The way of being

The aim of the way of being is to live well in the present as inspired and shared discovery and realization of the ultimate. The way derives a worldview—the universe is the greatest possible—that requires sustenance in reason, intuition, passion, action, sharing, affirmation, dedication, and commitment. Pathways to the ultimate are developed only in template form, for to be on a path is not to follow but to share and be engaged in developing and negotiating the way and pathways.

This document is an outline for the way. See planning for the document and the way.

Brief outline

Anil Mitra

Copyright © August 4, 2020 – December 16, 2020



1      The way and its origins

1.2      Introduction to the way and its origins

1.3      What is the way of being?

1.4      About the work

1.5      Origins

1.6      Foundation

1.7      Important concepts for the way

1.8      Wide angle view

1.9      Reading and using the way

2      Experience

2.1      The concept of experience

2.2      The world of experience

2.3      Existential significance

2.4      Epistemic and instrumental significance

2.5      Interpretations of the phenomenal world

2.6      Summary

3      Being

3.1      Preliminary

3.2      The concept of being

3.3      The universe

3.4      The void

3.5      Kinds of being and beings

4      Possibility

4.1      Introduction

4.2      The concept of possibility

4.3      Logical possibility

4.4      Real possibility

4.5      Logic and science

4.6      Metaphysical possibility

4.7      The greatest possibility

5      Metaphysics

5.1      Introduction

5.2      The fundamental principle

5.3      The real metaphysics

5.4      Metaphysics and experience

5.5      Skepticism, doubt, imagination as method

5.6      Understanding and reason

5.7      Identity, space, and time

5.8      Ethics

5.9      The nature of being

6      Topics in metaphysics

6.1      Plan for topics in metaphysics

6.2      Introduction

6.3      Applications emerging from the real metaphysics

6.4      Problems of eastern metaphysics

6.5      Problems of western metaphysics

7      Cosmology

7.1      Cosmology and its relation to metaphysics

7.2      General cosmology and its method

7.3      Cosmology of form and formation

7.4      Physical cosmology and theoretical physics

7.5      The classes of being

7.6      The block universe

8      A system of the world

8.1      Introduction

8.2      Ground

8.3      The real and given universe

8.4      Artifact and the created universe

9      The way—pathways

9.1      The aim of being

9.2      Means

9.3      A program of development and templates

9.4      Resources

10   The future

10.1   Design and planning this document

10.2   The way connects past, present, and future as one

10.3   Communication—text, ideas, and being

10.4   The way as a guide for immersion and realization

10.5   To step into the world


The way of being

An outline

1      The way and its origins

1.1.1     The numbered divisions of the work are ‘chapters’ and their sub-divisions and finer divisions are ‘sections’.

1.2     Introduction to the way and its origins

1.2.1     This chapter is an informal introduction, overview, and guide to the way of being itself and to the work.

(i)      The section, What is the way of being?, introduces the way, its scope, and its sources in human knowledge and culture.

(ii)     The section, About the work, explains how the way is implemented in the work. It notes that the work is intended as a primary and original contribution to human culture and that it is not intended as secondary literature or a textbook. Insofar as it is a guide, the work is not a detailed guide on ‘how to live’ but rather a guide to understanding bases of how to live and what may be important; consequently, ‘the way’ is not only about pathways but about how to share and develop pathways. This is critically important, for the idea of a final paradigm with regard to depth, foundation, and detail is illusory. This section presents the textual sources for the work.

1.2.2     The informal presentation (a) complements the formal treatment in the main division of the work beginning with Experience (b) allows that the formal treatments be concise. Additionally, this chapter

(iii)   Presents the origins of the way and the work. Whereas the ‘what is the way of being’ and ‘about the work’ sections discuss origins in a general way, the sections on origins do so in a specific and detailed manner.

(iv)   Introduces an approach to foundations. Here, the approach to foundation is derived from an understanding of the possible and efficient roles of foundations, and it is explained why partial axiomatization is preferred to an attempt at full axiomatization (full axiomatization of the way of the world is hardly possible but even if it were, it would be both awkward and inefficient communication). The section on foundations presents a foundational framework that allows the option of a light approach to axiomatization in the formal part of the work. It emphasizes that though pieces of knowledge may be axiomatized, axiomatization and foundation are always part of a larger process; roughly, the cyclic process is experience ® reflection ® emergent system ® foundation (concepts, axioms, inference) ® application ® repeat. It explains that while foundations cannot be complete with regard to breadth, they may be complete in terms of depth. It explains that the system of the way is emergent from understanding and reason rather than ad hoc and imposed.

(v)     Presents important concepts for the way informally, explaining their meaning, how they hang together as a system, and reasons for their choice.

(vi)   Presents an overview of the work, showing how the work coheres and goes beyond our common and standard paradigms of knowing and being. While coherence is immanent in the formal parts, it is useful to have an explicit preview of the coherence.

(vii) Has suggestions for reading and using the way. Refers to (i) a guide to use and literary supplements (ii) a guide to development of the way.

1.3     What is the way of being?

1.3.1     About this section

This section functions as (i) elucidating and (ii) how to present the way.

1.3.2     The aim

The aim of the way of being is to live well in the present as inspired and shared discovery and realization of the ultimate

1.3.3     View of the world

The worldview is shown true

There is one universe, which is the greatest possible (‘greatest’ includes but does not mean ‘good’ or ‘best’)

This enables development of a view of the universe—a metaphysics and cosmology—that centers human being in the universe (it is not claimed that human being is the center but rather that all being is). This view is ideal but is given a pragmatic complement as described below in discussing tradition.

Individuals inherit the power of the universe (or the universe would not be the greatest)

1.3.4     Truth of the view

The view is demonstrated (doubt arises from the rational nature of the proof and the immensity of the conclusions)

The view is consistent with experience, reason, logic, and science

It is the realization of the aim of the ideals of true religion

It requires sustenance in reason, intuition, passion, action, sharing, affirmation, dedication, symbol and ritual, and commitment

1.3.5     Relation to human knowledge and culture

Science—since science is empirical, what it often calls the universe is the empirical cosmos and its theories allow for limitless variety beyond that cosmos. Therefore, the view is consistent with science.

