Critique of a Metaphysics of Process

 

demarcating things as they are
conventionally & ultimately
moving along swimmingly

 

Part I : General Metaphysics

 

ANTWERP
2012

 


 

 

I pay homage to Je Tsongkhapa


inspired by the profound philosophies of
Protector Nâgârjuna, Emmanuel Kant & Alfred North Whitehead
with thanks to Willem of Ockham
to the living trees


"Neither from itself nor from another, nor from both, nor without a cause, does anything whatever, anywhere arise."
Nâgârjuna : Mûlamadhyamakakârikâ, 1.

"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them : the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."

Kant, I. : Critique of Practical Reason, conclusion, on Kant's tombstone.

"'Creativity' is the universal of universals characterizing ultimate matter of fact. It is the ultimate principle by which the many, which are the universe disjunctively, become the one actual occasion, which is the universe conjunctively. It lies in the nature of things that the many enter into complex unity."
Whitehead, A.N. : Process and Reality, § 31.


Natura abhorret a vacuo.


This work drew direct inspiration from Nâgârjuna's Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way, the Mûlamadhyamakakârikâ (2th century CE), Emmanuel Kant's Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1781), the Critique of Pure Reason, and Alfred North Whitehead's Process and Reality (1927/28). Knowing this, the reader is exempt, except for the odd quotation, from the burden of the usual battery of academic references. For the prolegomena to this metaphysics of process, consult Criticosynthesis.


"Be empty, that is all."
Chuang-tzu

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Part I : General Metaphysics.

Chapter 1 Introducing Metaphysics & Ontology.

1.1 Metaphysics & Science.

A.
Object-Dependent, Imaginal & Perspectivistic Styles.

§ 1 The Issue of Style.
§ 2 Deriving Style from Objects.
§ 3 Imaginal Style.
§ 4 Creative Unfoldment.
§ 5 The Style of Process Metaphysics.

B. Opposition, Reduction & Discordant Truce.

§ 1 The Axiomatic Base.
§ 2 Monism, Dualism or Pluralism.
§ 3 Critical Epistemology.
§ 4 Conflictual Model.
§ 5 Reductionist Model.
§ 6 Metaphysics & Criticism.
§ 7 Discordant Truce.
§ 8 The Objectivity of Sensate Objects.
§ 9 The Subjectivity of Mental Objects.
§ 10 Direct & Indirect Experience.

C. Towards a Critical Metaphysics.

§ 1 Transcendence & Interdependence in Ancient Egyptian Sapience.
§ 2 Greek Metaphysics : Transcendence & Independence.
§ 3 Metaphysics in Monotheism & Modern Philosophy.
§ 4 The Fundamental Question : Being or Knowing ?
§ 5 Precritical Metaphysics : Being before Knowing.
§ 6 Critical Metaphysics : Knowing before Being.

D. Valid Science & Critical Metaphysics.

§ 1 Transcendental Logic of Cognition.
§ 2 The Correct Logic of Scientific Discovery.
§ 3 The Validity of Scientific Knowledge.
§ 4 Casus-Law : the Maxims of Knowledge Production.
§ 5 Metaphysical Background Information.

E. Thinking Metaphysical Advancement.

§ 1 The Mistake of Absolute Relativism.
§ 2 Logical Advance.
§ 3 Semantic Advance.

1.2 Immanent Metaphysics.

A. The Limit-Concepts of Reason.

§ 1
Finite Series and the Infinite.
§ 2 Modern Limit-concepts : Soul, World, God.
§ 3 The Copernican Revolution.
§ 4 The Linguistic Turn.
§ 5 Epistemological Limit-concepts : the Real & the Ideal.
§ 6 Metaphysical Limit-concepts : Conserver, Designer & Clear Light*.

B. Diversity & Convergence in the World.

§ 1 Horizontal : Variety, Display & the World-Ground.
§ 2 Vertical : Unity, Intelligent Focus & Clear Light*.


C. The Alliance between Science & Immanent Metaphysics.

§ 1 The Alliance of Form.
§ 2 The Alliance of Contents.
§ 3 Empirical Significance & Heuristic Relevance.

D. Limitations of a Possible Speculative Discourse.

§ 1 Logical Limitations.
§ 2 Semantic Limitations.
§ 3 Cognitive Limitations.

1.3 Transcendent Metaphysics.

A. Jumping Beyond Limit-Concepts.

§ 1 Epistemological Transgressions.
§ 2 Ontological Transgressions.
§ 3 Transgressive Metaphysics.
§ 4 Deconstruction & the Margin.

B. Conceptuality & Non-Conceptuality.

§ 1 Conceptual Thought.
§ 2 Ante-rational Regressions.
§ 3 Meta-rational Transgressions.
§ 4 Direct Experience & Cognitive Nonduality.
§ 5 The Epistemological Status of Nonduality.

C. Irrationality versus Poetic Sublimity.

§ 1 Features of Irrationality.
§ 2 Transcendence & Art.

1.4 Ontology.

A. Defining Ontology without the Nature of Being.

§ 1 Place of Ontology in Metaphysics.
§ 2 Objects of Ontology : What is There ?
§ 3 Monist, Dualist & Pluralist Ontologies.
§ 4 Failures of Materialist & Spiritualist Ontologies.
§ 5 Voidness, Emptiness & Interdependence.

B. Perennial Ontology ?

§ 1 The Ancient Egyptian Nun & the Pre-Socratic Ground.
§ 2 The Logic of Being & the Fact of Becoming.
§ 3 Greek & Indian Concept-Realism.
§ 4 The Tao.
§ 5 The Dharma Difference.

C. Against Foundation & Substance.

§ 1 The Definition of Substance.
§ 2 The Münchausen Trilemma.
§ 3 Avoiding Dogmatism & Scepticism.

D. Conventional Appearance.

§ 1 What is Truly There ?
§ 2
Concepts, Determinations & Conditions.
§ 3 Valid but Mistaken Appearance.
§ 4 Appearance, Illusion & the Universal Illusion.

E.
Ultimate Suchness/Thatness.

§ 1 The Katapathic View on the Ultimate.
§ 2 The Apophatic View on the Ultimate.
§ 3 The Non-Affirmative Negation.
§ 4 Fabricating the Ultimate : Ending Reified Concepts.
§ 5 The Direct Experience of the Unfabricated Ultimate.

F. The Ontological Scheme.

§ 1 Event & Actual Occasion.
§ 2 Efficient & Final Determinations of an Actual Occasion.
§ 3 The Three Operators.
§ 4 Aggregates of Actual Occasions.
§ 5 Individualized Societies.
§ 6 Panpsychism versus Panexperientialism.
§ 7 The God* of Process Ontology.

Chapter 2 Mental Pliancy & its Enemies.

2.1 Definition of Mind.

§ 1 Awareness, Attention & Cognizing.
§ 2 Attending Objects of the Mind.
§ 3 Cognizing Clarity.
§ 4 The Luminous Clear Ground of the Mind.

2.2 The Continuum of the Mindstream.

§ 1 A Non-Spatial Continuum : Temporal and Atemporal.
§ 2 Symmetry & Symmetry-Break.
§ 3 From Happiness to Peace.

2.3 The Non-Physical Domain of the Mind.

§ 1 Physical & Non-Physical Domains.
§ 2 Upward Causation.
§ 3 Downward Causation.

2.4 Ego, Self & Selflessness.

§ 1 Defining the Self.
§ 2 The Two Foci.
§ 3 Prehending the Selfless Mindstream.

2.5 Closed & Open Minds.

§ 1 The Logic of Self-Cherishing Affliction.
§ 2 Ontologizing the Self.
§ 3 The Closed Entropic Mind.
§ 4 The Mind of Enlightenment.
§ 5 The Open Negentropic Mind or Pliant Mind.

Chapter 3 Metaphysics as Conventional Truth.

3.1 Conventional Truth as Valid but Mistaken.

§ 1 The Validation of Knowledge.
§ 2 The Relevance of Authority.
§ 3 The Significance of Experimentation.
§ 4 The Worth of Conventional Truth.
§ 5 How Conventional Truth Fails.
§ 6 Substantial Instantiation in Conventional Truth.

3.2 The Argument of Illusion.

§ 1 The Argument from the Senses.
§ 2 The Argument from the Rational Mind.
§ 3 The Argument from Speculative Reason.
§ 4 The Argument from
Consciousness.

Chapter 4 Speculative Thought.

4.1 Speculating on the Subject.

§ 1 The Identity System.
§ 2 Desubstantializing Identity.
§ 3 From Ego-Circularity to Bi-modality.
§ 4 Selflessness : Clearing the Ontic Self.
§ 5 The Immortal Nature of the Clear Light* Mind.

4.2 Speculating on the Object.

§ 1 The Object of Creative thought.
§ 2 Process : Clearing the Ontic World-System.

Chapter 5 Preparing the Mind for Ultimate Truth.

5.1 Defining Ultimate Truth ?

§ 1 Primordial Ground : the Undifferentiated.
§ 2 Unbounded Wholeness : the Absolute.
§ 3 Things As They Are : the Non-Deceptive.
§ 4 The Duality of the Simultaneous.

5.2 Conceptual Fallacies and Nondual Un-saying.

§ 1 Against the Ontology of the One Truth.
§ 2 Against the Ontology of Awakening.
§ 3 The Case of the Unity of the World-Ground.
§ 4 The Positive Power of Silence.

5.3 Generating Right View.

§ 1 Identifying the Culprit.
§ 2 Eliminating Concepts with Concepts.
§ 3 Contrived Realization of Full-Emptiness.
§ 4 Uncontrived Uncovering of the Clear Light Nature of Mind*.

Chapter 6 The Logic of Ultimate Analysis.

6.1 Conventional & Ultimate Analysis.

§ 1 Conventional Analysis.
§ 2 Ultimate Analysis.
§ 3 The Dangers of Ultimate Analysis.

6.2 The Formal Presuppositions of Ultimate Analysis.

§ 1 The Rules of Formal Logic.
§ 2 Identity.
§ 3 Duality & Negation.
§ 4 Excluded Third.

6.3 The Primitives.

§ 1 The Logical Operators.
§ 2 The Quantifiers.
§ 3 Objects
.
§ 4 Differentiating Object
A.
§ 5 The Apprehending Self.

6.4 The Six Instantiations.

§ 1 Instantiation.
§ 2 Logical Instantiation.
§ 3 Functional Instantiation.
§ 4 Conventional Instantiation.
§ 5 Substantial Instantiation.
§ 6 Ultimate (or Absolute) Instantiation.
§ 7 Mere Existential Instantiation.

6.5 The Logic of the Selflessness of Persons.

§ 1 Establishing Ontic Identity.
§ 2 Ontic Identity is not Identical with Mind or Body.
§ 3 Ontic Identity is not Different from Mind or Body.
§ 4 No Ontic Identity is Found.

6.6 The Logic of the Selflessness of Phenomena.

§ 1 Establishing Ontic Sensate Objects.
§ 2 Ontic Sensate Objects are not Identical with their Parts.
§ 3 Ontic Sensate Objects are not Different from their Parts.
§ 4 No Ontic Sensate Objects are Found.

6.7 Conclusions.

§ 1 Main Problems of Substantiality.
§ 2 Non-Substantiality.
§ 3 Dependent Arising & Process.
§ 4 One Object with Two Epistemic Isolates.
§ 5 Simultaneity : No Two Worlds & No Two States.

6.8 Full-Emptiness.

§ 1 Fullness of Earth : Process Nature of Objects & Subjects.
§ 2 Emptiness of Heaven : Absence of Inherent Existence.
§ 3 Pansacralism.

Chapter 7 Preparative Ontology.

7.1 The Question of Questions : Why Something ?

§ 1 Nothingness : Relative & Absolute.
§ 2 Nothingness : Passive & Active.
§ 3 Nihilism of the Void.
§ 4 Active Nothingness : Potentiality & Virtuality.

7.2 Operating Something.

A. Matter : Particles, Fields & Forces or Hardware.

§ 1 The Quantum Plasma of the World-Ground.
§ 2 The Beginning of the Conventional Spacetime Continuum.
§ 3 Elementary Particles, Fields & Forces.

B. Information : Encoded Data or Software.

§ 4 Information : Informing & Informed.
§ 5 Informed Information.
§ 6 The Matter - Information Bond.
§ 7 Life as Complexification.

C. Consciousness : Meaning & Intent or Userware.

§ 8 Meaning & Intent.
§ 9 Evolutionary Panexperientialism & Degrees of Consciousness.
§ 10 The Spiritual Features of Consciousness.

7.3 Towards a Metaphysics of Specifics.


Part II : Metaphysics of Specifics.

Chapter 8
Metaphysical Cosmology.
Chapter 9
Metaphysical Cybernetics.
Chapter 10
Metaphysical Biology.
Chapter 11
Metaphysical Anthropology.
Chapter 12
Metaphysical Mysticism.
Chapter 13
Metaphysical Theology.

Thematic Glossary
Alphabetic Glossary

Bibliography


INTRODUCTION


Ontology, the study of what is shared in common by all existing things (individual phenomena or aggregates of phenomena), is the capstone of the love of wisdom. Ontology is also the final speculative goal of metaphysical inquiry, both immanent (within the world) and transcendent (beyond the world). Despite all possible variety between things (including conscious persons endowed with a human mind), ontology tries to lay bare the ultimate nature of all phenomena. In vain, no doubt. But in the process of this conceptual understanding, coarse, subtle & very subtle arguments are put in place. As history unfolds, "this" metaphysics of existence or process will inevitably be replaced by "that" better one. In the dialogue between these versions, complex new scientifically inspiring concepts may emerge. This inexhaustible complexification being one of the hallmark in the history of valid ontologies.

To further the speculative branch of philosophy or "metaphysics", the normative disciplines of logic, epistemology, ethics & aesthetics have to influence the mind first (cf. Criticosynthesis, 2008). One has to know the principles of correct reasoning (transcendental logic), the norms of valid knowledge (theory of knowledge), the maxims of knowledge-production (practice of knowledge), the judgments pertaining to the good (the just, fair & right), providing maxims for what must be done (ethics) and judgments pertaining to what we hope others may imitate, namely the sublime beauty of excellent & exemplary states of matter (aesthetics). These normative disciplines foster precise goals. Logic targets correctness, epistemology validity, ethics goodness and aesthetics unity & harmony. If left out, any metaphysical enterprise will be insufficiently capacitated. Then, to conceptualize the ultimate nature of phenomena, speculative depth & extend will be lacking.

When Andronikos of Rhodos (first century CE) classified the works of Aristotle, he placed the books on First Philosophy next to fourteen treatises on Nature ("ta physika"). These were called "ta meta ta physika" or "the (books) coming after the (books on) nature" and so "metaphysics" was born. The names given to Aristotle's First Philosophy vary from "theology", "wisdom" (Aristotle), "transphysics" (Albertus Magnus), "hyperphysics" (Simplicius) to "paraphysics" ... Playing on the ambiguity in "meta", it was also taken to connote what is beyond sensible nature. For Aristotle, metaphysics was (a) the science of first principles and causes, (b) the science of being as being and (c) theology.

Did Andronikos leave us a hint ? Should metaphysics, before starting to speculate, always first study physics, i.e. "science" ? Without the backbone of valid empirico-formal knowledge, can the totalizing conceptualization sought be anything other than incomplete and/or flawed ? Or worse : irrational nonsense ?

§ 1 Correctness and Validity.

Logic and epistemology teach how formal & empirico-formal knowledge and its advancement are possible. They focus on conventional truth, the functional reality of sensate & mental objects shared with other knowers.

Logic rules the architecture of conceptual reasoning. Classical logic identifies truth-values, fallacies, consistency, coherence & completeness. It does so using the principles of identity, non-contradiction and excluded third. It invites us not to multiply entities needlessly (parsimony), and mostly builds on symmetry. Non-classical logics develop systems of inference based on alternative principles, needed to understand special objects like action, possibility or quantum phenomena. They teach us to work with paradox, absence of coherence or contradiction (para-consistency).

Applying formal logic to the question of the ultimate nature of phenomena, or ultimate analysis (cf. Ultimate Analysis, 2009), either results in the conceptualization of the absence of substantial reality of oneself (the identitylessness of persons), or in realizing the lack of such in phenomena (the substantiality of phenomena). Reifying the generic idea of emptiness ("shûnyatâ", cf. Emptiness Panacea, 2008) leads to nihilism, affirming self and non-self are unsubstantial and so nothing at all, not even functional. Nihilism may however disguise itself as essentialism, for nothingness itself, as an underlying void thing (hypokeimenon), is at times -paradoxically- turned into the nonexistent "stuff" out of which phenomena emerge. Rejecting ultimate analysis for no good reason leads to eternalism, affirming substantial existence of self and/or non-self. Here the many contradictions of substantialism are waved away.

