: General Metaphysics.
Thomas Aquinas, following the three
divisions set by Aristotle, divided the study of "sapientia" or
"wisdom" into "metaphysica" (being as being), "prima
philosophia" (first principles) and "theologia". This scheme
remained intact until early modern times (1500 - 1800 CE).
Christian Wolff replaced it by dividing metaphysics into general and
special metaphysics. General metaphysics or the science of being as
being was given the name "ontologia" (a term coined by Rudolf
Goclenius in 1613), whereas special metaphysics was divided into rational
theology, rational psychology and rational cosmology, i.e. the sciences
of God, souls and bodies respectively. The impact of the rise of the
new sciences is obvious. The spirit of the Renaissance stimulated
philosophers to expand their horizon, incorporating many new topics into
metaphysics. However, these superb minds were not yet inclined to first consider -before engaging
in speculative activity proper- the natural capacity of the mind and its
knowledge-seeking cogitations. The epistemological turn had not yet taken
place and intellectuals still entertained a naive theory of
knowledge, one positing a direct conceptual access to reality-as-such or
ideality-as-such. Bewitched by this ontological illusion (reifying mere
concepts), concept-realism was still deemed unproblematic !
Measuring, before entertaining speculation, the natural possibilities of the mind, Kant's "Copernican revolution", besides being
the decisive criticism of concept-realism, demarcated science from
metaphysics. Although the Sun appears to rise and set, in reality it
does not, for it is merely the Earth turning. Objects do not appear as they are. We should
have tools to decide whether phenomena are merely appearances or indeed
more. Subordinated to epistemology, Kant's "metaphysics of nature"
is divided into a general part, namely ontology, and a specific part,
namely the physiology of reason. The latter was divided in transcendent
(rational theology, rational cosmology) and two "immanent" parts
(rational psychology and rational physics).
A "natural" metaphysics is one staying close to what is known about
Nature, one focusing on the sensate objects gathered by the senses, the
mental constructs processing these, well as other mental objects like
the self. This clearly distinguishes metaphysical speculation from
theology. In the course of the centuries, the meaning of the world
"theology" shifted considerably. The main divide being between,
on the one hand, the organized world religions (Hinduism and the three
"religions of the book") and their revealed
dogma's and, on the other hand, an arguable discourse
on the Divine in general (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 7) and God in particular.
In the present
metaphysics of process, the word "God" has been deconstructed.
This is indicated by adding an
asterix (*) to it. This points to the fact the traditional
characteristics given to the "God of revelation", like creative activity
"ex nihilo" & omnipotence, are not endorsed here.
Hence, God*, this remarkable metaphysical object, is part of
metaphysical theology, a branch of special metaphysics.
Kant's division between "immanent" and "transcendent" is to be noted.
Divide metaphysics in, on the one hand, immanent speculations on the
order of the world and, on the other hand, transcendent speculations
about what is supposed to exist beyond the limitations of the
world ; the actual infinities transcending the world, the
end-points at infinity of an infinite number of infinite series ...
Due to the advent of the new sciences, a redefinition of the discipline
of philosophy has to be realized.
normative philosophy : logic, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics
theoretical philosophy : metaphysics
Speculative activity unbridled by critical
Criticosynthesis, 2008) is most likely to get out of hand. Then, the natural mind is no longer equipped to cognize in a valid
empirico-formal, conceptual way, resulting in the multiplication of
entities, blatant logical errors, extreme views (like nihilism or
eternalism), uncritical skepsis and many other mental obscurations like
a lack of mental pliancy.
As part of philosophy, metaphysics is theoretical, i.e. involves a description of
the discipline itself (general) and an elucidation of its objects,
topics, issues, etc. (specifics). This metaphysics or
theoretical philosophy covers all theoretical subjects not dealt with in
a normative discourse. History, language, hermeneutics, the cosmos,
life, consciousness, God* etc. are possible topics.
Coming after the normative disciplines of logic, epistemology, ethics &
aesthetics, the descriptive activity of a metaphysics of being or ontology heralds
the "end of philosophy". This makes the mere formal disciplines to act as
guardians of a descriptive & totalizing speculative intent. These safe-guards
highlight the limit-ideas of a metalanguage of principles, norms &
maxims, ruling valid knowledge, good actions and beautiful sensations.
These rules assist the intent to totalize our understanding of the world and
Emphasizing nearness & distinctness, metaphysics -divided in immanent &
transcendent- is given a border to share with science. Science cannot
exorcize metaphysics (from its background), nor can metaphysics be validated without adding
scientific fact to its arguments. The crucial difference between science
& metaphysics being the non-testability of speculative statements.
Indeed, whereas the empirico-formal propositions of science (the
statements of fact consolidating the core of the current scientific
paradigm) are based on both testable & arguable processes, the
totalizing speculations of metaphysics are only based on
But to argue the validity of a speculative totality is an exercise
bringing into play all normative aspects of formal reasoning
simultaneously. Hence, not only logical & epistemological considerations
are at hand, but also ethical & esthetical and these together in a
sublime, coordinated and creative dance. Everything needed to perform
such a splendid move must be provided, carefully chosen, put
in place, rehearsed, etc. This takes decennia. General metaphysics
covers some of the conditions of this process. It tries to invoke the
spirit of metaphysical inquiry and summon its speculative power !
: general features, ontology
: philosophy of language, speculative theology, cosmology, biology & psychology,
General metaphysics has two branches,
investigating (a) the general features of metaphysical inquiry (cf. first
philosophy) and (b) being qua being, i.e. the nature of all
possible being or ontology. This kind of speculation is to be viewed as the "summum"
of metaphysics. Demarcated from the general characteristics of any
metaphysical inquiry & argumentation, ontology, being the most general
of metaphysical disciplines, naturally belongs to general metaphysics.
Special metaphysics studies specific objects like God* (metaphysical
theology), the cosmos (metaphysical cosmology), life (metaphysical
biology), human consciousness (metaphysical anthropology), language, history,
law, society, politics, economy etc.
Introducing Metaphysics & Ontology.
In this first chapter, the general contours of
the present critical metaphysics of process arise. Starting with an investigation of the issue of style,
i.e. the best way of expressing speculative thought, the fundamental
principle of process metaphysics defines the axiomatic base, reflecting
a choice for a single principle or monism, grounding the further
elaboration of the system. This basic choice is confronted with
epistemological criticism, probing for the limitations of all conceptual
cognitive activity and confronting these with the speculative,
totalizing intent. Rejecting conflictual & reductionistic
epistemologies, the polar structure of the cognitive spectrum is
affirmed in accord with transcendental logic. Apprehending sensate and
mental objects, the subject of experience is an object-possessor. Both
types of objects are confirmed and their distinct properties
acknowledged. Such distinction does not lead to ontological
difference, but merely to ontological distinctness.
In order to circumambulate process metaphysics, a few major historical
vantage points are discussed and criticized. The core problem being the
uncritical reification of object and/or object of experience, turning
them into hypostases or realities (idealities) underlying thought. Once
this is out of the way, thinking process again reopens the door to
science. Then and only then can metaphysics become the ally of
valid empirico-formal thought. Making speculation dependent on
conventional knowledge and its apprehension of what exists (either in
sensate or mental terms), fulfils its Peripatetic role of being a
theoretical form of philosophy "next to" the domain of science,
as it were fructifying it. By studying the way metaphysics cannot be eliminated
from the latter enhances its status as a discipline necessary for the
advancement of knowledge, albeit in an uncomfortable fashion. This
raises the question of the advancement of metaphysics itself, i.e. its
ability to increase its logical, semantic & pragmatic relevance, if not
significance. This elucidation of the advancement of metaphysics is
aided by the crucial distinction between speculative activity remaining
within the boundaries of what is the known world, or immanent
metaphysics, and theoretical philosophy leaving these boundaries behind,
as in transcendent metaphysics. While the former can be validated, the
latter can not. So then how is a valid transcendent metaphysical inquiry
possible ? This question leads to a hermeneutics of sublime poetry ...
Finally, having established (immanent) metaphysics and its validation by way of
argument, the fundamental move favouring monism is applied to the most
general of questions : What builds all possible phenomena ? What do all
objects have in common ? This calls for an ontological scheme rejecting
both materialist & spiritualist metaphysics. Physical objects nor mental
objects constitute phenomena. Instead, momentary actuality is
introduced as the ontological principal, bringing process metaphysics close to the fundamental
realities of both physics and psychology, namely the collapse of the
wave-function in quantum mechanics and the reality of
moments of consciousness in psychology and anthropology.
1.1 Metaphysics & Science.
Because metaphysics is irrefutable in terms of testability, it has been
driven out of the domain of science, encompassing all valid
empirico-formal statements of fact. This demarcation, once deemed
sufficient to eliminate metaphysics, is however problematic. Indeed,
every experimental setup and even every valid scientific theory cannot
be properly articulated without untestable metaphysical concepts
Consider post-Kantian criticism of metaphysics, in particular positivism
(Comte) and neo-positivism (Carnap). Here we have two radical departures
from metaphysics blatantly failing to deliver. In the former, metaphysics belongs
to the second stage after theology (the first stage) and before science
(the third stage). The supernatural
powers described in the first stage are transformed into abstract
notions or entities hiding behind empirical phenomena. Both negativisms
(of theological or metaphysical entities abolishing sensate objects) are rejected and replaced by
the positivism of empirical phenomena. Neo-positivism radicalizes this
view. For Carnap, metaphysicians are musicians without musical
skills ! Metaphysics cannot convey any cognitive insight but has only
emotional appeal, and this in an inadequate way. Hence, as they are not
tautological, nor validated by direct (sensory) experience, metaphysical
statements are necessarily pointless, merely conglomerates of
meaningless strokes or noise. These approaches, haunted by headaches
caused by fifteen centuries of Catholic dogma and four centuries of
conflicting metaphysical inquiries, forgot the crux of the matter : the
distinction between sensate & mental objects cannot be defined on
sensate grounds and so must contain a metaphysical element, i.e. one
based on mental objects validated by way of argument only.
Metaphysics is an unavoidable "vis a tergo" to befriend with
caution, for sure, but impossible to rule out, except at scandalous and
hence unacceptable costs. And although it cannot be as precise as
scientific thinking, speculative activities compete in terms of the
soundness of their arguments, coherence with other theories, appeal,
fruitfulness, elegance and simplicity.
The question is not how to eliminate speculative thought, but how to
bridle it in such a way as to speed up the carriage of science. The era
of cooperation between both has finally dawned. Moreover, besides
assisting science, metaphysics also (and foremost ?) directs the mind to
its largest unity, extent & harmony. No doubt, these carry the
spring-board to the highest pursuit : the direct experience of ultimate
truth. Thus apprehending full-emptiness, one simultaneously cognizes the emptiness of
all possible objects and the fullness of the interconnections between
all possible things resting in the bosom of Nature.
A. Object-Dependent, Imaginal & Perspectivistic Styles.
§ 1 The Issue of Style.
Put in general terms, "style" is the manner in which an issue is addressed,
its dynamism of expression. Style is characteristic of a particular
subject matter, but also of a person, group of people or historical period.
Insofar as texts are concerned, different styles call for different
kinds of writing.
without style disturb. Chattering geese keep the flock, but the eagle flies
alone, undisturbed by the horizons of petty existence.
Stylistic choices are defined by the way the author wishes to convey
meaning. Although ideally not affecting truth & contents of what is
communicated (the logico-semantic value), but mostly how language
effectively persuades (the rhetorical value), style nevertheless has a
direct impact on how information is understood. This implies the latter
may conceal the former and this may be part of the intent of the author.
With style differences can be embraced. Without style, Papageno better
keeps his lips locked. But how strong is his desire to speak out !
Like Hapi, the baboon of dawn, gross minds only vocalize to communicate.
But to catch the glowing breath of the Morning Star, an intense silent
In literary criticism, a fundamental line is drawn between non-fiction
and fiction. Creative writing can be found in poetry, fiction books,
novels, short stories, plays etc.
∫ To dream in colours is to see what cannot be seen by any eye. To hear
trees sing is the privilege of those walking in pure lands. To smell a
splendid cuisine while soundly asleep is the art of connoisseurs. To fly
or feel the breeze in Morpheus' lap, or to taste the honey of the night
endearment bestowed by the gods. May all sentient
beings dream and lucidly so.
δ. Exposing style
identifies expository, descriptive, analytical, academic, technical, persuasive and
Expository writing focuses on a known
topic and informs the reader by providing the facts.
Descriptive writing uses lots of adjective
and adverbs to describe things, conveying a mental picture.
Analytical writing organizes the
exposition by way of a stringent logical structure enabling the
necessity of the truth-value of what is conveyed to surface.
Academic writing takes a third person
point of view and brings in deductive reasoning supported by facts to
allow a clear understanding of the topic to emerge.
Technical writing elucidates complicated
technical information about the issue at hand.
Persuasive writing provides facts &
arguments to promote a view having the ability & power to influence its readers.
Narrative writing enumerates events that
have happened, might happen, or could happen.
Philosophy has always adapted its stylistic choices to its audience.
Down the ages, a multitude of styles have been used and meshed together.
Some philosophers use fictional styles (the poetry of Parmenides, the
dialogues of Plato, the meditations of Descartes, the literature of
Nietzsche), while others focus on the academic (Aristotle, Thomas
Aquinas, Kant), the analytical (Spinoza, Wittgenstein I, Sartre), the
descriptive (Heidegger before "die Kehre"), the technical (Russell,
∫ Philosophers are merely jugglers.
Using different styles to formulate two similar utterances makes the
reader wonder whether these different styles intend to carry additional
meaning. If not, it surely opens the text to
meaning-variability and unexpected turns & creativity.
∫ Readers are heroic beings. They climb steep rocks to attain the summit
of understanding. Arrived at the top, they witness more and even higher mountains. It
cannot be avoided. The infinity of it all makes any attempt to put
the world in a box hilarious. Tragedy invokes comedy and
laughter in itself forebodes the twilight of creation. Opening one's
door to the stranger of novelty is the only solution. Thinking with
style necessarily makes one gracious, kind and ... welcoming.
Insofar as philosophy is at hand, two major styles emerge : the
object-dependent and the imaginal. In the former, the style is derived
from objects, leading to academic, analytical, technical and descriptive
approaches. In the latter, a deeper sense is conveyed by triggering the
reader's imagination, calling for fictional, persuasive and narrative
∫ Stout choices are a sign of intelligence. But on what
does any choice truly rest ? Choices have to be made, true, but they are
like a patchwork. The pieces are distinct, but not different. If they
were not fundamentally so, nothing could bring about anything.
In the present text, object-dependent and imaginal styles are combined.
The former brings in a logical structure, whereas the latter, taking
advantage of the unavoidable incompleteness, inconsistency and ambiguity
of any analysis, invites the imaginal function of its readers.
Conjecture this combination gives birth to a very particular, rather
independent style, one identifying and opening new perspectives. This
choice is rooted on neurophilosophy, avoiding hemispheral lateralisation
and taking in the advantages of the neuronal bridge between the two
sides of the neocortex.
∫ While knowing
even the proud mountain ranges eventually crumble, with style we try to
dance like flamingos in love ...
Most philosophers avoid discussing their style and take it for granted. In doing so, their
exercise is limited by the conditions of the manner with which they
address their audiences. People are smart and need a proper invitation.
Here, two sides are simultaneously at work : a linear, serial,
object-dependent ascent and a non-linear, parallel, integrating, imaginal one. Both
lead to a certain kind of conclusion helping us to attach our
climbing-ropes to a more secure mooring-post, assisting us to reach out for our
§ 2 Deriving Style from Objects.
When the mind of the Renaissance, still imbued with a Medieval spiritual
mentality, was pressured by the conflicting intent of
the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, it slowly made place for the
scientific world view. As a result, philosophy tried to derive its style from
objects. Empirists would cherish sensate objects, rationalists mental
objects. In doing so, one hoped metaphysics, in particular the address of
totality, could be retained without ridicule. Theology, the address of
infinity, was deemed without object.
In 1666, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the Prime Minister of King Louis XIV,
founding The French Academy of Science, interdicted astronomers to
practise astrology. The aim of the Academy -at the forefront of
scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries- was to
encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research. This
heralded the official end of the Hermetic Postulate : "that which
is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above
corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the
One Entity." (cf.
Tabula Smaragdina, 2002). As a result, all things "occult" were
relegated outside the mainstream, turning them into an interest of
chamber scientists (like Newton & Goethe). Far gone was the idea Nature
was an interconnected pattern, a living tissue of visible and invisible
spiritual forces influencing humanity as well as the stars. Instead, the material world became a
disparate clockwork of "disjecta membra", a "nature morte"
devoid of "telos", "causa finalis" or inner purpose.
∫ When A is rejected, -A need not necessarily be embraced. Of course,
silly superstitions are not valid science, but the intent of the words
are more important than how things are said. Despite a spiritualist
interpretation, the Hermetic Postulate aimed to underline the interconnectedness of all natural phenomena.
metaphysical dream of the Ancients is again emerging in the mathematics &
experiments of the new physics, albeit without the "machinery" of the
spiritual agents serving the God of Abraham. Does throwing the child out with the
bath-water lead to finding the child again ? Rejecting something makes
one dependent upon what was rejected.
Hand in hand with the rise of modern science, four metaphysical ideas became
objectivism : the objects of science exist
independent and isolated from the mind apprehending them "out there".
They possess a nature of their own, one having characteristics abiding
inherently as their essence, substance or inherent core ;
realism : these independent objects of
science existing on their own exert an influence known by the human mind
passively registering this and in doing so acquiring knowledge about them ;
universalism : the objective, real
knowledge gathered is the same in every part of Nature, i.e. scientific
knowledge has closure ;
reductionism : all phenomena of Nature can
be reduced to physical objects and their interactions.
Insofar as this modern version of science, to be labelled uncritical,
materialist and thoroughly European, gained prominence and became the spearhead of the
tinkering harnessed by the Industrial Revolution, philosophers either
rejected reason (as in the Protest Philosophy of the Romantics) or considered,
to avoid the shipwreck of metaphysics, an
object-dependent style as the only way out. Enthused by these developments, they even tried to exorcise
the core task of speculation : totality & infinity. They tried, but
An object-dependent style fosters analytical, academic & technical
writing. In doing so it merely copies the itinerary of materialist
science and the industrial approach. Analysis does not necessarily call
for synthesis. The academia may replace the authoritarian systems of
old, safekeeping the dogmatics of the paradigmatic core. The
Bellarmine-effect is therefore their greatest foe. Technical writing
forgets the underlying first person perspective, concealing it by the
illusion of presence, adequacy & efficiency. Modern science is making place for
hyper-modernism, a modular & multi-cultural view moving out of the
European fold, one embracing Eastern science as well.
∫ The tragedy of exclusivity leads to the negation of totality, to the
inflation of details at the expense of a regulating unity.
By itself, object-dependent writing is not problematic, but its
exclusive use clearly is. No system can prove its completeness,
eliminate all inconsistency and provide absolute predictability. Knowing
this, one may still uses a clock, but never without accepting the
irreducible margin of error, the principle of indeterminacy of all
possible physical objects.
∫ The imperialism of language needs to be abandoned, complementing word
with picture, seriality with parallelism, denotation with connotation.
In the 19th century, despite Kant, materialist science and its
ill-advised youthful successes continued to gain ground.
Misunderstanding the intent of the Copernican Revolution, showing how
objects merely appear and so conceal their truth, criticism was not
assimilated. Despite his best efforts, his three Critiques were
deemed a form of contradictory idealism, feeding the brontosaurus of
German Idealism, turned upside down by Marxism. Instead of grasping them
for what they are, namely a new understanding of science per se,
they were rejected as an incomplete attempt to pour old wine in new
bottles. During his lifetime, the titanic, solitary effort of the master
of Köningsberg could not be completed. But it is possible to reconstruct
his work in such a way as to avoid the inevitable traps he fell for (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 2). In doing so, objectivism, realism & reductionism are unmasked as
fatal errors of a "perversa ratio".
∫ Do not think this perverted, sterile rationality to be grave bound.
Today it haunts the Western mind as a zombie, draining the life-force
out of scientific novelty. A resurrection of the organicism of the
spirit of the Renaissance is at hand. If not by choice, then by the
tidal wave of dissatisfaction and alienation, both in terms of culture
When philosophers are the handmaiden of theology, their speculative
efforts are limited by the reasons of dogma. But fideism is not a valid
ground for conceptual thought. When they become the slaves of
materialist science, philosophers trumpet the jubilee of the
misunderstanding of phenomena, including philosophy itself. Although
metaphysics depends on valid science, it does not depend on a
metaphysical view of science, albeit a materialist one. Pleasurably
excited by ticking clocks,
by the turning of the wheels of the engines of industry or highly complex
natural objects like the human brain or the cosmos, it may indeed seem
as if physical objects are the "nec plus ultra" of reality and
hence speculating about non-physical objects merely pointless noise.
Nevertheless, ongoing test & theory always provide antidotes against too
much bewilderment. The Newtonian dream has ended. Although the
object-dependent style derived from this cannot be rejected, nor can it
be used at the expense of other styles, in particular its antidote and
complement : the imaginal style.
§ 3 Imaginal Style.
Consider the millenarian tradition of the
sapiental discourses of
Kemet, the golden verses of Pythagoras, the "dark" sayings of
Heraclites, the fragment of Anaximander, the two ways of Parmenides,
the poetry of Xenophanes, the dialogues of Plato or, at the far end of this series,
Boethius' De consolation philosophiae and discover the varying
impact of the imaginal on philosophical speculation in Antiquity, and
this from the start of speculative writing (as in the
Pyramid Texts of Unas) until the end of Late Hellenism. Exceptions,
such as the vast scholarly corpus of Aristotle and the Enneads of Plotinus
are indeed rare, for even Augustine was tempted to exchange a rather
academic & argumentative style for a more literary one (as in his
Of course, authors (like Plato and Boëthius) may
choose literary devices like dialogues to convey proper arguments.
Philosophy was not yet divorced from the various other topics of
high education, as the division of learning in "trivium" & "quadrivium"
demonstrates. Indeed, "philosophia" was envisioned as uniting all
branches of knowledge, nourishing the Seven Liberal Arts, the "curriculum"
of study in both Classical and Medieval times. With the Summa
Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, the authority invoked by the Peripatetic
culminated. This opened the gates for a flood of genuinely boring, but
highly significant, philosophical works in an object-dependent style
(Abelard, Duns Scotus, Willem of Ockham, Cusanus). In many ways, the
works of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz, Hume & Kant are part of
∫ Each time we overestimate the potential of something, we are bound to
discover weakness and frailty. Each time we reduce grandeur, we invoke
surprise. When both Heaven and Earth are considered beforehand, what can
go wrong ? The answer to any query comes along as soon as we are ready
with the question.
An imaginal style is literary, i.e. creative writing of recognized artistic value.
It does not try to eliminate connotation to promote denotation. Syntax
never supersedes semantics. It may even invite and manipulate ambiguity to
indulge in semantic wealth, not avoiding redundancy. The works of
Nietzsche are perhaps the best example history has to offer, but Kierkegaard & Heidegger
should also be noted. Of course, these are wholesale works of literature,
not aphoristic counterpoints.
∫ Object-dependent style depersonalizes. In doing so it objectifies what
remains embedded in the subjective. Imagination personalizes. In this
way it subjectifies what cannot do without objectivity. The far extreme
of the subjective becomes objective. Too much objectivity betrays a
subjective intent. Both are not contradictions but complements.
Practically speaking, the distinction between an object-dependent style
and an imaginal style is not clear-cut. Writers as Fichte, Schelling,
Hegel, but also Schopenhauer, Bergson and many others offer a mix. But examples of a
strict object-dependent intent do exist. Consider Spinoza's Ethics,
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Marx's Capital, Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,
Sartre's Being and Nothingness, Popper's The Logic of
Scientific Discovery, Habermas' Knowledge and Human Interests
∫ Cucumber soup is made out of a cylindrical green fruit
related to melons with thin green rind and white flesh eaten as a
vegetable. Firstly, if the soup were only that, it would not be soup.
Secondly, who, eating cucumber soup, cares about the cucumber if not for
its taste ?
A neurophilosophical definition (cf.
Neurophilosophical Inquiries, 2003/2009) of the imaginal style focuses on the way the
neocortex processes information projected on it by the thalamus.
Only recently has the importance of this
division been understood. The neocortex or "human brain", a folded sheet
of ca.11 m² with ca. 20 billion neurons, is divided
in two hemispheres connected by the "corpus callosum", an
axonal bridge continuous with cortical white matter, consisting of ca.
200 million nerve fibers. The right hemisphere is typically non-language
subdominant, whereas the left, containing the speech-area's of Broca and
Wernicke, is deemed dominant.
To define the typical left hemisphere as
"dominant" because it processes language reveals a prejudice mainly at
work in the West. The right hemisphere may indeed be deemed "dominant"
over the left in terms of the analysis of geometric & visual space, the
perception of depth, distance, direction, shape, orientation, position,
perspective & figure-ground, the detection of complex & hidden figures,
visual closure, Gestalt-formation, synthesis of the total
stimulus configuration from incomplete data, route finding & maze
learning, localizing spatial targets, drawing & copying complex figures
& constructional tasks.
Although in disciplines like logic, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics,
the use of imagination is not wanted (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008), in the context of metaphysics, the
advantages of an imaginal style outweighs the precision necessary in the
realm of the normative. The totalising intent, aiming at broad features
synthesising the general characteristics of all possible phenomena, do
call for a more diffuse band. As those parts of the spectrum invisible
to the naked eye are also presented, the connotative associations of the
semantic field cannot be missed. Hence, to further meaning, metaphor and
analogy are indispensable.
∫ Metaphysics is a marriage and in every marriage compromise is at work.
If a compromise would only have clear-cut terms, it would not last and
nobody would stay married. Of course, without trust, no grey areas can
Just as Heidegger before him, Derrida understands metaphysics as a
philosophy of presence, a logocentrism placing the spoken word at the
center. Writing is then a kind of conservation or fixation after words
have been spoken. The audience is absent, while in spoken language the
sign immediately vanishes to the advantage of the speaker. With his
metaphors, Heidegger did not move outside the "clôture" of the
metaphysical traditional starting with Plato. His words still try to
capture the nature of phenomena in a discourse pretending to be a
fixation of what Heidegger "said about things".
The conservation of the spoken meaning by written words is deceptive.
Logocentrism is a mummification leaving out important elements. Trying
to fixate the "heart" of the matter, other vital organs of the actual
communication are removed. This spoken word is deemed primordial, and
the written word derivative. In all cases, this derivation is a bleak
representation of the original intent. So logocentrism fails to deliver.
The spoken word is therefore stronger, but also transient.
∫ The spoken word is like eating the soup, it has tone and taste. But
the activity is ephemeral. The written word is like reading the recipe,
it is dry and tasteless. But it may help to make the soup again.
So to tackle the pretence of presence advanced by logocentrism, a
thinking of absence is called in. This by considering how one cannot, compared
with the spoken word, recuperate the autonomy or exteriority of the
written word. Consider these two French words : "différence" and
"différance". The first, written correctly, means "difference",
while the second, written incorrectly with an "a", sounds, when spoken,
exactly the same as the first, but in fact, does not exist and so means
nothing ! So the difference between them is only revealed by the text,
not by the spoken word. The spoken word is protected from these
letter-based manipulations. The text has its own "power" of
misrepresentation, i.e. advances meanings not available in the spoken
words. Grammatology wants to address this issue, and deliver the tools
to identify the false exists given in the text.
Metaphysical texts, in whatever style, are deceptive. But one cannot
define their illusions from without, as it were observing them from an
Archimedean vantage point. Nietzsche tried to do this by first
identifying metaphysics as Platonism and then developing an alternative.
But by identifying metaphysics as logocentrism, it becomes clear the
battle with the illusion of presence in metaphysical texts has to happen
in these texts themselves, not from a safe, matinal outside perspective,
for such a proposed safe haven is itself logocentric. In other words, it
does not exist.
Metaphysical systems tend to invoke words transcending the possibilities
of conceptual thought. These transgressions are posited as "exits",
while they are false doors. These doors exceed the limitations of the
system and/or the borders of conceptuality, and these excesses are vain.
Next to every text, a "margin" has to be drawn. In this cleared space,
the false doors or "transcendent signifiers" are (a) marked by adding an
"asterix" (*) to them, and (b) identified as deceptive ways to provide
the system with illusionary openings allowing it to move out of itself
and ground its text in something beyond the text, and this while
there is only text. In the present critical transcendent metaphysics, the word "God" is
replaced by "God*", thus indicating "God" has been deconstructed.
In this way, no new term needs to be invented (leading to a mere
cosmetic manipulation). The drawback is this : the deconstruction remains
somewhat dependent of what is
∫ At some point, after tiresome journeys, every enduring traveller
returns home. Then the road can be trodden again at a lighter pace.
Eventually, one no longer steps on, but one flies. Then the activity of
travelling itself is walked through. No longer moving, all things come
to the traveller.
It is crucial to criticize the way transcendent metaphysics seeks to
ground any speculative endeavour in a reified ground outside the
of metaphysics. Distinguishing between immanent & transcendent
identifies the major false door of metaphysics, namely introducing
non-conceptuality by way of concepts (like "intellectual perception*" or
"intuitive knowledge*"). But immanent metaphysics itself is not without
logocentrism, i.e. the vain conviction object-dependent writing is able
to be a philosophy of presence exceeding the fluidity of the spoken
word. Among many other things, like metaphorical elucidation of
denotations, an imaginal style will therefore also try to correct this
pretence of the text by pointing to the vain constructs of denotation,
promoting the autarchy of the text at the expense of the direct but
ephemeral experience of the spoken word and introducing void words
arising only as a result of logocentric manipulations of letters.
∫ Systems want to protect themselves from their own collapse. But they
are not like houses firmly erected on solid ground, but like trees with
their roots up in the sky. Seeking where we fail, we become truly
strong. Trying to avoid being hurt, one invites putrid wounds.
The two proposed styles complement each other. But neither of them holds
the promise to eliminate the false doors exceeding the system and put down
by the text fixating speculative activity. Insofar as this activity is
oral, it cannot deceive in this way. Oral traditions have existed in the
past and so one cannot reject this a priori. Maybe this is indeed
the best way to preserve an authentic metaphysical intent. But in a
literary culture, an imaginal style introduces metaphor to elucidate
denotations but also (and foremost) tries to identify the presence
suggested by the latter as a fata morgana. In the immanent
approach, this happens by identifying the meaningless "letters"
introduced by the text. Insofar as metaphysics as a whole is concerned,
this takes place as a process of identifying the false exits leading to
a positive, katapathic transcendent metaphysics. Such a guard only
allows for a non-affirmative negation, a "via negativa" leading
to an apophatic view on the transcendent, one underlining the ineffable
or un-saying nature of what lies beyond the realm of possible conceptual
thought. If anything positive can be said about this beyond, then
clearly such letters are, at best, sublime poetry.
∫ The method is not there to avoid problems, but to identify them.
Problems are not identified to solve them, but to avoid them. Avoiding
problems does not take them out, but gives us the material of humour.
Being able to laugh with depth and extend feeds the intellect. Science
and metaphysics are not serious things. Nor are they ridiculous. They
preoccupy the humble mind dreaming grand stories. We cannot avoid
Complementing an object-dependent style with an imaginal style serves
the purpose of destroying the illusion strictly defined words are able
to mimic the procedures of science. Although process metaphysics needs
to be logically correct, avoiding contradictions, promoting completeness
and attending parsimony, it does so for the purpose of binding words in
a way discrete, serial & analytical communication is made possible.
Constantly confronting and exchanging this analysis with the imaginal,
builds a higher-order semantic metalevel needed to convey totality and parallel
communication fostering synthesis. But these stylistic protocols do not
take away the more deeper problem of logocentrism, the fact words only
appear to convey the spoken word, the living and wealthy reality of
communication. In fact, as both styles make use of symbols, they betray
truth by allowing false doors to suggest exits to an absolute
representation. By showing where these false exists occur, the reader
may draw a margin next to the text. The latter is not criticized by trying
to remove these false doors, for this is vain. However, in this margin,
the metaphysician explains how they "open" and "close" the text to
something deemed "outside" it. Moreover, transcendent signifiers at work
in the text are identified by adding an asterix (*) next to the keyhole.
These "procedures" are not invoked to "clear" the text from the problem
of logocentrism, for this cannot be avoided. But by entering the lion's
den and counting his teeth while he roars, we are better equipped to
know how we indeed may be ripped apart by grand & majestic words.
In a metaphysical system, in particular a metaphysics of process, the
crucial critical demarcation lies between speculative activity staying
within the confines of conceptuality (in all its modes, i.e.
transcendental & creative) and cognitive activity exceeding these
confines (as in non-conceptual, nondual cognition). Transcendent metaphysics is radically distinguished from
immanent metaphysics, and this happens within the domain of metaphysics
§ 4 Creative Unfoldment.
Historical perspectivism, developed by Nietzsche, promotes the view all
ideations (both sensate and mental) take place from particular
perspectives. The world is accessed through perception, sensation &
reason, and this direct & indirect experience is possible only through
one's individual perspective and interpretation. A perspective-free
or an interpretation-free objectivity is rejected. Hence, many
possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives, determine the judgment of
truth or value and no way of seeing the world can be taken as absolutely
"true". At the same time, it does not necessarily propose the validity
of all perspectives.
∫ This inflation of the subject at the expense of the object leads to
less subjective fulfilment & happiness. The more we are preoccupied
with our own perspective, the less pliant the mind becomes. The less
pliant the mind, the more dissatisfaction with conventional reality.
historical perspectivism, rejecting objectivity, there are no objective
evaluations transcending cultural formations or subjective designations.
Experience, always originating in the apprehension of sensate or mental
objects, is always particular. There can be no objective facts covering
absolute reality, no knowledge of the ultimate nature of phenomena, no
logical, scientific, ethical or aesthetic absolutes. The constant
reassessment of rules in accord with the circumstances of individual
perspectives is all what is left over. What we call "truth" is formalized as a whole
shaped by integrating different vantage points. This is a conventional
truth, a transient intersubjective consensus.
From which perspective did historical perspectivism arise ? If all
experiences merely depend on individual perspectives, then
perspectivism, as a view encompassing all perspectives, escapes
the proposed relativity. As self-defeating as radical relativism,
historical perspectivism is an exaggeration, an extreme unwarranted by
the normative disciplines of transcendental logic, epistemology, ethics
& aesthetics, discovering the principles, norms & maxims we must accept
to be able to conceptualize cognition, truth, goodness and beauty (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapters 2, 3 & 5). By connecting factual uncertainty with
normative philosophy, rejecting a set of principles, norms & maxims a
priori, a major category mistake is made. While facts validating
empirico-formal propositions of science are indeed Janus-faced,
theory-dependent & theory-independent facets, the transcendental
meta-logic of thought, valid knowledge, good action and sublime art are
universal, necessary and a priori. This is not the result of any
description (of logic, epistemology, ethics or aesthetics), but merely
the outcome of what is necessary to be able to think the possibility of
these crucial domains of human intellectual effort.
∫ In all cases, we stay dependent on what is rejected. Either both terms
of the equation are eliminated or both are allowed. Perspectivism is
correct in identifying subjective vistas, but -in an inflated mode- cannot sustain its own
intent without relying on some object. In the absurd extreme, this
object is the absoluteness of perspectivism itself. This is merely a
contradictio in actu exercito.
conventional truth can only be known in the context of
subjective and intersubjective experiences, critical perspectivism
challenges the claim there is no absolute truth. Firstly, within the
domain of conventional knowledge, a transcendental set of conditions &
rules of thought, cognition, conceptuality, truth, goodness and beauty
pertain. These form the normative disciplines studied by normative
philosophy. These conditions & rules are found or unearthed by reflecting on
the conditions of these objects. What is thought ? What is a cognitive
act ? What is a concept ? How to validate knowledge ? How to produce
valid knowledge ? How to act for the good ? How to fashion beauty ?
Secondly, valid knowledge can only be identified if absolute truth
regulates this truth-seeking cognitive act in terms of correspondence &
consensus, the two ideas regulating reality (experiment) & ideality
(intersubjective argumentation) respectively. Moreover, it may be
conjectured, the possibility of a direct experience of absolute reality
depends on the extend individual perspectives are eliminated. As the
concept always involves such a perspective, only conceptual thought is
barred from this. Intuitive, nondual cognition is not rejected
beforehand. It is non-conceptual and can be prepared by "purifying" the
conceptual mind, i.e. thoroughly ending its addiction to the substantial
instantiation (of object and/or subject of knowledge).
∫ Normative statements are true in a meta-conventional sense not
escaping conventionalism. Valid
empirico-formal statements are true in a conventional sense. Absolute
truth, the emptiness of all phenomena, can be conceptually
approached by way of ultimate analysis. The direct experience of this
truth is possible but ineffable. Although object of un-saying, this nondual
experience has nevertheless a direct impact on what is done, said and
thought. It therefore modifies our experience of the conventional world.
Hence, it is not trivial or insignificant, quite on the contrary !
Critical perspectivism accepts the theory-ladenness of observation, and
so cherishes the critical distinction between perception & sensation (Criticosynthesis, 2008,
chapter 4). Three fundamental perspectives are given
clear borders, marked as "for me", "for us" and "as such". The first
person perspective belongs to the intimacy of the observer. Nobody
shares two identical reference-points. Position & momentum are unique
for every point. So is the available information one has, as well as the
clarity of one's conscious apprehensions (sentience). The third person perspective is the paradigmatic,
shared, transient, conventional, intersubjective view of a community of
sign-interpreters. It is valid (working), but mistaken. While efficient,
it does misrepresents objects. Viewing them as independent and existing from
their own side, it conceals their true, absolute nature or emptiness.
δ.1 This absolute truth is not some super-object grounding
or underlying objects. It is the ultimate nature of each and every conventional object. Therefore
one can only epistemically isolate emptiness, for in every concrete
event, the absence of inherent
substance is simultaneous (or united) with the interconnected & interdependent
nature of all the elements constituting this actual event.
The ongoing unity of emptiness (absence of essence) and interdependence
is called "full-emptiness".
∫ In the measure a second person perspective opens up, fructifies and
shares two first person perspectives, it extols the truth, goodness &
beauty of personal love. Extremely rare, this love is often replaced
by an act of mutual masturbation. When the cuddling is over, the other
person is dropped like an empty can to be filled and consumed again and
idiom is the style of a particular writer, school or movement. Let
critical perspectivism be the adopted idiom of this process metaphysics,
encompassing and integrating the rather "technical" methods of
object-dependent and imaginal writing. To succeed, the following
distinctions and devices are introduced :
Uttering "grand stories"
is finished. This reveals the
awareness no independent substance can be identified. Sensate nor mental
objects provide us with an inherent own-nature, an essence independent
from other objects, self-powered & autarchic. Process-based, phenomena
cannot be grounded in a sufficient ground outside conceptual thought.
Hence, the fake grandeur of previous ontological schemes is
their pretence to conceptually represent the absolute nature of
what is, the suchness of all possible phenomena.
Accepting perspectives, we divide sensate
and mental objects, and grasp the events happening on the sensitive areas of
our senses as not identical with the thalamic projection on the neocortex.
Although sensate objects have a perceptive base, each apprehended object
is the product of perception and interpretation (or perspective).
Facts are hybrids. On the one hand, they are
theory-independent and, so must be think, correspond with absolute
reality. On the other hand, they are theory-dependent, arising within
the perspectives or theoretical connotations of an inter-subjective
community of sign-interpreters. Because conceptual knowledge is
validated by way of test & argument only, one cannot eliminate these signs
(in the form of ideas, notions, opinions, hypothesis or theories) without invalidating epistemology. But accepting the theory-ladenness of
observation does not eliminate facts are always about something
While keeping immanent metaphysics distant from transcendent
speculations, an absolute perspective is not rejected. Against Plato,
this is not a "substance of substances", but a property of every actual
object. While impossible to cognize conceptually, this absolute nature
of all phenomena is not a priori deemed outside the realm of the
cognitive. This corrects classical criticism. Absolute truth can be part
of a non-conceptual cognitive act. Here we take a step further than
The two styles, providing stylistic dynamism to the idiom, bring in
the variations necessary to keep the text open and unfolding. They do
not interpenetrate, but form a counterpoint running through the text.
To allow the reader to identify false doors, meaningless letters or
collections of letters, the distinction between world-bound and
world-transcending speculation is maintained throughout. Moreover,
immanent metaphysics itself is scrutinized, dividing limit-concepts from
actual infinities, regulation from constitution and architect from
∫ Mistrusting the written word while composing a story or a system,
accepting subjective bias from the first inklings of conceptual thought
and keeping the efficient nature of conventionality intact, invites the
reader to find his or her own path to absolute truth. This retains the
Creative unfoldment gives way to unforeseen momentary interactions born
out of ambiguity, redundancy and free associations running parallel with
the object-dependent channel. Because of this structure, it does not
involve automatic writing, but does make use of a surrealist psychic
mechanism, a "waiting" birthing unexpected encounters bearing novelty.
Metaphysics is therefore also a work of art.
∫ Waiting is the awareness of the conventional reality we find ourselves
in hand in hand with
the intervention of the most unlimited freedom ready to deeply move us
and bring about novelty. Freedom is this total openness to what is
possible, a negation and denial of what is thought impossible. Our
limitations are to a very large extend self-imposed.
Critical perspectivism is the idiom of this metaphysics of process. It
brings into view three fundamental perspectives : the immediate, the
mediate and the absolute.
The immediate context is what is given hic et nunc. Foremost a
first person perspective, it directly demonstrates to us the singularity
of the act of cognition. In conceptual thought, the concept, by
symbolizing object/subject relationships, mediates
between the knower and the known. This always involves an interpretation, a unique
The mediate context has intersubjective concepts validated
by consensus. When valid, this conventional knowledge works but is
deceptive. While actually other-powered, objects are apprehended as self-powered,
possessing a nature or essence of their own, separate & independent
form other objects, while this can never be found to be the case.
While it is true sensate objects are imputed on a perceptive base, they
never appear without a large
set of mental objects.
The absolute perspective, ultimate nature of
phenomena or absolute truth of the absolute Real-Ideal cannot be
apprehended, but only conceptually approached by using a non-affirming negation. Not sheer nothingness
nor a void, it
is never some thing separate from actual objects. Hence,
to frame its totalizing view on the world, immanent metaphysics must
never use actual infinities, but only
This perspectivistic idiom tries to bring into balance the counterpoint
of object-dependent & imaginal styles. A few important themes stand out
: a consequent sensitivity for integrating objective & subjective
perspectives in all areas of speculative interest ; maintaining the
difference between a regulative and a constitutive use of concepts ; a
radical division between immanent & transcendent speculative activities
and finally, providing speculative arguments backing the idea of a "Grand
Architect of the Universe", a Corpus, Anima & Spiritus Mundi, or
supermind, rather than arguing in favour of the arising of the world from the activity of an omnipotent "Creator God", a
"King of Kings" able to will all of this
"ex nihilo". Why not ? This "substance of substances"
cannot be found !
§ 5 The Style of Process Metaphysics.
Natural languages resemble the objectifying convictions of their users.
Nouns and the adjectives qualifying them refer to objects existing apart
from other objects. Verbs and the adverbs qualifying them refer to
actions between these independent, self-contained, self-powered,
Awareness of full-emptiness, embracing the process-nature of all
possible objects and their interdependence, understands nouns as momentary labels placed on the
ongoing stream of actual occasions. These moments do not exist on their
own, as it were constituting the stream, but are interconnected with all
other moments of the stream. The unit of the stream is therefore the
differential moment (dt), i.e. an infinitesimal interval, an
instance, droplet or isthmus of actuality. The differential moment has
architecture, a capacity to shape novelty in what, without this, would
only be an efficient transmission of the probabilities of momentum & position
(unqualified by architecture and sentience).
Seeking a language of process is not like wanting to find a new kind of
speech. Nor is it a meta-language counterpointing natural languages.
Attending speech and being attentive to conceptual anchors leading to
reification and enduring (eternalizing) architectures does not call for a special
verbal or written discipline. It merely accompanies the intent of every
speech-act. In texts therefore, a recurrent undermining of essentialism is at
∫ In seeking to meet the king, process philosophers
only experience his kingdom. They never meet him face to face.
Relinquishing the seeking itself is the end of philosophy and the
beginning of mysticism.
"I-am-telling-You"-approach of historical process metaphysics invites
the reader to develop his or her own arguments. The basics are given, but the
unfoldment of the text in the minds of the readers is left
open. More than a passive registrator of what is meant, the auditorium
is a co-creator of and a contributor to the creative unfoldment of the
text. Hence, mere words exceed the text and bring about outspoken
reactions. This coalescence may turn it into a cultural object : a tissue
of interconnected seeds and their recurrent fruition.
The main linguistic problem the text of this metaphysics of process
encounters, is the noun- and verb-structure of language. A noun tends to
represent a fixed continuum, unchanging relative to the adjectives. In
traditional formal logic, the proposition is divided into subject &
predicates, in substance & accidents. The former is stable, the latter
prone to change. However, any label captures a moving, ever-changing
phenomenon, or set of actual occasions. The object signified is not as
"fixed" as the symbol signifying it. Language betrays
substance-thinking. Not only is there a logocentric misrepresentation,
but on top of that not a single word is adequate enough to convey
process. Unfortunately, we have to row with what we have. Artificial
languages may solve many problems, except being unintelligible for the
large majority of human beings.
The singular, momentary actual occasion x has differential extension. Every possible property, attribute or aspect
characterizing it represents a process,
not a substance or ¬
is to be written as xΔ,with
Δ representing, for all possible properties Σp of this instance
x of the set of all actual occasions, the totality of its differential
extensions. If time is the only property of
x, then x.Δdt
Like the water of a river, the bases of perception and mental constructs
constantly change. The labels catching these translate them into
components of our natural languages. At best, namely as valid
empirico-formal knowledge, they truly represent, for the time being, the
dynamical features of the water as determined by the morphology of the
riverbed, the volume of the water, its momentum, and obstacles in the
river, etc. But these conventional truths are mistaken representations. Objects appear as
separate and independent, while in truth they are interconnected and
interdependent. There is no "water", but merely a label imputed on a
perceptive base turned into a sensation. The vastness of this network makes it impossible to
represent this in any known language. Even our most sophisticated words
fail us dearly. And if we use artificial languages, the issue becomes
elitist, like understanding the logic & mathematics of the Schrödinger
Process metaphysics wants to understand the stream. It catches
the swimmer in the act of swimming. Studying & reflecting, it tries to
find out the style of the movement, the features of the ongoing dynamism
or kinetography defining the architecture of this movement ... Process philosophy is
therefore a kind
of kinetography. And movement is more than
just moving, sound is more than mere noise. What is added is a certain
awesome dynamical symmetry.
B. Opposition, Reduction & Discordant Truce.
To apprehend in a comprehensive way how all things hang together, forming a
Gestalt or mandala of possibilities and their relationships,
and to try to affirm this in a coherent way, accommodating a reasonable
view of the world, seeing it as a whole, satisfies the metaphysical
instinct. But to generate such an articulate worldview is not without
methodological problems. The most basic of these is not the coordination
of all possible domains of knowledge necessary to make this integration
(leading to a compromise between attention for parts and for the whole),
but the choice of axioms, i.e. propositions not susceptible of proof or disproof, but assumed to be
self-evident and so above all suspicion.
Besides its Axiomatic Base, a metaphysical project, in every case
Herculean, may choose one of the following methods :
1. comparative : first a series of basic
concepts like "being", "life", "time", "consciousness", "group",
"energy", etc. are chosen and, to arrive at a global view, the history of these compared. One replaces the mandala of one single
domain of knowledge with the study of a single foundational concept of
that domain. This approach, found in academic courses on metaphysics, is
necessary but rather atomistic and so merely a preparation for more serious
2. subjective : here, a single person gives
way, possibly in an imaginal style, to what he or she knows, beliefs and/or feels, bringing a small area
to a very high level of articulate consciousness. Although highly
subjective, this will -given this person's information is not too
restricted- serve to prepare a deeper and more extended view ;
3. synthetic : finally, one tries to erect
a worldview using all relevant information available within a given
time frame. Historical examples of this method are the corpora of
Aristotle & Bacon. At present, the interval would obviously extend
between the Age of Enlightenment and postmodernism. Such synthetic activity depends on the number of
knowledge domains integrated, as well on the validity of the assembled
information. These synthetic efforts are never "finished", but merely
represent the best possible global picture available. It needs to be
corrected and completed by succeeding generations. Grasping how both an
extensive treatment of details and a comprehensive global construction
will not eliminate all possible lack of clarity, one realizes a complete
synthesis will not be arrived at. Some terms may remain
foggy or incoherent. Of course, a sincere author tries to do away with
these "inadequacies" as much as possible ... Nevertheless, the brontosauric aims of both
analytical philosophy (focusing on details), as put into evidence in the Principia
Mathematica, and grand speculative stories like Sein und Zeit
are bracketed. Indeed, these efforts remained incomplete ... But, in a
world knowing Gödel, is completeness wanted ?
Given the global dimensions of criticism today, the construction of such
a synthetic metaphysical worldview is not a "modern" endeavour restricted
to Western culture (as it obviously was in the past), but is necessarily
multi-cultural and so hypermodern, incorparating the best of both
Western & Eastern views. Because it no longer lingers to
merely deconstruct modernism, relinquishes radical relativism and tries
to erect an "open" grand story, it also supersedes postmodernism. The
latter remained too destructive and sceptical and so basically
infertile, barren. Indeed, scepticism and dogmatism are to be avoided. Only
criticism, the articulation of clear distinctions, truly advances
knowledge. As will become clear, radical postmodernism was also unable
to reach its goal : to eliminate metaphysics !
Hail to the foremost spirit of the Western Renaissance and the
highest honorary salute to the Masters of Wisdom of the East !
Let us point to six sources aiding the construction of a contemporary
synthetic worldview embracing a critical metaphysics :
1. science : valid empirico-formal
propositions point to facts all possible concerned sign-interpreters for
the moment accept as true. They form the current paradigm, featuring a
tenacious, regular knowledge-core, a co-relative field containing all
domains of scientific knowledge and at its fringe a periphery touching
semi-science, proto-science & metaphysics. At hand is the production of provisional, probable &
coherent empirico-formal, scientific knowledge held to be
true. The core sources of
knowledge are experimentation & argumentation (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 2) ;
2. ethics : if science aims at knowledge
and truth, ethics is primarily concerned with volition (the source of
action) and the good. Here we articulate judgments pertaining to the good (the just,
fair & right), providing maxims for what must be done. The
core sources of this good action we seek are objectively duty & calling
and subjectively intent & conscience (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 3). Accommodating valid conventional
knowledge or science, metaphysics is aware of the normative principles,
norms & maxims of ethics. The reason is clear : as soon as
anthropological issues arise, one cannot speculate
without considering the rules covering good action ;
3. politics : ethical concerns lead to
views on the organization of just, fair and right societies. Worldwide
democracy is gaining ground for the right of individuals to decide what
happens to them in society is a logical extension of critical ethics.
Because tirany & dictatorships, whether religious, nationalistic, elective or otherwise,
contradict the normative rules of ethics, they must eventually crumble. No
metaphysics can be unaware of this. The core source of a good society is
the educated choice of its peoples. Of course, democracy can be
organized in many ways. In the West, a strong opposition is deemed
necessary to fuel debate and to guarantee a variety of opinions
circulate. This a Greek streak. In the East, a common goal for the betterment of the majority
is deemed more important than opposition, debate and regulated conflict
often infringing respect (despite Lao-tze & Chuang-tze,
the East favours Confucianism). Clearly, speculating on the
actual meaning of human life
cannot be done without incorporating politics ;
4. economy : ethics & politics need a
system to organize the scarcity of material goods & services in a good
way. Solving the energy-problem is the source of an adequate solution
satisfying the needs of all sentient beings. Only green energy is a
viable solution, for humanity is no longer allowed to plunder Nature
without severe & very costly retributions. Technology links economy and
science. Bridled by ethics and democracy, these then lead to an
efficient & ecological (sustainable) economy. Speculating on how the
interaction between science, ethics & politics can be used to satisfy
needs by way of goods & services calls for economy and its laws ;
5. art :
judgments pertaining to what we hope others
may imitate, namely the beauty of excellent & exemplary states of
matter, are objectively based on
sensate & evocative aesthetic features and subjectively depend
aesthetic attitude (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 5). Its source is feeling and its aim the
beautiful. A good, global democracy organizing an efficient economy,
taking advantage of valid science is therefore not enough. Human beings seek to
express their feelings in ways others like or dislike to imitate. A
metaphysics has to incorporate the beautiful in terms of harmony, unity,
symmetry & asymmetry. Not only because human beings love beauty, but
also because (a) Nature is basically an architecture of symmetry and
symmetry-breaks and (b) a hypermodern understanding of the Divine
integrates concepts like harmony, unity and probabilities leading to
6. religion : insofar as the Divine (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 7) is part of our metaphysical inquiries
about the world, it cannot be more than a "spiritus mundi"
remaining, as the Stoic "pneuma", within the order of the world,
never transcending worldly possibilities. Then, the Divine does not
transcend the world, but merely defines its outer limit. Not explaining
Nature from without, it helps to understand its conservation & design,
leading to the concept of the "Architect of the World". To connect the
order of the world with the idea of some thing outside the world, to not
exclusively define immanence by way of limit-concepts but indeed
envisage actual infinities, is to move our religious attitude outside
Nature, beyond the world. Logic teaches such a transcendent signifier cannot be
conceptualized. But can it be cognized ? The possibility of a "cognitio
Dei experimentalis" has to be envisaged, but can never be "proven".
Such mystical experience is ineffable, object of un-saying. Of course,
an immanent conceptualization of the Divine is a powerful source of
inspiration for metaphysics. Besides being the object of a personal
experience, it can be backed by arguments (like the argument of
conservation, the argument of design and the wager-argument).
Transcendent metaphysics can be sublime poetry and sublime poetry may
influence the conceptual mind.
These six sources aiding are used to develop an
(immanent) metaphysics of process calling for (a) a comprehensive,
totalizing metaphysical worldview incorporating both
natural and social realities, and this in tune with (b) a logical study
of language and science, making room for (c) the expression of direct
experience and nondual, non-conceptual cognition. Of course, it will be impossible to cover all possible
speculative objects. Not only because all known objects form a very vast
body of knowledge, impossible to fully & completely synthetize by a
single mind, but also because new objects are not to be excluded.
A priori these cannot be covered. Also, it is inevitable some areas
will receive more attention than others. Indeed, the metaphysics
discussed in the present text will focus on being, cosmogenesis,
biogenesis, sentience, anthropogenesis & the question of the Divine.
It will not cover economy & politics.
general metaphysics, the idealized totality presents itself as an organic unity &
pluralistic integration of process. An ontological scheme is developed &
argued. In its application, as in specific metaphysics, phenomena
relevant to the details of the totalized view, are integrated.
§ 1 The Axiomatic Base.
five postulates advanced by Russell in his Human Knowledge can be
summarized as follows :
(1) the world is composed of more or less permanent things. A "thing" is
a part staying invariant under certain operations and constant during a
certain time with respect to certain properties ;
(2) causes and effects of events remain restricted to a certain part of
the previous or succeeding total state ;
(3) causality diffuses continuously (with contiguous links), so there is
no actio-in-distans ;
(4) if structurally similar complex events are ordered in the vicinity
of a central event acting as a center, then they belong to the causal
series pertaining to that center ;
(5) if A looks like B, and both were observed together, one may suppose
that if A is again observed and B not, B will nevertheless happen.
