual and experimental activity. Their application lies in fields such as medicine and technology. These of course have application to ‘being’, healing and modification of the organism in medicine; adding and modification of the organism in technology (medicine and technology overlap). Technology and science of exploration, especially space exploration are potentially significant to our future even construed narrowly. Information and other micro-technologies (‘nano-technology’) come closer to the core of the being of the organism than earlier technologies. Perhaps the time is close when the distinction between organism and technology breaks down.
Society, immersion, and the need for greater immersion
The social sciences come closer to being immersive than the natural. Here, in the doing (politics, ideas and so, charismatic or traditionally structured or both), charismatic authority mixes with traditional-institutional authority but, still, especially in large scale societies far more so than for small independent groups (as in ‘primal’ cultures), the gap is large. Immersion occurs in two ways: narrowing the gap between local and global in individual, charismatic, and institutional aspects; and immersion of the thinker in practice (as in the standard examples of MK Gandhi, VI Lenin, and ML King). As societies become larger, the need for immersive social activity (e.g. politics) will become greater in both immediate and ultimate perspectives.
Need for immersive natural science and technology
But this is true also for the natural sciences and the technologies. This can be seen from two perspectives (1) for limited form (and culture including knowledge) the approach to the ultimate is always in process—‘always at the beginning’ and (2) realization is realization of being and not just of the part of being labeled ‘ideas’.
The intrinsic disciplines
As discussed below, the intrinsic disciplines pertain to the identity of the organism. Among the modern sciences, even psychology has largely ignored the ‘inner’ aspect. The intrinsic disciplines pertain to identity and psyche. Here, the achievements in the east outstrip those of the west. In the west these have been minimized perhaps on account of emphasis on what is controllable. Perhaps the achievements of the east, though spectacular, are not that much after all. Still, this is where ‘core’ being resides; and, even if the east is at a beginning, more is needed. The west has a tradition in this area (e.g. the mystics but this has been marginalized). There has been a renaissance of the intrinsic disciplines in the west that has learned much from the east.
The aim is to attempt formulation of a comprehensive set of areas of action toward realization. There is no suggestion that the definitions are absolute or altogether trans-cultural. Completeness, if the project would be feasible, is left for another time.
The dimensions of process are nature or ground, civilization (individual and community in interaction), psyche (the place of being and significance and source of instrument), and the universal.
In choosing the elements from some culture(s) for projection, there will be some arbitrariness The points are to begin, not uncritically, and that we can return to reexamine and improve.
Nature—in western cosmology, nature is primitive. It is of course multi-dimensional—physical, cosmological, biological and, on some accounts, also of experience (mind). These constitute a scientific ground of being. Then there is the nature that is lived in—land, river, forest, mountain, lake… This is ground, sustenance, and inspiration. Nature is frequently distinguished from mind and spirit. However, the metaphysics as well as the earlier analysis of mind show that the real distinction must lie in our picture of nature versus our picture of mind. Thus, finally, I do not hold with those who refer to the additional reality of a spirit world. There is one world in which spirit and nature are one but the distinction arises as fundamental on account of incompleteness in perception and of knowledge.
Civilization—includes community. So far as there is a communal identity or even soul, it is an aspect of civilization. But civilization also emphasize an external aspect—technology and artifact and their role in realization. Some observations: individuals, community, teachers, and taught are in process together at the forefront; traditions and culture among peers and pass from generation to generation; at an inclusive level the process is civilization. Definitions: Human civilization is the web of human community across time and continents. Universal civilization is the matrix of civilizations across the universe. The process: civilization nurtures the individual, individuals foster civilization. The metaphysics requires and suggests that civilization forges its way to becoming an individual. The process of civilization is also intrinsic—the being of civilization: civilizations in interaction, individual strands interweaving—and external—the employment of physical and life sciences, travel in the world (which merges with the inner as in the Beyul below), and technology in the service of exploration and, via information processing and networking, of identity. Aspects: it is important that the dimensions of civilization include the practical cultural domains of knowledge, politics, and economics. In the process of realization these may come to emphasize immersion as much as instrument. Ways to connect immediate and ultimate—preliminary: perhaps the primary block is fundamentalism in secular (naturalism where ‘nature’ has limited interpretation) and trans-secular domains.
Ways to connect immediate and ultimate: (1) Material-quantitative and spiritual-qualitative implications of the metaphysics are important. (2) Belief is not necessary. (3) A way through the secular / trans-secular: via the metaphysics. (4) Infuse social institutions with the open (eternal process) and immersive implications of the metaphysics. (5) Institutional and charismatic initiatives are important. (6) My path has to be multiple: through my being and sharing.
Psyche—refers to mind, spirit and soul (to the extent that they obtain). Though the distinctions are the result of ignorance they are convenient. Good and evil are real (the metaphysics) but we seem to sense this via emotion, experience, and thought rather than corporeal sense. We can think of spirit as the part of psyche with which we sense the higher things of which we are a part; soul is what survives death; and psyche refers generically to all of these and to person and identity. The essential sense of personal god is that of a process in which we partake. Thus there is a place for a term that properly refers to identity, person, mind, spirit, and soul; the word chosen here is psyche. The essential psychology here is related to the aim and shall be (a) our apprehensions of the real and (b) ways to apprehend the real: we have discussed (a) and discussion of (b) is ongoing.
The universal—see below.
Some details of the dimensions follow.
Nature can be seen as the ground of being…
It can be seen in various ways, e.g. scientifically. Here, however, we are especially interested in other aspects—the experiential and via experience as gateway to the universal.
Perhaps the main artificiality to concepts of nature is the cutoff from other ‘dimensions’, especially society and spirit.
The divisions are not entirely arbitrary. The social and cultural worlds are partly products of human action. The conventional essence of nature is that we can affect it but do not produce it (from the universal metaphysics we can of course affect it; from experience that suggests we cannot affect nature what we derive is the difficulty of affecting nature). There are numerous connotations to the word ‘spirit’. All suggest a realm beyond immediate sense but not beyond all apprehension. The metaphysics requires this. Perhaps of greatest significance is a ‘higher’ world—somewhere between the immediate and Brahman. But I think that the divide between spirit and nature refers really to ignorance than to a real divide. Ultimately, all is nature or all is spirit.
Nature is the most ‘elementary’ of the dimensions.
We tend to think that its province does not overlap spirit. Where we see spirit in nature we tend to think of it as separate. However, it was argued that this is simply because what we see in nature as incomplete—i.e., it is our seeing (or thinking) that is incomplete and not nature itself. As our knowledge of nature grows (ancient intuition such as the mystic and the philosophical, mind as part of nature, society as expression of nature even though perhaps remotely so in our understanding, modern physics being more suggestive of mind than classical physics) we begin to see the unity of nature and spirit.
Psychology or theory of realization
The focus and purpose
The purpose is to serve the.
The focus is practical—we are here interested in transformation.
The primary psychology of transformation must include a proximate psychology.
The purpose is to serve the aim to live in all worlds, especially the immediate and the ultimate, as one. The focus therefore is on this aspect of perception, cognition, emotion, and motivation. Detailed concerns are of course important, but especially as they relate to the primary focus.
Apprehension of the real
Ways to apprehension of the real
What is psychology?
Understanding of experience and its categories in general, conceptual, and empirical terms.
It expresses the conceptual in and learns from the particular. It is concerned with the dimensions of mind (cognition, emotion); motivation and how it translates to behavior; it is concerned with relations to the immediate and the ultimate.
Academic and existential psychology
Though slanted and programmatically incomplete these may be useful.
Modern academic psychology tends to eschew the ‘unobservable’. Though the ‘heyday’ of this tendency is now past, it is still strong. Even non-academic western psychologies tend to hold that the non or supra natural is only ‘in the mind’ (recall that the distinction between natural and super-natural is not a matter of the real but of relative knowledge and ignorance). Perhaps all traditional psychologies have a limited view of the ultimate. It is immensely hard to outgrow our adaptive experiential orientation in such a way as to be oriented to the ultimate without violation of what is valid in that orientation.
I mention existential psychology because it ought to be relevant to the project of being. However, it is largely couched in secular terms—even though it revises meanings it remains secular. A full existential psychology (with no western / European slant on the ‘existential’) would of course include a psychology of realization.
In the aim of perfection we do not wait for perfection.
The essential psychology
The essential psychology is the theory of realization.
Individuals are strands of the universal, we are its dispositions become concrete.
In universal process individual memory is recollected as part of a higher individual. There is an endless continuum of levels—above self, from SELF to BRAHMAN and below self, from the void and its transients to self.
The essential psychology is not a theory of how human psychology ‘works’ rather it is the psychology sufficient to and not too much in excess of what is necessary to theory of realization…
I emphasize the maxim that in the aim of perfection we cannot wait for perfection. That is, practically, perfection in ultimate terms includes sacrifice of aspects of self—i.e. focus on ego and self is in service of the ‘higher’ aim.
Elements of psychology
A goal for the future is to work a full but relevant psychology into the theory of realization.
Elements of psychology may be divided according to binding to the world versus freedom. Perception and primal feeling are binding; we are not normally free to perceive the form of mountain as something else and we are not normally free to ignore pain. That is tied in with survival. Yet we are free in some ways; we have freedom of concept formation which is adaptive in surviving in new environments—that is, freedom of concept formation is part of the adaptation of adaptability. We have a degree of freedom of affect—the ability to invest emotion in new objects and pursuits and this too may be seen as ability to adapt to new contexts, even the universal (even if this arose in small ways, the difference between the small and the universal in this context is one of degree rather than kind).
The immediate and the ultimate in psychology
Goal: balance the immediate and ultimate
An important element of this psychology is to keep a balance between the immediate and the ultimate.
Modern and classical sources
Modern academic or ‘secular’ psychology emphasizes the immediate as real and sees the ultimate as no more than the immediate except that the ultimate has symbolic meaning. The classical psychologies, e.g. of the Abrahamic Religions, the various strands of Hinduism (especially the Bhagavad-Gita, Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Saivism) and Buddhism (see also Tibetan Buddhism), though quite different in their understanding of the ultimate and approach to ‘salvation’, emphasize the relation between the immediate and the ultimate and assert that salvation lies in integrating reality (immediate-ultimate) appropriately in psyche.
Freedom and necessity
Freedom and necessity
The aim of the practical parts (practice and ritual) psychology would include developing and sustaining this freedom while maintaining adequate respect for the immediate or normal. It would further include sustaining this balance between freedom and ‘necessity’ with regard to all elements noted above:
Elements of cognition, cognition and emotion, mind and body, individual and civilization, nature and universe.
Human civilization is the web of human community across time and continents. Universal civilization is the matrix of civilizations across the universe. The universal metaphysics implies the being of universal civilization and that it is one vehicle for realization of the ultimate.
Civilization is the large scale aspect of community—global and universal.
Individuals are in process together. The process is communal. Together, we compare learning—develop traditions shared among peers and from generation to generation. There are venerated and charismatic teachers but to think in terms of mastery over transience is stasis.
At a more inclusive level the process involves civilization.
Civilization: the concept
The following is from a published version of the realizations.
Our civilization is the web of human culture over time and continents (space). Greater Civilization is the matrix and interconnections of civilizations (being) across the universe.
The metaphysics reveals a limitless universe open to individual and Civilization. It is appropriate and now possible to address negotiation of the normal limits of our world. The practical address of this concern is now taken up.
Individuals foster Civilization; Civilization nurtures the individual. Civilization is the hearth of realization; individuals manifest realization. The metaphysics requires and suggests that Civilization forges its way to becoming an individual.
The process of civilization is intrinsic (the being of civilization: civilizations in interaction, individual strands interweaving), external (the employment of physical and life sciences, and technology in the service of exploration and, via information processing and networking, of identity), and mixed (e.g. travel in the world which merges with the inner as in the Beyul below).
Politics, values and morals, and economics are essential in the idea of civilization. Values represent the integration of the immediate and the ultimate; and it is important that they should merge with the realities of politics and economics
Civilization provides ways, rough methods, of ideation and action—disciplines of thought, discovery, and transformation. In culture, emergence of disciplines, too, has rough discipline.
The standard forms of the disciplines—secular and trans-secular—are marked by incompleteness and error but their core constitutes ground on which to build.
Our apparent limits are Laws or expressions of Law which also constitute initial ground on which to transcend limits on the way to universal realization.
The apparently stable initial ground is transient and incomplete, but knowing and living its transient incompleteness is on the way to the ultimate.
It is worth repeating: ultimate realization for all beings is given by the metaphysics. However, efficiency and enjoyment are immensely enhanced in occurrence and quality by commitment and engagement.
Sacred scriptures speak of divine magnificence. An example: the Indian Bhagavad-Gita compares the splendor of being to the radiance of a thousand suns. Yet its prescribed means of realization anchored in practice in the present.
The universe and the place of individuals in it are limitlessly greater than in common secular and trans-secular cosmologies. Especially on this knowledge, realization for limited forms begins in the present, touched and illuminated by the ultimate.
It is important that the dimensions of civilization include the practical cultural domains of knowledge, politics, and economics. In the process of realization these may come to emphasize immersion as much as instrument.
The immediate and the ultimate
I seek to formulate ways to connect the immediate and the ultimate.
Introduction: the secular, the trans-secular, overcoming their joint limits
The tradition provides ways. In the secular the ultimate tends to be this world and cosmos and so the primary connections are material and human. The material emphasizes improving the material aspect of life and exploration (and utilization) of the cosmos. The human dimension is seen as living the good life: enjoying the world and what it offers, sharing and contributing—voluntarily and through work—and enjoying the fruits of work. The ‘spiritual’ is not absent but rather than to the real, it refers to ‘higher’ aspects of psychology and culture.
The trans-secular sees a greater universe than does the secular and so sees further connections. There are conflicts and commonalities among the different trans-secular systems and between the secular (and its components, e.g. the nations) and the trans-secular. The conflicts among the trans-secular are largely the result of fundamentalist interpretation and the political economics of religion (religion is also political and economic). The commonalities include moral principles-behavior and symbols of the real (which is or includes the spiritual). Issues of the trans-secular include the negative aspects of its politics, the limited reality of its symbols (which we might see intuitively but are starkly brought out by the metaphysics), and that while religion flourishes in some places it has lost its hold in others. Reasons for this loss are the ascent of science and political-economic freedoms that diminish the need for religious light: the idea of spirit remains positive for many secularists but the compulsion that results from misery and coercion has been removed.
However, the metaphysics shows the standard secular and trans-secular to be severely limited. What it shows is the greatest opportunity that transcends the secular divide; it does not do so compulsively; it cannot do so compulsively for realization must begin with volition. This requires freedom from coercive religious and other politics. On the other hand it also implies that there are limitations to the separation of secular and trans-secular affairs (the separation is important in helping guarantee freedoms of thought, freedom from persecution). This sets up a paradox. The secular divide retards realization while it provides freedom to pursue realization. Its source is a defect of human nature—ignorance and coercion—but its purpose is to protect human value. But the metaphysics and its implications show the crucial significance of going beyond this many faceted stand-off.
While one source of the stand-off is that of the different fundamentalist systems, it is not so commonly recognized that the secular worldview has its own limits and fundamentalisms. The limits are by now obvious: the standard secular worldview is severely limited. The fundamentalism is in taking this limited (e.g. naturalistic) worldview as complete. ‘Soft secularism’ takes it as complete by default; hard, i.e. positivist secularism, believes that it must be complete (but of course does not regard its position as belief).
Thus the argument here is not that of secularism and trans-secularism, one is right and one wrong (in any case there are so many strands within each that the meaning of right and wrong in simple terms is compromised). It is that, while the valid elements of both—tradition—have positive contributions, both are severely limited. What is the way out?
Intellectually, there is a simple answer. The metaphysics has made belief irrelevant; it has shown an ultimate that, as such, requires no belief. Realization, then, is a positive process (which is not to say that there is and shall be no mystery; for there is, especially with regard to the realms of being and as knowledge does not displace true mystery) and all that is required is engagement (which of course is an immense endeavor and may be experienced as difficult and in which the symbolism of the traditions may be invaluable).
Problems of the intellectual answer include the following. While the metaphysics has made the psychologically imperative character of belief rationally unnecessary with regard to realization, it has not removed the strength and various sources—intrinsic and social—of the psychological imperative (for belief could already be seen to be irrelevant with regard to realization from the conflicts of fundamentalism and the symbolic meaning of religion). So the psychological issue is the conflict from the various needs and reasons for fundamentalist belief on one hand, and the inertia of secular comfort on the other. Simultaneously, there are the social issues of communication and organization in relation to the trans-fundamentalist (secular and trans-secular) inertia and reaction which is both psychological and political-economic.
I begin to see that a fundamental issue is not the secular versus the trans-secular but fundamentalism (secular and trans-secular, explicit and implicit) versus openness.
Ways to connect
This emphasizes the psycho-social side. Intrinsic connecting has been set up in the foregoing and continues in.
The following ways are tentative
1. It is important to see not just the material and quantitative but also the spiritual and qualitative implications of the metaphysics (system).
The nature of the universe includes experience of The Real as spiritual.
2. Belief is not necessary.
Belief may now be replaced by a mix of positive knowing (the givenness of the ultimate) and ‘existential faith’ in the face of doubt and variety. A practical concern—communication and allocation of resources (all institutions, secular and trans-secular, require and take resources).
3. The way through the secular and the trans-secular.
Modern science (quantum and relativistic) has points of contact with the metaphysics, especially in the notions of the void (quantum vacuum), mesh of space-time-being (the space-time-matter of general relativity), and suggestions of mystery from quantum theory (stability from indeterminacy, analogy at least to mind-life-spirit in various phenomena including entanglement and the self-origins of replication and complexity). But these are only suggestions. Clearly, science is far from ultimate and the potential is immense. Regarding the trans-secular, one way is to focus on symbolic meaning, to fuse that meaning with the metaphysics, and perhaps to render the fusion in symbolic (parable or story, myth, legend, allegory) terms. Would institutionalization be significant?
4. To infuse social institutions with the implications of the metaphysics.
I do not mean ‘symbolic infusion and invocation’ such as prayer and artistic rendering (nor should I exclude symbol). However, what I mean is that there are implications for our cultural, political, and perhaps economic processes and institutions. We have seen that the new trans-nomial worldview implies that science will never be at an end and that limited form—individual and civilization—shall never exhaust science; therefore the realization of any ultimate science or even greatest possible science, shall be by enhancing its approach or method to include explicit and intrinsic immersion (application of science is extrinsic and perhaps only implicit). But the same should be true of other institutions—political-economic, other aspects of culture, education and other. And what of symbolic infusion? Would this be anti-‘democratic’? Offensive? And regarding symbolic infusion—what and how?
5. Institutional and charismatic initiatives are important.
And compulsive and exclusive rationality as well as emotionality are to be avoided. Both are adaptive and there separations come in degrees, not absolutes; each ‘informs’ the other; generally, they work together
6. My path has to be multiple.
Intrinsic—my thought and being; individual—my process; and sharing.
The universal is ‘everything’ but, particularly, emphasizes the unknown; it includes the previous dimensions.
All dimensions, especially the universal, straddle the known and unknown.
The aim is to attempt formulation of a comprehensive set of ways of action toward realization. Again, I do not suggest that the definitions are absolute or trans-cultural; completeness and its feasibility are left for another time.
Elements of process are means (ideas and action), disciplines and mechanics of transformation (ways, psycho-physiological catalysts (non drug) such as extended hiking, fasting, vision quest, risk, reflection, and consolidation), modes (intrinsic—of being, extrinsic—of environment and technology), and places (nature, civilization, psyche, and universe), and vehicles (individual, civilization, intelligent artifact), and phases (becoming: nature, spirit, civilization-artifact and pure be-ing).
Elements (non exclusive) of the process may include means (ideas and action), disciplines and discipline in process (mechanics: ways of living and catalysts of change; augmented by reflection, experiment, risk, learning…), modes (intrinsic—of being, extrinsic—of environment and technology), places (nature, civilization, psyche, universe), vehicles (individual, civilization and, later, truly sentient and intelligent artifact), and phases (becoming: nature, spirit, civilization-artifact and pure be-ing).