Clearly a mind analyzing reality by way of logic alone is not equipped to realize the wisdom unveiling ultimate truth. Nihilism and eternalism are weak positions. A mind thinking along those lines is not pliant, but either self-cherishing or self-annihilating. Both tendencies point to incorrect ontological presuppositions. Self-grasping has not come to an end. If any metaphysical insight is to be gained, both mentalities must be abandoned.

Defining valid knowledge, epistemology demarcates the rules of true knowledge in terms of valid empirico-formal statements of fact. Indeed, science is validated by experimentation & argumentation, metaphysics by the latter only (cf. Criticosynthesis, 2007, chapter 2).

Rejecting substantialism, metaphysical speculation on process takes full advantage of the logic of ultimate analysis. Metaphysics of process is not a mummification of ideas, the denial of diversity and impermanence (of life itself) for the sake of a fictional stability, a "Jenseits" of imagination or a Platonic world. Nor is it the reification of the objective & subjective conditions of all possible thought. Metaphysics of process accepts the results of logic & science : absolutely isolated objects cannot be found. Metaphysics is not a speculation on substance but on process. The latter encompasses both absence & presence, both the arising, the abiding and the ceasing. It does so because only interdependent, impermanent phenomena arise, abide & cease. These define a stream of functionally interrelated happenings (efficient) & moments of creative advance (finative). Ergo, metaphysics is not equated with idealism or Platonism. Nor with realism or Aristotelism.

§ 2 The Pliancy of Mind.

Insofar as our speculative pursuit does not consider the link between, on the one hand, the existential conditions defining the egological state of the mind of Homo normalis and, on the other hand, the capacity to cognize the ultimate nature of things, ontology is nothing more than a subtle ornament of dry metaphysical intellectualism. Moreover, as someone describing how to swim without ever having touched water, these intellectual activities miss target. The conclusions reached may be accepted or rejected without ceasing the existential dissatisfaction, both emotional & intellectual, present in those in which these ideas and their speculative study happen. This considerably handicaps philosophy to serve practical goals ! How to outline a philosophy of the practice of philosophy ? Even if the necessity of the arguments cannot be obscured or confused, their influence on sensation, thought, feelings, action and consciousness is insufficient to actually liberate the mind from mental obscurations & afflictive emotions by unconcealing ultimate (absolute) truth, i.e. by the direct, non-conceptual & nondual experience of the ultimate nature of phenomena.

Without considering the maieutic dimension assisting the liberation of human beings, without engaged thinking, speculative philosophy does not really take off. Then barren academia is what is left. The Socratic intent opposes this exclusive hold of philologistics on the pursuit of wisdom.

Wisdom encompasses theory & practice. Philosophy is both abstract & concrete. Both form a unity. Integral part of society, the practice of philosophy is an integral part of the philosophical life, involving theory & practice. To self-realize the spirit of wisdom, the philosophical life calls for spirituality, or the art & science of addressing consciousness, thought, affect, volition and sensation.
 The necessity of such a "practice of philosophy" derives from wisdom's aim to reduce alienation & disorientation, promoting :

  1. (inter) subjectivity :
    self-awareness, consciousness of being a subject, a someone rather than a something, the First Person perspective, ability to interact constructively with others, implying openness, flexibility, respect, tolerance etc. ;

  2. cognitive autonomy :
    capacity to think rationally, to self-reflect, to be able to formulate ideas independent of traditions, to integrate instinct & intuition in a rational way, dialogal capacity, using arguments to posit opinions ;

  3. balance :
    awareness of the importance of happiness, justice and fairness in thought, feelings and actions, communicational action, building peace, mutual understanding & acting against extremes like fundamentalism, nihilism, virulent scepticism, closed dogmatism, exaggerated relativism, blind materialism, naive spiritualism, etc. ;

  4. intellectual & spiritual concentration, sharpness & depth :
    creative capacity, originality, inventivity, novelty, and the spiritual exercises aiming at wholeness, leading to increased mental concentration, intellectual acuteness and extend of interests and compass.

The abortion of the practice of sapience by the academy is a recent one. Let it be rejected. In the light of criticism (cf. Criticosynthesis, 2007), academic philosophy is both theoretical & practical :

  • theoria : the philosophy of the theory of philosophy :
    (1) normative (judicial) : logic, epistemology, ethics & aesthetics ;
    (2) descriptive (speculative) : metaphysics incorporating an ontology of process, cosmos, life & the human ;
    (3) philologistics : history of philosophy, hermeneutics, linguistics, philosophy of language, neurophilosophy, etc.

  • the praxis of wisdom : the philosophy of the practice of philosophy : namely the tools to apply philosophy in society, in terms of psychology, sociology, politics, economy, advising, counselling, self-realization, etc.

The "theoretical" activity of the philosopher (reading, writing, teaching) needs to be complemented by the "practical" activity of the same philosopher (listening, advising, mediating, meditating). Without sufficient input from real-life & real-time philosophical crisis-management, the mighty stream of wisdom becomes a serpentine of triviality and/or a valid pestilence of details (pointless subtlety). This is in-crowd philosophy, elitist and mostly useless.

Working together, contemplation (theory) and action (practice) allow wisdom to deepen by the touch of a wide spectrum of different types of interactions. Risks are taken. Opposition & creativity (novelty) must be given their "random" place in the institutional architecture. One must teach philosophers how to integrate themselves in the economical cycle. Kept outside the latter, state-funded philosophy rises. This situation does not benefit philosophy, quite on the contrary. Moreover, it also limits the possibility to enter wisdom, the mind witnessing the ultimate nature of all possible phenomena. In doing so, the absence of a practice of philosophy hinders the development of philosophical thought, both in terms of its depth & extend.

Indeed, when human beings in general, and philosophers in particular, only care for their own petty little kingdoms of trust and act accordingly, their minds miss the necessary pliancy to grasp, assimilate & integrate the truth concerning the nature of phenomena. The ability of being flexed without breaking comes from being able to adapt to different conditions. This capacity goes hand in hand with a calm mind cherishing others more than oneself. By eliminating sapiental activities, the stuck, strained mind -accommodating itself first- loses the capacity to swim even if it wishes to do so. And so when these minds do enter the water, their views immediately drown. Only through love & compassion, the wish & activity of causing all possible others to be happy, does the mind slowly open up. Only with this pliant & calm mind may one try to take in the wisdom realizing the ultimate nature of things. Conventional truth, in particular functional interdependence, the bedrock of method & compassion, must be grasped before the wisdom witnessing phenomena as they are may be discovered. One cannot philosophize with a mind stuck in the mud of self-cherishing & self-grasping. Doing so leads to nothing, except to a waste of precious time & good effort. It furthers no merit, reward or solution.

Ethics is thus a necessary prerequisite for the ultimate success of metaphysics in general and ontology in particular. It is an integral ingredient to make the mind capable to embark with conventional truths, bringing them to the other shore of ultimate truth. Without compassion, wisdom cannot be found. Without wisdom, compassion is inefficient, i.e. does not liberate from suffering. Reason without ethics is crippled, like seeing with one eye. Such reasonings are like poison in a pot, prompting the smart to put nothing in it ...

Of course, without compassion, ultimate truth can be approached with the same ultimate analysis, but the resultant view on ultimate nature, lacking the functionality of conventional reality, will be nihilist. Then, ultimate nature becomes a "noumenon", a limit-concept, not a nondual discovery of the natural light of the mind. Emptiness is reduced to a void viewed as an absolute nothingness, a mere formal condition.

To miss this important methodological role of ethics in ontology, so stressed in the East, particularly in the Buddhadharma, is to neglect the actual practice of philosophy to the advantage of a crippled theoretical definition of "wisdom" as "a theory on the totality of being". This mere academism is sterile, even in its subtlety. It does not lead to liberation, while ultimate truth sets us free from the obscurations caused by the "Three Poisons" of ignorance (not knowing ultimate nature), desire (grasping & clinging to sensate and/or mental objects) & hatred (rejecting & disliking this or that sensate and/or mental object).

§ 3 Unity & Harmony of Mind.

The mind is able to bring the manifold under unity. This by integrating separate units and by realizing a creative unison, an upgrading synthesis. This "Gestalt" is more than the mere sum of its components. Complex aggregates ensue. And these are not disordered or amorph. On the contrary, architectures and meaningful patterns are everywhere apparent in Nature. Even electrons are ruled by Pauli's exclusion principle, by which no two electrons can be in the same state or configuration at the same time, accounting for the observed patterns of light emission from atoms.

The organization or code of these architectures is called "information". Just as noise is not sound, well-formed information has little redundancy. A compression of structure it aimed at ; an elegance, a symmetry, a play of interdependence and interrelationality, highlighting the togetherness of all phenomena of Nature. These conditions are not part of logic per se, but pertain to aesthetics, the judgment of beauty
(cf. Criticosynthesis, 2007, chapter 5).

The metaphysical mind needs more than correctness, validity & pliancy. A totalizing, all-encompassing intent must be addressed.
Tí tò ón ? or What is being ? already refers to this over-arching zeal of metaphysics. While for Aristotle, this "being" was "substance", process metaphysics posits actual occasions to be the final building-blocks of that which is, i.e. the set of all possible phenomena. The totality of possibilities is thus aimed at. These are necessarily organized, for, to be arguable, metaphysics needs to be well-formed. Here forms of harmonization enter the picture, for information is an architecture, i.e. a structure, form or mathematical representation of process. Harmony is a relatively continuous balance between phenomena, whereas forms of harmony are archetypal ways of balancing out. Balance can be weird, awkward, odd, strange, bizarre, absurd, grotesque, bombastic, exaggerated etc. This evokes the pair symmetry and symmetry-break. Absence of balance is not a form of harmony, but a disharmonization.

In a mind able to speculate well, unity & harmony interlock. This final element capacitates the mind sufficiently to entertain metaphysics. Accepting correct reasoning and valid scientific knowledge, training mental pliancy and fostering what brings unity & harmony, the mind is open, deep, sharp, acute & clear enough to be at peace and speculate.

THE NORMATIVE SCIENCES
OBJECT "I THINK" SUBJECT
without an object
nothing is thought
Transcendental
Logic
without a subject
nobody thinks
necessity of reality
idea of the REAL
Factum Rationis necessity of ideality idea of the IDEAL
Epistemology : knowledge - truth
transcendental
object of thought
Transcendental
Logic
transcendental
subject of thought
experiments
correspondence
Theoretical
Norms
argumentation
consensus
research-cell Practical
Maxims
opportunistic logic
the production of provisional, probable & coherent empirico-formal, scientific knowledge we can hold for true
Ethics : volition - the good
coordinated movement & its consequence Transcendental
Logic
free will
duty - calling Theoretical
Norms
intent - conscience
family - property - the secular state Practical
Maxims
persons - health - death
judgments pertaining to the good (the just, fair & right), providing maxims for what must be done
Esthetics : feeling - the beautiful
states of sensate matter or mental objects Transcendental
Logic
consciousness pursuing excellence & exemplarity
sensate & evocative aesthetic features Theoretical
Norms
aesthetic attitude
objective art, social art, revolutionary art, magisterial art Practical
Maxims
subjective art, personal art, psycho-dynamic art, total art
judgments pertaining to what we hope others may imitate, namely the beauty of excellent & exemplary states of matter

§ 4 Ultimate, Non-Relative Truth.

On the one hand, ontology, in absolute terms, aims to know the ultimate nature of phenomena. Thus it reveals an ultimate truth. But, as we shall see, transcendent metaphysics is nondual, ineffable & apophatic (without tales). It merely points (as does poetry) to something it cannot denote, designate or conceptualize. This experience cannot be explained in positive terms, for the infinite cannot be contained by the finite. Easily broken by absolute truth, words are unworthy vessels. Conceptualizing it, we are left with nothing else but a non-affirmative negation. Needing a conceptualized framework, only immanent metaphysics is left. But the quest of its periphery does not unveil a transcendent Creator fashioning Nature "ex nihilo", but an intelligent "pneuma" or "Anima Mundi", an Architect limited by the creative freedom at work in Nature.

To cognize this ultimate mode of existence, i.e. the natural, spontaneous, uncontrived, unfabricated abiding of phenomena, is to know their ultimate truth. So ultimate truth is not an "entity" above or behind object, as in Platonism, but merely their natural condition, i.e. their suchness/thatness or that what they are in and by themselves. Although open to all conscious beings, this absolute state of each and every object is -unfortunately- realized by only a few. The reason is simple : to eliminate the countless delusions obscuring the mind is very difficult, demanding the ongoing discipline of study, reflection & meditation. The latter asks for renunciation, compassion and the wisdom-mind realizing the true nature of phenomena. Hence, transcendent metaphysics is not impossible sui generis, but because of ignorance (emotional & mental obscurations).

On the other hand, ontology does not turn its back to the conventional truth of the nominal, "common sense" hallucination of designated & named appearances. Quite on the contrary. The ultimate exists conventionally. There are no "ultimate objects" next, behind or beyond conventional objects, but each and every conventional object has a veiled, obscured, concealed absolute nature which is its ultimate truth. Unbridled by criticism, these misrepresentations of conventionality lead to mistaken, confused agreements, opinions, notions, ideas and/or theories relating how things exist as "real", "extra-mental" substances "out there" (as in realism), and/or as "ideal" "intra-mental" selves "in here" (as in idealism). But this does not invalidate them as conventional, functional objects. They are valid but mistaken.

As the object of science, conventional truth designates the factual nature of relative, fallible empirico-formal statements arrived at through experiment & argument. In an immanent metaphysics, conventional truth, on the basis of such statements of fact, speculates about being as such, the cosmos, life and consciousness. Being non-factual, it only argues (cannot test). Its arguments are more than mere perspectives, but slowly realize greater and greater clarity and comprehensiveness, finally moving to the periphery of its field. But these same conventional objects, valid insofar as their functions are concerned, are mistaken because they conceal their true nature. Indeed, the absence of their own-power is not eliminated by conventional analysis, quite on the contrary. Physical objects are defined as isolated & separate. A pivotal mental object like the self is reified and so deemed substantial !

To cognize designated facts conceptually, is to know conventional or relative truth. Although available through reason, it too -as valid science- is a rare occasion.  Conventional falsehoods are far more common and more easy to adhere to. Science aims at valid but mistaken empirico-formal truth. Immanent metaphysics tries to acquire valid but mistaken conventional speculative truth. Transcendent metaphysics points to ultimate truth, beyond validation and unmistaken.

§ 5 Conventional, Relative Truth.

Either entities are posited in a conventional act of cognition or are revealed by the wisdom realizing the ultimate status of phenomena, implying an uncommon, implicit, hidden dimension of the mind, one able to discover and perceive ultimate nature directly. This unveils the absolute, the ultimate, i.e. things as they are. This is their suchness or thatness.

Because conventionally, human beings only cognize by way of conceptual mentation and/or sensation, the conditions determining mental & sensate objects co-determine what we identify as a conventional entity. We thus prelimit objects in terms of the physical laws of perception, the psychophysical phenomenon of sensation & the known cognitive mechanisms of positing mental objects. Conventional truth must accept the theory-ladenness of our observations, for a lot of objectivity does not eliminate subjectivity. In fact, the latter cannot be taken away. As long as object and/or subject are not hypostatized, duality by itself poses no problem. But conventional truth does reify both object and subject of cognition. Reified duality is always problematic.

Conventional, conceptual thought and its relative truth splits every act of cognition up in two independent & separate sides, juxtaposing a subject, defined as an object-possessor, and an object, posited or designated by this endowed cogito. However, both are mutually dependent and inclusive. Without subject, there is no object to possess. Without object, there is no positing, grasping, designating cogito. Moreover, all subjects are also the object of another subject. In such a discursive, concept-based cognition, objects, phenomena, events or knowable entities are either sensate or mental. Sensate objects are the product of perception and cognitive interpretation. Thoughts, feelings, volitions and consciousness are mental. The difference becomes very clear when considering dreams. Although the eye-sense is dormant, visual images do appear. These are purely mental and are not caused by changes in the sensitive surface of the retina.

Relative, conventional truth, or valid knowledge about how things appear (not how they are in and by themselves), is the concern of science. The latter involves the "craft of magical conjurations", manipulating determinations, conditions, functions & interdependent (re)organizations.

Although science may be sophisticated, we cannot, with the standards of the conceptual mind, discover the ultimate nature of things, but only their appearance. By designating, conceptual thought fixates objects. In doing so, it allows objects to appear as existing from their own side, as substances existing according to their own characteristics. Even insofar as theoretical epistemology identifies this ontological illusion and eradicates its confusing influence on the foundations of epistemology itself (refusing to ground the possibility of knowledge in either object or subject), epistemology endorses the methodological need of applied epistemology to take objects and subjects at their face value, i.e. as if existing from their own side, independent from each other, without referent, as commonsense dictates.