The first postulate affirms things are more or less permanent. Russell
was aware things change, but he refused to impute impermanence as one of
the fundamental signs of existence. Permanency, invariance and constancy
are given preference over impermanency, variability and change, or, more
precisely, process-based creativity or novelty. Was this Russell's
Platonic, Greek bias ? Process thinking does not posit
permanency, but advances the cycle of arising, abiding & ceasing, i.e.
dependent-arising ("pratîtya-samutpâda") of phenomena.
The world is composed of emerging actual occurrences. These stay around for
a while and then cease to exist as such, entering into the creative
advance of succeeding actual occurrences and their togetherness as
events, objects, entities, things ...
The second postulate, besides
limiting determinations and conditions to causality, restricts the
spatiotemporal influence of causality. Of course, as chaos-theory proved, small causes
may have large effects (cf. the Butterfly-effect).
The third postulate
conflicts with quantum mechanics, for its non-locality underlines the
absence of Einstein-separated events in the realm of physical
The fourth postulate connects structural similarities with
causality, while the fifth postulate turns the psychological mechanism
of habituation into a source of knowledge. This can only be realized, if
A and B are indeed deemed permanent. Adding "more or less" does not
change this. These postulates show what happens when the Axiomatic Base
it too narrow, too much concerned with identifying identities and less
with grasping how "things" emerge out of the sea of ongoing process.
∫ Russell considers realism, with its adjacent notions of permanency and
a direct sensuous access to objects, as the hallmark of sanity. Is this
not like confirming suffering ? Only those who know they possess nothing
can never loose anything. The root cause of this insatisfaction is
superimposing static concepts on fundamentally transient phenomena. This
essentialist fallacy, accepting objects must have some unchanging core,
makes us cling to the same thing even if nothing stays identical.
The First Postulate, or basic conviction, is :
there is a world, a Nature, a universe, or, in other words : all possible phenomena, all what
actually is, exists. This aims at
maximal totality, a system encompassing all possible systems. Our Second
Postulate affirms the totality of the world has a world-ground. This is
the sufficient ground of the world, i.e. no deeper level can be found.
This ground is however not substantial or self-sufficient. The crucial
difference here lies between a
reified ground and a process-based, non-substantial sufficient
ground. The Third
Postulate defines the building-blocks of all what exists in the world as actual
∫ Thinking there is some better "world" outside the world makes us hope to
attain it and fear not to. But accepting the existing world is all we
have, brings in the care for every moment of it.
world is the totality of all actual phenomena, the set of all concrete
actual occasions, events, entities & things part of the world.
occasions, events, entities & things given by experience
abstract formative potentiality
As a set of formative elements, the world-ground is
merely the sheer possibility of the world. The world-ground is only
the possibility of the next moment of the world itself. World
& world-ground define the world-system. If the
ground of the world is merely the possibility of the world, then the actualities
of the world are not
determined by a substantial transcendent origin outside the world ; they
are not otherworldly.
There is no transcendent self-sufficient
ground "outside" the world. The world-ground is a set of ontological
principles concerning the primordial and the pre-existent. In process
thought, these are merely formative elements necessary to think the
next moment of the actual world. They do not stand alone, neither do
they act as "creative" principles bringing forth the world. They are a
set of process-based roots drawn -by reversal- from the domains of
actuality characterizing the world, namely matter, information and
consciousness. This is the hermeneutical circularity necessary to
eliminate any hint of an ontological divide between the world and its
ground. Nevertheless, the world is finite & relative, the world-ground
infinite & absolute.
∫ The world-ground is the servant of the world, it does not create it.
Just imagine an
absolute substance "outside" the world, a substantial, self-sufficient
world-ground indeed causing the world to come into existence "ex
nihilo". Then, the world would depend on
something eternal existing from its own side. As in Platonism, the world would
divided in two ontological layers : a perfect world of static eternities
and an imperfect world of relative becoming. This view is firmly rejected.
In actuality, there is only the world
and nothing else. Indeed, as ultimate logic shows, a substance cannot be
critical : concrete actuality made
likely by the primordial sufficient ground of process ;
traditional : the mere modification of
the primordial own-nature of all things ;
critical : sufficient ground but
process-based : the primordial possibility of change ;
: self-sufficient and thus
substantial : the primordial own-nature of all things.
The "transcendent" speculations of critical metaphysics
do not have an absolute self-sufficient, self-powered substance acting
as world-ground "outside" the world, but an ultimate nature which is
the property of
every single actual instance of this totality. The "transcendence"
posited is not beyond, above, outside or next to the world. The
world-ground, being merely a formative abstract, has no
spatiotemporal characteristics. Traditional
reified (essentialist) transcendence is not at hand. The object of this transcendent metaphysics is
not an eternal, self-sufficient "entity of entities" or "substance of
substances". The transcendence aimed at is not a Greek God ! If a transcendental signifier can be identified (albeit by
the thorough application of the
non-affirmative negation), then this ultimate reality is not a
world-transcendent ground. Absolute reality, as the sufficient ground of
every possible phenomenon, is actualized by every phenomenon.
∫ Platonic ontology betrays the deep aristocratic discontent with
change, impermanence and seemingly disconnected variety. Wherever it
creeps in, cherishing others is eclipsed by the rubble of the few.
spatiotemporal, concrete, actual, relative, conventional
non-spatiotemporal, abstract, formative, absolute, ultimate
Traditional transcendent metaphysics affirms its object to exist as a
substance with inherent properties and not part of the world. But
how can this onto-theology be ? If this self-powered supreme & infinite
object is conceptualized, then an affirmative negation is at hand, i.e.
one positing something outside, above, beyond or next to the
world. Such an object must be obvious, but cannot be found, is lacking.
Moreover, how can the finite grasp the infinite ? If this is denied,
then nondual, non-conceptual cognition of the mind of Clear Light* does
not exist. If affirmed, then how explain the tangential moment the world
and its ground touch ?
A frontal attack of metaphysics, trying to remove
it from thought, only manifests how metaphysics remains present in the attacker. The
"intentio recta" battling metaphysics in the open field, unveils
it as an "intentio obliqua"
surreptitious at work in the would-be
eliminator. To argue an untestable totalizing view is therefore a "vis a tergo" one cannot escape.
∫ Onto-theology leads to the antics of Baron von Münchhausen.
In actuality, there is a single world. There is nothing "outside" or "next to" or
"beyond" or "above" this world. The topological view
is rejected. Although the world has a
world-ground, the latter is not a substantial reality not part of the
world, but a propensity acting as the sufficient ground of the world.
This sufficient ground is the absolute absence of inherent existence.
This lack of substance is the primordial condition for anything to
Platonism is firmly rejected. This does not lead to
a rejection of a deconstructed transcendent in metaphysics, but to an
eliminaton of its
traditional object : a substantial actual infinity (the God* of
process is an actual infinity, but not a substance). The transcendent nature of phenomenon
A is not a
different object B, but a different epistemic isolate of A. The
"sacred" dimension of the world is found in each and every "profane"
actual occasion, event, entity or object. This by ending all substantial
instantiation, completely purifying the conceptual mind.
The totality of the world is all what is actually happening. The
world-ground, transcending this concreteness, is not a substantial actual
infinity, but a process-based formative abstract. Transcendence and immanence are not in conflict,
for every object manifests a conventional nature and an absolute nature,
and this without the latter being ontologically different. Only God* is
(again !) the Big Exception. S/He is a process-based actual infinity !
Being actual, God* (in immanence) is not merely potential, not merely
formative and therefore not merely abstract. Being also abstract, God*
(in transcendence) is not a concrete actuality of the world, not an
actual occasions like any other, but an absolute & infinite
singularity (cf. infra).
§ 2 Monism, Dualism or Pluralism.
axiomatic choice for monism is in tune with the need for unity,
simplicity, elegance and comprehensiveness. The monad does not move
beyond itself, but privileges a single principle. In this
monarchic continuum, alteriority is not a different ontological entity, but a mere
replication of the existing principle. This implies all things are
interchangeable, for although ontological distinctness may be accepted,
ontological differences nowhere occur.
∫ Can everything be explained by the privileged monad ? If so, then by
Ockham's Razor we keep it simple. But if a single case can be found
where the principle does not apply, then a forteriori monism is
its powerful reflective capacities, introduces otherness as a new
The power of duality is felt in logic and epistemology. Reflection on
the structure of thought itself reveals a binary structure, erected on
the principles of the
transcendental logic of thought itself, namely the crucial & necessary divide
between a transcendental subject and a transcendental object. The
armed truce between object & subject can also be felt in epistemology,
for to arrive at valid knowledge, both theory & experimentation are
necessary and observation is not a passive, merely registering process.
∫ On the one hand, Descartes was correct in emphatically making the
difference between the extended and the non-extended, between matter and
mind. On the other hand, Cartesius was wrong to reify the difference,
shaping an ontological dualism. Although both are distinct, they are not
different. This crucial distinction leads back to monism.
Non-monists logics introduce more than one fundamental ontological
principle (a duality, triplicity, quaternio, etc.). Ontological dualism
posits two independent substances : matter versus mind. By a
trinity of factors, a logical closure ensues, for by adding a third
principle, a tertium comparationis, duality is not longer "locked" in
singular division, no longer the nature morte of the "dead
bones" of formal logic (Hegel), but indeed becomes an "unlocked", plural
process capable of thinking the manifold. In many ways, triadism is
equipped to deal with manifolds and their processes. Of course, this pluralism merely multiplies the
difficulties, for if it is unclear how two substances may interact, then how
to explain an ontological triad or anything beyond two ontological
∫ By the multiplication of principles one does not solve the problem of
unity, quite on the contrary. Unity can only be systematized by the
monad. Ontological elegance, coherence (orderly relation of parts) and
simplicity are born out of the monad and nothing else.
couple monism with essentialism introduces a single ontological
substance. The monad is then positioned as independent and self-powered and
turned into a static self-sufficient ground existing from its own side, inherently. Such
an approach has difficulty explaining the multiplicity, variety,
differentiation, complexity, richness & interconnectedness of the
manifold. Hence, the ongoing changes & novelty happening in Nature cannot be explained.
∫ In traditional theology, the Divine was turned into an idol in the image of the Egyptian, Persian and
Greco-Roman rulers. This has sterilized religious thought. The challenge at
hand is to accept a universal cognizing luminosity, a mind of Clear
Light*, without the dogma of
an aboriginal, unmoved, inherently existing transcendence, at whose fiat the world was created
and who's will it must obey to avoid punishments. To remove such
paternalistic substantialism from theology is the
only way forward. God* is not above, beyond, next to or therefore not
not a part of the world but with the world.
Thinking a single dynamic principle is the solution sought.
Because of the monad, all phenomena fall under the same ontological
principle, leading to the absence of ontological rifts. Avoiding
essentialism brings in maximal interchangeability, knitting the various
textures of existence together, thus interlacing the fabric of Nature,
accommodating the organic, interdependent whole it obviously is.
∫ Dynamical monism may accept the presence of a supreme dancer, a
sublime movement executed with Divine grace. Such perfect symmetry
transformations, the "holomovement of holomovements" of God*,
continuously have all other actual occasions as reference frame. The
present as an ultimate differential in every point of Nature, in
every concrete actual occasion of the world.
The ontological principal of the single world-system is a single principle or
monad. Monism guarantees our understanding of the world does not assume
ontological differences, while thinking the monad as process-bound ends
the search for a static first principle, the assumption of a single,
unchanging self-subsisting essence or core. The essentialist fallacy is avoided. Although
axiomatic, logically monism has definite advantages over dualism & pluralism. In
the latter cases, the interaction between the separate principles,
defining an ontological difference, becomes problematic. Although the
possibility of distinct actual occasions, events, entities and objects
is accepted, the notion they fundamentally represent different static
pockets in the ontology of the world is rejected. All compounded things
are impermanent, ongoingly arising, abiding & ceasing ; this not
randomly, but swimmingly.
§ 3 Critical Epistemology.
Before Kant, in the pre-critical era of Western philosophy, being
defined (conceptual) knowing. The question of the capacity of our human cognitive
apparatus was answered by referring to ontology, introducing one, two or
more ontological principles first. As a result, the natural limitations of
cognitive activity were either exceeded (as in dogmatism) or narrowed
down (as in scepticism).
∫ The drama of conceptual cognition is exaggeration, or moving to
extremes, making something more noticeable than necessary. This makes
one seek a hypokeimenon, an underlying substance or ultimate thing.
This illusion is then carried through. A tragi-comedy.
The word "criticism" derives from the Greek "kritikós"
or "able to discern". In turn, this leads to "krités", or a
person who offers reasoned discernment. Criticism defines
borders, frontiers & waymarks.
These demarcations do not negate anything
(as does scepticism), nor do they affirm (as does dogmatism), but merely
posit distinctions enabling us to remove entanglements and create open
spaces or clearings offering breathing-spaces between otherwise ensnared
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 2). Because of these, differences & distinctions are possible.
Hence, this "Critique of a Metaphysics of Process" intends to discern the
place of a critical metaphysics based not on substance but on process, not on
fixating (the eternal or the void), but on thinking constant change and
therefore impermanence. It identifies the field of metaphysics by
outwardly demarcating it from science and inwardly defining its main
targets, to wit totality and infinity, or, in other words, the
conventional wholeness and the ultimate suchness of all possible
phenomena, the world and the world-ground respectively.
∫ Executing their perfected perfect styles of movement, ultimate dancers
simultaneously portray the impermanence of constant, interdependent
change, as well as the permanence in the pure kinetographic style of their
Critical epistemology answers the question how conceptual knowledge and
its advancement (production) is possible ? It does not base this
analysis on some previously given ontological ground. Reality (accessed
through the senses), nor ideality (apprehended by the mind) are deemed
pre-cognitive things triggering the possibility of knowledge. The latter
is given by the groundless ground of knowledge itself, the Factum Rationis. Hence, the mode of analysis is transcendental ; its object is
the structure of the cognitive apparatus, and its subject the reflective
activity of the knower, bringing out the principles, norms & maxims of
(valid) knowledge by merely disclosing the rules already given in every
cognitive act, i.e. what is going on as soon as thought is afoot.
∫ The rational mind is not only formal, but also transcendental. Not
only does it produce valid empirico-formal propositions, but also the structure
of conditions (on the side of the knower) making it possible for such
propositions to be produced. Critical metaphysics differs from all
previous speculative systems in its radical abandonment of substantial
thinking, of grounding the mind a priori in anything except in
the groundlessness of the mind itself.
Critical epistemology is not a descriptive activity. Why not ? There is
no vantage point outside knowledge empowering us to watch knowledge as
such. The possibility of knowledge is apprehended while knowing. The
principles, norms and maxims are unveiled in the cognitive act itself,
and this by way of reflection. These rules cannot be negated without negating
the negating activity itself. Doing so always entails a contradictio
in actu exercito. Hence, epistemology is a normative discipline, and
its rules are those being used by all possible thinkers of all times.
∫ Valid science must be about experimentation (testing) and dialogue
(with dissensus, argumentation & consensus). Valid metaphysics must
argue a totalizing worldview embracing the infinite.
Positing an Archimedean point outside knowledge grounding knowledge, is a
pre-critical strategy ontologizing the possibility of (conceptual)
knowledge. This presupposes the presence of an unchanging (fixating) ground outside knowledge.
Per definition such a ground cannot be knowledge at all !
ε.1 Such an
incorrect view calls for a
dogmatic ontology, one placing "being" before "knowing". As such
pre-critical thinking is merely an elimination of the necessary tension
or concordia discors between the knower and the known, between
the subject and the object of thought, either involving the
affirmation of the real or of the ideal. In the former case,
extra-mental reality is deemed a real self-sufficient ground for the
possibility of knowledge. In the latter case, mentality itself is
considered to be the underlying ideal self-sufficient ground.
ε.2 Both ontological realism and ontological idealism generate inconsistent
answers to the fundamental question of epistemology and so pervert a
reasonable solution to the problem of conceptual knowledge and its
validation & production.
∫ Totalizing knowledge and proposing a comprehensive worldview does entail a narrow
interaction between critical metaphysics and science. This to fructify
speculative activity with current views in physics, cosmology, biology,
The possibility of conceptual knowledge and its validation involves
critical epistemology, a normative discipline unearthing the rules of
knowledge by way of a reflective, transcendental analysis staying within
the borders of possible knowledge itself. To precede epistemology with
ontology was the way of pre-critical thought, immunizing reality or
ideality before analyzing the actual capacity of our cognitive
apparatus. The capacity of conceptual thought is exceeded by the
"urge for Being" found in substantialism and essentialism. Ontological realism posits a world existing independently
from thought. But at no point can it impute anything without the knower. Ontological idealism affirms a
"pure" mentality constituting the
extra-mental. But knowledge is always about some thing. As criticism
shows, both do not lead to an epistemology free from the scandals
of contradictions & antinomies.
§ 4 Conflictual Model.
Because of the inflation of (mythical & theological) metaphysics in
pre-modern times, modern philosophy has invoked a radical conflict
between speculative activity per se and scientific thought. This created a
division between scientific knowledge and non-scientific opinions. While
the latter are accepted as valid in their own private sphere, they play
no role in the domain of science. The latter is a privileged
language-game dealing with the objects of public life, while the former
is merely of personal interest and so considered highly subjective & intimate.
∫ One cannot push away all possible speculative activity. Only invalid
metaphysics must be abandoned, not metaphysics as such.
The tensions between
organized religions and science, between faith and valid knowledge, between
"alternative" (peripheral) and paradigmatic interests, etc.
reflect the conflict between paradigmatic and non-paradigmatic
knowledge. Two important cultural objects arise : on the one hand, an
"ideal" religious faith based on "grace" (the use of
speculation without science)
and, on the other hand, "real" scientific facts based on experiments (or
science without metaphysics). Merely talking over each others heads, they
behave as deaf men arguing.
∫ History put asides, science cannot divorce metaphysics. They are a
dual-union participating in the concordia discors of conceptual
thinking as such.
conflictual model, feeding an insurmountable conflict between science
(the valid empirico-formal propositions forming the paradigm) and pre-critical
inhibits speculative activity. Indeed, trying to remove the so-called
infection caused by this wrong kind of metaphysics paralyzes theoretical
philosophy. Resignation is the outcome. In this way, giving up the
attempt to articulate a totalizing view on the world, the treasure-house
of cultural objects impoverishes. Reducing the heuristic impact
of speculation in this way, decreases the production of knowledge. It also plunges
epistemology into darkness, for the unavoidable role of metaphysical
background information in both testing, theoretizing and arguing is
Gestalt switch invoked by the "cube" of Wittgenstein (TLP
attention defines observation.
Positing a conflict between science and metaphysics, the conflictual
model divides the field of knowledge into two separate domains.
Accepting the presence of metaphysics, it nevertheless promotes the path
of science and relegates speculative interests to one's private life.
This approach is also found in the modern division between religion and
science. While the former is accepted as part of human cultures, the
latter is deemed the sole guardian of objectivity. This results in a
depreciation of theoretical philosophy. The conflictual model is
§ 5 Reductionist Model.
The reductionist goes a step further and
tries to entirely ban metaphysics from the arena of thought. Only science has anything to say
about the world and all non-scientific entries are worthless and so to be disposed of.
There are no two distinct sources of truth, but only one, namely
science. Logical positivism is a good example
of this approach.
∫ Radicalizing against the flow of irrationalisms, one tends to
overreact and propose a silly solution emitting a flair of intelligence.
Irrationalism cannot be avoided, only handled properly.
One may also try to cancel out metaphysics by pretending to have access
to an absolute knowledge, one needing no further speculation. This
Hegelian approach is a super-Platonic strategy. It fails because it
presupposes a Herculean conceptual capacity conflicting with a critical
reflection on the possibilities of conceptual knowledge. As will become
clear when analyzing the nondual mode of cognition, this only works
if and only if this absolute knowledge is absolutely ineffable, thus
cancelling out its direct conceptual involvement. One may also invoke
the supremacy of scientific knowledge, claiming it is totally free from
any dealings with metaphysics. This also fails, because both theory &
experiment always presuppose metaphysical background information.
∫ Why cut the branch upon which one sits and then be sorry one falls ?
The escalation from conflict to reduction increases the intensity of the
attack and decreases any possibility of a constructive return.
∫ Intelligence is able to change its mind.
The elimination of metaphysics is an attempt to exceed speculation or
to laud the activity of scientific methodology, based on repeatable experiments
& coherent argumentation. Inflating conceptual thought leads to
meta-rationality at the expense of rationality, endorsing dogmatic
conceptualizations and the occultation of the factual. Such a strategy
breeds fundamentalism, irrationalism and the dictates of nonsense. While
a direct experience of absolute truth is possible, it cannot be
conceptualized. Privileging access to the objective enthrones science, giving it an inviolate authority leading to
instrumentation and fragmentation. Both are rejected. At both ends, the
reductionist model fails.
§ 6 Metaphysics & Criticism.
∫ Like the eye cannot see itself, science
has a blind spot filled in by metaphysics. One tries to escape only to
return. Let us accept this and move on.
β. Criticism does not try to animate a conflict with metaphysics, nor does
it want to eliminate it. It accepts the abyss between science &
metaphysics, but tries to
bridge it. Metaphysics, the speculative integration of the
totality of phenomena born out of infinity, is
capable of being supported by arguments, but cannot be put to the test. The latter distinguishes it from
scientific statements, both arguable and testable.
metaphysics is part of every possible cognitive activity, criticism
merely tries to find the rules covering its use. Negatively, it
criticizes metaphysics as an ontology or archaeology of the normative
disciplines. Epistemology, ethics and aesthetics must not be rooted in a
self-sufficient ground outside knowledge, as it were preceding it.
Doing so cripples the understanding of how knowledge and its production
are possible. This leads to unworkable antinomies, as Kant showed. Positively, a rehabilitation of metaphysics is at hand. As a critical
metaphysics, it acts as a heuristic or teleology of science, advancing
speculative notions, concepts & systems. As an "ars inveniendi"
it inspires science to move beyond the periphery of its current
paradigm, but never without asking it to relinquish its two wings :
experiment & argument.
distinction to be drawn then is between pre-critical and critical
metaphysics. The former is a mythical & theological speculative format,
invoking being to explain knowing and multiplying entities. The latter is a totalizing picture of
what exists as emerging out of infinity. This conveys awareness of the limitations of knowledge
, but is nevertheless able to serve as a
heuristic of science. It tries to find a single founding principle and
argue the totality of phenomena (the world) made possible by the set of
infinite possibilities (the world-ground).
∫ Without a single unifying principle, the unity of the manifold cannot
ε. As a
philosophical discipline in its own right, critical metaphysics
encompasses both totality & infinity. Pre-critical, dogmatic,
foundational metaphysics, positing a self-sufficient, substantial ground
before an ultimate analysis of the possibilities of cognition and the
cognizer, asks us to suspend understanding to the advantage of systems
of substances a priori. This attempt reifies infinity, turning
into a "substance of substances". Not so here. Advancing arguments to understand
the world comprehensively, critical (immanent) metaphysics asks about being, cosmos, life and
These answers help to clarify the fundamental questions posed
by the human being : Who am I ? From where do I come ? Where am I going
? The first question being the foundation of the foundation : without
knowing myself how to understand anything ? This "I" not only refers to
a subjective sentient & luminously cognizing center of consciousness, but also to a unique objective
point of observation.
Using the realized totality as stepping stone,
critical metaphysics ventures at the periphery of paradigmatic
conventionality and explores infinity. First as a series of asymptotic
limit-concepts of the world, next as an actual infinity, infinitely
totalized as an absolute consciousness (God*). This is not an ens transcending the totality of all actual
phenomena, but a series of formative abstracts with a single exception,
namely God*. Discordant with ultimate logic, the Pharaonic (Platonic) intent is rejected. The absolute exists conventionally ...
God* is the awareness valorizing the possibilities of the materiality &
creativity of the world-ground, and the sole abstract actual occasion
moving with the world. God* functions as facilitator, as a bridge between what is
possible and what is concrete, touching both.
Criticism accepts the importance of both immanent & transcendent
metaphysics. The former is a heuristic of science and a totalizing
worldview, answering fundamental questions by way of a single
ontological principle. Using a penetrating analysis, the latter is
posited through a special epistemic isolate, namely the realization no
inherent existing object can be found. This leads to a non-affirmative identification
of suchness/thatness and conventionality.
This transcendent aspect is not
ontological (does not define another ontological level), but epistemological
(implies a change of mind). But while absolute reality can be
directly apprehended (known), this does not involve any conventional
cognitive activity, and is therefore utterly non-conceptual. The realization of suchness/thatness transcends conventional
conceptual reason. Meta-rationality transcends rationality without
unveiling a transcendent signifier. Crucially pregnant in private life,
this "seeing" of full-emptiness transforms the knower.
§ 7 Discordant Truce.
Transcendental logic dictates the principle of rational, conceptual thought. This
may be called the concordia discors, the discordant concert or armed truce
of the Factum Rationis. Duality is its architecture.
the one hand, all possible cogitation has contents, i.e. an apprehended
object of knowledge or the known, and on the other hand, cogitation
implies a thinker, a subject of knowledge or a knower. Both, of
radically distinct interests, are
nevertheless necessary and always joined, forming a bound, entangled,
α.2 In epistemology, these two make out
simultaneity of two state- vectors : the vector of the subject of
knowledge, its languages, theories and theoretical connotations and the
vector of the object of knowledge, its physical apparatus, tenacity,
inertia and, so must we think, factuality & actuality. A fact is the
∫ Knowledge must be about some thing extra-mental. Neither is it possible
for knowledge not to be known by a knower.
The armed truce between subject and object of all possible thought and
the groundless ground of all possible knowledge go hand in hand. Because
knower and known form a pair and so cannot be reduced to one another,
knowledge cannot be grounded in either objective or subjective
β.1 Suppose we reduce the subject to the object, then the latter
grounds the possibility of knowledge (as in ontological realism).
Suppose we reduce the object to the subject, then the latter constitutes
the possibility of knowledge (as in ontological idealism).
β.2 Because we
keep both sides of the transcendental spectrum at the same level,
stressing their interdependence & co-relativity, knowledge can only be
grounded in knowledge itself.
Shocking confrontations between object and subject of knowledge are
inevitable & necessary. They cannot be avoided because the tensions
between knower and known are ongoing. They are necessary because without
these confrontations experiments cannot be adjusted by theory and theory
cannot be falsified by facts.
∫ In the research-cell, the interests of both experiment & discourse play
out in the continuous process of communication between, on the one hand,
everything dealing with the test apparatus and, on the other hand, all
formal and informal theoretical processes (calling for opinions,
conjectures, argumentations, refutations, hypothesis & theories).
δ. For more
than two millennia, concept-realism was uncritically accepted. Concepts
were deemed to be reliable copies of reality.
δ.1 In Platonic
concept-realism, one cannot avoid asking the question : How can another
world be the truth of this world ? The ontological cleavage is
unacceptable. On the other side, Peripatetic thought summons a psychological critique, for
how can the human soul possibly know anything if not by virtue of this
remarkable active intellect able to make abstractions on the basis of a manifold
of independent observations ?
δ.2 Both reductions are problematic. Because
they try to escape, in vain, the Factum Rationis, and so
represent two excesses denying the concordia discors of
all possible conceptual thought, they form an apory. Plato, being an idealist, lost grip on
reality (positing an outerworldly substantial ideal). Aristotle, the realist, did not fully clarify the mind
(positing an abstracting active intellect).
Composite forms of both systems did not avoid the conflicts, although
they conceal them better. The crucial tension of thought was not
solved by Greek concept-realism, crippling our understanding of formal
rationality. This pollution endured until Kant broke the chains we had
put on ourselves ...
∫ To attribute existence to concepts, be they related to sensate objects
or instead refer to mental objects, is to step outside the duality of
the object-subject relationship, claiming to oversee it and decide the
ground of knowledge is either objective reality (the senses) or
subjective ideality (the mind). Existence only instantiates a set of
features attributed to a concept, but adds nothing of its own. Eliminate
the properties contained in the set, and the object imputed vanishes.
reason, understood as a stream of conceptual, discursive cognitive acts,
watchful and so not deluded by ontological illusions, the ideas of
reason (the "Real" & the "Ideal") are not turned into ontological
hypostases, but operated as regulative principles holding a hypothetical
(not an apodictic) claim. In that case, conceptuality, in tune with the
concordia discors, entertains a conflictual interest willingly. On the one
hand, it seeks unity in the variety of natural phenomena (the multiple
is reduced to a type). On the other hand, in order to guarantee the
growth of knowledge, reason wants heterogeneity (the unique, not
repeatable & singular).
Besides the discordant truce between the objective
and the subjective conditions of all possible knowledge, another
concordia discors can be identified, namely between paradigmatic science
critical metaphysics. Science is the theoretically organized system
of valid empirico-formal propositions or statements of fact.
Paradigmatic science has a hard core, a set of statements deemed valid
conventional knowledge, held by all involved sign-interpreters as
true. The objects involved put down a high probability of recurrence and hence the
highest possible relative predictability. Around this tenaciously kept
paradigmatic core, covering matters objective & intersubjective, the
architecture of valid conventional science unfolds. At its periphery, we
find the beginning of non-science or fringe science. Critical metaphysics
all non-science is nonsense.
On the one hand, science is factual and
theoretical and critical metaphysics is only theoretical, and this in a
speculative way. On the other hand, all sensate objects coming into
consciousness through the senses are already compounded objects, and so
have already been subjected to interpretation.
η.2 So every observation of
fact cannot do without the observer and his or her mental frame or view.
A critical minimum of metaphysics is needed.
"Speculation" is not knowledge based on neither fact
or investigation. Here, "speculation" refers to (a) a theoretical
philosophy of what is beyond the physical and (b) "speculum", the
Latin for "mirror," from "specere", or "to look at, to view". The last
points to the totalizing, universalizing, all-encompassing, globalizing
streak of a sound, valid & critical metaphysics. It involves an
intelligent worldview. Although critical metaphysics is not factual,
its theoretical, intellectual structures are arguable. Validation is in
the line of the kind of language used to convey the metaphysical view at
hand. The sheer power of the combination of its chosen logic &
certainly plays a role, but not more than compass & depth.
∫ Per definition, critical metaphysics is multi-cultural and global,
with a comprehensive worldview integrating as many as possible cultural
objects, sensitivities and dada's.
The logical conditions of thought making thinking possible
convey the simultaneity of knower and known in every act of cognition,
in every moment of actual knowing. Ontologies placing the knower before
the known (idealisms) or those privileging the known (realisms) are
pre-critical exercises in metaphysics. This needs to be identified and
acknowledged. If not, ontological illusions come into play.
thinking introduces a substance ; a self-contained, self-powered,
absolutely independent, isolated and autarchic essence, a thing existing
inherently, from its own side only. The extremes of the set of objects
belonging to substantial thinking are the hypertrophy of the subject
(the knower) and the inflation of the object (the known). The former is
rooted in Platonism, the latter in Peripatetics.
Both have to be
superseded. If not, metaphysics (in particular ontology) is an
archaeology of knowledge, grounding the possibility of conceptual thought, knowledge
and its advancement in something else than the mere conditions found, namely those normative principles, norms & maxims of possible
cognitive thought we have been using all the time. These conditions are
ontologized. This reification introduces a "real" or an "ideal"
substance to ground the possibility of thought. Moreover, it brings
about an illusion causing the perversity of reason.
The two sides of the
logical & epistemological conditions of conceptual thought are to remain simultaneous in every act of cognition.
Subjective and objective conditions remain bound together but in a
constant conflict of interest. Their discordant truce allows us to
understand thought, knowledge & the production of valid knowledge
without scandals. Likewise, the conflict between science & metaphysics can be mediated when the interdependence
between both is realized. It is impossible to dissolve this dualism.
Those who try do it at their own peril and at the loss of those
accepting the tenets of either ontological realism (denying all
metaphysics) or ontological idealism (eliminating the role of the
factual). Critical metaphysics is based on valid science, but is not a
science. It is a theoretical philosophy, a totalizing speculative view of the
§ 8 The Objectivity of Sensate Objects.
subject of knowledge, the knower, is an object-possessor. A subject
without an object is as nonexistent as a square circle. So the very act
of cognition calls for duality.
∫ Although duality is not unity, dual-unions do occur.
Two and only two kinds of objects are possessed by the knower ; sensate
and mental objects. Their difference is not ontological, for
both are actual occasions, events or aggregates of events.
two objects do have
distinct sources. Sensate objects depend on the correct functioning of
the five sensoric systems, while mental objects depend on the field of
consciousness and its center, the knower.
β.2 At the bottom level of
perception, sensate objects are extra-mental, but at the top level of
sensation or conscious sentience these naked perceptions themselves,
through neurophysiological code, interpretation & labelling, have
become part of the mental world, although they remain objects with
particular features derived from perception, distinct from objects
imputed by the activity of the mind alone.
∫ To accept the senses, is to accept we don't sense what they perceive.
To accept the mind, is to accept concepts do not perceive.
Sensate objects are those perceived by the senses,
processed by the latter, transported to the thalamus and projected on
the neocortex. The latter computes the identification & naming of these
afferent impulses. This turns them into sensate objects part of the
field of consciousness of the knower to be observed. Hence, perception and sensation
differ by their measure of interpretation.
epistemologically, interpretation cannot be eliminated. While it can be
reduced, sensate objects are always processed naked perceptive data.
and interpretation are simultaneous. The former arises as a result of
stimuli influencing the sensitive surfaces of the five senses, the
latter by the ongoing activity of mental processes with their particular objects and semiotics.
Objectivity is guaranteed because sensate objects depend on what happens
at the sensitive surfaces of the five senses. Epistemologically, we must accept facts
also carry the input of the world "out there". Suppose we don't, then
our knowledge is no longer knowledge about some thing, but merely an
intra-mental (intersubjective) phenomenon. The concordia discors
is left for a reduction of the object of experience to the subject of
experience (as in ontological idealism), leading to a corrupt form of
epistemology, misrepresenting the possibilities of knowledge, as well as
∫ Reality nor ideality are a problem. Their reification always is.
Objectivity is the tenacity with which sensate
objects appear solitary, independent and separated from other objects.
Physical reality defined by physics implies a something which is not
thought, with relations not requiring they are thought about. This
homogeneous approach of Nature defines the latter as constituted by the
extra-mental, by the theory-transcendent aspect of facts. In the
physicalist & materialist view, sensate objects are "real" because they
are independent and separate from Nature being
thought about. Although objectivity is stubbornly unyielding, not a
single permanent sensate object is found, for every object is
differential moment and so in process rather than revealing ipseity, own being,
own becoming, own-form, intrinsic nature or substance from its own side. Hence, objectivity
is always relative to the interval at hand, and this unveils
conscious choice. Also spatially, subjective expectations trigger new
∫ Reality and ideality are not to be avoided, but merely act as the two
regulative ideas bringing, by way of correspondence and by way of
consensus respectively, the two methodological sides of the process of
knowledge-production to a greater unity.
Without sensate objects, true conventional
knowledge, i.e. the valid empirico-formal propositions of science,
cannot be articulated nor validated. They, so must we assume, provide
the elements not dependent on mental objects. These are not substances,
but the ongoing actuality of phenomena. But although facts appear as
constituted of elements independent of the mind, they are at the same
time constituted by theories depending on opinion,
intersubjective testing, conjecture & argumentation, yes, even on implicit or
explicit metaphysical background information. Sensate objects are therefore only seemingly stable and inherently
self-identical. Not to grasp this is to break away from the concordia
discors and plunge reason into the scandal & folly of a "perversa
ratio", like the one promoting, by lack of spirit, the "nature
morte" of a dying universe without rebirth.
When moving to the extreme of objectivity,
subjectivity needs to be invoked !
Natural science's exclusive concern with thoughts about Nature, concepts
not requiring they being thought, is not an ontological choice (as in
ontological realism found in materialism & physicalism), but an
epistemic interest or methodological concern. Natural science wants to isolate the
"hard facts" as clear as possible, meaning independent of the necessity
of their appearance in fields of consciousness in order for them to
function. The conditions & determinations of a physical object call for
the calculation of the probability of some sensate object to manifest
properties. The latter reflect, so we are bound to assume, the
interconnectedness between Nature stimulating the sensitive surfaces of
the five senses. The recurrence of the form of definiteness at hand
identifies the activity of Nature insofar as it is approached
Because all phenomena are actual occasions, natural science is able to
enlarge is perspective, and integrate other families of actual occasions
like information and consciousness. Together with matter, these three
represent the hardware, software and userware to be studied by natural
∫ Redefining "phenomenon" as "actual
occasion", breaks away from the identification of the object of natural
science with matter. Code, symbols and information (form), as well as
autoregulation & conscious observation (contents), are part of this new
science of Nature.
The objectivity of sensate objects is the foundation of our outer sense
of reality. "Outer" in the sense of coming in through the senses, the
gates informing us about what goes on "out there" (in terms of
efficiency & finality).
We must assume these stimuli to be independent of the operations on the
side of the knower. If not, knowledge is no longer about some
extra-mental thing. In that case we plunge epistemology in darkness and break
away from the necessary discordant truce between objective and
subjective conditions of knowledge, its production and advancement.
However, the information gathered by the senses depends on the features
of their sensitive surfaces, calling for different physical processes
and their limitations. What is gathered on these surfaces is then translated
and transported to the thalamus, coding it for reception by the
neocortex. At the highest level, this information is presented to the
human brain and its mind, imputing a sensate object. Objectivity refers
§ 9 The Subjectivity of Mental Objects.
Sensate and mental objects are those
possessed or apprehended by the mind, appearing in a field of
consciousness with at its center the cognizer, the knower. Sensate
objects only appear when the five senses convey their perceptive
information correctly to the brain, offering it (by way of interaction)
to the mind and its knower (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 4 &
Philosophy of the Mind and Its Brain, 2009). During sensoric
deprivation ("pratyâhara"), only mental objects appear. One
"observes" with the "inner sense" of consciousness itself. In normal
waking, both objects constantly overlap and mingle. Only with analytical
attention does one notice their distinctness.
Subjectivity is guaranteed because sensate objects themselves can only
be constituted if and only if the data projected on the neocortex by the
thalamus is interpreted. And the latter is not merely a computation of
the neocortex, but also involves the impact of the mind independent of
the brain, namely through interaction by way of (re)valuating the
β.1 Hence, everything smelled, tasted, seen, heard or
touched is already a "thing-for-us" (cf. Kant's "das Ding-für-uns")
; already an appearance of something, not the thing itself !
β.2 This Copernican Revolution reveals the core inspiration of the
transcendental level of mind : to unveil, discover or reveal the
mechanism of the mind enabling us to impute sensate & mental objects.
The presence of these intra-mental operators make it clear sensate
object merely appear as independent of the mind, and this in a very
striking and convincing way. This is the quest leading to the sublime : how can
something appear so strikingly different than it actually is ?
∫ Illusion ("mâyâ") is a truth-concealer, for it poisons the mind to
believe a rope is a snake. Like a hallucinogenic, it makes us believe a
one-winged bird truly flies.
Subjectivity is the invisible, intangible, non-physical, nonspatial, temporal impact of
valuation, reassessment, autopoiesis, auto-structuration and conscious
choice on the contents of consciousness, i.e. on both sensate and mental
objects appearing in its field and apprehended by the subject of
experience, the knower, and this at every differential moment of the
actual stream of consciousness hic et nunc, i.e. in every
instance of its temporal ongoingness and creative advance from its
beginningless past to its endless future.
∫ The subject of experience, the knower, depends on the known. The known
depends on the knower. In each actuality, both are simultaneous.
mental objects, no thoughts, opinions, conjectures, hypothesis or
theories could be articulated. Refuting them would also be impossible.
This fact is as important as the tenacity of sensate objects,
contributing to the grand spectacle of illusions offered by the
conventional world and its suffering.
δ.1 Both tyrannies work together to
cage our understanding, forcing it to prostrate before the idol of the
ideas of the Real or
the Ideal. Although theories appear in an intersubjective context shared
by all involved sign-interpreters, theoretical constructs, connotations,
concepts and words do not replace naked perception, and the data derived
from that. Idealism or the eternalism of the subject must be avoided as
hard as realism, the eternalism of the object.
δ.2 Also the negation of
anything objective and/or subjective having any functional relevance
whatsoever (annihilationism) is to be rejected. Keeping the concordia discors ever alive
is accepting both objective & subjective conditions of conceptual
knowledge, giving both an equal share in the production of knowledge.
Moving to the extreme of subjectivity ? Call in
common sense !
The subjectivity of mental objects builds our inner sense of conscious
existence, our ideality.
"Inner" in the sense of also appearing without sensate objects (as in
sensory deprivation, sensualizations, visualisations, imaginations & dreams) and "ideal" because a
sentient apprehension is a non-physical presence and self-reflective. We must accept the
mind to be independent of the sensate objects appearing to it. If not,
the mind is devaluated, and reduced to an real object. At this point, a
merely passive mind must ensue. But the mind is active and co-determines what is
called fact ! It co-defines the real. But an ideal subjectivity does not constitute objectivity.
Although theory co-determines observation, sensate objects are not
solely defined by language-games. Subjectivity refers to objectivity.
§ 10 Direct & Indirect Experience.
Experience, from the Latin "experientia" or
"knowledge gained by repeated trials", the compound of "ex-" or
"out of" + "peritus" or "experienced, tested", is what is
available through observation. This is apprehending, positing or
imputing sensate and/or mental objects in the field of consciousness of
the knower. Direct experience is the subjective apprehension of
objects here & now. Indirect experience is intersubjective.
How to conceptualize the experience of smelling a
It could be argued consciousness itself is a mental object. However, a "prise de conscience"
is something different than merely being a receptive sentient field with an
apprehending center, for it involves
attention, intention, introspection, autoregulation, etc. These point to
the special dynamic characteristics of sentience, related to the inner,
cognizing luminosity of the mind itself. The knower is not a passive mental
object, but the transcendental "I think" enabling the processes of the
empirical ego to occur. It is of all times and necessarily at work in
every cognitive act. The knower takes actively part in every cognitive
∫ Empirical ego, transcendental ego, creative self and selfless nondual
prehension are the
levels of consciousness, its degrees of freedom.
Direct experience is gained in the context of reality-for-me ; from the
vantage point of the first person. Its objects
appear when the knower is alone (the set of observers = 1). Shared by a
potentially relevant but insignificant group of observers, direct
experience may turn into second
person knowledge (the set of observers = 2). Only when after considerable experimentation a
significant number of involved sign-interpreters deem it so, direct experience
becomes fact, i.e. a third person (the set of observers > 2) item of valid conventional knowledge.
At the very moment a fact is produced, experience becomes indirect and
Indirect experience involves a sharing of objects
by at least more than two observers. Relevant indirect experience is
limited to a small group of observers, while significant indirect
experience implies high probability objects, namely those highly
recurrent. The latter call for a process of validation involving
repeated testing & argued (re)modelling.
Direct experience, the foundation of our personal
sense of reality remains, from moment to moment, the cornerstone of the existential situation
we find ourselves in. This is the actual mindstream or stream of
consciousness with its fleeting moments of sentient activities. This
mindstream determines our happiness or misery. The ongoingness of our
loneliness gives definiteness to this passage of time and the
connections between events correlated with it. Although highly
subjective, this intimate knowledge, this direct, living knowledge (cf.
"Da'at") co-determines how we perceive the
knower and the known. Inner direct experience, the cultivation of
attention & autoregulation, and outer direct experience, the science and
art of observation, are pivotal in living our inner life well.
∫ Because the smell of a rose cannot be put into words, the most
important things in our lives never depend upon reason.
The more knowledge is public, the more it becomes indirect. The more
knowledge is private, the more it is direct. Although direct knowledge
is the root, it cannot serve to build intersubjective paradigms of valid
conventional knowledge. This would lead to the domination of the view of
a single (or a few) observers over all others. However, absolute truth
is an object of direct knowledge. Intersubjective knowledge is always
indirect, and belongs to the world of (valid) conventional information. Part of the
sapient observer, it no longer merely belongs to his or her personal "Lebenswelt",
but to the community of involved rational sign-interpreters. Of
course, direct knowledge gathered by the single observer may influence
the latter and thus assist to produce experiences shared in common. In
this sense, such knowledge is, conventionally speaking, simultaneously highly relevant and
highly insignificant (trivial). But because it is highly relevant,
chances exist it leads to significant results. Moreover, only by way of
direct knowledge does one realize the suchness/thatness of all possible
C. Towards a Critical Metaphysics.
Western philosophy, starting in Ancient Egypt and Greece, cherished the
quest for the unbounded, self-sufficient (substantial) ground of all phenomena, accepting
a permanent core or foundation ad hoc. In Kemet, transcendence
remained interdependent, and so a more henotheist, pan-en-theist view
dominated. In Greco-Roman religion and philosophy transcendence was always
linked to independence, of being Olympically isolated from the plebs
below. This aristocratic elitism influenced the intellectuals Hellenizing
Judeo-Christian theology. The absolute appeared as a Caesar, the sole "substance
of substances", the One Alone, omnipotent & omniscient. This is
like turning the ultimate into a creative principle, a self-powered
"entity of entities".
In modern philosophy, the tendency to reify served the quest for the
"great formula" explaining the fundamental nature of phenomena. Either
the Ideal or the Real were substantialized and used as two conflicting
archaeologies of the possibility of knowledge. Their pre-critical kind of
metaphysics dealt with the self-sufficient ground itself. Materialism,
realism and empirism battled with spiritualism, idealism and
rationalism. The resulting chaos was outstanding. These systems were
unable to explain the absolute nature of phenomena in terms of process,
Thanks to the transcendental study of our cognitive faculty, we no
longer ground knowledge outside knowledge, but in the groundless ground
of the mind itself. Given process, we no longer accept substance, and so
radically relinquish inherent existence from its own side, i.e.
independent & separate substance. The first question of critical
metaphysics, besides keeping the demarcation with science intact, is
indeed Why something rather than nothing ? Hence, the study of existence
is crucial. For finding no permanent object and concluding all phenomena
are impermanent, transforms critical metaphysics into a metaphysics of
§ 1 Transcendence & Interdependence in Ancient Egyptian
Ancient Egyptians deliver our earliest -though by
no means primitive- written evidence of extensive speculative thinking
The Pyramid Texts of Unas, 2006). One may therefore characterize
Egyptian thought as
the beginning of speculation if not of philosophy.
As far back as the third millennium BCE, they posed questions about
being and nonbeing, the essence of time, the nature of the
cosmos and man, the meaning of death, the foundation of human society
and the legitimation of political power, etc.
∫ To read a
ca.4.300 years old canonical text without any transcription errors is
indeed a rare feat.
Considering the three stages of cognition (cf.
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 6), two important demarcations need to be
made. The first exists between ante-rationality and rationality. The
second between rationality and meta-rationality.
distinctions point to the
integration of decontextualization. Before the rational stage,
conceptualization is either pre-rational or proto-rational, introducing
unstable pre-concepts or contextualized concepts. With the advent of
formal thought, and based on the gained capacity to make abstractions,
β.2 The second line is between, on the one hand,
conceptuality, and, on the other hand, a-conceptuality &
non-conceptuality. Mythical thought is a-conceptual. Nondual thought is
non-conceptual. Between these, the concept is at hand in various forms :
pre-concept, concrete concept, formal concept, transcendental concept &
Level of Concepts
In genetic epistemology, the cognitive process is analyzed in terms of
coordination of movements, interiorization and permanency :
: the formation of new cognitive forms is triggered by the repeated
confrontation with an unexpected, novel action, a set of
events radically undermining the tenacity with which
acquired ideas shape a particular, limited view of the world. This is a
secure & stable architecture of habits & expectations, dramatically challenged by this
significant confrontation with the novel action - no conceptualization
occurs, for objects and beings are equated with their motoric coordinations
(as in mythical thought) ;
action-reflection or the interiorization of this novel action by means of
semiotical factors ; this is the first level of permanency fashioning pre-concepts having no decontextualized use (as in pre-rational thought) ;
& retro-action using these pre-concepts, valid insofar as they symbolize the
original action, but always with reference to context : the concrete
concept (as in proto-rational thought) ;
of permanency : formal
concepts, valid independent of the original action & context, the formation
of permanent cognitive (mental) operators : the
abstract concept (as in formal thought).
δ. Ancient Egyptian cultural objects are always contextualized and rooted
in mythical constructs and topical pre-concepts. This makes it more
difficult to take note of the general features of the patchwork. But a
number of strata do appear : Heliopolitan, Hermopolitan, Osirian,
Memphite and Theban speculative thought can be textually identified (cf.
Ancient Egyptian Wisdom Readings,
2008). These themes can be isolated because proto-rationality does have
a closure, albeit one dependent on the context at hand. The "Greek
miracle", the introduction of abstraction or the decontextualized use of
concepts, did not preclude pre-Greek civilizations, of which Ancient
Egypt was the grandest, to produce great thinkers, writers, men of
science & philosophers avant la lettre. Of all peoples of
Antiquity, the Ancient Egyptians were the most literary, reproducing
huge quantities of hieroglyphic texts in their tombs and on the walls of
their temples. Comparatively, a huge number has been recovered, but we
know the majority was lost ...
∫ Two central themes run through the whole of Dynastic Egypt : (a) the
balancing role of the divine king (in particular in causing the Nile to
flood in accordance with Maat) and (b) the unity-in-multiplicity of the
natural & divine orders.
Ancient Egypt, the radical ontological difference between the
creating and the created pertains. The former ("natura
naturans"), consisted of the light-spirits of the gods and royal
ancestors (the "akhu"), residing in the circumpolar stars, untouched by
the movement of rising and setting, shining permanently from above.
These spirits did interact with their creation ("natura naturata")
by means of their "souls" ("bas") and "doubles" ("kas"). The Bas
represented the dynamical, interconnective principle, ritually invited to
descend and bless creation by way of the offerings made to their Kas.
These resided on Earth in the cult-statue hidden away in the dark "naos"
or "holy of holies" of the Egyptian temple. Only the king or his
representatives could enter this sacred space and offer the world-order
("Maat"). This exclusivity was the result of the fact gods only
communicate with gods and the king was the only "Akh" or
actually embodied on Earth. So he alone could make the connection.
The transcendent nature of the deities, their remote presence as well as
their exclusive mode of interaction, point to a monarchic mentality, to
a radical transcendence, and, mutatis mutandis, the ontological
difference between, on the one hand, the eternalized world of the deities and,
on the other hand, the
chaotic, everchanging world of man. A division to return in Platonism.
∫ The divine "akhu" are the differential states of light,
derived from Atum at the first occasion ("zep tepy"), when he was one but also two and so forth
(an Ennead). Monotheism, the
affirmation of singularity, is not part of Kemet. The "King of Kings" is
Hidden, One and Millions (cf.
The Hymns to Amun, 2002). The reification of light led to the notion
of a hidden, fundamental "essence", a substance existing from its own
Akhenaten tried to reify light, turning it into the sole "substance
of substances", Egyptian culture at large rejected this singular deification.
Besides positing this substantial division of
Nature in two, the Ancient Egyptians stressed their mutual dependence
The Maxims of Good Discourse or the Wisdom of Ptahhotep, 2002).
The procedure of weighing
became a metaphor of the shamanistic exchange between the transcendent
and the human world. The pair of scales involved the natural, automatic
functioning of a natural law, namely "Maat", the deity of righteousness
& truth born with the universe ...
"Said he (Anubis) that is in the tomb :
'Pay attention to the decision of
and the plummet of the balance, according to its stance !'"
Papyrus of Ani, Plate 3
(note how the plummet hangs as
a heart on the Feather of Maat)
In this short
exhortation, a practical method of truth springs to the fore : concentration,
observation, quantification (analysis, spatiotemporal flow, measurements) &
recording (fixating). This with the purpose of rebalancing, reequilibrating &
correcting concrete states of affairs, using the plumb-line of the various
equilibria in which these actual aggregates of events are dynamically
-scale-wise- involved, causing Maat to be done for them and their environments
and the proper Ka, at peace with itself, to flow between all parts of
creation. The "logic" behind this operation involves four rules :
inversion : when a concept is introduced, its opposite is also invoked (the
two scale of the balance) ;
: flow is the outcome of inequality (the feather-scale of the
balance is a priori correct) ;
: the two sides of everything interact and are interdependent (the
beam of the balance) ;
: the possibilities between every pair are measured by one standard
The later notions of "nous" and "logos", at one time
supposed to have been introduced into Egypt from abroad at a much later
date, were present at a very early period (cf.
The Memphis Theology, 2001 &
On the Shabaka Stone, 2001). Thus the Greek tradition of the origin
of their philosophy in Egypt undoubtedly contains more truth than some
Classical scholars would prefer (cf.
Hermes the Egyptian, 2002). Before the earliest Greek philosophers
were born, the practice of interpreting the functions and
relations of the Egyptian gods philosophically already begun in Egypt. Is it impossible the
Greek practice of interpreting their own gods likewise received its first
impulse from Egypt ? No.
Shabaka Stone :
LINE 53 (Memphis
Theology - hieroglyphs in red are reconstructed)
: "There comes into being in the mind. There comes into being by the tongue. (It
is) as the image of Atum. Ptah is the very great, who gives life to all
the gods and their Kas. It all in this mind and by this tongue."
Ancient Egyptian literature, lots of themes animating Greek
philosophy since Pythagoras are on record. However, these
speculations always reflect an ante-rational mode of cognition,
characterized by the total absence of theory, abstraction and the use of
decontextualized (formal) concepts. This makes understanding them so
difficult, but also very rewarding.
may be translated as "mind" & "tongue" as "speech". The "heart of Ptah" is not yet a Greek "nous" devoid of
context, i.e. an abstract, rational idea. Only concrete concepts
prevail and closure is proto-rational. Rather, the
contents of mind (or the meaning of the words) simultaneously move
Ptah's tongue, bringing out the words actually spoken.
So besides transcendence and a very strong interdependence between
Heaven and Earth, Egyptian sapience attributed creative power to the
spoken word, in particular in terms of giving particular form
to the objects of creation. Such a "great word" was an authority ("hu")
by itself, commanding powers ("heka")
not to be stopped. Full of understanding ("sia"), it could only be
spoken by the divine king himself and his chosen high priests. For only
the king was a "Son of Re", the sole divine "akh" or spirit on Earth and
so the exclusive mediator between Egypt and the gods.
∫ Not to study Ancient Egyptian literature &
sapiental discourses, is to neglect the mother of Western philosophy.
It is a mistake to think philosophy started with the Ancient Greeks.
Although introducing formal thinking, the Greeks were inspired by the
sapience they found in Egypt. Most themes found in Greek metaphysics
were part of the ante-rational speculations of the thinkers of Kemet. In
particular, their views on substance ("akh"), transcendence ("pet") and
interdependence ("ba" & "ka") had a profound effect on Platonism and
Greek science. This does not imply Greek philosophy was "out of Africa",
but neither can one claim Hellenistic speculative thought was a
spontaneous find of the Greeks. Inventing the syllogism, they often got
the second premise from the vast
Kemetic storehouse of observation.
§ 2 Greek Metaphysics : Transcendence & Independence.
Describing the particulars of the Ancient Greek mentality calls for more than youth, keen interest,
opportunism, individualism & anthropocentrism. With the introduction of formal
conceptual reason and its application to the major problems of philosophy (truth,
goodness, beauty & the origin of the world, life and the human), a completely
new kind of sapiental thinking was set afoot. Theory, linearization and
abstraction were discovered and applied, giving birth to a new style. The Greek
method of analysis & synthesis objectified the
immediate in discursive terms, and this in a script symbolizing
vowels. This Hellenizing leap forward was then offered (enforced) to the world. It was introduced
as far as India, where it influenced mathematics, astrology and Buddhist
iconography, but also heralded the Ptolemaic Period of Ancient Egypt
(305 - 30 BCE), bringing about Hermetism (cf.