Religion—since science is limited, there is scope beyond its boundaries, for a religion with the traditional aim of knowing and realizing ultimates. However, the incompleteness or error that characterize essentially all religions so far, (i) split them off from experience, particularly, science and reason, (ii) make them fall far short of the ideal goal. The view of the way of being resolves the split and the shortfall.

Tradition—here, tradition will mean what is valid in human culture throughout its history to the present time (it thus includes what is true in science and what may be valid in religion). While the metaphysics described above is ideal, tradition is a pragmatic complement. The ideal illuminates and guides the pragmatic, the pragmatic illustrates and is instrumental toward the ideal. Where the pragmatic is essentially limited according to traditional criteria, it is ideal as the essential instrument toward the ideal. Thus, the ideal and the pragmatic form a perfect metaphysics according to criteria revealed by the metaphysics itself.

The way goes beyond received paradigms; in doing so, it incorporates what is valid in them. Since what is revealed is not normative so far, it will take effort to understand and sustain at intellectual, intuitive, shared or normative, and emotional levels

1.3.6     Ethical perspective

Given the revelation of the ultimate and its necessity, but not the means of realization, nor the effectiveness of paths of inaction, there is an ethical imperative as follows—

It is imperative to engage in shared development of pathways toward ultimate realization—which implies that being on a path is not mere following but also developing and sharing the path as it unfolds

The ideal address of physical and emotional pain is a dual of direct address and being on a pathway

1.3.7     The way develops pathways to the ultimate

It presents principles of development, which include the perfect metaphysics

It presents flexible templates for realization; the templates are adaptable to a range of life situations, interests, and personality orientations

1.4     About the work

1.4.1     The intent

Understanding and living in the universe, to see limitations of our common received paradigms and to go beyond them in thought, action, and being

Note—being is an important defined concept in the main development. Here it is used informally to mean, roughly, the state of realization.

1.4.2     The main demonstrated themes

A core theme is marked by a single bullet (•), which are common to all kinds of theme, and two bullets (••) mark conceptual themes, three bullets (•••) pertain to realization of the ultimate

i.                 • the universe is the greatest possible; this assertion is named the ‘fundamental principle of metaphysics’, ‘fundamental principle, or just FP

ii.               •• the greatest possibility is identical to logical possibility—but rather than reduce metaphysics to logic, logic ought to be amplified by grammars of expression and modes of truth (and?)

iii.             •• a pure or ideal metaphysics may be built up by a ‘method’ of imagination, subject to logic

iv.             • for example it follows that the universe must be limitless in duration and extension in space and must alternate between void and manifest phases and in some of the manifest phases it is far greater than the empirical cosmos with, e.g., a limitless variety of cosmoses and beings

v.               • the universe has identity which has local peaks and an ultimate peaking and dissolutions

vi.             • the universe ‘confers’ its limitlessness on individuals who merge into the peak

vii.            ••• there are enjoyable paths to the ultimate, and an imperative to engage intelligently in such paths

viii.          •• that the universe is the greatest possible is consistent with all experience, and, especially, with science and logic

ix.             •• the pure metaphysics may be complemented by received human knowledge and exploration—all experience, science, and logic and their paradigms—to form a real metaphysics with an ideal side and a pragmatic side which may be used to negotiate the possibilities revealed by the ideal

x.               •• from the moment of the conclusion that the universe is the greatest, it ought to be doubted

xi.             •• however, there are a number of proofs and heuristics and from this and the consistency with experience, there is value to treating it as a rational and existential postulate

xii.            ••• engaging in the paths begins in this world and requires intent to live well and ‘ethically’ in relation to society, the environment, and the world

xiii.          ••• the engagement ought not to be—cannot be—a passive following but an active engagement in shared discovery, negotiation, and realization of paths

xiv.          ••• there is unavoidable pain and the best resolution of the problem of pain, though imperfect by traditional notions of perfection, is dual address by therapy and shared discovery and realization toward the ultimate

1.4.3     The work

Primary literature, reference to received ideas, not a textbook or compilation

1.4.4     Sources

World, literature, experience, reflection

For details, see resources

1.5     Origins

1.5.1     Origins of the way


The primal—before the split into the mundane and hypothetical supra-mundane
Post primal—specialization—the secular vs the transsecular; the secular is experiential but its dogmatic (positivist) form emphasizes that it is complete: the transsecular validly argues that the secular does not define the limits of the universe, but its pictures of the transsecular are almost invariably limited and too often dogmatic
The end of history—a metaphorical phrase—may occur when, for example, the ideal and the pragmatic are able to frame and paint in the real universe and paths to its ultimates


Search for understanding beyond immediate experience
Science as patterns in the empirical world and just beyond
Science as projection to the entire universe
Limits of science at a given time in history
Beyond science
Speculative—e.g. religion, philosophical vs dogmatic
Rational—e.g., Cartesian, the logical as the outer limit of the universe


A desire to live well
The mystery of our being
Intimations of the ultimate

1.5.2     The work

A search for meaning

A search for understanding and reason

An exploration of outer and inner worlds and their join

Experience in its most general sense as the place of significance, meaning, knowledge, and the ultimate

1.6     Foundation

1.6.1     Introduction

Approach—knowing, exploring, and sharing

Why foundation—doubt and certainty

What foundation is

Contra-foundation—and the issue of the value and possibility of certainty

How the tension between foundation and contra-foundation is resolved here

Direct vs indirect foundation… and how direct foundation is a resolution

1.6.2     Ground

[ Founding and founded as distinct | set vs interwoven | in process ] vs a synthesis, e.g. at different levels of abstraction, of distinct-set and interwoven-in-process

Remote vs immediate

Substance vs being

Of the world vs mind (re: mind—iconic vs symbolic vs dual vs synthesized)