This reifying characteristic of conceptual thought & science tries -in vain- to transform interdependent & impermanent phenomena into fixed, permanent, independent & substantial things.  Although criticism must conceive facts as theory-independent (if not, by lack of object, knowledge itself would be impossible), conceptually, we can never be sure this to be actually the case or not. Only non-conceptual, nondual wisdom-mind is able to definitively discern or apprehend ultimate truth, the suchness and thatness of all phenomena.

Conceptual thought implies categorial designation and this goes for both sensate & mental objects. Hence, it cannot be conceptually known whether conventional objects, existing in a conventional, functional way, on top of this also exist according to their own essence, nature, existentials or substantial characteristics. They are designated dependent on their parts, for they are all compounds.

Theoretical epistemology must accept facts also represent reality-as-such, but is not equipped to take a look "behind the surface of the mirror" and then conceptualize how things are there. Concepts are not able to pierce the membrane or lift the veil. Concepts are concealers. Therefore, although objects exist in a conventional way and thus make things work, both realist & idealist metaphysics -claiming sensate objects represent reality-as-such and/or mental objects represent the true order of things as they are- are conventional falsehoods, and this despite their playing a considerable role in applied epistemology (cf. methodological idealism versus methodological realism), as well as in the commonsense, nominal view of valid science (not to speak of invalid conventional knowledge).

Confused because of its concordia discors, conceptual reason (in the pre-rational, proto-rational, formal, critical & creative modes of cognition) eclipses ultimate truth and designates objects to appear as this-or-that. Producing consensual illusions, science is not equipped to unveil reality-as-such. On the level of sensate objects, conceptual interpretation is never put to rest, while mental objects are merely (inter)subjective, and thus dependent of context. Moreover, reifying duality is never relinquished.

To end this confusion, the ante-rational antecedents as well as the mechanisms of conceptual cognition must be understood, eradicating ontological illusion. This is the work of critical thought. It yields the relative truth of duality, as between sensate & mental objects, between experiments (testing) & discussions (argumentation), between the theory-independent & the theory-laden side of facts, between correspondence & consensus as aspects of conventional truth, etc.

In creative thought, i.e. in the mode of conceptual cognition used in immanent metaphysics, the gradual process of ultimate analysis, resulting in an approximate ultimate -the identity between interdependence and absence of substance- causes the ontological, substantializing, reifying strongholds of the duality of mind to finally collapse, opening it up to the discovery of the nondual, immediate, actual wisdom-mind apprehending ultimate nature. This wisdom is not produced, created or caused, but always given as the fundamental (naked) potential of the mind. Although ultimate analysis does not necessarily produce or cause wisdom mind, it works as a valid and potent preparation, as a gateway to ultimate truth, an approximate, contrived (fabricated) ultimate. This is the ultimate purification of the conceptual mind. Being introduced to wisdom mind is however immediate and thus non-gradual, uncontrived and direct.

So, as often overlooked, on the side of the subject of experience, the via negativa yields a positive result : the possibility of a nondual dimension of mind beyond reason (formal & critical) & intellect (creative). On the side of the object, this puts down a clear message : the ultimate nature of phenomena lies beyond the conceptual and can therefore not be grasped in any of the conceptual modes of thought (pre-rational, proto-rational, formal, critical & creative). One needs to move ahead !

This begs the question : What ultimate truth does wisdom-mind know ?

§ 6 Ultimate Analysis.

In absolute terms, ontology claims to establish the ultimate truth about every existing thing, which is the same as directly cognizing the ultimate state of phenomena. This ultimate truth, the wisdom realizing what truly is, takes as object things as they are, not as they appear. As Kant and neo-Kantianism have demonstrated, reason & science cannot penetrate further than appearing phenomena. Hence, from their side, ultimate truth is a "noumenon".

So although conceptual thought is not equipped to penetrate reality-as-such, it is nevertheless possible to gradually loosen its grip on cognition and prepare the ultimate experience of the suchness of all things, including the mind. This is not an introduction, but a springboard establishing an approximate ultimate. It is a purification of the mind. Dissolving the hard core of conventionality and facilitating the non-gradual "jump" to the other shore of wisdom, certain conceptualizations end the reifying procedures (instantiations) of discursive thought. Thanks to this, the direct perception of the luminous core of the mind, the ultimate, always present nature of mind and of phenomena, may rise.

This ultimate analysis (cf. Ultimate Logic, 2009), the gateway to ultimate truth, is a cognitive protocol aiming to arrest the reification of the conceptual mind by means of concepts and, with the greatest subtlety, prepare nonduality, or absence of concepts. It accommodates the direct experience of the ultimate nature of phenomena, of things as they are by way of a totalizing generic idea of the ultimate nature of phenomena. Regard this as an ultimate logic using concepts to clear away the reifying ground, preparing the realization of the unsubstantial, process-based nature of phenomena, i.e. their lack of intrinsic "thingness" or substance ("shûnyatâ") manifesting as their interdependence or dependent-arising ("pratîtya-samutpâda"). This unity of emptiness and dependent-arising is defined as "full-emptiness", a term encompassing all possible phenomena.

In this ultimate logic, concepts pertaining to the fundamental structures of conceptual thought are manipulated to end reifying conceptualization, collapsing the conceptual mind under the weight of its reifications, demolishing substantializing theories & mental constructions. As certain conceptualizations stop the confused mind (as it were purifies is), leading to (not causing) the direct experience of the ultimate, it is hence not the case conceptuality always engenders illusion. Otherwise, science and rationality would play no vital role in the cognitive emancipation of human beings, while they do. Ultimate analysis stops the substantial instantiation, and so makes the conceptual mind exclusively run on the existential instantiation. In such a mind, sensate & mental objects do rise, but without any further conceptual elaboration. They arise, abide and cease and without any further ado.

§ 7 Immanent & Transcendent Metaphysics.

Ontology operates a "double coding" :

(a) Ultimate truth or unmistaken absolute knowledge, the object of transcendent metaphysics, unveils the ultimate nature of phenomena. Directly perceived by an absolute, nondual, ineffable cognition (called "prehension"), it reveals wisdom at its highest possible level, the level of suchness/thatness.
(b) Relative truth or valid but mistaken conventional knowledge, the object of science & immanent metaphysics, deals with the conventional reality of things, grasped in empirico-formal statements of fact (called "apprehensions") considered by all concerned sign-interpreters to be true, even if this only appears to be the case. Invalid conventional knowledge or common falsehood, while quite rampant, is not considered here.

The obstinate determination, tenacity or degree of abidance characterizing the dreamlike mirage of appearances backs conventional truth. The latter manifests in science as facts we can hold for true and in immanent metaphysics as valid speculations about the totality of what convention considers to exists. The major immanent leaps to consider here are existence itself, the cosmos, life & consciousness, i.e. answers to the questions : Why something rather than nothing ? Why cosmos ? Why life ? Why sentience ?

Besides seeking ultimate truth or the ultimate status of phenomena, preparing the transcendence of conceptual thought by ending reification, thus revealing the potential suchness of the mind, immanent metaphysics, when invalid, signals our ability to cover up our inborn cognitive limitations by brontosauric theories on substance. Reifying, substantializing and so turning ideas into ultimate things or self-sufficient grounds, such transcendent ontologies forget the limitations of conceptual cognition and invalidate their position by not taking reason and science as their guide. In doing so, they do not even accommodate important relative truths, like the influence of ontological illusion on knowledge in epistemology. The extremes of reification designate an absolute object (like in theism) and/or an absolute subject (a metaphysics of an "immortal soul", as in Vedânta). This grand story on the substance of the soul (the "âtman") accommodates a return to a static concept of the Divine, contradicting ultimate analysis. Moreover, such immanent metaphysics are often ill-informed about the objects of science. For example, they mostly do not integrate the special features of large (relativity) and very small objects (quantum). Nor have they grasped the importance of non-linearity (chaos).

In practice, illusion (things appearing differently than they are) works. Circumstances, people, things, sensations, thoughts, feelings, volitions and conscious meaning appear solid, unchanging and graspable as "realities" which either "exist out there" or as "idealities" designated as part of the mind "in here". But under ultimate analysis, their material, informational and sentient (conscious) operators are compounds or aggregates (of actual occasion) changing constantly. Nowhere can a stable, unified continuum be identified. Appearances seem independent existences, but under ultimate analysis this can nowhere be found. What seems a substance is always a process ...

So, could we be tempted to claim that the "substance" of reality, its ultimate truth, is lack of substantiality ? Describing the ultimate nature of phenomena as unsubstantial is attributing a positive, conceptual contents to the ultimate, characterizing the nondual as without anything, suggestive of a void or absolute nothingness. This leads to nihilism. To the extent we say phenomena are unsubstantial, our scientific & immanent metaphysical knowledge is relative. From the point of view of ultimate truth, there are no phenomena to be called "unsubstantial". Nothing can be said about the ultimate nature of phenomena. Neverthesless, both the direct, nondual cognition & the experience of full-emptiness, the simultaneity of absence of substance and presence of interdependence, i.e. the suchness/thatness of all things, are indeed possible.

Conventional appearances do not reveal the ultimate nature of phenomena. They conjure a dreamlike, echolike world of functional interdependences. Upon these, the deluded mind projects (imputes, posits, attributes) the limit-concepts of reality and/or ideality, turning facts into real things (or physical objects) and thoughts into real ideals (attended by a substantial self). These substantial things only seem stable, for ultimate analysis shows they are not. For example, geological formations seem solid, continuous, lasting & permanent, but they are not. What then to think of the so-called lasting qualities of direct sensate & mental objects in general and our sense of selfhood in particular ? All are compounds and so impermanent.

Insofar as conventional truth is concerned, the tenacity of functional interdependence, -expressed as the regularity of Nature-, is valid. Its degree of abidance obvious. Appearances exist functionally and conventional existence is a fact. Things exist conventionally, there is something rather than nothing. Objects exist as imputed by the mind, but -in the case no minds are present- exist as resulting from fleeting determinations & conditions. There is not a single atom in existence determining its own ground ! All phenomena are other-powered.

Nihilism is refuted by accepting there is a "base of designation" which, existing interdependently in Nature, is extra-mental. In epistemology, this acceptance is a norm necessary to be able to think the possibility of knowledge, but is not something "found", otherwise ontological realism would ground knowledge, leading to scandalous contradictions.

Staying within the boundaries of conceptual thought, i.e. the pre-rational, proto-rational, formal, critical and creative modes of cognition, valid immanent metaphysics mostly serves relative, conventional truth. From epistemology, it receives the limit-concepts & conditions necessary to be able to conceptualize the two sides of its concordia discors, namely the parts played by object & subject. From science, it gets the parameters to speculate about the reality of existence as a whole, about the cosmos, the emergence of life and the miracle of consciousness.

Hence, metaphysics has two faces. One is turned to conceptual thought and works out an immanent perspective on what is, the other to the ultimate suchness of all things, approaching this by way of nondual, non-conceptual cognitive apprehensions. Confusing this distinction, and addressing the ultimate by way of concepts is the path of falsehood in transcendent metaphysics, while the path of truth regarding suchness/thatness is the wisdom-mind directly realizing the full-emptiness of all phenomena, i.e. the union of a universal lack of substance and an the all-comprehensive interdependence between all things.

§ 8 Objective & Subjective Immanent Metaphysics.

Objectively, as a heuristic, or a general, common sense formulation guiding investigations, valid immanent metaphysics inspires science. It does so by offering a "grand story" about the world and expounds a thematic itinerary of sorts.

Answering the question : "Why something rather than nothing ?", two extremes are avoided : being is not posited as eternal, continuous, autarchic, unchanging, substantial or essential, i.e. as non-referential. This is the (Platonic) fallacy of eternalism. Neither is the possibility of ultimate truth denied and fundamental "Dasein", or nature of mind, reduced to mere "Sosein", or the "truths" of the worldly continuum of valid but mistaken interdependent phenomenal aggregates. This is the fallacy of nihilism, in vain avoiding transcendent ontology. While there is no substance, there is some thing.

Conventional existence is not denied. Things appear to exist as spatio-temporal, intersubjective formations with their functions, conditions & determinations. Absolute existence is not denied. The ultimate nature of phenomena is not what appears, and this negation is absolute & non-affirming, i.e. negating the realm of appearing phenomena as a whole (while relative negations always affirm something else, as "not-male" implies "female" and "not-evil" implies "good").

The speculative study of functional interdependence calls for the origin of the cosmos, the beginning of life and the meaning of human life. This order is imperative. After affirming there is something rather than nothing, the actuality, nature and meaning of this something is at hand. For anything to be, there must be operators functioning together in a spatio-temporal framework. How did this cosmos we find ourselves in happen ? Next we reason, that for anything to be alive, the cosmos must cause growth & gestation. How is life possible ? For anything to be human, culture must be present. What about consciousness & meaning ?

Subjectively, valid immanent metaphysics invokes the object-possessor, and its various sensate & mental objects, speculating about the human mind, freedom, liberty, solidarity, democracy, spirituality, etc. This gives way to vast domains : consciousness, thought, feeling, action & sensation.

The conventional, speculative "truth" of immanent metaphysics is true in a provisional sense only. It is valid insofar as its arguments are clear, sound and convincing. So immanent metaphysics literally "stands next" to science ("physics"). It speculates in terms of totalized panoramas, incorporating crucial theories belonging to both physical and human sciences. These are intended to inspire the inventivity and creativity of scientists, advancing discovery and expanding our knowledge-horizon. Immanent metaphysics, insofar as the arguments backing its speculations are warranted by empirico-formal statements of fact, is therefore the ally of science.

Insofar conceptual thought remains substantialist, cherishing invalid forms of immanent metaphysics, like ontological realism and/or ontological idealism, conventional truth is reduced to delusional opinions and conventional falsehoods. This involves the perversion of reason (cf. Kant's "perversa ratio").

§ 9 The Itinerary of Ontology.

  • conventional, immanent ontology : speculative totalization of (a) the sensate conditions involving space & time and the forces operating between material, physical actual occasions (particles, waves & fields), (b) the information, formal conditions or architectures pertaining to actual occasions & (c) the meaningful symbolizations of conscious entities ;

  • ultimate logic : given the immanent sphere of sensation & mentation, as well as the totality of all realities & idealities, both sensate and mental objects are analyzed to discover whether they truly exist as they appear, i.e. as substances from their own side. As these cannot be found anywhere, one cannot posit objects to possess an inherent, essential existence ;

  • absolute, transcendent ontology : beyond the conventional sphere, conceptual symbolization stops, and a gap, abyss, isthmus or "jump" is suggested. Direct, nondual, non-conceptual intuitive cognition is ineffable, has no mental residue and is one with "great compassion" ("mahâkarunâ"). According to the ultimate logic acting as an approximate ultimate to wisdom-mind, refuting all affirmative, katapathic statements about suchness/thatness, nothing substantial can be said about this pinnacle of human cognition, cultivated in meditation, and unveiled in grand spiritual poetry. Wisdom is a direct encounter with the luminous singularity of the mind itself, with its own ever-enlightened nature.

To arrive at this speculative totalization, ontology needs a first principle.

Monist logics privilege a single principle or monad. Materialism & spiritualism are historical examples. The former understands matter as the self-sufficient ground of the edifice, while the latter posits spirit as the principal. The advantage of monism is its unity. The system of ontology is erected upon a single ground, and so one does not need to explain any ontological differences between entities, for there are none. On the most fundamental level of reality, all phenomena share the same nature. Logically, such a solution automatically accommodates simplicity and the ideal of finding a single principle explaining the unity of science. A multiplication of founding principles is absent, allowing us to grasp the manifold with a single concept.

Materialism argues physicality to be this concept. Several reasons can be advanced. As Aristotle already remarked, "substance is thought to be present most obviously in bodies" (Metaphysics, VII, ii.1, my italics). If this is considered correct, then physicality must come first and so be promoted to the status of founding monad. Also Kant privileged the senses, rejecting intellectual perception as not belonging to most men. By doing so, the impact of stimuli on the sensitive areas of our sense organs is given a higher ontological status than mental objects, deemed to be derived from the former. Sense data are turned into the rock-bottom of science. It eludes these thinkers knowledge cannot be divorced from conscious apprehension, i.e. one cannot observe any object without an observer, and the latter does more than merely passively register the incoming sensuous flux, but co-determines it. Indeed, all observation happens in a framework of theoretical connotations at work from the side of the subject or subjects of knowledge in the act of observation. For alternative reasons, spiritualism thinks consciousness to be the first concept. Hegelianism is a modern, dynamical version of Platonism & Spinozism. Both fail to plunge deep and discover a more fundamental level. Criticism leaves these solutions stand naked (cf. A Philosophy of the Mind and Its Brain, 2009).