Some details of the process follow.
The means are ideas and action.
The net process is that of being: the being of individuals and so on. The goal is transformation but the very fact of an aim involves ideas which give sense and direction to process which render process as action and the outcome as transformation. Ideas and action are the means of transformation.
The tradition offers disciplines or received knowledge and practice.
Transformation and the intent to transform do not take place in a vacuum. Others came before us; tradition includes a cumulation of ideas from bits of understanding to a broad understanding of being; tradition also includes ways of transformation and ways of analysis; these become consolidated in disciplines which are also in process (sometimes the activity of exceptional individuals). There is a discipline of disciplines; it may be encoded in culture; it may be explicitly recognized; it is especially active—recognized or not—at times of transition.
A mechanics of transformation is, simply, analysis and synthesis of being. It may use the disciplines—e.g., the ways of the religions. Its essential mechanics is choice-risk-consolidation.
What would a mechanics of the process be? We seek activities that are transformative. That includes not only action but also ideas. Ideas and action are in interaction. An action has a transformative effect. We see this in ideas and seek to multiply it. We take a risk; in ideas we see the outcome and reject what does not work, admit what does.
In detail a mechanics of transformation is as follows: it involves risk which is intelligent where possible but sometimes true risk. The ‘cyclic’ process, then, is risk, outcome, learning at various levels, consolidation andor letting go (rejection) conceiving and making choice… or, briefly, choice-risk-consolidation (consolidation refers to both ideas and transformation of being itself).
A mechanics has two elements—ways of living, and particular catalytic activities such as meditation, fasting, and exposure.
Modes (of change)
Change is either intrinsic or in external circumstances.
The external includes social organization or civilization, technology with perhaps material changes in the individual (prosthetics and medicine, machine assistance including intelligent machines. We tend to think of the organism’s being as relatively fixed and so, on the intrinsic side, to emphasize ideas. For the most part even the major religions, even where they see salvation, it is salvation of the individual. They do not see the individual becoming something else, something greater. But some religions see and we have already seen here that we are already part of the absolute; all that is required is transformation of degree. And it is important to emphasize transformation of being because that is what we aim at. Perhaps what we achieve in this life will be small but perhaps not. We do not know the future with precision.
Places of change
The dimensions—nature, civilization, psyche, universe.
Individual and civilization (artifact would be included at the point that artifact acquires knowledge of significance)
Phases of a ‘journey’ correspond to the dimensions and the aspects of process. Be-coming versus be-ing defines a broad division.
A particular journey may recognize phases that correspond to dimensions and aspects of process.
Foregoing considerations suggest (a) BECOMING: transformations in ideas and transformations in being (individual-civilization and artifact-technology) and (b) PURE BEING.
It is worthwhile asking which dimensions and processes will be instrumental in ultimate answer. The simplest and most general answer will of course be all (a) in synergy (which is understood to include any combination) and (b) each separately, finding stable and connected pathways through the maze of possibility.
Some significant options
Extrinsic versus intrinsic means. Secular thought emphasizes the extrinsic; this is typically based in a view of human being and cosmos as limited. Trans-secular thought emphasizes the intrinsic (see advaita vedanta below). However standard secular and trans-secular thought have a limited view of the ultimate and its limitlessness and eternal process. From this perspective, the intrinsic and its means (inner, e.g. the yogas) are the very vehicle of realization; but the inner is not separate from the ‘body’ (thought has form sufficient to its intricacy) and so the extrinsic—e.g. science, technology, and the externals of civilization—are (likely) a necessary complement. In the end, of course, the inner / outer distinction is null.
Other apparent oppositions: nature versus civilization, the affective and metaphorical versus the precise and the formal are (a) not true oppositions and (b) may well be synergic to be most effective. The case (b) is not necessarily true and whether realization shall favor ‘logic or poetry’, for example, or both is an open question. As a guess, if I had to go with one I would choose poetry but of course to ignore logic altogether would be fatal. Why poetry? It is an intuition whose source is that poetry is more inclusive and that evolution (usually) is incremental and intrinsic rather than by precise design. But that is just a guess I make if I have to choose. In the actual case we may recognize that our Logic is immensely primitive and that it may well be that it includes poetry and is and takes us to the highest reaches of evolution.
Comment. Was Path.
The principle is to use the metaphysics, cosmology, traditional ways, reflection, action, and experience as foundation to synthesize a way to be named universal realism. That is, the path or way and their development are part of the same process.
The traditional systems may also be used as sources with regard to detail of living in the world—only brief detail is presented here as foundation from which to build by example or by criticism.
A goal is for the path to be incisive and comprehensive. One way to do this is to have knowledge with, to experiment with a range of ideas and ‘systems’ but to be carefully selective on the actual approach: the existing systems and the metaphysics support universal realism; path selection begins with how to: a template, and ways and design; the path itself begins with right thought and action which comes before but is on equal footing with ideas; the ideas precede but are part of and in interaction with action; the phases of action are designed also to be comprehensive while allowing selection: nature as ground and inspiration, transformation of being, engagement in the world, and artifactual being; and threading through and capping this is the way of pure being.
This overview is intended as suggestive rather than definitive or comprehensive.
It attempts to avoid being too simple and too sophisticated. The former never gets into real action; the latter never gets out of preparing for action.
The ‘principle’ will be to look at extremely brief versions of some pathways and their consequences, and derive a ‘universal realism’ from the suggestions of these ways and reflection on their deficits, especially in light of the universal metaphysics.
I first look at secularism and then at religious sources.
The positive side of secularism and secular humanism is the cultivation of truth and the good. As such it is a good foundation for trans-secular activity.
However ‘naïvely positivist secularism’ which sees the secular world as all being abandons human inheritance of the unbounded being of the universe.
Secularism and secular humanism generally hold to worldviews that tends to deny a trans-secular realm (I have been using ‘trans-secular’ to be inclusive of the secular but here I emphasize the ‘trans’ aspect of ‘trans-secular’). That is roughly equivalent to denying a spiritual realm. So for its metaphysics secular humanism appeals to physics; and for its cosmology to modern physical cosmology. Life, mind, and values are not at all denied but there is a tendency to think that they are essentially of the physical cosmos. Now this claim is not typically overt but it is the default view of very many ‘secularists’: many would admit that ‘there may be something beyond but we don’t know what it would be but it probably is not as depicted in traditional religion’; but mostly the secular life is lived without regard to religion or the spiritual. Secularism is not empty: it is a fundamental value of secular humanism to know and live the good life in ‘worldly’ terms—contribution to society, usually as work; family; enjoyment of nature and culture; sharing with others in these endeavors; helping the less fortunate; leaving a legacy in terms of contribution and influence—influence in general and positive upbringing of the next generation. This is good. Now I want to look at the many deficits of the fundamental view.
Denial of a spiritual realm. Our knowledge of a spiritual realm tends to come from traditional religion and modern forays into spirituality. Such ‘knowledge’ is easy to deny and dismiss. The secular worldview shows it wrong; and in any case ‘we don’t need it because our lives are already full and satisfying’. One does not object to the attitude described in the previous sentence. However, the very conception of ‘spirit’ is wrong. (1) It is not ‘nature’ that is incomplete but our knowledge of it; even if we had not encountered the universal metaphysics we would know from the history of scientific progress that we can hardly claim today’s science complete (we have given reasons why it might seem complete). (2) Therefore the idea of ‘spirit’ refers, at least, to some of the dimensions of our ignorance. Are these dimensions significant? On simple rational grounds they may well be unboundedly significant. But the psychological motive to even looking into this is lacking for many secularists—the comfort of a modern economy, the stress and / or fullness of the secular life, the easy dismissal of ‘standard spirituality’.
This life is an opportunity to investigate the unknown which in is potentially vast. If this is an imperative—and surely discovery is one of the great hallmarks of the liberation that is secularism—then both the secularist and the religious fundamentalist retard the forward motion of being. Peoples interests differ according to personality and other factors; therefore no one should be accused of not being interested in ‘more’ but the retardation of process from careless and easy dismissal is a fact. This would be true even if we did not know of the universal metaphysics. Now it could be argued in response that ‘whatever the world is, surely its forward process must be founded on real human nature’. That is not an argument for it presumes to judge human nature (there is place for infinite regress here). What is true is that, as we have seen, the rise and fall of being are founded on intelligent commitment.
In summary, my view of secularism is that it is good as far as it goes. However, it stops short of what we inherit from the universe. It is reasonably clear that there is a connection between economic prosperity, the progress of science and reason, and secularism. The prosperous half has a choice whether to merely enjoy their prosperity or to build on it. In that it cultivates good attitudes to the world and has roots in aesthetics and reason, it may be a good foundation for universal endeavor. So far it is not clear whether this promise of rewarding endeavor will be realized.
Religions have many parts; all the following occur in some religions: a divine and worldly cosmology (or in the case of original Buddhism the denial of the need for such knowledge); a system of morals that places humankind in the cosmos (behavior and salvation); the foregoing expressed in ‘legends’, icons, ritual, or philosophical terms; a society with secular, political, economic, and spiritual aspects. Religions have been used and abused. They are often ill-understood. Consider ‘common religion’ which is ‘superstitious’. Ignore that cosmology is but one function of religion and that the common is one of a number of levels. The critics of this common religion in today’s world are often intellectually and economically privileged. The function of the common is to point to hope which is allowed by secular intellect but mostly ignored and explored. Those denied education and economic resources have no choice for hope but in common religion; and that hope is intellectually valid (and even demonstrated in this document). Thus the modern privileged intellectual who disparages common religion is guilty of class discrimination. But what is religion?
Religions fall under the trans-secular (understood as containing the secular). Today, under the influence of secular scholarship, economics, and politics we tend to see religion is extra-secular terms. However, as we have seen the entire standard (and most alternative) worldviews is severely limited). Immense energy is spent (I shall not say wasted because the intent is often good) on negotiating, debating, and discussing a system of limited viewpoints.
The world itself is larger than the standard secular and trans-secular (university, church…). Because we tend to not see the world we have no real name for this activity (here called the universal metaphysics). There is an activity, we can see it but generally do not, we could name it but generally have not. But to call the activity ‘universal metaphysics’ would be to think of it as an exercise in thought. In fact it would be an activity of realization whose nature is made clear by the metaphysics. Recalling the aim, we saw that the way of being is the use of all dimensions of being in realization of the ultimate in the immediate and the ultimate as such. As a result of the limits of reason and perspective of our common worldviews there is no common name for this activity. We could use the name ‘religion’:
But for the limitations of our common conceptions of the activity of being human and the limited associations of the word ‘religion’ I might use that word for the following conception that is validated by the universal metaphysics and its implications:
Religion is the use of all dimensions of being in realization of (1) the ultimate in the immediate and (2) the ultimate as such.
I would call that religion but for the limiting connotations of ‘religion’. I will do so until I think of a better name (‘spirituality’ is limited).
Especially as primal to and more inclusive than the post secular divide; as the root of the modern; and as a ground of being a human animal that can know being.
I look at primal religion as a source of later religions and as a way of living in contact with the real. I look at Buddhism and Vedanta because they have different metaphysics but not altogether different psychology. I look at the Abrahamic religions as a source on a ‘personal’ god. But the point is that the sources are regarded as suggestive, not definitive. Importing will require two levels of translation (1) to account for the local culture and (2) to be consistent with the metaphysics (which includes tradition and local-ultimate issues).
From General resources > Primal religion ‘An outstanding source is Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest, Richard K. Nelson (1983) (the link to University of Chicago press site was live as of January 21, 2015). The author cautions that conclusions regarding one Native American group cannot be generalized to ‘primality’. The restriction however is not pertinent to the insight of what is possible and meaningful. Perhaps the most pertinent conclusions to the present purpose are (1) that natural and spiritual knowledge encompass an entire human ecological niche and (2) that the system of knowledge is both deep, wonderful, and flexible (and in this way quite different from our modern rigid fundamentalisms but may be seen as an origin of modern science and religion though not the cause of their dichotomous fundamentalism)’.
The focus is the multi-faceted psychology and salvation from suffering. The response is therefore a multi-faceted, e.g. eight-fold, way.
Links: Buddhism (Theravada—conservative, closer to the original—the dominant form of religion religion in Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Burma; Mahayana—‘The Great Vehicle—is found throughout East Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan etc.) and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai (Tendai); and Vajrayana also known as Tantric Buddhism and practiced mainly in Tibet and Mongolia… also see Tibetan Buddhism).
Metaphysics: most metaphysical questions are useless, they do not address the central issue of this life, suffering and its psychology (note: the universal metaphysics brings an end to metaphysical question in the direction of the ultimate which provides an imperative in this life and its connection to the ultimate).
Psychology: suffering is universal; its cause is ignorance; so there is an end to suffering; the way is the way out of ignorance.
The way: because the manifestation and inducements to suffering are multifaceted, a multifaceted response is needed, e.g. the eightfold way.
Metaphysics is important to Advaita Vedanta: every ‘I’ is Brahman. The psychology is the alienation of the ego from the true self (Atman: Brahman) due to the natural ignorance of ego. The way emphasizes seeing and overcoming the mistakes of ego. It may be simple: an inspired vision of truth. Other ways, adapted to various personal situations and degrees of potential (in this life), are programs to overcome ignorance.
Metaphysics: Brahman, the ultimate, already contains all manifest being in the form of disposition; therefore all beings are already Brahman; however, our limited form is a source of not seeing this and therefore of alienation.
Psychology: the source of alienation is (over) identification with the separate self as ego; therefore the way back to original Brahman overcoming ego: seeing through and beyond it to the identity of self (Atman) and Brahman (note: the universal metaphysics requires that seeing be extended to being).
The way: the way is of course multifaceted, e.g. as in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Brahma Sutra, and the Tantra of Kashmir Saivism (note: Adi Shankara, a main author of Advaita, does not refer to the Tantra).
The essence of the Gita, for example, is that doing the right thing in mindfulness and action will result in realization of the boundless ultimate in this life.
The cosmology has emphasis on a god that is simultaneously personal and remote. However the monotheism, remoteness or sometimes aloofness, and personalism are not univalent: God is not invariably remote. Christianity’s ‘Gnostic’ stream suggests that the individual is part of the process of an immanent god. That is, there is a metaphysical interpretation of Gnosticism in which we are part of the stream of god. It is not a static interpretation: it is processes like ours that constitute god (even if our present state is primitive). The standard psychology of salvation is that of overcoming sin (rather than ignorance); but there are alternate strains in which we are (in) the process of a personal god.
The ‘standard’ Abrahamic Religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Bahá'í Faith (Wikipedia) is an interesting / suggestive more modern incarnation: its principles are unity of god, unity of religion, and unity humanity, and that religious history unfolds through messengers who establish religions appropriate to the time. The messengers have been Abrahamic and Dharmic (Krishna, Buddha and others).
Modern trans-secular systems
Three axes of interest are (1) Re-interpretation of secular reality. (2) Modern trans-secular thought. (3) Analyses of the ‘condition of man’ in theological terms.
I find three axes of interest. (1) Re-interpretation of secular reality, e.g. Charles Hartshorne’s interpretation of evolution as divine and Heidegger’s interpretation of being without reference to the trans-secular. (2) Modern trans-secular thought, e.g. interpretation of the place of human being in the universe from reasoning on pre-modern and modern thought such as the ideas of John Hick on incarnation as disposition of the universe. (3) Analyses of the ‘condition of man’ in theological terms, e.g. Reinhold Niebuhr.
As for the world religions such thought is suggestive in undertaking a program of ‘universal realism’ below. However, the metaphysics of all other thought that I can see often scores high on creativity and poetry but low on range and foundation. The sources are of course immensely suggestive regarding details of human ‘overcoming’. Vedanta comes closest in range and, together with other Indian systems, affective-existential foundation.
Metaphysics: individual and universal identity are the same (as for Advaita); the universe and individual (Brahman and Atman) are both processes—individual identity ever approaching the latter (this is one perspective; there is another in which they are one timeless ultimate).
Psychology: the sources of alienation include those of Buddhism and the Advaita. However, there are further considerations. The metaphysics of eternal process is proved. While we are in that loop, perfection in the ultimate cannot wait for ultimate perfection in this life which is a mosaic of pain and joy (adequate attention to the issues life are essential to and a result of approach to the ultimate). The psychology is that of seeking a path within this mosaic that is ‘optimally’ effective and enjoyable in and on the way in the immediate-ultimate. Perfection in this life is a balance or equilibrium between the perspectives of local perfection and process. The elements of process are described in earlier sections of realization.
Sociology: for vibrant realism, every individual and culture is an occasion for renewal in the way of realization. This is not to abandon the past as inspiration. There is a default secularism that sees society as its own end, its science as essentially complete and therefore closed (as in some naïve kinds of positivism). When we do not think of science as closed it may be an instrument in universal civilization via, e.g., technologies of organism, information, and space-time-matter; seeing it as open, it may be more than instrument.
Originality: many faiths have an account of a founder who finds inspiration in the forest or the wilderness. An interpretation of this is that while we derive support from communal knowledge, our ultimate resources in the process from dark to light is within rather than beyond ourselves (in which nature is ground and inspiration). That is, the divisions of charismatic versus patriarchal authority, of authority versus process, of leader versus follower, and of guru versus pupil are temporally but not ultimately real.
The way: the mechanics is choice-risk-consolidation (see discussion of mechanics of transformation, earlier). From the universal metaphysics and other previous considerations this is worked out below.
Title? Was A template: principles!
Dimension and place
Repeated from earlier.
For each dimension there is an appropriate and / or conducive place of activity.
Process and time
Repeated from earlier.
For each process element there is an appropriate and / or conducive time for activity.
Time and place
The times and places arise, in the first place, naturally in a process of discovery. Then we learn from experience, tradition, and metaphysics in process that the activity of realization can be seen as ordered according to principles. Of course, as we continue to learn, not everything will be ordered: we find that new activities are desirable, old ones become stale or lose significance, and we may find (per the mechanics) that there are times when an ‘ad hoc’ risk is rational relative to the process, or to an emotional stagnation, or otherwise.
Reflexive thought and action
‘Reflexive’ here means ‘self-referential’ or, meta-activity as in metamathematics. I.e. reflexive thought and action is thought and action in which we reflect on the process. Unlike metamathematics, this reflex is not formalized; that does not mean that it is not formalizable. Self-reference can be a source of power.
A program or path includes conception of the program, design, at least some planning, and review (periodic and / or as the occasion or need arise).
With the thoughts and details of ideas and action, reflexivity, and times and places, the following template for phases of action arises.
Was Template: phases! Could be Design and selection of phases.
Was earlier under Process elements, became ‘phases’ and is now ‘template’.
Corresponds to dimensions / places, earlier.
The following culminates establishment of phases.
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.
Ideas are a phase of action but it is convenient to have some separation from ‘external’ action.
Selective according to needs of realization. The metaphysics, related, and ancillary material.
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 late.
A part of ‘knowledge’ but convenient to place apart.
Design and planning for the entire process. Includes phase selection and design.
Times. As for ‘knowing’… and as needed in action, below
: as for knowledge above
Background for the phases
To be placed in with the phases.
Was Becoming, action, or realization. Should have been Becoming or action and realization.
Transformation of being and identity
Was after Everyday practice…
Continuous with everyday practice above but emphasizes thought and experiment with practices as well as special initiatives (nature… below).
Times. Ongoing and as needed.
Everyday practice of thought, presence, and action
Was before Transformation of being…
Times. All times, naturally.
Places. All places.
Times. The ongoing and immediate priority.
Emphases civilization as such.
Civilization and individual in mutuality.
Times. In parallel and subsequent to transformation of being and identity.
External means (technology) in interaction with and support to civilization.
Times. In parallel and subsequent to ‘civilization’.
A time of being in the moment and / as being in relation to the fact of death and its 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.
Comment. Was The way.
The intent is to provide a template for origin, understanding, and action on the way.