Hermes the Egyptian, 2003), as well as an Egyptian (Judeo-Christian)
β. As Indo-Europeans, the Ionian
"sophoi" pioneering Greek philosophy, had
typical features of their own :
individuality / authority
: a single member of humanity was no longer ontologically inferior to the
group, the tribe, the clan, the nome, etc. There must be good reasons to
accept any authority ;
: one must seek the final frontier, integrate what is the best and keep what
is good ;
unique dynamic script
: by the introduction of vowels, the written and the spoken word mirrored
more adequately ;
method : phenomena obey mathematics, and a stable, linear description
anthropomorphic theology : the Supreme Beings are like a human
family, with a paternalist figure-head. Henotheism ensues and prevails
throughout Paganism. The Supreme is essentially One, but existentially Many.
In their ante-rational speculations, the pre-Socratics sought the
foundation or "arché" of the world. This final,
self-sufficient, autarchic ground had to explain existence as well as
the moral order. For Anaximander of Miletus (ca. 611 - 547 BCE), the
cosmos developed out of the "apeiron", or "no bound", the boundless, infinite
indefinite. This is without distinguishable qualities. Later, Aristotle
would add a few of his own : immortal, Divine and imperishable.
The Archaic stratum of the "Greek Miracle"
was layered. Steeped in Greek myth (Hesiod, Homer), pre-concepts
emerged, rapidly followed by a series of concrete concepts playing a
comprehensive, totalizing role in the explanation of what is at hand :
"phusis" & "apeiron" : the elemental laws of the cosmos are rooted
in substance, which is all ;
"tetraktys" : the elemental cosmos is rooted in numbers which form
man, gods & demons ;
"psuche" & "logos" : a quasi-reflective self-consciousness,
symbolical & psychological ;
"aletheia" : the moment of truth is a decision away from opinion
("doxa") entering "being" ;
"anthropos" : man is the measure of all things and the relative
The Ionians, largely basing themselves on myth, introduced the first
pre-concepts & concrete concepts. Thanks to Pythagoras (ca. 580 BCE -
ca. 500) and the Eleatics, the a priori dawned. A
new mathematics, logic & rhetoric were born. The term "philosophy"
After the Persian Wars (449 BCE), starting
with the Sophists, Greek philosophy displayed the rule of reason & the
subsequent liberation of thought from all possible contexts. Abstraction
could come into play. The subsequent relativism of the
Sophists is rejected by Socrates (470 - 399 BCE). He sought universal,
eternal truths by way of dialogue, criticizing established views and
inviting his listeners to discover this truth by the use of their own
minds. For Socrates, the practice of philosophy helps to
understanding the role of the human being as part of the "polis",
a designated community. Plato, Xenophon & Aristophanes portray an
original, unique, civilized but non-conformist individualist, ironical,
brave, dispassionate and impossible to classify, belonging to no school.
This exceptional individual embodied the ideal of Greek philosophy.
philosophy is a radical, uncompromising,
authentic search for understanding, insight & wisdom ;
philosophy is never an intellectual,
optional "game", but demands the enthusiast arousal of all faculties,
addressing the "complete" human and giving birth to a practice of
philosophy equals relative, conventional,
approximate truth, but never absolute truth. Greek philosophy, accepting
intuition, never eliminates reason.
The classical systems of Plato (428 - 347 BCE) &
(384 - 322 BCE)
are a reply to the relativism of the Sophists. Protagorian relativism is
rejected. To refute this scepticism, i.e. the unwillingness to accept there
is only "doxa", opinion, not "aletheia", truth, Classical
philosophy opts for substantialism, accepting some permanent, static
unchanging, self-sufficient core to exist in
changing things. This core being its substance. This essence ("eidos") or
substance ("ousia") may be subjective or objective.
As the ideal, it is a subject fundamentally unmodified by change. This higher subject is
viewed as an inner, inherent ground acting,
from its own side, as the common support of the successive inner states
As the real, the substance of a thing is deemed the stuff out of which
explaining the manifestation of the extra-mental, objective, kicking world "out there".
Both need to be criticized.
In Western substantialism or essentialism, the substance of A is the permanent, unchanging,
eternal, final, self-sufficient ground, foundation, core or essence of A,
something existing from its own side, never as an attribute of or
in relation with any other thing.
∫ If I think my wife (husband) is real, how to make
love to her (him) ? If I think my wife (husband) is ideal, how to remain
Both Plato &
Aristotle are substantialists and concept-realists. They seek a
self-sufficient ground and both root our concepts in an extra-mental reality outside knowledge. Plato
cuts reality in two qualitatively different worlds. True knowledge is
remembering the world of ideas. He roots it in the ideal. Aristotle divides the mind in two
functionally different intellects. To draw out & abstract the common
element, an "intellectus agens" is needed. He roots
knowledge in the real.
ι. The foundationalism inherent in concept-realism seeks permanence
cannot find it. It therefore ends the infinite regress ad hoc and posits
something to be possessed by the subject. This is either an object of
the mind (like an active intellect or an eternal soul) or an object of
the extra-mental world (the permanent
stuff of reality). Greek concept-realism seeks substance ("ousia") and
substrate ("hypokeimenon"). This core is permanent, unchanging and
exists from its own side.
In concept-realism and foundationalism, truth is
transcendent, independent and permanent (eternal). As soon as positing a fixed &
static object is habitual, the mind arrests its primary critical task to
continuously distinguish between a substance-based and a process-based
view on sensate and mental objects. Avoiding the first, an infinite
potential and dynamic transformation due to interdependence is made
possible. Entrapped by the illusions displayed by truth-concealers, ever-changing display and the rise of
multiplicity are impossible.
∫ Positing substance splits the stream, while accepting process makes way for the flow.
The "Greek miracle" escaped the narrow confines of the contextual
thinking characterizing the way of Antiquity. Formal, theoretical
thought, individualism and a dialogal attitude would revolutionize
speculation and give birth to philosophy as a rational way to understand
the world as a whole. The pre-Socratics introduced fundamental concepts
like "arché", "logos" & "aletheia". The Eleatics
heralded the a priori, while Democritus focused on the a
posteriori and the Sophists introduced the pragmatism & relativism
of the "anthropos". The classical systems of Plato and Aristotle
tried to bring these together within the framework of
a generalizing concept-realism, grounding the truth of concepts in either a
transcendent ideality or in the world of the senses respectively.
Substantialism (essentialism) were deemed necessary to explain the
possibility of knowledge. Ontology defined epistemology.
§ 3 Metaphysics in Monotheism and Modern Philosophy.
Greek rationalism and concept-realism influenced Egyptian thinking, triggering Hermetism
Hermes the Egyptian, 2003). The "Greek miracle" had a decisive impact on Judaism, as it would have on
Christianity and Islam. At first, Platonism and neo-Platonism prevailed,
but then Aristotelism took over. Greek substantialism overcrowded monotheist theology.
What started as an apology serving the spread of a Semitic religion of
among educated urban Greco-Romans, ended up as a fundamental theology
saturated by the static framework of Classical Greek thought, inviting
the identification of the Supreme Being of monotheism with the Platonic "substance of substances", the
"summum bonum" or the Peripatetic "Prime Mover". Thus the "Living God"
of revelation, in touch with His Creation, was transformed into a
"Caesar", a Supreme Being, independent & self-sufficient, the One Alone,
the Monad or "Absolute of absolutes" looking down on His
creatures. Omniscient & omnipotent, this "God
of Gods" could hardly entertain any interest in humanity, except in
terms of a strict Greek analysis of the rules and obligations laid down
in His scripture ...
∫ The "religions of the book" derived a view of the absolute using an exegesis
based on Greek metaphysics. Such a view serves well all figures
of authority trying to fool other men into "spiritual" servitude.
Greek logic forced the implicit theomonism of the Torah into a
monotheism. This view was unable to embrace the bi-polar nature of the Deity.
ALHYM", revealed to Moses on the Horeb, was both singular ("YHVH")
and plural ("ALHYM"). This "coincidentio
oppositorum", also found in Ancient Egyptian sapience, in
particular in the transcendent function of Pharaoh, a shamanist king of
sorts, comes nearer
to the direct experience of the Divine "face to Face". In essence, God is ineffable
(singular), but existentially He is "Elohîm", and so plural.
This is pan-en-theism and theomonism, but not strict monotheism. What
happened ? The
Greeks translated the Hebrew Name of God as "theos"
(singular), eclipsing the Divine Presence ("shekinah") given with
the plural "Elohîm". In this way, Judaism got Hellenized,
triggering countless fringe counter-movements (cf. the Qumrân-people,
the Zelotes, the Johannites, the Jesus-people etc.)
The issues related to the Persons of the Holy Trinity were tackled with
the Greek triadic logic of "monos" (manation), "proodos"
(emanation) & "epistrophe" (return). The stringent
nature of both Greek formal logic and concept-realism caused the dogmatic
breach between Orthodox and Roman Trinitarism, for Rome allowed the
Spirit to also proceed from the Son (cf. the "filioque"
A Christian Orthodoxy and the Holy Spirit, 2004). The
conceptual difficulties related to the
nature of Jesus Christ,
to be named "God" in the
same measure as His Father -with whom He is consubstantial- but also
fully & perfectly human, gave rise to a rich tapestry of conflicting views. These
were elaborated using the full measure of the possibilities given by
traditional formal logic. They caused many heresies (alternative
choices) and doctrinal problems. These induced violence, both mental and
physical. The direct experience of the "Living
Christ" was thus replaced by a theological system, a monolith intended to
rule the world, spiritually & worldly. The spiritual impetus of the
Egyptian Hermits in Christ was soon replaced by monastic orders protected by walls and
controlled by the Episcopate.
The Koran sees with two eyes. With the
left, the remote, essential, substantial side of "Allâh" ("The God") is
seen. This leads to the theology of the law. With the
right, the near, actual presence of "Allâh" is experienced, bringing in
rapture, beauty, poetry and all possible enjoyments. This leads to the
theology of spiritual emancipation. After the death of Muhammad, the Prophet
of Islam, peace
be with him, Islam spread out
and assimilated Greek
science, logic & philosophy. In a few centuries, it had gotten Hellenized
and even integrated the Hermetism of Harran !
The logic of remoteness, largely and subreptively based on the model of The
One of Plotinus, gave weight to the idea of predestination. The overpowering,
Imperial interpretation of the omniscient & omnipotent status of "Allâh", favoured by
jurists, scholars &
intellectuals alike, made any kind of
intimate encounter with the Divine suspicious (as in
Sufism). Due to the
Greek "privatio", the world and man were deemed without
self-sufficient substance, and
hence, with the turn of Greek logic, The God is the only one truly in charge of
Being, exception made for the Perfect Man, an embodiment of
the 99 Names of "Allâh", personified in the person of Mohammed. Again the
logic of Greek formalism had embanked a living stream, causing strong
oppositions and theological schisms. Politically (cf. Sunna versus
Shi'a), as well as hermeneutically (cf. Sharia versus Sufism), tensions
were and are too often coupled with disrespect, brutality & violence.
Because the power of formal logic is nowhere
granted more privilege than in Islamic theology, the danger to be entrapped in radical dogmatism
& fanatism is outstanding.
∫ Monotheist theology remains a monolithic mastodon, displaying a
gigantism slowly brought down by the discoveries of science and the
ongoing creative advance of the human mind.
ε. The impact of the monotheist concept of
God on pre-critical metaphysics was unmistaken. In Scholasticism,
philosophy merely served theology, so the link is obvious. However, it
took modern philosophy also quite some time to abolish the substantial
(a) non-radical, nominalist denial of the conceptual realism of
Scholasticism, (b) observation & experiment, (c) bricoleur-mentality
deriving from the individual & (d) focus on solving practical problems ;
Although the authority of religious potentates in non-spiritual matters
comes under fire, the existence of a Supreme Being is not denied, neither is
substantialism, trying to identify a permanent "core" in phenomena.
Disclosing the plan or mind of the omnipotent & omnipresent God was no
Nature : (a) mathematics of the final foundation of knowledge in
a clear, distinct, continuous, certain & absolute self-sufficient ground, the
final truth of which is to be intuitively grasped, (b) systematic
observation & formalization of facts, (c) focused on a closed,
knowledge-founding & dualistic worldview & anthropology ;
For Descartes, God guarantees truth. Classical rationalism maintains an abstract
concept of the Supreme Being, still viewed as existing from its own
side, inherently. Both the ego cogitans, the extended things and
God are substances. Spinoza goes a step further, and defines God as the
sole substance with an infinite number of attributes (of which humans
only grasp two). Leibniz also maintains the God of substance, adding a
theodicy stressing He created the best possible world ...
Empirism of Nature
: (a) mathematical certainty & impressions are the foundation of
knowledge (phenomenalism), (b) systematic observation & its formalization,
(c) sceptic agnosticism undermining positive science, scholastic &
natural metaphysics alike ;
Empirists like Locke and Hume no longer wish to incorporate non-sensate
objects like God. They introduce the first step in an increasing cleavage between
science and the God of revelation. No longer needing "this hypothesis"
(Laplace), they restrict the domain of valid knowledge to statements
incorporating empirical data. God slowly fades to the background and
becomes a private
(a) a systematic, transcendental investigation of the objective
boundaries of "Verstand" (mind) and "Vernunft" (reason)
operating in the subject of knowledge, (b) the elimination of the ideas
of God, Soul & World as constitutive for knowledge, (c)
Copernican Revolution : the human mind imposes Nature its own a priori categories,
(d) focused on a new, scientific (immanent) metaphysics not
moving beyond the boundaries necessary for mind & reason to function
Even Kant, although
ousting God from the field of pure reason, retained the concept of a
substantial God, reintroduced as a postulate of practical reason ! This
divide between theory & practice as well as unsolved theoretical
problems, triggered idealism. Misunderstanding Kant, German Idealists
like Fichte, Schelling & Hegel bring about a reactionary revival of
Divine substance. Introducing a dynamism, Hegel tries to incorporate the
idea of historical change. It eludes him one cannot truly couple
substantialism with dynamism, except by violating the "dead bones" of
formal logic ... the result being a philosophy pitying facts.
: (a) metaphysics & theology are negative values, facts are
positive (Comte) and science is able to work in a way not
involving subjectivity at all (Weber), (b) sense-data are the foundation
of knowledge & the emergent technological materialism (Russell), (c) a
definite movement towards a new, secular scientific class fashioning
their logical-positivist monolith dictating atheism (or agnosticism)
and reductionist humanism ;
In the Romantic Age, while God is finally driven out from the edifice of
Newtonian science, we witness an exotism introducing Eastern ideas of the Divine
and interest in fringe subjects (cf. psychic research, occultism,
Egyptomania). In philosophy, a protest movement unfolds rejecting the
supreme role of reason. Nietzsche correctly foresees the end of the
Platonic God ... Technology based on Newtonian science is the new "Holy
: (a) rapid, massive global divulgation of closed Carnot systems, (b)
valid knowledge is tested & consensual : a scientific elitism with its
given discourses, conventions, parlances and local logics - science as
the servant of industry, the military, the "powers that be", (c) focused
on the illusionary metaphysics of permanent scientific discovery &
material growth, (d) denial of the role of the First Person Perspective
in science, (e) negation of the results of
observational psychology and the cult of sense-data, instrumentalism &
strategic communication ;
With materialism, physicalism, scientism, logical positivism,
instrumentalism and the like, the subject of experience is reduced to
the physical stuff of the brain, and believe in God has become silly &
retarded. Metaphysics is no longer a valid subject of inquiry. This new
paradigm conquers the Western world and is institutionalized. Opposing
views are disposed of as useless and boycotted.
(a) globalization of egology, destruction of ecosystems & social
depravity, (b) rapid moral degeneration, corrupt status quo, the rise of
counter & anti-cultural movements, the institutionalization of
incompetence, massive global squandering of material resources, (c)
virulent nihilism, death-art, the cult of irrationalism & the rise of
posthumous modernism, technocratic science, militarism, narcissism &
consumerism, (d) total & global misunderstanding of the needs of
humanity & its survival, (e) collective forms of psychosis & hysteria,
rise of violence, insecurity & ecological catastrophes, (f) fall
of communism and the assimilation of socialism and ecology into late
capitalism and its inherent Plutocracy : egoism "enlightened" by black
Modernism collapsed as soon as the "grand
tales" invented by reductionism, materialism & physicalism were found to
be defunct. Postmodernism introduced a "margin", a sidetrack
deconstructing these main ideologies. The days of foundationalism, so
cherished by modernity, are finally over. Replacing the substantial God
with a physical self-sufficient ground did not lead to the expected social,
political & economical harmonization, quite on the contrary. It destroyed
the ecosystem and brought about a new world disorder. There is no
"invisible hand" regulating late capitalism. Modernity ends in chaos &
more suffering for all. Physical poverty and a psychological
poverty-mentality abound. Who has not been driven into the cage of
Hypermodernism will truly begin when science realizes it has refuted too
much. Relativity, quantum, chaos and string reintroduce the subject and
a renewed interest in criticism brings about a "linguistic turn".
Even the absolute is reintroduced, albeit not as the substantial God. The
way Nature is questioned influences the way Nature responds. Metaphysics
cannot be banished but needs to be redefined. The advent of the WWW ends
the restriction of information, assisting the divulgation of a
multi-cultural and global worldview. But this hypermodernism
has not yet reached society at large. Forced by economical &
ecological catastrophes, a global change and the advent of a New
Renaissance may be expected.
The death of the Greek version of
the Divine is not the end of the
concept of the absolute, nor of the possibility of an absolute process.
God* as conceived here is no longer before or beyond the world, but with all entities.
In this view, God*
is both impersonal (transcendent, primordial) and personal (immanent). Sharing many
features of the semantic field of the Supreme Being as found in the
monotheisms expounding God, It differs radically on a few crucial points : this
ultimate, merely sufficient ground, is not
the "substance of substances", but a Divine Process. This is
both impersonal and personal, both a He, a She and an It, merely by convention addressed as "He", "Him" and "His".
Moreover, God* is not omnipotent, nor a Creator !
η. The God* of process is a non-spatiotemporal actual entity giving relevance to the
realm of pure possibility in the becoming of the actual world. Both
potential & actual, He (She, It) is the meeting ground of the actual world & pure
possibilities. Together, the realm of abstract possibilities and the
actual world constitute Nature.
∫ The "God of the Philosophers" is not a God of
revelation, except if the latter is ongoing. S/He is not a God beyond
Nature, but with Nature.
Greek substantialism, being the intellectual framework of the educated
elite, became part of the theologies of the three monotheisms. God was
the "substance of substance", a Supreme Being who created the world "ex
nihilo". Forced by the necessities of formal logic, these theologies
incorporated the problems inherent in every formal system, namely
completeness & consistency.
Following Plato & Aristotle, the God of monotheism became a
substantial God, self-referential & autarchic, an absolute existing
inherently from its own side, isolated and independent from its own
creation. Unchanging, such a God could not accommodate history and be
"Emmanuel", a "God-with-us". Thsi ultimate God-as-substance
was believed to be the ontological "imperial" root of all possible
existence. This God is distinct (another thing or "totaliter aliter")
and radically different (made of other kind of "stuff" as the world). By
identifying the mind of God with Plato's world of ideas, the Augustinian
Platonists had to exchange Divine grace for enlightened, intuitive
reason. Thomist Peripatetics introduced perception as a valid source of
knowledge and so prepared the end of fundamental theology, the rational
explanation of the "facts" of revelation.
For Thomas Aquinas, the relation between God and the world is a "relatio
rationis", not a real or mutual bond. This scholastic notion can be
explained by taking the example of a subject apprehending an object.
From the side of the object only a logical, rational relationship
persists. The object is not affected by the subject apprehending it.
From the side of the subject however, a real relationship is at hand,
for the subject is really affected by the perception of the object.
According to Thomism, God is not affected by the world, and so God is
like a super-object, not a subject. The world however is affected by
this object-God. The relationship between God
and the world can therefore not be reciprocal. If so, the world only contributes to
the glory of God ("gloria externa Dei"). The finite is nothing
more than a necessary "explicatio Dei". This is seen as the
only way the world can contribute to God.
This view contradicts the
notion of the "Living God", a Deity part of history and so influenced by
the free choice of sentient beings.
§ 4 The Fundamental Question : Being or Knowing ?
Driven by the archaic need to find a self-sufficient
ground, an "arché", the Greeks first unveiled the foundation and then
explained how knowledge is possible.
Plato posited a world of ideas, in
all ways better than the world of becoming, and derived his epistemology
of remembrance from the radical division ("chorismos") between
both. The world of becoming, ever changing, multiple and diverse, could
not serve as a self-sufficient ground for the absolute, unchanging truth he
sought. Likewise, Aristotle, although rejecting the existence of two
worlds, would first explain how all things depend on four causes
(material, efficient, formal & final), and only then explain how the
passive & active parts of the intellect functioned.
concept-realism, the theory on being (ontology) acted as an archaeology
for the theory on knowledge (epistemology). One seeks a place ("epi")
on which a subject might stand ("histâmi"). Being came before knowing.
In the Middle Ages, the apory between exaggerated realists ("reales")
and nominalists ("nominales") implied a logico-linguistic
transposition of the ontological apory between Plato and Aristotle.
Indeed, the so-called "battle of universals" transposed Greek
concept-realism, nurturing the division between "ante rem" and "in
re". Universals are either before or in the realities of which they
The extraordinary contribution of Abelard (1079 - 1142) to epistemology is
his avoidance of the apory by introducing a
third option :
universale ante rem
: the universals exist before the realities they subsume :
universale in re : the universals only exist in the realities ("quidditas rei")
of which they are abstractions : Aristotelism ;
universale post rem : universals are words, abstract universal
concepts with a meaning, given to them by human convention, in which real similarities between particulars
are expressed. The latter are not
"essentia" and not "nihil", but "quasi res".
Abelard's solution calls for a
crucial distinction :
universals are not real, but they are nevertheless words (real sounds) with a
significance referring to real similarities between real particulars.
Because of their meaning, they are therefore more than "nothing". The foundation
of his particular nominalism is "the real" as evidenced by similarities between
objects, whereas the "reales" supposed an ante-rational symbiosis
or a symbolical adualism
between "verbum" & "res", between Platonic ideas and material objects
("methexis"). With his solution, Abelard paved the way
for Hume (1711 - 1776), for this radical empirism accepted -without
being to able to explain them- similarities between sense-data.
∫ Too much empirism betrays the necessity of an active mind. Too much
mentalism hampers the sincerity with which we hold things to be true.
With William of Ockham (1290 - 1350),
concept-realism is finally relinquished. The foundational approach is
also left behind. The nominal representations arrived at in real science
are only terministic, i.e. probable. They concern individuals, never
extra-mental "universals". Real science deals with true or false
propositions referring to individual things. These empirical data are
primordial and exclusive to establish the existence of a thing. The
concept ("terminus conceptus" or "intentio animæ") is a
natural sign, the natural reaction to the stimuli of a direct empirical
apprehension. Rational science is possible, but it does only concern
terms, not universal substances. With Ockham, the first inkling of what
would become the Copernican Revolution is felt : one first needs to
study the possibilities of knowledge before making statements about
being. Our cognitive apparatus (the tool) is to be thoroughly known
before launching ontology. Knowing is before being.
logic is simple : less is more.
In an effort to lessen their feelings of insecurity and to explain how to control the multiple, non-linear, chaotic world (of
becoming), Egyptian & Greek
sages alike sought a "hypokeimenon", in other words, a singular
super-thing underlying every possible other thing. Their minds favoured
an isolated, self-dependent & unchanging absolute self-sufficient ground : solid,
permanent & separate. They could not
conceive the absolute as dynamical, interdependent & other-dependent.
These philosophers placed being before anything else.
"saa", "sophoi" or sages considered it their privilege
to make statements about this final self-sufficient ground. Different
"schools" arose. In Egypt these remained contextualized (Memphis,
Heliopolis, Hermopolis, Abydos, Thebes) and so dependent of the "Great
House", the rule of the Solar king to guarantee unity (in plurality). In
Greece, while the tenets of each school were reasonable, bringing them
together merely generated contradictions, inviting the scorn of the
sceptic and the sophist. This in turn motivated system builders like
Plato, Aristotle & Plotinus.
Although the ontological intent may be laudable, especially as a quest
for a totalizing, comprehensive world view, metaphysics cannot but fail
if one does not first consider the instrument with which this
captivating pretence of total overview is made, namely the mind. Indeed,
all statements about the absolute nature of phenomena always happen as
part of the field of consciousness of those who make the claim. One
cannot step outside the mind to witness how things are without it. The
trick of Baron von Münchhausen, lifting himself up by pulling at his own
hair, may delude those ill-prepared, but never fools attentive thinkers.
Imputing being before knowing is the way of pre-critical philosophy.
First studying the mind and then making generalizing statements about
the common features of all possible phenomena is what is at hand.
§ 5 Precritical Metaphysics : Being before Knowing.
Remigius of Auxerre (ca. 841 - 908), taught any species to be a "partitio
substantialis" of the genus. The species is also the substantial
unity of many individuals. Thus, individuals only differ accidentally
from one another. All beings are modifications of one Being. A new child
is not a new substance, but a new property of the already existing
substance called "humanity" (a flair of monopsychism is felt).
When being is posited before knowing, an implicate symbolical adualism
between the name (or word) and its reality or "res" must be at
hand. Words are not merely "flatus vocis", but refer to an
outside them, either as an idea or universal existing in another world or
as a universal realized in
individuals in this world. This semantic adualism baked into the fabric
of reality backs the ontological
"proof" of the existence of God (cf. Anselm of Canterbury -
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 7), but can also
be found in Heidegger after "die Kehre". In strict empirism (cf.
David Hume), this natural, pre-epistemic bond between words and
what they represent is eliminated, but then it becomes unclear how one
is able to identify any common ground between sense-data on the basis of
sense-data alone, triggering
∫ To think the transition between words and their reality as seamless is
to accept the unchecked psychomorphic activity of ante-rationality.
Besides the dangers of dogmatism
(identifying a common ground between words and reality ad hoc)
and scepticism (denying any common ground, plunging epistemology in
absolute relativism ad hoc), promoting being before knowing, and so positing
entities before analyzing the possibilities of the cognitive tool
attending them, a
multiplication of self-sufficient grounds ensues. This absurdity, already
apparent in classical Greek thought (namely the divide between Plato &
Aristotle), returns in Scholasticism as the schism between "reales"
and "nominales" and can also be found in the Modern Age as the
conflict between empirism and rationalism. This was the scandal keeping
Kant awake at night ... How to erect a stable foundation for philosophy
? One as solid and universal as Newton's law of gravitation ? This
cannot be only a matter of choice (this-or-that conjectured self-sufficient
ground), but must be based on a transcendental
logic necessitating the principles of conceptual rationality itself.
∫ First we learn how to use a tool, then we use it. But we learn to use
it by using it and so when using it we merely perfect our use of it.
Not only does essentialist concept-realism conjure a world of static
models tainted by apory, but it displays the naiveté of believing
anything true can be acquired by stepping outside the limitations
imposed, in the first place by cognition itself, but also by conceptual
reason and its empirico-formal propositions and their paradigmatic
synthesis. The conviction of having found an Archimedean stronghold
blinds reason, no longer able to argue its over-the-top imputations,
except ad hoc. Two extreme positions are therefore to be avoided
: "being" is not to be identified with a world of ideas "in here", nor
with the real world "out there". What being is in an absolute
sense, as transcendent
metaphysics clarifies, is no longer an object of conceptual reason.
Relative being only affirms the existence of a set of features of actual
occasions. Non-existence is the absence of such. Full-emptiness affirms every phenomenon, although other-dependent,
lacks substantial existence of any kind. Empty of self, it is full of the
§ 6 Critical Metaphysics : Knowing before Being.
With his "Copernican Revolution", Kant (1724 - 1804) completed the
self-reflective movement initiated by Descartes, focusing on the subject
of experience. Integrating the best of rationalism and empirism, he
avoided the battle-field of the endless (metaphysical and ontological)
controversies by (a) finding and (b) applying the conditions of all
possible conceptual knowledge.
An armed truce between object and subject is realized. Inspired by
Newton (1642 - 1727) and turning against Hume, Kant deems synthetic
propositions a priori possible (Hume only accepted direct
synthetic propositions a posteriori). Contemporary criticism
no longer goes as far as Kant. Empirico-formal statements are fallible and
There is a categorial system producing scientific statements of fact.
These are always valid and necessary (for Hume, scientific knowledge is
not always valid and necessary). This system stipulates the conditions
of valid knowledge and is therefore the transcendental foundation of all
Unlike concept-realism (Platonic or Peripatetic) and nominalism (of
Ockham or Hume), critical thought, inspired by Descartes, is rooted in
the "I think", the transcendental condition of empirical
self-consciousness without which nothing can be properly called
"experience". This "I", the apex of the system of transcendental
concepts, is "for all times" the idea of the connected of experiences. It
is not a Cartesian substantial ego cogitans, nor a mere empirical
datum, but the empty, formal condition accompanying every experience of
the empirical ego. Kant calls it the transcendental (conditional) unity
of all possible experience (or apperception) a priori. Like the
transcendental system of which it is the formal head, it is, by
necessity, shared by all those who cognize.
"What can I know ?" is the first question asked. Which conditions make
knowledge possible ? To denote this special reflective activity a new
word was coined, namely "transcendental". This meta-knowledge is not occupied with
outer objects, but with our manner of knowing these objects, so far as
this is meant to be possible a priori, i.e. always, everywhere
and this necessarily so. Kant's aim is to prepare for a true, immanent
metaphysics, different from the transcendent, dogmatic ontologisms of
the past, turning thoughts into things.
The transcendental system of the conditions of possible knowledge (or
transcendental logic) is a hierarchy of concepts defining the objective
ground of all possible knowledge, both in terms of the synthetic
propositions a priori of object-knowledge (transcendental
analytic covering understanding), as well as regarding the greatest
possible expansion under the unity of reason. These transcendental
concepts are not empirical, but are the product of the transcendental
method, bringing to consciousness principles which cannot be denied
because they are part of every denial. They are "pure" because they are
empty of empirical data and stand on their own, while rooted in (or
suspended on) the transcendental "I think" and its Factum Rationis.
In classical (Kantian) criticism, reason, the higher faculty of knowledge,
is only occupied with understanding, while the latter only processes the
input from the senses. Reason is deemed not to have an intellect to
inform it ! No faculty higher than reason ! In hypermodern criticism,
meta-rationality, intuition or "intellectual perception" (in
the form of nondual cognition) are not denied
a priori. The creative objects of creative thought, as well as
the ineffable dual-unions of nondual cognition are accepted and
explained. This links epistemology with aesthetics and art as well as
with mysticism, as clarified by transcendent metaphysics.
∫ Classical criticism still accepts substances. Hypermodern criticism
banishes the archaeology of truth, beauty & goodness. Nowhere does
it find self-powered entities ...
Criticism seeks a hierarchy of concepts defining the objective ground of
all possible thought, knowledge, cogitation, apprehension, imputation,
attribution & mental grasping ... This object is not found in a
self-sufficient extra-mental ground, but in the conditions & determinations
of the mind itself. Transcendental logic deals with the general
dualistic set of principles ruling the possibility of cognition in all
its modes. Epistemology explains how (valid) conceptual knowledge
is possible and produced. The issue is reduced to conceptuality, present
in only four out of the seven modes (cf. the proto-concept, formal
concept, transcendental concept & creative concept). In the first two
modes (mythical & pre-rational) the concept is not yet formed, while in
the last (nonduality) it is radically transcended (left behind).
Criticism integrates some of the findings of genetic epistemology and
tries to bring out the full scale of stages & modes of featuring knower,
knowing & known. The development of this faculty of cognition runs in
three fundamental stages, called "ante-rational", "rational" &
"meta-rational". Seven modes of cognitive functioning ensue : mythical,
pre-rational & proto-rational cognition (for ante-rationality), formal &
transcendental cognition (for rationality), creative & nondual cognition
Only by thoroughly understanding the instrument, while it performs all
possible cognitive activities, is it possible to assess the capacity of
our tool, the mind. Both ante-rationality & meta-rationality are
interesting stages. They are necessary in an extensive view. But
classical criticism focused on the rational stage. Ante-rationality
shows how pre-formal concepts operate. It makes us appreciate these concrete
concepts may offer a strong sense of closure and thus endure for
millennia. Meta-rationality invites us to push the limits of reason,
allowing it to access higher possibilities with increasing degrees of
freedom. Investigating the extremes makes the Middle Way of reason a
suitable path. Not eclipsing the poles allows reason to spread out it
wings as far as possible.
D. Valid Science & Critical Metaphysics.
Together but apart, valid science and critical metaphysics complement
each other. Without valid science, speculative efforts may wander away
from conventional truth. The totalized views thus arrived at will not
easily connect with the mainstream. How can they be helpful, assist,
inspire or accommodate care for others ? Without critical metaphysics,
science no longer strives to seek beyond its furthest horizon. It turns
all of its attention to analyze further and lacks a general, synthetic
view inviting new vistas & possibilities. Speculating while assuming
radical nominalism purifies metaphysics from making absolute statements
Making the case for universal interdependence and absence of substance,
critical metaphysics invites the mind to purify concepts by means of
concepts. This ultimate analysis is not the cause of nondual cognition,
but merely eliminates the reifying tendency of the mind, positing
Once this tendency is completely eradicated (as in ¬
x) the mind is totally healed
from any delusion. It no longer sees a darkened rope as a snake, but
things as they are. This suchness/thatness of phenomena is a datum of nondual
cognition, although not in the sense of conceptual knowledge. The direct
experience of this absolute reality is ineffable, but its impact on the
mind decisive and so highly relevant. A mind impressed by this will
comprehend interconnectedness more clearly, with more width and depth.
This indirect role of transcendent metaphysics on immanent speculations
cannot be underestimated.
Because metaphysics is always present in the background of testing &
argumentation, and so cannot be eliminated, a critical positioning is
necessary. Metaphysics is not foundational. It does not act as an
archaeology for correct logic, truth, beauty & goodness. Nor is its
ontology more than a current & conventional picture of the world lasting as
long as its constituting elements remain valid. Metaphysics is not
testable. It is therefore not a science, but a heuristic instrument
of science, a "speculum" reflecting a totalizing, comprehensive
worldview or apprehension of the whole and an "ars inveniendi".
Metaphysics is not irrational. Only two criteria for validity
remain : correct logic and argumentation. Scrambled speculation and/or
unarguable positions define invalid metaphysics. Which logic is invoked
and how the principles and their developments are argued determines the
weight of any metaphysics.
∫ As phenomena are complex, so is metaphysics. Mistrust easy answers
even if sometimes they do exist !
§ 1 Transcendental Logic of Cognition.
No act of cognition
without, on the one hand, a transcendental object, appearing as an object of
knowledge (what ?), and, on the other hand, a transcendental subject or subject
of knowledge (who ?), a member of a community of intersubjective sign-interpreters
making use of language.
Transcendental logic, ruling all possible cognition, captures the fact of reason as the necessary product of two
irreducible & entangled sides :
the transcendental subject : the
one thinking, a knower as it were possessing its object ;
the transcendental object
: what is
thought and so placed before the subject as the known.
The transcendental subject is not a closed, Cartesian substance or
ontological "ego cogitans". It is more than a mere Kantian unity
of apperception accompanying all cogitations. Intersubjectivity,
language-games, the use of signals, icons and symbols by persons and
groups, enlarge the scope of the transcendental subject, appearing as a
community of language users, both in terms of personal membership(s),
and the actual discourses, as well as their historical tradition (the
magister of past, successful games). Concrete discourses are
regulated by absolute ideality (the Ideal).
The transcendental object is not a construct of mind, a shadow or a
reflection of merely ideal realities. Although the direct evidence of
the senses is co-determined by the observer, objective knowledge is
possible and backed, so must we think, by the extra-mental or absolute reality (the Real).
∫ Without a known, one cannot posit its knower. Without a knower, one
cannot possess a known.
In conceptual cognition, the Factum Rationis must be a concordia discors,
for both sides ought to be kept together but apart. They engage in
communication to achieve a common goal : correct (conventional) thinking
& knowing, i.e. the production of valid or justified empirico-formal propositions.
In mythical & nondual cognition, the duality identified by
transcendental logic is present but special. While emphasizing the
object, mythical cognition confounds object & subject. It is not
reflexive, without a trace of self-reflection and usually focused on some grand
object. At the other end of the spectrum of cognition, nondual thought
is the pinnacle of reflectivity and reflexivity ! Being non-conceptual,
it merely escapes the reification of the duality of the fact of reason,
but not the duality itself. Suppose duality would be superseded, i.e.
turned into a higher unity. Then nondual cognition could not be an act
of cognition, for nonduality would be monadic. Although dualistic,
nonduality implies a dual-union.
∫ Duality does not pose problems, but its reification does. The absolute
experience of duality is the experience of nonduality.
Critical thought raises the reflective to the reflexive. Pre-rational
concepts anticipate to stabilize and become concrete concepts offering
mental closure. The pre-concept, because of its semiotical entrenchment,
introduces the first inkling of reflectivity. Pre-concepts &
pre-relations are dependent on the variations existing between the
relational characteristics of objects and can not be reversed, making them
rather impermanent and difficult to maintain. They stand between
action-schema and concrete concept. With proto-rationality, the
ante-rational phase of the genesis of the cognitive faculty finds
closure, harmonizing mythical traditions, original concepts and their
concrete realization in cultural objects. Formal thought liberates the
self-reflective nature of cognition from the confines of contexts,
introducing abstraction, theory and free dialogue. This reflective
process is carried through and refined by transcendental cognitive
activity, laying bare the principles, norms & maxims of conceptual
(hyper)concepts, creative cognition brings the mind to its largest
possible extension. It does however not
observe its own natural state, but the own-self and its complex creative
hyper-thoughts. Emptied by ultimate logic, the former creative mind may directly experiences its own nature.
The nature of mind is ultimate reflectivity & reflexivity.
In other words, the absolute mind fully
knowing the absolute object. The nature of mind is (a) self-clarity, (b) primordial absence of
conceptualization, (c) spontaneous self-liberation of mental flux, (d) unobscured self-reflexion
and (e) impartiality.
The transcendental system -laid bare by a reflection on the conditions
of all possible cognition- is before the facts or a priori. It
makes clear the intra-mental mechanism of the knowing mind, existing on
the side of the transcendental subject only. Its principle is not
monadic but dualistic. All cognitive acts involve a subject (the
object-possessor) and an object (the subject-possessed). The role of the
subject is crucial : it alone possesses the object, not vice versa.
In mythical cognition and nondual cognition, non-conceptuality prevails,
either by innate confusion or by thorough elimination (purification) respectively. In
nondual cognition, object and subject form a dual-union, a special
condition allowing a direct experience of full-emptiness, the unity of
nature of all phenomena (emptiness) with the universal interdependence
between all phenomena (fullness).
The transcendental system works with principles. In all acts of
cognition, the Who ? and the What ? are present.
The subject refers to a
mental "prise de conscience" of an object leading up to opinion,
idea, hypothesis and theory.
Without a subject, how can anything be known ?
The object is an extra-mental reality. It has a decisive role to play :
to tell us which possibility eventuates. It informs about the transition
from mere potentiality (or possibility) to actual occasion (or
concreteness). Is it this or that ?
Without an object, the subject cannot be posited either.
§ 2 The Correct Logic of Scientific Discovery.
The propositions of science are (a) empirical, (b) formal and (c) in
that order. They are empirical because without sensate objects the
extra-mental cannot be established. They are formal because without
mental objects nothing can be labelled. Empirico-formal statements are
foremost empirical because science is fundamentally preoccupied with the
theory-independent side of facts, i.e. think about Nature without
thinking about thought. All possible scientific knowledge is in the form
of empirico-formal propositions. These are terministic (probable) but in
all cases fallible and thus relative conditions & determinations.
∫ Science is about knowledge merely working for a while.
Epistemology is a normative
discipline, bringing out the principles, norms and maxims of valid
knowledge. This empirico-formal information is true in the eyes of all
involved sign-interpreters. The rules of valid conceptual cognition must be used in every correct cogitation producing
valid conceptual knowledge. This is conventional knowledge, concealing
the nature of phenomena, namely their lack of existence in and of
themselves. Indeed, this worldly knowledge displays
sensate objects as independent of and separated from the consciousness
The principles of cognition in
general are given by transcendental logic, the norms
of conceptual cognition are defined by the theory of knowledge (and truth)
hand in hand with the maxims by the
knowledge-factory of applied epistemology. This edifice is not a
description arrived at by observing the faculty of cognition from a
vantage point outside it. It is a normative set of rules found to apply
when cognition cognizes the possibilities of cognition itself, i.e.
tries to find the objective and subjective conditions accommodating conceptual reason in general
and formal reason in particular.
∫ Epistemology is always about both object and subject. To eliminate
either one is to plunge the theory of knowledge into ontological
illusion, solidifying the conditions of knowledge in a
pre-epistemological ground outside knowledge.
Science deals with
propositions arrived at by the joint efforts of experimentation &
argumentation. The former is foremost an activity involving objects, the
latter is foremost intersubjective. The discordant concord of both object and subject
of conceptual knowledge is
necessary. Each must defend its own interest while maintaining the
truce. This is essential to produce conceptual knowledge that works.
Both object and subject constitute
conceptual knowledge, and each -driven by opposing interests- aim differently.
On the one hand, testing requires the monologue of Nature. Only
extra-mental data are sought. Nature is given the opportunity to answer
questions in a clear-cut way. Theory nor intersubjective cognitive
activity act as sources for this monologue. The issue is to know how
Nature can be kicked and how Nature kicks back. On the other hand, argumentation is
dialogal and so intersubjective. The monologue with Nature is silenced
and replaced by discursive activities, involving theory-formation,
discussion, dissensus, argumentation, consensus and
Testing and argumentation always imply a "ceteris paribus"
clause and operate against the implicit or
explicit background of untestable metaphysical speculations. Moreover,
what science understands under "testing" is also undergoing change.
Proposing hypotheses, conceiving tests to validate or refute these and
carrying out controlled tests repeatedly is the simplistic approach to
experimentation of physics-like science. In biology-like science this is
not possible, for no two living things are exactly identical as are two
elementary particles. Medical science cannot function without case
studies, anecdotal reports, case histories etc. Insofar as science
becomes biology-based, one may expect the emergence of
The principles of the transcendental system give rise to a theoretical
inquiry into the conditions of conventional knowledge. The mere
possibility of a subject of cognition (the transcendental subject)
becomes a concrete subject of knowledge. Likewise, the transcendental
object turns into an actual object of knowledge. Theoretical
epistemology studies the possibility & validity of scientific
knowledge. It restricts epistemology to the formal and transcendental
modes of cognition, trying to organize the possibility & expansion of
scientific knowledge in terms of principles and norms a priori.
Its critical format avoids a dogmatic ad hoc, nor a
sceptic principiis obstat.
Empirico-formal propositions are possible because facts possess, so are
we obliged to think, extra-mental "stuff" informing us about absolute
reality. Unfortunately, we only "catch" this with the "net" of our own
theories, so lots of it slips through and is lost to us. Subject and
object represent different interests but have to work together.
Argumentation and testing are the tools with which scientific progress
is made. Indeed, both intersubjective consensus as monologous
correspondence offer the necessary criteria to validate empirico-formal
§ 3 The Validity of Scientific Knowledge.
By shaping the
unconditionality of the object of knowledge, the idea "absolute reality"
or "reality-as-such" (the Real) guarantees the unity & the expansion of
the monologous and object-oriented side of conceptual knowledge. This
monologue intends correspondence (with facts). By shaping the
unconditionality of the intersubjectivity of knowledge, the idea "absolute ideality"
or "ideality-as-such" (the Ideal) guarantees the unity & the expansion of the dialogal subject-oriented
conceptual knowledge. This dialogue intends consensus (between all involved
sign-interpreters). These ideas do not constitute conceptual knowledge,
they regulate it to bring about its highest unity & expansion.
In every observation of fact, both regulations are simultaneously at
work. The idea of the Real pushes the mind to pursue sensate adventures,
whereas the idea of the Ideal brings its constructions in the larger
arena of the community of interpreters of signals, icons & symbols,
seeking consensus and approval. Experimentation concentrates on the
real. Discourse, dissensus, argumentation and consensus on the ideal.
Both intend to articulate
empirico-formal propositions or statements of fact, in casu valid
Experimentation, regulated by the idea of the Real, involves a
one-to-one relationship with the object of knowledge, at the maximal
exclusion of intersubjective dialogue and discussion. It is always
instrumental. This is the image of "objective" science as the monologue
of Nature with herself. The highest art of dialogue, regulated by the
idea of the Ideal, involves the constant dialogue with & between other
subjects of knowledge about ideas, concepts, theoretical connotations,
conjectures or theories. Here we have the image of a community of people
seeking the truth about something and communicating to find out what it
is (as in the more contemporary forms of idealism and social theory).
∫ Valid scientific knowledge is the set of well-formed propositions
validated by argument & experiment.
The ideas of the Real and the Ideal converge towards an imaginal point,
Real-Ideal or "focus imaginarius" which, as a postponed horizon, is a complete, universal consensus on the
adequate correspondence between our theories and reality-as-such. The "adequatio
intellectus ad rem" or "veritas est adequatio rei et intellectus"
of the realist goes hand in hand with the "leges cogitandi sunt leges
essendi" of the idealist. Both ideas are pushed beyond any possible
limit (beyond "Diesseits"). Thus unconditional, they represent what transcends conceptuality
; a perfect unity between thought and fact, as it were the dwindling
away of the theory-dependent facet of facts, a fiction brought about by
the faculty of imagination. This heuristic fiction suggests a position
"beyond the mirror surface", a "world behind" ("Jenseits") regulating the possibility
of knowledge without grounding the latter or serving as its foundation.
These two ideas voice the fundamental property of scientific thinking,
namely the discordant truce expressed in the continuous & permanent
confrontations between "testing" (object of knowledge) and "language"
(subjects of knowledge).
∫ Not science, but transcendental philosophy unearths, posits &
clarifies the rules of the game of true knowing.
Depending on correspondence & consensus, the empirico-formal
propositions of science are valid or invalid. Valid propositions always
call for both correspondence (between theory and fact) and consensus
(between all involved sign-interpreters). The actual paradigm of
science consists of all valid empirico-formal propositions.
∫ After millennia of invalid science
posing as absolute truth, the question of validity is crucial. We don't
need another dogma or anti-dogma, but a critical demarcation between what works and what does
δ. On the side of
the object of knowledge, we must think "reality-as-such" as knowable,
but this without
being conceptually equipped to know whether this is the case or not. Absolute
reality, apprehended by nondual cognition as absolute truth, is
ineffable. Facts are intra-linguistic and so co-determined by the
notions, opinions, ideas, theoretical connotations, hypothesis & theories
formulated by the subject of knowledge. But facts are also -so must we
extra-linguistic, i.e. the messengers of this absolute Real.
Given this ambiguity, facts do not a priori represent absolute reality, nor reality-for-me,
but merely reality-for-us.
∫ The letters of confidence presented by facts may be fakes, and
in an ultimate sense they are. Insofar as they conceal process, they merely appear as substances.
ε. On the side of
the subject of knowledge, we have to think the "consensus omnium" as possible
(without us ever reaching it in an actual discurus). In this way ensues the distinction between
consensus (with myself), (b) "our" consensus here & now (i.e. the agreement
between the users of the same language) and (c) the "consensus omnium",
the regulative idea on the side of the subject of knowledge.
The theory-dependent facet of facts is intra-linguistic. It belongs to a theory
to form a pattern of expectation. But this pattern, although always rooted in my
subjectivity, is in truth always inter-subjective, belonging to a community of communicators
using signs (signals, icons & symbols).
∫ The power of conviction portrayed by an actual consensus may be
fallible, and in truth it is. Concealing change, conviction merely
appears as solid, lasting & trustworthy.
In the present
critical theory of truth, merely seeking to find reasons to accept a
theory as if true or conventionally true, the following categories emerge :
the subject of knowledge / the one
thinking / intersubjective discourse or dialogue (consensus, dissensus, argumentation,
consensus, etc.) / consensus omnium / the idea of the Ideal ;
the object of knowledge / what is
thought / monologous testing (experimental setup, tests, observations) /
adequatio intellectus ad rem / the idea of the Real.
It depends on transcendental philosophy to unearth the conditions
of this capacity of the mind to apprehend the truth of the matter. This
discipline does not belong to science, but exclusively to normative
A theory of truth explains how to validate empirico-formal propositions.
Testing statements of fact, but observing no correspondence with the
facts, means invalidating them. To discuss these propositions, but
finding no consensus regarding them, invalidates them. Being
insignificant (in the statistical sense), they cannot enter the current
paradigm of science. The ability to validate propositions is crucial to
In a realist account of knowledge, one grounding the possibility of
knowledge in a pre-epistemological self-sufficient ground, in casu,
the Real, validation is induction. Accumulating data is supposed to lead
to generalizing statements of fact. Logically incorrect, induction fails
to deliver. A finite set of observations cannot back a general
Dogmatic falsificationism avoids the problem of induction by turning
things upside down. Instead of starting with a number of individual
propositions from which to derive a general law, it begins with a
universal statement and tries to find exceptions. If one is found, then
the general statement is refuted or falsified. This variant of empirical
justificationism accepts a theory can never be completely justified.
Hence, the more it is corroborated, i.e. withstands attempts at
falsification, the more trustworthy the theory becomes. But the
naturalistic, onto-epistemological presence of a given empirical ground
is not yet left behind. A pre-epistemological moment is retained.
Refined falsificationism no longer accepts any "ontological"
confrontation between theory and fact. Coherence replaces
correspondence. Only theories clash. This answers the question of
how to translate sense-data in propositions. Only propositions clash.
Critical theory adds the hybrid nature of facts. Janus-faced, they are
two-faceted : one, turned towards the subject of knowledge, is
theory-dependent and intra-mental and the other, turned -so must we
think- toward the reality of the object of knowledge, is
theory-independent and extra-mental. We recognize something as "a fact"
because our theories allow us to do so and because this fact acquired,
so we believe, the guarantees of absolute reality (the Real).
In an idealist account, an ideal self-sufficient ground is
designated. Conforming facts to mentality, idealism is generated whereby
the object is constituted by the subject, by the Ideal. But a general consensus
neither delivers, for facts must refer to extra-mental phenomena, and so
in some way have to escape language. But both positions do contain a
nugget of gold. Realism makes us understand knowledge implies a known
and the latter cannot be exclusively mental. Idealism points to the
intersubjective use of language, and the theory-dependence of
So in terms of validation, a reconciliation or coherence between a correspondence
theory of truth and a consensus theory of truth accommodates the
critical understanding of how knowledge is validated. This happens in a
transcendental coherency theory of truth. On the side of
correspondence, test & experiment stand out. They are deemed a monologue
with Nature. Here is decided which possibility (out of an infinite set
of possibilities) will actualize to become concrete. On the
side of consensus, intersubjective dialogue is at hand. This dialogue
involves all possible speech-acts done in the pursuit of knowledge and
its advancement, but may be restricted to conjecture, disputation &
(dis)agreement. The interaction between both interests assists their
entanglement : disagreement invites new experiments and new experimental
results brings about conceptual changes calling for a new discussion, etc.
The ongoing nature of this process of communication intends to harmonize
correspondence & consensus. Because no direct, one-to-one observations
of the Real, nor the realization of the Ideal by a concrete community of
sign-interpreters, are accepted, criticism opts for a transcendental
coherency theory of truth.
§ 4 Casus-Law : the Maxims of Knowledge Production.
What scientists have been doing (diachronical) and what they do today
(synchronical), is not identical with the principles and norms of
knowledge they are always using (and abusing).
Theoretical and applied epistemology are both necessary. The former may be
compared to "statute-law", universal, imperative and normative, the latter to
"casus-law", local, adaptive and descriptive. Contextualism and
decontextualization are both necessary, and so emphasis on either "what must" or
"what is", is lacking. A pluralistic system of authority between them
In applied epistemology, the context of knowledge-production is studied, and so
the principles & norms of knowledge are not made explicit. In every concrete situation they
are at work and are addressed. Theoretical epistemology is general & necessary (a
priori), applied epistemology is contextual & situational (a posteriori).
The latter affirms the laws of discovery to be context-specific and complex, far
beyond the capacities of a simple formal logic.
∫ Good scientific research depends on many important factors outside the
conditions of epistemology, like for example enough orgiastic sex.
To ask : Quid juris ? is to foster the normative approach prevailing in
theoretical epistemology. As such, validity and justification of knowledge rule
over how it is produced. In applied epistemology, the logic of discovery answers the question : Quid
facti ? This is the difference between the idea of a stable and universal
method and the constant revision of standards, procedures and criteria as one
moves along and enters new research areas. Take note of the distinctions between
the principles of transcendental logic, the norms of theoretical
epistemology and the maxims of applied epistemology. These rules of
transcendental philosophy aim at different objects, namely the general
structure of cognition, the conditions of conceptual knowledge & its
validation and the production of valid empirico-formal propositions.
ε. The general structure of applied epistemology is derived from theoretical
insights, for (a) the subject of knowledge and its norms becomes the subject of
experience and (b) the object of knowledge and its norms, the object of
experience. In physical science, the latter is given form as the rules of
experimentation, whereas in the human sciences, the rules of participant
observation are applied. Both make use of this-or-that actual
discourse, with its non-strategic communication (dialogue, dissensus,
argumentation, consensus). The maxims ruling an actual research-cell are not like binding norms.
Deviation from them is possible, but not advisable. Violating a maxim does not
entail the end of the possibility, unity & expansion of knowledge, but slows
down its actual manufacture. The process of production is not halted (and replaced by
an illusion), but efficiency drops. Hence, the research-cell at hand will
suffer and become a less attractive competitor in the market of available facts.
To produce knowledge, there are no absolute rules. Once its actual
process of manufacture is set afoot, merely valid theories &
rules-of-thumb prevail. The latter cover argumentation &
experimentation. Nevertheless, these relative constructs are
important and do result in scientific advancement. The opportunism and
contextuality of some of these procedures underlines the conventional
nature of scientific knowledge. Although science is the pinnacle of
conventional knowledge (in the mode of formal reason), it ever remains a
relative, fallible and incomplete attempt to understand Nature. To
consider it as solid, unchangeable and secure is merely a waking dream.
Conceptual reason is simply not equipped to grasp the absolute
Real-Ideal. Science is terministic, probable, conventional. Only a
humble & kind science is a true science.
Conventional knowledge, whether valid (as in the case of science) or
invalid, misrepresents the world. The maxims of knowledge-production
call to methodologically accept realistic correspondence &
consensus as if. The way of science must confirm the substantial
nature of its objects, and in epistemology, at least as a method to expand knowledge.
Physical objects must be independent & separate. Because of this
reification baked into the methods of science, conventional knowledge is
valid but mistaken. It is valid because (a) this knowledge truly
functions in terms of material, informational & sentient features and
(b) its objects exist in a relative, impermanent, interdependent way. It
is mistaken because it reifies its objects into static entities,
concealing their fundamental process-based nature.
§ 5 Metaphysical Background Information.
The proto-rational, formal, transcendental (critical) & creative modes of cognition
are conceptual. Together, they form the set of all possible conventional
knowledge. Through proto-rationality, the ante-rational remains linked
with rationality. In these early stages of the development of the
mind and its cognitive apparatus, we call forth our unconscious metaphysical beliefs, dreams and expectations.
∫ Refusing pain (denial) and seeking pleasure (identification) are the
earliest ego-building operations the mind familiarizes with.