Non-monists logics always introduce more than one fundamental ontological principle (a duality, triplicity, quaternio, etc.). Duality, with its powerful reflective capacities, introduces otherness. This is a first step outside the monadic & monarchic continuum, adding radical alteriority as a new unity. But herein lies the weakness of dual systems, for now two principles are generated. How to reconcile their ontological difference in a single Nature ? If the ontological difference cannot be reduced to a more fundamental stratum, then the variety of fundamental ontological principles will cause ontology to miss unity, making it unclear how these two or more principles have to be thought together without breaking up the world in as many pieces as there are principles.

Of course one may single out one principle and consider the others as merely illusions or dependent of the former, however not to the point of being included by it. Platonism is such a solution. The world is divided in two ("chorismos") without giving the same ontological & epistemological importance to these two divisions. The World of Becoming, due its variety, multiplicity and change, is not rejected, but merely made dependent of the World of Ideas. So although apparently dualistic, Plato's solution is a monism in disguise.

Building on Platonic ontology, the most influential ontological dualism of recent times was introduced by Descartes. But a radical difference must be noted. Plato considered the world of becoming as a "shadow" of the world of ideas, a paradigm for the singular things participating in it ("methexis"). For him, becoming participates in Being, and only Being has reality. Descartes introduces three different substances, each with its own distinctness leading up to a substantial difference : the ego cogitans, extension (matter) & God. The Greek depreciation of matter is gone. As God is transcendent, mind & matter are the fundamental substances of the world. Precisely because Descartes defined these two in terms of substance, implying objects endure from their own side, independent & separate from other objects, a pivotal problem rose. How can two ontologically different substances, sharing no common ground (except God), work together ? Handicapped by this ontological dualism, Cartesianism was not able to deal with this, leading (after the échec of German Idealism), to a reduction of mind to matter, and a physicalist understanding of consciousness.

Returning to the elegance of monism, and rejecting both materialist (physicalist) and spiritualist essentialism, let us ask : What is the fundamental concept bringing all phenomena under unity ? Reject substantialism or essentialism, for can a single mental or physical substance be posited, i.e. an "self-powered", autarchic object existing from its own side, independent & separate from all other objects, one existing inherently ? The rejection of essentialism is the acceptance of the premise of process thought : there are no substances, there is no "substance of substances", and so all phenomena are "in process", i.e. ever-changing, impermanent and interdependent happenings (occasions not independent nor separate from other occasions). Moreover, "phenomena" are actual (not past, nor future) happenings hic et nunc. There is no "world" behind the "world", no "Jenseits". Process thinking focuses on the things in their actuality.

Thinking process & actuality begs the question of the unit or standard of process ? Before describing processes, their arisings, abidings & ceasings, as well as their efficient and final determinations, we have to arrest the first concept of this process-based monism, the ontological principal.


Processes (P) go the way of actual happenings, concrete actual occasions (o1, o2, ... o
m). Every existing object x or x is characterized by a set of actual occasions O = {ox1, ... oxm} making x unique. This set constitutes the actual continuum of x. Everything outside the occasion-horizon of this continuum does not constitute x.

Can we do more than accept actual occasion ox as a logical primitive, a given ? Following Whitehead (1861 - 1947) and his "quantum ontology" (Process & Reality, 1929) :

(a) actual occasion o
x, an instance of the set of actual occasions O = {o1, ... om}, is an atomic & momentary actuality characterized by "extensiveness" ;
(b)
event e
x, an instance of the set of events E = {e1, ... en}, is the togetherness of actual occasions, and
(c)
entity en
x, an instance of the set of entities
En
= {en1, ... enp}, is the togetherness of events, while "entity" or "object" are synonymous.

Extensiveness is what all actual occasions have in common. This extensive plenum of the actual continuum of each actual occasion is :

(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.


Entities and events are actual occasions interrelated in a determining way in one extensive continuum, and an actual occasion is a limiting type of an event with only one member. Nature is built up of these actual occasions. Events are aggregates or compounds of actual occasions. Entities are aggregates or compounds of events. When an aggregate or compound forms a society, a higher-order self-determination is at hand, a marker to distinguish non-individualized & individualized aggregates (or societies).

Monism coupled with essentialism has difficulty explaining the manifold, its multiplicity, variety, differentiation, complexity, richness & interconnectedness. This approach cherishes a single static factor. So certain aspects of the manifold (of Nature) cannot be explained. The reason is clear : no substances are found to exist. The combination fails because absolute autarchy & self-determination cannot be successfully argued.

Thinking a single dynamic factor solves many of the problems. In the West, process-monism is rather recent. We find traces of it in Greek philosophy (Heraclites) and a first draft in Leibniz. Elaborated by Whitehead, Process Philosophy emerged.

§ 10 The World-Continuum or Word-System.

Classical Occasionalism, first propounded by the tenth-century Muslim thinker al-Ash'are and found in the writings of Cartesians Johannes Clauberg (1622 - 1665), Arnold Geulincx (1624 - 1669) and Nicolas Malebranche (1638 - 1715), rejects the idea substances entertain any kind of relation. This is affirmed by Nâgârjuna in his A Fundamental Treatise on the Middle Way (Mûlamadhyamakakârikâ, 2th CE, chapter XIV), in terms of an analysis of "connection" ("phrad-pa"), denoting the relation between components in any compounded phenomenon as non-substantial, but also the relation among their conditions & determination compounding them as non-substantial.


This points to the absence of reification at any level of ontological analysis. Even the functionality of the efficient determinations characterizing phenomena, their location in a causal and mereological nexus, defining the logical properties of the relation of part and whole, are not permanent, autarchic and existing from their own side.

Of course Classical Occasionalism had another agenda. Using the Cartesian substances "matter", "mind" & "God", it elaborated upon the consequences of ontological dualism, claiming finite things can have no efficient causality of their own. Substances cannot be the efficient causes of events. In ontological monism, the question how two or more substances relate is a non-issue, for only one substance prevails. But as soon as the numerical singularity of the fundamental principle (the monad) is relinquished for dualism, thinking change and interrelatedness brings on the question how different kind of things relate ?

Classical Occasionalism rejects the possibility of any kind of relation whatsoever. Different substances can a priori never bridge their natures. All physical & mental phenomena are merely "occasions" or happenings on their own, devoid of any interconnectedness and efficient power, utterly incapable of changing themselves. Physical "stuff" cannot act as cause of other physical "stuff", for no necessary connection can be observed between physical causes and their physical effects (a view returning in the writings of David Hume, for whom causality and other lawful determinations are merely psychological habits). Moreover, because mind and brain are so utterly different, the one cannot affect the other. Hence, a person's mind cannot be the true cause of his hand's moving. The mental cannot cause the physical and vice versa. Ergo, as events do exist, they must be caused directly by God Himself. For what God wills has to be taken to be necessary. So far this remarkable view.

Let us take onboard the idea substances cannot relate to each other. It would seem then, one should interpret the view substances do not exist as affirming all phenomena are interdependent processes. The conditions and determinations defining this interdependence or universal togetherness of all possible actual occasions are themselves co-existent with this stream of actual occasions making up what exists hic et nunc. They do not exist "outside" this dynamical streams of actual occasions, forming aggregates and societies of actual occasions, events and entities. Like a swimmer, they are adaptive archetypes, intelligently altering their format while performing with style, preventing their momentum from drowning (dying out).


An actual occasion is
an atomic & momentary actuality characterized by "extensiveness".
Although indivisible, an actual occasion is not a "little thing", but a meaningful (creative) momentary differential change "dt", explained in terms of efficient & final determinations. These act as the two state-vectors of all changes in all the processes involving all actual occasions conserved in the interval or isthmus "dt" of the present moment of the world.

The structural analysis of actual occasions does not reflect a temporal sequence, for the two state-vectors of process are simultaneous. From the past, efficient determinations enters actual occasion
x. Because of its iota of self-determination, x makes a choice (a minimal indeterminacy or "clinamen"), and this creativity enters the efficient determinations of the next actual occasion. In this way, a single actual occasion evidences the smallest possible degree of sentience. Aggregates form and these streams are interlinked and reinforced. Recurrent events form entities, each with their own actual continuum-streams, compounding and bonding into societies. At the level of societies, the experience of conscious unity is present, pointing to a higher-order consciousness, as can be seen in the "kingdoms of Nature", the minerals, the plants, the animals and the humans.

If merely product-productive, manufacturing the world, the world could not display creative change and state-transformation. But the ongoing enrichment of the world is a fact of science. Negentropic transformation is the outstanding feature of life & consciousness. This creativity must ontologically be accounted for ...

Actual occasions, the actual 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 also state-transformative. In this way several degrees of togetherness or concrescence can be identified, called events, entities, aggregates and societies.

The organic whole of actual occasions, the world-continuum or universal sea of process, extended from the extremely small to the humongous, is both physical and non-physical or mental. Both have distinct properties, consisting of actual occasions defined in efficient & final terms. The physical (the world of matter) is the domain of physical objects characterized by mass & momentum. The non-physical is, on the one hand, the domain of information (the world of embodied & disembodied mental, abstract, theoretical objects) and, on the other hand, the domain of consciousness (the world of the percipient participator endowed with decisive conscious choice and sentient self-determination).

These three domains are complex societies of actual occasions. Moreover, the non-physical is not made part or reduced to the physical. The question of the functional role of the mental on the valuation of possible physical outcome, can be posed. Metaphysics no longer arrests downward causation, giving to both the mental & the physical identical weight, but distinct functional roles.

"Efficient determination" is physical momentum & mass of the particles, waves, fields and forces at hand. "Final determination" is self-determination, creativity, valuation and the experience of conscious unity, entering efficient causality & producing novelty.
Although indivisible, actual occasions are not "little things", but a differential change "dt" explained in terms of efficient & final determination.

Couple process with a pluralist view on the distinctness of occasions (not on their ontological difference !) and embrace, in principle, an endless number of distinguishing attributes, aspects or operators (hylic pluralism), reducing these to the three complex societies known to function : matter (hardware), information (software) and consciousness (userware). Regarding the latter, the crucial distinction between consciousness per se (as a domain of the world-continuum) and human conscious experience (or inner life), as a very complex region in that domain, should not be missed. On this planet, the human mind is an extraordinary continuum of occasions, the only one capable of featuring inner life & conscious experience.

So the world, or the totality of all observable events taking place in the universe, may be divided in three logical basics or primitives. Each is a complex society of actual occasions or a domain of the world.  Each is also an operator characterized by a function, enabling it to work a set of unique interdependent determinations & conditions, discharging its task in such a way as to make different events work together, form more unified functional wholes and harmonize their dynamic signatures, the universal intent in the Divine mind of the Architect of the World.

By collecting well-determined events into a single set, three interacting sets are formed  :

  • matter or "hardware" (of which all elements are mostly M-events) : the physical space-time continuum, the executive hardware of working, physical compounds, defined by particles, waves, fields & forces ;

  • information or "software" (of which all elements are mostly I-events) : abstracts, universals, theories, codes, laws, architectures & algorhythms, the legislative software of natural & artificial expert-systems ;

  • consciousness of "userware" (of which all elements are mostly C-events) : free choice, self-determination, meaning, autostructuration, mentality, the intentional activities of subjectivity & inner life.

These unique arrangements or world-domains are characterized by a prevailing type of mathematics, tendency, movement & order :

  • matter : Real Numbers, dispersive, centrifugal, entropic ;

  • information : Binary Numbers (1 and 0), integrative, algorhythmic, natural & cultural forms, limited but integrated set of natural & artificial expert-systems ;

  • consciousness : Complex Numbers, paradoxical, centripetal, negentropic, meaningful, symbolic & sentient.

Although functionally stand-alone subsystems, they constantly interact on various levels of expression or functional co-relativity & interdependence. Because they are joined, a super-interactionist model allows to understand the relations, conditions, determinations & modes of communication between all actual occasions, events, entities, aggregates & individualized societies happening in the world :

  • C interacts with M : sensation & mental states = domain of sentience (awareness of objects).

  • M interacts with I : algorhythms and imperative codes of command = domain of Nature (evolution) ;

  • C interacts with I : symbols, science, philosophy, art, creativity = domain of culture.

§ 11 Functional Co-Relative Interdependence.

Functional co-relativity outlaws absolute isolation and points to general interdependence. To define "ousia", substantialism (essentialism) has to defend absolute isolation. The essence ("eidos") of an object must have "own-nature" ("svabhâva"), i.e. some thing permanently existing from its own side, unaffected by the changes in its accidents, whether they be quantities, qualities, relations or modalities. As monads, substances must have no "windows". This entails three logical consequences : substantial objects are static, non-functional and self-referential. Because of these sordid features, they hinder the advancement of science & metaphysics.


Substantial objects are static because their substantial core does not change (without changing the object into another object). Unchanging objects cannot relate to other objects, for the idea of relation implies openness to others and so openness to fundamental change. If an object is a self-identical monad, it has no "exits" and so cannot interact with other objects. These objects cannot move, produce or cause. Constant autoduplication ensues.


Substantial objects are non-functional because they are isolated. Without any possibility to relate to other objects, they cannot produce efficient action, leading up to a relative impossibility to function.
Where can these objects be found ? Except for analytical objects, all apprehended objects are functional.

Substantial objects, due to their self-identical, inherent "being", have only themselves as sole referent and so cannot apprehend anything else than the monarchic affirmation of themselves and their self-powered own-nature ("svabhâva"). Their solipsism is however based on nothing else than this affirmation and therefore circular. Where can these objects be found ? All synthetic objects depend on determinations and conditions outside themselves. At the micro-level of physical reality, all objects are interconnected, and at higher levels this is also the case.

In natural systems, there is nowhere anything non-referentially "on its own", for all events are part of a complex network of determinations & conditions. In artificial systems, processes may be isolated from their environments (like atomic fission), but this procedure entails lots of work to realize & sustain the quarantine, often with much damage to the environment once back reintroduced (depending on the nuclear waste involved, hundreds of thousands of years of containment are necessary).

Interdependence of actual occasions, events, entities, aggregates & societies implies function (or efficient conditions of determination). Two types prevail :

1. determined functions : in a system of general determinism, events are connected through a number of efficient determinations, like self-determination, causation, interaction, mechanical determination, statistical determination, holistic determination, teleological determination & dialectical determination. Events are linked if the conditions defining each category 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 (propagating the effect in spacetime). In contemporary scientific determinism, these determinations are not absolutely certain, but relatively probable, for science is terministic, no longer deterministic ;
2. nondetermined functions : considering the inner, mental structure of actual occasions and their togetherness (concrescence), as well individual actions of persons, cultures and civilization, phenomena are also connected by way of various degrees of free choice, intention, freedom, self-determination, valorisation, creativity and conscious life, both individual as social. This final determination escapes the conditions of the categories of any kind of lawful efficient determination. Indeed, without the possibility to posit nondetermined events moving against the system of efficient determination, ethics is reduced to physics and justice impossible. How is responsible action possible without the actual exercise of a degree of freedom, i.e. the ability to accept or reject a course of action, thereby creating an efficient-wise "indeterminate" influencing agent, changing all co-functional interdependent efficient determinations or interactions by entering them, thus adding negentropy to entropy ? How, without free choice, is genuine creative advance possible ?

All actual occasions are characterized by their two state vectors : efficient & final determinations. The former is their physical, outer, overt material activity, determined by particles, waves, fields & forces, the latter their mental, inner, covert sentient activity, determined by creativity, novelty & self-determination. Although a single actual occasion has only an infinitesimal iota of sentience, the fact of its togetherness with countless others, entering them with the result of an infinitesimal mental decision, brings about a cumulative effect, and these successive generations of additions allow -at some point- the emergence of societies, i.e. individualized aggregates endowed with the experience of conscious unity.

Although an individual actual occasion has a very small degree of sentience in the form of a "clinamen", it is usually part of aggregates devoid of such experience of conscious unity. In that sense, remembering Leibniz, a crystal in a stone thrown at a cat has more affinity with the cat than the stone. Process thought does not embrace full-fledged panpsychism, for then even the stone would be sentient. As an aggregate of micro-sentient actual occasions, the stone is non-individualized, i.e. does not experience its own unity. Thus, it drowns the micro-sentience of the actual occasions of which it is a mere compound in the non-sentient togetherness of its aggregation. As soon as a single, non-sentient object can be identified, panpsychism can no longer be defended, and indeed, Nature abounds with mere aggregates. Societies (like molecules of crystal or living matter) and complex societies (like humans) are rare. Panexperientialism affirms actual occasions exhibit a (very small) degree of sentience, but denies the togetherness of them -devoid of the conscious experience of their own unity- to be sentient insofar as this concrescence goes.