[ Empirical | contingent | synthetic vs rational | necessary | analytic ] vs continuum-synthesis vs polarity-opposition

Kind—e.g. enduring vs process, of the world vs conceptual

Absolute vs relative

Pure vs dual vs synthesized—e.g. that neither being nor substance need be prior… being (truth, see below) frames substance (perhaps pragmatic) and substance is one illustration of being

1.6.3     Criterion

True vs pragmatic

Certain vs rough (approximate)

Degree of precision—narrow vs broad tolerance

Knowledge—for action vs in action

Pure vs dual vs synthesized

1.6.4     Approach



Synthesis of discovery and justification

1.6.5     Method of discovery (relatively private)

Direct experience, e.g. observation and experiment

Induction of laws—intuitive and formal

Explaining—e.g., theories, sub-theories, and mechanisms

Predicting and confirming—e.g. agreement with experiment, subsuming earlier and lesser theories

1.6.6     Method of justification (relatively public)

Analysis and repetition of direct experience

Use and justification of simple language and logic

Direct inference to theory (especially where degree of abstraction permits perfect precision)

Method of discovery as method of justification (e.g. as in Newton’s Principia) vs hypothesis and deduction (e.g. axiomatic-postulational) vs mixed-synthesized

Description of axiomatic systems for understanding of the world—i.e., metaphysics and for abstract contexts—e.g. logic, mathematics, and formal languages… (i) for use (ii) for comparative analysis

1.6.7     Higher order method or ‘method of the method’

Analysis of the foregoing

Whether discovery is insufficiently emphasized because it is private

The question of closure (i.e. do we need a method of the method of the method…)

Questions of completeness

Skepticism, doubt, and second order doubt and imagination and action… and necessity of their synthesis

Selection of the elements of the system—pragmatic vs possibly ultimate

The place of value, ethical – aesthetic – other, in the issues of foundation

1.6.8     General method for the way

The method of the method

The elements

Naming and the given

The empirical-rational nature of logic, mathematics, and science

Contact with the concrete world

How and in what sense traditional concrete limits are overcome

1.6.9     Understanding and reason

Note—this is a critical change in my understanding of reason and needs to work its way throughout this outline

Introduction—there is a distinction, one that Immanuel Kant made, between understanding and reason. Understanding is direct knowing, and reason is roughly inferring. Understanding would include perception, how we perceive, and how we verify percepta (repeated observation, correcting for error, public observation); understanding would also include ‘rationalism’ where pure thought can reveal knowledge directly (if it can). Reason on the other hand would include logic, induction, and heuristics (it being understood that in going from logic to heuristics, certainty goes from higher to lower). It is important that the ways of verification and reason are not given a priori but also subject to revision and improvement (for our process is also in the world). But a better approach is as follows—instead of the opposition of understanding and reason, see knowledge and its function as

Knowing (whether direct or indirect and inferential and which therefore includes perceiving, thinking, and valuing) and reasoning which is the means of getting to know with emphasis on both means and verification (and therefore includes validation of perceptions as well as inferring). And this fits our seeing science and logic as fitting under the same framework even though not identical.

1.6.10 A foundational framework

Possibility of an axiomatic framework | choice to axiomatize a conceptual core as optimal

Optimality relative to communication vs the in-process nature of discovery vs mixed

Distribution of the framework in the work

1.6.11 Special methods

1.6.12 Where and how method is developed and employed

1.7     Important concepts for the way

1.7.1     Purpose and function of the section

Restrict nontechnical content in the formal part to essentials

If it enhances clarity, there may be repetition of content

Informal introduction to the main concepts

Informal introduction to the system of concepts

Reasons for the choice

1.7.2     Experience





The real


1.7.3     Being


The void

1.7.4     Possibility

1.7.5     Metaphysics


Knowledge of the real

System—emergent vs imposed

There is more on system later

Systems of knowledge

1.7.6     Ethics

1.8     Wide angle view

1.8.1     Introduction

This section is a wide-angle view of the way and the work

1.8.2     The fundamental principle

The principle


Consistency… draws from… revises…

A fundamentally new worldview

Meaning of the principle

1.8.3     Consequences of the principle joined to tradition

What tradition is


An ultimate universe

Realization and paths

1.8.4     Parts


The fundamental principle

Meaning and consequences

The way


1.8.5     The divisions of the work

The chapters—the way in through the future

Reasons for the division

1.8.6     The logic of the arrangement

1.9     Reading and using the way

1.9.1     Introduction and overview

As stated earlier “The intent is understanding and living in the universe, to see limitations of our common received paradigms and to go beyond them in thought, action, and being.”

Consequently, readers should not expect confirmation of received paradigms or to understand the material without revision their frame of understanding; understanding will be enhanced by (i) putting aside received paradigms, e.g. of standard scientific views of the universe—at least while reading (ii) following meanings of terms as defined in the work (iii) absorbing the system of meaning as a whole for it is the whole that reveals a new paradigm and that will enter into intuition… this may take more than one critical and imaginative reading—when the system has been absorbed, other meanings may be enriching. Finally, the aim of the way requires not just reading and reflection but immersion in the way. There is more on reading the work in Reading the way

The kinds of reader are this work is intended for are defined by non-exclusive classes (i) those with a general interest in living well in the world (ii) those committed to in understanding the universe and our place in relation to it (iii) those committed to realize what is revealed in the understanding.

1.9.2     The general reader

The general reader will read sections above from the introduction to the origins of the way, to decide whether the work interests them and what their interest is.