See the resource edition for details of the program phases below.
The phase ‘The way’ is not intended to be presumptuous.
The following attempts to be a comprehensive set of template instances. The first section that follows is a programmatic overview.
Comment. This should be a sub-section of path but its practical significance suggests elevation to section status.
Path concept and design
Time: as needed, at major review, and parallel to path
A principled way has been established above. The sections on the way, below, detail a way of acting and being in the immediate-ultimate.
The following sections delineate a program. It is important that this program is revisable—as is this document—for comprehensiveness-incisiveness and essentiality. Except where stated revision will be as the occasion arises, especially at major reviews.
Time: all times
Time: as occasion arises; parallel and guide to action
Time: immediate… sequenced as follows
Nature as ground and inspiration
Practice and action for realization and transformation
Civilization: this world and the universe
Artifact as being and synergic to being and civilization
Time: all times and as closure to this life
Writing (for understanding and sharing)
Time: (a) field notes parallel realization (b) The Way of Being to follow significant action
The essentials of a template from reflection so far are: aim, phase, place (dimension), time, sequence, vehicle, means, mechanics, mode, place, and action.
It incorporates ‘dimensions’ as ‘place’. It is not necessary that every instance shall have every aspect.
Introduction—general or specific action; nature of the particular action, plans; remark if the action has redundancy…
Aims—state, process, knowledge of being | understanding, knowledge of practice.
Phase (dimension)—area(s) of focal activity grouped efficiently: ideas (pure and applied), action (identity-civilization, artifact-technology) | universal-all: the phases seen as a single process.
Time—now, year, life, beyond | all.
Sequence—i.e. co-requisite andor prerequisite—parallel or prior to phase vs. all.
Vehicle—individual (practitioner / direct learning-teaching) andor shared (civilization) | being.
Means—ideas (study discipline) andor action (below) | being—direct and study of mechanics of transformation by increment—risk-learning, ways, catalysts.
Mechanics, discipline, or practice—risk, ways and catalysts—direct experiment with being: way-catalyst | reflexive: development of discipline.
Mode—intrinsic vs. instrumental-artifactual.
Place—nature, psyche, society | universe-all-home.
Practice in action including ritual action | action as practice.
For details and items not covered in this template / no discussion so far.
Review as occasion arises, especially when reflecting on the realizations.
A program in the form of template instances is laid out below.
Ideas—the metaphysics; ‘research’, i.e. study, concepts, and criticism for the phases of action and of pure being; and designing and planning the entire path.
Links: the present document and plan for study and action.
Ongoing, in parallel with other phases.
As of 2014 the ideas are relatively complete and the following is to be in parallel with action.
Study, concepts, and criticism: the whole system and general reading, specific problems (e.g. memory across death and the void), special topics (e.g. oral tradition, the logics, extreme physics).
For the phases of action and pure being
Study, concepts, and criticism.
Designing and planning the entire path
Main sources for study, reading, and plans are in plan for study and action.
Detailed implementation for planning is in the instances ways and catalysts, mechanics, elements, and phases and path and phase design and selection.
Also see the realizations, below.
Aims—knowledge of being (including Jnâna yoga) | understanding, knowledge of knowledge.
Phase (dimension)—ideas | universal-all.
Time—all (emphasis: a time in the future of return to ideas).
Sequence—co-requisite to all phases of being; each phase will have its own study program (see this resource document).
Vehicle—individual and shared | being—deploying the full nature and source of ideas.
Means—ideas: study| being—aspects of being supportive of truth and fullness in ideas.
Mechanics, discipline, or practice—risk, ways and catalysts—ideas and knowledge as practice (emphasis: the tradition of philosophy) | reflexive: the nature of ideas and their validity.
Note—the study will emphasize the metaphysics, psychology of realization including the yogas.
Place—nature, psyche, society; university and other institutions | universe-all-home.
Knowledge is inseparable from and completed in action (‘action without action’ is not action).
Some details regarding the aims—see the resource and other documents in the archive for details of a program—some specific topics are: foundations, logic studies, science of possibility, mereology, development and application of the pure and practical metaphysics.
Also note—Jnâna yoga, typical of a number of eastern traditions, is about knowledge and understanding but there are distinctions from the way these terms are understood and practiced in the modern west where what is emphasized is intellect (of course not divorced from experience). The main distinctions are (1) the aim and object of focus is not that of detached intellect and subject but of embodied knowledge of the ultimate and ways to the ultimate and (2) practices for the individual (not just ‘mind’) aimed at seeing truth and being-in-truth (e.g. samanyasa, sravana, manana, dhyana whose inclusion and elaboration is deferred till I have greater exposure and an opportunity to integrate the practices into my knowing). The ideas may be seen as contemplation which interacts with meditation—meditation provides the space to see—that relaxation that heightens awareness of internal and external worlds, in contemplation we come to see and this coming to see is not just intellectual but permeates our being.
Some important special topics include (i) study of logic, abstract systems, mathematics, and border and alternative physics… for the universal metaphysics and realization, (ii) alternative cognitive, emotive, mythic paradigms for understanding and immersion.
Parallel to action—i.e., individual, civilization, and artifact. The main topics are the metaphysics and its development, sciences—empirical and symbolic (including mathematics), human knowledge—principles and system (toward a knowledge database), physical cosmology and its foundations, ethics and value and foundations, religious and spiritual thought—nature-principles-systems, design and planning, and narrative mode. It is critical to not think of these as watertight divisions.
The following arrangement is effective: this section focuses on metaphysics in the broad sense that includes practical knowledge. Each remaining ‘action’ section has at least one subsection on ideas pertinent to it.
The metaphysics, its foundation and development
Foundation—metaphysics, practical knowledge, completion in action, and method—this is complete but will benefit from review. Process—analysis and synthesis of being and meaning. Ways to characterize the metaphysics—see the section meaning of the metaphysics; consider: (a) limitlessness, (b) greatest universe—plenitude, (c) logic, (d) possibility, (e) realization of concepts (therefore no truly abstract objects), (f) boundary of all science and logic, (g) new: the identity of all elements of being (therefore the ultimate in unification); keep in mind that some of these are partial characterizations and that not all the differences in perspective are ‘total’. Proof—consolidate proofs and arguments for the metaphysics. Logic—carefully think through demonstration that the metaphysics and logical realism (Logic) are identical.
A metaphysical language—(a) forms of being, e.g. thing and / or process and / or relationship… mind and /or matter… concrete vs. abstract… and adequate grammars (b) vocabulary for the variety of the forms (c) expressing and / or suppressing distinctions…
Logic—(1) Studies in literature of logic to see if my conceptions stand up and to see if the extension to realism (Logic) as science-logic stands up (2) Understanding of and facility with first order logic which includes the simpler sentence logic, perhaps more, for use in development; consider what completeness and consistency proofs there are and whether they are absolute or relative (3) Modal logic and foundations of set theory (e.g. Russell’s theory of types, ZFC, NBG, and Quine’s ‘new foundations’) in relation to possibility (below). (4) Development of the new idea of logical realism and its latest conception and analysis-synthesis of the realms harbored in realism. (5) The notion of ‘realism’ suggests a search for formalization—for example, theory of abstract objects (https://mally.stanford.edu/index). It is important that a central purpose to the study of the abstract—in contrast to the abstract in the page linked just above—its embedding in and so learning regarding the concrete (regarding which a paradigm case is the question of memory across death).
A science of possibility or possibility theory
Not essentially different from logic.
A science of possibility or possibility theory—(note that the modern literature refers to a ‘possibility theory’ in a sense quite different from sense that is defined in what follows) the fundamental principle leads immediately to conclusions of enormous magnitude which are trivial in their proof but not trivial in realization. Beyond this pale there would seem to be another enormous realm which in their conception and proof are not trivial. Consider the following concerns—they are but glimmerings. Given the immense variety of cosmologies against a void-transient background what structures are ruled out by ‘logic’—i.e. what ‘impossible objects’ might we allow to slip in via hidden paradox? What is the significance for possibility of the fact that what we know seems to be a subset of the given in a supra-temporal description of the universe? What is the range of the extensivity, variety, complexity and intricacy left over? From the void something emerges—is that emergence in time or of time or both? Is that emergence of object, time, and space; and must time and space be space-time? Are there regions where space and time are truly separate (would these be difficult in some sense—e.g. support rich structure and process—or impossible?) Is the reasoning of the narrative regarding mind and matter being the necessary and only forms of as if universal attributes open to criticism, to improvement; is the reasoning that extension and duration are the necessary and only forms of extensivity open to criticism, to improvement. How can we begin to specify the kinds of complexity possible? What complexities are there in spaces of different dimension? What can we say regarding spaces of high and very high and even infinite dimension? Is there meaning to dimension that is non-denumerable? What kind and degree of intelligence is possible? What is the status under the metaphysics of the other issues of this chapter on plans for ideas? These issues suggest a science of possibility which is one that unlike our other sciences would be ‘top-down’. Of course logic is already top-down except that we do not know that our logics are right at the top. If we make the transitions from logics to Logic as in the narrative then the science of possibility is Logic. However, ‘science of possibility’ is suggestive in a way that ‘logic’ is not.
Mereology—the study of parts and wholes and their relations—may also illuminate being, universe, domain, and void.
On the issues of complexity and the origin of logic above, it is essential to study the literature.
Adequacy of the dimensions and processes of being and realization
Development of the metaphysics and application
Science and symbolic systems
The abstract and concrete sciences—as studies and studied (subject and object). As object this includes formal study, models, self-representation, and the methods of development of logics-grammars-mathematical systems and of the concrete sciences. Topics: from grammar and language, logic (note an overlap with metaphysics), computation and computability, set theory, mathematics—much done but also much not done in relation to the tradition of metaphysics; implications for realism; and the concrete sciences.
Knowledge database—principles and development
Developing the database and system of human knowledge—(1) Refine (2) Study, obtain, and develop knowledge database software (3) Plan, implement.
Programming and applications for text (narrative), database, general computation—especially computational metaphysics emphasizing concept and symbol ‘calculus’ and multiple and dynamic organization.
Foundations of physical cosmology
Physical sciences, especially quantum theory for its relations to the metaphysics.
Alternative, extreme, and unusual cosmologies and systems of physical law. Reasons for study (1) understand laws of our cosmos and their origin (2) variety: pre and post adaptive (3) special things that can be done under specific laws or kinds of law (e.g. infinite operations not allowed under ours).
Science as defined by principles rather than content; adaptive systems
Consider that there are three levels of description (1) description of detail, (2) description of elements and, usually, laws or conceptual considerations that apply, and (3) adaptive systems—description of whole systems and origins, e.g. origins by ‘adaptation’ which is typified by evolution of life: incremental adaptation at which each stage of surviving organisms are adapted, i.e. stable with regard to world including self and which is a function of symmetry.
It is typical that #1 is the beginning of a science for it is in observation and description that we begin to see patterns (perhaps this is already part of ordinary experience). Physical law begins with the elementary level. Conceptual biology however begins significantly with #3. and later turns (in addition to biological description) to physics / chemistry for#2.
What is the origin of physical law? Perhaps we will find that our physical laws are logically necessary in that (a) they are the only possible and (b) that they are necessary. However, (b) seems unlikely. Then, explanation to be explanation requires beginnings in a simpler state. The simplest is the void which has no laws: in the void there are no laws to explain particular beginnings but no laws requires and explains all beginnings. Then to select populations we would appeal to stability-durability and probability of generation; and perhaps there is a connection between the two but if not the product of duration and probability dominates. Or perhaps the best explanation is that in eternity, degree of probability is not important.
I.e. the three levels of being are (a) random emergence from the void (and later from structure) (b) adaptation at a range of levels (self-adaptation, at least at high levels), and (c) law that emerges in adaptation.
Physical sciences, especially quantum theory
(1) For comparison to the universal metaphysics (2) To find whether quantum theory (QM) contains the universal metaphysics—if it does at all, I expect quantum theory and FP will be identical for possibilities but not for probabilities (3) To consider laws as objects—is there a hierarchy of laws, e.g. from QM to FP. (4) To consider the relevance of other physical theory (especially relativity) to such questions and the universal metaphysics; particularly to consider the interwoven character of space-time-being from derivation of space and time from identity. (5) For information on the elements, dynamics, and structure of our cosmos. (6) Conservation laws and symmetry (see, for example, conservation laws and symmetry); Noether’s theorem. (7) Standard, alternative, and extreme physics. (8) Relation to logic of the void.
Note—sciences of life (and mind) and social sciences are entered under Symbolic and experimental being and World studies, respectively.
Foundations of ethics and value
Examples morality, civil law and value and their immanent (local…) forms of Ethics, Justice, and Value.
Social concepts, politics, economics, and reason for and applied to world issues—practical and ideal (‘for citizens and group decisions and action’).
Murder is among the worst of crimes. Prosecution is vigorously pursued and punishment is severe.
However, there are mundane decisions at the levels of local through international business and government whose effects are widespread suffering and death. Parents make routine decisions that are immensely harmful to children. Sometimes of course this is unknowing but frequently there is awareness of results.
Killing one person is a crime. Killing a million, if it is a war, is not a crime except for the defeated.
What is the problem? Is there a solution? What?
Systems of religious and spiritual thought
The following are some systems from field notes (2014). They are to be expanded and studied as time permits. It may also be worthwhile to read the works of anthropologists focusing on culture, mythic-holism, ecology of belief… Some writers to consider are Mircea Eliade and Weston La Barre.
Modern West, Christian Mystic, Russian Orthodox. / India, Tibet, Japan, China, Middle East (Sufi). / Amazonia., North America., Siberia., Australia (Dream Time), New Zealand. / Personal.
Design and planning
Design and planning are considered in sections on design principles and planning (journey) and planning (path ® sustaining) in the document journey in being-detail.
This study will investigate the nature and methods of design and planning.
Is design and planning something other than what is in the study of knowing and being (which includes their method of analysis and synthesis of being and meaning)?
Are not design and planning part of formulation and review of the ‘big picture’—i.e., of metaphysics? That is, are they not part of that picture with special focus on the future of individual and universe? And, conversely, should not the formulation of metaphysics be an in process endeavor?
What are some principles of and disciplined approaches to design and planning and allocation of time, effort and other resources to design and planning?
The history and development of philosophy are different in nature than the history and development of science. The beginning of western philosophy (in Greece) is reasonably regarded as marked by the thought of Thales of Miletus (around 600 BCE): Thales was a multi-faceted thinker whose main accomplishment may have been to free explanation of the world from super-worldly (supernatural causes, i.e. superstition) and, instead, to engage in a process of finding explanation of the complex phenomena of nature in simple aspects of nature. From its beginning, philosophy has had concern with the border between definite and indefinite knowledge and definite and indefinite method. In the modern period when an area of philosophy has become a definite body of knowledge regarding a definite class of phenomena with clear application in the world it has often broken off from philosophy as a separate discipline or science. The new discipline is then treated as separate from philosophy. However, separation and distinct treatment do not imply essential distinction even though there is a variety of practical reasons for the distinction. Philosophy remains concerned with areas in which knowledge is not yet definite. So the usual approach in philosophy is different from the methods of science (a practical but not necessary reason for distinctions). As an approach to the world, since philosophy is concerned with indefinite regions of ‘being’ it must depend on more than the ‘scientific method’. There will be a history of thought about such regions; the history will be marked by reflection, hypothesis, and criticism: therefore the history of thought in such philosophy is more important than in science. However, in its beginning and until recently, while philosophy was and is not science, its questioning approach and its approach to answers do mark the a formal beginning of the scientific attitude and a scientific method (I use the word ‘formal’ as a reminder that we are thinking of a tradition and not suggesting that the idea of careful thought arose at one particular moment).. Today almost all study of the world has broken off from philosophy so that to a significant degree philosophy as practiced is no longer concerned with direct investigation of the world. The question ‘what is philosophy’ has taken on new meaning—and we can learn from the new directions of the answers. Still, however, I think it is a mistake to see philosophy as essentially different from science or any other knowledge. There is an over discipline, call it ‘x’, whose function is the study of the world which includes all ‘things’ which includes definite things, things indefinitely known, knowledge of things, and values. Now ‘thing’ typically refers to material entities. However, we have seen that this restriction—when we are thinking metaphysically or philosophically, i.e. analytically—is artificial. The material world and its material objects and processes and interactions and pasts and futures are things are ‘things’ (they have being). Knowledge, ideas, feelings, knowledge of knowledge, values, the value and nature of knowledge and ideas and thinking—these are all ‘things’, i.e. these all have being. Thus even on the conventional view of science pervading the material universe there is much left over for philosophy. But as we have seen in this narrative, the ‘pervasion’ of science so far is infinitesimal. So the recently mentioned ‘x’ includes all our sciences and philosophies as-such-and-as-practiced and more. What will we name x? I name it philosophy and there should no problem with that except that it should not be confused with other uses of the term ‘philosophy’. But is this labeling a potent use of the term? Given (a) its vast possibilities explored in this narrative and (b) the variety of ways in which the disciplines must interact in their forward motion (in disregard for our practical academic divisions) I think it fair to assert that the use is potent.
Now the relation of philosophy to its history is and must be different from the relation of science to its history. The history of science not necessary to practicing scientists even though it may be useful especially in developing new theories, in understanding how science should be practiced. However, as long as philosophy does not become a body of definite knowledge it must have an intimate relation to its history for it is only by understanding the problems of the past that we can move forward with the same and new issues and it is only by awareness the history of mistakes in philosophy that we can avoid them and proceed if only to make new mistakes on the way to new improvement. Of course this does not imply that a philosopher who ignores or is unaware of the history of philosophy cannot make excellent contributions but even such contributions (e.g. that of Wittgenstein) build upon some earlier developments.
I have often had the following thought about philosophical works. Every significant philosopher has a variety of styles—of thought, of insight, of writing, of evolving, of interacting and probably more. This makes it difficult for another individual to continue in the mode of an earlier philosopher. The difficulty is increased by much writing which is as if closure of thought has been attained (history shows that there is no closure of thought even though there may be closure of artificial systems). However, it seems that for thinkers who have written fruitfully but whose writing is not closed (with regard to imagination and or criticism) it would be valuable to continue on in that tradition. Of course we do this but my thought is that perhaps philosophy could also be written that way—as an explicitly open system. That is, if I had the ability and time, it would be valuable to rethink and rewrite Plato’s works as preliminary to continuing. There is an argument against this. It is that we have learned from Plato but we now continue on. In response to this counter I say that when I ‘rewrite’ Plato I may summarize. If there is value to my summary I may elaborate but otherwise not. In either case I will often enough be in a better position to continue development. Naturally the procedure would not be followed by all thinkers. That might be counter productive to process. It would be valuable however to have a mix of approaches.
I suggest a narrative mode that is open in just this sense and that is also open in the sense of being continuous with action.
My writing is explicitly open to continuation in action; the metaphysics requires this. The reworking of other writers may not—or may—be apparent in this narrative. However, I have learned and benefited much from occasional and significant informal rethinking and rewriting of the ideas of others (usually with some specific learning goal in mind).
Now in some areas where I hold my thoughts to be definitive I have not written so as to be open to continuation of the process; but the ideas of course remain open to improvement and evolution. In other areas, especially my approaches to and descriptions of action and programs of action, my writing is open. I believe that a narrative form that encourages continuity of writing is valuable.
I do not presume the value of my work but I would not write it if I did not think it valuable. It is in this spirit that my writing is offered as an invitation to others.
Ways and catalysts, mechanics, elements, and phases
Ways psycho-physiological catalysts (non drug), mechanics, elements, and phases are part of the way.
Primary source: dynamics, catalysts and catalytic states.
Sequence—parallel to all.
Vehicle—repetitive: individual, direct learning-teaching, shared | being.
Means—ideas-action as above.
Mechanics, discipline, or practice—risk, ways and catalysts—some suggestions: (a) the metaphysics, possibilities and imperatives for realization and action, (b) reflex process or ‘discipline of disciplines’, (c) tradition, study, experiment, eclectic selection and integration, (d) experience-immersion: for cases a, b—ideas, the literature, nature; for case c: practice with a teacher andor in a related community, and (e) reflection.