Observing the three domains of the world begs the question of the cosmic genesis. The conclusion these three functions, namely matter, information & consciousness, were present from the Big Bang, albeit in varying degrees, cannot be avoided. Like the unfolding of a flower, the efficient determinations of the material domain came first, fixing the original physical parameters of the cosmos. This first, physical unfoldment set the material ground. But together with this event, resulting from the activity of the final determinations in the original "primordial soup", order and structure emerged. This second, informational unfoldment set the conditions of the architecture of the cosmos. Because of this structure, the cosmos could expand and generate stars, the breeding-ground for the third, sentient unfoldment, bringing about life and consciousness. Only at this level societies emerged. First in the form of crystal molecules and, due to complexification resulting from more efficient interactions, as the first living cells. Billions of years were needed to allow living societies to individualize their sentient component, eventually arising as the experience of conscious unity. Foreshadowed by plants, it exploded in animals and eventually evolved into humans. The root of these three cosmic unfoldments can however be found in the singularity of the primordial actual occasion of our universe : the Big Bang.

This Big Bang singularity is a discrete moment in the inconceivable, beginningless & endless cycles of arising, abiding, ceasing and re-emerging worlds out of the world-ground, the possibility of all universa. Hence, speculate everything acquired by countless conscious societies, well-ordered (informed) aggregates and efficient physical systems returns, at the Big Crush (or Big Evaporation) of the present universe, to the original singularity. Not an iota of material, informational and conscious actualities is lost, but contributes to the evolution of the endless process of subsequent world-emergence, abidance and collapse. The new world to come is not a "tabula rasa", but endowed with the result of what happened in the one before. Eventually, at the point at infinite infinity, all possible worlds have evolved out of the world-ground into fully sentient societies, and the "Jubilee of Jubilees" is celebrated for ever and ever. Then, at this point, the eternal recurrent cycle of light-manifestations ("neheh", Atum-Re), the periodic process worlds, joins everlastingness ("djet", Osiris).

§ 12 The Simultaneity of Relative Appearance & Absolute Reality.

Only after repeatedly inviting transcendent wisdom to inspire thought, cleansing the conceptual mind from its reifications, may prolonged ultimate analysis facilitate the opening of the gate to "seeing" the ultimate, absolute nature of all possible phenomena, their suchness/thatness or ultimate reality as it is. Ultimate analysis merely assists the conceptual mind to directly recognize the nondual truth in terms of a non-affirmative negation. Immanence is not a ladder from conceptuality to non-conceptuality, from the relative truth of conceptual thought, to the ultimate truth of naked, non-conceptual, nondual cognition. Immanence only offers a threshold, an approximation, a generic idea encompassing the emptiness of the world as a whole. Indeed, a direct, naked state of cognition cannot be caused. The itinerary is not a certainty, but the preparation will certainly be welcome to sustain the awareness after it spontaneously dawns. Indeed, if the conceptual mind has not been thoroughly purified, reification will recur.

Ontology based on confused cognition is the screen upon which the tragi-comical illusions of realism & idealism are projected and made to play. But although conventional reality does not appear as it truly is, being like an illusion, it "is", in an ontological sense, not identical with illusion. Appearing like an illusion is not the same as being an illusion. A saint may dress as a dirty pauper. The pauper is like the illusion, for he appears not as he truly is. Whatever appearance the saint chooses, s/he remains sacred.

Conventional truth (the relative nature of phenomena) is how ultimate truth (the ultimate nature of phenomena) appears. So the ultimate exists conventionally. All phenomena can be simultaneously experienced as devoid of substantiality and at the same time as functional, interconnected and mutually dependent.

Knowing the ultimate does not cause "another" world to suddenly appear. Awareness of suchness/thatness is being conscious of the full-emptiness of each and every phenomenon (its emptiness and universal connectedness). The difference is therefore epistemic, i.e. intra-mental. Directly perceiving this-or-that ultimate nature of conventional appearance, this-or-that actual absence of substance hic et nunc and this in the fullness of interdependence or, on the contrary, only experiencing appearances, merely depends on the discovery of the nature of mind, the fundamental dimension of the cognitive apparatus.

As long as the nature of mind remains undiscovered or obscured, conceptual thoughts overlay it and mental designations are reified, producing "objects" such as the idea of a self-powered physical body, a substantial mind and a solid, separate self. These further cover the nature of mind, bringing emotional afflictions, sickness, an unhappy old age and an unwholesome death.

Ultimate truth, as approximated by the logic of ultimate analysis, the pinnacle of conventional ontological truth, clarifies all phenomena to be full-empty, i.e. full of functional interdependences but empty of inhering, intrinsic, substantial, non-referential, essential qualities, characteristics, natures, etc. Full-emptiness contradicts substantial existence, but not functional interdependence. "Full-emptiness" translates the unity of emptiness & interdependence.

Ultimate truth as given by direct, nondual experience, makes us "see" how all possible phenomena, while devoid of substantial essence, are interdependent "displays" or the "sport" of brilliance of the ground-luminosity, the ultimate base of all, the world-ground.

Whether any ontological exercise, the present included, exceeds the limitations of creative thought, cannot be conceptually established.

§ 13 Transcendental Philosophy and Nâgârjuna.

Transcendental philosophy (Criticism) aims at the process of the synthesis of phenomena rather than on a supposed sufficient ground underlying them. Precritical epistemology based the possibility of knowledge on this "Ding-an-sich" (Kant), called "noumenon", thing in itself or absolute (ultimate) ground of phenomena. Criticism ends this. Indeed, the object of science is not a pre-epistemic ultimate Real-Ideal (the unity of absolute reality and absolute ideality), and so does not depend on a self-sufficient ground preceding cognition, but exclusively on the interconnectedness between actual occasions and their modes of togetherness. These are dynamical architectures, various styles of coordinated movements or dances, artistic displays of various degrees of order (negentropy), i.e. unfolding, showcasing & folding things. They are only relative to movement, to process and result from a universal and necessary mode of connection between phenomena. This denotes objectivity, not the "Being" of some absolute thing like a Real or an Ideal before and outside knowledge. An Archimedean ground is nowhere found.

Indeed, something is objective if it holds true for any active subject of knowledge, not because it denotes intrinsic, inherent properties of entities supposed to be independent, separate and so autonomous. This is the leading idea of the transcendental reflection on the conditions of the known, of knowledge and of the knower. Science is therefore not the revealer of a pre-existent underlying self-sufficient ground or "hypokeimenon". Epistemology is not the rooting of the possibility of knowledge in something before knowledge. The Real-Ideal is not the object of science. But neither is science random. Indeed, merely conventional, science is a temporarily stable but ever moving product of the process-bound reciprocal relation between the subject and the object of valid empirico-formal knowledge.

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason still has residual foundationalist streaks. Although defined as a noumenon, the absolute ground lies across the knower. This indirect relation is to be differentiated from the direct stream of perceptions on the side of the knower. The latter arise in a subject only crosswise affected by the thing it itself ! One cannot say this contact with the absolute causes the direct perceptions recorded by the knower, for causality happens during categorial synthesis, two steps later. This transversal relation between the knower and the absolute is a residue of the substantialist tradition seeking an self-sufficient ground (before knowledge). This is Kant's Achilles'' Heel, but it can & should be removed from transcendental philosophy.

Indeed, this remnant of substantial dualism between the knower and the absolute has been eliminated by neo-Kantianism. It promoted an immanentist and relational transcendental philosophy of science. Objects do not bear intrinsic properties, but result from interdependence, relations and interconnectedness. They are process-based instead of substance-based. There is no ground or pregiven, pre-existent and pre-organized absolute "substance of substances". Moreover, the static framework developed by Kant has been replaced by dynamical a priori forms and their plurality. The highly abstract view of Kant made way for the study of the pragmatics of the game of "true" knowing. The reciprocity between the knower and the known is pivotal here. Interlocked, but cherishing different interests & outlooks, they continuously engage in a concordia discors. This view on science is antifoundationalist, immanentist & relationalist. Science providing the best conventional knowledge ever.

In the Critique, Kant wanted a philosophy as universal & necessary as Newton's law of gravity. His aim was not soteriological. In his Mûlamadhyamakakârikâ, Nâgârjuna aims at a wisdom ("prajñâ") realizing the ultimate truth ("paramârtha") of all phenomena. Not because this satisfies philosophical or intellectual pursuits, but because such realization liberates sentient beings, awaking them to the nature of their mind. In this foundational treatise of the Middle Way School (Mâdhyamaka), he presents this wisdom in accord with the profound and refined rationalism of Buddhist logicians, philosophers and scholars.

Nâgârjuna's exclusive quest was to free all sentient beings from reified conventional truth ("samvriti"). Take away the reification and the absolute dawns. But the latter is indeterminate and non-accessible to the conceptual mode of cognition. The possibility to directly experience the ultimate nature is however not denied. Contrary to Kant, Nâgârjuna and the Buddhadharma at large accepts (a) meta-rationality (the nondual mode of cognition) and (b) the possibility of directly cognizing the absolute. This is realizing the wisdom of the enlightened ones. Hence, his work is foremost soteriological. Keeping this in mind, let us discuss Mâdhyamaka (Nâgârjuna, Âryadeva, Candrakîrti, Shântideva) in the light of a few remarkable parallels with transcendental philosophy.

For different reason, both Nâgârjuna and Kant attack all possible substance-thinking.

Kant defined the noumenon as a limit-concept, only pointing obliquely towards our sensibility and thus of negative use only. But he also maintained a quasi-causal, transversal (indirect) relationship between the thing in itself and the knower, leading to inner inconsistencies. Later neo-Kantians considered the thing in itself as nothing beyond the brute fact of its givenness, of it not being produced by a deliberate act originating in the subject. Criticism goes a step further, replacing the description of the cognitive act with a normative system of conditions producing valid knowledge. One must consider facts to represent the absolute, but this may well be mistaken ! This normative move evaporates the residual substantialism and brings to the fore a few interesting similarities between transcendental philosophy, the epistemology of science, and Nâgârjuna, the founder of the Middle Way school.

Nâgârjuna's analysis is immanentist throughout. Like Kant, he insists the world should not be construed as a single absolute entity of which something can be predicated. It is like an indefinite series of flickerings, much like the flame of a butter lamp. Moreover, conventional knowledge is empty of any relation with a solid, substantial and inherently existing objectivity. Objectivity is not a pre-epistemic substantial ground. Conventional knowledge has no access to the thing in itself, the supposed absolute or ultimate nature of all phenomena. To discover all phenomena are empty of their substantial core is to realize the universal, lawlike, reciprocal relativity of co-dependent consecutive actual entities. The ongoing display is one of creative advance, with entities entering each other's togetherness. Conceptual reason does not discover the absolute nature of phenomena, but reveals the arising, abiding & ceasing nature of all relative events. For Nâgârjuna, science is an exceptionally efficient and valid conventional truth, but also extremely liable to reification and so delusion.

Kant too points to the danger of turning ideas of reason into substances "out there". Certain subjective rules are mistaken for objective determinations of the things in themselves (cf. his "transcendental illusion"). This cannot be taken away, only revealed through criticism. Like all conventional knowledge, science tends towards superimposing inherent, substantial existence upon process-based, nonsubstantial actual entities. It tries to fixate the fluid & transient. We cannot help seeing the world as if inherently possessing certain determinations. With respect to our conventional experience, it always remains the case as if ("als ob") subjective rules are an intrinsic feature of the world ... Conventional knowledge is valid but always mistaken ! Indeed, if the observer partakes in the network of relations producing conventional knowledge, things appear to him or her as if well-defined nonrelational determinations (inherent properties) arise from any measuring interaction. Relative to the observer, well-defined features appear as something substantial. This reification is however an illusion, for it makes things appear as something different than what they are. They appear, while they are processes, as substances !

"Your position is that, when one perceives
Emptiness as the fact of relativity,
Emptiness of relativity does not preclude
The viability of activity.
Whereas when one perceives the opposite,
Action is impossible in emptiness,
Emptiness is lost during activity ;
One falls into anxiety's abyss."
Tsongkhapa : The Short Essence of True Eloquence.


Criticism seeks a higher-order solution to the tensions between science, critical metaphysics and a nondogmatic soteriology like the one proposed in the Buddhadharma. Transcendental philosophy and the Middle Way provide lots of arguments backing the empty, dependent, impermanent and nonsubstantial nature of what is. While transcendental philosophy identifies the detailed mechanism of reification, the Middle Way wants to dispel them once and for all. To link critical thought with this intent, is to open reason for the meta-rationality of cognition which is precisely the aim of critical metaphysics.

It should be remarked Kant sought a transcendental philosophy as "solid" as Newton's physics. The latter portrayed absolute properties and substantial material objects existing from their own side. In the most cherished Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics this is no longer the case. Quite on the contrary. The historical continuity with classical physics has been broken. A holistic definition of phenomena is at hand. The object can no longer be dissociated from the contribution of the irreversible functioning of the measuring apparatus. The Hilbert space structure used in quantum mechanics conveys the relational nature of our knowledge about the physical, while involving no description of the two relata. Moreover, the extensive use of differential calculus (even in classical physics), shows only (infinitesimal) relations are accessible. No substantial, monadic ground of these is implied. There are no absolutized relata.

Indeed, quantum mechanics points to our knowledge as "relational", with neither prius nor posterius between object & subject. Other interpretations, like the "hidden variable" hypothesis, are desperate attempts at restoring substantialism in physics. As Nâgârjuna remarks : neither connection, nor connected nor connector inherently exist. The existence of relations to the detriment of the relata would imply the use of an opposition (relation/relata) and the reification of one of its terms, while the two terms arise in dependence. Object and subject are on the same footing, there is a nonpolar conception of relations between them and so reification of any is avoided. Relations are determined by certain connections of things and this dependent on the way an observer takes cognizance of the observed system ...


The present text, inspired by the traditional classification of topics, is divided into two parts, called "General Metaphysics" and "Metaphysics of Specifics".

The First Part, General Metaphysics, explains metaphysics in general and ontology in particular, laying the groundwork (chapter 1) and attending the necessary requisites for any metaphysical inquiry (chapter 2). After having clarified the conventional nature of immanent metaphysics (chapter 3) and defined the limitations of speculative thought in terms of creative thinking (chapter 4), the mind is prepared for ultimate truth (chapter 5) and, to ascertain the lack of inherent selfhood and lack of inherent phenomena, ultimate logic is developed (chapter 6). Finally, the general features of the world are derived (chapter 7), ending the introduction to General Metaphysics.

In the Second Part, or Metaphysics of Specifics, and this within the framework of the proposed ontological scheme, particular questions are answered. These bring to bare metaphysical cosmology (chapter 8), metaphysical cybernetics (chapter 9), metaphysical biology (chapter 10), metaphysical anthropology (chapter 11), metaphysical mysticism (chapter 12) & metaphysical theology (chapter 13).

Within these broad divisions into parts and chapters, the text subdivides into paragraphs. Each paragraph is composed of units identified -in praise of Aristotle- by Greek letters. At times, a unit is Janus-faced, composed of an object-dependent and an imaginal side (the latter starting with "∫"). The former is elaborate, the latter aphoristic, iconic, laconic and ironic. This bi-polarity satisfies the conditions imposed by the chosen style. At the end of every paragraph, a "Lemma" is advanced. In formal logic, this is a
subsidiary proposition assumed to be true in order to prove another proposition. Here, it is a short summary of the salient, outstanding points assisting further development.


Part I : 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 asterisk (*) 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.

Philosophy

normative philosophy : logic, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics

descriptive or theoretical philosophy : metaphysics

Speculative activity unbridled by critical epistemology (cf. 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 beyond.

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 argumentation.

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 !

Metaphysics

general metaphysics : general features, ontology

special metaphysics : philosophy of language, speculative theology, cosmology, biology & psychology, etc.

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.


Chapter 1. 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 animating its background.

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. 

α. 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.

∫ People without style disturb. Chattering geese keep the flock, but the eagle flies alone, undisturbed by the horizons of petty existence.

β.
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 gaze suffices.

γ.
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 is the
endearment bestowed by the gods. May all sentient beings dream and lucidly so.

δ.
Exposing style identifies expository, descriptive, analytical, academic, technical, persuasive and narrative writing.

δ.1 Expository writing focuses on a known topic and informs the reader by providing the facts.
δ.2 Descriptive writing uses lots of adjective and adverbs to describe things, conveying a mental picture.
δ.3 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.
δ.4 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.
δ.5 Technical writing elucidates complicated technical information about the issue at hand.
δ.6 Persuasive writing provides facts & arguments to promote a view having the ability & power to influence its readers.
δ.7 Narrative writing enumerates events that have happened, might happen, or could happen.

ε. 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, Quine) etc.

∫ Philosophers are merely jugglers.

ζ.
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.

η.
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 writing.

∫ 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.

θ.
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 ...

LEMMA 1

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, differential, object-dependent ascent and a non-linear, parallel, integrative, 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 next base.

§ 2 Deriving Style from Objects.

α. 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. Today, this 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.

β. Hand in hand with the rise of modern science, four metaphysical ideas became prominent :

β.1 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 ;
β.2 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 ;
β.3 universalism : the objective, real knowledge gathered is the same in every part of Nature, i.e. scientific knowledge has closure ;
β.4 reductionism : all phenomena of Nature can be reduced to physical objects and their interactions.