Reading for general interest

1.9.3     The reader committed to understanding


Meaning and meanings

Real understanding

Requires immersion and action

Reading for committed understanding

1.9.4     Developing and using the way

Blocks (incompleteness and error in existing paradigms of realization)

Need for basis in understanding

Requires immersion in pathways and their development or unfolding

Full realization

Requires understanding in cognitive, emotive, intuitive, and active modes

Reading for realization

2      Experience

2.1     The concept of experience

2.1.1     Introductory comments on the ontological status of experience

Primitive (fundamental, constitutive of all things or existents, and therefore to be identified) vs derived (constitutive or a varietal of the fundamental, and so to be defined)

Abstraction—the fact vs the variety of experience

2.1.2     Introductory comments on the epistemological status of experience

Knowledge of experience—all assertions of the existence and nature of things may be doubted; but asserting and doubting are cases of experience; therefore the existence of experience transcends such doubt; but a better argument to the existence of experience is simply to say it is the medium of our existence regardless of the further objectivity of that existence or the meaning of ‘existence’

The primitive and fundamental character of experience as essential vs contingent or possible and monist vs dual

Experience as place and ground of knowledge

2.1.3     The concept identified

Experience is consciousness or subjective awareness in all its forms.

It ought to be regarded as a primitive, perhaps overlapping, perhaps or co-eval with something else (e.g., ‘matter’) but not to be defined in terms of something else. It is thus identified with subjective awareness. This ‘ostensive’ definition may be supplemented with examples and elaboration.

2.1.4     Experience itself is not adaptive—so far as universal, which will be found to be the case; but the heightening, variety, reflexivity, and storing of it as memory, may conceptually and do really reflect stable forms or ‘adaptations’.

2.1.5     Experience is reflexive—i.e. there is experience of experience—there is experience

2.1.6     Therefore, there is a world—if, perhaps, the world is just experience (and if the world is more than experience, it contains experience)

2.1.7     Now if we designate what is experienced as and in the world as material, then experience ought to count as material (and therefore it is a prejudice that experience is not material—which prejudice is born of being primally adapted to the world rather than the experience of it but which is prejudicial to a full account of the whole world that we would want when we move or choose to move beyond the niches of our adaptation).

2.1.8     Experience of experience is the primitive characterization of a self

2.2     The world of experience

2.2.1     Introduction to the section

This section is descriptive—it is but one description of the world of experience; it is therefore subjective and, while not intended as objective, it is not intended as merely subjective (and where it is objective, this may be noted). It is an informal though logically consistent charac­­terization of the world of experience or phenomenal world, leaving issues of ‘objectivity’ to Interpretations of the phenomenal world. Thus while the description also involves projection this is not problematic for the aim is to have a description so that there is a description whose truth may be evaluated (as in Interpretations of the phenomenal world). The description will, in fact, be one standard description of the world (and experience) as experiential selves, others, and environment.

2.2.2     There is ‘experience of’ and ‘the experienced’

…or ‘concept’ and ‘referent’ (‘object’); pure experience is the case that the referent is zero in worldly content (material content in the sense of the material described above in Now if we designate what is experienced as… matter). That there is experience is of course objective (however that there is an experienced world beyond the experience of experience is a possible interpretation for that interpretation is not logically distinct from world as a field of experience, though not necessarily the experience of the human individual)

Thus, experience is relational

That there is experience of experience makes our experientiality further and characteristically adaptive, for (i) it enables direction of experience to what is important (over and above ‘animal’ attention to stimuli in a background environment) (ii) it enables direction of experience to itself and so to the dual of imaginative richness with critical elimination of ‘error’ (which occurs at a number of vertical levels with horizontal interaction) (iii) it enables understanding of the nature of our being (i.e., we are perhaps at a critical level of self-awareness that begins to understand the nature of being; which, by the way, is not intended as a comment on our status relative to other animal species on Earth; and perhaps we are only at a beginning level)

2.2.3     A categorization of experience is into attitude, action, pure experience

2.2.4     The most elementary experience is of sameness and difference

Identity is sameness of object or self

Time is marked by emergence of identity or change in identity with sameness (the change in identity does not mark a new identity); space is marked by difference across identities; therefore, space and time are not external to concept and object but immanent among them; there is therefore no further characterization of difference of identity beyond space and time, except their absence; insofar as the markers are indefinite, so are time and space; insofar as change vs differentness in identity is indefinite, distinction between space and time is also indefinite

Form (space and quantity, quality, intensity), relation (logic, power, and material cause), and change

2.2.5     Experience divides into self and world

The world includes experience, self, other, environment

Experience (also) divides into inner (self), outer (environment, other), free, bound

Experience is the place of sensing, perception (world), feeling (body), conception (higher), emotion, will, choice, foresight, designs and plans, action, and causing, and more

Dimensions of the world of experience

(i) pure or the two sides of experience (concept, referent—or mind, world), and
(ii) pragmatic and cultural—experiencing and world, with world as nature (elementary or physical, complex or living, experiencing), society (and civilization), universal including trans empirical (where ‘empirical’ is used in a traditional sense that does not yet see that while the detail of all being is not experienced, yet there is in abstraction, experience of all being)

2.2.6     The significance of experience

The significance of experience may be seen as (inclusive of) it being the place of the world.

The next two sections amplify on this. Subsequently, in Interpretations of the phenomenal world, we take up the question what is real.

2.3     Existential significance

2.3.1     This section and the next may repeat earlier material

2.3.2     The place of individual being, becoming, relation, and significant meaning

2.3.3     The place of sensing, perception (world), feeling (body), conception (higher), emotion, will, choice, foresight, designs and plans, action, and causing, and more (repeated from above)

2.4     Epistemic and instrumental significance

2.4.1     There is experience

Abstraction and perfect faithfulness

Pragmatic faithfulness

The hypothetical that affects no experience is effectively nonexistent

If experience extends to the elementary, above, ‘effectively’ may be omitted

2.4.2     There is experience of experience

Intentionality and action

Effectiveness of reflexivity of experience

2.4.3     The phenomenal world


The range of experience

Form, relation, and change in the phenomenal

Approach to the real

2.4.4     The place of concept meaning, language, knowledge, and action

2.5     Interpretations of the phenomenal world

2.5.1     More on epistemic significance

2.5.2     Interpretations and their sources

An interpretation a picture or description of the world that is logically consistent in itself and with experience (such interpretations will be called ‘consistent interpretations’)

A source is doubt about common pictures of ‘the real world’

2.5.3     Significance of interpretations

Possibilities for the nature and concept of the real world

The real world must be equivalent to some interpretation(s); the real world may be seen as the collection of all consistent interpretations

Potential to reveal the real world

2.5.4     A range of interpretations from ‘least’ to ‘greatest’

The interpretations—the greatest is being world as field of experience and being, with experientiality at the root (perhaps of magnitude zero but capable of more)


World as field may remove to experientialism (pan-psychism)—experience as real and resolution of the mind-body problem complex (i) the problem of composition in that in a field view, an ‘atom’ of experience is an approximation, (ii) the complexity problem in that experience does occur in non-complex entities but is not a bright or complex as our consciousness and may also lack self-reference or experience of experience, and (iii) the problem of qualia (the hard problem), which is only a problem in terms of a physicalist ontology.