The integrated presence of the ante-rational mind in the higher modes of conceptual
cognition can be traced as generalizing beliefs and unarguable "feel
right" frameworks. By countless ante-rational coordinations of
movements, their introjection & stabilization as mythical, pre-rational
and proto-rational mental operators, continuity, tenacity,
substantiality, solidity, independence, separateness etc. are given
∫ To know what to refute is to be able to identify the truth more
γ. The problem situations
encountered in science are due to three factors, namely (a) inconsistency
between a ruling theory, (b) discrepancy between theory and experiment and
(c) the relation between theory and metaphysical background information. The
latter not only determine what explanations we choose to attack, but
also what kind of answers are fitting, deemed improvements of or
advances on earlier answers. This background results from general views
of the structure of the world. Themselves untestable, they are
speculative anticipations of testable theories.
∫ How many times we (dis)like something without good reason ?
δ. Let us considering a
few historical metaphysical backgrounds :
the universe is deemed full, there is no void or empty space.
Hence, motion is impossible. A genuine worldview must be rational and so
devoid of contradictions ;
all change is nothing but movement of atoms in the void. The world is
"full" and "empty" at the same time. There is no qualitative change
possible, for only rearrangement pertains ;
Pythagoras & Plato
: for Pythagoras, the cosmos was arithmetized, a view abandoned with the
discovery of irrational numbers. For Plato matter is formed space,
geometry explains the universe ;
space is matter and the dualism of matter and form (hylemorphism) takes
over : the essence of a thing inheres in it and contains its
the essence or form of matter is its spatial extension. All physical
theory is geometrical. Causation is push or action at vanishing
distance. Qualities are quantities ;
causation is by push and central attractive forces (gravity). Every
change functionally depends on another change (cf. differentials).
Action-at-a-distance seems the only way to explain the central forces ;
Maxwell : not
all forces are central, for changing fields of vectorial forces exist
whose local changes are dependent upon local changes at vanishing
distances. Matter may be explained as fields of forces or disturbances
of these fields ;
matter is destructible and inter-convertible with radiation, i.e. field
energy and thus with the geometrical properties of space. Geometrization
of fields is at hand.
Bohr : before
observation, the quantum phenomena exist in a paradoxical state of
superposition ruled by quantum logic, and turn only into this particle
or that wave after being observed.
Most of these vast generalizations are
based upon "intuitive" ideas, some striking us now as outdated and mistaken.
They presented a unifying picture of the world. More of the nature of
myths, they helped science to find its purposes & inspiration.
∫ Stylish caprice, sharp opportunism & clear improvisation instead of
strict lawfulness are the ornaments of the rule of inventivity.
Identifying a substantial, self-sufficient ground or "hypokeimenon"
may well be called the fundamental metaphysical dream of the West.
Dreaming such a primary reality, existing alone without need of anything
from outside, as it were "standing under" phenomena and determining
"what they are", means allowing something uncaused or self-caused to
possess attributes inhering in it without it inhering in anything else.
Insofar as this self-sufficient ground is deemed primary, it is an
ultimate substance and so indestructible. The failure of this
metaphysical background is evident. Has a single primary substance been
identified ? If so, where is it ?
∫ Looking for substance instead of process is our ground addiction. Like
fish in the water, we are blind to it.
Critical epistemology accepts the task of critical
metaphysics to inspire scientific research. It brings the implicit
metaphysical background to the surface and identifies its frailties.
Substance-metaphysics has to make way for process-metaphysics. The
fundamental sufficient ground of all possible phenomena is not an
independent, separate, uncaused or self-caused primary substance,
featuring properties inhering in it, as it were
it and for itself, from its own side, self-powered.
categories of Aristotle, substance, quantity, quality & relation do
exist inherently. Likewise, space, time, matter & momentum are deemed
absolute. In essentialism or substance philosophy, discrete
individuality & separateness are therefore linked. A fixity within a
uniform nature defined unity of being. This allows for descriptive &
classificatoric stability & passivity.
metaphysical dream features interactive relatedness, wholeness, novelty,
agency, productive drive, fluidity and evanescence. Instead of a unity
of being defined under individualized specificity, there is unity of law
under functional typology.
Science and pre-critical metaphysics cannot be reconciled. Metaphysics
no longer acts an a pre-epistemological archaeology & ontology, defining
the self-sufficient ground and erecting an architecture upon it. This
precisely because it is untestable and so has no sensate objects to
offer. Only the language-game of true knowing provides the rules of
engagement, setting in motion the process of the manufacture of
knowledge. This is conventional knowledge, valid insofar as theory &
experiment dictate. Relative and fallible, it cannot be considered
permanent or absolute. Moreover, it cherishes a substantialist streak,
becomes "critical" when the demarcation with science is maintained :
science is arguable & testable, metaphysics only arguable. Critical
metaphysics is the heuristic of science, its "ars inveniendi".
It stays close to science and its development, in particular to the
fields of cosmology, physics, biology & anthropology.
Moreover, despite the demarcation, it is impossible to eliminate
generalizing ideas from the background of scientific research.
Metaphysics is a "vis a tergo". Argumentation & experimentation
are always conducted with the help of such metaphysical dreams. Insofar
as they are implicit, they cannot be manipulated to help current
research and so may eventually hinder it. This has to be amended. Bringing these to the surface is
understanding the metaphysics internally driving scientific work, the
beliefs carrying the work of reason. Changing the
background to accommodate research is therefore primordial.
In view of
the long essentialist tradition, one cannot stress enough the importance
of process, change, transformation and creative advance. Logically, this
is the transition from substantialism or
to process or
and this by negating
"there is" : is the affirming persistent existence of "x", in
casu the existentializing quantor confirming the permanent
The dream of
finding this indestructible, unchanging substance is over. The hypnotic
spell of Plato's dreamwork is broken. Socrates refuted not enough ! The
thinkers of Antiquity, the Scholastics & the Modernists posit substance.
Ultimate analysis awakes one to
the realization all phenomena are impermanent and devoid of own-power.
They are other-powered. If postmodernism was the unavoidable
deconstruction of the Modernist dream, then hypermodernism is the
affirmation of process and its architectures. May this be the beginning
of the final movement in the long march of emancipation of humanity, the
emergence of a global consciousness and its subsequent cultural objects.
This New Renaissance is not a return to late Antiquity and its
Platonism, but an advancement reconciling process and change with
interdependence, and the need for a global organization of the affairs
of Earth in all crucial issues.
E. Thinking Metaphysical Advancement.
Because polemics are not the issue here, this paragraph is kept to
the bare minimum.
Suppose we think metaphysics or philosophy in general is still in the business of discovering a
self-sufficient, substantial ground. Given modern science, in particular physics, has
taken over such fundamental preoccupations, one may decide metaphysics no longer
has any role to play and so just oust it. Philosophy itself, i.e. this
irresistible & definitive longing for wisdom, may be crippled and turned
into another ivory tower of academic pursuit, merely offering the
logistics. One may wonder in what measure such an instrumental,
uncritical and non-innovative approach bleaks the original beginner's
attitude called for in a serious, prolonged and free engagement in this
science & art of the love of wisdom. Denying the very need of
metaphysics, any argument backing the notion of the advancement in
metaphysics must involve a contradictio in terminis. But here
ontology is not the aim. A comprehensive, coherent & scientific
Critical metaphysics is aware of its initial border with science. It
only leaves this behind for the final border of transcendent
metaphysics, but never without identifying the transcendent signifiers
of un-saying. Especially within the immanent order of actual occasions.
In the present exercise, mindful of Ockham's Razor, the principle of
parsimony, these must be kept to the bare minimum : (a) emptiness
inseparable from (b) the Clear Light* of the mind, the seed of awakening
potential of enlightenment, forming together full-emptiness.
To identify metaphysical advancement, one has to know what
metaphysics is all about. Inspired by science and on the basis of a theory
on existence (ontology), immanent metaphysics argues a totalizing, comprehensive framework speculating
about being, the origin of the universe, life and the human. Its focus
is on actual occasions and their concrete form. Transcendent metaphysics
probes into absolute, infinite existence, into pure formless possibilities, the
"pure ground" of lacking ground. This is a sufficient ground,
but not a self-sufficient ground.
Insofar as critical metaphysics goes, speculative advancements are
possible. But finding the proper conditions or rules of comparison is
crucial. The criteria of instrumental action or experimentation should
not be applied here. For in this case, there is no increase in
"factuality", but in "mentality". Those who confuse both assume
philosophy to be the copy-cat of experimental science or
mathematics. Instead, our criteriology identifies advance by using the logic of communication, a
hermeneutics of logical & semantic moments of progress.
∫ Establishing a right view or vantage point is the beginning of
§ 1 The Mistake of Absolute Relativism.
In brief, the present metaphysics of process does not endorse absolute
relativism. While the intelligently organized interdependence between all possible phenomena is
accepted, some special & exceptional items are found and kept absolute.
Ergo, the absolute is not rejected, banned, ousted or negated,
but given its most efficient role, whatever that is. Therefore,
theology, theophany and theonomy are possible, but -given the conceptual
limitations of transcendent metaphysics- bound by the rules of
non-contradiction and inviting ongoing remodelling.
The rules of normative (transcendental) philosophy are found to be "of
all times". Indeed, they are always in the process of being used by
correct conceptual thinking. One cannot even deny their use without
using them ! Process ontology argues absolute abstract forms or
formative abstracts, mere
potentialities like primordial matter, creativity & God*. Likewise, in science, constant values are
Very small changes in the highly intelligently chosen natural constants
would make the physical world devoid of
life & sentience.
philosophy, using the benefits of ultimate analysis, establishes the
non-separability between, on the one hand, the absolute and emptiness and
on the other hand,
emptiness and the original mind of enlightenment. This is the
absolute united with the nature of mind, the Clear Light* ; the nondual realized by the
absolute experience of duality. So also here absolutes pertain.
δ. Consider "everything is
relative" and "no absolute exists". If the view expressed in these
statements is relative, then an absolute might exist after all. Ergo,
they are ineffective. But if this view is absolute, then it refutes its
own claim ; a contradictio in actu exercito. In both cases the
statement is undermined. Saying philosophy knows no advance because all
statements are relative is denying historical process and the unfolding
architectures of thought.
∫ Some things change while other things are kept constant. Some things
are always the same and some things change
all the time. The relative and the absolute walk hand in hand.
In a general sense, universal relativism is rejected while evolutive,
negentropic change (in dissipative, highly intelligent, chaotic living
systems) is accepted. This not only involves efficient determining
factors, but also state-transformative ones, entering the efficient
causation of other actual occasions. A universal continuous creative
advance is thus at hand. All objects of immanent metaphysics are
constantly changing. But this change is not random, amorph or without
outstanding features. The change has an architecture involving
constants, i.e. principles uninfluenced by the momentum of universal
§ 2 Logical Advance.
α. Well-defined logical operators
increase the quality of communication. But way before this is
established, the importance of a priori structures needs to dawn.
Then necessity enters the picture and absolute truth becomes singular, for there
cannot be two absolute truths, only one. All this was realized by the
Eleatics. Before them concepts remained confused because of an
attachment to context enforced by the rules of ante-rationality. Formal
reason required abstraction, necessity and the ideas of "everywhere" and
"always". The Sophists, using logic but arguing absolute relativity,
inspire the concept-realism of the classical systems of Plato &
Aristotle, both retaining the concept of the absolute and desperately
trying, to justify the objects of knowledge, to find an absolute
self-sufficient ground outside knowledge.
In Late Hellenism, and particularly for the Stoa, language became an
independent area of study. Logic was not longer embedded in metaphysics,
but part of the new science of language (linguistics). The technical
apparatus developed by the Platonic and Peripatetic schools, as well as
the mechanics of classical formal logic had been fully mastered. An overview of knowledge
was sought, and concept-realism still prevailed. Concepts were either
rooted in universal ideas or in immanent forms. Physics studies things
("pragmata" or "res"'), whereas "dialectica" and
study words ("phonai" or "voces"). The term "universalia"
(the Latin of the Greek "ta katholou") denotes the logical
concepts of "genus" and "species". The apory between Plato's world of ideas and
Aristotle's immanent forms, is no longer part of the Stoic context. A
simplification took place bringing logic and linguistics to the
In the Middle Ages, the apory between exaggerated realists ("reales")
and nominalists ("nominales") saw the light. It was a
logico-linguistic transposition of the ontological apory between Plato
and Aristotle. This advancement was considerable and led to William of
Ockham, who finally relinquished concept-realism and formulated radical
nominalism. The foundational approach was left behind. In all cases,
representations arrived at are terministic, i.e.
probabilistic, stochastic. They concern individuals, never extra-mental "universals".
Science deals with true or false empirico-formal propositions referring to
individual things called "facts". These empirical data & conceptual
constructions are primordial and exclusive to
establish the existence of a thing.
With Ockham, conventional knowledge acknowledged its frailty.
While in the course of history, logic became an independent discipline
within philosophy, transcendental logic defined a
direct impact on our grasp of the possibility of knowledge and its
production, in particular of science or established conventional
knowledge. This after millennia of extreme views, both from the side
of the object (as in empirism) and the subject (as in rationalism). Arising in Western philosophy, but absent in pre-Kantian
philosophy, this logic and its articulation point to another crucial
step forward in the process of the ongoing advance of the longing for
wisdom. Although its early mistakes spurred the ontology of the
idealists and the irrationalism of the
protest philosophers, criticism has radically & irreversibly ended the
long-reign of metaphysics over epistemology. To constructively engage
critical metaphysics in the vicinity of paradigmatic science, is to be aware logic is
unable to radically ban speculative, totalizing views from science.
Working together, two extremes bring forth the Middle Way.
The idea philosophy does not advance and has no paradigm-shifts is
wrong. Creative advance affects all phenomena, and philosophy is not an
exception. The "death of philosophy" league has tried its best shots but
failed. The old roaches are not gone. In fact, their moves are so
perfect, they are bound to stay. Logical & semantical advance stares one
in the face.
While these improvements touch areas later becoming specialized fields
of learning of their own (like logic), they also affect the core
business of philosophy : to propose a reasonable worldview or
total view involving all (known) actual occasions. Meaning-shifts
redefine both object and subject of this quest. In the West, the
pivotal paradigm-shift was announced by Kant. Although he wanted to
secure the necessary and universal status of "rational" knowledge
modelled on Newton, his
transcendental method proved to be the beginning of the end of
substantialism (essentialism) in epistemology and philosophy of science.
Moreover, his analysis would eventually raise the important question of
the interpreted nature of the sensate & mental objects grasped by the
knower. If all conventional, rational, conceptual knowledge is an
interpretation, not the "real thing", then all conceptual knowledge is
"for us". How can we truly know such relative knowledge is about
reality/ideality "as it is", i.e. about the absolute ? Conceptually,
there is no way to answer this. We must accept facts are also
extra-mental, but we could be fooling ourselves. A subtle
epistemology is aware of the possibility of this universal illusion. A
study of knowledge stressing the production (praxis) of knowledge would
probably miss it. But in the field of theoretical epistemology it acts
as a very powerful reminder of the relativity of all possible
§ 3 Semantic Advance.
To establish a clear-cut difference between object and subject is the
logical prerequisite for semantic stability. This calls for a semantic
field of denotations & connotations part of an architecture and a
dynamic flow or "stream" of sensate & mental referrers.
The history of these semantic fields is remarkable, giving rise to a
multitude of views concerning objective and subjective phenomena and
∫ A clarification of views results from
integrating many different vantage points.
Take the "psyche", evolving from a gaseous
entity (Homer), to a meaning-giver, a sign-user of symbols, icons &
signals, in short userware. Take matter, from a solid, self-contained
ground (Ionian thinkers), to a stochastic process involving
particle-fields or matter-waves (hardware) and an intelligent code ("logos"
or software). Both semantic fields result from previous
articulations and the process is ongoing. But a slow integration &
clarification is present. This points to semantic advance.
It is impossible to include an evolution of the philosophical vocabulary
of the West since Ptahhotep (ca. 2300 BCE). But such a project would
present the case of (a) countless redefinitions of a series of basic
terms referring to certain recurring sensate & mental objects and (b) a
number of drastic meaning-shifts in the denotations & connotations
present in the semantic field of these terms, leading to a very slow but
definite creative advance. Four dazzling moments : (a) Greek
civilization realizing the decontextualized mode of thinking according
to formal logical rules, (b) Kant initiating his Copernican Revolution, (c) Wittgenstein defining the meaning of words
as their use, (d) Derrida deconstructing the transcendent signifiers.
1.2 Immanent Metaphysics.
Since when did humankind's curiosity start to extend beyond the
satisfaction of mere instrumental & strategic needs ? When did total
observation dawn ? First as a view to totalize the experience of the
world and then as questions about what lies further than the horizon,
about the beginning & the end of oneself and the world. This supposes
communication, the process of conveying information and connecting with
other sign-users of signals, icons & symbols.
Striking evidence of this cycle of communication, stamping temporary
glyphs upon physical states, is found in the French cave of Peche Merle,
around 16.000 BCE. It is the representation of a human hand ! Iconically
& symbolically, the Upper Palaeolithic is rich. The Cro-Magnon worshipped
the Great Mother Goddess and manipulated a variety of symbol-sets. These
superior hominids were able to symbolize their experiences.
They invented initiatory rites and a variety of tools.
Moreover, before them Homo sapiens Neanderthalensis was
religiously active (cf. their cult of the dead - ca.30.000 BCE). The
Neolithic (ca. 10.000 BCE) brought a fixed horizon of observation and
the agricultural cycle. If earlier glyphs were mostly Lunar, diffused
and fertility-based, they soon became Solar, centered and
organizational. Experience moved from a variable local horizon to a
fixed one, empowering economical & political stability. The advent of
Pharaonic Egypt is an enduring example.
These prehistorical, ante-rational & bi-polar symbols
are a treasure-house of images & metaphors. They are
contextual pre-concepts & concrete "operational" mental procedures. In a
less coarse mentality, they work in the background of future
metaphysics, underlining the bi-polar experience of the world.
: "phusis", accidental
existence, world of becoming, Demiurge, Generator, Conserver, She, pantheism
- the Lunar symbols ;
: "arché", substantial existence, essence, world
of being, God, Creator, He, theism - the Solar symbols.
The Latin roots of the words "immanent" or "in" + "manere",
to remain, and "transcendent" or "trans" + "scendere", to
climb over, point to the ideas of the proper part or character of
something and the absence of such.
Every x is immanent to y
if, and only if, x is a proper part of y or a character
(proper or inherent property) of y. This belongingness and
interrelatedness (interdependence) is reflected in fertility-symbols and
the mystery of life & childbirth.
Every x is
transcendent to y if, and only if, x is not
immanent to y and there is a z immanent to y
serving as an indicator of x. The notion of x being
superior, more exalted or ontologically higher may be added, but this is
more a kind of theological compliment. This otherness and sacred
separation-from is found in all forms of paternalism, conservativism,
authoritarianism, centralism & royalist. This is the mystery of the
hunt & the kill.
Immanent metaphysics strives to realize a comprehensive view of the
whole spectrum of actual occasions displayed by the two outstanding ideas of
reason : reality & ideality, both rooted in transcendental logic. It dares to
speculate and seek out the periphery of the objective world, as well as
the frontiers of the mind and its cognitive possibilities, including the
realization of the absolute & relative minds of enlightenment for all
sentient beings. Attentive of critical thought, immanent metaphysics,
remaining close to science, merely assists in the introduction of
transcendence. Although still conceptual, it cultivates the creative
mode of cognitive functioning. This mode invents speculative
conventional knowledge inspiring the advance of science and inviting the
final frontier. It serves the conventional. Pre-critical, it affirms the inherent existence of the world and its
actual occasions. Doing so, it superimposes the mere illusion of
inherent existence upon the world. To strip ontology from this will be
the task of ultimate analysis, the conceptual device ending
the reifying tendencies of conceptuality, stopping its substantial
As the muse of science, immanent metaphysics does not accept
determinations like First Causes, to operate from outside the world.
In fact, the world is not determined as finite or infinite. The world is
merely that what is, the set of all actual occasions or actualizations
of potentialities. The highest creative hyper-concepts are limit-concepts, always referring back to
conditions remaining part of the world. To define the latter, the
results of experiments and the outcome of argumentation prevail. Given the condition
of immanence, this situation of being within and not going beyond a given domain, is left and -inviting
regress- a First Cause is posited ad hoc. Then a grounding
explanatory principle outside the
world ensues. There are no valid arguments to back this and therefore
transcendent metaphysics cannot be conceptually elaborated without obfuscating reason.
We cannot move beyond the view of an explanatory principle lacking any
self-sustaining properties, empty of itself and full of the manifold of
architectures of interdependence and interconnectedness, of actual
occasions entering the creative life of other actual occasions. This is
the impact of ultimate analysis on conventional knowledge.
This use of the word "immanent" reminds of the distinction mentioned by
Aristotle (Metaphysics IX, viii 13), namely between an actuality
residing in a thing and one not abiding there. Is the realization of the
end of an action part of the action or does it transcend it ? The intent
of this realization is always immanent to the action, but is the
realization of its end ? For Kant, the use of an idea can either range
beyond all possible experience or find employment within its
limits (Kritik der reinen Vernunft, A643/B671). For Husserl (Logische
Untersuchungen, 1900), the
act of consciousness is deemed intentional, i.e. directed to an object.
This directedness, intentionality or "prise de conscience" is
immanent to the act of consciousness, the object intended is not.
Immanent metaphysics must
be able to argue a comprehensive rational picture of the metaphysical
horizon, integrating a wide variety of scientific data. Insofar as transcendent metaphysics, being nondual, cannot be
verbalized, all efforts to stretch beyond immanence must be deemed
futile and, at best, of sublime exemplary poetic value only. Can validation
have meaning in nondual terms ? As authenticity perhaps ? Then
only in what one does and in what one does not may traces of it be found
In a "Diesseits" metaphysics staying within the limitations of possible
experience, the world is all there is and the existence of something is only
the instantiation of its non-inhering properties. Science observes and argues a series of predicates
ascribed to objects, and pours these transient connections in non-eternal,
probable, approximate synthetic propositions a posteriori.
Using this information alone, no
necessary Being can be inferred. Cognition is empty of substantial
self. The highest being
to be inferred a posteriori remains proportionate to the world.
Only an immanent natural theology is possible. As nonduality is
cognitive but non-conceptual, it merely leads to a theognosis, not to a
In a classical, Platonizing transcendent "Jenseits" metaphysics, there is more than the world
of experience, for the
latter, in phenomenological terms, i.e. as revealed by the things
themselves, is merely the theophanic contraction of absolute Being. Hence, each
fact reveals more than the series of property-predicates ascribed to it, for each
fact is (also) an epiphany or substantial self. To supersede the world, is to stand in one's
own essential Being or being-there ("Dasein"), self-sustained
with inhering properties existing from their own side, self-powered. The a priori arguments
of Anselm of Canterbury,
backing the ontological proof of God, aim to posit this transcendent Being as an
existing Being analytically, thus including the finite world in infinite
Being. They fail to deliver this
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 7) and, in order to book any success, need to axiomatise
existence and (b) a semantic adualism between the subjective mind and the
extra-mental, called "outer" world. In the radical
nominalism of critical thought, such a substantialist, essentialist axiom is
In a first movement, metaphysics is immanent and a heuristic,
speculative, suggestive, innovative and
spiritualizing system of arguable & totalizing statements about the world. In particular how
the cosmos came about, how life emerged and what the nature of sentience
In a second and final movement, metaphysics moves beyond the world. If
so by positing a "higher" ontological self-sufficient ground of any kind, i.e. a
positive concept, then the apex of cognition has been reified and
one enters the domain of nonduality as a substantialist, leading to the
extremes of radical non-affirmation (of anything) and radical
affirmation (of an eternity of sorts). This is a return to the tragedy of
pre-critical metaphysics. However, the "essence" or
"substance of substances"
aimed at in such a traditional transcendent approach cannot be found.
What can be experienced is not a substance, but a process and it is ineffable. It may be
shown as an object of art or possibly given as the sacred or the holy in direct mystical
experience and its religious superstructures. Never conceptual object-knowledge,
it is born from the light of activity, i.e. performed, acted, done.
If transcendent metaphysics avoids positing a self-sufficient ground outside
the world -accepting there is but the world and that is it-
and merely points to the set of "all possibilities", it may introduce
the transcendent, absolute, ultimate nature of all phenomena as (a) the
absence of substantial ground and (b) the set of all potentialities,
virtualities, open possibilities manifesting as actual occasions. And
these non-temporal formative elements or abstracts are themselves not actual
So in the meta-nominal,
meta-rational stage of cognition, two modes are distinguished :
immanent : the contemplative, creative activity of the arguable,
non-factual ideas (hyper-concepts) of the (higher) self, perceived by the
intellect (cf. immanent metaphysics) and
transcendent : the nondual activity suggested by the direct discovery
of the unconditional core of all what is.
Immanent metaphysics looks at objective
reality & subjective ideality. Its only merit is being comprehensive
in an intelligent way. Both reality & ideality, sensate & mental
objects are actual events, or a set of moments defined by
differentials, i.e. immeasurably small droplets part of the ongoingness
of the worldstream. To divide this stream into these two sides or banks
reflects the conditions of cognition as they exist since the onset of
semiotical functions. In the mythical phase of cognition, only differentiations in the
coordination of movements prevailed. Pre-rationality sees the birth of
duality as a mental construct. Duality is reified in
concept-realism, affirming the substantial existence of things. From
material coordinations of movements, the material operator or functional
signature of physical actual occasions complexified, allowing a creative
advance introducing logical & efficient coordinations and with them the
informational operator. Both sets of actual occasions worked together,
producing the product of differences characterizing energy and with it
life. These highly complex, dissipative & chaotic living systems became
sentient the moment they consciously began to coordinate their
activities and use signs to modify themselves & their environments.
In this short universal ontogenesis, a complexification & differentiation happens.
Duality is at the heart of this. At the level of sentient organisms using
conceptual thinking, the distinctness between object & subject is so
prominent, it easily gives rise to the wrong view of their difference.
Duality is not the problem, but its reification is. Things are not
different, they are distinct.
Given the dualistic structure of conceptual cognition, immanent metaphysics formulates an onto-categorial scheme
featuring objective & subjective aspects. The scheme describes the basic
operators of the existents, i.e. that what exist or is.
immanent scheme, the ongoing world-process is
considered given and not questioned. Access to this process is by
the senses and the mind. The senses provide us with sensate objects, the
mind with mental objects. Both objects are possessed by an
object-possessor, the mind. When, thanks to observation (testing) and
communication (arguing), facts are cast in empirico-formal
propositions, and valid conventional knowledge or rational object-knowledge is acquired, the
condition of all possible direct experience is satisfied. Both
vectors producing factual knowledge have done their job. Then, backed by the propositions of science,
more speculative horizon may be argued. This is the exercise of a critical
metaphysics never stepping outside the limitations of possible experience
mediated by concepts.
To format the objective side of our proposed immanent metaphysics, we devise a
framework directly derived from the structure of the sphere of
observation. This structure is universal and so holds for all
possible observers. It is also a necessary empirico-linguistic framework
without which no observation would be possible ! Take away a
condition, and the possibility of observation itself vanishes.
All empirico-formal statements of fact made by an observer about the observed are always
& everywhere necessarily framed by the local rotating sphere of observation of the
universally & globally defined by a horizontal plane with four cardinal points of reference
(East, South, West, North) and a vertical plane with two points of reference
(Nadir, Zenith), i.e. by six directions in space. Counting the intermediate directions
yields 10 directions and one direction in time. This sphere is
not merely a static spatial reality but a continuous, ongoing process in
time. Frozen, it represents only a single moment or instance of the
the mundus : the sphere of
all possible observers
interconnectedness evidenced by all objects possessed by the observer
horizon of observation =
circular field representing the consciousness of the observer, defined by
divergence, namely of four
quarters rooted in O, the neutral origin of the sphere (0,0,0) and of the
prime vertical =
evolutionary field of an observer moving upward and doing so enlarging the
local horizon from origin or nadir, to final aim or zenith,
reflecting the convergent evolution of each single observer
actual orientations P1, P2, ... =
actual positions of observation taken by
the observer within the boundaries of the sphere at any given moment in
realm of consciousness awareness ;
realm of unconscious awareness ;
the sphere as
a whole = the
totality of all immanent realities and idealities or possible actual
occasions happening to any observer - the object of immanent metaphysics ;
the periphery of the
sphere = limit-concepts defining the boundaries of the sphere
positively and its transcendence negatively ;
the beyond the sphere = the
ineffable transcendent, knowable but non-conceptual, non-separation of
potentiality & nature of mind.
Although each observation is
as unique as its local sphere, its geographic analogies are universal as in a
global sphere. If the local sphere of a single observer provides the
semantic architecture for a particular
"reality-for-me", then the conventional sphere of a multitude of
"reality-for-us". The horizontal plane being associated with (a) the diversity of
beings and the way they interconnect despite their divergence and (b) their respective
"horizon" or limitations. The vertical plane involves the
evolutionary process of each, moving from nadir to zenith, calling for the dynamical convergence
and the ongoing creative resolution of both Epimethean and Promethean
On the subjective side of our proposed immanent metaphysics, an
open, bimodal & dynamic subjectivity is designated. Albeit one more extended than what the
empirical ego has to offer, even in its non-substantial, intersubjective
format. Although no longer substantial and solitary (Cartesian), epistemology
confirms the empirical
ego to need the transcendental I to maintain the unity of the sensate & mental
manifold constantly arising in the consciousness of any observer. For Kant,
and rightly so, this was an empty self "for all times". The self argued by
immanent metaphysics is a dynamic continuum of higher states of consciousness
grasped by a higher ego, wrongly designated as an inherently existing self or
soul. This yields a bimodal structure with (a) an empirical ego at the centre
of a circle or field of consciousness grasping sensate & mental objects and
(b) a higher self grasping at hyper-concepts.
In this scheme,
the proposed higher self, acting as a kind of bridge to the nondual, is not a
way to gain direct access to "reality-as-such" or absolute reality, nor does
it cause the latter. In the past, this self was endowed with an "intellectual
perception" or "intuition" giving it access to the absolute nature of any
phenomenon viewed in terms of substance. Although such access is not denied,
it is not projected on this higher self, but found in the intimacy of the emptiness of all concepts and the
direct experience of the original and very subtle level of selfless awakening which is
the mind's deepest potential or generative capacity, the mind of Clear Light*. Neither is the
rejected, but found to be a less complex mode of cognitive functioning. When
nondual cognition dawns, this self looses its "ontic" grip and
transforms into a truly transparant higher self acting as a bridge between the
non-conceptual and the conceptual, between the formless and form.
Access to this pinnacle of cognition cannot be given by
conceptuality, even not by creative hyper-concepts. The latter only lead to
the idea of an Author of the world, not to a transcendent Creator-God.
The higher self merely produces a series of totalizing creative concepts
enabling the integration of a vast set of views concerning the objective &
subjective sides of the world of actual occasions. It is the centre of
awareness apprehending the limit-ideas & hyper-concepts of the creative mode
of cognition. It is constantly invited to step beyond certain thresholds and
usually does -as long as its gigantic reifications endure- contaminate its "natural" context. This
reification is the source of its
Displaying a whole range of meaningful (semantic) presences like signals,
icons & symbols, the
interdependent consciousness of sensate, cognitive, affective & actional
experiences synthesizes an inner, panoramic perspective. This is grasped
by the "I am" or the higher self of creative thought,
transforming, through its inner vision, the dual tension of formal &
critical conceptuality into the
hyper-conceptual experience of life as a single meaningful conscious event hic et
nunc, for me.
Creative thought is the
optimalization of :
the inner dimension of the higher self ;
free thought, acting on the
human right to exhaust its potential as an autarchic individual ;
encompassing finitude and a panoramic,
overlooking view (completing immanent metaphysics).
Although the higher self is untestable but arguable, its presence is undeniable in an existential sense.
Most human beings needs to invoke a sense of "I am" to be able to exist. Thanks to
this creative operator, a series of totalizing, unconditional thoughts or hyper-concepts
These are apprehended by the self and are part of its ongoing "making of the mandala".
They are sublime, imaginal, artistic constructions of the
mind, and seem limitless, substantial & permanent. They occupy the end of
finitude, and define the borders of the ontic subjectivity at work in
immanent metaphysics. They are the illusions necessary to keep
conventional reality going.
Immanent metaphysics retains the division between object and
subject. It may reify this on purpose, "as if". The former being a totalized picture of the outer world and the
latter an inner mandala having the higher self in its centre, or an
elliptical consciousness with two foci of I-ness : one empirical ego and another trans-empirical
higher self. Ultimate logic is
the reason why any claim of inherent existence is void. In their practice
of knowledge-production, scientist, for reasons of methodology, adopt a
realist or idealist stance. So to grasp the total picture and view the
world, pre-critical immanent metaphysics posits a real world "out there" and a
supermind "in here" or "up there". While both are illusions, they
merely help to
totalize all possible phenomena. When, under ultimate analysis, these are
finally unmasked, all reified concepts are burned in a single "prise
de conscience". Thus liberated from afflictions, the mind is
ready to awaken
to its original state (with the higher self being a true process self).
The own-self is realized in five stages :
on the basis of the super-ego, the "summum bonum" invented
by the empirical
ego, a total & totalizing icon or "Gestalt" is
generated. It is
comprised of sense data, consciousness, cognition,
affection and action. This is a vibrant grand picture, a sublime
summary or "mandala" of what the empirical ego is able to perceive as its own ultimate
self-representation. This stage is purely empirical and does not escape the
confines of the formal & the critical modes of cognition ;
concentrating : once the mandala made, prolonged concentration on it decenters the ego, and
"purifies" all which does not belong to the mandala, allowing the ego to
take on the form of its own ideal, and distinguish itself clearly from its
negative, the Shadow (cf. Jung). This form is not yet the higher self, but a
ladder to the plane of creative thought ;
: insofar as the mandala indeed represents the best the empirical ego is
capable of, this vast representation is internalized and perceived "from within".
Instead of visualizing the mandala "before" the ego, it is observed with "the eye of the mind" and realized as an
inner object of consciousness. When this happens, the mandala, or visualized
correct self-knowledge, is seen from within, with the direct experience of
I-ness, of "my" soul or self placed at the center ;
self-realization initiates the production of self-ideas, more than
a projection of the super-ego, but the living experience of an individual,
historical being experiencing itself directly as an inherent self witnessing
(integrating) all empirical & mental states of consciousness in its
The higher self is still an ontic (own) self
annihilating : the last stage of the
higher self is the end
of its reification, namely when its own root is directly discovered as the
nondual light of consciousness, the natural state of the mind, the mind of
Clear Light*. When the
subtle illusion involved is pierced, the ontic self is destroyed insofar as it
was an ontological illusion. No longer
a someone-on-its-own, the individual becomes a fully participating, dependent &
awakened. The higher self transforms into the transparant selflessness of awakening.
When the reality & ideality of the world have thus been
totalized, the present immanent metaphysics poetically posits the "optimum" of limit-concepts : the
Anima Mundi or "soul of the world". This is the "form" of the
world, its entelechy, and one being with it. As a "feminine", receptive principle
(linked with the double movement of inspiration & expiration from the
is wholly "of the world", not a transcendent Creator outside the totality of
actual occasions. Her immanence mirrors the pataphysical, the
hidden Divine of the world. But as She
only brings into actuality what is potential, She is the
entelechy of the universe itself and does not transgress its
boundaries. In all points of the universe, She encompasses everything all the
time. In process thought, She is the immanent way God* deals with the world. Immanent metaphysics, arguing the
existence of this Great Soul and focusing on its conservative and
designing nature, cannot explain Her, except if
reference is made to the world as a whole, and nothing more.
God* as the immanent Divine present
with all actualities
God* as the transcendent "Lord of
Finally, after all these speculative efforts, immanent metaphysics prepares the end of
reifying conceptuality and, by way of an ultimate analysis, undermines the affirmation
of the substantiality of all phenomena. This is the purification of the conceptual mind.
A. The Limit-Concepts of Reason.
§ 1 Finite Series and the Infinite.
α. In mathematic,
limit L is value V a function or a sequence "approaches" as the input or
index I approaches some value. I and V may be finite or infinite. When V
tends towards infinity (because I approaches zero or infinity), a point at infinity is approached. And endless,
asymptotic increase is given, but an actual value is never defined. This
is a point at infinity, not an actual infinity (an infinite value actually
part of the set of real numbers). It merely acts as an indicator of a
point transcending every possible sequence of numbers or functions between
quantities and their momentum.
α.1 Likewise, in transfinite calculus, infinite
numbers like Aleph0 and Aleph1 are not Absolutely
Infinity (or "Omega"). These numbers are the rungs of the ladder of infinity.
These are transfinite numbers belonging to the transfinite set of actual
α.2 The ultimate,
absolute nature of phenomena, the absolutely infinite, is the ineffable object of transcendent
metaphysics. All other relative infinities are contingent and so
limit-concepts, returning back to the world and thus constituting its periphery.
Kant, the category of the ultimate called "God" is derived from the
category of relation. The interconnectedness of the manifold cannot be
denied. It evidences architectonic unity & scope. This leads to the
limit-concept of the Architect of the World or an Anima Mundi,
not to a transcendent Caesar-God. Nothing conceptual warrants such a move.
Stepping outside possible experience, we transgress the
conditions of conceptual knowledge.
"I do not mean by this the transcendental use or
abuse of the categories, which is a mere fault of the faculty of
judgment, not being as yet sufficiently subdued by criticism nor
sufficiently attentive to the limits of the sphere within which alone
the pure understanding has full play, but real principles which call
upon us to break down all those barriers, and to claim a perfectly new
territory, which nowhere recognises any demarcation at all. Here
transcendental and transcendent do not mean the same thing."
Kant, I. : CPR, B350.
Those who devised apologies for their version of the singular theist God
all made the same mistake : they
objectified beyond all possible experience the unconditional unity of all
possible predicates, filled the gap "per revelatio", passed beyond the conditioned, and
inevitably ended their legitimate rational quest for the most perfect being ("ens
perfectissimum") by affirming a hypostatized "ens realissimum".
While the former is a possible concept, the latter reification is a transgression.
is not equipped to cross the borderline of the world. Conventionality is
all it has. It must settle with that. It cannot move outside the world and
experience it like any other object. Transcendence is not outside the
world, but the same world observed without conceptual elaborations.
The old Platonic topological view must be abandoned and replaced by an
ontology based on the notion of a universal dynamical flow (of matter,
information & consciousness).
Totality of immanence and infinity of
transcendence are the two
major leading ideas of metaphysics. Totality, as a limit-concept, aims at all
possible actual occasions, the complete & full apprehension of the world.
Infinity, as a transcendent signifier, does not border totality, as in the topological view, but
penetrates totality. In fact, in every single moment, totality and
infinity happen simultaneously.
When duality turns absolute, nonduality ensues.
Immanent metaphysics encompasses all possible actual occasions, i.e. all
spatiotemporal building-blocks of the known. An ongoing series X (for example
x = 1,
2, 3 ...) is not stopped ad hoc and only the limit of this series
-with x going towards ∞- is accepted as a point at infinity,
suggestive of the "periphery" of the immanent sphere of observation. This is
not an actual infinity, nor an infinite number part of the sphere of
observation. Aggregates of actual occasions are finite series, but entering
the togetherness of other aggregates, they eventually merge in the quasi-infinite
series of the huge sea of process, the vast ongoing architectures (with their
differential formulas) of momenta of all kinds hic et nunc !
Attributing qualities to this point at infinity, we violate the principle
of immanence. The sum of this quasi-infinite sequence of expressions can
never be made, for the series continues to accumulate endlessly. This is
what is meant by the "totality" of the world as a system. The moment we
end the ongoing accumulation of the quasi-infinite set of mundane
happenings, and posit an actual infinite,
then a transgression has taken place. Concepts cannot enter the
non-conceptual. The fire of the highest mode of cognition cannot be stolen.
Promethean zeal only ends in eternalism (positing substances) or ontological
negationism (positing the absence of order in the ongoing processes of the
Despite objective & subjective transgressions, transcendent metaphysics
accepts infinite objects. Emptied by ultimate logic and inspired by
transfinite calculus, these objects are the absolute sufficient ground of the totality.
They are the infinite embracing totality, the infinite piercing the finite,
moving along with the finite, and
thereby bringing paradox, bewilderment & wonder. This is the perplexity of the
rational mind before the original light of the mind as directly experienced in
the nondual mode of cognition.
§ 2 Modern Limit-concepts : Soul, World, God.
α. Before Kant, substantialism was
axiomatic. The existence of a self- sufficient, fundamental ground is discussed
but not truly questioned. Metaphysics is substance-based. What makes the
beings be ? "To ti ên einai", literally, the "what it was to be" is
primordial substance ("ousia"), an "hypostasis" or "hypokeimenon",
an underlying thing. Process, movement, change, motion & transformation
are accidental and supposed not to affect the essence ("eidos")
of this self-powered ultimate being ("causa sui"), this "substance of
substances" sustaining the being of the beings, offering them their
permanency. All things merely participate in this ground. Find this permanent,
eternal, unchanging thing-of-things and all the rest is supposed to
eliminate the root-cause of the ontological illusion, Kant attacked the three main substances
thematized before him :
(a) the soul :
interacting with extension, the "res cognitans" is rightly given a
distinct main role to play, not one of merely being an auxiliary of "res
extensa" or God, but is defined as a substance with inherent properties ;
(b) the world : the extended is filled with
matter and movement, the basic ingredients of physical objects, but their are
defined as independent and separate from each other, operating in absolute
space and absolute time as a gigantic clockwork, self-powered & "out there" ;
(c) God : the transcendent absolute as
defined by fundamental theology fails in logic. Affirming the substantial God
of theism is stepping outside the boundaries of conventional experience, and
doing so is ineffable for non-conceptual. While "Credo quia absurdum"
may inspire believers, it cannot satisfy philosophers. An understanding of
beyond intellectual embarrassment is called for. This begins by grasping the
conservation of the world, its design and the possible existence of its
Author, the Grand Architect or
perfectissimum", a most perfect being. The latter being merely
the immanent aspect of God*.
A right view being the first step, one would expect the age of mere
faith to soon be over !
γ. These transgressions, typical for essentialism, lead to antinomies &
paralogisms. A variety of ontologies ensue. In each, the finite
series did not remain continuous. Its continuation was aborted ad hoc
and made static by the axiomatic affirmation of an autarchic, inherently
existing substantial self-sufficient ground or underlying (absolute) eternal thing. A logically
unacceptable jump from the finite to the infinite order was made. The argument
fails. Criticism understands the Ideal, the Real and the absolute from another
vantage point. No longer seeking the static, eternal core, one focuses on the
dynamic stream of interconnectedness between all things. The study of and
meditation on this stream reveals the ultimate nature of all phenomena not to
be outside or beyond this stream, but precisely this stream experienced as
empty of an own-self or substantial core.
Knowing something is an illusion should prompt us not to be fooled again.
Understanding the soul, the world and God, and in that order, reflects
the totalizing intention of metaphysics. But since the Greeks, it has never
been bridled by our understanding of the limitations of conventional knowledge
in general and of the conceptual modes of cognition in particular. Pre-Kantian
philosophy embraced substantialism and concept-realism.
Immanent metaphysics studies the objective (with as limit the Real) and the subjective (with
as limit the
Ideal) aspects or modes of all actual occasions. The latter are fundamental,
for shared by both object & subject. With "soul" is meant the conscious
observer, meaning-giver or sign-user, making choices and changing things. With
"world" is meant all actual occasions happening at
moment "t". With "world-system" is meant the totality of this world
and the world-ground. With God* is meant the only abstract actual occasion bridging
all possible potentiality and all spatiotemporal actuality. These are ontological
objects, but process-based. Not a single objective or subjective own-thing can
be found, can it not ? Find a substance with inhering properties and erect a
substance-based ontology to see this fine structure demolished by ultimate
§ 3 The Copernican Revolution.
α. In the first predictive
mathematical model of Heliocentrism, Copernicus understood why the Earth
had to turn around the Sun and not the other way round as his learned
contemporaries believed. Neither did they grasp why the Earth would spin at
all ! Heliocentrism ended the elect role of humanity in the worldview
advocated by the "religions of the book". Before Copernicus, most scientists,
loyal to the Hellenism of Late Antiquity, adopted a geocentric view of the
world. The complex geocentric model of Ptolemy worked, so why abandon it ?
Heliocentrism had been proposed by Aristarchus of Samos in the 3th century
BCE, but this valid view had been put aside. Why ? Because he had retained
circular orbits. Copernicus too was unable to let go of this.
What was a solid geo-ontological ground, namely the Earth as the
objective centre of the cosmos of the Caesar-God, became a mere point of view among many others.
Decentration of objectivity invited a turning around to counter
the crisis caused. This led to grounding the importance of subjectivity in
nothing else but subjectivity (the Cartesian ego had indeed remained
essentialist). It also invited intersubjectivity and the revolutions intended
to achieve social justice (cf. 1789 & 1917). Indeed, the Solar kings
-assumed to have received their crown by the God of revelation- were dethroned.
We need to realize each
observer (the Earth) knows reality (the Sun) from a unique & singular point of
observation. The fact our relative point of view cannot be escaped points to
the importance of subjectivity, of the knower in the act of cognition. Along
with the known and knowledge, the knower is a necessary, co-relative but
independent element of the process of producing knowledge. The knower is at
the centre, not the absolute ground. This is a paradigm shift away from
autarchic objects and figures of authority to a reflection upon the conditions
& possibilities of selfhood, no longer viewed as a substantial, eternal
The knower is no longer a passive gatherer but a creative
participator. Shaping its own world, humanity can do nothing less than take up
full personal responsibility for what happens on planet Earth. Only a global
political system is able to solve problems, for nationalism will fail. The
time of independent nation-states is over.
The Copernican Revolution is the realization every moment each observer occupies a
unique vantage point.
γ. While we observe the Sun rising
and setting, we know this is due to the rotation of the Earth. Our understanding of the phenomenon does not change our
observation. Likewise, we may see the disk of the Moon change, while astronomy
tells us otherwise. So also in epistemology.
γ.1 The transcendental apparatus is
not a property of the known, but a functional characteristic of the knower.
The subject seems passive while it is actively designating & attributing
labels to objects. We do not grasp perceptions, but sensations, and the latter
are already interpretations of perceptions.
γ.2 In ultimate analysis, the "Via Regia" to the end of
elaboration, the same reversal is found. While we observe conventional
objects to exist independently & separately, both logic & physics teach they
are, at the most fundamental level, dependent and non-local. They appear at
the explicate level as solid & permanent, but are in fact vacuous & constantly
Illusion is precisely this : appearing otherwise than what truly is the
case. All conventional knowledge is such an illusion. Valid conventional
knowledge (science & immanent metaphysics) are merely sophisticated formats of
the valid but mistaken appearance of disconnectedness. Like galaxies, Solar
systems, planets, mountains & large monuments, valid conventional knowledge may last for a very long time,
but cease it eventually will. As creative advance is ongoing, what we know
constantly changes. Any kind of institutionalization fails to follow the tide.
A lost battle against cultural lag animates the ranks of the academia.
Eventually, even the Himalayas will crumble to dust.
Conventional knowledge is valid but mistaken. Absolute knowledge is beyond
and unmistaken. The former is outspoken, the latter silent.
The observer is not merely a "passive intellect" taking in sense-data
and organizing them post factum by way of an "active intellect".
Observation takes place in an already established framework of names, labels &
identifications (negations). The latter is the outcome of the slow
complexification of our cognitive texture, expressing itself in various modes
and, in due course, establishing various mental operators. What was initiated
as coordinations of movements, becomes internalized functional processes and
The object of knowledge is not "naked" as naive realism wants it, but the end
result of interpretations made by the cognitive apparatus. While Kant supposed
these interpretative structures were universal, and part of them are, the
idiosyncrasies of observation are noteworthy.
The Copernican Revolution is a decentration.
§ 4 The Linguistic Turn.
accepted the importance of the
knower, we focus on our human capacity for language, i.e. the meaningful
manipulation of signs like signals, icons & symbols, to impute, designate,
label or attribute. In the process of this differentiation undergone by our
cognitive texture, generating the conceptual mind calls for semiotical
functions. They are crucial in placing labels and in identifying sensate & mental objects.
They are communicated to the intersubjective
milieu of sign-interpreters.
actual use of languages defines a set called "userware", operating
immediate, mediate and general contexts. This is a kaleidoscope of choices,
but also a calendar fixing an itinerary & the rites of passage undertaken by humanity in its
sentient evolution. In the most general way, this set brings together all
possible sentient activity at work in the world as a whole hic et nunc,
including the infinitesimal possibility of sentience potential in every actual
occasion, the building-block of ontology.
Insofar as the object of immanent metaphysics
is concerned, the world is the totality of all actual occasions
taking place in a single moment of the existence of the universe, encompassing
all actual occasions ; material, informational and sentient.
The world-system may generate countless consecutive worlds. The "breath of the
worlds" being the flux of the ongoing arising, abiding, ceasing and
re-emerging of the world out of its ground.
δ. The subject of knowledge claims the object by
naming. Designating labels, imputing fixed characteristics, properties &
relations, this conceptual, conventional knowledge -if valid- is the right
tool to solve functional problems dealing with activities involving
instruments, strategy or communication. But this relative knowledge is not
absolute and so mistaken.
δ.1 The impure, reifying conceptual mind posits an independent, separate & substantial
object, superimposes a category-mistake upon perception & reason.
δ.2 If a
substance-based object is found, can it be anything less than massive ? It must therefore be easy to
ostentatiously identify such a substance, self-sufficient ground or essence, must is
not ? If we check all the rooms of the house for the presence of this
hippopotamus and after thorough investigation none is found, then may one not
safely assume there is no
hippopotamus in the house ? Perhaps not for the full measure, but surely very
Only in our imagination do hippopotami become invisible ...
ε. The Linguistic Turn is a
deepening of the Copernican Revolution. The latter argues the necessity of the
observer, the former creativity & awareness. Indeed, now sentience
itself, the consciousness of the observer, becomes the crucial symbolizing part of the
process of acquiring knowledge, as it were emancipating the self-reflective
activity of the "ego cogitans" begun by Descartes. In this
self-reflection, conscious critical awareness and the production of symbols (leading up
to Artificial Intelligence) are integrated. The meaning of language depends on
how its signs, the units of meaning, are consciously manipulated.
Meaning-shifts happen constantly and only by repetitive use can certain glyphs
(or well-formed, meaningful states of matter) endure over longer periods of
time. Thus turned into cultural objects, they face the rise, fall & rebirth of civilizations.
Creativity (novelty) and symbol-production move with conscious
intention, choice, meaning, sense, sentience and functional activities
involving sensation, volition, emotion and thought.
Understanding the importance of signals (waymarks), icons (meaningful
images) and symbols (denotative & connotative referents) results from placing
the subject of knowledge at the centre. The knower grasps or possesses the
object and signs as outer manifestations of this mental apprehension. They
allow this to be communicated to the milieu and add objects to the domain of
information. The latter is comprised of natural and artificial data. Insofar
as these conditions & determinations reflect the architecture of the cosmos
and life, "natural" software is at hand. Thanks to the sentient activity
of humanity, cultural objects are added, and these are merely artificial
designs put in by the creativity of Homo sapiens sapiens.
§ 5 Epistemological Limit-concepts : the Real & the Ideal.
α. The two regulative ideas of
transcendental reason established by the critical mode of cognitive activity
are derived from the two sides of the Factum Rationis pointed out by
transcendental logic ; the condition of objectivity, implying thinking must
imply the extra-mental, and the condition of subjectivity, implying one cannot
eliminate the thinker and intersubjective communication. These ideas, called "the Real" and "the Ideal"
respectively, do not constitute the objects known, but merely regulate the
cognitive activities associated with the pursuit of objectivity and with
mental clarity, acuity, focus and sense of truth respectively.
β. "Extra-mental" means the object of knowledge must be considered as a separate,
independent entity on its own, i.e. some thing "out there". If a
reasonable account of the possibility & production of knowledge is to be made,
knowledge must imply this.
β.1 Science must -a
priori and methodologically-
consider the reality of the object of knowledge as if representing
absolute reality. Suppose this is not the case. Then scientific knowledge is
never about some thing, but merely represents the objects of intersubjective
even the "statute-law" of theoretical epistemology provides one must accept
facts to possess a theory-transcendent facet. This necessity shows how valid
conventional knowledge cannot operate without the possibility of substantial
instantiation or reification.
β.3 The purification of the conceptual mind, or the
end of reifying concepts, is a special mind. Science perfectly functions
without it, but metaphysics -if it wants to delve deeper than the world-
cannot. The temple of transcendence can only be trod by this purified mind.
Theoretical epistemology stops the reification of the conditions of knowledge
(the reification of the ideas of the Real & the Ideal), but it must accept
facts carry the weight of the absolute, even if this would not be the case !
Practical epistemology introduces the "as if" mentality, substantializing
idealism and realism for methodological reasons.
Thinking the thinker implies the subject of knowledge must be grasped as a
transcendental "I think" for all times, the capstone of a cognitive system
three stages and seven modes. In order to guarantee the unity of the manifold
of objects apprehended by the knower, this formal focus necessarily
accompanies every cogitation of the empirical ego. It is independent &
separate from it and is a formal principle posited by necessity. Hence, even
transcendental thinking, purged from essentialism, must accept this subject of
subjects, a desubstantialized absolute ideality. Creative thought turns this
formal self into an ontic own-self.
3 STAGES OF COGNITION in
7 MODES OF THOUGHT
barrier between instinct and reason
barrier between reason and intuition
Because at this critical level of thought
unsolved tensions and delusions remain, the creativity of the higher self is necessary. The appearance of the
Clear Light* is the outcome of the final purging of reification, leading to the selflessness-in-prehension, the
end of self-cherishing and self-grasping in its coarse & subtle forms.
Annihilating this ontic self brings about the transparant selflessness of
The operations of the conceptualizing mind are regulated by the ideas of
reason. These limit-concepts tend towards the optimalization of valid
conventional knowledge. The idea of the Real regulates by presenting the
correspondence of valid conceptual knowledge with absolute reality, the
idea of the Ideal by bringing the "consensus omnium" of all
sign-interpreters to the fore. They merge and form a point at infinity,
a "focus imaginarius" never itself conceptually known. These
ideas are not transcendent, but the transcendental conditions of
objectivity & subjectivity respectively.
§ 6 Metaphysical Limit-concepts : Conserver, Designer & Clear
objective & subjective sides of the Factum Rationis -ruling all possible
cognitive activity- are self-evident, and by necessity regulated by the ideas of the Real and the Ideal respectively. Likewise, the object of
immanent metaphysics, namely the world, also evidences objective and
subjective limit-concepts. Only the object of transcendent metaphysics, namely
the world-ground, is beyond limit-concepts. As conceptualization stops,
signs attempting to grasp this a forteriori imply paradox and
inconsistency. Transfinite calculus, advancing actual infinities,
although indicative, cannot bridge this and so remains inconclusive. Can
one therefore speculate on the transcendent ?
world is a sea of actual occasions acting out matter, information and
consciousness, the three fundamental aspects of every single momentary actual
occasion. The question arises : how is this order possible ? Ignoring the
extraordinary radiant brilliance of this dynamical architecture, even over very large
periods of time, is inept. Moreover, mere stochastic views run against the
high unlikelihood of the parameters of this cosmos, with its life & sentience ...
β.1 To call
for a transcendent cause to explain the world is going too far. Logic
forbids the direct, uncritical use of an absolute self-sufficient hypostasis,
signals the use of a transcendent
signifier, and deconstructs it. Transcendence posits at hoc an end to the endless
progression deemed possible by the immanent view. Indeed, the actual finitude of the
world cannot be demonstrated (while its quasi-finitude may be accepted).