γ. 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 failed.

δ. 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.

ε
. 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.

ζ. 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 and ecology.

LEMMA 2

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.

α. Consider the millenarian tradition of the proto-rational 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 Confessions).

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 tradition 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 this mentality.

∫ 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.

β. 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.

γ. 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 etc.

∫ 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 ?

δ. 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.

Left Hemisphere

Right Hemisphere

object-dependent

imaginal

linguistic kinesthetic
propositional visual
discrete diffuse
analytical synthetic
verbal visuospatial
discursive
(logical)
presentational
(melodic)
digital analogical
specific features broad features
deliberate totalising
denotative connotative
literal metaphorical

δ.1 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.

δ.2 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.

ε. 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 abide ...

ζ. 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".

ζ.1. 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.

ζ.2. 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.

ζ.3. 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.

ζ.3. 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 "asterisk" (*) 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 deconstructed.

∫ 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.

η. It is crucial to criticize the way transcendent metaphysics seeks to ground any speculative endeavour in a reified ground outside the system 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.

θ. 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 ourselves.

LEMMA 3

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 direct human 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 asterisk (*) 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. proto-rational, empirico-formal, 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 itself.

§ 4 Creative Unfoldment.

α. 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.

β.
For 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, simultaneously showing 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.

γ. While 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 !

δ. 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.

δ.2 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 again.

ε. An 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 :

ε.1 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.

ε.2 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).

ε.3
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 extra-mental.

ε.4
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 Kant.

ε.5
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.

ε.6
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 creator.

∫ 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 Socratic intent.

ζ. 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.

LEMMA 4

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 perspective.

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 limit-concepts.

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.

α. 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, separate entities.

β. 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).

γ. 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 hand.

∫ 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.

δ. The "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.

LEMMA 5

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 ¬ x. Thus, x 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 prevails.

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 equation.

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 happen (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 work ;

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 on one's 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 these  ;

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.

In 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.

α. The 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. the 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 reality.

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.

β. 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 self-sufficient 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 occasions.

∫ 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.

γ. The world is the totality of all actual phenomena, the set of all concrete actual occasions, events, entities & things part of the world.

world-system

world

concrete actual occasions, events, entities & things given by experience

world-ground

sufficient ground, process-based
abstract formative potentiality

γ.1 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.

γ.2 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.

γ.3 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 be 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 found.

world-system

world

critical : concrete actuality made likely by the primordial sufficient ground of process ;

traditional : the mere modification of the primordial own-nature of all things ;

world-
ground

critical : sufficient ground but process-based : the primordial possibility of change ;

traditional : self-sufficient and thus substantial : the primordial own-nature of all things.

γ.4  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 substantial, self-sufficient 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.

world-system

world

finite, spatiotemporal, concrete, actual, relative, conventional

world-
ground

infinite, non-spatiotemporal, abstract, formative, absolute, ultimate

δ. 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 ?

∫ Onto-theology leads to the antics of Baron von Münchhausen.

LEMMA 6

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 happen.

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.

α. The 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 wrong.

β. Duality, with its powerful reflective capacities, introduces otherness as a new ontological entity. 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.

γ. 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 well 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 principles ?

∫ 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.

δ. To 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.

ε. 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 absolute is present as an ultimate differential in every point of Nature, in every concrete actual occasion of the world.

LEMMA 7

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.

α. 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.

β. 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.

β.1 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 objects (cf. Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 2). Because of these, differences & distinctions are possible.

β.2 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 holomovements.

γ. 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.

δ. 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.

ε. 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, anthropology etc.

LEMMA 8

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.

α. 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.

β.
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.

γ. The conflictual model, feeding an insurmountable conflict between science (the valid empirico-formal propositions forming the paradigm) and pre-critical metaphysics, 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 poignant.

∫ The Gestalt switch invoked by the "cube" of Wittgenstein (TLP 5.5423) shows attention defines observation.

LEMMA 9

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 rejected.

§ 5 Reductionist Model.

α. 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.

β. 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 ?

γ. 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.

LEMMA 10

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.

α. 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.


∫ 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.

γ. Aware 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.

δ. The 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 be thought.

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 sentience.

ε.1 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 to ? 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.

ε.2 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.

LEMMA 11

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.

α. 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.

α.1 On 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, bi-polar system.

α.2 In epistemology, these two make out the 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 resultant vector-product.

∫ Knowledge must be about some thing extra-mental. Neither is it possible for knowledge not to be known by a knower.

β. 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 conditions.

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.

γ. 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.

ε. When reason, understood as a stream of conceptual, discursive cognitive acts, is critically 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).

ζ. 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.

η. 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 proves not all non-science is nonsense.

η.1 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.

θ. "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 & rhetoric 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.

LEMMA 12

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.

Pre-critical 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 world.

§ 8 The Objectivity of Sensate Objects.

α. The 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.

β. 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.

β.1 These 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.

γ. 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.

γ.1 Biologically & epistemologically, interpretation cannot be eliminated. While it can be reduced, sensate objects are always processed naked perceptive data.

γ.2 Sensation 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.

δ. 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 its production.

∫ Reality nor ideality are a problem. Their reification always is.

ε. 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 fundamentally a 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 objective perspectives.

∫ 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.

ζ. 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 !

η. 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 homogeneously.

θ. 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 science.

∫ 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.

LEMMA 13

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 to subjectivity.

§ 9 The Subjectivity of Mental Objects.

α. 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 & A 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.

β. 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 brain's propensity-fields.

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.

γ. Subjectivity is the invisible, intangible, non-physical, nonspatial, temporal impact of valuation, reassessment, autopoiesis, auto-structuration and conscious (sentient) 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.

δ. Without 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 !

LEMMA 14

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.

α. 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 rose ?

β. 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 act.

∫ Empirical ego, transcendental ego, creative self and selfless nondual prehension are the levels of consciousness, its degrees of freedom.

γ. 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 therefore intersubjective.

δ. 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.

ε. 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.

LEMMA 15

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 phenomena.

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, abolishing permanency.

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 process.

§ 1 Transcendence & Interdependence in Ancient Egyptian Sapience.

α. The Ancient Egyptians deliver our earliest -though by no means primitive- written evidence of extensive speculative thinking (cf. 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.

β. 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.

β.1 These 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, theory appears.

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 & creative concept.

Mode of
Thought

Stages of
Cognition

Level of Concepts

1 mythical ante-rational a-conceptual
2 pre-rational pre-concept
3 proto-rational concrete concept
4 formal rational abstract concept
5 critical transcendental concept
6 creative meta-rational creative concept
7 nondual non-conceptual

γ. In genetic epistemology, the cognitive process is analyzed in terms of coordination of movements, interiorization and permanency :

  1. initiation : 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) ;

  2. processing : 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) ;

  3. expanding : anticipation & 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) ;

  4. final level 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.

ε.  In the henotheism of 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 divine spirit 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 side. While Akhenaten tried to reify light, turning it into the sole "substance of substances", Egyptian culture at large rejected this singular deification.

ζ. Besides positing this substantial division of Nature in two, the Ancient Egyptians stressed their mutual dependence (cf. 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 truth
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) ;
asymmetry : flow is the outcome of inequality (the feather-scale of the balance is a priori correct) ;
reciprocity : the two sides of everything interact and are interdependent (the beam of the balance) ;
multiplicity-in-oneness : the possibilities between every pair are measured by one standard (the plummet).

η. 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."

"H
eart" 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.

θ. In 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.

∫ Not to study Ancient Egyptian literature & sapiental discourses, is to neglect the mother of Western philosophy.

LEMMA 16


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.

α. 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) Gnosticism.

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 ;

  • exploring mentality : 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 ; 

  • linearizing, geometrizing method : phenomena obey mathematics, and a stable, linear description prevails ;

  • 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.

γ. 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.

δ. 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 :

  • Milesian "arché", "phusis" & "apeiron" : the elemental laws of the cosmos are rooted in substance, which is all ;

  • Pythagorian "tetraktys" : the elemental cosmos is rooted in numbers which form man, gods & demons ;

  • Heraclitian "psuche" & "logos" : a quasi-reflective self-consciousness, symbolical & psychological ;

  • Parmenidian "aletheia" : the moment of truth is a decision away from opinion ("doxa") entering "being" ;

  • Protagorian "anthropos" : man is the measure of all things and the relative reigns.

ε. 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" coined.

ε.1 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.

ε.2 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 ;

  • philosophy equals relative, conventional, approximate truth, but never absolute truth. Greek philosophy, accepting intuition, never eliminates reason.

ζ. The classical systems of Plato (428 - 347 BCE) & Aristotle (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 Greek 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.

ζ.1 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 of mind.

ζ.2 As the real, the substance of a thing is deemed the stuff out of which it consists, explaining the manifestation of the extra-mental, objective, kicking world "out there". Both need to be criticized.

η. 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 serious ?

θ. 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 but 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.

κ. 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.

LEMMA 17

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.

α. Greek rationalism and concept-realism influenced Egyptian thinking, triggering Hermetism (cf. 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 the desert 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.

β. 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. Indeed, "YHVH 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.)

γ. 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.

δ. 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 God.

  • Humanism : (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 small motivation.
     

  • Rationalism of 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 matter.
     

  • Criticism : (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 properly ;

    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.
     

  • Technologicism : (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 Grail".
     

  • Institutionalism : (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.
     

  • Fossilism : (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 light.

ε.1 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 alienation ?

ε.2 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.

ζ. 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.

LEMMA 18

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". This 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 ?

α. 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.

α.1 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.

α.2 In Greek 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.

β. 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 are abstractions. The extraordinary contribution of Abelard (1079 - 1142) to epistemology is his avoidance of the apory by introducing a third option :

  1. universale ante rem : the universals exist before the realities they subsume : Platonism ;

  2. universale in re : the universals only exist in the realities ("quidditas rei") of which they are abstractions : Aristotelism ;

  3. 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.


γ. 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.

∫ Franciscan logic is simple : less is more.

LEMMA 19

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.

These "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.

α. 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).

β. 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 extra-mental reality 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 scepticism.

∫ To think the transition between words and their reality as seamless is to accept the unchecked psychomorphic activity of ante-rationality.

γ. 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.

LEMMA 20

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 others.

§ 6 Critical Metaphysics : Knowing before Being.

α. 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.

β. 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 relative.

γ. 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 possible knowledge.

δ. 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.

ε. "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.

ζ. The transcendental system of the conditions of possible knowledge (or transcendental logic) is a hierarchy of concepts defining the objective & subjective 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.

η. 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 ...

LEMMA 21

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 -or concrete 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 (for meta-rationality).

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 about phenomena.

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 substance or x. 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.

α. 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 thinker, 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.

β. 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.

γ. 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.

δ. 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 reason. Producing (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.

ε.
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.

LEMMA 22


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 the absolute 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.

α. 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.

β. Epistemology is a normative discipline, bringing out the principles, norms and maxims of valid conceptual 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 apprehending them.

γ. 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.

δ. 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 discordant truce. This is essential to produce conceptual knowledge that works.

ε. 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 theory-transformation.

ζ. 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 consciousness-like science.

LEMMA 23

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 propositions.

§ 3 The Validity of Scientific Knowledge.

α. 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 side of 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.

α.1 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 scientific knowledge.

α.2 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.

β. 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.

γ. 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.

testable
arguable
testable
unarguable
untestable
arguable
untestable
unarguable
paradigm
of science
semi-science
would-be
critical
metaphysics
irrational
metaphysics
valid
propositions
invalid
propositions
valid
statements
invalid
statements

∫ 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 not.

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 think- 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 (a) "my" 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.

ζ. 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.

LEMMA 24

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 philosophy.

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 science.

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 statement.

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 observation.

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.

α. 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).

β. 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 is needed.

γ. 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.

δ. 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.

LEMMA 25

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 & idealistic 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.

α. 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.

β. 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 form.

∫ To know what to refute is to be able to identify the truth more clearly.

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 :

  • Parmenides : 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 ;

  • Democritus : 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 ;

  • Aristotle : space is matter and the dualism of matter and form (hylemorphism) takes over : the essence of a thing inheres in it and contains its potentialities ;

  • Descartes : 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 ;

  • Newton : 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 ;

  • Einstein : 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.

ε.
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.

ζ.
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.

ζ.1 In the 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.

ζ.2 The new 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.

LEMMA 26

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, albeit methodologically.

Metaphysics 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 x to process or x, and this by negating x.   or "there is" : is the affirming persistent existence of "x", in casu the existentializing quantor confirming the permanent existence of x or x.

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 worldview is.

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 ("bodhi"), the 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 (or force) 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 thought.

§ 1 The Mistake of Absolute Relativism.

α. 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.

β. 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 also found.

Very small changes in the highly intelligently chosen natural constants would make the physical world devoid of life & sentience.

γ. Transcendent 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.

LEMMA 27

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 creativity.

§ 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, did 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.

β. 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 "grammatica" 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 fore.

γ. 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, the nominal 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.

δ. 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.

LEMMA 28

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 conventional knowledge.

§ 3 Semantic Advance.

α. 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 their states.

∫ A clarification of views results from integrating many different vantage points.

β. 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.

LEMMA 29

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.

  • immanent symbols :  "phusis", accidental existence, world of becoming, Demiurge, Generator, Conserver, She, pantheism - the Lunar symbols ;

  • transcendent 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 instantiations.

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 an infinite 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 theology proper.

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
(cf. Criticosynthesis, 2008, chapter 7) and, in order to book any success, need to axiomatise (a) substantial 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 not retained.

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 is ?

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 occasions.

So in the meta-nominal, meta-rational stage of cognition, two modes are distinguished :

  • the 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

  • the 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.

In the 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 conventional condition of all possible direct experience is satisfied. Both vectors producing factual knowledge have done their job. Then, backed by the propositions of science, a broader, 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 observer, 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 mundus.

the mundus : the sphere of all possible observers

  • 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 interconnectedness evidenced by all objects possessed by the observer ;

  • 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 space-time ;

  • diurnal hemisphere = the realm of consciousness awareness ;

  • nocturnal hemisphere = the 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 observers reflects "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 interests.

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 higher self 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 tragi-comedy.

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 :

  • self-reflection, or 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 is designated. 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 :

  • building : 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 constructive 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 ;

  • becoming : 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 ;

  • actualizing : 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 being-there ("Dasein"). 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 world-ground), She 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.

world-system

world

God* as the immanent Divine present with all actualities

world-ground

God* as the transcendent "Lord of Possibilities"

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 infinities.

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.

β. For 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.

γ. 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. Conceptual reason 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).

δ. 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.

LEMMA 30

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 world).

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 follow ...

β. 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 God* 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 "ens 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.

LEMMA 31

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 logic.

§ 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.

β. 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.

β.1 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 (immortal) soul.

β.2 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 reifying conceptual 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 changing.

δ. 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 validation and unmistaken. The former is outspoken, the latter silent.

LEMMA 32

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 various "intelligences".

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.

α. Having 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.

β. The actual use of languages defines a set called "userware", operating in 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.

γ. 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 likely enough.

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.

LEMMA 33

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, conventional 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 consensus.

β.2 So 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.

γ. 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 in 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

I

pre-
nominal

ante-
rationality

1 Mythical
libidinal ego

the
irrational

2 Pre-rational
tribal ego

INSTINCT
(imaginal)

3 Proto-rational
imitative ego
barrier between instinct and reason

II

nominal

rationality

4 Rational
formal ego

REASON
(rational)

5 Critical
formal self
barrier between reason and intuition

III

meta-nominal

meta-
rationality

6

Creative
own-self

INTUITION
(intuitional)

7

nondual selfless (transparant) self

δ. 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 awakening.

LEMMA 34

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 Light*.

α. The 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 ?

β. The 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 beforehand.

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 possible.

γ. To be rationally established, the order of the world does not need a transcendent cause. This was proven by Ockham.

γ.1 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 ?

γ.2 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 ;

  • Minor 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 nunc" ;

  • Minor 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 ;

  • Minor Premise 3 : 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 ;

  • Minor Premise 4 : as only necessary beings conserve themselves and the world contains contingent things only, every conserver depends on another conserver, etc. ;

  • Conclusion 1 : ergo, as there is no infinite number of actual conservers, there is a first conserver ;

  • Lemma : if we suppose an infinite regress in the actual, empirical world hic et nunc, then an actual infinity would exist, leading to absurdity ;

  • Ergo, at least a first conserving cause exists. QED

γ.3 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."

  • Major Premise 1 : the world is an organized, contingent whole, evidencing variety, order, fitness & beauty ;

  • Major 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 ;

  • Minor Premise : definite aims need a selecting and arranging purposeful rational disposing principle ;

  • Conclusion 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 ;

  • Conclusion 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 reaches. Ergo, the intelligent cause or causes of the world forms or form a unity of design ;

  • Lemma : 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 proximate cause.