2.5.5     Tentative conclusions

Criteria for the real world

The real world

The greatest possible world (subject to consistency); this is not the world of science, for science seeks patterns in the world of experience but is silent on the world beyond our experience

2.6     Summary

2.6.1     Experience is real; this is known by abstraction

2.6.2     Most immediate being, place of the world

2.6.3     Place of our being and relation and to the universe, and

2.6.4     The place of concept meaning, language, knowledge, and action

2.6.5     The place and means of intrinsic and instrumental transformation and realization of selves, societies, and the world

2.6.6     A description of the phenomenal world is consistent with a number of interpretations ranging from a primitive to the greatest possible world (the latter would contain the lesser worlds, so far as consistent). We now develop the concepts of being and possibility as foundational to a metaphysics. The metaphysics will enable evaluation of what is real in the interpretations. It will be found that the universe is the greatest possible world (where ‘greatest’ includes but does not mean ‘good’ or ‘best’)

3      Being

3.1     Preliminary

3.1.1     Perhaps discussion of ‘being’ should be in two parts—(i) introductory and before or co-eval with experience (the idea of being may be implicit of explicit) and (ii) after experience

3.2     The concept of being

3.2.1     The verb to be and its forms, existence, being, and beings

3.2.2     A being as a concept and referent

No concept, no being

Any concept with a referent specifies a being

‘Beings’ are not restricted to kinds such as entity, change, form, relation, trope…

Concretion—the concept is essential and suppressed only due to organismic adaptation or by cultural convention

With sufficient abstraction, the concept may be suppressed

3.2.3     Being vs substance

3.2.4     The most elementary being is sameness vs difference

3.2.5     A cause is a reason that is inherent in the world (or object)

There are kinds of cause

A cause is a being

It is not given that all beings shall have a cause

The cause of a being may be seen in the aspect of more than one kind

The cause of a given kind may be single or multiple according to counting

3.2.6     Power or effective cause

The concept of effective cause, self or other

When ‘cause’ is used without a qualifier, it shall refer to effective cause

Beings may be self causal but not self-creative (consistent with logic), for to self-create presumes existence prior to existence

The hypothetical being that has no power, self or other, does not exist

Accident is not a kind of cause

3.2.7     Creation by another being may be the cause of existence of a being, as may necessity

Beings may not be self creative

3.2.8     Dimensions of being

Note—the dimensions or classes of being could be placed here but are instead placed in kinds of being and beings.

3.2.9     Whole, part, and null part

3.3     The universe

3.3.1     The universe is all being over all sameness and difference and their absence

3.3.2     The universe has being—i.e., it exists

3.3.3     Relative to the universe, there is no other being

3.3.4     There is exactly one universe

3.3.5     The universe has no creator, self or other

3.3.6     The universe may have internal but no external effective cause

3.3.7     The reason for existence of the universe cannot itself or other being

3.4     The void

3.4.1     The void is the absence of being as a being

3.4.2     Unlike universe, the definition of the void does not imply a referent—i.e. existence

3.4.3     Unlike the connotations of nothingness in which the concept refers to concerns such as angst, the concept of the void refers to an existent—at least hypothetically

3.4.4     The void exists—because its existence and nonexistence are equivalent

3.4.5     Other proofs and heuristics—if the universe enters into a void state… but this void state is there alongside all being and every being

3.4.6     From the definition the number of voids is not determined

3.4.7     The existence of the void is a crux of the metaphysics to be developed and it is therefore crucial to regard it with skeptical doubt—and one approach to address doubt is—

3.4.8     Given that existence of the void is consistent with experience and reason, its existence may be regarded as a rational or existential postulate. An alternate but rough equivalent is to question the use (and perhaps the nature) of proof. Proof is necessary where certainty is important… but certainty is not always possible where action is needed and the aim here is to maximize expected outcome with proof where it is feasible but judgment, intuition, and consistency where proof is infeasible but attitude and action are essential. The intent is not to replace proof. It is to recognize that proof by observation and inference is complemented by various approaches—intuition, computation, going beyond standard inference including symbolic inference which is countable in its expressive capacity

3.4.9     There is at least one void

3.4.10 The void is the being that contains no beings—i.e., that has no parts except itself

3.4.11 The void is not the vacuum of classical or quantum physics

3.4.12 In the void there is neither sameness nor difference (nor space, nor time)

3.5     Kinds of being and beings

3.5.1     Note—some material is repeated from experience divides into self and world

3.5.2     Introduction

The concept

Kinds vs classes vs categories vs dimensions

Ideal or perfect vs pragmatic

Explaining why the pragmatic classes do not need to be perfect

3.5.3     Real

The pure or ideal dimension—Being itself

It has been seen that being is essentially relational and relational; the non-experiential case may be seen as experiential with value zero
The most elementary experience is of sameness and difference
The pure kinds are ‘experience of’ and ‘the experienced’; the experienced is also called ‘object’ and ‘referent’
That is, being-experience divides into experiencing self and world; the world includes the experiencing self, others, and the environment
Experience (also) divides into inner (self), outer (environment, other), free, bound
In give and take between self and world, experience is attitudinal, active, and pure (pure experience is the case that the experienced is actually but not potentially null)
Experience is the place of sensing, perception (world), feeling (body), conception (higher), emotion, will, choice, foresight, designs and plans, action, and causing, and more