Neither should the possibility of an infinite series be rejected
β.2 A transcendent & infinite absolute towering above a
finite world, a Pharaonic "substance of substances", cannot be posited without
logical problems. Even non-substantial, process-based speculations about
infinity are not without paraconsistency. The non-conceptual cannot be
grasped by any concept. Indirectly, poetry may translate this direct
awakened experience of the world in the nondual mode of cognition. If
this is the case, then a hermeneutics of the signs used by mystics is
To be rationally established, the order of the world does not need a
transcendent cause. This was proven by Ockham.
To avoid any problem with the
infinite ingress in time of the horizontal series of interacting and interdependent
efficient causes, jump to the actual, vertical order of events hic et nunc.
So not as they are happening in the horizontal, temporal, functional,
physical order, but as they are happening in every succeeding moment.
By doing so, one always avoids an infinite regress. Is it not a solid axiom to affirm
the world is not infinite in each actual moment ? If not, how to avoid
blatant absurdities ?
The revised a
posteriori argument from efficient causes :
Case to be proven : "A first conserving cause exists."
Major Premise : in the contingent order of the world,
nothing can be the cause of itself or it would exist before itself ;
Premise 1 : an infinite series is conceivable in the case of
efficient causes (existing horizontally one after the other), but very
unlikely in the actual (vertical) order of conservation "hic et
Premise 2 : an infinite regress in the actual, empirical world
hic et nunc would give an actual infinity, leading to
absurdities like being born before one's own mother ;
: a contingent thing coming into being is
conserved in being as long as it exists or abides - being contingent and
so impermanent it eventually ceases ;
: as only necessary beings conserve
themselves and the world contains contingent things only, every
conserver depends on another conserver, etc. ;
1 : ergo, as there is no infinite number of actual
conservers, there is a first conserver ;
if we suppose an infinite regress in the actual,
empirical world hic et nunc, then an actual infinity would exist,
leading to absurdity ;
at least a first conserving cause exists. QED
The (supposed) finite order of the
world of contingent actual occasions cannot be conserved without a
first conserver. Thinking an actual infinity may and often does lead to
rationally unacceptable inconsistencies.
δ. The argument from design runs as follows :
Case to be proven : "The world has an intelligent, proximate cause."
Premise 1 : the world is an organized, contingent whole,
evidencing variety, order, fitness & beauty ;
Premise 2 : it is impossible for this arrangement to be inherent
in the things existing in the world for the different entities could
never spontaneously co-operate towards definite aims, not even over very
long periods of time ;
Premise : definite aims need a selecting and arranging purposeful
rational disposing principle ;
1 : ergo, there exists a sublime and intelligent cause (or
many) which is the cause of the world, not only in terms of natural
necessity (blind and all-powerful), but as an intelligence, by freedom ;
2 : the unity of this cause (or these causes) may be inferred
with certainty from the unity of the reciprocal relation of the parts of
the world as portions of a skilful edifice so far as our experience
Ergo, the intelligent cause or causes of the world forms or form
a unity of design ;
if this cause is projected outside the world to explain its activity,
then the domain of reason is left and the argument from design becomes
the refuted argument from necessity (cf. the cosmological argument).
Ergo, the argument from design does not prove an ultimate, but a
Ergo, the world has an intelligent, proximate cause.
δ.1 For Kant, the argument from design led
to the "stage of admiration" of the greatness, the intelligence and the
power of the Architect of the World, who is indeed very much restricted by the
creativity of the stuff with
which to work. And this unlike the Creator-God
of monotheism, who as an Author, both self-sufficient, necessary and
transcendent, can do whatever He likes to change things immediately !
δ.2 This Architect of the World, "God of the philosophers"
is not omnipotent, neither powerless. Omniscient of what happened and
what is happening now, not of what will happen in the future, this
Anima Mundi or entelechy of the world is receptive and
generative of order ... But perhaps also of orders inimical to life &
sentience itself, pre-crystaline architectures close to the seminal
state of the world.
δ.3 Understand the order and beauty of the
world points to a final end, namely to actualize all its
possibilities, itself an ongoing, endless process regulated by
limit-concepts. The conserving "soul
of the world", or intelligent proximate cause of the world, does not transgress the boundaries of the world.
δ.4 In all points of the world (both momentarily as temporally), this
Architect, Great Soul or Great Mother encompasses everything all the
time, keeping all actual occasions in her fold, passing by each single
one of them.
∫ Seek to affirm
conservation and (intelligent) design in harmony with the Big Bang, relativity,
quantum, chaos & natural selection.
ε. On the
subjective side, the world displays subtler (deeper/higher) levels of
consciousness. The empirical ego observes the display of sensate and mental
objects it possesses on the surface of the "mirror of the mind", in
other words, as part of the circular field of consciousness with this
ego at the centre. This is the coarse, empirical mind.
ε.1 This coarse mind receives five sensate objects and identifies them by
imputing conceptual labels & names on them. The five
sense-consciousnesses associated with them can be established by this
conceptualizing mind as long as (a) the sensitive surfaces of the
healthy sense organs receive stimuli, (b) these inputs are properly
decoded and transferred to the thalamus and (c) the thalamus projects
this afferent information on a well-functioning neo-cortex.
ε.2 The coarse mind also possesses mental objects.
These are used to communicate information with other minds and label
sensate objects. The
ontic ego has a strong sense of inherent identity, with feelings of autarchy
and an innate freedom of choice. It seems to exist separately and independently.
It is a special mental object, namely a sentient one, a consciousness
displaying emotional states, intentions, thought and self-consciousness.
ε.3 Given the empirical ego is the root of the direct experience
of sensate & mental objects and also the origin of conceptualization,
naming & labelling, the realization of its impermanence is crucial to
make it pliant enough to establish the subtle
mind. Because the magnificent, sublime & blissful character of
the subtle mind leads to the subtle delusion of identifying it as a higher,
eternal self (a new ontic, own-self), unsolved tensions remain. This
subtle mind, established by observing the insubstantiality of the coarse
mind, also needs to be totally desubstantialized, leading to the higher
self and then to the
selfless transparancy of the mind of Clear Light*.
The subtle mind no longer establishes the inherent, substantial ego
based on sensate and mental objects.
To observe the lack of inherent properties in the subtle mind and the
three root-causes of all conceptual activity properly prepares -so transcendent
metaphysics claims- the awakening of the mind of Clear Light*. This is the original, natural state of the mind,
the very subtle mind or fundamental stratum or layer of mind. But insofar as immanent
metaphysics is concerned, this ultimate mind*, based on an ineffable but
nondual experience, can be nothing more than a limit-concept.
Only full-emptiness, the union of bliss and wisdom endures.
Immanent metaphysics should not posit an absolute entity, Deity
or Supreme Being
outside or behind the world. Theology should abandon Platonic topology
to convey transcendence. Outside the world, this "Urgrund" or Unmoved Mover is a forteriori
something radically different from creation. Hard to imagine how
such a Being would communicate with the world. Insofar as the Architect
of the World remains part of the world, immanence prevails. Immanent
metaphysics (backed by valid argumentation) can go no further. Sublime
poetry may, but this falls outside philosophy, inspire a hermeneutics
of salvic poetic signs.
Positing a transcendent Being feeds the illusion of a self-sufficient ground.
The Architect of the World, the immanent approach of the world by God*, is not a creator "thinking" the world
before its incipience, fashioning it as it were "ex nihilo". The Architect of the World is
not beyond the world but with every possible actual occasion.
Transcendent metaphysics merely affirms a realm of sheer potentiality, but
this is not to be confounded with a theo-ontological, self-sufficient
Absolute Being or Creator-God. Such a "God-as-Caesar" is not
found to exist. This
makes one ask what kind of God* process metaphysics does envisage ?
Subjectively, another limit-concept is introduced. The unity of
conscious experience cannot be explained by the coarse mind. Formally,
as critical thought explains, this necessitates a formal self "for all
times", one merely accompanying every cognitive act of the conceptual
mind. A deeper
stratum is reached as soon as the coarse mind is emptied of itself, i.e.
of its own identification as a substantial, independent and separate
entity. This identitylessness of persons leads to the formation of a new, higher focus of conscious
awareness. At first, this focus grasps at itself and generates an ontic self
(an eternal soul or "âtman"). While offering a panoramic perspective producing creative
concepts and a cosmic awareness, the ontic self does not exist from its own side.
Once this is
thoroughly realized, the subtle mind is no longer caught in its subtle delusions
and, in the poetical language of the mystics, the Clear Light* of the original mind or very subtle
awakened mind shines
B. Diversity & Convergence in the World.
§ 1 Horizontal : Variety, Display & the World-Ground.
Considering the mundus, the horizon represents the ongoing
complexification of all actual occasions, events & entities part of the
world and distributed over the four cardinal directions. These are not only
constantly interconnected, but also enter each other's history and
therefore shape the fabric of an organic togetherness based on creative
advance. The manifold, or the world disjunctively, is a sea of
horizontal plane displays diversity, variety, multiplicity and differentiation. On
an explicate level, this manifests as the vastness of physical space and
the nearly endless temporal flow of events taking place somewhere. On
the implicate level, this is the universal quantum plasma connecting all
momentary actual occasions.
β.1 The ultimate or primordial ground of the
world or world-ground is not a substantial
underlying all actual occasions, but a realm of pure possibility, of
formative abstracts covering what is needed for the next moment of the
world to happen. The world-ground is the sufficient ground of the world,
but not a substantial self-sufficient one.
and world-ground constitute the world-system. The ground of the world is
the potential out of which all possible
actual occasions constantly emerge, eventually return to and reemerge
The temporal, sequential & efficient togetherness of actual occasions
and their aggregates also happens horizontally. Efficient
determination is the direct physical impact of actual occasion A on
actual occasion B. If this temporal "flow" would be the sole determining
factor of the togetherness, materialism ensues. But then no creative advance would be
possible. Adding architecture & sentience makes diversity possible.
The world is a set of actual occasions. These feature a temporal
stream of interconnected moments. All possible interconnections fall
into different categories of determination or lawful contact between
actual occasions like causality, interaction, statistical correlation,
etc. These determination & conditions contribute to the diversity of the
world and are called "horizontal" because they all invite a
succession of states or moments of existence. All these are instances of
efficient determination, or the determination between actual occasions
on the basis of their functions & temporality. If only efficient
determination would rule the world, no creative advance would be
possible, for actual occasions would by themselves add nothing to the
succession of happenings. The universe would be "dead bones",
nothing but a "nature
morte" of dispersed elements. This is clearly not the case.
Science teaches the well-formed nature of the choice of natural
constants and lawful activity in the physical universe. The laws of
Nature suggest an immanent "logos" thinking these architectures.
§ 2 Vertical : Unity, Intelligent Focus &
in the mundus, the prime vertical represents the continuous
complexification towards unity, from hidden & simple ("nadir") to
overt & complex ("zenith"). This coming out into
the light of unity-out-of-diversity, heralds the return of the
world to its original singularity, to its last expiration (or
evaporation) at the end. Because of final determination, the manifold becomes the one actual
occasion, the world conjunctively, an organic sea of process.
This results from convergence between societies of actual occasions, an
attunement of their participations in each other and the establishment of
a cosmic participation throughout the members of the
β. The organicity of the world is the case not only
thanks to the (material) temporality of efficient, physical connectivity and
interdependence, but also because of the ongoing informational and
sentient activities of
conservation, design & Clear Light*.
material aspect, defining the horizontal plane, is -at every moment-
indeed crossed by a non-material aspect at its vertical, an intelligent focus
or "vis a tergo" reorganizing the probabilities of
materiality and thus indirectly co-directing the material manifestation of particles & fields. The total
available information provides the "mandala" of choices manipulated by
sentient decisions. The latter, ex hypothesi, alter the structure of the
probability-fields ruling material manifestation (cf. the collapse of
the wave-equation of Schrödinger).
β.2 Of course, this vertical co-direction is hampered by
the free choices of all other actual occasions.
Information & consciousness define intelligent focus, or the
of totalization, generalization, overview & sentience characterizing final determination. The teleology of the mundus fosters unity
& the largest possible harmony. The vertical adjustment, balancing
or finalization by any actual
occasion enters and influences the efficient stream of the next. Thus
efficient & final determination cooperate in every single instance of
δ. In direct nondual experience, the
very subtle mind of Clear Light* finds itself inseparable from the
world-ground, the absolute ground of pure potentiality. The unity of all
possible minds of Clear Light* or the prehension by a
single supermind of the world-system as a whole is called "the primordial mind", "Âdi-Buddha"
or "the mind of God*", the ultimate,
omniscient, total & infinite prehension of the momentary.
∫ Of what cannot be conceptualized, only melody can speak.
Besides efficient determination, the mundus also features
finality. This means the unity, creative advance and harmony between the
various efficient characteristics point to a singularity, namely the
world as a unity, a whole, a "mandala" of actual occasions. This
is not merely a compound of disparate elements, but an organic
unity consisting of all possible actual occasions. This engages the most
comprehensive form of participation ; the unity & harmony of the
manifold as apprehended by intellectual focus. This is a unity conscious
if itself, i.e. the unique society of societies of actual
Thus the world displays material efficiency hand in
hand with informational organization (architecture) and the results of
sentient, conscious choice. The latter two define its final determination,
adjusting the horizontal flow of functional efficiencies by altering the
structure of the propensities involved in the process of material
manifestation. Finality, involving unity & harmony, emerges together
with the conservation and the design of the world.
This calls for God*, a supermind imputing its superobject and apprehending the world-system as a whole,
i.e. the potential world-ground and the actual world. Immanent metaphysics
cannot move further and -in the context of a process metaphysics- merely points to the transcendent
signifier as a
category of potentiality, virtuality, possibility (emptiness) and its
simultaneous manifestation as a vast network of interconnected actual
occasions (fullness). But such a possible Grand Architect is never an
Author, not a Caesar, nor a Creator.
C. The Alliance between Science & Immanent Metaphysics.
§ 1 The Alliance of Form.
Science produces valid empirico-formal propositions. These are
necessarily statements referring to facts. Facts are valid but mistaken.
Simultaneously, they are extra-mental and determined by mental objects.
Because science works with propositions, it obeys formal logic. The latter
defines the form of science. Of all logical operators, the negation is
the most basic. Of all axioms, non-contradiction is the most elegant.
β. Metaphysics argues a comprehensive view of the
world. It does so in metaphysical systems integrating scientific
knowledge and the history of speculative thought, if possible
world-wide. Because it is argumentative, it presents an organized,
architectonic mental object. Having formal outlines, logic is
implied. This is also the case for the procedure to settle arguments
(the rules of argumentation). If metaphysics is contradictory and makes
no efficient use of contradiction, it cannot be valid. The correctness
or well-formedness of the argument is as crucial in science as it is in
Logic is the corner-stone of both science and critical (immanent)
metaphysics. By adopting certain rules conveying order and abstraction,
an architecture ensues. Both disciplines focus on the world,
science in detail, metaphysics in general terms. Accepting logic is to
confirm that if arguments fail, the conditions of well-formedness have
not been met. An incorrect form is being applied. Of course, logic also
assumes a series of axioms, logical operators and rules of
argumentation. One cannot change these at random, but decide beforehand
what is going to be used.
Organizing the field of logic, distinguish
between formal, semantic and pragmatic logics. The first deal with the
form of statements, and derives their truth-value on the basis of this
alone, i.e. without taking contents into account. The second type is
contents-based, using natural symbols (like cosmological or biological
cycles and processes). The third type is used in certain practical
contexts, like dialogue or argumentation. It is quite useless to apply
formal rules to contents-based reasonings, or define the latter in terms
of practical applications. Each type has its own domain and applies its
own kind of rules. A variety of logics have ensued (non-formal,
non-linear, quantum, etc.).
§ 2 The Alliance of Contents.
Science solves problems and understand Nature in its diversity. Critical
metaphysics totalizes Nature, understands the world insofar as
the world goes and points to the transcendent world-ground
understood as a process-based sheer potentiality. Sensate and mental
objects are "natural", i.e. belong to Nature. Their horizontal aspect is
their tendency to disperse their momentum, while their prime vertical triggers a
balancing-out of extremes by altering the propensities ruling efficient states of
matter, manipulating the virtual totality or set of "all possibilities"
speculated to be present before any kind of actual manifestation, i.e.
before the actual collapse of an infinite number of possibilities -the
primordial sense of matter, information & consciousness- to a single
actual occasion hic et nunc.
β. Science and immanent metaphysics are natural
allies. Their aim is to understand Nature, the world. But this alliance
is conditional. On the one hand, immanent metaphysics must acquire
sufficient information before starting to speculate about a "mandala" or
totality. In terms of the current scientific paradigm, it must accept
three fundamental facts : (a) the origin of the observable universe in
the Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago, (b) a 4.6-billion-year-old
Earth and (c) the evolution of life-forms by means of (neo-)Darwinian
natural selection. On the other hand, science must keep out of
metaphysics and leave speculative activity to philosophers.
Clearly science and transcendent metaphysics are not allies. A critical transcendent
metaphysics posits a process-based, ultimate world-ground as
inseparable from or in unity with the mind of Clear Light*. While this
argued definitively (by valid conclusion or affirmative negation) and
this direct experience of such a primordial unity or wholeness is non-conceptual and nondual,
it is nevertheless a
known, a datum of knowledge, part of a cognitive act.
This special experience & knowledge ("gnosis"
or "prajñâ") or living mystical awareness & insight ("Da'at"), arising in the awakened
("bodhi") or ultimate, very subtle mind of
Clear Light*, may be prepared
by any pliant mind realizing the fruits of ultimate logic and
hence purified from conceptual reification. As a direct experience and a cognitive act, it is nevertheless
beyond validation and unmistaken. Beyond validation because it involves a profound, undeniable,
more certain truth than any other truth or prior belief ; the ultimate
Eureka ! or "Aha !"-experience ; but it is nameless. Unmistaken because it apprehends
what is as it is, nothing more and nothing less, without any
In this awakened mind, selflessness merely prehends its objects,
conceptual & non-conceptual alike. If concepts arise, they are merely
logical & functional entities, nothing more. The suchness of all
phenomena is the thatness of their arising, abiding, ceasing and
reemerging. The absolute mind only entertains the existential
instantiation, attending the non-separability of fullness of
togetherness and emptiness of own-nature, of compassion and wisdom,
bliss and absence of inherent existence. Here the absolute nature of
duality is directly experienced.
Science and immanent metaphysics both focus on the world. The
former seeks empirico-formal propositions about the manifold, while the
latter articulates its speculative statements, aiming at a general
perspective and the unity of the selfsame manifold.
This is not a
God's-eye viewpoint from outside the world, but a tangential
appreciation of the whole. Both disciplines, when working together and
not against each other, will enhance the production of knowledge and
lead to a better appreciation of both the manifold and the unity of the
world. The latter points to the activity of a higher
intelligence, a Grand Architect of the World, designing & conserving the
world-order. Either this, or a mathematical miracle explains what is at hand. This is not a Creator, for
such a transcendent Being, posited as radically different from its
creation, cannot be conceived without mystification, paradox and
However, transcendence can be conceived, but not in terms of an
ontological difference, but as (a) an continuous process and (b) a sheer
potentiality that just was, is and will be. The relation between the
actual quasi-finite world and the pure, infinite possibility is not a causal
one (for spacetime as physically conceived starts with the arrival of
the cosmos with the Big Bang), but a holistic determination (the greater
whole encompassing the lesser).
§ 3 Empirical Significance & Heuristic Relevance.
arrive at any scientific truth, i.e. a valid empirico-formal proposition
in the realm of conventional, conceptual knowledge, significance is
needed, implying the facts, results or data referred to by this truth
are unlikely to have occurred by chance. Randomness is the non-order in
a sequence of symbols or steps, a process lacking intelligible
pattern(s) and their combinations. High, medium and low significance
prevail. In this sense, on the scale of scientific truths, Schrödinger's
wave-equation is the most significant.
β. Significance covers the objective realm, but
significant facts may have no relevance, i.e. subjective importance.
Relevance is the relation of something to the matter at hand as viewed
by subjective & intersubjective intent. Insignificant statements may be
highly relevant. The concept of "intelligent design" as proposed by
monotheist creationists is unscientific and insignificant. But to many
communities of fundamentalists this idea or mental object is highly relevant.
In the context of process metaphysics, intelligent design harmonizes
with cosmology & evolution. Relevance cannot be "tested" but only
argued. The most sophisticated system of answers wins the day.
|metaphysics of hope
Because metaphysics is not testable but only arguable, it cannot
produce significance. Scientific validity calls for both experimentation
and argumentation leading up to theory-formation. The phrase
"metaphysical experiment" involves a contradictio in terminis. So
it follows all speculative inquiries done by theoretical philosophy are
simultaneously insignificant and highly relevant. Metaphysics holds a very
special place. As a heuristic of science, valid & critical theoretical
philosophy is crucial in providing totalizing frameworks and in letting
the scientists do they jobs, i.e. produce facts using tests & theories.
Its insignificance is not factual, but the consequence of metaphysics
As soon as the philosopher becomes a scientist, inspiration vanishes.
As soon as the scientist becomes a philosopher, subtlety is out.
δ. Metaphysics articulates a
totality. Critical process metaphysics grasps this as impermanent
(dynamical) and interconnected. There is much hope in both.
δ.1 Absence of
permanence means all things can enter all things, for the
absolute isolation given with the permanent thing is not present. This
fluidity of the impermanent stream of actual occasions optimalizes the
possibilities of change & transformation. The low can turn into the high
and vice versa. Optimalizing duality, this extreme heralds the
coming of that extreme. We are never stuck.
δ.2 As all actual
occasions are interconnected and produce novel togetherness, the singular ego has "a place to move to",
namely to all those countless suffering others.
metaphysics of hope fosters unity & harmony. Non-substantial, unity is a
perfect style of movement, whereas harmony is the cosmic law, "Maat" or
"Dharma" ruling interconnectivity between all possible actual occasions,
shaping negentropy, non-redundancy & reduced randomness.
Scientific propositions are significant because they reflect the
objective findings of the community of sign-interpreters. They may be
relevant or not, i.e. appeal and be of (inter)subjective use.
Metaphysical statements are not significant but not necessarily
pre-Baconian, i.e. picturing the world we would like instead of
the way science thinks it is. Immanent metaphysics stays near (or next
to) the findings of science and tries to place these in a general
picture. But valid metaphysics is highly relevant, allowing us to grasp
the possible unity and harmony of the world.
D. Limitations of a Possible Speculative Discourse.
§ 1 Logical Limitations.
Because metaphysics cannot be tested, it must present strong arguments.
But these are based on logic, involving certain choices like logical
operators and rules of argumentation. These must be accepted beforehand.
Formal and informal logics prevail. Although identity, non-contradiction
and excluded third figure in most, this is not always the case (cf.
paraconsistent logics and intuitive logics with included third).
β. Any kind of arbitrariness forms a limitation.
The validity of metaphysics cannot be absolute. Not only because new
facts constantly emerge, but also because the axiomatic choices demanded
by logic are (inter) subjective. Unlike science, metaphysics can never
actually test its hypothesis. This is the unavoidable logical limitation
All conceptual elaborations are based on logic. Down the centuries
Aristotelian logic (not unlike Euclidean geometry) has been
considered as the only possible way to establish the truth-value of
statements. But just as Riemannian geometry showed two parallel lines
indeed may intersect, non-formal logic and alternative formal logical
theories provide evidence of the importance of establishing the logical
rules to be applied beforehand.
Certain phenomena investigated by
science, like the particle/wave paradox or the superposition state of
the wavefunction, defies the principle of non-contradiction deemed the
cornerstone of correct thinking. Indeed, quantum logic calls for a
different set of first principles and so cannot be approached with
classical formal logic. These limitations apply to any kind of
conceptual system and so in that respect, both science and metaphysics
share the same limitation.
§ 2 Semantic Limitations.
contents of scientific knowledge is based on sensate & mental objects.
The contents of metaphysics on mental objects only. There is no way to
test speculative statements. Their relevance is heuristic, inspirational
& inventive. The semantics of science leads to a better
understanding of the manifold and so to technology. The semantics
of metaphysics leads to an understanding of the whole based on
speculative statements derived from the best of science and so able to
inspire the latter.
Creative concepts throw a vast number of meanings together, shaping
powerful symbols. These ingredients of the grand story of the
world-system are pertinent mental objects. The need of a critical
metaphysics is most pressing here. No sufficient ground can be invoked.
Mental objects are not inherently existing substances, possessing their
properties from their own side, they are other-powered. This means their
properties derive from the process of interdependence & wholeness, not
from absolute isolation and autarchy. Past metaphysical system were
substance-based, not process-based. They included the ontic
ego and/or ontic (higher) self existing independently and separately.
A valid critical metaphysics works with the absence of sensate objects and
the unwanted tendency to reify mental objects. Not a science,
metaphysics is not bound by scientific (experimental) methodology. Theoretical philosophy is not to copy
the ways of science. Remaining irreversibly interlinked, both are
distinct domains of conventional knowledge, the one aiming at
particularities, the other at generalities.
The semantic limitations of science and metaphysics differ. The former
are primarily defined by sensate objects. If all swans are deemed white,
the discovery of a black swan indeed introduces a considerable shift in
meaning regarding the word "swan". Metaphysical statements are limited
by the discoveries of science and the ability of the speculative system
to grasp the whole in a comprehensive, non-reductive and arguable way.
Of course, an advance in these only calls for better mental objects, and
does not entail the discovery of any novel sensate object.
§ 3 Cognitive Limitations.
activity of science is conceptual in a formal sense. Valid scientific
knowledge stands between the knower and the known. Thanks to theory &
testing propositions of fact come into existence. This production leads
to a complex hierarchical network of scientific propositions with a
central core ; the current scientific paradigm.
Immanent metaphysics cannot be eliminated from the background of
argumentation and experimentation. But its mode of cognitive activity is
creative, not formal or critical. Immanent metaphysics (using
hyperconcepts) brings science to
greater unity, inspires it to pursue the production of valid
(significant) scientific knowledge and invents a possible panoramic view
of the world.
Transcendent metaphysics is altogether a different matter. Here an
ultimate mind is posited, one able to directly know the absolute in its
absoluteness. This unveils the world-ground of the world-system as
apprehended by an ultimate mind of Clear Light*, namely the mind of
Science and metaphysics do operate in another mode of cognition. Formal
and critical thought apprehend their objects as possessed by an
empirical ego. The latter is not a substantial entity, nor are the
objects of science in any way substantial (although they do tend towards
essentialism). The propositions of science merely reflect a
truth-for-the-time-being, and so cannot have any definitive pretence
whatsoever. Being conventional knowledge, they aim to solve problems to
enhance the functional efficiency whilst dealing with objects. The
ultimate nature of these objects is not under investigation. In that
sense, science should always entertain a high dose of humility, not
stepping outside the domain of appearances.
Contrary to this, creative
thought apprehends an ontic self trying the grasp the totality
substantially. Here thought seeks a self-sufficient ground and cannot
find any ! The tendency of
conventional knowledge to reify is actualized, leading to the
apprehension of an underlying reality behind the mental & sensate
objects of formal & critical thought.
Lastly, while selfless nondual cognition does away
with this substantializing approach, discovering the impermanence of all
possible objects of thought, it does lead to a direct experience of the
ultimate truth of all possible phenomena, namely their impermanence and
interconnectedness. This ineffable experience, which cannot be
conceptualized, is nevertheless very definitive in a non-conceptual way, leading up to the mind
of Clear Light* apprehending the absolute nature of all phenomena.
1.3 Transcendent Metaphysics.
While immanent metaphysics, by positing a series of limit-concepts to
define the so-called "periphery" of the world, stays within its
confines, critical transcendent metaphysics identifies this endeavour as
rather artificial. How can the world have a periphery ? If the world is
all there is, then there is no "outside" of the world. The Platonic
division, so cherished by classical transcendent metaphysics, between a
finite, derived world of becoming and an infinite, primordial world of
being is devoid of sense. Is this not more based on cognitive limitations
than on ontological divisions ? The world, insofar as conceptual rationality
is concerned, is indeed quasi-finite (i.e. limited). So how can an actual infinity exist
as part of the world ? But in terms of nondual cognition, the world-ground is infinite. So the distinction is
epistemic, i.e. rooted in the way the subject of experience cognizes the
objects it possesses. Moreover,
conventional knowledge posits a world of seemingly independent objects,
and only in this context has "periphery" any actual meaning. Realizing,
by way of ultimate logic, no
inherently separate entities exist does immediately away with any
of "outer" and "inner", for both are interdependent and
Viewing objects conventionally, they are limited (quasi-finite). Viewing
the same objects ultimately, they are unlimited (infinite) ...
Substantalizing the distinction brings about the apory between an
inherently existing finite world and an inherently existing infinite
transcendent self-sufficient ground "outside" the world.
To ask how the world looks like when nobody is apprehending it cannot
possibly be known, for object and subject also arise or coexist together.
Conventional knowledge and its conceptual rationality cannot move
further than designating a limited world and a series of
limit-concepts like designer, conserver and the mind of Clear Light*.
Suppose it imputes an Author or Creator, then it moves beyond the
possibilities of conceptual reason.
Non-conceptual nondual cognition directly
experiences the world-ground as infinite and inseparable from the mind
of Clear Light*. It also prehends the ultimate mind of God*. So from the point of view of
conceptuality and its immanent approach, the world-ground is
transcendent and infinite and so is its (ultimate) apprehension or
prehension of it.
Insofar as nondual cognition and its transcendence is concerned,
conceptuality is immanent and finite and so is its (conventional)
designation of the world. In terms of nondual cognition, the ground of
world is infinite, but the exceptional direct experience on which
this is based is ineffable. If we limit ourselves to conventional and
conceptual knowledge -shared by most-, considering this to be the norm, then we say the world is
finite, for the common experience on which this is based can be
articulated both by science and immanent metaphysics. But the latter
are, although valid, mistaken, for the ultimate nature of the world, its
infinite and beginningless. Indeed, conceptuality conceals the ultimate
nature of phenomena, and if it tries to grasp this absolute without the benefits of
ultimate logic, this ultimate will be defined as inherently existing, i.e.
as independent and
separate (self-powered from its own side). Then the world-ground has
metaphysics, defined by Platonic or Peripatetic ontologies, posits a
supreme substance "outside" the world-order. Pre-existing this
unchanging, permanent, static supersubstance is the Creator-God
fashioning the world "ex nihilo".
metaphysics introduces the transcendent, absolute, ultimate nature of all phenomena as (a) the
absence of substantiality, (b) an infinite number of material &
virtualities & potentialities manifesting as finite actual occasions
prehended by (c) the absolute or ultimate mind (of God*). And
these non-temporal formative elements are themselves not concrete actual
occasions. The world-system is then both potentiality (the world-ground
of pure possibilities
empty of substantiality) and actuality (the world as interdependent
phenomena), both mere possibility and actual occasion, both
world-as-potentiality and world-as-actuality.
Of course, this difference is merely epistemic, i.e. depending on the
mode of cognition with which the world-system is apprehended. Valid
conventional knowledge apprehends phenomena as interdependent but -given
scientific methodology- reifies them. Invalid conventional
knowledge posits objects which cannot be validated by science. These too
are grasped as existing from their own side, possessing their properties
inherently. Here the degree of delusion of truth-concealment is optimal.
To simultaneously grasp the world-system
as, on the one hand, conventional, limited (quasi-finite) and interdependent and, on the
other hand, as ultimate, infinite and empty of inherent existence, is
apprehending it as it is, i.e. in its suchness/thatness. This is a
bewildering paradox for reason and an enlightened Divine phenomenon
designated by the mind of Clear Light*. The direct experience of this can
only be prehended by power of nondual cognition ... and remains
A. Jumping Beyond Limit-Concepts.
Conventional knowledge is always conceptual. It cannot move beyond. But
concepts are deceptive. While valid conventional knowledge correctly
identifies efficient operations, it nevertheless tends to grasp the properties of
mental and sensate objects as subsisting in its objects. They are
then deemed independent & separate from other objects. The universal
interdependence of all phenomena is not clearly seen, if at all. So
conventionality, devoid of the fruits of ultimate analysis (uncovering
the non-substantiality or process-base of all possible phenomena), leads to the illusion
concealing their ultimate truth, namely the absence of inherent
existence. This illusion is the result of mental obscuration or
ignorance. This ignorance is the root-cause of suffering.
Ultimate knowledge is always non-conceptual and so ineffable.
Although a datum of direct experience, it cannot be cast into the mould
of conceptual object/subject relationships. It cannot undo the
un-saying of its prehensions. Ultimate knowledge no longer grasps at objects as autarchic,
but simultaneously observes their interdependence and lack of
substantiality. This is called the "prehension" of the ultimate truth,
the union of bliss & emptiness, of compassion & wisdom, of
dependent-arising and the lack of self-power.
Mental obscurations and epistemological transgressions always walk hand
in hand. These lead to ontological transgressions, the mistaken
identification of entities as possessing their characteristics from
their own side, i.e. without being other-powered. These wrong views on
entities build transgressive metaphysics. By identifying the correct
object of negation, namely inherent existence, one deconstructs the
objects of the mind and remains aware of the margin to be drawn next to
the ongoing stream of conventionalities. In this margin, the false exits
are identified as reifications, annihilating the disruptive influence on
the mindstream. Then one may accept the functional ongoingness of
conventional reality as apprehended by conceptuality while
simultaneously prehend their fundamental lack of inherent existence,
i.e. directly experience or "see" their being empty of own-self or
own-nature in the light of them being full of otherness.
§ 1 Epistemological Transgressions.
grasp at sensate & mental objects in terms of valid empirico-formal
propositions and valid speculative statements always implies a certain
amount of reification.
Epistemology (together with ethics & aesthetics), decrees rules one
cannot deny without using them. These are transcendental and so critical
concepts. This critical system of knowledge production is not grounded
in anything. It is pre-ontological and pre-scientific (but not
pre-logical). Transgressions happen when the objective & subjective
conditions of the game of true knowing are rooted in a reified,
self-sufficient, substantial (essential) ground before knowledge, in a
"being" preceding "knowing". There is no epistemology without object
(idealism) or without subject (realism). Both ideas of reason regulate
and operate two interests in truth, one focused on correspondence and
the other on consensus.
α.2 Coarse, subtle and very subtle obscurations endure
as long as, using substantial instantiation, self-power or essence is attributed to objects. Even the conceptual
structure in which conceptuality unfolds (like space, time & the
categorial schemes of normative philosophy) should also be viewed as not
existing on its own. Lastly, lack of inherent existence or emptiness is
merely a property of objects, and so not an object on its own. This
emptiness of emptiness is only realized with great difficulty. Hence, as
long as there is reified conceptuality, there is mental obscuration and so suffering due
to the ensuing supposed isolation of objects and/or subjects.
Positing emptiness as a substance is indeed destroying the antidote to
To reify the object of knowledge is to consider any sensate thing as existing from
its own side, independent & separate. The identification or
imputation of any sensate object is always dependent of a cognitive act
from the side of the conceptual mind. This happens because of a failed
attempt by this mind to stabilize properties as inhering, which, after in-depth
ultimate analysis, are merely found to be changing or impermanent
β.1 Given object A, one may ask : is this a
compound or not, can this be further subdivided or not ? As all objects
of the conventional mind are compounds, the same question may be posed
regarding the various subdivisions etc. In this way, nothing final is
found. A regression ensues.
β.2 If the regression is stopped ad hoc, then a hardly convincing
ontological (reified) self-sufficient ground is designated. It cannot
pass the test of ultimate analysis and so this hippopotamus cannot be
To reify the subject of knowledge is to understand the mind and its
empirical ego as existing from its own side. But if we ask where the
mind or the ego is, nothing is found except sensate objects, volitions,
emotions, thoughts and moments of consciousness. These are found to be
impermanent and hence no inhering, self-sufficient stability can be
traced. Again the reification fails and the empirical ego (with its
sense of permanent identity) as well as the ontic self (designating
itself as a mental substance) cannot -under analysis- be found.
δ. Due to the power of these
mental obscurations, scientific propositions or even some speculative statements seem to be
or truth-for-the-time-being is confused with absolute truth. Because of
reification, sensate & mental objects merely appear as independent and permanent.
Believing our own imputations, we create a reality/ideality of our own making and
then blame the illusion not to remain ! Thinking things are independent,
we temporarily make them so. But because they are ultimately impermanent, we
are bound to suffer
from our own mistakes.
ε. Even the formative elements
of the world-system (the world-ground composed of primordial matter,
primordial information and the transcendent aspect of God*) are not permanent.
God*'s impermanence does however not preclude His continuity as
of themselves, they are full of an impermanent material & informational pure
possibilities and an ongoing process of Divine evaluation and adjusting.
These properties do not act as pre-existing substances inhering in the
"primordial", but pre-exist as possessed by the virtual togetherness of
the propensities of the world-ground.
ε.2 The emptiness of emptiness is precisely this :
the lack of inherent
existence is not a superobject, nor an underlying self-sufficient ground. The
world does have a ground or fundamental stratum, but this too is
empty of itself and so in no way substantial. It is sufficient, but not
The first step is a wrong view. Start with that, and end in confusion,
ignorance, obscuration & distraction. Reification is the great culprit.
This is the ultimate epistemological mistake. Once identified, one needs
to return and return to the ultimate logic of its undoing, for the mind
entertains a strong habit of grasping at inhering properties.
§ 2 Ontological Transgressions.
Reifying the object of knowledge at the level of ontology, i.e.
considering the absolute touchstone of that what is as existing on its own and separate from the subject of
knowledge, makes it easy to argue realism, the ontological view
accepting objects exist from their own side as part of a real world "out
there". The most fashionable of these ontologies, materialism or
physicalism, adds all objects are fundamentally nothing more than
physical things, i.e. compounded material aggregates composed of
particles, waves, fields & forces and their relationships. Although non-material stuff
like information or consciousness may be accepted (as in emergentism), reductionism brings
them back to matter. This is the case of epistemologies articulating how the object constitutes the
subject. Classical examples : Aristotelism, empirism, materialism,
(logical) positivism & physicalism.
Consider any macroscopic material object. Composed of
a large number of molecules made out of atoms, the influence of gravity is paramount and so
this cancels the effects of quantum uncertainty (cf. the principle of
indeterminateness of Heisenberg operating the atomic & subatomic levels).
On this macrolevel, position and momentum
behave in a conventional, common sense, "classical" or Newtonian
way. The object is not between everywhere and nowhere. But this continuity &
definiteness are illusionary. Dividing the object into smaller and
smaller pieces will eliminate the effect of gravity and eventually, at
the atomic and subatomic levels, the constituent parts are only
probability-waves yielding specific quantities when observed by an
observer. At this point, the conventional, physical object/subject relationship
breaks up, and the separateness, definiteness & locality of objectivity is gone.
Only when a
subject of experience interacts with the probability-wave does it
collapse, turning an infinite number of possibilities into a single one.
As all macroscopic objects are erected upon their atomic foundation,
conventional realism is merely apparent and the difference between
classical mechanics and quantum mechanics depends on temporal & spatial
scaling. On the fundamental level, object and subject cannot be defined
as independent, separate and local. The deep-structure of matter calls
for the intimate, continuous interaction between the observer and the
observed, between the knower and the known.
Lacking objective mooring, i.e. without a definiteness
independent of and separate from a subject of experience, the conceptual
mind has no way to grasp, impute or possess its object. Like waves on
water, mental elaborations cease. This is the beginning of the
purification of the conceptual mind, ending in the exhaustive, thorough
arrest of all substantial instantiations ; the annihilation of
Considering the apparent solidity of macroscopic
objects, realize atoms consist of space without mass. The atomic core (of
neutrons and protons) is good for 99.9% of the atomic mass, but it
occupies as much space as a grain of rice hanging in the centre of a
football station. The reason why macroscopic objects appear as
continuous (as solids, liquids or gases) is the electro-magnetic bonds
between the constituent atoms, not because of the presence of "solid" mass.
To build relationships is like bonding togetherness.
Consider the apparent immortality of electrons,
photons & neutrinos seemingly left undisturbed. As all particles
interact with other particles, this absence of disturbance is
relative. Not a single material thing part of conventional
reality subsists forever, for all phenomena arise, abide, cease &
reemerge. Interconnected (organic) impermanence & absence of
inherent existence are fundamental to all possible actual occasions. Even
the world-ground itself, although not nothing, lacks own-nature and
without properties inherently existing in it. The primordial domains are
the properties of this virtual world-ground.
The virtual is the father of the concrete. The possible is the mother of the
Reifying the subject of knowledge at the level of ontology, i.e.
considering the subject or community of sign-interpreters as existing on
their own ontic (noetic) plane and separate from the object of knowledge, leads one to argue
idealism, the ontological view the object is constituted by the subject,
the community of subjects and/or their mental operations (like arguing
and establishing a consensus). Although material objects are accepted,
they are merely the reflection of non-material, mental activities. This
is the case of the subject constituting the object (cf. Platonism,
rationalism, psychologism, transcendental idealism, existentialism,
γ. Realism reifies matter. Idealism reifies the mind. The former
reification turns the conventional world into a subsisting materiality,
the latter brings in a supermind transcending the world, originally
creating it and sustaining it. Realism reduces the world to the
order of the actual world. Idealism deems the latter to be the creative
result of an original, primordial supermind eternally existing from its
The second step is a wrong intent. Once a wrong view is realized, either
in terms of a reified object of knowledge or a reified subject of
knowledge (in epistemology), the reification (or substantialization) needs to be reified
itself (in ontology). Finally, substance is essentialized. The seal is sealed. This by
letting the subject establish the object (based on an epistemology
without object) or by inviting the object to establish the subject
(based on an theory of knowledge without subject).
The solution is to never grasp the object or the subject as permanent.
§ 3 Transgressive Metaphysics.
Building complete worldviews on the basis of epistemological &
ontological transgressions leads to static, uncompromising, unworkable,
inefficient and unscientific approaches to the major questions of life :
Why something ? What about the universe, life & consciousness ?
β. A metaphysics of idealism fixates a supermind and
attributes an inherent existence to it. It thus turns the activities of
the mind into either a perfect, ideal "true" reflection of this supermind, or
into an imperfect approximation of it. Non-physicality is
pivotal. The distinction is between an absolute mind and a totally
useless, imperfect and thus rejected physical state of affairs. Rather, one
should make clear facts are not
exhaustively intra-mental. The ultimate distinction is between, on the
one hand, impermanent mental states
and moments of consciousness and, on the other hand, the imposed (projected, imputed,
attributed) inherently existing properties of the (super)mind.
A metaphysics of realism posits a real, objective, external &
substantial world "out there". Physicality plays a crucial role. Despite
possible emergent properties, the role of physical, molecular, atomic & subatomic events is
emphasized, and complex phenomena are -if possible- reduced to their
material parts. Realistic activities of the mind correspond with the
Real. The distinction is between an absolute objectivity stimulating a
receptive cognitive apparatus, and thus between what is Real and what is
merely subjective or unreal. Rather, the difference between perception
and sensation should be reminded, as well as the constituting activity
of the subject. In the co-relative activity of producing conventionality
described by the valid empirico-formal propositions (of science), the
organizing & intending work of the Ideal is at least as important as the
δ. Metaphysical idealism
turning religious will invent an omnipresent, omniscient & omnipotent
supermind. These qualities inhere in it and are absolute. Hence, this
supermind must be a superbeing, a Creator-God. As the subject
constitutes (imputes) the object, this God creates the world "out of
nothing", i.e. as an act of His Free Will. This worldview fails to
understand such a supermind cannot be found and if it would, it could not
create, produce, cause or effectuate anything.
ε. Metaphysical realism turning
materialist will invent an objective, physical world producing all
possible phenomena. The latter are physical. The non-physical is
rejected. If accepted, as emergent properties, then the non-physical is
caused by the physical (downward causation is deemed absent). Materialism cannot be articulated without a subject of
knowledge. Moreover, perceptions are not sensations. Finally, the
non-physical interacts with the physical, and both matter, information &
consciousness are aspects of every single actual occasion.
The third step is a wrong object. Having reified the conditions of
knowing and secured the justificators (the ideas of the Real and the Ideal), these two
objects are totalized. This results in either a static, substantial, eternal
mundus or gives birth to the idea nothing really exists (while all things are
merely empty of themselves, not of something).
Metaphysical transgression is not primarily the polarization of
what exists in the vertical and horizontal vectors of the mundus, but follows
from the need for
reification. Finding a ground is not enough. Not even a sufficient
ground suffices. Indeed, a self-sufficient ground is designated.
In this view, the world has to
be finite in an inhering sense ! But if the world-ground is not
a self-sufficient ground, nor an actual occasion, it must be a process,
a dependent-arising, a coherent symphony of abstract possibilities.
Then world and world-ground are not different, but distinct entities ;
the former actual, the latter abstract.
§ 4 Deconstruction & the Margin.
Deconstruction does not destroy its object, but merely its reification.
Weaponed with ultimate logic, all possible inflexible, static, solid,
eternal and substantial objects are investigated and found not to exist
as they appear. Found to be impermanent, they are non-substantial. Eliminating
their tendency not to move, pushing away their inertia, is to realize
the absence of own-nature in each of them. They do not exist as separate
and independent objects, but merely as interdependent happenings or
display of actual occasions.
Radical postmodernism (as the end of the "grand stories") remained
dependent of modernism. As modernism lacked internationalism and
multi-culturalism (being mostly Western), moderate postmodernism
integrated the global perspective. Building a deconstructed worldview is
the task of hypermodernism, multiplying a global perspective with
ecological & social sustainability.
The margin is an imagined space defined by a dividing-line drawn
parallel to any text. This space is used
to mark all reified concepts present. They are identified and marked.
These are the transcendent signifiers one cannot avoid but -to satisfy
parsimony- must keep to the bare minimum. Two are identified : the mind
of Clear Light* and God*.
δ. Deconstruction is not a
passive analysis post factum, but happens in the heat of the
action. Like a swimmer or
a singer, complex forms emerge in and by the action itself, not by anything "from the side". The
moments constituting the stream are never identical and never return.
All is constantly permanently lost.
Finding not a single substance, the wise dine & wine on wisdom.
Avoiding three wrong steps, namely wrong theory of knowledge, wrong ground and wrong totalization, deconstruction focuses on all
possible reified objects. Both on the side of the subject of knowledge,
as on the side of the object of knowledge, the solidification,
isolation, fixation and substantialization of the Real or the Ideal are
identified. At some point, when this has happened repeatedly, the mind
stops to impute independent & separate existence and stops grasping at
the supposed own-nature of things. The "seal of emptiness" is placed on
all sensate & mental objects (cf. the "mahâmudrâ"). As a result, objects no longer appear
as they do, but unveil their other-power, i.e. the fact they merely
exist because of determinations and conditions outside themselves. They
are something, i.e. not nothing, because they are functionally related.
Without this efficient bonds, they do not exist, and if they appear to
exist from their own side, the mind is necessarily deluded & obscured.
B. Conceptuality & Non-Conceptuality.
When the mind cognizes, it grasps at an object and possesses it. Nearly
simultaneous with this, to further identify it, the mind conceptualizes
and so imputes a concept, name or label. Between the act of cognizing
and the moment of conceptualization, a small gap occurs. Between two
moments of conceptualization, another isthmus, "bardo" or interval is at
hand. Cognizing and conceptualizing are not simultaneous. Grasping the
object and naming it are indeed two consecutive steps.
This can clearly be felt in ante-rationality, in particular mythical and
pre-rational thought. In these early modes of cognition, the concept is
not stable. In mythical thinking it is psychomorphic, taking on the shape
of subjective experiences. In pre-rational thought, it has a certain
kind of stability, but still vanishes quickly due to a plastic semantic field. While
proto-rationality works with mature, stable concepts, they are not
abstract but concrete and so are defined by the context in which they appear. This gives
them a semantic multiplicity, a fluidity prone to confusion. Ancient
Egypt and pre-Classical Greece feature these kinds of opaque
conceptualizations. Clear meaning can only be established by lengthy
comparisons and minute studies of all available contexts. Even then,
precise meaning can only be suggested, not inferred.
The empirical subject knows the momentary field of consciousness as (a)
the direct, experiential, phenomenological horizon with its central
ego cogitans, (b) conscious contents and ongoing fluctuations, (c)
together forming the mindstream consisting of consecutive moments of
sentient activity, mental activities organized and ruled by the mental
operators associated with the various modes of cognition. Now thanks to
the abstract concept, all mental operations are boosted by the
application of context-free relations between stable concepts, leading
to conceptual elaborations and the correct & valid use of conventional
knowledge. The noetic aspect of the "Greek miracle" is precisely this
comprehensive use of abstraction, leading up to the concept-realism of
Plato and Aristotle. The latter is an exaggeration unwarranted by
Kant did not accept the non-conceptual (cf. his rejection of
"intellectual perception"). He considered this not to be given to
everyone and so too exceptional to be part of a criticism of pure
reason. The notion nonduality is a mode of cognition calling for a
cognitive act (featuring object & subject) is based on the direct
experience born out of study, reflection and meditation on ultimate
truth. With enough effort, this is the share of every human being
wishing to end ignorance on the most fundamental level possible.
§ 1 Conceptual Thought.
from specific instances, a general idea is inferred or derived, this
abstract is called "a concept". With the "Greek miracle", the
ante-rational stage of cognition, with its strong pragmatic mental
closure, had been superseded. Formal rationality imposed both contents &
Ante-rational concepts are either a-conceptual, pre-conceptual or
concrete. In myth, they are psychomorphic and make no distinction between
inner & outer, obscuring the distinction between sensate & mental
objects. In pre-rationality, concepts are unstable and therefore mere
pre-concepts. In proto-rationality they are stable but concrete, defined
by context only. In all cases, a confused type of cognition ensues. There is no stable mental
form, except in the immediate coordination of movements. Symbols only
persists for brief moments or as part of designated (and unstable)
contexts. Signals & icons persist (especially in the earliest two
modes of cognition). With the coming of
rationality, ante-rationality is pushed in the unconscious.
The more a culture is refined, the less instinct & emotion need to be
subdued. The outstanding feature of Western rational culture is to dominate instinct
& emotion for "a good reason".
This is the origin of pettiness & silliness.
Conceptuality overlays or superimposes a general name, label or symbol
on sensate and/or mental identifications of spatiotemporal variations in
a set of actual occasions (caused by a finite number of sensuous
impulses and/or mental cogitations). This involves a logical mistake, for how to justify
the leap from a finite number of concrete sensuous and/or mental elements
-leading up to a pre-conceptual identification- to an infinite number of
such elements in the three times as defined by an abstract
concept ? Both what is identified, the identifier and the process of
identification are impermanent and so prone to change.
δ. The distinction between
the pre-conceptual apprehension of sensuous impulses projected on the
neocortex and the moment of conceptual overlay is crucial to understand
how the name or label associated with what has been identified differs
from the latter. These pre-conceptual sensate objects, indeed resulting
from the earliest moments of interpretation, are nevertheless not yet
concepts, i.e. abstractions, generalizations, static names or labels.
And they are certainly not the reification of such concepts as in
concept-realism, attributing own-nature or substantial sense to concepts.
ε. Note these distinctions. The
mechanism of the conceptual process involving sensate objects involves
three phases : in the first, the sensate objects (projected by the
thalamus on the neocortex) are pre-conceptual and identified by way of a
variety of actual occasions present in the direct, phenomenological
field of the observer during the act of (total) observation ; in the
second, this concrete information is generalized and so named and
labelled. Here the conceptual mental operation is at hand, one
identifying a universal and its instances ! In the third, the subject of
knowledge apprehends the general concept or name, superimposing it on
all subsequent manifestations of a similar sensuous stream of actual
occasions. In all forms of pre-critical rationality, the third step
leads to reification, positing a substance existing from its own side,
keeping its own inhering properties, separate and independent from
Conceptual thought operates abstract concepts and brings these together
in opinions, notions, hypothesis, theories & speculations. Thanks to
generalization, the cognitive act is liberated from context. Eventually,
the structure of conceptual thinking itself can be apprehended, leading
to a logic devoid of contents, i.e. formal. Despite the fact classical
formal logic is not the only possible logic, concept-realism is
thoroughly dedicated to it. Of all the basic principles,
non-contradiction rules supreme. The Newtonian world also ran in
absolute, linear terms. But this proved to be a good approximation only.
Indeed, the fundamental nature of physical objects involves quantum
logic defying strict non-paradoxality. And most living systems,
including the human brain, has an architecture, a software executing a
So although conceptual thought is crucial to escape context & content,
it is not an absolute tool, but merely a relative waymark to keep track
of the conventional, common-sense worldview. This sobriety gives the
power to climb the mountain of meta-rationality, if such an undertaking
is deemed necessary at all. Like ante-rationality, rationality has
mental closure. Moreover, because of the limit-concepts of immanent
metaphysics, the creative mode of cognition is not necessary to solve
the problems of conceptualization (namely reification). So the leap
enabling us to
face absolute truth is an act of freedom. From the side of reason, it
can be nothing else but a leap into the absurd ... So be it !
§ 2 Ante-rational Regressions.
realization of rationality does not guarantee the absence of unwanted
returns or regressions to the earlier stage of cognition. It is
crucial to grasp ante-rationality, although made unconscious, is still
prevalent in instinctual and emotional matters, i.e. those areas where
context plays a important role. Signals and icons are defined by our
ante-rational mentality, given shape by libidinal, tribal & imitative
foci of consciousness, by an antique ego fed by the memories of
the earliest experiences of conscious life as a human being.
In the chaotic sea of ante-rational thought lurks the Leviathan
of irrationality. The absence of its reemergence needs to be checked
again and again. If this effort is unrelenting, regressions can be
avoided. But due to habit, the mind settles down and breeds bad
Ante-rationality, because it has mental closure, can fabricate a
number of fantastic stories and implement the terror of concrete words.
Without rationality, a single deity turns into billions ; each with its
own silly walk or Moon dance. With rationality, formal and critical, the
substantial God is unmasked and the God* of Process dawns.
Aware of the presence of instincts and emotions, the integrated rational
mind, formal & critical, no longer subdues nor renders unconscious the
various processes stemming from an ante-rational approach of the world.
Training these eventually leads to emotional intelligence as well as to
a gut-feeling assisting the proper functioning of the mind. Of course,
at the end of the day, in this mode of cognition, only reason judges.
But because even the critical mind cannot eliminate the need to reify, such judgments may be mistaken. Only
absolute truth brings to light the fundamental true nature of all
possible phenomena. Because of this reifying tendency, reason cannot
completely compensate for instinct & emotion. Only wisdom realizing emptiness can.
§ 3 Meta-rational Transgressions.
α. The complexification of cognition moves beyond
rationality. Creative and nondual thought make way for cognitive
horizons far beyond the capacities of the mind working out in the rational stage of
cognition. To limit the mind to what seems to be given to the majority,
is to make the infinite serve the finite ; an absurdity. Both define
their own domain, the finite world finding its infinite potential in its
own world-ground. The intellect crowns reason. Where reason apprehends,
Abstraction has to be paid by lack of inventivity,
creativity & novelty.
Situated between ante-rationality and meta-rationality,
rationality represents the Middle Way between instinct and intuition.
Without the latter, rationality lacks the ability to create novelty.
With too much of this, cognitive activity is either confused or lacking
purity (i.e. a perspective on the end of reification).
Creative thought prepares intellectual prehension by serving as a
purgation for the subtle forms of reification. Totalizing and the
reification of a totalizing object need to be distinguished. Creative
thought first allows reification to explode. Positing the ontic self in
its "mandala" it then annihilates the reified totality. This is like
ending ignorance with one single blow.