Place—nature, psyche, society | universe-all-home.
Path and phase design and selection
Path and phase selection and design. The criteria are comprehensiveness and incisiveness in supportive balance.
Aims—conceive, reconceive, and select phases; select phase for primary current emphasis; define criteria for relative completeness and review accordingly for transition to another phase; review for parallel work on more than one phase (e.g. ideas under continual review and use); consider one main endeavor—perhaps a synthesis—for (my) life amid the ‘many worlds’ as one; review path.
Phase (dimension)— universal-all; elaborate.
Time—now | all.
Vehicle—self then civilization.
Means—ideas and experiment.
Mechanics, discipline, or practice—risk, ways and catalysts—meditate, reflect on goals and means | and on what is fundamental.
Mode—primarily intrinsic but perhaps also instrumental.
Practical aspects of implementation—place, travel…
Many worlds as one: my intent for this phrase is to live, as far as it is correct, in the immediate and the ultimate, self and other, inner outer…
Review as occasion arises, especially when reflecting on the realizations.
There are currently five action concepts; actual action will select from these and others. The phases are (i) nature as ground, (ii) transformation of being, (iii) civilization: engagement in the world, (iv) right living and thought (in a previous section), and (v) artifactual being.
There are a number of phases under Becoming. For convenience they are separate sections.
In The way of being all ideas have been moved to the ideas above.
Action: Transformation of being: yoga, meditation and related practice-in-action—tradition and experiment, psyche and physical organism (especially catalytic transformation by psychic and physical action).
Minimize priorities (inessentials), space (property)-time (‘entertainment’), dissipation (food, alcohol).
Link: journey in being-detail.
Introduction—specific action; also see beyul and quest for vision.
Aims—expansion of psychic space (and to see ‘vikalpa’ and maladaptive neuro-endocrine pathways as such); experience and process in the many worlds as one; Beyul—pilgrimage—as place of intrinsic realization: seeing-being through consciousness and body: my awareness-being as and in transaction with universal being
Sequence—parallel to all specific phases.
The way of being-essential.html does this better.
Vehicle—individual | shared: find communities and teachers of practice | being.
Means—study of meditation and related ritual; study of Dzogchen, Tantra; reflection on death—limits to form and transience, death as real but not absolute—as lever to (a) fullness of thought and action in this life and (b) to experience of this life as continuous with the ultimate.
Mechanics, discipline, or practice—risk, ways and catalysts—regular meditation and mindfulness; meditation in action | reflection on meditation (some details are in the discussion below).
Meditation in relation to individuals and world.
On the disciplines—two kinds of meditation (one pointed versus open); their union; the principle…
On discipline—meditation in action requires bringing the outcome of meditation practice into daily life and so making that life the ground to the ultimate; and while we meditate on the ultimate and thus infuse daily life with it we also bring this attitude to all activities including and especially the ‘mundane activities of daily living’ (which means that we do not experience those activities as merely to get out of the way, as a waste of time). What are these activities? I shall not detail them here but simply state their principle: they are the activities that sustain mind-body: the essentials (e.g. of Maslow) of survival, security (which includes preparation for the ‘higher’ elements), belonging, esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence (Maslow added the sixth ‘need’ later). Two points are relevant: the ‘lower’ needs and imperfection in relation to being a well adjusted human being are important but should not be obsessed over—risk and forward motion are important; and the hierarchy is neat in the meshing of the immediate and the ultimate. I maintain a current sequence of my particular task and other ‘needs’.
Detailed program and study plan for study of practice in action
Givenness, beginning in the present. Learning, experiment, iteration are essential; tradition is a beginning.
Ways and catalysts
Catalysts act on the organism, e.g. via shock or resonance. Their aim is to unlock innate (e.g. savant-like) capacities. They act indirectly on the person.
Ways, e.g. the eightfold way and psychoanalysis, act on the person and indirectly on the organism.
Blurring of the distinction
The distinction is of course blurred as is the organism-person distinction. Ways may include catalysts; catalytic change is integrated via healing and personal-cultural interpretation.
Elements of the ways
Means (ideas, action)-vehicles (individual, civilization)-places (nature, culture)-modes (intrinsic—especially immersive: ways, catalysts, art and religion; instrumental—science, philosophy, technology)-disciplines (established interacting with experiment and selection / criticism).
Core mechanics of risk (experiment, splitting) and consolidation (rebuilding, increment in reason, recollection, and artifact)—i.e., analysis and synthesis of being and meaning.
Tradition and experiment.
To organism by iteration upon small change… To person and culture by synthesis-reason, record, transformation, iteration… To process (including evolution) by entry into to transience-permanence.
A study of psychology, cosmology, meaning, and deity
This is a good place to study the psychologies of a variety of cultures. The aim would be integration into a ‘psychology for realization’.
Examples for study and experiment
Introduction: it is important that the meanings of the systems, while presented as systems, are not at all fixed and should not be; there is experience but not expertise.
Shamanic systems—(1) Communally guided tradition of plant use (a. plant chemicals, b. preparation) (2) Communally guided and interpreted vision quest.
Buddhism: Mahayana (four truths, eight-fold way) and Tibetan
Tantra and death—its understanding as horizon and spur to closure to this life and gateway to universal life.
The way of the Buddha—an example. Four truths—there is suffering; it has a cause; there is a permanent end to suffering; there is a way to this end. Eightfold way—eight ‘rights’—Wisdom or prajna (1) View (2) Intention; Ethical conduct or sila (3) Speech (4) Action (5) Livelihood; Concentration or Samadhi—(6) Effort (7) Mindfulness (8) Concentration. The eightfold way has been analyzed as cognitive-emotional-behavioral. Shamanism includes a way of psychic transformation—ways of transformation neurology to receptive states, especially vision seeking without and with psychoactive substances.
Tibetan Buddhism offers the idea of Beyul. When I first encountered the idea I realized that I had given it a name but that it has been immensely inspirational in my path. Beyul refers to hidden lands but ‘the goal of pilgrimage is not so much to reach a particular destination so much as to awaken within oneself the qualities and energies of the sacred site, which ultimately lie within our own minds’ (from the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet’s introduction to Ian Baker’s The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet’s Lost Paradise (2004). I paraphrase what I said earlier: nature is ground, inspiration, and portal (to ultimate self and universe).
Approaches to transformation are evolutionary, systematic (ways, ideas) and catalytic.
Types of altered and enhanced state
Dream, hypnosis, meditative—focal and open space, unconscious access, object free but vivid perception and thought (‘hallucination, delusion’), enhanced vision, receptivity, feeling-emotion, ideation, kinetics and kinesthetics.
Dreams and vision
This could be placed elsewhere, e.g. under psychology. It is placed here because it is practical. This is a repeated point which is currently also placed in dreams and vision.
What are dreams?
What are dreams? There are many theories of what dreams are and what are their functions and these are often taken to be the same though they are not even though they are related. We give a different status to the question ‘what are dreams’ than we do to ‘what are thoughts’ as though the latter is perspicuous while the former is not. However, though we question ‘the function’ of dreams (as though there must a function but don’t know what it is) while there is a certain if misleading obviousness to the function of thought. However, a clue to functions of dreams is provided by ‘what they are’ and a clue to the latter is to see all thought and imagery on a continuum whether waking or not and whether perception or imagination. There are of course differences and the most obvious ones seem to be that (a) dreams occur without external stimuli, (b) dreams occur while sleeping, (c) dreams seem real but are not, and (d) we do not directly act on dreams. These are tendencies rather than necessities for (a) some dreams are clearly stimulus driven, (b) visions and hallucinations have similarities to dreams and occur while awake, and (c) visions and hallucinations and vivid imagination may seem real when they are not, and (d) we may act directly on dreams and we do not always act on the outcome of a thought even when it indicates action.
A theory of dream constitution is a theory of what dreams are and may be expressed in physiological terms or in terms of dream content. Many theories of dream—or vision—constitution focus on differences between dreams and waking mental content. There are obvious content related and physiological differences but there are also obvious similarities. Particularly, even tautologically, they are all experiential and all physiological. Yes, this is obvious, but it is often clarifying to begin with what seems too obvious to state. There may also be commonality in origins which may be coeval or sequential and date to a time when waking thought had not evolved to a point where it some of it was under control as much as it is at the present stage of evolution. The simplest approach to understanding (to begin with call it a hypothesis) is that of common origin and that while there are obvious differences dream and waking content lies on a continuum. The latter (the continuum) is almost tautologous but making the distinctions on that continuum will not be. The approach starts with a necessary logic that is container for the real differences and therefore natures of dream and waking content.
What is the biology of dreaming? What are the biological ‘functions’?
Waking mental processes and other physiological activity is wearing; for example it requires attention to environment and to itself for focus—and thus adaptivity of awareness of awareness; and thus waking mental processes and perhaps all mental processes occasion rest. Sleep is rest; deep sleep is the deepest rest. In deep sleep the brain is so at rest that there may be insufficient activity to stimulate imagery (or its recording). Dreams (as is known) occur between wake and deep sleep. Dreams therefore, according to the hypothesis, are a transitional phenomena between waking mind and deep sleep mind. Naturally their topography is different with ‘functions’ being shut on or off or enhanced or attenuated at different stages and rates (and the shutting off of one ‘function’ may liberate another). Attention to reality is undoubtedly shut off early (thus a sometimes sense of freedom just after waking); and such shut-off is naturally parallel to the usual shut-off of motor control. However, it is not necessary to explain the differences. It is enough to understand that this explanation / hypothesis (in addition to being parsimonious) explains that and why there should be differences (and the origins of the different differences can be investigated experimentally and ‘theoretically’ in terms of the understood functions of the different parts of the brains). Of course there is some evolutionary origin. But is there a separate origin of dreams? Perhaps in the beginning some aspects of waking thought were dream-like. Then, later, control (e.g. to focus on the real) emerged so that there may have been no explicit origin to dreaming. In this scenario dreams are neither by product nor, nor of separate origin, nor vestige. Mind evolved. But the transition between wake and sleep is more like original mind than the evolved mind awake.
Thus dreams as dreams may have no particular origin or original or even essential function.
That there need be no particular origin or original function.
Given this understanding of dreams, there is no one thing that dreams are (repressed desires etc.) and no one function (lessons for action, sources of creativity, discharge of excess information). The ‘thing that they are and their function’ can be manifold and can even be chosen. Animals dream, humans dream. But if dreams do confer something to conscious life and if this confers some advantage which may then be selected for as an adaptation and further adaptively selected and which we may then recognize—or hypothesize—and describe as a significant function. And the selection may be physiologically based via adaptive changes; andor it may have been found to be a source of imaginative creation and realism in some cultures (which may perhaps be the base of cultural selection).
To what uses can dreams be put?
Thus dreams and visions (including the culture of the vision quest) and their use and power have multiple ‘functions’ and not all functions need or should be associated with ‘origins’. For the ‘rationally minded’ it may be recognized that since we have dreams we can always subject what they suggest or what we interpret to rational criteria just as in rational action imagination is necessary but may also be subjected to rational (and experimental) criteria.
How to cultivate dreams.
The culture of the vision quest.
Enhancing and inducing factors
Isolation-deprivation, inaction, exposure—extreme environments, shock, trauma, pain, exhaustion… Fear—presence, crisis and opportunistic sense, dissociation and reintegration via exposure to anxiety (Chöd)—volitional or not—and purpose… Repetition, rhythm, dance, point focus (e.g. breath), and engagement as sources of experiential space and concentration; ritual… Immersion in new perspectives—handedness, new languages, travel—cultures and emote environments (receptivity in Churches, Beyul), sacred texts and poetic expression, acting as stepping outside the bonds of self… Fast, diet, psychoactive substances… Charismatic transformation via purpose, preparation, risk-exposure to people and places, and insight into motives… Brain state technologies…
Experiment, increment, consolidation toward greater being.
Immersion in civilizing.
Building toward the aim
Build at every stage upon what has come so far so that the outcome is far removed from the beginning and what may have been conceived in the beginning.
Reflection on the means
Reflect on the means (experiment, immersion) and ends (build); to concretize (making notes will help)—so as to see progress, strength, weakness, need; and so to conceive and implement ideas for improvement.
For planning, see the goals above. Also, at some point—‘just do it’.
Transition requires openness to essential newness and therefore to ignorance, searching, and inspiration… and places of inspiration.
Preliminary trips and experiments.
Culture and civilization
What is it to be another being? This is one approach to transformation.
From the inside
(1) I am the answer (2) The other is the answer.
A preliminary question ‘What is it like to be another person?’ This is of course difficult to answer. How can I experience the varieties and subtleties of another’s experience? Of course we can begin with empathy but can we go beyond that to identity? It seems not.
Instead consider the question ‘What is it like to be a human being?’ Of course, I have an answer for I am an answer.
The approach I want to consider here is one already established: analysis and synthesis of being and meaning.
Starting with self knowledge I can attempt to ‘get inside’ another person.
I can do the same for animals, matter, being, and universe and so on. This is a tentative but promising approach.
A second approach worth exploring is that the other is the answer. This is from the inside insofar as it is an approach from empathy and similarity.
From the outside
(1) Concepts (2) Assuming the life-way.
Get out of comfort zone. Do good work—civilization.
Transformation of being or identity is continuous with civilizing the universe.
Nature as ground and inspiration: beyul and quest for vision
Action: nature as ground and inspiration: Beyul and quest for vision. Extended immersion; importance of selection, access, and extended immersion in one ‘natural’ place; and example (‘primal’ cultures).
The term ‘Beyul’ from Tibetan Buddhism refers to a nature pilgrimage whose aim is to ‘awaken within oneself the qualities and energies of the sacred site, which ultimately lie within our own minds’—from the Introduction by the xiv Dalai Lama of Tibet to The Heart of the World, Ian Baker, 2004).
Aims—seeing and being the real, being on the incremental way | understanding the way of pilgrimage and vision.
Phase (dimension)—ideas, identity-civilization.
Sequence—before action in the world and artifact-technology.
Vehicle—shared and individual | being.
Mechanics, discipline, or practice—risk, ways and catalysts—pilgrimage: Beyul to open self to qualities of sacred places; and vision quest: to awaken vision.
Mode—intrinsic and. instrumental for being.
Means—study of the ways of immersion, Beyul, pilgrimage and vision.
Place—nature and psyche, society; consider the Trinity Alps, Barranca del Cobre, and other places.
These are ways of action; undertaking with understanding of the way is essential.
Ideas—see elements: means above: study of the ways of immersion, Beyul, pilgrimage and vision.
Places—select places for criteria, e.g., extended, repeated, and varied immersion (time, one place, variety); spirit; and access.
Examples—Trinity Alps: six months; Copper Canyon: living; Southern California desert: winter.
Activities—meditation and other psycho-physiological catalysts (non drug): extended hiking, fasting, vision quest.
Beyul—immersion—being—mind and place.
Action: civilization: engagement in the world—ultimate (universal-holist) and secular (culture, political-economic…).
Link: journey in being-detail.
Aims—Human and universal: shared endeavor, action toward universal civilization. Shared being | understanding nature and path of shared realization (this aim has two parts, the one stated and an implicit one—i.e. secular engagement informed by and supportive of the shared being and realization).
Phase (dimension)—identity-civilization | universal-all.
Sequence—after or parallel to Beyul and quest for vision.
Vehicle—civilization | being.
Means—shared ideas and action | shared development of mechanics.
Mechanics, discipline, or practice—risk, ways and catalysts—sharing the aim of realization: political, economic, and universal (spiritual) dimensions | reflection on the needs and on effective communication.
Mode—intrinsic and. instrumental.
Place—psyche and society; consider a tour of spiritual groups, universities and other institutions; establishing / living in a dedicated—spiritual—community | universe.
Practice as action; leading into ‘real’ action.
Develop theory of joint realization.
Shared endeavor: all phases, especially daily practice (and meditation and yoga), ideas, Beyul, and artifactual being.
The links are:
TranscommunityDesign—http://www.horizons-2000.org/1. World and Being/realization/being-elements/2010/2011-2012 jib in-process/TranscommunityDesign.html,
Transcommunity.xls—http://www.horizons-2000.org/1. World and Being/realization/being-elements/2010/2011-2012 jib in-process/Transcommunity.xls, and
Experiments and ideas toward knowing and realizing the ultimate emphasizing Civilization.
The primary mode of transformation is intrinsic: individual—identity, participation, and immersion—and civilization as such: individual-group synthesis.
Topics for the section ‘world’ in journey in being-detail—values, laws (e.g. constitution), ecology, politics (immersion / grass roots), exchange values (international and local), and economics.
Ideas—civilization and realization
Analysis and role of civilization in realization—the idea—civilization is the web of human culture across time and continents. Greater civilization is the matrix ‘civilizations’ across the universe. Individuals foster civilization; civilization nurtures the individual. (2) Concepts—the universal metaphysics reveals a limitless universe open to individuals and civilizations.
Disciplines including the discipline of discipline are progressive.
Significant topics for study (from sections individual and identity, civilization, and artifact in journey in being-detail) are: Catalysts of transformation; Ways and means of transformation and realization; World studies; Civilization and realization.
Approach—integrate with individual transformation; participation and immersion; this world and the universe.
I would like to share the remainder of my endeavor who, regardless of their views, would contribute positively and significantly to the journey.
Perhaps the most important contribution would be mutual endeavor and this would probably be enhanced by some similarity of outlook.
The areas and disciplines in which I want sharing and assistance are defined generally by the content of the narrative and more specifically by this division on the path in journey in being-detail, especially the chapters and sections labeled ideas.
This world—participation, immersion; problem and opportunity; politics, economics, technology, and the trans-secular.
Civilization of the universe
Civilization of the universe—shared endeavor; metaphysics and transformation; retreat and return; exploration, artifact, and technology.
Civilizing the universe merges with the issue of artifactual being.
Action: artifactual being—construction of independent and adjunct technologies via cognitive approaches (science, cognitive science, art…), experiment, evolution for organism-artifact.
Link: journey in being-detail.
Time: when ‘civilization’ is under way.
Aims—independent and adjunct being.
Sequence—after engagement in the world.
Vehicle—organic level of being.
Means—emphasizes concepts to be modeled and on the nature of practical, experimental, and evolutionary implementation.
Mechanics, discipline, or practice—risk, ways and catalysts—direct experiment with organic, mechanical, and symbolic being: | related conceptual development (e.g. theory of artificial being). Information and networking science (a) for independent and cooperative being and (b) preservation and evolution of identity.
Place—society; universities and other research (and development) institutions.
Concepts and experiment in a shared and designed institutional context.
Artifactual being—stand alone, symbiotic, and adjunct—including life and experiential being (including study of life and mind); concepts; computation and networking (and text and media: shared, interactive, and dynamic); modeling; design; experiment; evolution. Technology for Civilization. Theoretical (and experimental) study of transformations with organisms, individuals, selves, and dissolution of self—psycho-biology.
General—the primary mode of transformation is extrinsic or instrumental: science, technology, and artifact—artifactual aids and symbiosis and constructed being—including life, mind, and intelligence.
The approach is defined above in plans for symbolic and experimental being in realization.
See immediately above for shared endeavor: TransCommunity and related links.
Adjunct to civilizing the universe—technology (material—macroscopic and microscopic, biological, psychosocial, and information) as adjunct to civilization. The metaphysics, trans-secular systems, and modern science—quantum and relativistic, microscopic or at least sub elementary particle to macroscopic e.g. cosmological—are significant. The questions of how to populate and the limits to population of the universe are significant; this of course depends on further issues (a) the ways in which identity can manifest, (b) whether and how the essential nature of higher manifestation are quality or quantity or both, (c) pathways to such manifestation, and (d) the higher or highest manifestations supported by the universe (the answers to these questions are very different on our standard secular and trans-secular views versus the universal metaphysics). A very preliminary source is:
Journey in Being: http://www.horizons-2000.org/1. World and Being/realization/being-elements/2010/Journey in being-detail.html.