Form, relation, change

Identity is sense of sameness and difference of ‘the experienced’ which includes self
Difference without change in identity is marked by duration or time; change in identity is marked by space; alternatively—
On the necessity of form, relation, and change—form is essential to being and the elements of a form are related in space; change is essential to formation and occurs in duration or time; a form is dynamic to the degree that form and its elements determines change
Experiencing and experienced aspects of form as ‘mind’ and ‘matter’; matter is the extensional aspect of form
Is all form experiential at level 0 or more

3.5.4     Pragmatic

The pragmatic classes may be selected from secular western culture, compensated for its incompleteness by the universal-and-the unknown

Preliminary—a hierarchy of form

Elementary to cosmos
Complex, replicating, living, social
Intelligent, foresightful, designing, building

The selected pragmatic classes are psyche, nature (includes psyche), society (and civilization), and the universal

Nature divides into the elementary or physical, the complex or living, and the experiential aspect of the physical and the living
Society is arranged as groups and institutions and its elements are—cultural (explicit and implicit knowledge, discovery, lateral communication, and vertical transmission including education), political or decision and consensus, and economic—all activities and social structures--institutions--involved in delivery of value, including 'meta-activities', e.g., value determination, planning, and improvement (optimization); modern economics emphasizes a subset of these activities. Civilizations are cohesive collections of societies across continents (space) and history (time).
The universal is what is beyond the world of immediate experience of a civilization, all the way to the ultimate, known (via reason) and unknown.

3.5.5     Pragmatic

From the corresponding section in brief outline.docm

The nature of the pragmatic is that it includes the practical, i.e., it enables some negotiation of the world, even if incomplete with regard to precision and range; projected (e.g., cultural).

A western system of pragmatic dimensions (non-disjunction for convenience), at increasing level of detail from #i to #iv, is

(i)         being-as-experiential (it will be seen later that all being is experiential in a fundamental sense of experience) > beings,
(ii)       experience of and the experienced (i.e., mind and world—world includes mind, pure experience is the case where the experienced is nil—but pure experience may be experienced),
(iii)     the world divides as dimensions—nature (accessible to direct experience, conceptually opposed to any hypothetical inaccessible, presumed unmalleable at an elementary level), society (a dimension within and not apart from nature, malleable) and civilization or cohesive collections of societies across the universe—across time and worlds, individuals (or persons or units of society, agents), and the universal (of and beyond experience so far)
(iv)      the dimensions of the world divide as
nature—the elementary or physical, the complex or living, and mind—the experiential aspect of the physical and the living
individuals—mind-body agents, organisms with self-awareness, meaning, volition, intention, will, and designs
society—arranged as individuals, groups and institutions; its functional elements must be those of knowledge (culture), decision (politic), and organization (economic), which are the foundation of the cultural (meaning, explicit and implicit knowledge and discovery, lateral communication, and vertical transmission including education), political (decision and consensus), and economic (all activities and institutions or social structures all activities leading to and involved in value determination and delivery—includes exploration, refinement, production, technology, resources, transactions, and meta-activities such as planning, design, and optimization; modern economics emphasizes a subset of these activities)
universal—what is in and beyond the world of experience of a civilization regarding nature, individuals, and civilization, all the way to the ultimate known via reason and necessary fact (e.g., there is a universe); includes any real but unknown

3.5.6     An experiential hierarchy


Some aspects of the following anticipate the real metaphysics


elementary experience (feeling, atomic vs relative), stimulus-response


Clear sentience, perception

Higher sentience

Memory, conception—iconic and symbolic, thought, emotion
Reflexive experience, intentionality, self-awareness, self-direction

Individuals or persons

capable of apparent understanding and design but—from the real metaphysics—also true understanding and design
capable of—reflexively—understanding and knowing the above
Heidegger’s Dasein and comprehension of the question of the meaning of being (with Sorge or concern, the structure of consciousness par excellence, elevated to the ultimate—per Heidegger)
Human beings and perhaps some other animals are likely on a low rung of intelligent agency

Higher kinds

Possible and therefore per the real metaphysics, true higher and remote kinds but, if their power is not organic, the kind is likely improbable and ineffective except in limited locales
Hypothetical higher forms and awareness of multiple lives; gods
Hypothetical self-aware phases of the universe; into which all forms merge
Of which there is a highest kind, Brahman or Aeternitas, as an actual or a progression, into which all lesser kinds (agents, remote gods) merge

The universe and its identity

The ultimate
Identity of self (person) and the ultimate—constant contact and communication between self and the highest kind even when the self does not have explicit knowledge of it

3.5.7     Abstract beings, referents, or objects

Two ways to describe abstracta are (i) by abstraction (ii) by construction

Effective talk of abstracta is enabled (a) via possibility and (b) metaphysical system

4      Possibility

4.1     Introduction

4.1.1     The idea and reasons for its use

4.1.2     Modes of possibility

Subjunctive or alethic

He might have done it (if things were different)
The primary mode chosen here—unless otherwise stated, ‘possibility’ will mean ‘alethic possibility’


He may have succeeded (for all we know)


He can / cannot do that (in the sense that it would / would not be right)