δ. Insofar as creative
thought posits an ontic self, its creativity is sullied, leading to
brontosauric statements. The latter are not devoid of dramatic
exaggeration and have no other use than to totalize the creative object
of knowledge. They do
reflect the power of novelty and inventivity, the ornaments of
consciousness. They evidence the establishment of a higher-order mental
level, albeit one covered by the fixating imposition of an ontic self
possessing itself and its properties from its own side, inherently,
imputed as an eternal self-powered, self-identical & nondependent mental
substance. It goes without saying that to the ante-rational layer of
mind, such megalomanic display is very appealing, stimulating the
re-emergence of instincts & emotions, signified by signals & icons.
However, it merely serves -by way of paradoxical intention- the end of
reification. The ontic self makes way for the
transparant self, ending in selflessness.
ε. The higher ontic self is not a
strong object of negation, but its emptiness is. This self needs to be thoroughly
identified before it can be emptied of itself, thus not leaving
naught, but the very subtle transparant self-reflection present in the cognitive act.
This "prise de conscience" is a totalizing awareness of
consciousness as object and so if not reified, the portal to the
selfless self-awareness of nonduality. The creative mode merely prepares the mind,
refining it to the point it apprehends the totality of its sensate and coarse mental
objects as empty of itself, i.e. as a process without
own-nature ("svabhâva"), with "no self" ("anâtman"). This
means they are not themselves, neither are they not something !
∫ Avoid both
extremes of eternalism and nihilism.
ζ. The reification of the
higher self, designating an ontic, substantial self or subjective
own-nature, can also be a stepping-stone to the reification of the
transcendent object itself.
When emptiness is designated as a ground not to be emptied of itself, absolute truth is raised
to become a different ontological entity, plane or level, giving birth
to the idea of the absolute being high up (Heaven) versus the relative being down low (Earth).
emptiness to be empty of itself, the absolute must merely be a property
of every possible actual occasion, existing conventionally in every
possible apprehension of sensate & mental objects.
When Two Truths become a single Truth, how can the shepherd mind his
Ante-rationality needs reason to solve its problems, but reason cannot
silence instinct & emotion. While for a rational human being reason has
the final say, the decisions of reason lack the capacity to encompass
the various semantic connotations invoked by instinct & emotion.
Rationally, these signals & icons seem outlandish and irrelevant, but as
far as these ante-rational mental
imprints are concerned, reason speaks a foreign language and so imposes a misunderstood
rule. Rational analysis cannot integrate ante-rational information.
Another false path is to replace reason by meta-rationality. As if the
latter is not imputed on the basis of conceptual stability ! To make the
choice to totalize, ontologize & then desubstantialize is the
prerogative of free study, in particular metaphysical studies.
Meta-rationality does not yield a superobject nor a supersubject, but
merely a panoramic perspective on the process of the mundus and a
philosophical reflection on the transcendent object based on its
(direct) prehension. As soon as a speculative discourse invoking the absolute
becomes an eulogy of the "thing of things", possibly inventing a
theo-ontology, it transgresses the "ring-pass-not" of critical thought.
The transcendent object being empty cannot act as nondependent or
ontologically different from the relative.
§ 4 Direct Experience & Cognitive Nonduality.
α. To introduce
nondual thought, reason & contemplative experience have to be
distinguished. Ultimate logic only eliminates the reification of the
concept. It does not end conceptuality, for the latter belongs to the
valid processes of the conventional world ruled by relative truth ;
valid but mistaken. Compassion and meditation on the emptiness of all
possible concepts, involving a deep reconditioning of the mindstream,
bring about the end of the reification of concepts. This is the
purification of the conceptual mind.
Concepts are not the problem, their
Prehension no longer grasps, but finds
objects as they are.
A direct introduction to and discovery of the natural light or the mind
of Clear Light*, does not
cause something, but rather, as a perfect mirror, reflects, when secondary
causes manifest, the movements of energy and the processes appearing in
it. The natural light of the mind cannot be observed, for it is the very
thing observing, perceiving only the suchness/thatness of the actual occasions
without conceptual interpretation. This light is a potential, an open
space of possibilities. It is the nature of the mind as it is by itself,
its witnessing clarity.
Nondual thought is not discursive, nor conceptual. In other words, the
apex of thought is non-verbal. Myth, the beginning of cognition, is also
non-verbal, but opaque & non-reflective (and, mutatis mutandis,
non-reflexive). Nondual thought, the end of cognition, on the contrary,
is highly reflective (dynamical, differential, energetic) and sublimely
reflexive, with the absolute subject prehending the absolute object. But this is no longer "inner" knowledge,
nor even arguable (immanent) metaphysics, for it lacks all forms of
conceptual duality and cannot be symbolized, except in
sublime poetry. Perhaps as a direct, self-liberating, self-transforming, wordless,
instantaneous awareness of the unlimited wholeness of which
one's nature of mind is part. If this highest, nondual awareness is
called "wisdom", then wisdom transcends the concept, be it
concrete, formal, critical or creative.
δ. Because the nature of mind is ultimate reflectivity & reflexivity (the absolute
I knowing the absolute Other), the original mind of Clear Light* is thus (a) self-clarity,
like a Sun allowing itself to be seen or as a lamp in a dark room
lighting up the room but also itself, (b) primordial purity, or the
absence of conceptual elaboration, (c) spontaneous perfection,
self-liberating all reifying flux within consciousness, (d) unobscured
self-reflexion, as in a polished mirror, transparency in variety, like a
rainbow or as water taking on the colour of the glass and, as space
accepting all objects in it, (e) impartiality.
Although without conceptual object, this subjectivity is "aware". It is
the "awareness of awareness", self-settled, wordless, open and reached
by a pathless path leading to a pathless land. It is clarity, but
without differentiating anything. The fundamental nature of the mind is not
part of consciousness. This nature is simply always present to and aware
of the state of absolute absoluteness it finds itself constantly in.
This is an absolute & blissful selflessness only aware of its absolute object, the
lack of substance in all things, itself included. This is an absolute
experience of duality, and therefore a nondual dual-union,
non-conceptual and so paradoxical. Although not a
consciousness, it is a mode of cognition and so definable in terms of
the transcendental duality, but then in an absolute sense. But in the case of nondual cognition, a
special dual-union pertains.
Nondual awareness is not induced by any immediate prior condition. It
has no cause. It cannot be determined by a previous moment of
consciousness. It is a self-settled, wordless, non-conceptual, open
awareness, without a place ("epi") on which a subject might stand
("histâmi") and so pre-epistemological.
These ideas are not the result of any
reasoning, but poetical elucidations.
This original nature of mind is absolute. So it
will, if not deconstructed, act as a transcendent signifier. Hence the
distinction between immanent & transcendent metaphysics. Despite
non-conceptuality, direct experience apprehends this open, clear
awareness or very subtle mind of Clear Light* present in nondual
cognition as a direct encounter with the something not found among
sensate or mental objects, with i.e. absolute reality nakedly, purely &
primordially united with absolute ideality.
The display of phenomena
arising out of the empty all-ground or world-ground features (besides
primordial matter and primordial information) a cognizing luminosity, presenting (a)
an original nature of mind and (b) a primordial enlightenment-being ("Âdi-Buddha")
or God* (not to be confused with the self-sufficient ground of classical
The non-separation between the absolute all-ground and the
original nature of mind is the experiential fruit of directly
experiencing this ultimate nature.
η.2 While this experience is ineffable, mystics
never stop talking about it. When they do they are not scientists, nor
philosophers but merely poets.
When pursuing absolute truth, conventionality is not considered a negative,
like something imperfect or useless. Why ? Because there is nothing
outside the world-system. The world-system is all there is. Its
infinite, absolute ground is not a self-sufficient ground, but a dependent
arising empty of itself, but full of an abstract "something" shaping the
possibility of all possible concrete actual occasions. Together, this
primordial consciousness or mind of Clear Light* (of God* and of all other
beginningless mindstreams), pristine information and virtual quantum
plasma, make out the set of formative abstracts. They represent the
world insofar as it is merely potential, virtual, possible. Although an
infinite truth transcending the relative, finite world, it is
nevertheless not a different kind of being, not another
"class" of actual occasions. Hence, unmistaken absolute truth is revealed in
every cognitive act and this simultaneously with its valid but mistaken
relative appearance. The absolute exists conventionally. Not in a
"higher" topologically distinct from the actual world, but precisely at
the very, momentary instance when the actual world is observed. The
absolute is always-with-the-world.
§ 5 The Epistemological Status of Nonduality.
experience of nonduality is a first person prehension of the nature of
mind, recognizing its Clear Light*. This hidden & ineffable observation
is "mystical" and cannot be described. This prehension by the absolute
subject (the mind of enlightenment) of the absolute object (the lack of
inherent existence in all phenomena) is the observation of its suchness/thatness,
or momentary presence with nothing more. This is unmistaken,
without obscurations, veils or concealments.
The logic of the tetralemma ("catuskoti") offers the best
conceptual approach of nonduality. This tool frees consciousness from all
possible reifying conceptualizations, namely by negating all substantial
views, introducing all phenomena as without inherent existence, eternal
substance, absolute identity or immortal essence ; impermanent but not
In logic, the particle "not" has no other function than to exclude a given
affirmation. The tetralemma therefore excludes everything by exhaustively analyzing
what emptiness is not :
it is not as it is
(identity) : things
are always connected with other things and if change by way of
determinations & conditions is
accepted, then all identity is impermanent and devoid of inherent existence,
or substance ;
it is not as it is not
likewise, the negation of anything cannot be done without negating other
things, making what is being negated interconnected and thus impermanent ;
it is not as it is and as it
is not (mixture) : to say this clause has meaning is to utter a meaningless "flatus
voci", except if differences in time, space & persons are introduced. In
the latter case, the mixture is a new identity, and (1) applies ;
it is not beyond as it is
and as it is not (included middle) : only if (1) & (2) cannot be clearly defined may
this clause apply, but it is rejected as invalid. Denying the
included middle implies the excluded middle.
Using the "reductio at absurdum", the tetralemma negates the
four options given by formal logic. Accepting the first two is
"nominal", and no valid path to liberation, for suffering is what is
common to everything. Identity has to be renounced and its emptiness
realized, i.e. conceptualizing the impermanence of everything results in the end of
reifying conceptualization. Accepting the last
two is "irrational", for in classical logic, non-contradiction & the
principle of the excluded middle are necessary (although many-value
logics do not accept the principle of the excluded middle).
By restriction ("nirodha"), each clause removes, dissolves, evacuates &
drives calm the final obstructions of knowledge (cf. "jñeyâ-varana"). The result being
a conceptual mind close to or approximating the nondual state. The tetralemma expresses the inapplicability of ordinary,
nominal conceptual language to the absolute. The idea behind
the tetralemma is to establish a view without concepts, i.e. employ logic
to reach beyond logic. This can only be prepared, leading to the
purification of the conceptual mind. Indeed, the "wisdom" of meditative
equipoise cognizing emptiness is not induced by an inferential
consciousness segueing into emptiness. The conceptual "operation" of the
tetralemma is not a process by which conceptual thought is
into the highest possible wisdom.
ε. Conceptuality cannot be the
cause of non-conceptuality. Ultimate logic proceeds to eliminate
reification but does not and does not need to annihilate the concept. Hence, there
is no conceptual "operation" establishing the nondual view, no path to
the final step, the apex of cognition.
ε.1 One needs to completely use up the fuel of the "fire" of
reifying conceptual elaboration (this is
"nirvâna"). So negating what must be negated, namely inherent
existence, is the supreme antidote to cancel the poison of ignorance.
ε.2 Only prolonged spiritual exercises (combining calm
abiding or tranquility with insight or analysis) are able to properly
prepare the mind to experience emptiness directly. This is not like
propelling it into "seeing" emptiness, for non-conceptuality arises at
the precise moment the highest, purest veil of the conceptual
approximation of emptiness is pierced.
The fabrication of suchness/thatness by applying the rules of ultimate logic is
the ultimate preparation approximating "seeing" full-emptiness,
the union of dependent-arising & emptiness. This preparation is however
conceptual and so not yet nondual. No doubt advanced, it is not yet
direct, seedless, without means, unfabricated.
having made the mind supple, conceptual preparations must be exhausted.
A generic concept of emptiness is then realized. But this is not
the same as unfabricated suchness/thatness, the direct, unmediated experience of
the absolute nature of all possible phenomena. So epistemologically, the
transcendent holds no conceptual truth-claim and has no conventional validity,
but only ultimate validity (in terms of the act of prehension, itself
beyond validation). It is not an
object of science nor of immanent metaphysics. Neutral to both, it
cannot enforce. There is no coercion in salvation. Nevertheless, by
directly observing the ultimate nature of all things, thus entering the
wisdom realizing emptiness, an unmistaken, non-conceptual experience
In the teachings ("dharma") of the Buddha this experience is nothing less than
awakening ("bodhi"), establishing the mind of enlightenment for the sake
of all sentient being ("bodhicitta"), the unity of bliss (compassion, method) and
emptiness (wisdom). Such an enlightened mind is omnipresent and omniscient (aware of
past and present). Although superpowerful, it is not omnipotent. The
mind of Clear Light* is valid because reality-as-such is prehended.
Because it does not make things appear differently than they are, it is
C. Irrationality versus Poetic Sublimity.
If nonduality cannot be conceptually appraised, it must be understood as
a highly subjective experience. Relevant no doubt, it has no direct
significance whatsoever. So is it irrational ? This would be the case if
nonduality would eliminate the conceptual mind. But just as rationality
does not eclipse ante-rationality, non-conceptuality does not preclude
conceptuality. Awakening does not stop one from thinking in terms of
conceptual relationships. Devoid of the reifying tendency so active
in the rational mode of cognition, such a mind simultaneously prehends
emptiness & fullness, absolute (ultimate) & relative (conventional).
Precisely because nonduality is
non-conceptual, it cannot argue and so through argument validate the experience of the ultimate.
Therefore, as soon as one tries to argue nonduality, irrationality lurks. Apologetics are off. Only direct experience is at
hand. This can be prepared, no doubt, but not a single correct
preparation causes nonduality ! It can merely be pointed out, introduced
or recognized. If not, nothing else can be done.
Nondual experience impacts conceptual thinking and therefore proves its
significance indirectly, namely in the behaviour of those in which such
a profound state is fully realized. Indeed, great compassion or
limitless charity is the
activity of the mind of Clear Light*. Aware of the vastness of
suffering, such a mind engages to alleviate the pervasive suffering
present in conventional existence (or a life defined by the
determinations & conditions of conventional knowledge). Hence, such a
mind has a very powerful intent to end the suffering of all sentient
beings and the unmistaken, realized & forceful potential to do so.
§ 1 Featuring Irrationality.
without the inclusion of rationality. Its spirit is not dampened by the
diabolus in logica, non-contradiction. It either lacks
universalia (as in ante-rationality) or does not appreciate
the validity of concepts (as in invalid transcendent metaphysics) and so
lacks the capacity to identify its
mistakes. It has not yet arrived at the cognitive
level introducing concepts (as in myth), is unable to establish a stable
concept (as in pre-rationality), is bound to context (as in
proto-rationality) or cherishes a
dogmatic view held true for no good reason, as in blind faith and
pre-critical forms of conventionality.
The many forms of irrationalism all try to
undermine reason, introducing absence of sense. In general, nonsense does not accept the power of
logic to decide between valid and invalid, between true and false,
between mistaken and unmistaken. Making use of logic to defend its
dogma, as a form of apology, it mostly tries to seduce others into
∫ The deceptions of irrationality may fool some for some
time, but never succeed in bamboozling everybody all the time.
Like myth, nonduality is non-verbal. But while myth is a priori
non-reflective and non-reflexive way, the ultimate mind is highly
reflective and sublimely reflexive. Precisely because of this, the
indirect influence of this mind is very powerful. When turned towards
others without enforcing anything, triggering spontaneous attunement &
metanoia, it identifies ultimate truth in every moment of its awakened
mindstream. This is not scientific nor metaphysical, but existential in
a poignant, instantaneous way. Spontaneously liberating all ignorance in
every moment of the mindstream, suchness is complimented having its
own index of truth. Possessing the ultimate clarity. Very subtle
reification needs to be avoided, for the absolute is empty of itself !
The awakened mindstream prehends the absolute object. This is like the
son jumping into the lap of his mother.
Irrationality always tries to limit & darken the rational mind. This
disruptive activity is ongoing, for the imprints left by the
ante-rational mind are powerful emotions & instincts. Come to its own,
the mature rational mind cannot eliminate the latter. They provide the
vital emotionality with which the desperate search for a self-sufficient
ground is clothed. If coarse irrationality leads one to overt insanity,
then subtle irrationality is the power of the grip clinging to
substance. Very subtle irrationality is making the self-sufficient ground
transcendent & eternal, the ultimate spiritual stabilization in
ε. Due to its coarse irrationality,
the ante-rational mind becomes confused and stays in permanent,
unresolved conflict. The rational mind mediates the contextual problems
with abstract concepts and defines the finite world by way of tangential
limit-concepts. Here, irrationality feeds on the tendency of the
rational mind to reify.
Substance-thinking being the subtle form of irrationality. Lastly, when
the mind of Clear Light* is reified in terms of an absolute
mind-substance (eternal soul) or an absolute object-substance (God),
very subtle irrationality is introduced.
∫ Do organized
religions hold a monopoly on very subtle irrationality ?
Coarse irrationality is often associated with afflictive emotions and
violent instincts. These can be identified with ease. Mental disorders like
schizophrenia provide case-studies proving how those minds lack the
ability to even take care of themselves in the most essential ways. In
psychosis visual, auditive, tactile hallucinations occur.
Mental retardation or the uncontrolled activity of ante-rationality also
display irrational intentions, volitions, affects, thoughts and states
Subtle irrationality, because of its pervasive
activity, is more difficult to identify. Here the hallucination is
mental, in particular the projection of the imago of the eternal
substance. It always involves fixating
some object, some subject or both. It can be conscious, as in
metaphysical realism or metaphysical idealism, or unconscious, as in the
uncritical, untrained conventional mind of "homo normalis".
But one cannot introduce an abstract without a logical leap from a
finite set to an infinite set, without the "deus ex machina" or
"trick" to save the corrupt plot.
Very subtle irrationality hallucinates a hallucinating being. However,
in critical philosophy, no reified concept of emptiness or
reification of emptiness are possible, for the world is a
sea of process.
§ 2 Transcendence & Art.
sublime is beyond excellence & exemplarity combined. As an intensity of
meaningful presence, it captivates every moment of consciousness.
Offering clarity, it puts interdependence to the fore. Empty of itself,
it is the all-comprehensive prehension of otherness.
works of art unfold a unique evolutionary process of spiritualizing
states of matter and testify of the continuous process characterizing the natural, nondual,
Clear Light* mind. They are our grand ancestral examples. They do not
coerce, nor do they unfold in any hesitant way. They are more enduring
cultural compounds, bringing the laws of beauty to their highest
efficiency & finality.
the making of beautiful objects, is a medium for the direct experience
of emptiness, then the tale of un-saying can indeed be told, not only
with symbols, but also with icons & signals as in a "Gesamtkunstwerk". In terms of the written text,
the poetic style excels as a potential carrier for all possible
Poetry, in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning, adds
aesthetic features to any text. Sensate aesthetic features are denotations
based on sensation. Evocative aesthetic features are affective,
volitional, cognitive & conscious connotations based on denotations.
Excellent poetry combines these features in an exquisite, functional
Aesthetic judgement of excellence is not based on the aesthetic features
themselves, integrated as they are in an excellent organic whole, but on
their total or partial aesthetic meaning. Turning free creativity into
symbols, icons & signals, excellence points to qualities beyond the conditions imposed by
sensation. A higher-order form is at work. All what matters, is the way
these differential changes in exquisite aesthetic features are an
expression of consciousness. One does not seek beauty (as in pleasure &
satisfaction), but shows how beautiful beauty is (as in excellence). The
exemplary moves further.
moving beyond excellence is exemplary. The aesthetic
judgement of example is based on a spectrum of possible abstract forms of
harmony, ranging from the entirely subjective to the entirely objective.
abstract forms, rooted in transcendental aesthetics, are necessary and
Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 5).
The transcendental object is a sensate object, a text, the
subject an expressive poet. All harmonisations necessarily involve this
pair. Positing, comparing, denying, uniting & transcending are the five
models of harmony. The sublime moves further.
Positioning : affirming the object without
the subject or affirming the subject without the object ;
Comparing : considering the object more
than the subject or considering the subject more than the object ;
Denying : rejecting the object or rejecting
the subject ;
Uniting : identifying object with subject
and subject with object ;
Transcending : zeroing out of all
harmonization, without object or subject.
Beyond excellence and exemplarity, poetry is sublime. When an artist
displays his or her natural mind of Clear Light*, sublime realizations
result. In these, everything is permeated with the open potentiality
present in the mind of the sublime artist. Poetically thinking this Clear Light* is
the object of a transcendent metaphysics, backed by an arguable
philosophy of totality and inspired poetry. Clearly nothing truly valid
or arguable can be said about the sublime. Because all sentient beings
possess the potential to awakening, they all can respond to sublimity.
Given the sublime harmony of the mind of
Clear Light* cannot be conceptualized, it stands to reason only poetry
and great compassion are left. The former is suggestive of its
profoundness, while the latter brings about its most cherished intent :
to awaken all possible sentient beings. At their best, the holy
scriptures of the organized religions, and the "sûtras" of those trying to
say something about what cannot be put into words, are examples of such
sublime poetry. If not, like all forms of katapathic transcendent
metaphysics, they are merely dangerous deceptions. And the same goes for
the present speculations ...
∫ The value of a
poem is for the actual reader to decide.
Given nondual cognition is non-conceptual, nothing can be said about
the phenomenology of prehension, the cognitive capacity to think
in a nondual way, fully entering the wisdom realizing the empty truth of all
possible phenomena. Only direct experience remains possible.
Breaking silence is merely for apologetic reasons ; as the history of
the religions shows. Then the highest level of cognition is monopolized by a
katapathic soteriology. To designate the "highest name" to the "highest
Being" was a way to conjure it, to allow rationalizations of what cannot
be rationalized. Beyond being, non-being, being & non-being and neither
being and non-being, this level of cognition does not allow for any
labelling or name-giving. Working at the level of direct perception,
this prehension is beyond conceptual description. Though it can be felt
and though it can direct action, no valid, in this case, arguable
statement can be made concerning it.
Transcendent metaphysics is not rational but meta-rational. This means
it must be poetical, for only poetry allows the sublime to be prehended
in a written text. Like music, it has the capacity to evoke a "mandala"
and its interdependences. Like mathematics, it is a fluid and sensitive
structure born out of mental balance. But poetry has no truth-claim, no
conceptual stability and no a priori logic. Swimming the free
style, sublime poets merely point out, but do not instruct. This medium
is excellent for all possible spiritual elaborations using conceptual
reason (and so text). Never dogmatic but ever discreet, sublime poetry
is only revelatory in the sporadic spur. It builds no Babel.
"Philosophers can never hope finally to formulate these metaphysical
first principles. Weakness of insight and deficiencies of language stand
in the way inexorably. Words and phrases must be stretched towards a
generality foreign to their ordinary usage ; and however such elements
of language be stabilized as technicalities, they remain metaphors
mutely appealing for an imaginative leap." - Whitehead, A.N., PR, § 6.
Let us take heed of this warning. The speculative study of those
features shared by all possible actual occasions is not a science. It
does not advance any sensate object, but, when valid, merely brings
greater order in and larger scope to our mentality or set of mental
objects. This is provisional and dependent of the advancements of
Process philosophy devised a very
specialized technical language to explain the phenomenology of actual
occasions, making it for example suitable for metaphysical inquiries
into quantum mechanics. This is possible because despite technicalities,
metaphysics in general and ontology in particular call for an
imaginative leap. Grand stories are told because they inspire, not
because they are eternally true.
In his Physics, Aristotle deals with material objects or
entities. Metaphysics, "what comes after Physics", takes
as its object the immaterial, non-physical entities (beyond or behind
the physical world), with theology at its core. Moreover, Metaphysics
also studies being in general or being as such, i.e. the study of
what is shared in common by all possible entities. This
"first philosophy", dealing with the most basic principles based on
what all possible things share, is a study of being qua
being, leading to the most general concepts or categories of being. What
being makes beings be ? Christian philosophy (sic) forged an
alliance between theology and this first philosophy. The God of
scripture was deemed that Being. He sent His holy word for humans to
follow and all the rest of it. In the XVIIth century, first philosophy
divorced theology and became general metaphysics. In 1613, the term
"ontology" was coined as another name for "metaphysica generalis".
And so this became the task of ontology : what do all possible beings have
in common ?
Process ontology asks : what do all possible mental & sensate
have in common ? And when this is established : What is there ? and What is truly there ?
These questions inevitable leads one to ask : What is the absolute ?
Theo-ontology is thus merely an instance of ontological inquiry.
A. Defining Ontology without the Nature of Being.
Before Kant, "General Metaphysics" or ontology was substantialist,
essentialist and so seeking a self-sufficient ground, i.e. the
self-sustaining & final substantial level of all what is. The presence of such an
independent, autarchic "hypokeimenon" was not in doubt. To seek a
"ground" goes with the territory, for ontology determines the
common features of every possible thing. But to define these general
concepts covering all possible phenomena as (a) existing from their own side
and (b) forever remaining the same or permanent, is the cul-de-sac of pre-critical
metaphysics. We need a sufficient ground, but not a self-sufficient one.
In an absolutist view, valid science & valid metaphysics are eternal.
So the absolute nature of all possible phenomena must be eternal too.
Hence, the ground of this understanding concerning the general features of all
what exists must be something permanent, substantial, essential. Criticism unmasks this
eternalization assumed by substantialist foundationalism as an illusion. The
argued by ontology is a speculative understanding of what all phenomena share.
This metaphysical knowledge, even valid, is not lasting, but, as all
conventional knowledge, valid or invalid, provisional, relative and
likely to change.
Pre-critical metaphysics, unwilling to embrace radical nominalism, was
unable to conceptualize a non-substantial ground. The origin or "arché"
was eternal, unchanging, own-powered, with a nature existing by
its own, with inhering properties. This own-nature is either an objective
"substance of substances" or a subjective "self", both possessing their
own-form or isolated, essential, unique & unchanging character.
Single, dual or triadic, the first principles of the ontology of old
Thinking a non-substantial ground is affirming it is not self-powered
but other-powered and "present" since "beginningless time". Given
physical space & time came into existence with the Big Bang, the ground
of the totality of the world, also called the ultimate ground of
phenomena or world-ground is virtual or
potential, i.e. nothing with the potential to become something. It is
not a primordial or ultimate cause of the world, but its mere
possibility. This virtual world-ground is the infinite set of propensities making the
finite actual next moment of the world possible or likely. The
world-ground is not another ontological order, "hidden variable" or a different
substantial & deterministic world
behind, beyond, before or within the world, for there is only one
ontological order, namely the world of actual occasions. It is more like
an abstract, virtual world preparing concrete actuality.
If there is only one world, as naturalism extols, then the ground of
Nature cannot be an ontological
explainer, an ultimate self-sufficient cause abiding in a "Hintenwelt",
for there is no Platonic "chorismos" or rift between two
ontological worlds. Hence, there is no God creating the world "ex
nihilo". Paying compliments to God* is one thing, but taking them
serious is quite another ! Before the world physically existed, the
primordial quantum plasma pre-existed as one of the three non-temporal,
formative elements characterizing the infinite world-ground (together
with primordial architecture and primordial sentience). In process
cosmology, these designate the limitless possibility,
potential, likelihood or propensity of creative disturbance, deflection or "clinamen"
of selected probabilities, making another Big Bang (after a Big Crunch
or Big Evaporation)
Both world and world-ground make out the world-system. The world is the sea of
occasions rising from infinite possibilities, featuring primordial
matter, abstract forms of creativity (unity) &
absolute sentience (the dual-union of the nondual mind of Clear Light*
of the absolute mind of all possible enlightenment of all possible
mindstreams). The world-ground is called
"ground" because of these formative elements, covering
potentialities pre-existing outside space and time. This non-temporal &
order of propensities is grasped in terms of the fundamentals of the
possibility or probability of process, but then in absolute terms :
absolute sentience, the creative laws of the world and the primordial
quantum field. In this way, these three formative elements of the
world tie in with the three ontological aspects of every actual occasion at
work in the mundus ; matter, information & consciousness.
The world of actual occasions hic et nunc is like the "music of
the spheres", the actual ongoing cosmic symphony of togetherness of
countless interdependent actual occasions. The world-ground is then like
the "voice of the silence", the material, creative & sentient
probabilities or potentialities making possible the next moment after this moment
in the infinite histories of the worlds.
§ 1 Place of Ontology in Metaphysics.
Critical process ontology asks this : What do all possible mental
& sensate processes have in common ? The answer to this question, aiming
at what all objects share, directly influences the outcome of any
metaphysical inquiry. It determines the fundamental concepts of the
worldview in question. Any error at this level harms the precision of
the arguments targeting specific objects. But given a well argued
ontology, the general argument dealing with the totality of the world
cannot fail (for if not derived from this, dependent on it).
No theoretical philosophy features strong, coherent unity without a
valid ontology. A general perspective cannot be derived from a finite
set of specifics. It has to be solemnly inducted. This is an intuitive,
creative moment. Eliminating ontology from philosophy is like
painting without paint.
The soundness of ontology reflects on the coherency of the worldview.
Logic and argument are all what are left. In both cases, the choice of
logic is paramount. This brings in the question of style (cf.
Ontology makes a fundamental
choice. It designates the ultimate object, namely the one
object or ontological principal shared by all possible phenomena. Reifying the object/subject
relationship necessary in all possible cognition, classical ontology
invented substantial objects and/or substantial subjects, acting as
self-sufficient anchors to stabilize their foundationalist systems of being.
This resulted in (a) the substantial, ideal (super)subject of
subjectivism and its spiritualism, (b) the substantial, real
(super)object of objectivism and its materialism (or physicalism) or (c)
the substantial duality of rationalism, with matter interacting with
the non-physical mind.
The fundamental choice is intuitive.
Singling out a common feature calls for a creative act explained in the
course of its well-formed elaboration, defining a hermeneutical circle.
This cannot be avoided. The Eureka !-moment cannot be caused.
Neither is it void of determinations and conditions. In the past, the
extremes of spiritualism & materialism excelled in the drama of
knowledge. Derived from reductionism & foundationalism, these
metaphysical extremes have had their best time. Instead of identifying their
first ontological principle with either the object (materialism) or the
subject (spiritualism) of the concordia discors, ontologies of
the extremes are avoided by asking what both object and subject have in
common ? Hence, materialism & spiritualism are unmasked as incomplete
answers derived from an unsuccessful reduction (of mind to matter or of
matter to mind).
ε. If something exists, it does not merely exist because it
appears to an observer to exist. Absolute idealism is rejected. If
something does not exist as a substance with inhering properties, is
may exist as some thing in process. Relative (conventional) realism is
∫ The Middle Way
fares well between the extremes of absolute affirmation and absolute
Because all objects are deemed to share a finite set of first
principles, ontology is "first philosophy". These first
principles orient all further possible speculation. Process ontology
seeks a series of concepts dealing with the fundamental properties of
all possible phenomena. The latter are deemed processes, not natures (or
substances). Given the two sides of the transcendental spectrum of
conceptual rationality, classical ontology reduced either subject to object (eliminating mind, as in absolute objectivism) or
object to subject (eliminating matter, as in absolute subjectivism).
Subject-ontologies fail because they cannot explain the tenacity of some
sensate objects. Object-ontologies fail because they cannot operate
without a subject possessing its object.
Process ontology wants to
establish the common ground between subjectivity (mind) and objectivity
(information, matter). It finds this in the concept of "actual occasion"
or isthmus of actuality. This is a moment
of that what exists
hic et nunc with differential extension
§ 2 Objects of Ontology : What is There ?
the view, in casu process-based phenomena, has been established, ask : What is
The exactitude of objects, their quality of having high accuracy &
consistency, refers to their ontological status, namely to what kind
of object is at hand. Four categories of objects are distinguished : (1) absolutely nonexistent
objects, (2) fictional objects, (3) relatively existent objects and (4)
absolutely existent objects.
β. Absolutely Nonexistent Objects : That Which Is Not.
object does not exist, nothing can be identified corresponding to it and
so nothing ostensibly refers to it. Absolutely nonexistent objects are
always analytical nonexistent objects involving a contradictio in
terminis. They are a forteriori nonexistent in an absolute sense.
A square circle, a triangle with four angles, a curved flat space etc.
cannot correspond to anything, although by themselves the words "square",
"circle", "triangle", "angle", "four", "curved", "flat" and "space" do
make sense. But when combined, a mental clash occurs eliminating any
possibility of even imagining something associated with the combination.
∫ The void is not
the empty set of potentialities, of nothing (infinite emptiness) becoming
something (finite fullness).
Fictional Objects : That What Deceives.
Fictional objects like Hamlet are deemed not to exist, although in
Shakespeare's play called "Hamlet", the Prince of Denmark is a leading
character. Nobody versed in English literature agrees with the statement
nothing is aimed at when the name "Hamlet" is mentioned, but when asked
where Hamlet precisely lives, no answer can be provided ! He is not in
Denmark, nor does he "exist" in the text of the play named after him.
But when the play is actually performed, no member of the skilled
audience will have any difficulty identifying Hamlet.
In the case of the unicorn, we
assemble two existing objects (namely a white horse and a large waved
horn) and this combination exists in our imagination. Sometimes these
objects are merely a private fantasy, sometimes they can -through
trickery- be made intersubjectively available.
Indeed, before recent times, the horns of a rabbit, the hairs on a fish,
the wings of a turtle, a unicorn or a pink flying elephant, etc. could not
be pointed at as moving and/or three-dimensional objects.
By rapidly projecting digitally manifactured pictures on a white screen,
any fiction conjured by our imagination may be generated on it. Even depth
can be holographically manifactured. In that way, what used to be merely private
imagination can be made
intersubjectively available "on screen" repeatedly. While nothing more than
tricks with artificial light, these objects may move us, influence us and prompt us
Fictional objects are either private or public. Dreams and personal
fantasies, ranging from the fruits of a fertile imagination to psychotic
hallucinations are not available to others. They can only be identified by
the subject to which they appear. Nobody else is available to grasp at
them. They nevertheless exist as fictional objects. Intersubjective
imaginal objects, like fictional characters, cinematographic objects,
artistic objects, collective projections or objects appearing as the
result of collective hypnosis, also exist because one can indeed aim at
them, but this identification is intersubjective, very limited in time,
unstable and, most importantly, based on a trick, i.e. an intended
Fictional objects exist
because a conscious agent intends to fool. To do so, elaborate
trappings are introduced. These may be physical (mechanical devices or electronic systems), or
psychological (as in suggestion,
hypnosis and placebo). Without this intent to trick, i.e. to misrepresent
reality, positing something which cannot possibly be there, fiction
would not exist.
Summarizing : fictional objects are relatively
Relatively Existing Objects : That Which Conceals.
Relatively existing objects are those apprehended by the normal
waking consciousness of most, if not all, human beings. These are sensate
objects and non-fictional mental objects. Their "normality" is defined
statistically (a majority apprehends them as they appear), normatively
(given all necessary conditions, they must be apprehended as they do) and
existentially (their apprehension is co-relative with a particular
observer). They are mostly intersubjective, relatively stable,
nominal, conventional and independent of conditions put in place with the
explicit intent to deceive. They can also be intimate & private,
or reflective of automatic & unconscious activity. Except for
non-fictional mental objects (like accurate memories, the activity of
imagination, volitions, affects, thoughts and states of
consciousness), they are always shared with other conscious agents.
Although they change as a function of spatio-temporal conditions, these
alterations may be slow, small and nearly imperceptible, as in the extreme
case of a mountain, the life of a star or the existence of the universe.
They may be quick, large and obvious, their existence deemed ephemeral,
fleeting or transient, as is the case for climatic conditions or the position &
momentum of observed atoms. These objects define what we understand
by "normal" reality, one shared and delimited by others, and hence conventional.
These objects are not fabricated or manifactured by any human intent to
deceive others. They are what is nominally "given".
δ.1 Among these conventional objects, some misrepresent physical reality
without the artificial intention to deceive. They may be optical
illusions one can eliminate, as when a stick immersed in water -merely
appearing as very large- is removed from the water. Maybe they cannot be
turned around, as the apparent daily movement of the Sun, actually the
rotation of the Earth on its axis, or a Hunter's Moon. Maybe these
objects are no longer validated by science, like caloric fluid
from hotter to colder bodies. Among conventional objects, some
temporarily represent existence in a valid way. These are the objects of
science. The validation of these objects is defined by the principles of
logic, the norm of theoretical epistemology and the maxims of the
process producing valid knowledge about relatively existing objects.
δ.2 The objects of science constitute the valid paradigmatic knowledge of the
historical era in which these conventional objects appear. They represent
the common ground between experimentation and argumentation, between being
regulated by, on the one hand, an idea of truth focusing on the supposed
correspondence between theory and conventional objects, and on the
other, an theory of truth regulated by the idea of the consensus
between all involved sign-interpreters. A sign-interpreter is a conscious,
cognizing consciousness operating signals, icons and symbols in a well-ordered
way, according to principles, norms & maxims producing meaning by way of
meaningful glyphs, or states of matter infused with information.
δ.3 Relatively existing objects or conventional objects appear as inherently existing
outside the subject apprehending them, inviting the division
between "inner" and "outer". In this valid but mistaken view, they seem
independent, self-powered, and existing from their own side, by their own
"inner" nature, essence ("eidos"), substance ("ousia"), or own-form
as ultimate logic proves (cf. infra), this is merely an appearance concealing
their suchness/thatness or that what they truly are. These conventional objects
do not appear as they truly are, and so conceal their ultimate, implicit
process-nature lacking inherent own-form. This is the case for all
fictional and conventional objects. Even when the stick is removed from
the water, and thus smaller than it was when immersed, its
conventionality still conceals its suchness/thatness. While (a) a deception, (b)
the subject of an optical illusion (immersed) and (c) a valid scientific
object, the solid stick continues seemingly not to depend on conditions
itself to appear as it does, independent & localized. It still manifests
as an object "out there", cut off from its observer. But when prehended
in the nondual mode of cognition, each object is simultaneously cognized
as empty of substance and fully interdependent. This means the
absolute nature of each object is nothing more than one of its
∫ Again : the ultimate
ε. Absolutely Existing Objects : That Which Is What It Is.
These objects are apprehended by the wisdom mind of Clear Light* no longer bewitched by the
illusion posed by any objects. Such a mind directly sees the
suchness/thatness or full-emptiness of all phenomena, i.e. simultaneously
apprehends how all phenomena (a) are empty of themselves and (b) full of
Classifying what exists brings about two broad sides ; the conventional
and the ultimate. Conventional truth is conceptual and rational, based
on experimentation and argumentation, on valid science and valid
metaphysics. Ultimate truth is non-conceptual and intuitional, based on
direct nondual prehension, on argumentation and sublime poetry.
Transcendental metaphysics does not argue, but merely points at the
In philosophy, both truths are in fact epistemic isolates (of the
conventional and the ultimate aspect of every object, of its full and
empty properties). In mysticism, they are the datum of a direct and
unitary experience, prehending them simultaneously and this ongoingly
§ 3 Monist, Dualist & Pluralist Ontologies.
fundamental ontological choice is either monist, dualist or pluralist.
Only one, only two or more than two fundamental ontological principles
prevail. Mindful of Ockham, the monad is preferable. By adhering to
parsimony, the number of ontologically different entities is limited.
The monist posits a single fundamental ontological principle. This is
the most clear-cut and economical choice. If such a principle can be found
and argued, a well-formed ontology ensues. With a single principle, all
possible entities share the same fundamental ground and so can fully
participate in each other ; their differences are nothing more than a
measure of their distinctness. No ontological differences exist.
With more than a singularity, difference and distinctness are no longer
the same. Ontological differences divide the world up in as many
fundamental principles as designated.
Dualists, like Plato & Descartes, settle for two
fundamental ontological principles. Leaving the monad, his ontology
mirrors the epistemological dyad of knower & known characterizing
knowledge. From this point on, a dangerous confusion creep in : How
can two ontological different principles explain the unity of the world
? If two things radically differ (grounded by separate principles), how
can they exist together or form any relationships ? How can they ever interact ?
In neurophilosophy, this question is rephrased. How can the non-physical
mind interact with the brain without breaching the energy-conservation
law of thermodynamics ? A dualist ontology mirrors the ongoing tensions
of conceptuality and does not succeed in explaining the unity of the
manifold. In Platonism this problem is more or less solved by
identifying the world of becoming as an illusion, a pale reflection of
the true world of ideas.
In Cartesianism, the problems related to this
duality eventually results in reductionism, privileging the physical (as in
the realism of materialism & objectivism) or the non-physical (as in the
idealism of spiritualism & subjectivism).
The pluralist tries to solve the basic ontological problem of dualism by
introducing a "tertium comparationis". A closure is at hand, one
leading to a triune concept, reflecting, to invoke synthesis, the third
factor back to the first, the triad to the monad. Without this return to unity, only
the triad is
given and by addition of unity the "Ten Thousand Things" follow. Moreover,
adding one or more fundamental ontological principles does not eliminate
the basic ontological problem facing duality. On the contrary, to
explain the difference between two elements with a third
invokes another difficulty : how can two different factors be bridged by
another different factor ? This seems like multiplying problems.
ε. The proposed process ontology is a monism.
Only a single ontological building block is assumed and called "actual
the momentary actuality characterized by extensiveness.
This moment, instance or droplet of Nature has properties. These can be
understood when the temporal extension of any duration is progressively
diminished without arriving towards a duration as its limit. Such understanding is an abstractive set converging to the
concept of Nature at an instance.
Something is always going on everywhere, even in the so-called empty
space of Torricelli. Nature abhors the void. Both the electromagnetic
field & the lowest energy state (or uniform zero-point field) evidence the
absence of an absolute vacuum in physics.
occasion" is the building-block of process ontology, the differential
phenomenal moment (as particle) starting the stream of moments (as wave). All entities share actual occasions.
In ontology, tcreativityhe monist has the advantage. The totality of all phenomena
in actuality is understood in terms of a single ontological constituent,
thereby simplifying the basic ontological scheme. The issue here is not
to explain difference, but to assure the complexity of the manifold can
be prehended from the vantage point given by a single constituent.
To ensure actual occasions are conceptualized to accommodate rather than
to hinder their creative togetherness with other actual occasions,
process ontology seeks a phenomenology of the actual occasion.
The void does not exist. In empty space, energy is present. Substance
cannot be found. The fullness of the
mundus is given as the interdependence between all actual occasions
entering each other's histories. The emptiness of the world is
the absolute absence of self-powered, inherently existing objects with
their likewise eternalized properties. This emptiness is not an entity,
but merely a property of every actually existing thing.
§ 4 Failures of Materialist & Spiritualist Ontologies.
cuts existence in half. Add essentialism and
one half is imputed as the self-sufficient ground, the other half is denied
or deemed illusionary ("mâyâ").
All possible subjects of knowledge (knowers) possess objects belonging
to two and only two mental categories, namely "sensate" or "mental".
α.1 Materialist (realist) monism
considers sensate objects to be fundamental and mental objects merely
derived or emergent (with no downward causality). In its essentialist
version, matter exists from its own side, independent & separate from
the subjects apprehending it.
α.2 Spiritualist (idealist) monism considers
mental objects to be fundamental and sensate objects constituted by the
former. In its essentialist version, the "Geist" exists from
its own side, independent & separate from the objects it constitutes (as
a Creator-God of sorts). Both reductionist strategies fail to explain
the totality of the world-system, both as actuality & as possibility. Materialism
cannot explain the transcendental unity of apprehension with the
manifold, and spiritualism cannot explain the manifold by way of the
Materialism fails to apprehend the
of experience correctly. The impact of conscious choice on material
process is either non-existent or of no importance. If it does accept
the reality of the non-physical in its own right, it cannot deliver a material
(efficient) process to explain these non-physical (final)
determinations. Moreover, the unity of the manifold cannot be explained
by matter alone. If materialism is "true", then neither are logic & argumentation possible
! Hence, a
priori materialism cannot provide its own apology. Bound to become dogmatic
and in alliance with the media power and money, materialism is as
grotesque as the ecclesiastic powers of old.
Spiritualism fails to apprehend the extra-mental object of experience correctly. The
efficient determinations of material process on the non-physical are
evident. To be cognizing, the mind has to possess an object. This is not
an intra-mental but an extra-mental entity. To explain
the working of free will without the laws of matter, or
worse, to allow matter to be constituted by mind, cripples our
understanding of the reality of the physical. Moreover, the variety,
differentiation & multiplicity of Nature cannot be explained by the
unity of the mind
alone. Tending towards unity, mind cannot be made responsible for
all possible physicality without damaging the rational understanding of
the world. In its dogmatic form, spiritualism verges on the irrational.
What can be worse than fools & folly running the world ?
Process ontology does not seek its fundamental principle in either the
mental or the extra-mental. The object/subject dualism is left intact
and a deeper common denominator is found : the actual occasion. All
phenomena, objects, events, entities etc., in short : all in existence
is basically an actual occasion. Objects are moments with a certain
extensive properties and creative advance.
Materialism and spiritualism fail to face the whole world. These are
ad hoc monisms. They stop their analysis by reduction, not by
integration. The latter means as many phenomena as possible are made
part of ontology. Exclusivism becomes inclusivism. There is always
something going on then and there. This is the one unit factor in
Nature. Whether objects are mental or sensate, both can be reduced to
actual occasions of which they are merely aggregates.
§ 5 Voidness, Emptiness & Interdependence.
The absolutely nonexistent is the category of the
collection of nothing at all. The empty set thought of as absolutely
nothing with no potential whatsoever to become anything is called "the
The void is an empty set with no possible
members. Emptiness is the set of nothing becoming something.
The void does not exist. Emptiness exists as
pure potentiality, possibility or
probability (the likelihood of
something). In what follows, the concept "empty set" only refers to
emptiness. If the empty set with no possible members is meant, the term
"void" will be used.
All numbers can be bootstrapped out of the empty set by the operations
of the mind. Suppose the mind observes the empty set. The mind's
mere act of observation causes
the set of empty sets to appear. The set of empty
sets is not empty, because it contains the empty set.
By producing the set containing the empty set, the mind has generated the
first number, or "1". Perceiving the empty set and the set containing the empty
set, the mind apprehends two empty sets and has generated the second number,
out of emptiness, etc. upward to infinity.
The entire natural number system can be
generated by the play of the mind on emptiness and this in the
absence of the need to refer to anything material or countable.
Numbers are non-physical phenomena making no reference to
physical systems for their existence. Numbers do not exist from their
own side (as Platonic ideas), but dependently-related manifestations of the working of the mind.
ε. Nothing comes out of nothing
(the void) ; "ex nihilo nihil fit" ! Cosmology &
physics cannot touch the question of the before of the Big Bang. As time
& space commence with this singular explosion, to ask what was before is
deemed nonsensical. But logically, any term is subject to a certain
order or sequence.
Ontologically therefore, the issue can thus be approached in terms of a logical
progression and as such make perfectly sense.
ε.1 If before the Big Bang nothing is identified (or identifiable), then the
void logically precedes the becoming of the physical universe. But if
this is the case, then the Big Bang could not have happened. The fact of
this singular beginning of the physical universe and the void as
absolute nonexistence are thus incompatible. If there was absolutely
nothing before the Big Bang, not even the possibility of something,
then the Big Bang would be nonexistent too. But this science tells us is
not the case.
ε.2 To consider the Big Bang ontologically, emptiness must
pre-exist. Not as any thing, i.e. as any concrete, worldly actual
occasion, but merely as the potential or virtuality of such actuality. The
potential of the Big Bang lies hidden in the world-ground, the mere
possibility of the next moment of the world. What primordial
determination & conditions made the Big Bang possible ? These formative
abstracts are primordial operators conditioned (not by their
own-natures like in a co-substantial Divine Trinity) but solely by their
primordial interrelatedness or virtual togetherness.
The absence of substantial existence
is the absolute property of all possible objects. This means the object
is empty of an inherent nature or own-form, but this in full participation and
togetherness with other objects. In this immanent approach, emptiness is
merely a non-affirmative negation of substantiality. But for those
having a direct experience of this transcendent signifier, emptiness is
the potential to connect every thing with every other thing. And when
the emptiness of the mind itself is seen, it is observed as the Clear
Light* inseparable from the world-ground, the virtual pre-existence of
the next moment of the world.
Emptiness is not something, but nothing becoming something. When a
concrete, worldly actual occasions emerges, there is no longer (virtual,
formative) emptiness but full, actual interdependence. This nothingness
of emptiness cannot be absolute nothingness (the nihilism of the void),
but merely absence of own-form with the potential for infinite
interactions shaping the unique plenum.
Note this : the potential of emptiness, of form emerging out of the
formless, cannot be apprehended but only prehended. Its experience falls
therefore outside science and immanent metaphysics. "Seeing" emptiness
is directly observing how absence of own-nature fosters creative advance
through increased togetherness of actual occasions. Only non-conceptual,
nondual prehension possesses such an absolute object.
As identifying absence of own-form is conceptual, ultimate logic is no
doubt "philosophical". Given "seeing" emptiness involves non-conceptual
cognition, it may be called "yogic" or "intuitive". The former is given
to all intelligent beings. The latter to those enjoying the hard work of
B. Perennial Ontology ?
Perennial philosophy cherishes the idea that within all spiritual traditions
& religions, a mystical stream is present, acting as the repository
of the wisdom of humanity after it made contact with a supernatural,
basically non-physical higher-order reality. Although in general terms
this is correct, a divide can be identified.
"perennial philosophy" was coined by Agostine Steuco, a Catholic Bishop
and Old Testament scholar, who, in 1540, dedicated his De Perenni
Philosophia Libri X to an effort showing how many ideas of the sages
& philosophers of Antiquity were in fact in harmony with the "magister
fidei" of Catholicism in general and with the teachings of the Roman
Church in particular. Later Leibniz would also reintroduce the phrase.
It cannot be denied speculative activity has architecture & momentum. So
certain recurrent regularities and logical organizations (software or
information) can indeed be identified. Western philosophy is rooted in
Antiquity, and -in the case of Europe- was directly influenced by the
wisdom-teachings of the Ancient Egyptians (cf.
of Good Discourse or the Wisdom of Ptahhotep, 2002). Add to this the
"Greek miracle" and the "wisdom" coming from the Middle East and the Far
East via the trade routes, then a common Western vision may be
The ante-rational, multi-millenarian storehouse of
experience of the Ancient Egyptians (cf.
Egyptian, 2002), and their "magic" of sacred words (cf. the
hieroglyphs and their power :
To Become A
Magician, 2001), inspired the "minors" of the syllogistic
inferences loved by the Greeks, an activity spawning their concept-realism. This Greek synthesis
formed a common tread in Western spiritual thought, Hellenizing
Hermetism, Judaism, Christianity & Islam. Until recently, it remained
even unchecked at work in materialism, instrumentalism, scientism &
Western intellectuals maintain a common ontological interest. Likewise,
Eastern philosophy (in India, Tibet, China, Japan, etc.) outlines a
common metaphysical & ontological view.
Perennial ontology, as a common view on things, can only operate if the
common denominator covers what is shared by humanity East & West. No
doubt this is a considerable amount of information, rooted in the
perennial pre-Neolithic shamanistic environment (involving the
return to the "first time" of myth by way of mythical thought).
Nevertheless, perennial ontology must also
consider the "Dharma difference" between both visions.
Grosso modo, the West tries "to save" a self-sufficient common
ground. This is a substance possessing its properties from its own
side, inherently, separately and independently from other things. The
West emphasizes the objective features of this self-sufficient ground. This
substantial own-nature is an essence ("eidos", "ousia", "substantia"),
exists inherently, by ("causa sui") and on its own (absolute
aloneness). A kataphatic theology (cf. infra) is possible.
By and large, the East, foremost trying to clarify the subjective
features of experience, turns inward. The experience of a "fourth
state" ("turîya") of consciousness besides waking, dreaming & the
dreamless sleep, dramatically shaped the speculative endeavours of Jainism, Buddhism &
Vedânta. As a consequence, the impermanence of
determinations & conditions leading up to subjective experiences was
strongly felt and thematized. This gave rise to the important difference
between "Dharmic" and "non-Dharmic" views. In the former, held by Taoism
& Buddhism, all "dharmas" or existing things only possess
interrelationality or togetherness, but no enduring substantial
The presence of the Dharma difference divides perennial ontology in two
sets of views ; on the one hand, the substantivist, own-nature view,
on the other hand, the dharmic, process view. This distinction
returns in contemporary philosophy as the divide between, on the one
hand, materialism (physicalism, instrumentalism, scientism) and, on the
other hand, the philosophy of relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos
theory and process thinking. Process considers only architecture
(software or information), momentum (hardware or matter) and sense
(userware or consciousness). Besides the continuous ongoing togetherness
of these three operators and the creative advance or novel togetherness of all aggregates of
actual occasions, there is nothing. Not a single substance can be
Under ultimate analysis, all reifications perish.
§ 1 The Ancient Egyptian Nun & the Pre-Socratic Ground.
In the Old Kingdom (ca. 2670 - 2198 BCE), the virtual
clause "n SDmt.f", i.e. "before he has (had) ..." or "he has
(had) not yet ...", was used to denote a prior, potential nonexistent
state, namely one before the actuality of that state had happened. To be
nonexistent, precludes actual existence hic et nunc, but does not
preclude the possibility of becoming existent (expressed by the verb "kpr",
"kheper", "to become", which also means "to transform").
There is some thing before every thing, pre-existing before
the order, the architecture and the life of creation. This is called
"Nun" (cf. Liber
Nun, 2005). The world manifested as a transformation or change from
this nonexistent, virtual state to an existing actuality. The virtual
state is therefore not actual, but informs possibility, latency and
potentiality. As a potency anterior to creation, the Egyptian
theologians of Memphis, Heliopolis, Hermopolis, Abydos and Thebes
conceived this pre-existent state as something very special, a
primordial state existing
before "form", i.e. anterior to space and time, and so before the
creation of sky, Earth, horizon and their "natural" dynamics.
The virtual, pre-existing state is not the origin of order. It cannot
serve as a self-sufficient ground ! The emergence of the world, of light and
life are envisaged as spontaneous (autogenesis) and without any possible
determination ("causa sui").
Precreation is the conjunction of this
undifferentiated state and the sheer possibility of something
pre-existing as a virtual, autogenous singularity called
Precreation is this mythical dual-union of dark Nun and clear
Atum, of and infinite, undifferentiated energy-field and a primordial
atom, monad or self-powered and self-sufficient absolute singularity.
Atum is the "soul" (or "Ba") of Nun ! The
efficient power of pre-existence.
Creation emerges from a monad, floating
"very weary" in the dark, gloomy, lifeless infinity of Nun. Within the
omnipresent oceanlike substance of Nun, the possibility of order, light
and life subsists as a pre-existing singular object capable of
self-creation "ex nihilo". Hence, although Nun is nowhere and
everywhere, never and always, it is the primordial, irreversible and
everlasting milieu in which the eternal potential of creation creates
δ.1 With this distinction, the Ancient Egyptians had divided what
creates and is not created (Nun) from what creates and is (self)created
(Atum). The next step, namely between what is (self)created (Atum and
his Ennead) and what is created but does not create (the world) is also
δ.2 The whole order of the world needs to "return" (by means of the
magic of the "Great House" or Pharaoh, the divine king) to the
primordial moment when Atum creates Atum and -within Nun- the world with
its order (Maat) came forth.