Pure being—living in the immediate and ultimate as identical.
Link: journey in being-detail.
Aims—my being as part of Being; consciousness as part of Consciousness | understanding.
Time—‘now’—in parallel with becoming | all—after becoming: a phase that emphasizes be-ing over be-coming. The time will be defined by either or both of (a) satisfaction with some completeness of be-coming and (b) the reality of death makes be-ing significant over energy toward be-coming.
Sequence—when satisfied with the ‘action’ phases | in view of approaching death.
Vehicle—self and sharing experience-learning (civilization) | being.
Means—ideas co-illuminating practice-action | being—open search for direct transformation.
Mechanics, discipline, or practice—risk, ways and catalysts—meditative expansion of and freedom in conscious space | reflexive development.
Place—‘here’ | all.
Practice (and ritual) as action | action as practice.
Pure being: detail
Return to ideas; analysis again, integration, open attitude.
Living in the present.
The now as eternal.
My desire to live can be expressed as a criterion. I should have at least the prospect of being useful or of enjoying my life. But I should say more. My enjoyment should not have a negative impact. And mere usefulness is empty for consider a situation where everyone is ‘useful’ but no one has any enjoyment.
Two approaches to the problem of mere usefulness are (1) How I live my life now, and (2) Mutual action toward a greater being—i.e., being on the way.
‘Date with death’
Death and its significance.
Time: all times; emphasis: substantial progress in ideas and action; and, essentially, as closure in view of death.
Daily practice, meditation, yoga. Sharing.
Just being. Simplicity. No goals but presence. Emptiness.
Comment. This space is for notes andor links to notes from the field. The emphasis will be experience in the present; and realization or becoming—the way and, especially, actual realization. I will write in the field and on return. Integration and narrative will be left for later.
Comment. Status? Keep?
Comment. To ‘Path’ above, as a phase of its subsection ‘The way’?
The field notes or field journals are an in process record of my ideas and experiments in being. They are similar to a scientist’s field journal. The difference, I suppose, is that the world of being and experience—the universe—is my field. It’s direction is the way and the program which, especially the program, change along the way.
Purpose and emphasis
Form and process
The form will be ‘rough’.
I will write in the field and on return. The field notes may be scanned, uploaded, and linked.
For writing and using the narrative.
The following is a list of possible topics.
Front page—Title with picture, see e.g. front page.
Title and edition information—see, e.g., title.
Author—see material on the author in the micro edition.
Photographs—the nature photographs symbolize nature as significant ground and inspiration. Some photographs show places of specific inspiration.
Comment. The following is from journey in being-detail.
It will be useful to recapitulate the history of the universal metaphysics. Its history is ancient. Equivalence of individual and universal identity occurs in the Upanishads and in the Vedanta of Indian Philosophy; these thoughts were taken up in the west by such thinkers as Max Muller and Erwin Schrödinger. The idea of Aeternitas, all knowing and being as an entity, occurs in the writing of Thomas Aquinas. The idea of the universe as all that there is and all that there is over all space and time is found in the thought of Eriugena. The connection between logic and necessity (and possibility) is very well known. The idea that every possibility must be realized in an infinite time is also well known and has been called the ‘principle of plenitude’ (but is not true for mathematically something can be possible but have probability zero—it is possible that a random sequence will generate π but the probability is zero). Early philosophy emphasized and Heidegger re-emphasized the importance of being to metaphysics. The sciences and the metaphysical systems abound with suggestion. Quantum theory suggests that almost every possible event has some probability of occurrence. If ‘possibility’ has definite meaning then it seems that it is either true or false that every possibility is realized. Thus thought must be pregnant with the idea that all possibility is realized. The main ideas of the narrative and its developments draw from many sources.
Sources of inspiration
The history of ideas is an obvious source of inspiration. Enjoyment of the world was and is, for me, an obvious motive and inspiration.
Wilderness has been a source of inspiration. It is more than beauty for the beauty suggests that there is something deep about nature—especially in modernity where we are often cut off from nature. The beauty suggests that here is one gateway—one portal to the real.
One of my earliest memories of nature is traveling with my parents and their friends to hot springs in Bihar, India. We were then living in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata). I was six and I thrilled to the spring and its setting in a valley skirted by hills—and then to the early morning lorry (truck) ride home beginning in the dark on country roads. When I was eight we moved to a small town. Our house was on the outskirts of the forest. I was in heaven.
From 1975—1986 I backpacked in the Adirondacks of New York, Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, The Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, Weminuche in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. In that period I hiked about ten times in Copper Canyon (Barranca del Cobre (Copper Canyon), Chihuahua, Mexico and many times in the Trinity Alps of Northwestern California. Over this time I developed—realized—what I feel to be a deep connection with nature itself and what I feel to be nature as gateway to self and the universal—I understand that this might be projection but when we count what ground we may have in the real and the ultimate where can we go but to nature, culture, self, civilization, reflection, and body? There are of course many traditions that emphasize the connection in and via nature. The philosophy of India is often said to be the philosophy of the forest sages. And it is quite true that for many thinkers nature has been the place of insight.
I have cultivated nature as source; as place of renewal; and as place of insight.
My discoveries—the process—have had a number of motives. From the beauty I experienced in the world I wanted to know the extent of the beauty (and so the extent of the world) and the extent of our relations to the world. Science, which has its own beauty, has a picture that is often taken to be the whole world. However, science and common experience are neither perfectly precise nor complete and it is consistent with science that the universe is limitless. I wanted to see whether what we experience as limits, particularly death as an end to all experience, were in fact limits. But I did not want a system of belief—such systems are already available. I wanted something that could be trusted. The something must be our connection to the world which includes our selves. It must be in experience.
A number of literary traditions exult the role of nature. Romanticism in Europe began as a reaction against the prevailing rational ideals; the romantic poets preferred intuition and emotion over reason and the pastoral over the urban. To exalt these themes however is not necessarily to diminish reason. The forest sage is a tradition in India. In Tibetan Buddhism the term ‘Beyul’ refers to a hidden, difficult to reach, and beautiful place or land to which search opens up depth in one’s being that mirrors depth of place. Culture in the form of literature, philosophy, and science have been sources of inspiration and understanding. However, I had already discovered nature as ground and insight. These traditions helped to name, sharpen, and elaborate this growing ‘discovery’.
Nature has been a source of inspiration for me. It has been a ground of being, portal to the ultimate in emotion and cognition, and a source of explicit inspiration in thought.
People, of course, are different. Some are satisfied with material things or achievement; some are happy to inherit the world as seen by there culture. Others want more. I am not sure why but obviously some factors are biological, some the family and cultural background, and some are serendipitous. One source for me was nature. To this day, the first thing of the day if I am at home is around 30 minutes or more outside with a view of hills, earth, and sky. This led me, as noted, to want more. But as I sought more I thought that more could also be found in ideas about which I was already passionate. I will not detail my explorations but it is sufficient to say that poetry, philosophy, music, mathematics and science (physics and evolutionary biology) were keen interests. I began to see evolution as a framework for understanding. Unlike some who see the bad done in the name of religion, the all too literal approach, the cases of arrested development, I maintained an opening for possibility beyond the insights of our secular and trans-secular cultures. This was crucial. Without it I would probably not have discovered the metaphysics of this narrative. Perhaps equally crucial was my wide range of reading and experience. Without that the narrative would be rather ‘thin’.
These were the motives to a search in nature, society, ideas and culture.
I think I have always felt some tension between the pull of the different elements of my search—the different motives. I often feel that nature is enough. I ask myself why this search in the realm of ideas?
A first answer is that these are complementary.
When I consider the identity of Atman and Brahman as in Vedanta or the ‘ultimate in the ordinary’ of Zen Buddhism I wonder whether those would be enough. Do not the meditative states of a range of traditions take us directly to the heart of being?
My truthful answer is that I think that there is some approximation to the ultimate—as far as our affective being is capable of it. I cannot truthfully say that another person has not experienced the ultimately ultimate on the inside (I do not think of myself as more than beginning to intermediate in meditation but even if I were an expert I would still lack certainty of the others’ states).
However I do think it reasonable to feel and the metaphysic has shown that human being in this form is essentially limited (a window of doubt must remain for the metaphysics says that all possibility no matter how lacking in stability is realized). Therefore it is my judgment but no more that the human state is severely limited while on ‘this’ side of death (which is not to say that the human state is not wonderful or that it does not have a great range of levels of realization).
So, I feel that the affective and the cognitive must be complementary in the process of realization. In any case they are and should be complementary in general even though each has its realm of greater significance (I feel though that they are not separable except in pathological cases which render the unfortunate subject less than fully human—which is an educated guess rather than a judgment or judgmental).
Therefore I think that there is some ultimate value to my search. Of course the outcome is guaranteed—but intelligent commitment makes the process effective and enjoyed. Of course, as the metaphysics implies, the outcome has been realized over and over in the universe—but each individual, each culture is always at a beginning.
Therefore, I suppose, my search.
I sought to discover the extent of being (use of the word ‘being’ came later). I sought this, first, in science and science based world views and then in what lies beyond. A vehicle for this seemed to lie in the idea of metaphysics. I engaged in materialism, evolutionism, process philosophy, and idealism but found them all wanting especially in that the systems posit substance.
Insight in nature and working out at home
In 1986 I spent two weeks in the Trinity Alps in Trinity County, California. I had been reflecting on the power of evolutionary thinking. Over the two weeks I was inspired to see how I could develop these ideas systematically to develop and understanding of the world and knowledge. I was living in Humboldt County, California (just next to Trinity County) on savings from a generous retirement plan from the University of Texas at Austin. From insight and plan from the Trinity Alps, I worked it out as a system and a manuscript over the next seven months at home in Humboldt (Evolution and design of 1987 was the outcome—immensely useful learning but still far from publishable form). This began a pattern of insight in nature and working out at home (later the division nature-insight / home-writing remains but is not as sharp as it once was).
I was aware of and felt that I should address of the criticisms of metaphysics. I recognized that if substance is understood with sufficient generality to be able to provide foundation for all knowledge the different substances would be identical. This motivated the non substance approach from being.
I use ‘being’ in a formal and specific sense in this narrative. In nature I felt that I was in being. One stormy night in the Trinity Alps in 1988 I was inspired to see and elaborate the universe as a conscious organism. I cut my time in the mountains short, came home and wrote my inspiration as an articulated and reasoned piece. I know that my thought was largely an intuition but the work was useful in giving me a framework for and an inroad to a rational and holist understanding of being.
In 1999 I had been thinking of the relation between ‘something and nothing’. That there is something rather than nothing has been a long standing issue in philosophy and science. After abandoning the substance approach (it is essentially incomplete) to understanding being and the universe I had the thought that perhaps completion of understanding might obtain if I could show that the universe is equivalent to the void (and today I know from the universal metaphysics that understanding is complete for depth but ever open in breadth).
One day in the autumn of 1999 I was hiking uphill but around mid-afternoon began to experience the climb as effortless. Amid trees, sunlight, shadows, and brown earth I felt unity with earth, universe, and emptiness of being. This insight was perhaps the result of my thoughts of equivalence (above). This heightened my interest in showing the equivalence of universe and the void.
A suggestion from physics (that matter and its gravitational field can have zero energy) reinforced and may have been at the root of the intuition of the equivalence and gave me the thought that I could prove the equivalence. But I was unable to prove that the universe was equivalent to the void over the period 1998-2002.
Then in 2002, I had the insight to focus on the void and its properties. I had again been hiking in the Trinity Alps. I had the insight as, fresh from a two week trip in the mountains, I entered the town of Weaverville at about 6 am one morning. This was the pivotal insight that led to the universal metaphysics.
Having arrived at this insight I began to develop the system. I saw immediately the connection to logic and this led quickly to the main ideas of general cosmology and the relation between personal and universal identity. Development of a secure relation to logic, science and development of the epistemology were slower. Suggestions from science and current philosophy enabled development of the connection to physical cosmology and mind.
The essential incompleteness of the metaphysics for a limited form led from the personal experience of journey to the universality of the idea of journey and to the conclusion that metaphysics will be and can only be completed in action.
In parallel with these developments I realized that there could be no secure basis of the metaphysics in substance (mind, matter, process and so on) and that it remained for the metaphysics to be grounded. I was already familiar with the importance of the idea of being from Greek thought and Heidegger and the significance of experience from personal reflection and reading in the study of mind in modern philosophy including the recent work on ‘consciousness studies’.
Thus motivated I refined my thought on the concepts of being and experience and tailored them to my purpose.
However, the present proof is the first instance of a proof.
It is quite different in its manner and object from ‘traditional proofs of God’. Therefore the limitations of those proofs are not limitations of the present proof. It is remarkable that the metaphysics delivers not only proof but also its apparatus. Thus there is no a priori. This shows that the proof is, figuratively, dynamic rather than static and that is precisely the best we expect in an open universe.
The proof and the fact of the proof are immensely empowering in that (1) we know rather than speculate the truth (2) it shows the universe to be ultimate and the metaphysics to be ‘container’ for all knowing and (3) it gives us a ‘computational tool’—the universe is the object of realism.
The process has been incremental and is no doubt capable of improvement and further development. No matter my level and clarity of insight there is, it seems, a not yet ending process of insight and clarification.
Yet some shell of the fundamental truths appears to have been attained.
However, as occasioned by the achievement and the desire for its completion, and as outlined in talking of a path, I now turn to action.
I know that nature must be one place to search into being.
Ideas parallel action
My idea of action is that it is bound to ideas. Without ideas, action reduces to ‘mere’ physical process. On the other hand, action is not mere ‘doing’. Action completes ideas, ideas validate action and its meaning. Ideation is action.
I have taken the universal metaphysics to the apparent limit of obvious development. It is given that this is just a beginning for the metaphysics harbors all forms. I have glimmerings and hints from various directions of vast and perhaps difficult depth.
I occasionally reflect on these matters as I prepare for action.
I realize that I should return to nature where I may have inspiration and that is good for nature is also one place that I seek a path of action.
Alt title: Epilogue, Retrospect and Prospect.
Contents—the aim revisited; progress… (overlaps the realizations above).
The ideas enable an enhanced discussion of the aim.
Origins and evolution of the aim (this might go to the chapter on the aim).
Realizations so far
See the field notes.
Other editions have a review (a) critical with a view to improvement and the future and (b) assessment of contribution.
See journey in being (resource edition of 2013). Also see the ‘central statements’ above, especially remarks that this is the first cognitive and complete treatment…
Comment. The following is from Journey in Being-full.
The central achievements of the narrative are (a) the universal metaphysics, the universality of ultimate realization: demonstration, meaning, and development; and (b) methods for the metaphysics and realization.
Other achievements lie in (a) developments in specific topics such as civilization—its critique and place in realization; meaning; nature of science and its laws and theories; ideal conception of Logic; theory of objects—unification of the concrete and the abstract and the kinds within the concrete and the abstract; cosmology, variety, and identity; problems of mind and matter; doubt, certainty, and existential attitude; conception of Religion and analysis of its elements; and (b) interaction of these topics with the metaphysics and theory of realization.
The ultimate and universal character of the metaphysics provides new and in some ways ultimate interpretations of core human disciplines.
The core disciplines include Logic, Mathematics, Science and the Sciences, Metaphysics, Method—as analysis and synthesis of meaning and Being… its perfection for metaphysics in the direction of depth but openness in variety… and that it is coeval with ‘content’; aspects of the humanities and arts; Values; and Yoga interpreted as the transformation of Being and its ways and the values of meshing this life, this world with realization of the ultimate.
There are numerous implications for and potential interactions with the disciplines of human knowledge and human endeavors—i.e., for research and action.
In the main narrative I have not collected together the possibilities for research as a program. However, a collection of topics may be found under the index entry ‘Program of study, research, and transformation’
Comment. The following, quite old, is from an older version (2009) version: journey in being-detail; chapter references in this ‘detail’ section are to the older document. My thought has become deeper, more inclusive, more transparent and more precise since the original writing. Therefore this ‘detail’ should be revised.
The purpose of this chapter is to gather together and make explicit what I think to be the contributions of the essay. For the classes of contribution see the section titles
The attempt to formulate objective criteria for significance does not displace evaluations by others or the ‘judgment of history’—but note:
The metaphysics may be subject to history but history is subject to the metaphysics
And materialist and secular metaphysicians may think on John Maynard Keynes quote In the long run we are all dead
Criteria for significance
There are a number of central developments that I consider to have immense significance for human being, society, and the history of ideas. Although the ideas center around the Universal metaphysics, the metaphysics is developed into a significant range of consequences; and there are numerous additional disciplinary developments in parallel to the main development. The significance of the ideas has been given some evaluation in the narrative
Hesitation to call the developments contributions stems from the following sources. (1) Doubts about validity. (2) Questions about originality. (3) Issues of significance. (4) The judgment of history
The issue of doubt has been addressed extensively. Although formal doubts have been addressed residual doubt of formal and psychological origin remain. However (1) The proofs and the address of the doubt is itself a significant and original and (2) Even if we postulate the fundamental principle of metaphysics the consequences are so immense and the arguments against it so lacking in Logical character that it is worthy of consideration as an intellectual and action principle
Although there are glimpses of a number of the ideas from a variety of traditions, the present development appears to be new. Nowhere, in extensive exploration, have I seen any hint of proof of the fundamental principle. There have been suggestions of the fundamental principle that lack proof and in lacking proof there is also lacking the immense system of consequences regarding depth and breadth. There are also suggestions regarding variety but in lacking foundation these suggestions of variety are immensely limited and of course mere speculation (their heuristic explanations may be shown to be unfounded.) Lacking foundation, the historical developments are incapable of the present resolution of the comprehensive range of problems of metaphysics—e.g., the mind-matter problem and the problem of why there is being that Heidegger called the fundamental problem of metaphysics that shown here to be a non-problem and replaced with another fundamental problem ‘What is it that has being?’ which receives significant address but is shown to be incapable of complete symbolic specification and requires transformation for realization.
The significance of the ideas is manifest
The precise judgment of history lies outside the scope of prediction. I have come to think that the ideas and developments of the narrative lie outside the familiar paradigmatic modern modes of thought—academic, secularist, religious-spiritual, and common. Recognition of the ideas in their present narrative form may occur by chance. Otherwise, however, recognition may occur in the following ways (1) Writing for recognition—style, brevity, significance and appeal are possible elements of such writing, (2) Devoting energy, intelligence, and charisma to recognition, and (3) Recognition by an individual or individuals who have sympathy with / preparation for the ideas of the work
Others who are not versed in the fundamental ideas often ask What is new in your work? Recently a friend commented, your ideas amount to Anything is possible—and that is not new, it is commonplace. The following discussion addresses these issues
A reminder. Assertion that my system is new means (1) I have not seen it in extensive reading and discussion, (2) from this exposure I have formed an idea of the reach of recorded thought and think it unlikely that my system is present in the main world traditions
While I claim that the system of ideas developed in this essay is a significant advance over prior understanding of the Universe, a common reaction is that there can hardly be any fundamental advance over the modern system—that surely someone has thought these thoughts before. This is a thought behind the question ‘What is new?’
The question of whether and to what extent the system may have been thought before is addressed in sections beginning with relation to sources in the history of thought of the document journey in being-detail. This preliminary will address the issue of the possibility and fact of fundamental advance over prior thought including the modern system
What is the source of this gap between my claim and the common reaction that essential advance is not to be expected? Here is an analysis of a source of this gap
Ideas arise as possible understanding of the world. The early history of thought about the world is mythic—it is in the form of stories but there is little attention to validity or even the idea of validity. Later, when (as in science) the idea arose that a world view might have application a natural corollary of this development was the idea of validity—of criticism, reason, and logic
We can ask two questions of the nature and extent of the Universe. (1) What is required by science and reason? (2) What is allowed by science and reason?