  • Ergo, the world has an intelligent, proximate cause. QED

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" or God* 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*.

ζ. 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 actual nondual experience, can be nothing more than a limit-concept.

Only full-emptiness, the union of bliss and wisdom endures.

LEMMA 35

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, but this falls outside philosophy, may 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 through.

B. Diversity & Convergence in the World.

§ 1 Horizontal : Variety, Display & the World-Ground.

α. 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 process.

β. The 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 Real-Ideal 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.

β.2 World 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 from.

γ. 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.

LEMMA 36

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 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 & Clear Light*.

α. Again, 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 world.

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*.

β.1 The 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.


γ. Information & consciousness define intelligent focus, or the combined activities 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 the mundus.

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.


LEMMA 37

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 occasions.

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.

α. 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 critical metaphysics.

LEMMA 38

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.

α. 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.

γ. 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 cannot be 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.

γ.1 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 conceptual elaboration.

γ.2 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.

LEMMA 39

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 contradiction.

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.

α. To 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.

significance
versus
relevance
significant insignificant
relevant science serving
humanity
metaphysics of hope
irrelevant science serving
science
randomness, chaos
madness

γ. 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 being untestable.

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.

∫ A 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.

LEMMA 40

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.

α. 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 of metaphysics.

LEMMA 41

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.

α. The 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.

β. 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.

γ. 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.

LEMMA 42

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.

α. The 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.

β. 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.

γ. 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 God*.

LEMMA 43

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 fixed notion of "outer" and "inner", for both are interdependent and so arising simultaneously.

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 the 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 ground, is 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 been reified.

Traditional transcendent 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". Critical transcendent metaphysics introduces the transcendent, absolute, ultimate nature of all phenomena as (a) the absence of substantiality, (b) an infinite number of material & informational possibilities, 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 ineffable.

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.

α. To grasp at sensate & mental objects in terms of valid empirico-formal propositions and valid speculative statements always implies a certain amount of reification.

α.1 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 ignorance.

β. 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 (although interconnected).

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 found.


γ. 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 correct. Validity 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 symmetry-transformation.

ε.1 Empty 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 self-sufficient.

LEMMA 44

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.

α. 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.

α.1 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.

α.2 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.

α.3  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 reification.

α.4  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.

α.5  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 is therefore 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 actual.

β. 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, etc.).

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 own side.

LEMMA 45


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.

α.
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.

γ. 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 Real.

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.

LEMMA 46

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.

α. 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.

β. 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.

γ. 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.

LEMMA 47

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 critical reason.

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.


α. When, 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 & form.

β. 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.

γ. 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 others.

LEMMA 48

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 chaotic logic. 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.

α. The 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.

β. 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 defences.

γ. 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.

LEMMA 49

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, intellect prehends.

Abstraction has to be paid by lack of inventivity, creativity & novelty.

β.
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).

γ. 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.

ζ.1 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).

ζ.2 For 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 flock ?

LEMMA 50

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 reification is.

Prehension no longer grasps, but finds objects as they are.

β. 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.

γ. 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.

ε. 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.

ζ. 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.

η. 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 ontology).

η.1 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.

LEMMA 51

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.

α. The 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.

β. The logic of the tetralemma ("catuskoti") offers the best conceptual approach of n
onduality. 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 random. 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 :

  1. 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, own-nature or substance ;

  2. it is not as it is not (negation) : likewise, the negation of anything cannot be done without negating other things, making what is being negated interconnected and thus impermanent ;

  3. 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 ;

  4. 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.

γ. 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).

δ. 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 spontaneously transformed 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.

LEMMA 52

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.

After 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 is possible.

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 also unmistaken.

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.

α. Irrationality cognizes 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.

β. 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 uncompromising salvic moves.

∫ The deceptions of irrationality may fool some for some time, but never succeed in bamboozling everybody all the time.

γ. 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.

δ. 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 self-contradiction.

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 ?

LEMMA 53

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 of consciousness.

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.

α.
The 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.

β. Sublime 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.

γ. If art, 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 mystical elucidations.

δ.
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 whole.

ε.
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.

ζ. Poetry 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. These abstract forms, rooted in transcendental aesthetics, are necessary and formal (cf. 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.

η. 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.

θ. 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.

LEMMA 54

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" or "Gestalt" 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.

1.4 Ontology.

"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 science.

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 processes 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 common ground 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 were substances.

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, infinite 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) very likely.

Both world and world-ground make out the world-system. The world is the sea of concrete actual 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 & non-spatial 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.

α. 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).


β. 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. supra).

γ. 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.

δ. 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 retained.

The Middle Way fares well between the extremes of absolute affirmation and absolute negation.

LEMMA 55

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 x of that what exists hic et nunc with differential extension x.dt

§ 2 Objects of Ontology : What is There ?

α. When the view, in casu process-based phenomena, has been established, ask : What is there ?  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.

When an 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).

γ. 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.

γ.1 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 into action.

γ.2 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 deception.

γ.3 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 nonexistent objects.

δ.
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 (phlogiston) flowing 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 ("svabhâva"). But 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 outside 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 properties.

∫ Again : the ultimate exists conventionally.

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 otherness.


LEMMA 56

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 Moon.

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 (swimmingly).

§ 3 Monist, Dualist & Pluralist Ontologies.

α. The 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.

β. 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.

γ. 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 ?

γ.1 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.

γ.2 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).

δ.
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 occasion", 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.

ζ. 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.

η. "Actual 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.

LEMMA 57

In ontology, the 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.

α. Reductionist monism 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 intra-mental alone.


β. Materialism fails to apprehend the intra-mental subject 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.

γ. 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 ?

LEMMA 58

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 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.

α. 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 void".


β. 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.

γ. 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, or "2" out of emptiness, etc. upward to infinity.

δ. 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.


ζ. 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.

LEMMA 59

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 a 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 their emancipation.

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.

The phrase "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 sapiential wisdom-teachings of the Ancient Egyptians (cf. The Maxims 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 discerned.

The ante-rational, multi-millenarian storehouse of experience of the Ancient Egyptians (cf. Hermes the 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 & materialism.

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 essence whatsoever.

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 identified.

Under ultimate analysis, all reifications perish.

§ 1 The Ancient Egyptian Nun & the Pre-Socratic Ground.

α. 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").

β. 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.

γ. 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").

γ.1 Precreation is the conjunction of this undifferentiated state and the sheer possibility of something pre-existing as a virtual, autogenous singularity called "Atum".

γ.2 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.

δ.
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 itself.

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 made.

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". It 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.

ζ. 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.

ζ.1 For substantivists, "solid" and "eternal" per definition imply lack of movement, absence of change or some kind of fixation in a self-sufficient, Olympian ground, an underlying reality ("hypokeimenon").

ζ.2 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.

η. 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 movement ?


θ. 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.

LEMMA 60


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 was afloat. Pre-existence is not a dead nothingness, a void, but filled with the (passive) potential to create (light, spacetime, life & love).

In 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 to be 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.

α. 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.

β. 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.

γ. 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" - x) is not identical with what something "is" (or "Sosein" - x). 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 "being-there".

δ.
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.

ζ. 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.

η. Concept-realism 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.

LEMMA 61

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 & separate.

§ 3 Greek & Indian Concept-Realism.

α. 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.

β. The Peripatetics 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 subject ?

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).

δ. 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".


LEMMA 62

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 Hindu thought.

§ 4 The Tao.

α. 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.

Taoism
Wu-Chi
Great Limitless

virtuality

emptiness Mystery of Mysteries
the absolute Tao
The
 Uncreated
The One
potential non-being or WU
The
Created
The Two
potential being or YU
actuality dependent
arising
Tai Chi
Great Ultimate
The Five Forces

β. 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.

δ. 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 potentia. 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 Kung") into 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 ...

LEMMA 63

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.


α. 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 own-nature ("nirsvabhâva").

β. 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).

β.1 Logically (and a forteriori philosophically), the strict Prâsangika-Mâdhyamaka approach found in the work of Nâgârjuna, Chandrakîrti, Shântideva, Atisha and Tsongkhapa is correct & definitive (cf. Emptiness Panacea, 2008 ; On Ultimate Logic, 2009). Hence, the non-affirmative negation of inherent existence eliminates all possible reified concepts.

β.2 Experientially 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.

β.3 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 !

γ. 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.

γ.1 Because gold 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.

γ.2 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.

LEMMA 64

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.

α. 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 VI).

β. If a substance would be determined by something external to itself, then it would be not 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 ...

LEMMA 65

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 x momentarily exists ;

The actualizing quantor confirms x, or  x, the mere existence of 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. Merely existing 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 inherently exists. 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 x, hence x x. With x, the substantial or essential nature of x (or xs) is confirmed. If this xs = x changes, then x is not longer x, in other words, x can no longer be identified as such.


§ 2 The Münchausen Trilemma.

α. 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.

β. 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 C''' ...) is emotionally accepted as certain because, seeming certain, it is deemed not to need more justification. This is of course unproven.

γ. The Münchhausen-trilemma must be avoided by stopping to seek an inherently existing 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 (nor nihilistic). 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).

LEMMA 66

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.

α. 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 so trivial.

β. 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.

γ. 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 conscious activity.

LEMMA 67

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 little.

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 x 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 x, and one sharply establishing (realizing) the process-nature of x, in other words, x's lack of inherent existence. These two "natures", the conventional and the ultimate, are merely properties of x. The ultimate nature is not deemed "another" reality standing beyond, next to or within x. 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 x, 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
x conventionality. We already listed the objects of ontology, answering the question What is there ? We found absolutely nonexistent 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 ?

α. 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.

α.1 An 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.

α.2 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").

β. 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.

γ. 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.

δ.
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 invalid and 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.

ζ. 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 and correct 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.

η. 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. Nothing remains.

θ. 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.

LEMMA 68

What is truly there ? After having identified what exists, one divides the lot in valid & invalid, unmistaken & mistaken, ultimate truth & conventional truth.

conventional truth valid & mistaken invalid & mistaken
ultimate or absolute truth beyond validation & unmistaken

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 operate efficiently- 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 well theoretically, in a transcendental inquiry, "purify" itself and attain critical understanding, practically it cannot purge the pragmatical substance-obsessions of researchers & thinkers. 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.

α. 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.

β. 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.

γ. Determinations are lawful connections between actual occasions. Conditions are 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.

δ.
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 :

  • causality : effect by efficient, external cause (example : a ball kicking another ball or Cartesian physics) ;

  • interaction : reciprocal 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) ;

  • teleological determination : 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).

LEMMA 69

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 & reemerge. 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.

α. 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).

β. 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 (or information).

β.1 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.

β.2 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 truth-concealing.

γ. 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) & sense (consciousness).

γ.1 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 them.

γ.2 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".

γ.3 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 organize.

γ.4 Sentient beings cognize by way of object & subject. Both can be reified and then appear as independent & separate entities.

δ.
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 process-based nature..

LEMMA 70

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 things do not work. Valid objects work. Not because things are merely nonexistent, for some work. Merely because conventional reality 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.

α. Universal 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.

β. 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 possibilities.
     

  • 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.

γ. 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.

γ.1 If no object of knowledge can be found able to resist the ultimate analysis proving its lack of substance, 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 emotions.

γ.2 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. infra).

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 ...

LEMMA 71

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 continuously.

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.

α. 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".

α.1 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 !

α.2 The katapatic approach has an absolutist conceptual 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.

β. 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.

β.1 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.

β.2 Is this 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.

γ. 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.

LEMMA 72

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.

α. 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 rejected.

β. To enter the mind of Clear Light*, a clear-crisp conceptual mind is the necessary 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.

γ. 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.

γ.1 Transcendent metaphysics is "valid" in the sense it too works in terms of object & subject, albeit in an absolute extension.

γ.2 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.

LEMMA 73

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, wordless.

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 impossible.

§ 3 The Non-Affirmative Negation.

α. 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 A 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.

β. 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 any thing or ¬ x. Call the mental operation actually doing this "zero-ing".

γ. Zero-ing purifies 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.

LEMMA 74

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, the emptiness of the generic idea of emptiness, is non-affirmatively negated. 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.

α. 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.

α.1 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 next moment 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.

α.2 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.

β. 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.

β.1 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.

β.2 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* is needed.

γ. When, after 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.

γ.1 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 goes out.

γ.2 This is not awakening yet, but the final purification of the mind as a whole, the stepping-stone to Buddhahood.

∫ A mind lacking compassion may misconstrue the end of conceptual reification (the purification of the conceptual mind) as the first moment of awakening.

LEMMA 75

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.

§ 5
The Direct Experience of the Unfabricated Ultimate.

α. 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.

β. To witness the unfabricated nature of emptiness 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 ...

γ. Because duality 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 ?

LEMMA 76

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 denied ! Of course, logically, as Descartes pointed out, the "lumen naturale" or mind of Clear Light* is before any possible conceptualization.

For Critical Mâdhyamaka, and correctly so, no logic is able to refute the Middle Way. Nothing about "nirvâna" can be affirmed (all eternalization avoided), and 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 inherent existence.

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, directly 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 whatsoever.

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 genuine transformation of 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 eliminated ;
(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 simultaneously.

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, individual 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 be found.

§ 1 Event & Actual Occasion.

α. 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 event at hand. Actual existence is that what happens. Virtual existence is that what may happen.

β. Every event has duration, and so starts, abides & ceases, so it may reemerge. An event is therefore not a momentary instance, a single element of what happens (or could happen), but a very short event-interval en.Δt = 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.

γ. Actual 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 !

γ.2 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).

γ.3 The 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).

δ. Let 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.

δ.1 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 movement.

So all is dance, a display of energy from the base.

ε.
The unit, principle or standard of a stream of events is therefore not the very short event-interval en, but its 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.

ε.1 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 activity, from 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.

ζ. 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.

LEMMA 77

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 & reemergences of dynamical units. A process is an integrated series of connected developments coordinated by an open & creative 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 perduring 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 purus").

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 their own. 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 finally individualized societies of actual occasions.

§ 2 Efficient & Final Determinations of an Actual Occasion.

α. 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 x is constituted has an extensive continuum, albeit momentarily. x 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.

β. The extrinsic ontological properties of an actual occasion are the temporal-efficient connections of actual occasion x 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 x. So they are called "efficient", i.e. directly bringing change (enhancing process). This 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.

γ.3 Both 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 & choice.

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 endures. But they do define the flash-like impetus of this ephemeral moment to the next, as well as the possibility of
x to influence x+1.

LEMMA 78

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 ensues, 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 "begins" with an open window to the past, showing previous actual occasions x-1, 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 & self-determination.

The difference between efficient and final determination 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 horizontal vector).

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 are therefore never in "one place" or "solitary", but a forteriori enter in each other's process (togetherness or concrescence) and so define continua of 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 actual occasion.

β. Efficient lawfulness and the objective mode of each actual occasion (the horizontal vector) call for the physical aspect of matter, while final determination and the subjective mode (the vertical vector) call for the aspect of abstract validation (information) and a degree of participatory self-determination (consciousness).

β.1 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.

β.2 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 and consciousness.

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 disembodied 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.

β.3 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.

γ. 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 properties.

δ. The 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.

ε.
 The primordial conditions of the material aspect of the world explains how quantum events pop in and out of existence. They point to the primordial quantum plasma, 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 prevail.

ε.1 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 objects.

ε.2 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 ultimate exception.

LEMMA 79

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 mind (cf. A Philosophy of the Mind and Its Brain, 2009), three irreducible domains or operators are constantly at work. These are derived from cybernetics, information-theory and artificial intelligence :

  • hardware or matter : 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 ;

  • software or 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 ;

  • userware or consciousness : 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".

β. 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.

β.1 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.

β.2 Lacking any self-conscious finality, unable to name themselves in a self-reflective cognitive act, aggregates are ruled by efficient law only.

LEMMA 80

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.

α. 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 ?

β. 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 of occasions.

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 precious.

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.

LEMMA 81

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 their level).

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 ?

On 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 highly complex centres of experiential creativity.

§ 6 Panpsychism versus Panexperientialism.

α. 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.

β. 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 entities).

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.

δ. 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.

δ.1 The highest level of freedom is the dominant actual occasion of what happens. On Earth, this is the human mind.

δ.2 Actual occasions, with their infinitesimal iota of self-determination, are the lowest-level examples of the emergence of a higher-level actuality. This because of their 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.

ε. 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.

ζ. 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 complementary.

LEMMA 82

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.

α. 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.

β. 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.

β.1 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.

β.2 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 not absence of terministic argument.

γ. 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.

γ.1 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 & order, 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 a "Deus 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.

world-system world actuality temporal &
spatial
actual world concrete actual
entities
world-ground potentiality
or
formative
abstracts
non-temporal &
non-spatial
God*

primordial sentience
abstract actual
entity
creativity
order
primordial information
primordial
quantum
plasma
primordial matter

γ.2 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 creative order.