4.2     The concept of possibility

4.2.1     Definition

4.2.2     Meaning of ‘can happen’

4.2.3     The actual and the possible

4.2.4     Kinds of possibility

4.3     Logical possibility

4.3.1     The concept

4.3.2     Logic and logics

4.4     Real possibility

4.4.1     Physical and biological (‘nomological’ or under the laws of nature)

4.4.2     Temporal (given the actual history of the world)

4.4.3     Sentient and intelligent

4.4.4     The universe

4.5     Logic and science

4.5.1     In what ways are they one vs distinct

4.5.2     In what ways are they empirical vs rational

4.5.3     In what ways are the empirical and the rational one vs distinct

4.6     Metaphysical possibility

4.7     The greatest possibility

5      Metaphysics

5.1     Introduction

5.1.1     Meaning of ‘metaphysics’ for the way

5.1.2     Demonstrating its possibility by construction

5.1.3     Relation to metaphysics as generally understood

5.1.4     No prior intent to validate or invalidate general use

5.1.5     Justification of the present use

5.1.6     About systematic metaphysics

The term ‘systematic metaphysics’ is associated with those philosophers of the early modern age (17 – 18th centuries) who employed a rationalist method of philosophy—i.e. deducing the nature and structure of the world by pure reason. The prime examples are Leibniz, Descartes, and Spinoza. We might also include the idealist philosopher, Hegel. Now no picture of the world can be deduced entirely by pure reason, but the systematic philosophers emphasized reason. This allows the impression that they are not empirical (but the truth is that their contact with the empirical is not as close as it is in science). Also, while Descartes’ reasoning seems natural, and Leibniz indeed has what may be called deep logical and metaphysical insight, Spinoza’s ethics does in fact seem rather forced. Further, the association with Hegel may leave the impression, justified or not, that systematic metaphysics is merely speculative (note, btw, theoretical science is also speculative in being hypothetical but not merely speculative).

For such reasons, as well as a certain lack of spontaneity on topics as they arise, many philosophers object to system. Nietzsche regards it as a weakness.

However, the following are possible (i) system may emerge rather than be forced (ii) it need not be non-empirical, e.g. Descartes’ cogito argument is—can be rendered—thoroughly empirical (iii) it need not be speculative but by inference may flow from primitive observation (iv) perhaps primitive principles of inference may also so flow (v) it may reveal ultimate truth and value (v) which in turn may give a place to experience, science, and logic as a pragmatic ‘metaphysical’ complement to the ideal that flows inferentially from primitive empirical data.

On the other hand, the empiricists, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, may be seen as systematically attempting to build a philosophy from an empirical ground—e.g., sense data or percepta. Still, they must also appeal to reason, which, if it is to be altogether a priori, is, in a sense, irrational or, at least, arational.

In the end, however, all philosophy must be grounded in percepts and concepts—or at least it might seem to be so—and the differences among the philosophies are matters of degree. But that is not the end to it, for perhaps percepts and concepts can somehow be reduced to a single kind and the single kind may have an absolute basis. This work endeavors to that end, so far as it might be possible.

5.1.7     Kinds of system

General vs special, ultimate vs limited, founded vs relative vs imposed, directly vs hypothetically founded, epistemically and ontologically purist vs open and synthesized

5.2     The fundamental principle

5.2.1     Proofs and heuristics

Proof from the existence of the void

Proof from the unconditional existence of [ the void + the manifest universe ], the equivalence of the unconditional and the necessary, and the symmetry of necessity

Heuristic from the boundary of all possible physical law

Heuristic from resolution of the puzzle of being by necessity

Heuristic from the necessity of realization of all possibility in an infinite amount of time (Kant)

David Lewis heuristic argument regarding existence of possible worlds

Heuristic from a rational form of Pascal’s wager

5.2.2     Some immediate consequences

Roughly as in The main themes

The hypothetical being that affects no experience does not exist

The number of voids has no significance—effectively, there is one and only one void

5.2.3     Reasons for doubt and doubts

5.2.4     Other proofs and heuristics

5.2.5     Fundamental principle as a rational and existential axiom (postulate)

5.2.6     The issue of connection

5.3     The real metaphysics

5.3.1     The metaphysics

5.3.2     The real metaphysics as systematic

The real metaphysics is systematic in the sense described in the system may emerge rather than be forced

5.3.3     General method of application

The fundamental principle

Paradigms from tradition

5.4     Metaphysics and experience

5.4.1     Review

5.4.2     Resolution of ambiguity of the interpretations

5.5     Skepticism, doubt, imagination as method

5.5.1     … and applications

5.6     Understanding and reason

5.7     Identity, space, and time

5.7.1     Also discussed in experience; minimize content

5.7.2     Identity and its trajectory

Identity is sense of sameness of object

Identity is personal when the object is the self

5.7.3     Individuals

5.7.4     Individual and universal identity

5.7.5     Identity, form (and relation), formation (change)

Introduction—the following are extensional: (i) form (ii) life (iii) thought, for it might seem that they are logically possible for a point or nothingness but what is really the case is that it is logically, if not mechanistically, possible for them to come from nothingness or a point—the distinction is thought of a point or void which is logically impossible from the definitions of point or void and thought from a point or void; and the following involve or require change: (i) explanation of the existence of all being (the explanation showing necessity) (ii) mechanism (deterministic or not) (iii) life (iv) thought for life and thought are living and thinking

Descriptive account—change is difference in identity and marked by duration, and physical time is a quantification of the same; different identities at one time mark extension, whose quantification is space: because the distinction between the difference that marks extension and the difference that marks duration is not always definite, extension and duration—i.e., space, time, and being are interwoven. Because the kinds of difference in identity are sameness with change and difference, there is no generalized extension beyond space and time—except their absence in the void or a diffuse state. Quality is the mark of a mode of being which if it did have variety would not be a mode

5.7.6     The status of space, time, and their ubiquity

Form requires extension; for a still universe to have one form rather than another would violate symmetry—therefore there is time… which is also necessary for life and experience…

Dynamic account—change in form and form are not universally related but the form of their relation, where a relation obtains, is ‘dynamic’ or ‘causal’

5.8     Ethics

5.8.1     Universal ethics—from the real metaphysics—with some grounding in local ethics

5.8.2     Local ethics—secular ethics in balance with universal ethics

5.8.3     The aim of being

5.9     The nature of being

5.9.1     In history and this work

5.9.2     Human being

5.9.3     Kinds of being—see kinds of being

5.9.4     The abstract and the concrete

6      Topics in metaphysics

6.1     Plan for topics in metaphysics

6.1.1     Those topics that are developed in the work will be pointed to

6.1.2     Those topics that are not developed in the work may be developed later

6.2     Introduction

6.2.1     The aim is to show and develop the power of the real metaphysics

6.2.2     The topics are applications or developments of the real metaphysics

6.2.3     They include (i) topics emergent from the metaphysics (ii) implications of the metaphysics for problems of eastern and western metaphysics