The explicit view that the universe is as defined in (1) has been called positivism. The view that it is in (2) may be called epistemic liberalism or simply liberalism (with regard to knowledge)
It is shown in what follows that, from critical analysis of science itself that (1) is an immensely small fraction of (2.) Although liberalism does not follow from this analysis, liberalism does not violate science and reason
The ideas developed in Metaphysics through Cosmology show that the Universe is as in (2) and that this entails that the Universe has the greatest possible variety of being: this is shown in the metaphysical development. This metaphysics is shown to be the one and only metaphysics and is called the Universal metaphysics. The cosmological development fills in the variety—what is filled in is immense even though it is immensely far from complete. It is shown in the earlier chapters that the variety cannot be preconceived but will be experienced and it is suggested that the likelihood and quality of the experience will be much enhanced by active and intelligent search. This defines an unending adventure in variety which, incidentally, is one in which pain cannot be avoided but need not be sought (except perhaps as a tool to develop strength)
Except for those who are religious or immensely skeptical, the natural or secular view of the Universe is roughly defined by science and may be held consciously or subconsciously absorbed from modern culture. This secular view is the default modern non religious and non mythic view. It is most commonly held implicitly and subconsciously even though many hold it explicitly and consciously. Because we do not think outside our natural world view (if we did it would not be our world view) it is a natural consequence of secularism that we should see the Universe roughly as (1) above, i.e. as what is definitely revealed in science. It is therefore natural under the modern secular paradigm to identify (1) and (2)—to reduce (2) to (1)—and to be uncritically blind to the possibility of anything outside the default modern view that centers on (1)
I.e., it is nearly instinctual to hold to the default modern view and to be blind to the part of the Universe that is infinitely greater than what is revealed in the default. There is no thought of a greater world and when something greater is suggested there is no easy means with which to comprehend or imagine it. This is the source of the gap between my metaphysics and the common metaphysics—between my claim and the common reaction
This divide between the two metaphysics—the Universal and the secular—is cognitive. There may also be a variety of reactionary factors that I have analyzed elsewhere but omit here
Summary of the preliminary. When what is allowed by experience and reason under any system of understanding is greater than what is required, there is a natural tendency of those educated in the system to hold that the Universe is defined by what is required. If held explicitly, this view is positivism
The position that the Universe is what is allowed by experience and reason may be called extreme epistemic liberalism. This kind of liberalism has been contemplated in the history of thought but a full understanding of its nature has not been developed before. Here, this liberalism is demonstrated and also called the Universal metaphysics. The tools of demonstration permit an understanding and articulation of the metaphysics as well as significant development of the cosmological variety. The experience of this variety defines an unending adventure in ideas and being
It is pointed out in the discussion below that based on extensive reading and reflection on the traditional pictures of the Universe, it is very unlikely that this total system has been seen in prior thought
Many of the names of the important ideas of the narrative have been encountered in the history of thought. However, in almost every instance the ideas have seen fundamental enhancement. The sources of this enhancement includes (1) careful reflection on each idea, (2) implications of the reflections on each idea for the other ideas so that simultaneous enhancement occurs and the new forms of a particular idea are not dependent on the old forms of other ideas, and (3) the development of an articulated and non-speculative—i.e. demonstrated and logically coherent—metaphysics that confirms the validity of the meanings of the ideas
Various aspects of the theory of intuition and the metaphysics and the consequent system (Objects through Method) have been encountered in the tradition to which the development owes an immense debt. However, never before has the present system been developed in the following aspects—it is demonstrated, the notion of demonstration is taken to an ultimate form, there is foundation without infinite regress, and the variety of being in the Universe is shown to be the greatest that is Logically possible. An outline of the theory of identity is seen in Vedanta but Vedanta provides no demonstration even though its insight is great. My system includes its own demonstration
A system includes its own demonstration? That means: there is no reference to something outside itself! Is that not circular? Does not any system need undemonstrated propositions or axioms, undefined terms? There is this model that the real is to be captured in a set of sentences. Some of those sentences are axiomatic—without demonstration. However, via naming of abstracts from intuition there are basic ideas that require no demonstration. But surely there are unproved rules of proof? The discovery of rules of proof is not a mystery of the a priori but an empirical endeavor—the certainty of the a priori is an illusion and the empirical endeavor may be the best that there can be and perhaps even better for certainty gives way to infinite adventure. The Universe itself simply is. It requires no description. What of a being in the Universe? If it finds sufficiently simple (abstracted from intuition) but still Universal Objects, it finds a perfectly faithful description. Outside this there is and need be no perfect faithfulness but there is the possibility of the approach to this limit. The system the pure core of a system of beings—including Universe—whose relations may be mediated by sentences as propositions
Demonstration is immensely empowering because of the confidence it provides regarding what was previously merely intuitive (in the common modern sense of that term.) Demonstration is also immensely powerful because the methods and tools of demonstration that have been especially developed here are also among the tools for exploration of the consequences of the metaphysics. This is a commentary on the argument that philosophy should be about insight rather than demonstration—it becomes manifest that demonstration and insight are equal partners
Here are some aspects of what is new. Terms in SMALL CAPITAL letters in what follows—in most cases only the first occurrence is capitalized—are concepts whose meaning is developed and defined in the narrative journey in being-detail and may be quite different in meaning from both historical and common use
A reminder. Assertion that my system is new means (1) I have not seen it in extensive reading and discussion, (2) from this exposure I have formed an idea of the reach of recorded thought and think it unlikely that my system is present in the main world traditions
The fundamental Universal OBJECTS, UNIVERSAL, DOMAIN, VOID, LOGOS, and others are shown to be known with perfect faithfulness in INTUITION (this is not and cannot be true for Objects in general.) The Logos is the Object of Logic and thus the metaphysics and demonstration are entailed via intuition. The entailment appears to be brief but its content lies in the development of INTUITION, ABSTRACTION, and the various concepts including the CONCEPT itself. If the development appears improbable, note that what is developed is a framework for both content and DEMONSTRATION or METHOD within which particular discovery is EMPIRICAL
It is shown that, as knowledge of all being, there is one and only one metaphysics that is here called the Universal metaphysics. Although unique, this metaphysics can have different but equivalent formulations and may be developed in greater or lesser degree
The full metaphysics and its demonstration are new
The fundamental principle of the Universal metaphysics is that whatever is allowed by Logic is contained somewhere and somewhen in the Universe. Leibniz held that the only impossibilities are logical impossibilities and Hume and Wittgenstein subscribed to something similar—their idea amounts to Whatever is allowed by logic is possible. Thus it has clearly been thought and may be a commonplace idea that anything is possible. However, the metaphysics is not that anything is possible but that every Logical possibility is actual somewhere and somewhen. This and much more have been demonstrated
As a first example, the nature of POSSIBILITY has been clarified. Normally we think of something as possible if it does or does not occur in some situation but may occur a similar situation. Since the Universe is all being, there is no ‘other situation’ or context. Relative to the Universe, possibility and actuality are identical
Second, what has been shown is that the LOGICAL and the ACTUAL are identical. In other words the Universe could not have a greater variety of being than it does
Third, because the Universal metaphysics is the one and only metaphysics, it would be expected that it should enable resolution of numerous ‘difficult’ problems from earlier and modern metaphysics. This is in fact the case and some examples are the resolution of Heidegger’s fundamental problem of metaphysics—why there is being rather than nothing, the problem of what it is that has being and the meaning of this problem and that it should be the fundamental problem of metaphysics, the mind-matter problem and the nature of mind, the problem of substance—there is and can be no ultimate substance, and the problem of foundation—the thought that either there is no foundation or foundation in substance that is posited and therefore has no foundation. What is amazing is the simplicity of these and many other resolutions. The simplicity is the result of the work having gone into the establishment and demonstration of the metaphysics
A common sense objection and its resolution
A problem arises regarding the common necessities of our immediate world. If ‘anything is possible’ why do these necessities obtain? This problem is resolved in the narrative. Actual states such as that of the immediate world cannot involve violations of Logic and therefore their existence—along with their apparent necessities—is given. However, except Logical necessity, there are no necessities; the apparent necessities, e.g. the physical laws, are not actual necessities but merely what has been but may or may not continue to remain very highly probable
Objection from scientific positivism
In other words, the metaphysics agrees with the picture from science in its domain of validity
There is a view of the universe that it is what is described in science—a cosmos that began in a big bang about 13 billion years ago and so on or perhaps an array of such cosmological systems (bubble universes.) The standard picture from science is that what lies beyond the boundary of the known universe is more of the same—i.e., the bubble universes are like ours, they are limited by light speed and cannot communicate with ours because they are outside the range of causal influence set by light speed. This is the view called scientific positivism—the universe is as described in current science. It is a strange view because it entails that the universe changes as science advances and change is abrupt and immense in scientific revolutions. Although scientific positivism is not entailed by science it is the default modern view because it is the only modern view—the alternative views such from religion and prior philosophical metaphysics are held in a regard that ranges from speculative to absurd. This view—scientific positivism—and the Universal metaphysics are in clear contradiction. However, science does not say anything about the nature of the universe outside the boundaries of empirical-theoretical science—it does not even say that there is or is not an ‘outside.’ Therefore there is and can be no contradiction between science and the Universal metaphysics
Cosmology, Objects and Identity
Now, the immense system of metaphysical and cosmological consequences follows—see chapters Metaphysics, Objects, and Cosmology
An interesting consequence regarding Objects is that what are traditionally called abstract Objects, e.g. number, are not fundamentally distinct from the concrete / particular Objects such as trees and bricks and cosmological systems. This cuts out millennia of speculation regarding the nature of the abstract and the ideal and the question of the ‘universe’ in which the abstract Objects reside. Any number of worlds have been invented—the material world, the world of mental things, a Platonic world of Ideal things (forms or ideas.) Further, confusion has reigned. The present development undermines the multiplicity of worlds and the confusion (metaphorical and other uses of the terms multiple worlds and multiple universes are allowed but it must be remembered that there is one and only one Universe)
One immense consequence is the ‘identity’ of individual identity and Universal Identity. We (I) do not experience this on a day to day basis (perhaps I do but that is not what is being said.) How is this possible, i.e. actual? It is demonstrated. Does it not seem absurd? In this case the absurdity results from the violation of common experience which includes the apparent privacy of individual experience and the apparent lack of any abiding universal identity, and the apparent contradiction of the scientific world view. The limitations of these scientific / common sense views have been abundantly developed and it has been shown that there is no contradiction even though it may be commonly thought that there is. How do I get from individual to Universal Identity? The metaphysics does not instruct; it makes suggestions that are developed in the narrative and especially in Journey. The point—the journey through variety is unending: an adventure; we never run out of adventure—the variety is infinite; if the reader thinks that there is an escape from pain, he or she is mistaken; escape from pain probably aborts the journey but cultivation of pain probably does not enhance it
Our world—the local disciplines
In Worlds, the nature of the local disciplines—the sciences or studies of matter-energy, life, mind, society—are investigated in light of the metaphysics. The local disciplines provided analogy for development of the metaphysics-cosmology which then shed the scaffolding of the local and required and received demonstration; the local disciplines illustrate the universal; and the universal illuminates the local. There is more. The metaphysics encourages the shedding of the ad hoc elements of our sciences and suggests that they have intrinsic limits which may be approached. This is worked out in the case of mind and suggestive approaches are given for the physical and social sciences. The theory of evolution is found to provide a necessary (and probably by far the most common among the infinity of cosmological systems entailed by the metaphysics) mechanism for evolution but not the only mechanism
Limits of thought
The metaphysics suggests a revaluation of the limits of thought. When, under the influence of a new line of criticism, a new generation rejects the claims of earlier philosophies there is a tendency to uncritical rejection
Here, there is implicit revaluation of previous constructive thought and its criticism. Directions are found in which there are no limits; other directions are established in which there are limits that are inherent in the nature of the Object. Further investigation is required to establish to what extent the inherent limits are or may be attained by human beings as human beings
Thus what is claimed is not that anything is possible. In fact there is no mere claim. It is shown that all states allowed by Logic obtain; this incidentally is the definition of Logic and it is perhaps the first true definition of Logic (because it is not a mere definition but an element of the Universal metaphysics that pertains to all being.) Anything is possible says, imagined and unimagined things may happen and of course that the variety of such things is great. The metaphysics says that imagined and unimagined things do happen; it specifies precisely what kinds those things are; it is demonstrated and not speculated; it is shown that the variety is essentially without limit; it is demonstrated that we have access to that infinity; and suggestions for approach are made; beginnings developed; tie ins with our world and its practical and existential concerns are made
Developments in method
The fact that a concept of Logic has been developed suggests that the present work also has developments in METHOD. I will not review these developments here—readers are referred to chapter Method. The expectation that since an (the) ultimate metaphysics has been developed, there may also be an ultimate in method (perhaps the method) is confirmed. It is important that to elevate method to its ultimate it has been brought down from the a priori and placed solidly in the realm of the empirical. Thus logic whose fundamental principles are shrouded in mist (the myriad traditional and ongoing doubts about the validity and source of the fundamental principles) are brought into the light of what is studied. Content—study of the world—and method as study of the study of the world are not distinct. Finally, that is a common sense position for ‘study of the world’ is part of the world. We tend to place our ideas in a box labeled ‘less real than concrete things.’ That content and method are not distinct—and arise together—suggests that ideas-as-ideas are not un-concrete; this is confirmed from many other directions in the development but especially in the theory of Objects of chapter Objects where Logic is shown to be a concept whose Object is Logos—traditionally remote but now immensely present and immediate—which is the Universe not in the abstract but in all its detail.
Doubt and faith
What of doubt? The narrative entertains doubts, answers them but does not remove all doubt. The main doubts concern (1) the logic and (2) the magnitude of the conclusions. Remembering, however, that even if the demonstration falls, the metaphysics of the greatest variety is and can be no contradiction with valid science and common sense a role for faith arises. This faith is not faith in absurd propositions ‘wine from water.’ The absurdity is of course not its possibility but that we should believe without proof that it did certainly happen. It is the faith in relatively trivial propositions—this man arises from the dead but no other human being can or did. The faith in question is rather like animal faith: without some faith in the stability of the world, which is not logically given, the animal is reduced to neurotic indecision and inaction: to paralysis. So, I may approach the infinite variety, the identity of Identities and so on as an experiment. Objection. That is a sheer waste of time. General response. Suppose that we want to maximize the outcome of our efforts, the places that apply our resources. Since, the outcome of the experiments in being are potentially infinite in magnitude an application of a small amount of energy greatly enhances the expected outcome of our lives without squandering time and resources (without undue detraction from the pressing and the practical.) Faith, then, shall be that attitude that is sustaining in the face of unknown risk. A personal response. I sometimes wonder whether I have wasted part of my life on this endeavor—certainly there is tension among the system of my priorities which include the seemingly chosen as well as the seemingly innate
If the claims here are true they are of immense significance. Yet I have doubt and have addressed this doubt. As noted earlier there are two ‘kinds’ of doubt—critical and essential. Critical doubt is doubt that we normally do not have in day to day matters but that we must entertain when it comes to careful—philosophical thought—where understanding (and therefore validity) is crucial. The function of critical doubt is to refine understanding and validity. Essential or existential doubt is doubt that we entertain for a variety of reasons—the critical reason and the significance or importance of content—and that we have not entirely succeeded in removing. However, existential doubt is not doubt regarding absurdity or violation of what we definitely know to be true—e.g. of logic. Essential doubt is truthful; when we have existential doubt we may use the claims that we doubt as existential assertions that found risk based action that we undertake because of the magnitude of potential return on ‘investment’. But we also maintain existential doubt for the critical reason; and in process existential doubt may migrate in the direction of critical doubt. It is interesting that my older existential doubt regarding the fundamental principle has migrated toward the critical. Confidence is increased and understanding of content (the nature of realism) has become more precise (and it is interesting to compare these remarks with the corresponding remarks in journey in being-detail).
Despite doubt, I have confidence in the system. It is a definite but not absolute confidence
What is the source of the confidence? A primary source lies outside my psyche, my ego—it is formal. It is not the proof or demonstration itself. Rather it is that once I found the ‘right’ way to see the basic concepts, I experienced the proofs and the developments emerging as if under their own force—a force external to my psyche, and what I had vaguely intuited gave way to clear and articulate statement. Armed with the tools of demonstration, fundamental concept after fundamental concept became subsumed under the umbrella of the metaphysics
Significance for the history of ideas
Philosophy and metaphysics
What is perhaps the problem of the nature of philosophy is—includes—that it has come to have specialized and limited connotations as in analytic and continental circles via its history and relation to other disciplines. What is the status of these limited connotations? Are they necessary?