ε. The Greek philosophical
mentality was unique, but it did not come forth "ex nihilo".
was the result of the network of forces triggering the so-called "Greek
Renaissance", based on traditional Minoan & Mycenæan elements, but made
explicit by a series of "new" concepts derived from Mesopotamia, Iran
and, last but not least, Ancient Egypt.
ε.1 According to Anaximander of
Miletus (ca. 611 - 547 BCE), the cosmos developed out of the "apeiron",
the boundless, infinite and indefinite (without distinguishable
qualities). Aristotle would add : immortal, Divine and imperishable.
ε.2 Within this "apeiron" something arose to produce the opposites of
hot and cold. These at once began to struggle with each other and
produced the cosmos. The cold (and wet) partly dried up (becoming solid
Earth), partly remained (as water), and -by means of the hot- partly
evaporated (becoming air and mist), its evaporating part (by expansion)
splitting up the hot into fiery rings, which surround the whole cosmos.
Because these rings are enveloped by mist, however, there remain only
certain breathing holes that are visible to men, appearing to them as
Sun, Moon, and stars. Comparative schemes were developed.
The self-sufficient ground sought by the
Pre-Socratics is "arché", "phusis", "kosmos", "aletheia"
(truth) & "dike" (justice). For Homer and Hesiod, the sky or "Ouranos"
is a brazen roof or a seat set firm. The Greeks, with a few exceptions
like Heraclites (540 – 475 BCE), could not grasp the continuity of the architecture at
work in every momentum, of the style or kinetographics of movement.
substantivists, "solid" and "eternal" per definition imply lack of
movement, absence of change or some kind of fixation in a self-sufficient,
ground, an underlying reality ("hypokeimenon").
Seeking this out, irrespective of Platonic
or Peripatetic inclinations, is the root of concept-realism and of the
Western essentialist and thus eternalizing view on ontology. Serving
this view has been the endeavour of Western philosophy until Kant.
Although the cascade is never the same, it
does have some unchanging patterns holding its dynamism away from sheer
randomness. Likewise so for the swimmer or the ballet dancer. A
stochastic ontology does not preclude eternal, unchanging form, albeit
as a form of movement, as a differential equation covering all specifics
of an actual dynamic flow of dynamic relationships between movements.
∫ Is the
holomovement of a Buddha not the perfection of his or her unique form of
Discovering the sharp blade of the Sword
of Wisdom brings the end of all possible reasons for substantialism.
This does not leave us with nothing, for some thing is left after
substance has been cleared ; this is sheer process, ongoing flows of
actual occasions featuring momentum, architecture and sense.
Distinguishing between pre-existence and existence, on the one hand,
and, funerary ritualism, on the other hand, co-emerged. The first
suggestive evidence of this is found in the Cave of Pech Merle (ca.
16.000 BCE). By it, the relative world, given to properly functioning
senses and a modular mind,
is distinguished from an absolute realm, one deemed to exist "before",
"next to", "above" or "behind" these relative states of matter,
information & consciousness. In the "natural" mode of cognitive
functioning, one given to ontological illusion due to the constant (ab)use
of the substantialist instantiation, pre-existence was envisaged as a
deeper stratum of existence ; eternal, timeless, spaceless &
undifferentiated. In this "dark ocean", a creative potential
Pre-existence is not a dead nothingness, a void, but filled with the
(passive) potential to create (light, spacetime, life & love).
Hermetism, as well as in the
Qabalah, pre-existence points to more than just a void. But these
metaphysical systems, while abstracting the absolute as a category, fill
it with the ultimate essence of God Himself. God is then the "substance
of substances" (or "image of images", "power of powers" - cf.
The Cannibal Hymn to Pharaoh Unis, 2002). Acting as the world's
underlying self-sufficient ground, the ultimate level is substantialized. The
same happened in the theologies of the three monotheisms, in Jainism and
in Hinduism. The fact this crucial ontological distinction is brought
into play is not the problem, its reification is. The world-ground
cannot be a substance or the world would never have come into existence.
No becoming would have been possible. The presence of this world need not
explained. How this presence came to be is the question. Logically, what
precedes the Big Bang ?
§ 2 The Logic of Being & the Fact of Becoming.
Parmenides of Elea (ca. 515 - 440 BCE), inspired by Pythagoras and pupil
of Xenophanes (ca. 580/577 - 485/480 BCE), was the first Greek to
develop, in poetical form, his insights about truth ("aletheia").
In his school, the Eleatics, the conviction human beings can attain
knowledge of reality or understanding ("nous") prevailed. But to
know this truth, only two ways were open : the Way of Truth and the Way
of Opinion ("doxa"). These are defined in terms of the
expressions "is" and "is not". If a thing both is and is not, then this
either means (a) there is a yet unknown difference due to circumstances
or (b) "being" and "non-being" are different and identical at the same
time. This answer is relative (circumstantial) or contradictory. If a
thing is not, then it cannot be an object of a proposition. If not,
non-being exists ! This answer is pointless. As the last two answers
must be false, and only three answers are possible, so the first answer
must, by this reductio ad absurdum, be true, namely : the
object of thought "is" and equal to itself from every point of view.
With Parmenides, pre-Socratic thought reached the formal stage of
cognition. Before the Eleatics, the difference between object and
subject of thought was not clearly established (cf. the object as
psychomorphic). Myth and unstable pre-concepts prevailed. Moreover, the
basic formal laws of logic (identity, non-contradiction & excluded
third) were not yet brought forward and used as tools to back an
argument. Logical elegance was absent, and a thinker like Heraclites
was deemed "dark". The strong necessity implied by the laws of thought
had not yet become clear. But with the Eleatics, the mediating role of
the metaphor is replaced by an emphasis on the distinction between the
thinking subject (and its thoughts) and the reality of what is known.
The idealism of the Eleatics, thinking the logical necessities of
thought, nevertheless confused between a substantialist and a
predicative use of the verb "to be" or the copula "is". That something
"is" (or "Dasein" -
is not identical with what something "is" (or "Sosein" -
Properties (accidents) are deemed to exist apart from the "being" of the substances
they describe. But as Kant would point out much later, the verb "to be" only
instantiates the properties of an object, not a deeper sense of
For the substantivist, non-being is pointless. The empty set equals the
void. Hence, only an all-comprehensive "Being" can be posited. We know
Parmenides asserted further predicates of the verb "to be", namely by
introducing the noun-expression "Being". The latter is ungenerated,
imperishable, complete, unique, unvarying and non-physical ... He did
not conceive the absence of certain properties as non-being, nor could he
attribute different forms of "being" to objects. What he then calls
"Being", is an all-comprehensive being-there standing as
being-qua-being, as "Dasein" in all the entities of the natural world
(and their "Sosein"). A view returning in the
phenomenology of Heidegger.
ε. Democritus of Abdera (ca. 460 - 380/370 BCE), geometer and known for his
atomic theory, developed the first mechanistic model. His system
represents, in a way more fitting than the difficult aphorisms of
Heraclites, a current radically opposing Eleatic thought. Instead of
only relying on the formal conditions of thought, the origin of
knowledge is given with the undeniable evidence put forward by the
senses. Becoming, movement and change are fundamental. Hence, non-being
exists as empty space, as a void. If so, being is occupied space, a
plenum. The latter is not a closed unity or continuum, a Being, but
an infinite variety of indivisible particles called "atoms". The latter
are all composed of the same kind of matter and only differ from each
other in terms of their quantitative properties, like extension, weight,
form and order. They never change and cannot be divided. For all of
eternity, they cross empty space in straight lines. Because these atoms
collided by deviating ("clinamen") from their paths, the world of
objects came into existence (why they moved away from their linear
trajectories remains unexplained). Objects emerge by the random
aggregation of atoms. Things do not have an "inner" coherence or
"substance" (essence). Everything is impermanent and will eventually
fall apart under the pressure of new collisions.
If all things are atoms, then how can rational knowledge be more
reliable than perception ? Moreover, how can atomism describe atoms
without in some way transcending them ? In epistemological terms : how
can the subject of knowledge be eclipsed hand in hand with a description
of this "fact" ? There is a contradictio in actu exercito :
although refusing the subject of knowledge any independence from the
object of knowledge, the former is implied in the refusal. This
important problem is shared by all materialist & mechanistic models. It
can be solved by positing a deeper ontological principal (encompassing
both object & subject), like the actual occasion, and attributing to
this both physical, informational & sentient properties.
returns under many guises : objectivists versus subjectivists, realists
versus nominalists, empirists versus rationalists, physicalists versus
spiritualists etc. Every time either the subject of experience or the
object of experience is eliminated, crippling one's understanding of the
possibility & advancement of knowledge. The conflict is rooted in an
ante-rational & substantialist prejudice seeking a firm, eternalized
self-sufficient ground existing on its own, in an by itself.
Such a ground can however not be found ! To clear obstructions to
understanding the mind and its workings, it must be done away with.
Critical epistemology realizes the discordant truce as the fundamental
fact of reason.
With the Greeks, the mythological element was put between brackets and
so clearly identified. Science deals with sensate & mental objects only.
These operate in a formal way, i.e. irrespective of context. Unlike
ante-rationality, Greek rationalism was able to transgress the borders
of its own geomentality, and establish international, panoramic
perspectives. Discovering both the necessities of logic (operating our
mental objects) and the importance of facts, its concept-realism forced
it to seek an absolute, substantialist (essentialist) grounding of the
objective and/or subjective conditions of experience & knowledge. As a
substantial, self-sufficient ground cannot be found, this dramatic quest will
never come to an end. For objects merely appear as independent &
§ 3 Greek & Indian Concept-Realism.
A trans-empirical, Platonic idea is a
paradigm for the singular things which participate in it ("methexis").
Becoming participates in Being, and only Being, as Parmenides taught,
has reality. The physical world is not substantial (and so without
self-sufficient ground) and therefore a mere reflection. If so, it has no
true existence of its own (for its essence is trans-empirical). Plato
projects the world of ideas outside the human mind. He therefore
represents the transcendent pole of Greek concept-realism, for the
"real" moves beyond our senses as well as our minds. To eternalize
truth, nothing less will do.
reject the separate, Platonic world of real proto-types, but not the "ta
katholou", generalities conceived, as concept-realism demands, in
terms of the "real", essential and self-sufficient ground of knowledge, the
foundation of thought. So general, universal ideas do exist, but they
are always immanent in the singular things of this world. There is no
world of ideas "out there". There is no cleavage in what "is" and there
is only one world, namely the actual world present here and now. The
indwelling formal and final causes of things are known by abstracting
what is gathered by the passive intellect, fed by the senses, witnessing
material and efficient causes. The actual process of abstraction is
performed by the intellectus agens, a kind of Peripatetic "Deus
ex machina", reflective of the impasse of realism : Where is the
γ. With the gradual decline of
Buddhism in India from around the beginning of the Common Era, Classical
Hinduism emerged as a revival of Vedic traditions. The Advaita Vedânta
consolidated by Shankara (788 - 821 ? CE), represents the pinnacle of the
revival of Hindu intellectualism during the Gupta Period (4th to 6th
centuries) in the North and the Pallavas (4th to 9th centuries) in the
South. This was the "golden age" of Indian civilization. Between the 2nd
BCE to the 6th century CE, the six systems of Hindu philosophy slowly
emerged (viz. Sâmkhya, Yoga, Nyâya, Vaishesika, Mîmâmsâ, and Vedânta).
Considering the Absolute in its Absoluteness, i.e. Brahman, the Vedânta is
consistent with what in the monotheisms "of the book" (Judaism, Christianity &
Islam) is called the "essence of God", or God as
He Is for Himself Alone. That God is a Supreme Being can be known (by the heart and by
the mind), but what this Being of God truly is cannot possibly be known. His essence
is ineffable and remains for ever veiled. The essence of God is only for God
to enjoy ! He is the One Alone, for ever separated from His Creation. God and Brahman are the One Alone.
Brahman exists as a well-known entity : eternal, pure, intelligent, free
by nature, all-knowing and all-powerful. In the root "brmh"
resides the ideas of eternality, purity, etc. The existence of Brahman
is well known from the fact of It being the Self of all ... for
everyone feels that this Self exists (sic).
This is the pre-creational, pre-existent Supreme Being, creating the world "ex
nihilo". The pivotal difference between Vedânta and the monotheisms is the idea the
innermost "soul" or "âtman" is ontologically identical with Brahman, whereas
in the West no creature is able to deify to the point of total, absolute
identity with God. The realized Vedantin however proclaims : "I am Brahman !"
ε. Considering the Absolute in its Self-manifestations, Hindu
concept-realism makes way
for henotheism, for Brahman,
the absolute substance existing from its own side, manifests as Îshvara and the latter is grasped as a
multiple variety of Deities, all epiphanies of Brahman, or aspects of "mâyâ",
the magical force of Brahman. Brahman is a magician and involved in creation,
fashioning, sustaining & destroying it. Îshvara (Brahmâ) is the personal face of
Brahman, but this face is never singular, but involved with the world in terms
of an endless variety of
epiphanies. Although Brahman is "without a second", Its personal dimension
("saguna Brahman" or Îshvara) is, as the
theology of Amun has it, "one and
millions". In the Vedânta, realization is the
removal of the superimposition of the illusionary forms on Brahman. In
Classical Yoga, enlightenment or "samâdhi" is the elimination
("nirodha") of the last element of flux ("vriti") from
consciousness ("citta"). In both forms, the mystic returns to the
original, inherently existing station-of-no-station of the
Absolute in its absoluteness. It pre-existed, exists and will continue
to exist. It is absolutely removed from anything except Itself,
completely independent, eternal, imperishable, permanent and therefore
the sole "substance of substances".
The drama of concept-realism spread over the globe. The objects of
reason were ontologized, ideas became things. In the East, the notion of
an absolute, inherently existing Supreme Being creating the world was
also explained in categorial terms. The six schools of Indian philosophy
provide ample evidence of this impact of substantial instantiation on
§ 4 The Tao.
The Tao (cf.
The Tao, Emptiness & Process Theology, 2009), has one absolute (non-differentiated) and various relative
(differentiated) stages. These stages represent the absolute, self-existent
Tao in various moments of self-determination. Each of them is
the absolute Tao in a secondary, derivative and limited sense.
the absolute Tao
potential non-being or WU
potential being or YU
The Five Forces
The absolute Tao is non-local,
non-temporal, non-differentiated, nameless, and empty of substance or
inherent existence, without permanent and unalterable distinctions. This
absolute Tao is beyond conceptualization and object of ecstatic, nondual
apprehension. The absolute Tao is not turned towards phenomena, nor is
it wholly self-referential. This "abstract of abstractions" cannot be
conceptualized and named. It is Nameless. To reach the ultimate and
absolute stage of the Way, we have to negate the opposition between
being and non-being, positing "no no-non-being". This level can only be
apprehended ecstatically, and this absolutely ineffable if for Lao-tze the "Mystery of
Mysteries". Mystery ("hsüan") originally means black with a
mixture of redness. The absolute, unfathomable Mystery or "black" does
reveal itself, at a certain stage, as being "pregnant" of the "Ten
Thousand Things" or "red" in their stage of potentiality. In the Mystery
of Mysteries being and non-being are not yet differentiated. Although the absolute Tao cannot be said to be turned towards the
phenomena, in this utter darkness of the Great Mystery ("black"), a
faint foreboding of the appearance of phenomena lurks ("red").
The Mystery of Mysteries is also the "Gateway of Myriad Wonders".
Hence, the "Ten Thousand Things" stream forth out of this Gateway !
γ. When Lao-tze introduces the Way as "the
Granary of the Ten Thousand Things" (Tao-te Ching, chapter 62), he aims at
a stage slightly lower than the Mystery of Mysteries, the absolute
Tao. At this stage, the Tao begins to manifest its creativity. The
image of a "granary" conveys the sense all things are contained
therein, not actually but in a state of potentiality. He refers to
this aspect of the absolute Tao as "the
eternal non-being", or "wu". At this stage, the absolute Tao
is potentially already Heaven and Earth, i.e. being. Hence, the
non-being referred to is not a passive Nothing, pure negative
absence of being or existence (naught or zero), but a "something" in
the sense of an "act", the act of existence itself or Actus Purus.
It exists as the very act of existing and making things exist. This
is called "the One".
This Actus Purus does not exist as a substance. In order not
to reify it by way of concepts, the One can only be ecstatically
intuited by "sitting in oblivion" (Chuang-tze). The One is darkness
not because it is deprived of light, but because it is too full of
light, too luminous, i.e. Light Itself.
When it enters its first stage of "pure" self-manifestation or mere
self-determination, Lao-tze admits the One or active non-being
assumes a positive "name". This name is "existence" or "being"
("yu"). The latter is also called "Heaven and Earth" ("t'ien ti").
The Way at this stage is not yet the actual order of Heaven and
Earth, but only all possible things as "pure" being, i.e. again in
The One begets the Two : Heaven ("yang") and Earth ("yin"), the cosmic
duality. They are the self-evolvement of the absolute Tao, the Way
itself. The One is the initial virtual point of self-determination
of the Way, the Two bring about (as a mother) the possibility or
probability of actuality and carries this over into actual reality.
In this way, the One is the ontological ground of all things, acting
as its ontological energy, while the Two develop this activity ("Ch'i
a particular ontological structure, Yin and Yang and the Three,
i.e. the blending & interaction between these ("Tai Ch'i"). Hence Heaven is
limpid and clear, and Earth is solid and settled ...
In Chinese philosophy, especially in Taoism, a process-mentality was and
is everpresent. Nothingness is posited, but again, within it, a very
subtle creative potential is identified (cf. black with a mixture of
red). A balance between natural flow & spontaneity (pragmatic
naturalness) and emptiness (absence of inherent existence) is at hand.
Where India & Tibet favoured the quick release from this world
(represented by the dorsal "yang" channel), China focused on
balancing the energy by letting it run in an orbit (making the upward
movement of the "yang" channel flow into the ventral "yin"
channel). This reinforces the life-force ("Ch'i") at
the abdomen and aims at the
Great Harmony between the powers of Heaven and Earth (at the heart). The
wisdom realizing emptiness able to understand these "mechanisms of
heaven" as dependent arisings, operates the complete spectrum of human
possibilities, not just one. Here, the absolute truth is not the single
focus. Hence, the conventional and ultimate truths cannot be turned into
a Single Truth. The danger of moving to much upward (toward Heaven)
without being firmly rooted (in Earth) does not exist.
§ 5 The Dharma Difference.
The notion the world is composed of
existing things or phenomena as it were carrying or holding their
properties in accord with the cosmic law, i.e. of a certain
characterizing nature (cf. "dharmata"), Buddhism shares with
Hinduism. It differs though in terms of Buddha's Second Turning of the
Wheel of the Buddhadharma, teaching the absolute truth ("dharma") about
all phenomena, namely their lack of inherent existence ("shûnya"), the
fact of their have absolutely no self-nature or essential
Because a perfect understanding of
Buddha's crucial wisdom teaching on the fundamental nature of all
possible phenomena, one encompassing both the reality of sensuous
objects as the subjective ideality of mental activities, is a difficult
simplicity, it has led to countless attempts to save inherent
existence in some way or the other. Only an absolute negation
prevails (cf. the apophatic approach to mystical experience).
(and a forteriori philosophically), the strict
Prâsangika-Mâdhyamaka approach found in the work of Nâgârjuna,
Chandrakîrti, Shântideva, Atisha and Tsongkhapa is correct & definitive
Emptiness Panacea, 2008 ;
On Ultimate Logic, 2009). Hence, the non-affirmative negation of
inherent existence eliminates all possible reified concepts.
however (as Yoga & Tantra put into evidence), a direct non-conceptual
experience, gnosis or prehension of the absolute nature of all
things is possible. This involves a cognitive act of an absolute
bodhi-mind apprehending an absolute object or totality "as it is".
Nondual & non-conceptual, this experience is not without
knowledge-content. The common treat in the poetical evocations on the
basis of such graded meditative experiences involves a world of pure
luminosity without shadows & edges, undefiled and unborn, pure and
complete, much like "nirvâna", identified as permanent, constant,
eternal and not subject to change.
While philosophy remains immanent,
yogis & tantrics dance on the rhythms of the poetical tale of the
transcendent. These scientists & artists of the inner planes do not
prove anything, they merely point out.
∫ What a community this would be if
those who prove the end of proofs and those who experience emptiness
were the same !
In the Flower Garland tradition, in
particular Fazang in the seventh century, Buddha's teachings on wisdom
are lifted out of the Indo-Tibetan emphasis on the other-worldly, on
absolute reality. Absence of inherent existence was laid to rest in the
fertile Chinese soil of the magic of the natural world, the quest for
longevity, social order and the actual operation of how things exist
conventionally, namely interdependent & interpenetrative.
lacks inherent existence, a craftsman was able to make an object of it -
say, Empress Wu's Golden Lion guarding her palace hall. This gold is "li",
principle or noumenon, the gold qua gold. The shape it takes in
this case (the lion) is "shih", or phenomenon. Suppose gold would
take a bar-shape, then it would actually ceases to be gold in
lion-shape. Gold is therefore equivalent to "gold in x-shape" ! Fazang's
gold is not above or behind the shape it takes. The Golden Lion is gold,
there is no gold behind the lion, nor is the lion an emanation of gold.
Gold only exists as having some form or another, in this case Empress
Wu's Golden Lion. When the lion shape comes into existence, it is in
fact the gold coming into existence ! The shape does not add
anything to the gold.
The phenomenon is the noumenon in its phenomenal
form. The ultimate is not elsewhere but here and now, even in the
smallest, meanest thing. Ultimate truth exists conventionally. In this
brilliant analysis, Fazang makes use of the logical necessity between
lack of inherent existence and dynamic (artistic) flow. He does so to integrate
strict nominalism within the Chinese vision of enlightenment as living
in harmony with the Tao, with the natural flow of all things ("Tai Ch'i"),
and this based on the work of "ch'i" ("Ch'i Kung"). Indeed, the
word "li" also carries a positive connotation, namely the "true
thusness of mind", inherently pure, complete & luminous.
The Dharma difference defines a crucial divide. On the one side, we find
metaphysical systems seeking out substance and an unchanging,
self-sufficient ground existing from its own side with inhering
properties. They are "self-advocate" ("âtmavâdin"). Theirs is the substantivist approach. Its futility is unmasked
by asking : "Show a substance as defined ?". On the other side, own-form
or self-nature is totally relinquished and only the architectures of
process remain. Its extreme accuracy is suggested by the precision of
Schrödinger's wave-equation. This most fundamental of distinctions
defines the ontological principal. This is not inherently existing
substance, but interdependent process.
The architecture of process implying change is fundamental but not
random. If process were merely stochastic, then order would be
impossible. Precisely because of the need to explain order did the
Greeks and the Ancient Egyptians before them posit a self-sufficient
ground. But seeking such a solid foundation has sidetracked Western
philosophy since Heraclites, who's message was not understood. No two
moments are the same, the "same" river cannot be entered twice. The way
up and the way down are, by enantiodromia, the same way. While a cascade is never the same,
it can be distinguished from another because of certain constant
elements in the way its water moves ...
Process thinking identifies the stages of the differential changes as
well as their form or style. Random movement (white noise) has no style
and so can carry no information. But as soon as movement is coordinated,
a structure can be discerned and insofar as this has constancy it can be
described and repeated. There is no need for a self-sufficient ground to
"stabilize" form, for the stability of change is not a kind of
substantial channel or invisible matrix in which flow happens, but merely
the particularities or forms of definiteness (or predictability). These
are the kinetosyntax of change, whereas the purpose of change is its
practice (or kinetopragmatics) and its sense or meaning is the sentient
activity suggested by it (or kinetosemantics).
C. Against Substance & Foundation.
The core insight underlying the philosophy of process is absence of
inherent existence. Only this radical negation of substance or essence
makes it possible to consistently think movement and transformation, in
short change and impermanence. This cannot be thoroughly realized as
long as some inherent object or subject prevails. If substance goes, so
does a self-sufficient ground. The difference between ground-level,
object-level and meta-level can be maintained, but the ground-level is
not a permanent, inherently existing seat made firm ! Instead of trying
to find an underlying reality, process thought focuses on the momentum,
architecture and sense of the flow of actual occasions. As the links of
interdependence expand throughout the entire universe and this all the
time, in the totality of interdependence or in the world as it is,
phenomena are mutually interpenetrating. Taking the world of actual
occasions as the only possible world, the absolute nature of phenomena
is not sought behind or outside it. The transcendent is a property of
the ongoing flow of actualities in just the same way as the immanent is.
§ 1 The Definition of Substance.
Substance ("substantia" or "standing under") is the permanent,
unchanging, eternal underlying core or essence of every possible thing,
a self subsisting own-nature or self-nature ("svabhâva") existing
from its own side, never an attribute of or in relation with any other
thing. Hence, a substance solely exists by the necessity of its own
nature and intrinsic identity ("svalaksana"). Its action is determined by itself alone. Traditionally, it
is the principal category of "what it is" (cf. "ousia"). For
Spinoza, there was only one substance, namely Nature or God. This
substance had infinite attributes, of which each expresses for itself an
eternal and infinite essentiality (Ethics, Part I, definition
If a substance would be determined by something external to itself, then it would be
inevitable, compelled & necessary, but rather constrained. A
substance is always Pharaonic. Without the presence of an absolutely free &
omnipotent Caesar, the bond
uniting things seems to be lost. Without substance, the properties of
objects seem not be carried or inhere. But things are just be a dynamical
flow with a certain kind of movement (momentum), shape (architecture)
and intent (sense). And this the substantivists wrongly deem not to be
enough for science, philosophy, ethics, economy & politics ...
Substance is always linked with the idea of some thing existing on its
own, by itself alone. Although objects can be isolated in a relative
sense, they are never so in an absolute way. This means there is no
self-identical core remaining untouched by change. But absence of
substance is not absence of order. Order is possible because processes
are not random and they are not so because movement can have
coordination, structure, style etc. These kinetographic features are
overlooked and identified as the vestiges of essential, non-accidental
properties or essences. This is were the substantialist error creeps in.
Logically, this difference is given with the distinction between the
actualizing and the existentializing quantor.
: "there exists" : affirming object
momentarily exists ;
The actualizing quantor confirms x, or
x. A set of predicates attributed to object x is present to the
senses or the mind. This presence is spatio-temporarily defined, and
hence impermanent, i.e. featuring arising, abiding and ceasing. Object
x arises when
its presence is identified or registered by a subject or subjects of
experience. It abides as long as this actuality, in all cases limited by
space & time, continues. It ceases when it can not longer be apprehended
or pointed at.
: "there is" : affirming persistent
existence of x ;
The existentializing quantor confirms
x. A set of predicates attributed to
object x is present to the senses and/or the mind, but these
predicates are merely accidents of the substantial self-identical core of
x, a universal of sorts
substantial or essential nature of x (or xs) is confirmed. If this
x changes, then
x is not
longer x, in other words,
x can no longer
be identified as such.
§ 2 The Münchausen Trilemma.
The problems of foundational thinking are summarized by Albert's
Münchhausen Trilemma. Its logic proves how every possible kind of
foundational strategy is necessarily flawed. The trilemma was named
after the Baron von Münchhausen, who tried to get himself out of a
swamp by pulling his own hair ! An apt metaphor to indicate the futility
of trying to find an permanent underlying base, i.e. satisfying the
conditions of the postulate of foundation. The latter states valid knowledge
must in all cases be absolutely justified, in other words backed by a
self-sufficient ground existing from its own side, inherently.
Every time statement A accommodates the postulate of
foundation by way of an absolute justification, three equally
unacceptable situations occur. Such an absolute justification of
the propositional form P of A implies a deductive chain C of correct arguments
C', C", C''' ... with P as necessary final inference. How extended must
C be in order to
justify P in this way ? Three "solutions" prevail :
(a) a regressus ad infinitum :
There is no end to the justification, and so no foundation is found (C',
C", C''' ... does not lead to P). The whole process of finding a last ground
(needed to back justification) is undermined. A point at infinity is
however not a problem per se. But it becomes one each time a
final ground is needed. Then a regression disproves the logical attempt
to articulate a foundation.
(b) a petitio principii :
The end P is implied by the beginning, for P is part of the deductive
chain C. Circularity is a valid deduction but no justification of P,
hence no absolute foundation is found.
(c) an abrogation ad hoc :
Justification is ended ad hoc, the postulate of justification is
actually abrogated, and the unjustified ground (C' or C" or
...) is emotionally accepted as certain because, seeming certain, it is
deemed not to need more justification. This is of course unproven.
The Münchhausen-trilemma must be avoided by stopping to seek an
absolute, self-sufficient ground for the possibility of knowledge and/or the
cognitive act. This happens when one accepts critical science &
metaphysics are terministic, i.e. fallibilistic and not eternalizing
But although the categorial system cannot be absolute, some of its
general features (as given by normative philosophy) are necessary in a
normative way (for we use them each time we think).
Backing arguments to establish a certain conclusion is not the same as
trying to find an absolute warrant. Logical inference can be absolute,
but not absolutely absolute. Once the logical system (basic axioms,
operators, truth-tables and rules of inference) has been established and
accepted among all involved sign-interpreters, an absolute conclusion on
a relative basis can in certain cases indeed be drawn, but not an
absolute conclusion on an absolute base. Change the basic axioms (like
identity, non-contradiction or excluded third) and what is certain in
logical system A might not be in system B, etc. This is often forgotten.
Classical formal logic is not self-evident. Just as in Euclidian
geometry, changing a single axiom may introduce important variations.
What at first seems impossible (like intersecting parallel lines), in
the end exists both mathematically (as a mathematical object) and
physically (as curvatures of spacetime).
§ 3 Avoiding Dogmatism & Scepticism.
To avoid dogmatism is not to eternalize a position. No ad hoc
abrogation is allowed. If a circular reasoning or a regressus ensues,
then one must accept an absolute justification cannot be given and the
aim of dogmatism (namely finding such an absolute ground existing in and
by itself) is futile and
To avoid scepticism is not to eternalize a contra-position. When a hidden
agenda is present, scepticism it but a form of dogmatism in disguise. To criticize
is to draw clear distinction. To be sceptical is to overuse negation. At
best, it is a dialectical move needed to outwit a dogmatic opponent, but
cannot deliver a constructive tale about existence, nor give us any
important answers. It is a wayfaring strategy, not a stable station.
The critic walks the Middle Way and has no affirmation or negation to
defend a priori. Here only distinctions matter. They allow categories to emerge
and organizations to unfold. These architectures or forms of information are always
changing (have material momentum) and display intelligent design or
The extremes of eternalism (accepting the substantial nature of objects)
and nihilism (rejecting the existence of anything regular) are examples
of respectively a dogmatic and a sceptic position.
The eternalist stops the justification ad hoc, and posits an
absolute justification on the basis of relative steps. The latter only
lead to a relative justification. The leap made is logically invalid.
Many strong relative reasons do not constitute an absolute base. Even a
majority can err. So if an absolute justification is needed, then a
self-sufficient ground must be found. The eternalist has negated too
The nihilist accepts there is nothing substantial anywhere. But this
does not lead to the kinetography of process and so a forteriori
lacks the perfection of process. This sceptic has lost grip on all
things because this conceptual apprehension of emptiness as lack of
inherent existence, although correctly understood insofar as the
negation of substantial instantiation is concerned, does not lead
to the view of dependent-arising. Process as a dependent-arising is more
than merely a stochastic display with no inherent existence, it is a
spectacular magical show with, besides momentum (matter), also
architecture (information) & sense (consciousness, sentience). The
nihilist has negated too much.
Distinguish between, on the one hand, the yogi of wisdom ("jñânayogin")
and, on the other hand the sophist (sceptic), merely criticizing &
arguing without speaking up for anything, and the dogmatist, who argues
without staking his own view depend on the outcome of the debate. Dwelling in
extremes is to be avoided. Things are not inherently something (x),
nor are they nothing (¬x).
They are a something manifesting properties (x)
in the isthmus between inherent being and void nonbeing. Existence
covers the middle ground.
D. Conventional Appearance.
Ontology addresses the two epistemic isolates in existence : the
conventional properties of any object
and its ultimate characteristics. These are called "epistemic isolates"
because to identify them a special & crucial differentiating
cognitive act is necessary, namely one clearly identifying what is
merely given (to the sense and the mind), the appearance of
and one sharply establishing (realizing) the process-nature of
in other words,
lack of inherent existence. These two "natures", the conventional and
the ultimate, are merely properties of
The ultimate nature is not deemed "another" reality standing beyond,
next to or within
Like in the case of the Golden Lion, the gold and its shape are
simultaneous. The first isolate is the conventional reality or
conventional truth about
the second its ultimate reality or absolute truth.
Because the ultimate exists conventionally, there being no "ultimate"
ontological plane or level, let us first analyse
We already listed the objects of ontology, answering the question What
is there ? We found
objects, fictional objects, relatively existent objects and absolutely
existent objects (cf. supra). To draw the line between what is
there and what is truly there will shed light on conventionality
and its illusionary appearances. To add "truly" merely points to the
possibility something might appear to be there while it is not.
Object might appear and independent (inherently existing) & separate
(isolated from other objects), while in truth they are not. Like optical
illusions, this epistemological illusion (to be identified as an
ontological illusion), can be grasped by conceptual reason but remains
as long as this mode of cognition endures. Only nondual cognition takes
it finally out. Then full-emptiness is (directly) prehended, namely
"finding" the absence of inherent existence in all objects
simultaneously with their universal interdependence and
interpenetration, the union of bliss & emptiness. These considerations bring about the issue of
universal illusion and the way this blends in with the valid
conventional knowledge of science & immanent metaphysics. This is deemed
valid, for producing functional knowledge, but mistaken, for appearing
as substantial while this is found not to be the case.
§ 1 What is Truly There ?
This question seeks the truth-value of objects, whatever their
ontological status as absolutely nonexistent
objects, fictional objects, relatively existent objects and
absolutely existent objects.
This is measured in terms of validity and the presence of a mistake.
object is valid when it can be identified, apprehended or grasped by a
subject of cognition acting as object-possessor (note "prehension" is a
special form of apprehension in that the subject cognizes in the nondual
mode of cognition). An object is mistaken
when it appears differently as it truly is, i.e. when it is incorrectly
apprehended or misleading.
Validity refers to the presence of objects. Hence, valid or
invalid objects may be mistaken or not. Indeed, valid objects (such as
those of science), may nevertheless be appearing differently as they truly
are. In fact, all fictional and conventional objects veil their true,
absolute, fundamental nature or suchness ("tathata") by the illusion of
own-form or self-nature ("svabhâva").
Absolutely nonexistent objects are invalid
and mistaken. They are invalid because nothing can be identified to
correspond to them, not even logically. Hence, as logic precedes function,
they have no functionality whatsoever. Although we understand the words
"square" and "circle", the combination, i.e. a square circle is
nonsensical. They are mistaken because they appear to be something they
cannot possibly be. Indeed, although it seems the phrase "a triangle with
four angles" conveys some information, namely the presence of an object
with three angles which has four angles, it is impossible to apprehend or
imagine such a object at all. The phrase is therefore merely a string of black
pixels on a white surface.
Fictional, relatively nonexistent objects,
are valid and mistaken. They are valid because, insofar as they are
public, one can point to them. Because they move us, they are functional. But insofar as they are private, the act of
apprehension is private too and so only valid for a single subject of
experience (reality-for-me or the first person perspective). Fictional objects are mistaken because they represent
something which is not as it truly is and this in a definite degree, i.e.
by conscious deception.
Conventional objects may be valid and
mistaken. They are valid because they can be identified as logical and
functional realities/idealities. Insofar as this validity is concerned, they are
scientific objects. But they are mistaken not because of any conscious
deception, but because they appear to possess a nature of their own
("svabhâva", "ousia", "eidos", "hypokeimenon",
"substantia"), while they are truly other-powered, i.e. depending on
conditions & determinations outside themselves. This is what ultimate
analysis seeks to prove (cf. infra). Once this is established, the valid
appearance of conventional objects is not changed, but only the mental
obscurations or false ideation causing them to be experienced as
self-powered has been removed. The elimination of this ontological illusion or
substantial instantiation voids their ability to fool us and opens the way
to actually see their dependence, universal interconnectedness with other phenomena
& exclusively process-based nature.
ε. Conventional objects may be
mistaken. Invalid because they cannot be logically and functionally
identified, i.e. in no way apprehended by way of logic, argumentation and
experimentation. The caloric fluid theory of old, the four humours or the
epicycles at work in the Ptolemaic & Copernican models are good examples. These
objects of outdated scientific theories have been disproved and so
disbanded from the arena of paradigmatic scientific objects. These invalid
conventional objects are also mistaken, for regardless of the fact they no
longer function, they -just as valid conventional objects- posit
characteristics existing from their own side.
Finally, among existing objects there are
those which are beyond validation and not mistaken.
They are beyond validation because they refer to
something every subject of experience can potentially identify in every
sensate or mental object but never name
because they appear as they are, i.e. do not conceal their truth. These
ultimate objects are nothing more than conventional objects apprehended
without any sense of self-power. They simultaneously reveal (a) absence
or lack of independent existence ("tathata") hand
in hand with (b) dependent-arising ("pratîtya-samutpâda")
or universal interconnectedness (interdependence & interpenetration). The objects prehended by
the wisdom-mind of a Buddha are all of this category.
Nonexistent & fictional objects are not the first aim of ultimate
analysis. Nonexistent objects are not because their ontological and
epistemic status is irrelevant to the question at hand. Fictional objects
are not because their deceptive nature is apparent and so unconcealed. Conventional objects are the prime target of ultimate analysis, for the
fact their true nature is veiled is not apparent. Quite on the contrary,
to the mind of Homo normalis, they are self-evidently existing
extra-mentally and substantially, i.e. from their own side. Their
accidents (qualities, quantities, modalities & relations) are deemed to
adhere to their own essences, and this inherent existence is self-powered,
i.e. isolated from conditions & determinations outside themselves. If
these objects really exist the way they appear to the deluded mind, then
it should be possible to separate the quantities, qualities, modalities
and relations entertained by these objects from their supposed
substantial core or essence ("svabhâva"). What remains after we remove all
the accidents from an object ? Objects can be logically identified and do
have functional effects. These can be found. But ultimate logic seeks to
prove no objects exists in accordance with our common ideas about them,
i.e. such own-form cannot be found at all. Remove its accidents, and the
object as a whole vanishes ! Remove the (logical & functional) properties,
and the instantiation of the concept given by the copula "is" is out.
Both natural and artificial conventional objects are deemed to possess
characteristics independent of their observers. Indeed, we suppose these
objects exist even if they are left unobserved. And of course, on the
meso-level of reality, they do exist in a
logical and functional way. But not substantially, i.e.
without being subject to change. Indeed, the pivotal feature ultimate
analysis seeks to disprove is the substantial, inherent permanency of
conventional objects. So in terms of ultimate analysis, the fact these
objects are found to be independent of conscious observers is not
problematic per se, but the notion this independence is somehow an inherent
feature of these objects is. Hence, inherent existence is the
proper object of negation, i.e. the core feature of objects ultimate
analysis disproves. The duality between objects & subjects is not a
target, for suchness is directly apprehended by a nondual,
non-conceptual, awakened mind.
What is truly there ? After having identified what exists, one
divides the lot in valid & invalid, unmistaken & mistaken, ultimate
truth & conventional truth.
||valid & mistaken
||invalid & mistaken
ultimate or absolute truth
A valid object works efficiently. A
consensus about the theory abstracting the outcome of experiments with
the object is present. Facts concerning it are repeatedly confirmed.
This tenacity of subjectivity & objectivity makes object x appear as
independent & separated from other object y. But is this the case ? The
world-ground cannot be found as a fixed, solid, inherently
existing object. If so, valid objects are mistaken because the appear
differently than how they truly are.
An invalid object does not work efficiently. It either lacks the logical
conditions for efficiency or does not actually operate efficiently.
Acquiring the conditions for efficiency is giving logic to the
architecture of process. This is applying form, rule, code, algorhythms,
notion, idea, concept, theory, paradigm, etc. When these conditions are
fulfilled -in order for the process to
semantic organicism must be present. Objects with style may lack overall order, i.e.
a given organization of the meaningful features of their process.
While (unconsciously) instantiating it, conventional understanding can
be neutral as to accept substantiality. The conventional mind may ignore
the idea of substance and continue to function. But although this
grasping at a substantial "self" is indeed acquired, it is also innate.
The latter reflects the ongoing -unconscious- activity of the
ante-rational modes of cognition, the mythical, pre-rational &
proto-rational mentalities of the mind. In this modes of cognition,
substantial instantiation was the "natural" way to stabilize the
pre-concept & the concrete concept. In the course of the development of
the human mind, this reifying tendency was so basic & strong, it even
leaped into reason, deceiving formal cognition with concept-realism and
its substantialist ontological prejudice & semantic adualism.
For applied epistemology (the highest abstract mode of studying &
reflecting upon the production of knowledge), methodological realism (at
the side of the object of production based on experimentation) and
methodological idealism (at the side of the intersubjective community of
involved sign-interpreters communicating with each other) are maxims
without which no valid conventional knowledge can be produced. This
proves conventional knowledge may "purify" itself through critical
understanding. In the critical mode of cognition, truth, beauty &
goodness are no longer ontologized. Although the object continues to
appear differently than it should, it can no longer deceive us and so
the so-called "safe house" of self-powered substance cannot be rebuild.
Only absolutely true objects are unmistaken. They appear as
they truly are. There is no deception anywhere. They are the truth of
their existence. Ultimate truth and absolute reality/ideality are
identical ("dharmakâya"). They are therefore unmistaken. These
absolute objects are beyond validation because absolute objects perfectly work
but this activity is nameless. The
architecture of their process is a holomovement. To alter the world in
terms of unity & harmony, they manifest propensity-fields of form ("rûpakâya").
§ 2 Concepts, Determinations & Conditions.
The "object" of the "natural standpoint" of conventional knowledge dictates (a) a reality "out there", existing independently
(extra-mentally) and with a solidity from its own side and (b) an
ideality "in here", likewise substantially established. The physical
body is the first of these natural objects. Although part of the
"subject" it nevertheless behaves in the same "objective" way as do
outer objects. Moreover, objects "out there" seem even more to escape
conscious manipulation, and so manifest tenacity, permanence, solidity
and an unchanging character. These sensate & mental objects appearing in
the "natural" world are problematic.
Concept-realism is a way to consolidate the substantialist view on
conventional knowledge. Concepts represent reality and/or ideality in a
one-to-one relationship. However, general concepts or universals cannot
be established on the basis of induction. The concept is a
generalization on the basis of a finite number of elements used in the
induction. Hence an unjustified logical jump from the singular to the
general occurs. But in conventional knowledge, especially in valid
non-scientific contexts, this happens all the time. Falsificationism
has avoided this logical problem, but remains bound to a realism
allowing "outer" objects to impact our senses.
Determinations are lawful connections between actual occasions.
assumptions on which rests the validity or effect of something else. All
conventional objects depend on determinations & conditions. They are
solely powered by these. Actual occasions & events are linked if the conditions defining the
category of determination are fulfilled. For example, in the case of causation, it is
necessary, in order for an effect to occur, to have an efficient cause and a physical substrate (to propagate it). In general
determinism, these determinations are not absolutely certain, but
relatively probable. Science is terministic, not deterministic.
If individual action and (as an extension)
civilization is considered, events are also connected by way of
conscious intention, escaping the conditions of the categories of
determination. Indeed, without "freedom", or the possibility to posit
nondetermined events, ethics is reduced to physics and free will
impossible. How is responsible action possible without the actual
exercise of free will, i.e. the ability to accept or reject a course of
action, thereby creating an "uncaused" cause or influencing agent,
changing all co-functional interdependent determinations or interactions
? Even if it remains open whether the will is free or not, morally, we
must act as if it is.
ε. Scientists are
cognitive actors producing valid but mistaken conventional object-knowledge by way of corroborated
empirico-formal propositions and theories. This is information
triggering correspondence (with facts) & consensus (between all involved
sign-interpreters). Everyday observation also
involves experimentation & (inter) subjective naming, but, in the
language-game of true knowing, a more solid, inert and tenacious
objectification is at hand. Here, a series of more lasting connections
between direct observable events is made, and categories of
determination are put forward to organize these connections. The
following irreducible types of lawfulness ensue :
effect by efficient, external cause (example : a ball kicking another ball
or Cartesian physics)
causation or functional interdependence (example : the force of gravity in
Newtonian physics) ;
statistical determination :
end result by the joint activity of independent objects (example : the
long-run frequency of throwing two aces in succession is 1/36, the position
or momentum of a particle, enduring correlation between two variables) ;
: of means by the ends (example : standardization, final determination of
actual occasions) ;
holistic determination : of
parts by the whole (example : needs of an organ determined by the organism,
impact of the electro-magnetic field on the objects within it).
That conventional objects have no analytically findable self-nature or
substantial own-form existing from their own side, does not mean they
are nonexistent, possessing nothing. They do not however possess
themselves, but are the result of other-powers acting upon them,
enacting the laws of togetherness, thrusting creative advance,
performing the power & beauty of the symphony of interdependent &
interpenetrative arising, making these objects arise, abide, cease &
They do no exist as substances, nor do they exist as nothingness, as
stochastic voids. Things have no shred of substantial existence from
their own side, but are part of interdependences. These involve (a)
actual occasions depending upon each other in a determinate way, neither
existing without the other, (b) subjects of experience & objects of
experience conditioning one another.
These types of interdependence (determinations & conditions) make it
clear conventional objects are functional and so highly unlikely events,
in no way the outcome of randomness & coincidence. Conventional reality
is in itself a well-formed & functional totality, evidencing unity &
harmony. Because it is the actual mayavic scene of illusion, suffering
is pervasive. Not because of its nature as it is, but because of the
obscurations & afflictions caused by ignorance of the true nature of
phenomena, namely dwelling in the extremes of affirmation (acceptance) &
negation (denial) and their conceptual elaborations : exaggerated desire
or craving (pathogenic obsession) & hatred (pathogenic rejection).
§ 3 Valid but Mistaken Appearance.
Valid conventional knowledge holds a
justified view on conventional reality (a sense of the objective "outer"
world) and on conventional ideality (a sense of subjective, "inner"
selfhood). Organizing this valid scientific knowledge in terms of a
paradigm covering the totality of conventional sensate & mental objects
is the task of science aided by immanent metaphysics. This implies all possible logical & functional instantiations, i.e.
empirico-formal propositions of fact (science) and arguable speculations
about the totality of the world (immanent metaphysics).
Validity implies logical
well-formedness and the regulations of correspondence & consensus. This
means a problem can be solved and/or a certain operation can be
executed. In theoretical format, logic & functionality are
transcendental (not transcendent !) and so represent the ideal of the
norm. This ideal is not substantially given, but a set of rules
Theoretically, the consistency of
epistemology depends on the necessity of accepting that facts, besides
intra-mental, are also extra-mental. When this normative set principles
& norms is actually applied (as in
applied epistemology), logic & functionality incorporate the "as if"
mentality of methodological realism & methodological idealism.
Epistemology & science
make use of substantial instantiation, causing the whole
domain of valid conventional knowledge, insofar as the fundamental truth
or nature of phenomena is concerned, to be mistaken, for
Sensate & mental objects possessed by
the conventional knower are impermanent and so constantly changing. This
change is not random. It has order (information), momentum (matter) &
But to the conventional mind, operating in the
first six modes of cognition, these objects in all cases appear as
existing independently of other objects and isolated (separated) from
In the physical domain, there is the Einstein-limit of locality
imposed by relativity : material signals cannot travel at speeds higher
than the photon, a particle without mass speeding at 300.000 km/s and
its own antiparticle. A single photon is deemed to exist independent of
the mind and separate from other photons. This limit defines the
parameters of what is considered "physical".
In the domain of information,
the binary code organizes all possible software. The "0" and "1" of this
system are deemed to exist as independent abstract objects in
"mathematical space". Their various manipulations & algorhythms
(poetically named "architectures") are independent from the
electro-magnetic impulses with which they are joined and which they
Sentient beings cognize by way of object & subject.
Both can be reified and then appear as independent & separate entities.
The concealment of the true nature of
things, namely their impermanence and non-substantiality makes valid &
invalid conventional knowledge mistaken. By making sensate & mental
objects appear as existing from their own side, a difference is
introduced between how things ultimately are and how they appear to a
mistaken mind. This means the difference causing ignorance is epistemic
and not ontological.
δ.1 Insofar as ultimate truth goes, there is only a single world-system as it is in its
two aspects of actual world and virtual world-ground. Because all phenomena are at all
time mutually interpenetrating & interdependent, they are fundamentally
identical (i.e. lacking self-power). Can we say the total world (past,
present & future) rises simultaneously ?
δ.2 The mistaken appearance of conventional
objects due to the mentioned false ideation causes the world to appear differently than it actually is. This false
appearance is the root-cause of all possible mental obscurations. Clear
this, and the complete, pure and luminous totality emerging from
infinity dawns, the union of compassion & wisdom, of a view
efficiently dealing with conventionalities while realizing their
Again : the Sun seems to rise in the East and set in the West. But this diurnal
movement is actually the Earth rotating on its axis. Likewise, the
Sun seems to rotate around the Earth. Actually, the ecliptic is the path
of the Earth around the Sun. Despite the Lunar disk being rather
constant, a Harvest Moon seems huge. Understanding the astronomy & the
physics behind these illusionary phenomena does not take away the
illusion. Likewise, conceptually grasping the limitations of the
conceptual mind does not make the illusion caused by substantial
instantiation vanish. But we are no longer fooled and merely grasp at
the impermanence of it all.
So succinctly put, the conventional mind operating conventional
knowledge about conventional objects is valid or invalid, but in all
cases mistaken. Not because it does not work. It does. Not because it is
merely nonexistent, for it works. Merely because it does not appear
as it is. That is all there is to it. Projecting substance, it
is merely process. Positing solidity, it is merely space. Presuming
self-powered, self-settled self-nature, only otherness is truly found.
§ 4 Appearance, Illusion & the Universal Illusion.
illusion cannot be identified, for positing "mâyâ" turns it into
something particular, contradicting its universality. Neither can we
exclude universal illusion by assuming "existence" equals "being
known in thought". We assume
the mental coincides (represents) the extra-mental and move from this
assumption to the affirmation this must be the case. This is
illogical. Transcendence can only be approached with a non-affirmative
negation. Posit nothing. Classical metaphysics is prone to this category mistake
(assumptions are not certainties). Metaphysical realism (mind
corresponds with reality) and metaphysical idealism (mind makes reality)
are extremes to avoid.
The argument of
illusion has objective & subjective terms :
objective : logical &
neurological arguments prevail.
Because sensate & mental objects appear as independent & isolated and they
are not, all conventional objects are illusions, i.e. things appearing
differently than they truly are, as it were concealing their true
process-nature underneath the mask of substantiality. This by force of the
logic of the definition of illusion.
No subject of experience ever faces the totality of changes caused, so we
must assume, by particles, fields & forces acting as a constant stream of
stimuli on the surface of the receptor organs. Only after a series of
complex alterations (transduction, relays & integration) is the neocortex
-via the thalamus-
informed (after projection on the primary sensory area), about the perceived
states, events, occurrences & objects. But, this thalamic projection
into the neocortex, in
accord with the language of the cerebrum, is not yet
sensation. This it only becomes after the afferent pathways enter the verbal
association area, immediately connecting them with the attention association
area (while the primary sensory area has few connections with the prefrontal
lobes !). Our sensations, because of their irreducible and pertinent
interpretative, constructive, conceptual, personal nature, could be a kind
of fata morgana or mirage, composed of distorted sensory items.
Ambiguity is the least one can say of the direct observation of sensate
objects. Descartes was right, our senses are unreliable to inform us about
the world at large ; they process a very narrow band of available
subjective : the most
objectifying operator of consciousness, namely cognition or mind, works in
various modes. In the ante-rational mode, sensate objects appear in contexts
and have no meaning outside these. In conceptual thought, which is
formal, critical & creative, the theoretical connotations grasped by the
subject of experience make it impossible to witness sensate objects devoid
of interpretation. Even if so-called "subjective factors" are reduced or
eliminated, it cannot be conceptually known whether a collective mirage is
at hand or not.
Universal illusion ("mâyâ") is
the result of superimposing a false view on the world-system. It is
called "universal" because it touches all possible sensate & mental
objects. It is an "illusion" because this is like obscuring what is at
hand with something not at hand.
If no object of knowledge can
be found able to resist the ultimate analysis proving its lack of
then the appearance of independent & separate permanence is problematic. If all objects
lack existence from their own side, self-settled, then no object should appear as such. If all do, one must
conclude all conventional thinking, although valid logically &
functionally, is bewitched, i.e. as it were "under the spell of Mâra", destroying the
wisdom realizing emptiness leading to mental obscurations and afflictive
This explains why only great compassion, skilfully exploiting
dependent-arising, is able to prepare the mind to sober up and break
through all possible substantial instantiations, prehending the
world-system only in terms of the existential instantiation (cf.
Is this universal illusion the price we pay for coupling
our sentience with biological systems like the Hominidae ? Is
this "the Fall" ? Then salvation is like merely recognizing the nature
of mind. We are no longer naked, but may choose to take off our clothes
at any moment ...
Mental objects may last but are not permanent. Mindstreams at least last a lifespan, if not longer ... Sensate objects, produced by
perceptions and interpretations, are also impermanent. Some very much
so, while other enjoy a long abiding. But eventually, they too will cease. To
this uncertainty is added the illusionary nature of these objects, for
they appear as if being "out there" and "self-powered", but are
in fact devoid of any
trace of findable own-nature
Like in a dream, things are not what they
seem. Consider the consistency of the dream itself, especially its
solid physics. As soon as gravity comes into play, the conventional mind
as it were automatically reifies its objects. This is nearly a reflex.
We are drawn back to "believe" a wall is a solid object "out there". We
are sure this can be found to be the case. Common sense is based on
these hallucinated assumptions. Take out gravity, and the deeper
microlevel comes into perspective. Objects flash in and out of
existence, and their properties depend on how they are being observed.
They are also dependent & non-local (universally entangled). Likewise,
on the macrolevel, conventional objects moving very fast experience the
dilatation of space & time. How can these properties be reconciled with
the conventional objects of common sense ?
Clearly, the question about the ultimate truth of phenomena comes first.
E. Ultimate Suchness/Thatness.
The ultimate nature of all possible phenomena can be proven, expressed
and experienced. The proof purifies the conceptual mind to let go of reification
(the substantial instantiation). The expressions of ultimate truth are
non-conceptual, poetical. Its experience direct.
This calls for (a) conceptualization without reification, cutting the
discriminating mind and (b) the direct prehension of the ultimate nature
of all things. As a continuous symmetry-transformation, this awakened continuum of pure radiant awareness, empty
of intrinsic existence never ceases. It gives rise to the "special"
apprehension or prehension of a pure mindstream experiencing the absolute truth
From the side of this enlightened or awakened mindstream, nothing but
the absolute truth prevails ("dharmakâya"), but insofar as this
Clear Light* bodhi-being aids others, it assumes bodies of form ("rûpakâya")
manifesting great compassion ("mahâkarunâ"). The body of truth
represents the Suchness ("tathatâ"), the transcendence of the
absolute, the ultimate. The bodies of form are its Thatness ("tattva"),
its immanence or being right "there" as reliable before us. In
an unmistaken mind, these two continuously happen together.
§ 1 The Katapathic View on the Ultimate.
In the positive approach of the
absolute, it is deemed possible to describe the ultimate (both as reality and
truth), to conceptually identify its properties and to convey this to
others by means of "holy worlds".