6.3     Applications emerging from the real metaphysics

6.3.1     Plan for the section

For a comprehensive set of topics, see a journey in being-outline.html and the essential way of being.html

6.3.2     Introduction to the section

This section emphasizes topics not covered above

6.3.3     The fundamental question of metaphysics

6.3.4     A principle of sufficient reason

6.3.5     The abstract and the concrete

6.3.6     A system of the world

6.3.7     A metaphysics of questions

6.3.8     Metaphysics, foundations, and method—criticism, doubt, imagination, interpretation

6.4     Problems of eastern metaphysics

6.5     Problems of western metaphysics

6.5.1     Source—Metaphysics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

6.5.2     Pre-modern

The nature of being—being as such, first causes, unchanging things

Categories of Being and universals

The problem of substance

6.5.3     Early modern

Materialism and empiricism


Immanuel Kant

6.5.4     Modern and current


Identity (and persistence and constitution), space, and time

Causation, determinism, and freedom

The mental and the physical—consciousness, mind, and matter

7      Cosmology

7.1     Cosmology and its relation to metaphysics

7.1.1     Cosmology

7.1.2     Relation to metaphysics

7.1.3     Why cosmology is a separate chapter

7.2     General cosmology and its method

7.2.1     The method is the real metaphysics, imagination, and criticism

7.3     Cosmology of form and formation

7.3.1     Cosmology of formation

7.3.2     The method of the cosmology of formation is (i) on the ideal side the method of general cosmology (ii) on the pragmatic side the adaptive systems paradigm as generalized from the Darwinian paradigm of evolution.

In metaphysical terms the outcome of the Darwinian paradigm, is that formed systems shall be near stable and near symmetric and, where observed, possessed of that symmetry that encourages high level experiential beings… the population of the universe by such systems is due to their stability and thus longevity… their observation count is further enhanced by need for sufficient symmetry to allow and encourage high level being

While the foregoing is analogical and probable, that it is possible accounts for necessity of stable form and its observation, not just ‘once’ but recurring in time and space

7.3.3     Cosmology of form

Paradigms—from formation, the paradigms are mechanism, effective causation, and determinism with residual indeterminism

Form and scale—scales and the meshing of scales at a range of cosmological levels and in the emergence of complexity

7.4     Physical cosmology and theoretical physics

7.4.1     Origins of the cosmos and its laws

7.4.2     The cosmos and its laws

7.4.3     Modeling

Analytic—closed form, approximate (e.g. perturbation)

Numerical approximation


Computer implementation of the above


7.5     The classes of being

7.5.1     Treated in detail in kinds of being and beings

7.5.2     Ideal or pure—being as relational—as ‘experience of’ and ‘the experienced’

7.5.3     Real—form and formation

7.5.4     Pragmatic—natural (elementary or physical, complex or living, the experiential side of the physical and living), social (with civilization), and universal

7.6     The block universe

7.6.1     Temporalism vs eternalism vs block or temporally emerging

7.6.2     Alternate descriptions vs views of the real

7.6.3     The block universe as an object—a revealing distinction

7.6.4     The block universe, indeterminism and determinism, multiple histories of identities, and their merging, continuity, and peaking

8      A system of the world

8.1     Introduction

8.1.1     The idea

8.1.2     Purposes of the system—from system of human knowledge… .docm (html)

Outline of knowledge with foundation

Guide for the way

Foundation for a knowledge database

8.1.3     Basis in the real metaphysics

8.1.4     Sources in tradition

8.2     Ground

1.    The humanities, tradition, and religion

8.3     The real and given universe

2.    General and abstract sciences and method

3.    Concrete sciences

4.    History

8.4     Artifact and the created universe

5.    Art

6.    Technology

7.    Transformation of Being

9      The way—pathways

9.1     The aim of being

9.2     Means

9.2.1     Metaphysics and reason

9.2.2     Ways and catalysts

9.2.3     Reinforcing the way

The issues—knowledge, blocks, commitment, steadfastness

Reinforcement—strengthening self, healthy living, access to source literature, ritual—with dedication and affirmation, sangha (informed, dedicated community), nature as source

9.3     A program of development and templates

9.3.1     Principles of development and use

Derivation from the real metaphysics, especially on realization and path, and the classes of being

Adaptability of the templates

To be on a path is not just to follow but also to develop and negotiate paths and underlying ideas

Paths and templates should emphasize maintenance and employment of its worldview in intellect, intuition, emotion, sharing, ritual, practice, and action

The templates are a framework and should be supplemented with resources

9.3.2     Everyday template

9.3.3     Universal template

9.4     Resources

9.4.1     External sources



9.4.2     Site sources


Resource articles

9.4.3     The way of being a resource

The way as a formal resource

The way as an informal resource

9.4.4     Influences

9.4.5     Lookup




9.4.6         Research topics

See the essential way of being.html.

10   The future

10.1  Design and planning this document

10.1.1 This is a temporary section. After sufficient completion, its remaining essence is to be absorbed to the work (red font marks work needed). Planning follows.

10.1.2 Streamline the document, attend to rational development, eliminate, or link repetition.

10.1.3 The outline is the basis of a full version of the way, to be written ‘in-the-world’.

10.1.4 Two primary sources for writing are (i) topics and concepts for the way.docm (html) (especially its division on a foundational framework for the way which may be the basis of a partial axiomatization), and (ii) a journey in being-outline.docm (html)

10.1.5 Develop and follow the way as in this and other documents, e.g. first priority.html and current sequence.html, which are to be reduced in number and minimized in content.

10.1.6 Write what I learn, either (i) as a series of short pieces, or (ii) as pieces incorporated into this work.

10.2  The way connects past, present, and future as one

10.3  Communication—text, ideas, and being

10.4  The way as a guide for immersion and realization

10.5  To step into the world