The response is that the Universal metaphysics shows that self and externally imposed limits on philosophy can be and are transcended and, further, in the ultimate character of the metaphysics goes beyond anything thought and earlier recorded. Although there are intimations of elements of content and the ideas of the method, the various elements and ideas have not been put together before—either separately as content and as method or combined as content-method—and the dynamic result is a system of immense consequences that is new, ultimate—in depth of understanding and breadth of being revealed; and surprising—perhaps even intoxicating
The surprise lies not only in the ultimate character but also in the economy of the development
However, a focus on hastily thought out reflections based on suggestion from limited contexts is reflected in the recent history of academic philosophy in which every generation barely refers to the work of the previous while the works and questions of the seminal thinkers remain fundamental
In paragraphs that follow, some possible reasons for the uncritical acceptance of suggested limits will be given
Critical philosophy has the following uses. First, it attempts to eliminate error. This is important. However, elimination of error, even though we accept its fundamental importance, can be overrated—for errors of method do not invariably imply errors of content… and it is often important to act even in the presence of error or in the absence of knowledge that error has been eliminated. A second use of critical philosophy, one in which criticism is not an end in itself, is that it may suggest or force the overcoming of error and the development of methods of greater power than available previously. As we have seen, even neurotic criticism may be of immense value. All too often, however, criticism is seen as an end in itself and philosophy and thought then suffer a self-imprisonment in which they labor under falsely held and, paradoxically, uncritically critical ideals
In any case, the present development, demonstrates the possibility of overcoming the critical momentum of recent thought and simultaneously realizes that possibility in the ultimate Universal metaphysics
Therefore consider the following
Metaphysics is the discipline whose concern is the outer limits of being; whose method—the method of the rational or empirical-logical analysis of experience-meaning—shows how to study at those outer limits; and which is revealed as a study of being of ultimate depth and variety
The goal of metaphysics may be said to be to bring all experience—and intention and action—including the forms of experience into a single coherent system of description of the universe. The final concept will not include all forms because, due to consistency the requirement, there is no Object that is the referent object of all forms. However, the final Object will implicitly contain all forms of experience-in-themselves, i.e. as concepts. Metaphysics may be said to be the result of this goal
It is now possible to see philosophy as the discipline whose limits are the outer limits of being; whose method shows how to study within those limits—the method of metaphysics and the interactively modified methods of less general contexts; and which is revealed as a study of meaning but also of fact and significance and a study in lateral analysis but also in analysis via depth. The firmness of the foundation of metaphysics is carried over to the foundation philosophy where the limit of firmness or certainty is the modified firmness or certainty of the special context or discipline
Where philosophy has been seen as limited on account of its boundaries in relation to other disciplines, such boundaries may be seen as contingent or Normal. The Normal boundaries may be seen as apportioning of subject matter, division of labor, territorial concerns. We do not claim that the apportioning of subject has no basis—only that it is and cannot be absolute and this has been shown. That philosophers occasionally show naïveté regarding science shows the naïveté of the person and not a necessary limitation; the physicist even as physicist occasionally needs to turn to philosophical concerns that overlap the physical
Philosophy has been held to be ‘merely’ conceptual. However, as has been seen here the conceptual is not ‘mere’ in any sense but is fundamentally empirical at root
Certain movements in Continental philosophy have abandoned the ‘grand narrative.’ If ‘grand narrative’ refers to the positing of a vast speculative scheme then there is some validity this abandonment (the validity is not entire because there may be value in a grand speculation.) Modern thought reveals the emptiness of certain grand narratives of the past as does history. What history may show, however, is that certain speculative schemes are empty; and modern thought itself has been shown here to be immensely contingent even though it regards itself as natural—which is the case with the thought of every age. What history cannot show, however, is that systematic and comprehensive metaphysics is impossible. History may suggest this impossibility and the suggestion may turn out to be valid or not. Perhaps, then, reason may show the impossibility of systematic-comprehensive metaphysics. Since Kant it has been thought to have been demonstrated that this is in fact the case. The implicit error in this thinking has been shown. It is, first, that while there is an aspect of detail in which the central metaphysical concepts ‘all,’ ‘part’ and ‘absence’ may be incapable of being known by a—finite—being, the abstract versions of these concepts, i.e. the versions devoid of detail, are supremely, necessarily, and precisely empirical and faithful; in fact it is only in the case of such concepts that faithfulness has explicit meaning. The second part to the error in the anti-metaphysical thinking is the supposition that no absolute non-relativist (yet non-substance) demonstration is possible; such demonstration has indeed been performed here with the result that the Law of the Universe is Logic
It may be a failure of nerve, a self-aggrandizement, a parochialism that generalizes from—e.g. historical—sequence to concept; the thinker who so generalizes commits the error that he criticizes. It may have been a similar failure to think from empiricism and Kantianism that no systematic-comprehensive (Universal) metaphysics is possible—it is perhaps the case that the implicit errors in empiricism-Kantianism were neglected in the parochial and self-aggrandizing rush to abandon the Universe in favor of the backyard. Perhaps we should not be critical; perhaps we should think, simply, that certain details were not noticed, certain lucky inspirations were not had—for it is not clear to the writer whether the present developments have occurred because of attention to detail and luck or due to persistence and insight
Here, we have developed an immense view of the variety and connectedness of being which is not grand in the sense that it emerges from a simple view of the elements of being, in that it is not posited, not speculative
An extension to these thoughts on metaphysics and philosophy is implicit in the chapter and idea of a Journey. This extension may be called the reflective life which is not one of pure reflection but one in which reflection and action interact to enhance and illuminate one another in greater realization and meaning
The divisions of philosophy
Significant implications for metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, philosophy of space-time-matter, philosophy of mathematics have been developed
The academic disciplines
In addition to philosophy, there are significant and potential implications for the sciences and method, and for history and religion. The narrative form of ‘journey’ may be of interest to literature and to the nature and significance of the research article. Although art been considered only briefly and slightly, the provision of a universal framework for being may assist in the understanding of art and its place in human life
Problems of metaphysics
It is clear that numerous classical and modern problems of metaphysics have received illumination and resolution. Such problems include identity, mind-body, substance, the fundamental problem of metaphysics, the possibility of metaphysics… The problems and their resolutions are catalogued at http://www.horizons-2000.org
The essential problems of the discipline of metaphysics concern the nature of the objects—and categories—identified above and the problem of fitting them into a coherent (consistent) system. A review of the actual problems reveals this to be the case and it is not necessary to re-list the problems to prove the point
What are the important Objects? First are the important metaphysical Objects taken up earlier—being, all being, void, identity, mind, matter, human being… Second are the Objects of intrinsic importance to human beings, e.g. knowledge, peace, love (it sometimes seems that love does better without analysis although some clarifications and removal of confusions of sophistry might be useful—there is perhaps a twofold philosophy of emotion or feeling, first, in the integration of cognition-feeling performed here and in greater detail in other essays of http://www.horizons-2000.org and, second, in a two-way ‘conversation’ between cognition and the emotions in which each learns from the other; this would, perhaps, be vastly better than any attempt to bring emotion under the rule of thought or the alternative abandonment of reason altogether in the domain of pure feeling.) The two classes of Object are not distinct; the analysis of the first is exhaustive; that of the second cannot and perhaps should not be exhaustive but attention to it eclectic (except of course as noted that the system of concerns is not decomposable into Objects to be addressed in isolation.) A final Object is the meta-Object such as metaphysics itself that is also addressed
The problem of final or ultimate explanation. The problem of grand narratives—the problem is not of the actuality but that of positing such a narrative for, if such a ‘narrative’ emerges in cold Rationality there can be no stand against it except cold argument
The problem of a non-relativist philosophy without substance… of final or ultimate explanation. An encapsulation of the resolution is to recognize the sense in which such explanation is possible and actual. First, it is explicit with respect to depth—the foundations are trivial even though immense and profound in implication; and, of course, seeing the foundation is not at all a trivial endeavor. Second, the ‘final and ultimate’ explanation is implicit with respect to breadth—All Being is its implicit Object; however, the discovery and Experience—Capitalization implies becoming the Object rather than merely conceiving it—is a process, a journey
The nature of the ultimate breadth and depth of metaphysics, i.e. of the Universal metaphysics or Metaphysics of immanence
The problem of ultimate explanation that has no application. This problem is resolved, first, in revealing the falsity of the practical / theoretical / immediate / ultimate dichotomies; and then in showing, in their common meanings, both applicability and application
The problem of mere being. There is no mere being—except as approximation. Human being is not ‘mere;’ animal being is anything but ‘mere.’ Greatness does not require being greater than
The fundamental problem of metaphysics. This is the problem of why there is anything. Its resolution; its fundamental character is rendered trivial. The fundamental problem becomes ‘What things exist?’
Method. Effective development of knowledge for new contexts
The novel and in some ways ultimate contributions to method are detailed in chapter Method
The nature and limits of human knowledge have been discussed earlier. This section presents a system of human knowledge with basis in the developments of the essay.
A look at the system that follows shows significant impact of the thought developed here.
The scheme is a significantly enhanced version of that of the 15th edition of Encyclopedia Britannica.
As a consequence of the Universal metaphysics, each discipline assumes a form that has an ultimate aspect that is limited of course by the Normal Object of concern.
Such limits should not be thought of as entirely the result of limited faculties but at least partially in the nature of the—Normal—Object. While improvement in understanding is possible and often good, the search for perfect understanding of Normal Objects may stand in the way of adventure in the infinite Object, i.e. the Universe. When we sense the presence of an Object it does not follow that it is entirely determinate. When an Object is incapable of precise understanding, there is no value to the search for such understanding—put this way this is of course obvious: it is the present development that has made this understanding—of understanding—obvious.
The distinctions of Being, artifact, and symbol are artificial
See the improved version in system of human knowledge.
1a. Metaphysics—perfect synthetic knowledge—being and perfect aspects of experience, meaning, and concepts of fact, science, and logic; fundamental principle of metaphysics—being realizes all possibility and consequences: the universal metaphysics; general cosmology—universe and identity have acute, diffuse, and absent phases and limitless variety and extensivity; epistemology—perfect universal metaphysics as container for incremental science and experience which in that practical capacity are perfect though imprecise and incomplete… and as generator of realism (the potential of fact, science, logic), including value and justice; completion of metaphysics in action. 1b. Physical science, nature, behavior of energy and varieties of force and material object including physics, physical cosmology, and chemistry; 2. Geology; 3. Biology, life—its nature and variety and origins of life and variety; Medicine; 4. Mind as the study of psyche in its integration and its ‘functions;’ nature of mind; 5. Society, nature, institutions (groups) and change… and aspects including culture (institution of knowledge,) economics, political science and philosophy (and Law;) and 6. History
7. Art, its nature and varieties (literature, music, painting, sculpture, architecture…;) 8. Technology elements: energy, tools and machines… and fields: agriculture, transportation, information, earth and space exploration…; Engineering; and 9. Faith, literal and nature and varieties of non literal meaning and non meaning functions; religion, its nature and varieties: religions of the world—hunter gatherer and agriculture based societies, throughout pre-history and history. The concept of religion as knowledge and negotiation of the entire universe by the entire individual in all its faculties and modes of being. The relation of this concept to possible and potential realizations of as yet unnamed and un-thought ideational form
10a. Symbols and signs; semiotics—the study of signs and sign behavior. Symbolic Systems including language, logic, and mathematics. 10b. The Humanities and Philosophy; Study of Science and History
In the development of an Encyclopedia the following problems may arise:
1. In depth and authoritative versus up-to-date development.
2. Logical versus enumerative (e.g. alphabetic) versus associative organization.
3. Question of relative nature of ‘logical’ schemes
Information processing and networking resolutions
With the capabilities of modern information systems these tradeoffs are not necessary.
1. There can be both in depth articles with low frequency of revision and up-to-date articles or supplements with higher rate of revision
2. The associative character of hyper linking has been touted as ‘the way we learn’. Yes, of course that is one way of learning but it is certainly not the only way of learning or knowledge representation—the case is typical of the way in which sometimes ‘experts’ overreach their skill. In any case, no choice has to be made because the capabilities of modern networked information systems enable us to have and eat cake.
3. Similarly, modern systems permit multiple logical schemes.
The foundation provided for metaphysics, epistemology (knowledge, intuition, Objects,) cosmology, study of human being, paves a way for further development.
The discussions in this chapter and the section Investigation in the modes and means of transformation of chapter Journey show some specific areas of potential contribution and possible approaches.
These resources are intended to suggest general, particular, and local approaches to a path. The metaphysics makes it clear that they cannot be complete—but they do not and are not intended to approach anything like a survey.
Though suggestive they are intended for a variety of individual and cultural orientations. In today’s world there is a range of information available wherever there is an internet connection. Though not necessarily reliable, the metaphysics shows that you are always without final support except on two accounts: your personal resources of thought, commitment, and action; and your experiential connection to the universe. I have found that while the internet provides fingertip and comprehensive information, many published works that represent the best effort of a writer are deeper and more reliable than ‘internet search’ (of course many such works are now on the internet). Just as readers will develop their own sense of direction in the world, so they may also develop a related sense of direction in the world wide network of information. The sources below are elementary suggestions that readers can improve upon and tailor to individual or shared intent.
The resources are twofold: those that I have used and those that may be bought to use.
Tools for the means: also see discussions of imagination, doubt, and criticism; and realization.
It would leave the suggestions incomplete to not suggest some ‘primal’ sources. A general but very cursory source is Indigenous Religions (from Encyclopedia.com). An outstanding source is Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest, Richard K. Nelson (1983) (the link to University of Chicago press site was live as of January 21, 2015). The author cautions that conclusions regarding one Native American group cannot be generalized to ‘primality’. The restriction however is not pertinent to the insight of what is possible and meaningful. Perhaps the most pertinent conclusions to the present purpose are (1) that natural and spiritual knowledge encompass an entire human ecological niche and (2) that the system of knowledge is both deep, wonderful, and flexible (and in this way quite different from our modern rigid fundamentalisms but may be seen as an origin of modern science and religion though not the cause of their dichotomous fundamentalism).
Some standard modern sources are secular humanism, psychoanalysis, humanistic psychology, gestalt psychology, and rational emotive therapy, and psychology of mindfulness in world thought (includes tradition)
The links in previous two paragraphs are to Wikipedia.
Modern trans-secular sources
Charles Hartshorne (Charles Hartshorne: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Charles Hartshorne: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia—and a source for Hartshorne’s process theology: the process philosophy: ‘Process and Reality’ of Alfred North Whitehead: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Alfred North Whitehead: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
Although John Hick (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) as theologian is known primarily for interpretation of Christianity, as philosopher he has interesting and useful interpretations of the notion of continuity of life (spirit) across death and across lives.
List of Christian theologians (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) lists more than 300 theologians—200 or so since 1800. Justice cannot but need not be done. As analyzing and attempting to define the human condition ‘existentialist theology’ is useful as supplement to the program of this work. The following are interesting to me: Karl Barth, Martin Buber, Søren Kierkegaard, and Paul Tillich (all links from Wikipedia).
Religious (spiritual) teachers and communities are important for good direction and support (even though we are ultimately on the forefront—at the beginning—without external support on the road to the universal precisely because the universe is all that there is: there is nothing outside it).
Every system has its written and living sources of insight; its communities. Readers are encouraged, if they would derive insight and support from tradition, to experiment with and find literature, teachers, and communities appropriate to their inclination. The internet and the printed literature abound with information.
If I were to list resources I would not need to be comprehensive but at least to give examples sufficient to suggest what is available. This must be a project for another time.
A primary source for details of this document is:
Resource edition—http://www.horizons-2000.org/1. World and Being/realization/being-elements/2010/2011-2012 jib in-process/second production/1/the realizations-resource version.html. Future field notes to this resource document will supplement the present development.
Also see my website http://www.horizons-2000.org which links to internal and external sources, especially the following links on the site home page: The Realizations, Recent narratives, Field Journals, Sources, Western Philosophy, Archive, and Useful Links.
A follow up to this minimal version will begin with in process records of my ‘path’ and, later, a more detailed and complete version. That version will amplify the discussion, it may develop various applications—some suggested above—and it will layout the path above in more detail, and it will report on the outcome. See field notes, above
The following bibliography is dated but suggestive for its range: general bibliography.
This section lists attitudes and activities that have served the development.
Aim and foundation
Dual commitment to aim and foundation for (a) the ultimate in the immediate (b) immediate as gate to the ultimate.
Proper living everyday
Living in the immediate-ultimate.
Foundation for cumulative—especially incremental—achievement in knowing and being.
Select, amend, and practice dedication.
Dedication. I dedicate my life to The Way of Being: / Its discovery, revelation, and realization— / To live and grow in all worlds as one; / To shed the bondage of limited self— / So that I may see The Way so clearly / That living it, even through difficulty / Is flow over force… / And so to show and share its truth, power, and care.
Affirmation. I commit my being, thought, speech, and action to the way; to a positive attitude; to the good and care of the world and all persons, especially to seeing but not taking imagined or real fears and resentments as affronts to security and sense of self. I pray for these things, especially for the good and understanding of those I may resent.
Practical tools for action and meditation
Meditate on—own my strength, power, pain, and weakness: I am their active core and source—and so of their transformation as energy.
Be assertive in discovery, cultivation, and expression of my power and goals; seek and encourage active receptivity.
Be assertive about and transform or remove myself from negative influence.
Meditate on my truth; not let apprehension prevent speech or action when good or ego force them when not. Consciously expose myself to and act on my fears, selected for importance.
Healthy living—routine, sleep, food and fluids; avoid toxic substances and influences.
Breadth, depth, and process
Breadth and depth of experience, study (reading), reflection, and action are foundation for incisive process toward an evolving aim.
Depth encourages foundation; and assessment of ranges of being and process—and so dimensionality of being and elements of process.
See the archive.
Perception, judgment, and process
Openness is essential to improving the way.
Judgment is essential to having a way.
Perception and judgment are not ‘one off’: they are part of a self improving process.
Consistent with these precepts, the aim and foundation remain in process (the direction for development of foundation is breadth).
No final foundation
Perception in balance with judgment lead to (a) no final foundation except where found and (b) no need for final external foundation.
Openness versus fundamentalism
Where religion tends to fundamentalism, science tends to positivism. ‘Positivism’ has a range of meanings but here it refers to the position—default and implicit or explicit—that science so far is essentially all of knowledge and method. Thus there is a kind of fundamentalism that holds sway for some attitudes to religion and science.
We have seen that knowledge so far is not limiting to what lies beyond the present empirical domain. This openness is what allows consistency among the valid tradition including science and the metaphysical framework—i.e. it allows consistency of the metaphysics. Of course this does not prove the metaphysics—the proof is separate—but it forestalls objections from standard secularism and trans-secularism.
We are familiar with the idea of religious fundamentalism: taking religious accounts and texts literally, e.g. as the word of the divine. I am thinking here more of the cosmology and metaphysics than the ethical or moral message; but I am also thinking of various local moral proscriptions that go beyond the great morals (do not kill) that are elevated to the universal. Many beliefs are such that except for those inculcated in them they lack any force of truth. People die and kill for such truth. Some ‘primal’ belief systems shed light on this. In Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest, Richard K. Nelson (1983) there is an account of the way the Native Athaspakans of the Koyukon hold their beliefs (Nelson is careful to point out that generalization to other primal andor oral traditions is not warranted). I present only a fragment. Animals have spirit powers that interact with the natural and human worlds. There is general accord on such beliefs. However, there is also a high degree of individual variation and individuals do not seem concerned to force their views on others (even though they worry about consequences of violations of spirit power). Also if a ‘violation’ results in no harm the belief tends to be weakened; if something harmful happens shortly after the belief is strengthened. There is practicality to the system in which power and nature interact. In our world—post ‘primal’—belief and worldly matters became separate; belief became inviolate (perhaps for political-economic reasons). Our beliefs lost their anchor but—therefore—we became ready to kill for them.
This is taken from journey in being-detail and requires revision—the concordance is a potential source of terms. Here, many terms have improved definitions; some have been renamed. Sameness, difference, identity have improved definitions in the present document; ‘extensivity’ has been replaced by ‘extensionality’.
Comment. Alternate titles: lexicon…
definition A definition specifies a concept. It does not guarantee an object. Thus the existence of the object must be shown. The means of showing depends on the field.
In mathematics which—in the modern understanding—introduces abstract concepts a preliminary step is to establish or argue or at least hope for consistency; a second step concerns completeness which cannot invariably obtain and this is one way in which mathematics must remain open. What are the objects of mathematics? There are various views but a dominant one is that they are abstract and some thinkers hold that they reside in an ideal world. The present development shows that there is only one universe and mathematical objects reside there (if and only if the concepts are consistent).
In science—in application to a normal world (see ‘normal world’) below the concept must be identified with a normal object which almost invariably entails incomplete precision. What then is the value or point to precise proof? It is of course not clear that proof is universally certain across mathematics despite modern standards of rigor but this is perhaps the field of greatest certainty. What is the value of proof? The first value is the in the integrity (and beauty) of the mathematical systems themselves. A second value is that in application error may arise and it is useful to narrow down its source—particularly that it does not arise in the mathematics.