The hieroglyphic script is a
monumental example of the principle. Here the glyphs themselves possessed
operative power ("heka" or magic). In the monotheisms of "the
book", God inspired His prophets to write down what He wants
for us (as in the case of the Bible) or He made His tale directly descend
(as with the Koran). In the East, this positive tale is found in
the descend ("avatâra") of the Gods themselves, incarnating as gurus
embodying cosmic consciousness ... Alas, nothing of this endured !
The katapatic approach has an
framework to offer, one in which the absolute -as God, Gods or
Goddesses- becomes the supreme reified object. Such a framework is
possible but invalid.
Insofar as the katapathic view goes, conceptual
knowledge should at least be able to convey a conceptual message from
the Divine. But this can only happen if our natural languages somehow
"connect" with the Divine by force of an onto-semantic aduality
supposedly to inherently exist between the absolute and human language.
As ultimate analysis, by evidencing
how all conventionalities (like languages & concepts) are relative and
impermanent, proves the absence of such an onto-substantial aduality,
the katapathic view cannot be properly argued. No "natural bridge"
between concepts and the absolute can be found.
adherence to one then a wrong view fed by emotional familiarization &
faith ? The more religion reifies, the more violent the confrontations
with other-believers may be. Insofar as such exercises of faith are
viewed as anthropological data, these blind beliefs deserve respect, but
in terms of the longing for wisdom, they are worthless.
The importance of conceptual
preparation must be clear. To purify the conceptual mind, reification
must end. Then, by way of existential instantiation, concepts are merely logical & functional.
Per definition, the conceptual mind cannot touch the
absolute, prehended by non-conceptual nonduality only. But if the
conceptual mind remains tainted by gross, subtle & very subtle
obscurations (substantial instantiations), then, per definition, such
prehensions are also impossible. So one needs both the purified
conceptual mind and nondual prehension.
The first formal thinkers believed concepts represented the absolute.
The illusion of permanence, objects at their face value, was identified.
Substantial objects & subjects emerged, hindering the production of
novelty and the élan of creative advance. After two millennia of vainly
seeking stability, the Copernican Revolution brought about the
understanding conceptual reason cannot find any self-powered object at
all. Concepts are convincing overlays, suitable fabrications & potent
hallucinations. Ergo, the concept of the Divine as a "substance
of substances" is an anachronism. The tale of the Divine is necessarily
merely the way of the sublime poet and his fleeting, transient and
rhapsodic conceptualizations devoid of self-settled powers.
§ 2 The Apophatic View on the Ultimate.
In the apophatic view, there is no
Divine tale to give. Language and its concepts never suffice to convey
anything concerning the absolute. Only direct, nondual experience is of
any use here. Conceptual preparation is accepted, of course, but it is
never the cause of awakening, for the latter is beyond any possible
affirmation, denial or combination of both. To give credence to any
Divine tale beyond its playful poetical value is unreasonable and so
To enter the mind of Clear Light*, a clear-crisp conceptual mind is
condition of "purity". Such a mind no longer substantially
instantiates its objects. But to "see" emptiness this does
not suffice. Nondual cognitive prehensions must "cap"
the activities of this purified conceptual mind, allowing the awakened mind to profoundly rest in
its existential instantiations, continuously enjoying the manifestation
of the union of wisdom & compassion, of formless & form.
Transcendent metaphysics is possible.
But these speculations do not articulate valid metaphysical statements.
Only immanent metaphysics is able to claim any validity in the rational
sense of the word, i.e. as part of an argument.
Transcendent metaphysics is "valid" in
the sense it too works in terms of object & subject, albeit in an
Not all poetry is the
same or of the same artistic value. So as a criteriology dealing with
the hermeneutics of poetry, transcendent metaphysics may have a future.
Un-saying does not mean nothing can be said. It merely points out
concepts, words & languages do not suffice in describing the mystical
experience, the unveiling of the concealed, the recognition of existence
as it is and just that. This is ineffability, like the smell of a rose,
The conceptual mind cannot
grasp the denotative sense of what mystics experience directly,
i.e. the nondual, non-conceptual inseparability of bliss & emptiness of
the mind of Clear Light*. The apophatics do speak about their
experiences, but only in a connotative sense, stressing no logical
acceptance or denial are able to describe this nondual state beyond all
possible affirmation & negation.
But if something in addition to what is
explicit is implied or suggested, then the Clear Light* has all possible
Divine qualities, it is eternal, unchanging, unborn, etc. The danger for a
relapse into katapathic theology or buddhology is real here. The mind of
devotion has a tendency to invent too much metaphysical compliments.
Absence of denotation means a science or metaphysics of the actual
station-of-no-station of ultimate enlightenment is impossible. But
although no positive, denotative & significant sense can be established,
awakening can and must be the object of poetical licence. A hermeneutics
of mystical language and a transcendent metaphysics of awakening are
therefore not out of the question, nor is a scientific preparation of
bodhi-mind. But to conceptually catch non-conceptuality is
§ 3 The Non-Affirmative Negation.
An affirmative negation negates A and
by doing so affirms B (when negating "day", "night" is affirmed). A
non-affirmative negation negates A and affirms nothing else. When the
set of all properties of
are negated, the object itself vanishes. This vanishing is not an
instance of nondual cognition (a prehension), but -when carried through
on all sensate & mental concepts- the end of the purification of the
conceptual mind. This pure conceptual mind is the precondition of
prehending emptiness, the true nature of all objects of cognition, but
not the cause of such an unmistaken mind.
The object of negation, or what is to
be negated, is not the subject or the object of cognition, nor it is the
duality at work between these. Neither is it the absence of these, the
union of these or any combination of these. What needs to be
exhaustively & non-affirmatively negated in order to condition the
mindstream to realize ultimate truth, is the reification of
Call the mental operation actually doing this "zero-ing".
the conceptual mind, making it step by step suppler and more
transparent. Then, at some point, this allows the mind to undo itself of
its reified concepts & substantivist conceptual elaborations, as it were piercing through the
generic image it made of all emptinesses, purging itself from the last
remnant of very subtle reification. At some point, the fabricated
approximation appearing less dense after each and every negation, is
gone and the world as it is is prehended.
Purifying the conceptual mind is arresting substantial instantiation and
eliminate the cause of these instantiations. A calm mind is necessary.
This is a concentrated & compassionate mind. Meditative equipoise is
perfect concentration on any object of the mind. When this is done with
coarse objects, the practice extends to subtle & very subtle objects.
Then the mind takes the emptiness of any object as its object of
concentration. When able to analytically investigate emptiness and stay
perfectly calm (with a sole focus on the emptiness of all possible
objects), special insight dawns. This new ability needs then to be
trained. Eventually, a totalizing generic image of all possible
emptinesses is reached. When the emptiness of this generic image is
clearly realized, the reification of concepts has come to an end. The
last concept has been non-affirmatively negated. Then, with the
elimination of all acquired substantivism, innate self-grasping can be
addressed. This refers to the obscurations present in the ante-rational
modes of cognition. When these too have been reversed, the complete
continuum of the conventional mind is finally purified and awakening
(the realization of bodhi-mind) may manifest.
§ 4 Fabricating the Ultimate : Ending Reified Concepts.
First ultimate logic needs to be
understood. After many decades of daily work, this can be done by conceptually grasping the instantiations
step by step. Applying them by using various inner & outer objects, brings
about a generic idea of emptiness. It is called "generic" because it
relates to all members of the set of possible
cognitive objects and their emptinesses. It is as if analyzing all the
rooms of a house before presenting a synthesising picture of the house. But
this mental procedure is still non-meditative
and born from the conceptual activity of the apprehending mind.
During unwavering concentration
in equipoise tranquility on this generic, totalizing idea and
its emptiness, the moment comes the conceptual mind as a whole is purified. The
is not yet the direct experience of emptiness, but merely a perfected approximation. When this
happens, no coarse & subtle obscurations (discriminations) are left and the
mind is fully prepared for the nature of
mind to shine through unimpeded. The moment this nondual Clear
Light* actually penetrates the purified mind -no longer reifying
conceptuality-, the direct experience of non-conceptuality starts.
The actual moment bodhi-mind begins is
spontaneous, uncontrived and born out of nothing (not caused). Likewise for all
possible prehensions of the nondual, nonconceptual mind.
As long as emptiness is approached
indirectly, the reification of concepts (their substantial
instantiation) has not thoroughly ended, and so -at a subtle level- the mind is still impure,
tainted, obscured, ignorant. But the generic idea is a ladder, a
totalization of all possible conceptualization regarding the emptiness
of persons and phenomena.
By taking this idea as the basis of
concentration, the reification of all possible concepts can be undone
and when this happens on a continuous basis, the process of purification
of the conceptual mind has ended. Coarse & subtle obscurations stop and
the purification of the very subtle innate reification (born out of
ante-rational cognitive activity) begins.
Slowly the opaqueness of the generic idea fades, becoming
absolutely transparent. But this transparancy is not the cause of
the experience of emptiness. Fully recognizing the mind of Clear Light*
purifying the conceptual mind, emptiness is directly witnessed for the
first time, nondual cognition is no longer put on hold and the process
of its (non-conceptual) emancipation may begin. This happens by purifying the
mind from the process of reification still active in the
mythical, pre-rational and proto-rational modes of cognition. The
essentializing activity of the conceptual mind (in its formal, critical
& creative modes) is
acquired. To enter nonduality, the very subtle reification to eliminate is innate.
Only when the minds associated with the first
six modes of cognitive activity have been thoroughly purified by dereifying their
objects, is the mind like the purest diamond. Then there results with
reference to the "grasper" (the knower), the "grasping" (the knowledge)
and the "grasped" (the known), a complete coincidence with that on which
consciousness abides & by which it is "anointed". The hexagonal loosens
the knots of ignorance, and when then fuel of the fire is gone, the fire
This is not awakening yet, but the final
purification of the mind as a whole, the stepping-stone to Buddhahood.
mind lacking compassion may misconstrue the end of conceptual
reification (the purification of the conceptual mind) as the
first moment of awakening.
The purification of the conceptual mind leads to the end of reification.
At this point, not a single object is deemed substantial. All is
process, i.e. dependent-arising defined by momentum, architecture and
sense. This purity can be trained by way of study, reflection and
meditation. This is the science of preparations. To understand all
logical possibilities and to be able to conceptually grasp absence of
inherent existence can be done without meditation, but this does not
lead to the end of reification, it is merely a start and may lead to
nihilism. Balanced concentration on a single coarse object like a flower
is not easy. To realize the meditative equipoise of calm abiding,
abstract objects are even more difficult. Successful calm concentration
on the emptiness of any object is the next step. Not a coarse object,
nor an abstract object are at hand, but their ultimate property, their
emptiness. This has to be epistemically isolated. Often, analysis makes
calmness leave. Likewise, too calm a mind cannot find the impulse to
analyze. So to achieve special insight, coupling calm abiding on
emptiness with analysis of emptiness, takes years of long meditative
sessions. When this superior seeing is finally realized, the
analysis of emptiness enhances tranquil concentration on emptiness. This
leads to profound encounters with the absolute property of each and
every sensate or mental object of mind. With superior seeing a generic
image is construed. Realizing its emptiness is the purification of the
conceptual mind, the end of reification.
The end of reification is not yet "seeing" emptiness, nor is it
awakening. To "see" emptiness the mind of Clear Light* has to be
non-conceptually prehended. A purified conceptual mind is therefore a
necessary condition but not a sufficient condition. To awaken, the mind
as a whole needs to be purified, not only from its acquired obscurations,
but also from the innate.
What is realized at the end of the purification of the conceptual mind
is not a direct experience of emptiness, but the very subtle
conceptual realization of emptiness. The mind has indeed been freed of self-cherishing and acquired
self-grasping has been eliminated. In itself, this is a very high
spiritual achievement, endowing the mindstream with lasting, irreversible
qualities. But although lofty, this proximate emptiness is not the same as
actually "seeing" emptiness. It is still contrived, and thus planned,
manipulated and somehow artificial. It remains conceptual, albeit on a
very subtle level. But precisely because it is conceptual, it cannot be
said to be a direct, immediate, natural, spontaneous realization.
The Direct Experience of the Unfabricated
The direct experience of the ultimate
is ineffable. It is non-conceptual. One cannot describe the smell of
a rose. Pheromones have a vocabulary of their own. Denotative conceptual
rendering is impossible. Likewise, the exact nature of any atomic
particle before observation is terministic and paradoxical. How to
explain "superposition" conceptually ? Only in the language of
mathematics can this be done. But one may, no doubt influenced by their
smell, compose a poem about the rose.
To witness the unfabricated nature of
calls for existential instantiations (a pure conceptual mind) and a prehension
of the absolute. Duality is constantly carried to a
point at infinity and so nonduality is what remains. Nothing positive
can be said here. The poetry of the inseparability between directly
seeing emptiness (wisdom-mind) and the interconnectness of all events is what is left ...
remains present even at a point at infinity, nondual cognition is bound to
experience the conventional and the absolute simultaneously. There is not
a single truth, but two truths. Although one of both is unfabricated and
the other is contrived, the conventional (the result of collective
delusions) are part of the equation. The latter brings in compassion
again, for what use is absolute truth if not all sentient beings share
in the same direct experience ?
Suppose the logical boundaries established by criticism are like
the frontiers of the country of conceptual thought, bordered on one
side by the non-conceptual mind of Clear Light* and on the other by all
pre-conceptual and conceptual modes of cognition. Insofar as
philosophers turn away from this demarcation, as Kant did by denying
intellectual perception its place, and so never point to
what lies beyond the border of conceptuality, their view on emptiness does not even
take the Clear Light* into consideration. This would be a "dead"
interpretation of emptiness by way of the "dead bones of logic" (Hegel), one limited by conceptual thought and missing
the purpose of ultimate analysis : to end reifying concepts by way of
concepts, the precondition for looking over the border towards the country of Clear Light*,
a country the existence of which, as yogic perceivers show, cannot be
! Of course, logically, as Descartes pointed out, the "lumen naturale"
or mind of Clear Light* is before any possible conceptualization.
Mâdhyamaka, and correctly so, no logic is able to refute the Middle Way.
Nothing about "nirvâna" can be affirmed (all eternalization avoided),
emptiness meditations on the mind itself find no ground to reify
any part of its operations. Thus eliminating its
substantial instantiation, consuming all possible fuel, extinguishes the
fire of reification and makes the mind effortlessly & spontaneously (not
causally) arrive at
the "other shore" (all nihilism avoided). The mind, besides being known by
conventional knowledge as an object of conventional truth, is also known
by ultimate knowledge as an object of ultimate truth, i.e. lacking
While the mind of Clear Light* is not a substantial part of the objective side of the
view, it is introduced by accomplished yogis as a hypothetical
subjective fruit each & every sentient being may, with due effort,
experience. This refers to the presence of an enlightenment potential in all sentient beings. This is not the same as logically
affirming Divine qualities inhere in this potential from the start. Instead, they are generated as the result of
emptiness-meditations on the mind, turning successful because all sentient beings
possess the potential for enlightenment from the start.
Affirming the ineffable empty nature of this wisdom-mind does not hinder
master yogis to construe the Clear Light*
as an interpretative, non-empty object of poetry, praising its inherent qualities,
said to endure despite adventitious ignorance & defilement. In fact, the profound yogic experience of Dzogchen &
Mahâmudrâ experts confirms this to be the case, and this despite
the definitive logic
proving conceptual thought cannot penetrate non-conceptual, ultimate truth. However, from the side of logic, these accomplished
yogis with their sublime poetry only inspire, uplift
and act as a excellent & sublime examples. This has to be made very clear,
for the object of this art of the Great Perfection, positing the
inseparability of the primordial base (objective "dharmadhâtu" or "khunzi") & the mind's natural
clarity (subjective mind of Clear Light* or "rigpa"), has no conceptual ground
Within the country of concepts, Nâgârjuna's logic is final ;
nothing can be affirmed about ultimate truth ! No logical, conceptual path leads
to the beyond of discursive thought, only to its border, and so one is left to develop concepts ending
the reification of all concepts. This is however not the end of reifying cognition, at work until the
last, tiniest drop of reifying fuel is burnt and beyond !
Let us summarize this in the traditional way (cf. Kamalashîla) :
(1) the path of accumulation : the mind is
made pliant (compassionate) by generating the mind of awakening for the benefit of all
sentient beings ("bodhicitta") and emptiness is conceptually
studied, reflected upon and taken as an object of meditation on coarse
(outer), subtle (inner) & very subtle (secret) objects. Special insight
ensues when calmness & analysis can be combined in such a way they
reinforce one another ;
(2) the path of preparation : using this
special insight or superior seeing, a generic, highly refined conceptual
image of the emptiness of both persons & phenomena is realized. A very
subtle conceptual generic idea of emptiness results. The conceptual mind (with
its formal, critical & creative modes) is completely purified and
acquired self-grasping ends. All coarse & subtle obscurations end,
but very subtle ignorance remains. An
approximation of the direct experience of emptiness is realized ;
(3) the path of seeing : emptiness is
directly observed for the first time, without the use of concepts, but
non-conceptually in the nondual mode of cognition - this is a decisive
turning-point, implying a genuine transformation of the mind ;
(4) the path of meditation :
to further stabilize the nondual mind, innate self-grapsing -resulting from the residual
activity of the ante-rational mind (with its mythical, pre-rational &
proto-rational modes)- is tackled, and so the very subtle obscurations
(escaping the purification of the conceptual mind) are gradually totally
(5) the path of no-more-learning : the
hexagonal mind (with its six modes of cognition, three ante-rational &
three conceptual) is totally purified from all possible coarse, subtle
and very subtle obscurations, leading directly to complete, irreversible
and total awakening, prehending emptines and dependent-arising
F. The Ontological Scheme.
The heart of ontology is the logic of the ontological principal, the
leading idea acting as common ground shared by all possible things,
existing, nonexisting or fictional. In the present critical metaphysics
of process, this ontological principal is not a substance, but a
process. It is not self-powered, self-settled, but other-powered.
Perfected, these actual occasions show a continuous kinetography, unchanging
architectures of change. But these continua are nevertheless always grafted onto the
coordination of movement, of changes in momentum, code & sense.
Awakened, a continuous symmetry-transformation or holomovement is at
hand (devoid of suffering). Mostly however, the kinetography of change is discontinuous, i.e. a-symmetrical (causing suffering).
Because the ontological principal is a process, it cannot
be identified with the substances "matter" or "mind". In fact, the
deeper, more profound leading principle is common to both.
The ontological scheme is a sketch of the basic concept of this
metaphysics of process. This is based upon the most concrete elements at
work in our direct experience, close to how things are found ; as a
stream of experience constituted by "droplets", "dops", "events" or "moments" of singular,
experience. These are the final things of which the concrete world
is made up. Nothing more can be found behind them. Nothing more real can
§ 1 Event & Actual Occasion.
Consider streams of events constituted by
singular droplets of happenings acting together. These are
interdependent phenomena, each being the outcome of
other-powers, namely determinations & conditions other than the
at hand. Actual existence is that what happens. Virtual existence
that what may happen.
event has duration, and so starts, abides & ceases, so it may reemerge. An
therefore not a momentary
instance, a single element of what happens (or could happen), but a very short
ent + dt
of time (t) packed with actual happenings. Ergo, events cannot
serve as the ontological principal. We need to move to a more fundamental level, and
ask what constitutes a single event-interval ? Merely instances, moments
or "droplets" of things actually happening. So, each time something is
happening, there is an actual occurrence in the world.
occasions happen in the world. They are per definition concrete, i.e.
embodied by momentum, organized by laws and object of sense (or meaning
apprehended by a possible observer & knower). What happens is the world
is "the concrete" and there is nowhere "another world". The
transcendence of this world, the world-ground, is not other-worldly,
introducing a (Platonic) rift in ontology, positioning more than one
ontological plane, but neither concrete, but merely abstract. There is only the world and so
only a single ontological plane.
γ.1 The world-ground is not a transcendent Real-Ideal, but
abstracts of definiteness prefigurating, in terms of altering fields
(frequencies) of likelihood, the world-to-come. The world-ground is
merely the possibility of the next moment of the world, not
another world, a "richer" ontological ground, nor a
self-sufficient ground. It is the probability of actual, concrete
happenings. But neither is this pre-existent abstract realm of
propensities devoid of primordial momentum, architecture and Clear
Light* sentience. It is a "nothingness" in which the possibility of
becoming is afloat & intelligent !
The world-ground contains the infinity of all possible
(potential, probable) abstract prefigurations of all possible future
worlds. This is its primordial architecture, form or information
(creativity). But it also encompasses all virtual energy states
(primordial momentum, matter) and all possible choices for unity &
harmony (primordial sentience, consciousness).
world-system is constituted by concrete actual occasions (the world) and
by primordial formative abstracts (the world-ground). The world-system is all things
actual & virtual (possible, likely, probable).
us call "actual occasion" a single droplet part of the many drops constituting a single
event. Because this actually does occur, it is an actual
occasion. Because this occurrence is worldly, it is concrete. Actual
occasions are the basic elements of the togetherness of actual events
and of actual, existing entities and they are individual & particular.
These instances never happen "on their own", but are always
actualized in concert with others, shaping novel togetherness (creative
advance). They depend on determinations and
conditions foreign to their own dynamic characteristics or principal
ontological properties. The latter are not a fixed, substantial
core, but a given form of movement, a particular style of kinetography.
δ.2 By virtue of its ontological properties
(efficiency & finality), the fruit or effect of the
kinetic style of a single actual occasion adds its own to the
ongoing sea of process. As small changes may have huge effects, a tiny
cluster of actual occasions can be enough to influence the whole
So all is dance, a display of energy from the base.
principle or standard of a stream of events is therefore not the
infinitesimal differential interval
on.dt, the ultimate
abstraction pointing to a single instance or isthmus of
actuality. In terms of the ontological properties of an actual occasion,
this singular, momentary droplet
on has itself differential
extension, i.e. is characterized by process on an infinitesimal scale.
Even on this immeasurably small scale, properties
emerge. These ontological properties, attributes or aspects of any
actual occasion (the smallest possible unit of change) are themselves a process
(interdependent), not a substance, they do not constitute themselves but
are constituted by others. These properties emerge as a result of the
interplay between any two actual occasions.
The differential moment has architecture and choice, in what, without
this, would only be a barren transmission from this to the next
actual occasion of the probabilities of
momentum & position, a priori devoid of any creative advance.
If this would be the case, then the novelty happening in the world could
not be properly explained.
ε.2 The jumps from
virtual to actual (Big Bang), from the actual primordial soup to interstellar
interstellar physics to biological systems, from biological organicity to sentience etc. evidence
the evolutionary implications of the ontological
properties of actual occasions, their ongoing creative advance. Starting
with matter, the efficient determinations prevailed over the
informational & sentient operators. When the basic order of the universe
had been put in place, the further complexification of matter &
information eventuated life, the possibility of negentropy,
fertilization & instinct. Only at the far end of this evolutionary
interval does sentience appear.
The extensive plenum
of the continuum of an actual occasion can be : (a)
spatial : as in the case of geometrical objects ; (b)
temporal : as in the case of the duration of mental objects ; (c)
spatio-temporal : as in the case of the endurance of sensate
objects. All actual occasions have this extensiveness in common.
The extension of actual occasions over each other is crucial to grasp
the possibility of the novel togetherness of actual occasions unfolding
creativity and shaping the creative advance of the world. This
horizontal passage of
events or passing of Nature brings in temporality.
For essentialism, the
principle "operari sequitur esse"
holds. This means every process is owned by some substance. Here one
thinks substance first and then views change as accidental to it. Process
thought inverses the principle : "esse sequitur operari" ; things are
constituted out of the flow of process. So things are what they do.
Change is thought first and things are momentary arisings, abidings, ceasings &
of dynamical units. A
process is an integrated series of connected developments coordinated by an open
program. It is not a mere collection of sequential presents or moments, but
exhibits a structure allowing a construction made from materials of the past
to be passed on to the future generation. This transition is not one-to-one, not merely
efficient, for the
internal make-up of its actual occasions shapes a new particular concretion, bears
finality allowing for creative advance or novelty.
Heraclites, thinking process first & foremost, avoids the fallacy of substantializing
the world into
things like substances. Fundamentally, everything flows ("panta rhei") and
although Plato disliked this principle ("like leaky pots" - Cratylus,
440c), he accepted it insofar as the "world of becoming" goes. Aristotle
too saw the natural (sublunar) world exhibit a collective, chaotic dynamism.
Change is fundamental, and the
latter is the transit from mere possibility (potency) to the realization (act)
of this potential, and this to the point of perfection ("entelecheia"). This
makes Peripatetic thought pervasively processual. Of course, both Plato &
Aristotle accepted the presence of substance, either as a fundamental transcendent reality
or as inherently natural & biological (cf. hylemorphism). And both, although in
a different way, accept the Greek prejudice for Olympic states (cf. Plato's
"world of ideas" and Aristotle's view on contemplative knowledge/life, the
"active intellect", the "Unmoved Mover" and the "actus
In modern times, the standard bearer of process metaphysics was of course
Gottfried Wilhelm Freiherr
von Leibniz (1646 - 1716). The fundamental units of Nature are punctiform,
non-extended, "spiritual" processes called "monads", filling space completely
and thus constituting a "plenum". These monads or "incorporeal automata"
are bundles of activity, endowed with an inner force (appetition), ongoingly
destabilizing them and providing for a processual course of unending change. And
it was in the writings of Leibniz that Whitehead, the
dominant figure in recent process thought, found inspiration. Like Leibniz, he
considered physical processes as of first importance and other sorts of processes as
superengrafted upon them. The concept of an all-integrating physical field being
pivotal (cf. the influence of Maxwell's field equations). But unlike Leibniz,
the units of process are not substantial spiritual "monads", but
psycho-physical "actual occasions". They are not closed, but highly
"social" and "open".
Actual occasions, the units
of process, are Janus-faced : they take from the past and, on the basis of an
inner, finative structure, transform states of affairs, paving the way for further
processes. They are not merely product-productive, manufacturing things, but
state-transformative. Although indivisible, actual occasions are not "little
things", but a differential interval of change "dt" explained in terms of efficient & final
determinations, the vectors of change.
Actual occasions are not closed (not self-sufficient
like substances), but fundamentally
open to other occasions, by which they are entered and in which they enter.
Thus their perpetual perishing is matched by their perpetual (re)emergence in the
"concrescence" of new occasions. These occasions always touch their environments and this
implies a low-grade mode of sentience (spontaneity, self-determination and
purpose). They are thus living & interacting droplets of elemental
experience. They are part of the organic organization of Nature as a whole,
but constitute themselves an organism of sorts, with an infinitesimal constitution of
Nature is a manifold of diffused processes spread out, but forming an organic,
integrated whole. As was the case in the ontology of Leibniz, macrocosm and microcosm are coordinated. Not
because each actual occasion mirrors the whole, but because they reach out and
touch other occasions, forming, by way of complexification, aggregates and
individualized societies of actual occasions.
§ 2 Efficient & Final Determinations of an Actual Occasion.
x is momentary (at that
instance) and actual, i.e. logically & functionally present here and now. Abstracted as standing alone,
the differential interval "dt" out of which
has an extensive continuum, albeit momentarily.
has outer and inner relations of extension, i.e. in respect to other (earlier or
future) actual occasions and to itself. These definite ontological particularities of each
actual occasion involve
extrinsic & intrinsic ontological properties.
The extrinsic ontological properties of an
actual occasion are the temporal-efficient
connections of actual occasion
with the one before (x-1) and
with the upcoming one (x+1).
They happen in time, take space and operate certain determinations &
conditions related to the momentum (energy or matter) of
So they are called "efficient", i.e. directly bringing change (enhancing
gives the ongoingness of process its stream-like or wave-like
characteristics. It is the exteriority of an actual
occasion, its horizontal vector.
γ. Intrinsic are
: (a) the information (architecture, code, form, software) available to the actual occasion
regarding other actual occasions,
its informational weight and acquired degree of formal integration of data
(in abstract operators) and
(b) the weighed choice
(sentience) successfully advantaging a certain efficient outcome by
manipulating its probability-fields.
γ.1 Ultimately, this choice aims to
actualize the greatest possible
unity & harmony in and for the forms of (novel) togetherness
involving all possible other
actual occasions. But due to lack of information and/or bad
choices, this is mostly limited to the immediate environment and merely local interests.
informational & sentient operations define the interiority of an actual occasion,
namely what it (momentarily) gathers as for itself (as a
momentary "self" or imputation of subjective identity). This
refers to the boundaries of actual occasions and what happens within
them, to their particle-like or droplet-like spatiality and geometry.
This is the vertical vector of an actual occasion, defining order
δ. The extrinsic (efficient)
& intrinsic (final) ontological properties of the ontological principal,
defining two modes of existence of an actual occasion, only exist as long as the moment
But they do define the flash-like impetus of this ephemeral moment to the next, as
well as the possibility of
In the organic totality of the world, an actual occasion is the smallest
unity of process. Each momentary occasion extols a perpetual
va-et-vient between two modes of existence (or ontological
properties) : an objective mode, in
which it only exists for others ("esse est percipi"), and a
subjective mode of existence, in which the actual occasion is none but
subjective experiential properties ("esse est percepere"). In the
first, objective mode, a physical experience is at hand, explained
in terms of the horizontal vector of the action of
efficient causation. In the second, subjective mode, a mental reaction
bringing about the vertical vector of final causation.
Actual occasions, contrary to Leibnizian monads, do communicate with
other actual occasions. In terms of a logical order, an actual occasion
with an open window to the past, showing previous actual occasions
i.e. the efficient
determination of the past world on it. Next, it responds to this past actuality
physically. Simultaneously, it cross-wise puts into place its own
current inner & dynamic ideality, drawing out possibilities of what was
received and weighing the options in order to favour a single outcome
by way of choice.
By doing so, each actual occasion
exercises final determination, showing differential self-determination, spontaneity &
The difference between efficient and final
is analogous to the difference between actual and potential in quantum
mechanics, brought about by the "collapse of the wave-function"
(Bohr, Heisenberg, von Neumann, Schrödinger), turning an infinite number of potential possibilities
(given by the vertical vector) into a single actual one (a singular
Choice ends the order of subjectivity, but the
actual occasion does not perish. The end of its subjective experience is the
beginning of its existence as efficient determinant on subsequent actual occasions,
being the physical past entering their event-horizon, and reemerging
there. Actual occasions
therefore never in "one place" or "solitary", but a forteriori
enter in each other's process (togetherness or concrescence) and so define
occasion-streams. They are interconnected momentary events, not isolated
(Olympic) enduring substances.
Because of this inner, non-physical mode of existence, each occasion has a degree of consciousness
(self-determination, spontaneity & novelty). This is not the same as
saying occasions have an "inner life" in the way humans experience this.
The subjective mode of actual occasions rules a weighing procedure
effectuating a decision. And as the outcome of each actual occasion is
richer than what physically, by way of efficient causation alone,
would have entered its
window of past actualities, novelty is possible. Because of this,
creative advance ensues.
§ 3 The Three Operators.
α. The two modes of an
actual occasion (objective & subjective or efficient & final) encompass its three known aspects
: matter, information & consciousness. These
appear as integrated explanations of the functioning of the organic
totality known as "Nature", "world" or "the concrete". They refer to specific descriptions (of
theories and data) of irreducible but interdependent facets of each
Efficient lawfulness and the objective mode of each actual occasion (the
call for the physical aspect of matter, while final determination
subjective mode (the vertical vector) call for the aspect of abstract validation
(information) and a degree of participatory self-determination
These define ontological boundaries, allowing
for a better understanding of the ongoing process of what is actually
happening. These are not principles,
or worse, substances, but merely aspects explaining physical objects,
informational content, its value, and states & contents of consciousness.
Each actual occasion has three distinct operational
domains, encompassing the physical (matter) and
the non-physical (information & consciousness) modes of occasions.
These domains explain the operation of three functionally different
societies of actual occasions, namely matter, information
matter : hardware, sub-atomic, atomic, molecular,
cellular, physiological, societies of actual occasions, encompassing
particles, waves, fields & forces or the domain of
the physical - the Real Numbers system ;
information : software, embodied or
notions, ideas, languages, logics, theories about actual occasions ;
this is then
the domain of the informational - the Natural Numbers system ;
consciousness : userware, the self-determination,
spontaneity, novelty & participatory sentient grasping of actual occasions or the
domain of the conscious - the Complex Numbers system.
The domain of the physical is not exclusively material. Indeed, the
actual occasions constituting it do possess (on the most fundamental ontological level)
information & sentience (but in a lesser degree). Likewise for the
domain of the informational and the domain of the conscious.
General process ontology posits bi-modal actual occasions with their
three functional domains as the ground of all possible
phenomena, existing things, objects, entities or items. Each actual
occasion has a physical (efficient, objective) and a mental (finative,
subjective) mode ; its horizontal & vertical vectors respectively. The arising of actual occasions is caused by previous
actual occasions, and this entry of past actual occasions in what
happens hic et nunc is by way of efficient causation. The abiding
of each actual occasion is its internal structure, causing choice,
decision or self-determination. Whenever a choice is made, the actual
occasion ceases, but this perishing brings about an efficient influence
on the next actual occasion, and this influence has integrated
the work of final determination by way of sentient manipulation of
three operational domains at work in every single actual occasion also
operate on every scale of togetherness of actual occasions. Hence, it
also applies to the world as a whole, and even extends to the
world-ground, albeit in a primordial, virtual sense. In the case of the world-ground however, not being an
actual occasion, these three do not refer to operational determinations
& conditions but merely to the probability or virtual possibility of the latter.
They are pre-existent probabilities for the rise of
matter, information & consciousness and their creative concert.
conditions of the material aspect of the world explains how quantum events
pop in and out of existence. They point to the primordial quantum
i.e. a nothingness "potentized" to actualize and become some
material thing. The primordial
conditions of the informational aspect of the world are an infinite
number of possible forms, architectures, codes or organizations likely to actualize when the proper material conditions
The primordial conditions of the sentient aspect of the world
is the infinite consciousness of God* prehending all past and all current
conditions and determinations of all actual occasions conjunctively and
capable of (re)weighing the probabilities of material & informational
This absolute consciousness also extends into the world, and so
is the sole actual occasion continuously bridging the world-ground and
the world. Insofar as this is merely the potentiality of the highest possible
unity & harmony, it is primordial. Insofar as this is actual, it is moving
along with every possible actual occasion and so manifest.
God* is the
Specific process ontology applies this scheme of general
process ontology on non-individualized compounds, aggregates or
societies of actual
occasions and on individualized societies of actual occasions. Let us see
how this works in a neurophilosophy of process. There,
in the two individualized societies of actual occasion at hand, namely the brain and the
A Philosophy of the Mind and Its Brain, 2009),
irreducible domains or operators are constantly at work. These are derived from cybernetics, information-theory and
artificial intelligence :
the mature, healthy, triune human brain is able, as a physical object
ruled by efficient determination, to process, compute and execute complex
algorhythms and integrate all kinds of neuronal activity - the developed,
individualized mind is able to be open to the efficient determinations
resulting from previous moments of brain functioning ;
information : the
innate and acquired software (wiring) of the brain, its memory &
processing speed - the individualized mind is an expert-system containing codes or
knowledge to choose from when solving problems ;
the mature brain works according to its own final determination, making
choices to guarantee its organic functioning as a manifold and affect necessary changes
in its environment - individualized consciousness or mind instantiates
unified states of consciousness
(moment to moment intentional awareness) as a percipient participator interacting meaningfully with
its brain and
the physical world.
§ 4 Aggregates of Actual Occasions.
α. Entities and their elements, events, are actual
occasions interrelated in a determining way in one
extensive continuum. A single actual occasion is a limiting type of
an event (an entity, actuality or object) with only one member. The world is
thus built up of these actual
occasions. Events are aggregates of actual occasions. Entities are
aggregates of events. Because they cannot be divided, not found standing
alone, but only
conceptually analyzed when abstracted (on the basis of their extensive
continuum), actual occasions are called "atomic".
The organic togetherness of actual occasions has various ontological levels,
shaping an ontological ladder ranging from actual occasions,
events, entities, to insentient
compounds and individualized societies with varying degrees of freedom. Not only
is matter complex (cf. hylic pluralism), also information &
consciousness are layered.
Mere aggregates or compounds of actual occasions are not sentient. So
traditional panpsychism, stating all possible things have a subjective
mode, is not the case. Although the individuals part of an aggregate,
namely the actual occasions themselves, do
experience a infinitesimally small degree of self-unity, the aggregate itself does not.
In terms of aggregation, rocks,
rain, rivers, oceans, streets, cities, provinces, countries, continents,
planets, artefacts, etc. are insentient.
Lacking any self-conscious finality,
unable to name themselves in a self-reflective cognitive
act, aggregates are ruled by efficient law only.
Actual occasions, mental or physical, come together to form events and events come together
to form entities or existing objects. Mental objects are actual occasions
mainly processing their
inner, subjective, vertical vector, but they do have a minimal efficient
determination, namely the "stream" of moments of consciousness. Physical
objects are actual occasions mainly acting out their outer, objective,
horizontal vector, but they maintain a minimal final determination,
namely in the architecture of their particles, fields & forces as well
as in their receptivity to the direction given by the conserving cause
of the world (the immanent aspect of God*), in particular their "loyalty"
to the natural constants necessary to maintain the intelligent design
(of themselves & the world) intended by the "Anima Mundi",
the perfection ("entelecheia")
of the world.
Non-individualized aggregates of actual occasions are unable to be
aware of the totality of which they are a part. A rock does not know it
is a rock. Individuality implies a view on totality and its unity.
Like the bird knowing it is part of a flock.
§ 5 Individualized Societies.
In individualized societies of actual occasions, interdependence and
complex relationality engender negentropic dissipative systems. The most
intricate of these is able to give a high-order degree of finality
to the impulses of past efficient processes. Here human conscious
life enters the picture, with each human being experiencing him or
herself as a unity. But there are kingdoms lower than humanity
exceedingly demonstrating their individuality, namely minerals,
plants & animals. Are there kingdoms higher than humanity ?
The crystalline architecture of minerals
constitutes an intelligent factor, revealing a mathematical order at
work behind what are merely interacting waves, particles, fields &
forces. The photosynthesis of plants, their ability to multiply and
specifically adapt to their immediate environments defines a higher
degree of liberty and allows for their individualization. The behaviour
of animals is already very advanced, and telling of their
differentiation as groups and in certain cases as specific context-bound individuals
within a group. Finally, the sentient behaviour of humans, able to
produce abstract cultural objects and transmit them, invokes a very high degree of
freedom. At every rung of this ontological ladder, we see the three
ontological domains becoming
more complex. With the emergence of sentience, individualization gives
rise to naming, labelling and conceptualization. But this cannot happen
without complex code and very sophisticated efficient determination.
γ. The domain of consciousness may
be organized in degrees of freedom, beginning
with a singular actual occasion and ending with all individualized societies
γ.1 Subatomic particles, particles, molecules,
tissues, natural kingdoms (mineral, plants, animals, humans) all possess
a degree of consciousness. While sentient, they do not entertain
an inner conscious life comparable to that of humans on this planet.
γ.2 Such an intimate development of consciousness calls for a high-order
complexification of mental actual occasions, one producing the complex,
non-linear subdomain of human inner life. As on this planet
this distinct type of sentient life is rare, all human life is by nature
γ.3 All other complex individualized societies of occasions do
experience themselves as a unity run by a hierarchy, and so fall within
the field of panexperientialism.
Both aggregates and individualized societies are
merely actual occasions, ongoingly oscillating between objective
(efficiency) & subjective (aim), and described in terms of their
material, informational and conscious properties. In aggregates, formed
by the natural togetherness of actual occasions, actual occasions form events & objects barren of the experience of unity.
Every actual occasion happening in such a compound remains interlocked with all
co-relative occasions, and this without a single dominant actual occasion or set of
dominant actual occasions "leading the way". Because ontic hierarchy is absent,
aggregates are not sentient, while their constituting occasions are (at
Nothing precludes the presence of more complex levels of consciousness,
nor of other means to embody consciousness (cf. subtle, yet unknown,
non-physical bodies, like the subtle "sheets" of the Indian yoga
tradition). Hence, process ontology has no a priori regarding togetherness, interrelatedness &
concrescence. Of course, the question remains whether speculations about
non-physical life can be argued with a comfortable measure of validity ?
Earth, the highest
level is the dominant actual occasion of experience constituting the human mind. As
even actual occasions, with at least an iota of self-determination, provide the
lowest-level example of the emergence of a higher-level actuality, we may understand, in comparison, brain cells as
centres of experiential creativity.
§ 6 Panpsychism versus Panexperientialism.
While individual occasions, which are not
substantial, thing-like, but the common unit of process, possess, besides a
physical, objective mode (efficient determination), also a mental, subjective, experiential mode
(final determination), non-individualized aggregates or compounds of actual occasions do
not manifest such a mental mode and are
therefore insentient. They therefore mostly operate efficient determination and
are physical, constituted by matter, analyzed in terms of particles,
waves, fields, the four forces and the superforce, the infinite
vacuum energy of the primordial quantum plasma (primordial
matter). This infinite, undifferentiated energy is not an actual
occasion. It is not concrete, cannot be abstracted, but is an
abstract probability not without paradox.
The (massive) presence of
insentient objects rules out panpsychism,
i.e. the claim all things live. This claim is not made. All things
experience something, and this in a non-individualized way (as
aggregates) or in an individualized way (as societies). Moreover, the mental, subjective mode of a single
actual occasion has the
lowest possible degree of freedom. As all objects are composed of actual
occasions, all objects, at the deepest ontological level, possess
differential sentience. This is panexperientialism.
γ. The infinitesimal sentience
of all possible actual occasions should not be compared with the
activity of societies of actual occasions like the high-order conscious experience of human
beings. Some societies of actual occasions are indeed individualized, i.e. share a
self-image with an imago. Only when an actual occasion, by entering into another actual occasions
(adding its concretion or internal make-up to others), helps bringing actual
occasions together, can the creativity of the sea of process eventually give way
to these individualized societies of actual occasions consciously experiencing their own unity
and this at various levels of freedom & harmony (as in minerals, plants, animals, humans and metaphysical
γ.1 On this ontological ladder, the process of
evolution and its natural creative selection is at work, producing more complex organizations of actual occasions
interpenetrating each other. Because so
many non-individualized aggregates can be identified, it is not the
case all things are sentient.
γ.2 Lots of objects, while composed of
infinitesimally sentient actual occasions, are totally devoid of any
sense of sharing a "self", an awareness of possessing a common
imago. Ergo, panpsychism is not the case. All things are not
sentient, nor are all things alive.
The organic togetherness of all possible actual occasions has various
ontological levels, ranging from actual occasions,
events & entities (or insentient
compounds) to societies, individualized societies with varying degrees of freedom.
level of freedom is the dominant actual occasion of what happens. On Earth, this
is the human mind.
Actual occasions, with their infinitesimal iota of self-determination,
lowest-level examples of the emergence of a higher-level actuality. This because
creative input. This results from making the decision, characterizing their
mental, finative mode part of the efficient determination, entering
other actual occasions, appropriating data from its vicinity.
In terms of efficient determination, the mind emerged from the brain. But in terms of final
determination, the possibilities offered by the brain are "weighed" and then chosen by the
mind (emerged from the brain). Moreover, the emergent property (the mind as an
actual entity in its own right), is able to exert a determinate influence
of its own (both final & efficient). Mental causation is not an
epiphenomenon, for besides the upward causation from the body to the
mind, there is the self-determination by the mind, and on the basis
of this, downward causation from the mind to the body. This is
possible because mind and body are not two different kind of things,
but both highly complex individualized societies of actual
occasions, linked in a functional and interactionist way.
For panexperientialism, "physical entities" are always physico-mental
(or, what comes down to the same, psycho-physical). Focusing on efficient
determination, and the emergence of an independent mental out of the physical,
actual occasions are physico-mental. But insofar as final determination is
concerned, and because of the downward causation effectuated by high-order minds
on subtle physical processes, actual occasions are psycho-physical. Both are
In the world, three major sets of specialized actual occasions are
at work : matter, information & consciousness. These three give rise
to the physical domain, the informational domain and the sentient
domain respectively. These three constitute what actually happens in
the world. Ontogenetically, the physical domain manifested first
(with the Big Bang). Out of the unique singularity of this actual occasion (and its mental
mode of finality) arose the expert-systems, the problem-solving
architectures of the world aiming to bring about evolution-in-unity
(complexifying homogeneity) in the ongoing physical processes. The
interaction of matter and information gives ground to sentience to
exert its ability to be
aware of the momentum & architecture of objects possessed, grasped
or apprehended by the knower and this in terms of the harmony
of the unity between the known & the knower. These three ontological emergences
are "outpourings" of specialized operational domains. The
world-ground expresses the mere probability of the actual
emergence of these ontological domains of the world.
The world is sentient. Every actual occasion is sentient. But
between this lowest sentient rung of the ontological ladder and the
highest (the totality of all actual occasions prehended by a
single immanent & totalizing absolute consciousness), many levels of
insentient objects share in the togetherness of all actual occasions
constituting the ongoing sea of process. This is why panpsychism is
not at hand. Nor is the "nature morte"-view of the world as a
set of "disjecta membra" retained.
Both the physical mode (matter) as the mental mode (information,
consciousness) of all possible phenomena are important.
§ 7 The God* of Process Ontology.
God* is not the ultimate substance and final, absolute self-sufficient
ground and self-settled self-subsisting essence ("esse subsistens") of all
possible things. God* does not essentially (substantially) differ
from the world. Although unique, God* is not the One Alone, the "idea" transcending
all others, the "totaliter aliter" or "total other", the
absolute absoluteness ontologically forever isolated from the world. God* is
not absence of togetherness. He is not hidden ("Deus
absconditus"). Under analysis, this "God" of
reifying theology, this Creator cannot be found. One
may conclude such a "God" does not exist. But God* exists, both
primordial and immanent.
God* is the unique non-temporal &
non-spatial abstract actual entity giving relevance to the
realm of pure possibility (primordial matter and primordial
information) in the becoming of the actual world,
encompassing both non-temporal everlastingness (as part of the formative
elements) as temporal (recurrent) eternity (as ultimate actual entity
operating in the world).
Here we have a unique (paradoxical) abstract actuality, performing an unexcelled
holomovement of holomovements, a unique solo, the Dance of dances.
How can something acting on such a transfinite scale keep the
world-ground exclusively "potential" ? Being part of the virtual
world-ground, absolute sentience is defined as an actual occasion ! Is
God* the unique, all-encompassing exception ? If so, how to maintain
God* does not influence the world in terms of efficient
determination, i.e. physically ? The spirit of criticism shuns
the return of Caesarean Divinity, a God forcing its beings to kneel,
bow and grovel at its feet.
Does this mean God* poses a paradox ?
Is Divine process para-consistent,
implying the logic involving this unique actual occasion is
not formal (or Aristotelian), with its linearity, but non-linear or
able to efficiently organize certain inconsistencies in the fabric
of conceptual reason itself ? Like quantum logic, not avoiding
contradictions, but handling them in some way.
β.3 Is this God* the object of
nondual (non-conceptual) cognition only ? Lacking a mathematically
perfect logic is however not absence of logic or no logic at all.
Process theology is a branch of transcendent metaphysics and
therefore impossible to validate by empirico-formal fact or by
conclusive (i.e. absolute) argumentative justification of whatever
sort. Its rules are a hermeneutics of mystical poetry, as indicated by "*" in
"God*" or "Clear Light*". Lack of conclusive argument is however
of terministic argument.
God*, both potential & actual, both
abstract & present, is the meeting ground of the actual world with
the realm of the pure possibilities, one encompassing primordial matter and
primordial information. This makes God* stand out in the
world-ground. Not in the sense of any Divine Creativity, but by the
possibility of infinite reorganization and an absolute consciousness
(of which cosmic consciousness is but an instance linked with a
given world). God*'s choice for unity & harmony has direct
bearing on what happens in the world, albeit not by direct efficient
determination, as omnipotence would have it.
Suppose omnipotence would be the case. The world-ground would
then not be a mere
abstract of possibilities (the possibility of the next actual
occasion of the world), but the throne of an omnipotent God*
able to hinder freedom, the creative outcome of the organisations of
primordial information. Given freedom, and so novelty & creative advance,
this cannot be the case. God* prehends all possibilities of energy &
and merely gives relevance to these in the becoming of the world, but
only acts by way of
final determination, influencing (in terms of the domain of
matter), physical outcome only indirectly by luring the propensity-fields of
momentum, not by the spectacular, miraculous or supernatural way of
ex machina". One may argue God* has an indirect
bearing on the world, but then merely as a Grand Architect forced to
consider the material with which the Magnum Opus is done.
God* is the anterior ground guaranteeing a very small fraction of all possibilities may
enter into the actual becoming of the spatiotemporal world. Without God*,
nothing of what is possible in terms of the world-ground, would become some thing, change and create
in the world.
The order and creativity of what happens in the world are the result of a certain
valuation of possibilities. However, God* is not the world. Nor is
God* the realm of pure possibilities. The "Lord of Possibilities"
is not primordial matter, nor
Actual entities are concrete, while God* is an
abstract actual entity. Creativity & the primordial
quantum plasma are
non-actual formative elements, and therefore "pure
possibilities". God*, creativity and the quantum plasma are the
formative abstracts of the world.
God* plays with loaded dice.
δ. Consider God* has having two natures,
called "primordial" and "immanent".
δ.1 Primordially, God* is the instance grounding
the permanence and continuous novelty characterizing the world. This does not call for substance, but for a infinitely
perfect & ongoing symmetry-transformation valuating pure possibility. Allowing metaphysics to conceptualize
such a special actual occasion, is opening up conceptual cognition to
the standards of transfinite calculus and integrating the
para-consistent treatment of paradox.
primordial nature of God* has no direct impact on the physical stream of
efficient determinations of the world.
For although an actual entity, God*'s activity is "abstract",
namely in the aesthetic (artistic) process of valuating the available pure possibilities
of the creative order and the infinite sea of energy.
Although engaged in the factual becoming of the
actual entities, God* cannot be conceived as a concrete actual entity, a
fact among the facts possessing direct efficient (physical)
determination. Ergo, God* cannot be omnipotent. God* is the sole "abstract" actual entity
Nevertheless, besides being abstract, God* is also a Divine consciousness
prehending all actualities here & now. This is the immanent nature
of the Divine.
ε. God's primordial nature is transcendent, untouched by the actual world.
This aspect is the "Lord of All Possibilities". It
offers all phenomena the possibility to constitute themselves. If not, nothing
would happen. By way of
prehensive valuation, God* brings on harmony in all possibilities, for
actuality implies choice & limitation. But as all order is contingent,
lots of things always remain possible. The "ideal harmony" is only realized as an
virtually, and God* is the actual entity bringing this beauty into
actuality, turning potential harmony into actual aesthetic value. In this
way, God* directs matter indirectly. While not omnipotent, God* remains
ε.1 For the order of freedom and responsibility to abide, omnipotence is
logically impossible. Suppose God* were omnipotent, then why not prevent
the Holocaust ? Due to so many powerful & concentrated evil NAZI
intentions, God* could not immediately stop this bad architecture
unfolding. The Divine is a Grand Architect, not the Creator of all
things. Call this the Auschwitz-paradox : although an extremely powerful
"Lord of Beauty", God* -confronting sentient beings exerting their
"demonic" creativity- can not prevent this extreme falsehood, ugliness &
evil to temporarily abide. Creativity itself is merely the material with
which God* works, and cannot be manipulated "ex nihilo" or "ex
cathedra". Likewise, the unacceptable and extremely unfortunate destruction of the innocent is the price
paid for the freedom of destructive intent (consciousness) and
disruptive togetherness (information & matter).
ε.2 Evil, both natural (based on material & informational collisions) and
moral (based on bad intent), is the outcome of annihilating
togetherness, bringing out egology. The presence of friction & entropy do not preclude God* to balance out these unwanted
effects in the future. Although at times evil is overpowering,
in the end harmony always prevails. This is the Ghandi-principle.
God* does not decide, but lures, i.e. makes beauty more likely. There is no
work here, but a teleological pull inviting creative advance. Given the
circumstances, a tender pressure is present to achieve the highest possible
God* is the necessary condition, but not the sufficient condition
for events. Classical omnipotence & omniscience are thus eliminated.
God* knows all actual events as actual and all possible (future) events
as possible. He does not know all future events as actual. This would be a category mistake.
God* cannot hamper creativity, nor curtail energy.
ugliness & evil are the outcome of the clash of freedom, of the presence
of creativity. They are as sad as they are inevitable.
η. Given all determining
conditions determining things, the Divine purpose for each and every
thing, and this on every rung of the ontological ladder, is to just be a contributor to the realization of the purpose of the
whole, the unity of harmony in diversity. God* is the unique abstract actual entity making it possible for the multiplicity of events
to end up in
harmony, togetherness and unity. This aspect of God* is permanent (an ongoing holomovement or
symmetry-transformation) & eternal (beginningless and nowhere). This holomovement never ends.
is the Adî-Buddha !
The immanent nature of the Divine is God*'s concrete,
actual near all worldly possibilities, actively valorising them to bring out
harmony and the purpose of the whole, as well as conserving them as a totality, as
a world, society, aggregate, event or actual occasion.
God*, with infinite care, is a
tenderness loosing nothing. Hence, the Divine experience of the world changes. It always grows and
can never be given as a whole. In this sense God* is always learning to
untie the new knots, to unnerve unique conflicts of interest.
God* is loyal and will not
forsake a single actual occasion. Infinitely intelligent and prehending
all-comprehensively, God*'s experience grows and are so part of
God* is not self-powered and not omnipotent. God*
is not an impassible super-object, not a super-substance, nor a "Caesar"
disconnected from and looking down on the world, but, on the contrary,
changed and touched by what happens insofar as the immanent nature goes.
Can process theology merely be another way to analyze the three Bodies of the
Âdi-Buddha, the primordial Buddha representing the class of all
Buddhas or awakened actual occasions "thus gone" (into holomovement) ? Are
the differences between this Âdi-Buddha and the abstract concept of
the "God* of process" not merely terminological & cultural ?
The Truth Body of the Âdi-Buddha, the "dharmakâya" is a formless,
undifferentiated, empty, nondual luminous field of creativity, out of which all
possibilities arise. With a thoroughly purified conceptual mind entering the
non-conceptual, such metaphysical poetry is not merely nonsensical, but the
condensation of actual direct, nondual cognition. In itself, this Truth Body is unmoved and has no
motivational factors to allow the Form Bodies to arise. The latter are
"spontaneous" emergences. Likewise, creativity and God* are not
causally related. God* does not create it, nor is creativity
defined by what God* wants. Since beginningless time, the Truth Body is
given, just as are unlimited creativity (primordial information) and
the infinite (zeropoint) plasma (primordial matter).
The Form Body ("rûpakâya")
ideal form emerging out of the Truth Body for the sake of compassionate
activity. In process
theology, compassion is subsumed under beauty, for how can ugliness
and disorder be compassionate ? God* makes certain definite forms
possible by valuating the endless field of creativity using the key of
unity & beauty. The Form Bodies are the two ways the Âdi-Buddha relates to ordinary, apparent events ("samsâra") : the
Enjoyment Body is the ideal "form" with which the endless possibilities
are given definiteness (God* as primordial), while the Emanation Body is
the actual ideal "event" bringing this form down to the plane of physicality
and concrete "luring" Divine consciousness (God* as immanent,
The two natures of God* are not two ontological parts or elements, but two
dealing with the world. Primordially, God* is always offering
possibilities and realizing unity, order & harmony. Consequentially, in these immanent ways, God* takes the self-creation of all actual
events in this concrete world into account, considering what is realized of what is made
In these two ways, initiating & responding, permanent &
alternating, we observe the bi-polar mode of God*, favouring a
process-based, pan-en-theist approach of the actual world and its ground.