In the universal metaphysics we have shown that for the basic concepts the level of abstraction is such that the object is given. One exception is the void regarding whose existence we have doubt (which we have seen to be a good thing—at least in an existential sense). However, if the void exists our knowledge of it is perfect and the ultimate universal metaphysics that follows is also perfect. What seems surprising is that the metaphysics—with and without the void—is significant. Reflection removes some of the surprise of the conceptual system but not of the freshness, the wonder, the surprise, and the existential and instrumental challenge of the universe itself
significant meaning When prefixed by the adjective ‘significant’, the sense of ‘meaning’ is the one that occurs in the phrase ‘our search for meaning in life is a lifelong endeavor’. This use of the word meaning important to the journey in being. For the other use of meaning in the narrative, see meaning in journey in being-detail.
destiny Refers to the part of the future that may be controlled; and conceiving and designing for this future. In standard secular thought the remote future is not in control except perhaps as speculative ‘futurology’. Under the universal metaphysics, the seeming remote but given future is sought in the broadest of strokes. However we can enjoy what is necessary on the way: limitless variety of the journey, an ever changing vision of the universe, and engagement in the endeavor of realization.
rationality Rational action is the best action. That there is one best action—a single path that is the outcome of pure reason is a fiction. Cumulative experience encoded in culture reveals value (what is seen as worthwhile) and means (of achievement). Value is not determinative—it is guiding for there is always choice—which in terms of freshness and power of being is a good thing. Further, imagination is essential to conceiving and charting action and this too is good and is another element in the non determinative character of value and reflection. Values and means are—at least in some directions—not final and so the nature of rational action is also a question of rationality. Further, we do not want to devote too much of our resources to thinking about action and so we are often concerned with ‘good enough’ action. Rationality also applies to knowledge which is a link in the spiral of action. All this presupposes explicit reflection. However, some cultures encode value and means in myth and intuition. The dichotomy of intuition versus reason however is false. Cultures and individuals lie on a continuum. All cultures have some implicit understanding or tradition and all have experiment and reflection. What varies is the emphasis.
knowledge A simple notion of knowledge is that it involves concepts—pictures—of the world. This comes under obvious criticism because not only is much knowledge not perfectly faithful, it is not clear what ‘faithfulness’ would be. Still we have seen that there is a ultimate and perfect universal metaphysics. Other notions of knowledge are practical—that which enables negotiation of the world; and the notion inherent in the idea of being-in-the-world. What we have shown is that the perfect illuminates and frames the rough; that the rough is always tentative and in process (for limited forms); but that the rough is perfect in its own way—it is the essential though always changing instrument of negotiation in the ultimate universe revealed by the perfect.
being That which ‘is’. The word ‘is’ is used in a sense that any range or ranges of time (or, more generally of extensivity). The non esoteric origin of the term is a source of its potential power. Realization of the power is dependent on careful and imaginative use of the concept of being in which it is important to not admit other meanings as constituents of the concept but to allow or reject them as components of being as dictated by critical thought. See pure being.
manifest All being is manifest. We could use ‘being’ to refer also to the absence of being—and even to ‘impossible’ being—and in that case manifest being would be the mark of a non void universe.
experience Introduced as subjective awareness, it’s meaning is extended to the root element that builds up as the varieties of our experience—pure, attitudinal, active, feeling, emotive, conceptual (which includes the perceptual). In any realm where matter is an effective substance, elementary experience is interaction—an effect of one element of matter in the experiencing element. In the universal where there is no substance, experience may be instanced without a material base.
unconscious The unconscious refers to experiences of which we are not immediately aware or to a body state—e.g. something that can be remembered—that may enter or affect experience. In the extended meaning of experience, there is no unconscious.
action Intentional action which requires seeing, envisioning, and reasoned selection from among options. Risk is action.
psychology, the concept The field of psychology is the field of experience—its ranges and unities (see on psychology in journey in being-detail for details of the ranges). A psychology is a particular theory, representation, or description. See practical psychology.
real world The world which is there regardless of being experienced but which contains experience and is known in experience. The real world is sometimes called the external world.
concept In its main meaning here a concept is any mental content. Primarily used to talk of concepts that refer to objects. Occasionally used informally to talk of a concept as a unit of meaning or ‘higher concept’. Includes percepts, feeling and emotion, and will or choice and knowledge driven action (the phrase is redundant since action is of its nature choice and knowledge driven). The entire range of psychological phenomena including personality fall under ‘concept’.
object What is designated by a purportedly referential concept. If abstracted from this use either by talk of an object in itself or by assuming that a purported reference must refer, paradox may result. An object is not necessarily what we think of as an entity (it may be a process, a property, an interaction, a number of such things regarded as a whole) and it may be concrete or abstract. Under the universal metaphysics these distinctions break down (but do not lose their proximate or practical uses).
meaning When not prefixed ‘significant’, meaning is conceptual or linguistic meaning. This use is crucial to the analyses of the narrative. The use of conceptual or concept meaning here consists in a concept and its object. In linguistic meaning a word or other language form such as a sentence is associated with the concept. If the language form is abstract—i.e. if it has no resemblance to the object, there can be no meaning without association to a concept that is or enables recognition of the object. Language is possible when such association is possible and it derives power (of expression and communication and, in written form, remote communication and transmission) from common contexts of use. An object is not always evident but it seems rare that there is no implied reference in the real or an experiential world. Analysis of meaning is crucial in uncovering paradoxes in language use and in knowledge that we already have. Analysis and synthesis of meaning (being) is the process of developing knowledge (being).
Perfectly known objects
perfectly known objects An object that is perfectly known via its elementary form or by or by abstraction of features that are perfectly known (or by reason including deduction). Examples of the former are being, experience, the real world, and universe; immanent law and logic are examples of the latter. Knowledge of the void is the result of reason.
existence Commonly identical to being. In some uses a distinction arises between being as being-in-itself and existence as being-in-relation. The distinction breaks down in case of perfectly known objects. For other objects what we know is the existing form. If we keep the distinction in mind it does not have quite the significance it might otherwise have for under the universal metaphysics the practical objects are transients within the permanent—practical knowledge is an instrument of ultimate realization.
metaphysics knowledge of being. Metaphysics has been criticized as outside experience and therefore impossible and as too removed from the world to have significance..
universe The universe is all being over all extensivity (extension and duration).
creation A creator is external to the created. Emergence from nothing (regardless whether there is nothing) is not creation. Thus creation is cause in some at least primitive sense. The universe is not created (or destroyed—it may become non-manifest). One region of the universe may create another; or, once created, be involved in creation of its own future.
possibility A context may be defined by its possible states of which only some are realized at a specific time. A state that is possible but not realized in a context only in reference to other but identical contexts (identical in terms of the possible states). For physical possibility the allowed states are defined by physics. The most liberal notion of possibility is logical possibility. For a cosmos, unrealized states are possible if they follow the laws of the cosmos. For the universe, there is no other but identical context; therefore what is not realized is not called possible. For the universe the realized (the actual) and the possible are identical. According to the universal metaphysics possibility is logical possibility.
law Our written laws of nature are what we read or see as patterns (often expressed in abstract terms). The law itself is the immanent version of our reading. In previous versions I have distinguished the immanent versions by calling them ‘Laws’; however, while the distinction is significant it is not necessary to mark it by capitalization. The laws (immanent) have being.
void The void is the absence of being. The void contains no (immanent) law. The void may be regarded as present with every element of being.
fundamental principle The fundamental principle of metaphysics is the demonstrated assertion that the universe realizes all possibilities. It show the universe to be far greater than in the standard cosmologies. Another form of the principle is that the universe is limitless—i.e. that subject to realism (fact—science—and logic provided these are understood to be in process) all conceptual systems are realized.
limit A limit is a possibility that is never realized. According to the fundamental principle the universe has no limits. Therefore every element of being is limitless for if the universe did not confer limitlessness on the element that would be a limit on the universe. It seems that for two distinct elements to be limitless would be a contradiction; however, limitlessness is realized in unification with all being.
limitless universe According to the fundamental principle the universe has no limits; stated in instrumental terms—the only constraints on realization of the system of concepts is realism or logic.
possibilistic universe The universe realizes all possibilities. The meaning is the same as that of ‘limitless universe’.
emergence The term ‘emergent’ has a range of common connotations. Thus on some views of materialism, mind is not present in elementary matter but emerges at some level of organization of matter. Here, in a not unrelated sense, the void does not cause manifest being; rather manifest being (necessarily) emerges from the void.
determinism A world is temporally deterministic when its present state at any time determines its state at all future times. A more general sense of determinism appropriate to a context that is not entirely temporal is when a part of the universe determines the entire universe. The universe is absolutely indeterministic in that from any state, any other state may emerge. However, it is also absolutely deterministic in that all states will emerge.
deterministic basis Classical physics is deterministic and the deterministic basis for prediction is the state of the world at any given time—a ‘slice in time’. Although our normal description of the world may not be deterministic there is some predictability to it. The deterministic basis is the base data for prediction. What is it? Perhaps, again, a slice in time. However, we are interested in projection from the normal to the entire universe. Sufficiently far from our world in extension—‘space and time’—the information in our world is entirely lost (if all possibilities are realized). A deterministic basis occurs in and pertains to normal worlds. The situation is more complex than that for there must be continuity of identity. The way in which this obtains is not clear even though quantum mechanics has suggestions regarding physical identity of indistinguishable systems of particles. The question of identity despite information loss is important and likely difficult. It is likely that there must be some balance between loss and growth; that the universe is perhaps never an isolated point even in the void state (how remains a problem to conceptualize); and that information gain (self adaptation, intelligence) balance loss—but how?
universal metaphysics A perfect metaphysics of universal scope that is founded in and deduced via perfect objects. This metaphysics is a container—conceptual and practical—for the practical or approximately known but significant objects of our world. The practical are instruments of living in the world and of realization of and toward the ultimate. In a number of significant situations, the metaphysics permits perfect knowledge of some practical features; in all cases the metaphysics adds an ultimate color to their significance.
abstract object From the fundamental principle all conceptual systems are realized subject to minimal realism. Therefore all objects are in the universe; there is no conceptual divide between abstract and concrete objects. There are practical differences in how we experience and how we study them. This already shows that logic and mathematics are empirical.
logic We have seen that the truths of logic pertain to all worlds while the truths of science pertain to some worlds. This is one way in which logic and science have unity. However the method of science is said to be induction while that of logic is deduction. This is based on improper analogy for arriving at a scientific theory or logic is inductive while arriving at consequences under science and logic is deductive. This unity of science and logic may be called Logic.
realism Possibility cannot violate facts which includes the theories of science interpreted as facts for a fixed domain (where their truth is that they precisely specify a small range within which events occur). Possibility cannot violate the valid principles of logic. These constraints are not limits. Together they constitute realism or ‘logical realism’.
logical realism See logic and realism.
empirical The term is not used in the sense of knowledge by sense perception alone. It means that all knowledge, even symbolic forms such as logic and mathematics, must and do refer to the world (even when we do not see the object). However the symbolic forms are not empirical in the way that science is. We can see that they must be experimental because they did not spring into culture fully formed—they may seem that way on account of remote (even evolutionary) origin. But we do see that the origin of new systems of mathematics and logic depends on indirect contact with the real—e.g. by checking for consistency and by direct contact in their application to objects that we experience as concrete. Logic and mathematics do not have precise purchase that they seem to when we recognize that their conclusions apply to precisely to concrete objects only insofar as those objects are precisely as idealized. Even the perfect objects are perfect only in their perfect empirical knowledge.
normal world The metaphysics seems to violate the facts of our world which, in secular thought, confines us in various ways. In fact the metaphysics requires such normal worlds. What is changed is that the limits of the world (which are not the constraints of logic on concepts) that may have seemed necessary are in fact contingent and that they will be overcome but the overcoming is a function of knowledge and process.
Science and logic
science and logic Science and logic are not of the universe but of knowledge of the universe. The truths of logic are universal, those of science are local. The constraints of logic are on the freedom of concept formation; they are not limits on being. The limits of science are local, not universal. The universal metaphysics shows that for a finite being, science must always be in process; it strongly suggests the same for logic and mathematics.
Science of possibility
science of possibility Another term for Logic (to which our logic is an approximation). The purpose to the alternate term is that it suggests limitless complexity, intricacy, subtlety and perhaps also reduction of the same by insight.
death A very real but not absolute limit. One gate to the ultimate. A spur to realization in this life. See reckoning with death.
pain May be seen as part of the condition of realization. Complement to enjoyment. We may learn from pain. Not to be recklessly cultivated but certainly not to be avoided at all cost.
suffering That part of pain that is may be removed by correct knowledge.
identity Sense of sameness or self (sense of sameness of self is personal identity). The universal metaphysics implies that the universe has identity.
personality Includes identity, integration, and memory and their arcs.
cosmology General cosmology concerns the variety, extension, and duration of being and identity in the universe. The fundamental facts of cosmology are its limitlessness and that the universe has acute, diffuse, and absent phases of being and identity.
civilization The web of human cultures across time and continents is civilization; Civilization is the matrix of human and other civilizations across the Universe. Universal Civilization is one part of an approach to ultimate identity.
sameness Difference and sameness are fundamental duals—i.e. they are irreducible to anything simpler and each concept entails the other.
Comment. Sameness, difference, identity have improved definitions in the present document; ‘extensivity’ has been replaced by ‘extensionality’.
difference See sameness.
extensivity Characteristic of a region in which there are differences in identity. The narrative argues that extension and duration are the only extensivities. However dimensionality, fixed or fluid of form or number, is not required except that when it obtains it would seem to be greater than zero.
extension Marked by different identities.
duration Marked by differences for a given identity.
Space and time
space and time Measures of extension and duration, respectively. The general incomplete distinction between space and time (so space-time) is shown in the narrative.
time See space and time.
mind Experience of the ranges and unities of experience give rise to the idea of mind. However, it is not part of the concept that mind has or gives rise to experience (such use is metaphorical). Mind is experience—in its ranges, varieties, and unities. See psyche.
psychology See psychology under experience.
substance What makes an entity the entity that it is: in the history of metaphysics it is the substance or essence of the entity. The substance of all being has been thought to be that unchanging and ultimately simple (uniform) stuff that is the generator of all being and change. The universal metaphysics shows that the universe has no stuff—all its states are fundamental though some are more remarkable (regions of the universe may have as if substance). The metaphysics also shows that an entity has no need for substance—it is best understood as its own substance or form (there are however practical candidates for substance such as atoms or molecules for crystals and DNA for living forms).
attribute Spinoza remarked that our being is characterized by thought and extension and argued (on some interpretations) that these are the first two terms of an infinite series of attributes of God. ‘Attribute’ is close to substance in meaning. The narrative shows that there are no such attributes (but each of the given two may have varieties and qualities without limit).
physical cosmology The cosmology of our cosmos has often been equated in ancient and modern times to the cosmology of the universe. Today’s secular and scientific cosmology is physical cosmology for which there is consensus on the big bang origin and sequel but no consensus on its origin down to or before ‘time zero’ or on what lies outside empirical borders on large and small scales. The conceptual bases of cosmology—general relativity, quantum theory, and elementary particle theory—are not known to be complete with regard to the elements or their laws (in particular they do not extrapolate down to time zero where they predict a singularity in the form of an infinity).
power Degree of limitlessness. There universe has absolute power—there are no limits to its power.
individual It is a consequence of the universal metaphysics that the power of the universe is conferred on the individual. The ‘task’ of the individual is to live well in two worlds—the immediate and the ultimate.
Journey in being
journey in being While in limited form realization is an endless journey that is ever fresh and limitless in variety.
realization Realizing of a possible outcome. Refers here to realization of the ultimate; and to the process of being along the way.
elements The elements of realization are those whose consideration is effective to realization.
discipline A discipline is a received body of knowledge or transforming activity. There are no ultimate disciplines. However the disciplines are useful alongside the elements under a mechanics of realization.
psyche Another term for mind that emphasizes its integration. Therefore while it includes the variety of mental phenomena, it emphasizes the self or person and is not separated from the unconscious or body. See mind.
mechanics The essential mechanics is of risk, reflection, and incremental consolidation.
religion An ideal—religion is use of all dimensions of being in the realization of all being—particularly in being on the way to ‘highest’ being. Actual religions are approximations and, as social institutions, have other characteristics. However it is a perhaps unrealistic ideal that the ideal should not involve economics and politics and perhaps the non political front of religion (remember that realization is a material endeavor) is simply a façade to guile us. If religions are corrupt it is well to remember that all institutions need renewal and religion may be particularly susceptible to corruption on account of the façade it ‘must’ maintain.
psychology, practical A good psychology, formal or informal, is effective in living in the present and in realization. Practical psychology for this purpose in this narrative is guided by discussions of the meaning of the metaphysics, values, the concept of psychology, eclectic selection from psychologies from a range of cultures, reflection, and experiment with concepts and action.
way Disciplined approach to transformation—the received integrated with the experimental (the mechanics).
catalyst Precipitant of real change. Often but not necessarily acute, shocking, and cathartic. If not integrative in itself integration may be the outcome of healing, ways, and the mechanics.
path Particular journey and sequence on the way to realization. Experimental, reflective, and revisable.
design Conceiving, planning, a path. Revision after experiment is part of most design. Principles are as always a mix of the foregoing (elements, disciplines, mechanics, ways, catalysts) and (to repeat even though it is implicit in the elements etc.) and reflection, imagination, criticism, experiment, and repetition with increment.
sustaining Be-ing; living in the present which is of course connected to the ultimate; daily activities; needs for life and living well; and design and planning.
transformation Becoming via ideas and action. The emphases in my path are ideas, individual, civilization, and artifact.
civilizing Populating the universe so that it becomes a web of acutely experiential being. The web may be very thin population; a dense population is not necessary for significance and ‘thinness’ may well be most significant when there is some balance between preservation and communication. Civilization nurtures individuals, individuals foster civilization and realization. Civilization is not used in an exclusive sense that emphasizes development (agriculture and industry) over—or under—use and preservation (hunting and gathering). Civilizing is a shared activity that overlaps individual transformation.
world, this Ground of being and becoming—nature and civilization. “Not important in itself only in the way that the ultimate is not important in itself: the immediate and the ultimate are inseparable—without the horizon there is no sky.”
artifact Artifactual transformation is change physical and body level; the means of artifact are called technology. Symbolic and experiment; adjunct to living well in this world and civilizing the universe.
return Coming back to live in the world. Sharing in the world. Sharing the world and the outcome of the journey.
pure being Now as eternal. In process if to be more than an ideal. Criteria for being—enjoyment of the world and usefulness toward shared goals.
Reckoning with death
reckoning with death Living in awareness, not avoidance. Living in awareness of finitude as an opportunity to real accomplishment in this world and toward the ultimate. Living in awareness death as a real end to what we have loved but also as gate to the ultimate.
The significance is (1) to be open about my background and (2) to share my process.
My approach here has been from experience and ideas with inspiration from tradition, including oral narrative, science, and metaphysics as understood in philosophy.
Earlier, philosophy was a central and passionate interest. I have learned so much from philosophical thought—ancient through modern, eastern and western. Now, in light of what I have found, my interest has grown wider than philosophy as process or content, especially philosophy in its modern analytic and continental forms.
My learning in philosophy and related topics comes primarily from imaginative and analytic thought, experience, extended reading over many years, writing, criticism, and interaction with others. Though I was required to take undergraduate courses in literature, history, philosophy, and psychology this is not the primary source of my learning in the humanities. One of the most valuable things I have learned is a process of thought—careful thought, thought that also turns back on and reflects on itself, thought that is always open to new experience and learning yet not afraid to make a judgment… thought that becomes incrementally wider and deeper. What is amazing to me is the power of such thought that reveals itself incrementally and painstakingly as well as with flashes of insight and ‘quantum’ progress.
I have read and thought widely in the science, philosophy, and history of biology, especially evolutionary biology. The paradigms of evolutionary biology have been immensely suggestive to my thought, generally and for this narrative. I believe, as do others, that these paradigms will, appropriately interpreted of course, be immensely useful in other disciplines—especially in the physics of the origins of a cosmos. Other academic interests that have contributed to this work include mathematics, logic, and theoretical physics.
Clearly I owe a debt to the history of ideas. The main page and a number of essays on the website http://www.horizons-2000.org have or link to sources. We moderns tend to emphasize our debt to the ideas of others, past and present. But when I go beyond the important dual imperatives of ego and honesty I find that it is more about debt: immersion in the history of ideas—open as well as critical in balance with commitment to the growth of ideas and practice is powerful in forward motion of being.
I am especially interested in the lifestyles and ideas of ‘primal’ peoples. The interest is personal—the truth of such styles, the contact and knowledge of nature for its practical and aesthetic interest. What is especially interesting to me is the illuminating mesh of primal knowledge in the narrative form and our religious and formal systems. Practically, this mesh may be important to the future of human being.
For me, nature has been a ground of being and inspiration. The inspiration is general—nature as portal to the ultimate; and specific—many ideas and intuitions recorded here occurred over the years on trips to and in America and Mexico’s ‘wilderness’ areas.
My formal education is in engineering (PhD), science, mathematics (Masters), and computation. At university I took a wide range of doctoral level courses in engineering, physics, and mathematics. I have researched and taught in these subjects as a professor at undergraduate through graduate university level. University was also an occasion of much extra-curricular reading and other activities (athletics and acting).
I worked in mental health from 1990 to 2009. I reflect on what I learned from this hands on experience—much, practically, about some aspects of mind and person. Much, also, about what it is to be a person. One goes into a field thinking, perhaps, I can learn this. I discovered, however, that there was and is no end to the learning.
In the 1980’s an entrepreneur friend and I were responsible for an establishment serving South Asian Indian food. It was an immensely enjoyed occasion of learning about food and people.
I live on the Pacific Coast in Northwest California. I backpack in the nearby Trinity Alps (http://www.horizons-2000.org links to photographs). The towns of Eureka and Arcata have friends, entertainment, and culture. Access to nature encourages walks, runs, and bicycle rides through local natural areas and farmland. I go on a long ride three to five times a week. At home I have books, access to information via the Internet, and my computer at which write and convert my writing and graphics to web format.
My plans for the future emphasize the process described in the essay.
Saturday, September 05, 2015.