γ.3 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.

δ.2 The 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 abstract 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 super-powerful.

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.

ζ. God* does not decide, but lures, i.e. makes beauty more likely. There is no direct efficient determination at work here, but a teleological pull inviting creative advance. Given the circumstances, a tender pressure is present to achieve the highest possible harmony.

ζ.1 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.

ζ.2 God* cannot hamper creativity, nor curtail energy.

∫ Falsehood, 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.

∫ God* is the Adî-Buddha !

θ.
The immanent nature of the Divine is God*'s concrete, omnipresent consciousness, 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.

θ.1 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.

θ.2 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 history.

LEMMA 83

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") is an 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, manipulating propensities).

The two natures of God* are not two ontological parts or elements, but two ways of 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 possible.

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.


Chapter 2. Mental Pliancy & its Enemies.


Having established the general contours of this critical metaphysics of process, the quest for the most general, shared feature of the world and its sufficient ground may be prepared. What kind of mind is best able to do so ?

A certain style and a transcendental logic embedded in a critical study of truth, goodness and beauty, definitely capacitate the conceptual mind by limiting it and thereby purifying it ; as it were preparing it for a speculation on process. Indeed, in the context of metaphysics, one of most fundamental mental operators is the constant remembrance of the impermanent nature of all phenomena, essentially devoid of self-settled substance ; a constant return to process, interdependence and relations, in other words to what is at hand hic et nunc. But be not mistaken ! This necessary preparation, offering a general overview or panorama, is only like clearing the ground, not yet the actual deed of planting the seed by nondual prehension.

Therefore, to inspire the purified speculative mind, the latter must be made pliant. This is more than just being able to conceptually understand, but touches actionality, affectivity as well as all subtle and very subtle states of consciousness, like the direct experience of nondual states of mind. Without this pliancy, the mind is not open enough to attend to totalized objects and so generates a barren view. Optimalized, mental pliancy encompasses all modes of cognition.


Mental pliancy is the property of a mind attending its objects exclusively as relations and no longer as relata. Then, the manifold of objects is treated with suppleness & subtleness. In the actual state of presence with what is happening right now, objects are never treated as ontologically isolated from other objects. Nonlocality is part of the hallucination, of the illusion (appearing before us). When this pliancy becomes ultimate, then the non-substantial, non-conceptual resting-place underlying conceptual logic & validity, at best attending truth, goodness & beauty, is at hand. This is a spacious, non-conceptual reality encompassing all phenomena likewise. Such enlightened mental pliancy is the ultimate manifestation of the dual-union of, on the one hand, process, and, on the other hand, lack of self-sufficient "substantia". Ultimate mental suppleness brings out the best of the mind : openness, depth, sharpness, acuteness, clarity, peace, power & wisdom.

Speculative activity, being conceptual, cannot penetrate the nondual. Hence, for immanent metaphysics, only conventional mental pliancy pertains. To sufficiently inspire the conceptual mind so it constantly totalizes and grasps its objects with the highest possible degree of interdependence or relatedness, the speculative mind requires the highest possible degree of conventional mental pliancy. This generates the compassionate mind, actively engaged in actually ending the suffering of all other minds. Such a compassionate mind is needed to be able to produce or generate a valid immanent metaphysics. To explain the reasons why this is necessarily the case is one of the main goals of this chapter.

Before achieving this, it must be clear what precisely the mind is all about. Three images assist in this : the stream, the mirror and the rainbow arching in space. Understanding these helps to establish a more stricter definition of mind as mere awareness & cognizing.

• As a stream, the mind never stays the same, but neither is it without form or merely random. Indeed, what stays identical is not some solid feature establishing itself, but the architecture of change or kinetography of the mind. Different minds have therefore different kinetographics. Always moving, the mind is a dynamical phenomenon, not a static structure or architecture. Change due to constant momentum is the main characteristic of the stream. Such change, relating to all possible features of the mind, points to the mind being without any self-settled element or property. The mind is therefore empty of its own nature but other-powered, i.e. dependent on determinations & conditions of extra-mental objects. To the conceptual mind, succeeding moments of the stream constantly seem to flow in a temporal arrow from past via present to the future. This is the Arrow of Time. Such a mind attends itself in a special way, namely by positing a constant focus or point of reference & identity, called "I", "ego" or "self". The empirical ego is invented by the conceptual mind to position a certain contraction of awareness to a single moment of the stream. Awareness, in principle extended to the whole stream, is reduced to what happens on a small raft travelling on the stream ... From the vantage point of the ego on this simple flat boat, a temporal arrow pertains and the difference between mental and extra-mental is established on the basis of this seemingly fixed reference. However, if the limitations on attention imposed by the raft are left behind, and attention plunges into the stream to dive to its depths, it will eventually hit the original, very subtle layer of the mind. This is the underlying non-conceptual level, one encompassing the stream as a whole, a completeness devoid of any fixed or self-settled object. The mindstream or mental continuum is shared by all sentient beings possessing a mind. The image of the stream accommodates the view on all possible minds, except the nondual one.

• As a mirror, the mind is empty of itself but merely reflects objects different than itself. Empty of itself, like the surface of the mirror, the mind is without memory, merely actual reflectivity. Without luminosity, reflections cannot appear on the surface of a mirror. The root of the mind, the very subtle mind is Clear Light*. Moreover, indifferent of what kind of objects appears, a Buddha or a pig, a mirror merely reflects without interpretation, i.e. without judging its attended objects. Interpretation is the work of a certain kind of mind, a concave or convex mind refusing to return to the Euclidian plane of the original, fully functional uncurved mirror-surface. This is the conceptual mind, distinguishing between objects turned inward (subjectivity) or outward (objectivity), and thereby establishing its special characteristic : afflicted duality, or a state of mind causing emotional afflictions and mental obscurations. The Factum Rationis and concordia discors brought to bare earlier are but special instances of this overall afflictive duality of the conceptual mind. This allows for the distinction between pre-conceptual, conceptual and non-conceptual minds. The first leads to innate self-grasping, the second to self-cherishing and acquired self-grasping. The image of the mirror accommodates the view on the nondual mind and none other.

• As a rainbow, the mind results from complex determinations & conditions. As the tiny water droplets reflecting in the sunlight, it takes on the colour of the glass in which it is poured. We observe a specific hue and forget this is merely a refraction or curvature of white light. A given frequency is always the absence of all other frequencies. Like a pure transparent crystal or diamond, the mind reflects what it attends. The conceptual mind does this in terms of its specific colours, the non-conceptual mind in tune with the brilliant whiteness of the Clear Light*. The rainbow seems solid and real, but in truth it is merely a spacious phenomenon. As the rainbow seems to connect Earth with heaven, the mind is the only bridge available to cross the chasm separating the conventional from the ultimate. Because of the mind, the end of suffering or salvation from all afflictions and obscurations is possible. Without this true peace, the play of seemingly endless suffering endures. Just as a rainbow is a set of colours, so the mind is a set of possibilities. Just as the rainbow disappears all of a sudden, so states of mind constantly change, at is were leaving no trace. The image of the rainbow accommodates the view on all minds, i.e. the simultaneity and unity between all conventional and all ultimate minds. Buddha mind.

The enemies of mental pliancy are ignorance and afflictive emotions. The former betrays a lack of insight in the true nature of phenomena, the latter manifests as the fire of the existential dialectic between exaggerated attachment or afflictive desire and revulsion or hatred. Ignorance superimposes a false idea, promotes a false ideation Cf, designates a wrong view. This impacts all possible cognitive acts. Afflictive desire & hatred denote affective activities acting as root-causes for all subsequent major afflictions of the emotional mind : cruelty, greed, stupidity, passion, jealousy & pride. This directly affects intersubjectivity and therefore our degree of civilization.

Studying these emotional states, one discovers their pivot is the notion of an enduring phenomenon. Human beings acquire this habit as the result of attributing a concept or a name to anything observed. Animals have a non-conceptual innate sense of self. This instinct is however not intuition born out of the purification of the conceptual mind, the only valid basis for attaining the nondual mode of cognitive functioning. Instinct is merely the active side of the blue-print of collective sedimentations of emotional problem solving activity (dealing with tribal togetherness and belongingness), and so evolutionary. Instinct is the mental operator association with ante-rationality.

Designating a concept is the activity of the conventional (conceptual) mind. In itself this is valid insofar as logic & functionality go. Reification being the culprit, duality and conceptuality, to complete the mind, should not be abandoned. Cognitive reification is attributing self-power to mental and/or sensate objects. Affective reification is either grasping at the egological importance of the empirical ego or coarse mind (self-cherishing), existentially placing the ego and its own before all other matters, or designating the self as possessing a permanent core. Afflictive emotions and their devastating effects on the individual, on nature & society can be countered by the merits of compassion (or the applied science of universal participationism). Cognitive obscurations are to be lifted through wisdom, realizing the ultimate nature of all possible phenomena.

2.1 Definition of Mind.

Western philosophy has no clear-cut definition of mind. This is due to the fact its attention is largely curved outward, and this in a vain attempt to uncover an ultimate objective self-sufficient ground. Even when gazing inward, as in the case of Plotinus, Augustine, Cartesius or Husserl, the aim is to uncover the "imago Dei", the substantial ego or the eidetic core, i.e. an ultimate subjective self-settled bedrock.

This largely convex mentality of the West drives attention away from the act of actual perception itself, and brings the duality of perceiver & perceived to the forefront. This duality lies at the basis of all important dichotomies. Perceiver and perceived are both interlocked, each hiding behind the other. A functional definition of mind does not focus on these two poles of any relationship, but on the relationship itself, i.e. on the act of perceiving.

First identify the subject of experience, then asks about the objects this subject attends, for the subject is always an object-possessor. Likewise, when the object of experience is brought on stage, there is always a subject designating it. Both inward and outward curvatures of attention make us aim to something else than the mind fully present in the act of cognizing.

The nature of mind is revealed by presently recognizing the perceiving, the actual act of attending itself, not by fixating the attendee or the attended. That is all. Watch the attending, nothing more. This has to be pointed out, then practiced by generating, maintaining and uniting all acts of mind with this naked presence & pure awareness.

§ 1 Awareness, Attention & Cognizing.

α. Awareness is a verbal noun pointing to the fact mind is always being aware of something, indicating it is always turning something into an object. This does not necessarily entail a conscious act of will. In every moment of the mindstream, the mind is engaged with or relating to something. This arising is a cognitive engagement occurring simultaneously with thinking. This is not necessarily conceptual nor conscious. Babies are also aware, but not verbal. Hostility can be experienced by others without it being conscious to those in which it appears. Indeed, the unconscious mind is also aware.

α.1 When the mind and its object, or experience and its contents, always simultaneously come together as one entity, pure or primordial awareness is at hand. This is pure presence. It is non-conceptual and nondual and can be liked to being present with every arising object, whatever it is, and this without adding anything to it (conceptual elaboration) or taking away anything from it (conceptual elimination). To permanently realize this, so we are told, is the "great seal" ("mahâmudrâ") of enlightenment.

α.2 Pure awareness underlies all mental states except itself, and has to consciously & continuously permeate all of these for suffering to permanently cease. Every moment of the mindstream is saturated with the sheer presence of being aware in & of the moment at hand and this in all the subsequent moments of consciousness. This awareness is "in" and so part of the moment at hand and therefore not some "outside" witnessing from a solid upper ground. This awareness extends or covers the moment as a whole, allowing for the briefest flash-light view on it. In the moment, this awareness is particle-like. Of the moment, this awareness features the wave, allowing for a general description of the dynamics of the moment.

α.3 Particle-like pure awareness refers to the first sudden instant or moment of an experience, when the mind is actually "in" the act of engaging an object. Wave-like pure awareness refers to being aware of the moment as a whole of sorts. In pure presence both are simultaneous, transcending the limitations of subject & object. This is the authentic, natural, self-originated primordial awareness of pure presence. Just like the surface of the mirror reflects nothing, pure awareness facilitates the manifestation of appearances, having itself no properties of its own. As the mirror, never "keeping" appearances, this nondual ultimate mind merely reflects appearances, following their interdependent changes. The surface of the mirror has no memory, but potentially contains all possible appearances.

α.4 This pure awareness or pure presence arises at every first fresh moment before the mind has had the chance to start any conceptual operation, before -due to affective & conceptual activity- the observer and the observer are split by names and, through labels, an appearance is identified on the surface of the mind ... Merely a being-with the actual momentary instance in its abiding, this is an awareness of being present in what is happening right now, a nondual state of mind constantly maintaining this sense of being present in this actual moment, which is not only of the briefest interval, but also poignant.

α.5 When mind and its object are not one, as in the case of all other types of awareness following the first instant of primordial awareness, impurity is at hand, implying the experience and its contents not longer arise simultaneously as one entity, as one completed whole, but as a succession of subjective apprehensions of objects, in particular by way of afflictive emotions and mental obscurations. The mechanism of the conceptual mind leads to conceptual elaboration, basically resulting from naming or labelling the objects attended.

α.6 Often returning to the first moment of conceptual attending or name-based identification, the mind may discover intervals between the conceptual thoughts generated by the conceptual mind. Identifying the first moment of the arising of a conceptual thought, as well as these intervals between the arising, abiding & ceasing of consecutive conceptual thoughts, helps to break out of the cage of conceptual elaboration and attend the actual moment at hand, seizing it and abiding in it.

α.7 Awareness is therefore like entering an object, be it mental or sensate. In all cases, except for nondual primordial awareness, something is done to this object, it is thought, felt, manipulated, made conscious (or not) and/or perceived (by the five senses). But the surface of the original mirror does not alter the appearance in any way. So in the case of pure awareness, observer & observed are one. In general however, awareness is merely a form of engaging with an object, and this is necessarily involves a cognitive engagement. In its primordial form this engagement is however a special case, namely completeness as a whole, a simultaneously arising of universal interdependence & an ontological absence of substance.

β. Attention is the process whereby the mind concentrates on some features of an object to the (relative) exclusion of other properties. Attention is consciously attending an object, and so per definition never unconscious. Awareness may be unconscious, attention never is. So in a certain sense, attention is the transformation of pure awareness to a lower energy-state, narrowing the field or consciousness to the spatio-temporal boundaries of an certain specific object, be it sensate or mental.

β.1 Attention is intentional and so directed to something else. Pure awareness prehends the true nature of all possible phenomena. It does so in a non-conceptual, nondual way resulting in the experience of unbounded wholeness. Ultimate attention and ultimate cognition are properties of pure awareness. The focus of conventional attention is on an object existing from its own side, self-powered, either from sensate sources "out there" or specific conceptual cogitations "in here". Training attention or concentration can be classified as painstaking, resetting, uninterrupted & spontaneous.

β.2 When concentration is nearly absent, it is very difficult to maintain focus on any object. It is gained but very easily lost when another object or another aspect of the same object presents itself. Continuity is not available at all. To train this type of attention is painstaking. When concentration is lost, introspection may notice this and focus regained. When this happens spontaneously, resetting has been mastered. Strong attention is a concentration never leaving its object. When strong attention no longer needs initiation, naturally settling itself on its object, it is spontaneous. This is the highest degree of concentration, also called "meditative equipoise". To train this, meditation is required.

γ. Cognizing is attending an object with the conscious purpose of knowing it, which is a particular kind of grasping aimed at possessing information about an object. Like attention, cognition is never unconscious. The cognitive act can be a-conceptual (as in myth), cognitive (as in science & philosophy) or non-conceptual (as in nondual cognition). The nominal conventional mind is conceptual, i.e. actively engaged in designating, labelling and projecting objects on a timeline defining past, present & future. Attributing properties through naming implies negating the presence of other properties. Hence, the duality of all conceptual elaboration.

γ.1 Myth does not use concepts and confounds object & subject. A non-reflective adualism pertains. The knowledge acquired here is psychomorphic, infusing objective states with subjective features and this to the point of eclipsing the object. It is not reflexive, and so never questions the source of knowledge. Without a trace of self-reflection, this mode of cognition does not witness its own cogitations. It represents the lowest degree of cognitive clarity and features diffuse attention. Because of this, myth is not hindered in capturing the moment, the sacred beginning. The symbolic pointe of myth is merely a return to this first time. But its apprehension is opaque and dense.

γ.2 In this mythical mode, the cognitive process is non-verbal and the differences between subject and object are quasi absent. The subject has an "oceanic" experience, as it were submerged in its environment. The world is an extension of the physical body, in particular the coordination of its movements, and the latter cannot be grasped as an entity in its own right.

γ.2.1 Mythical cognition is not conceptual, but notional. These are schematics derived from the coordination of movements, from external objects or from "forms" applied to them. Notions imply logico-mathematical structures and a certain spatial & temporal permanency.

γ.2.1 Subjectivity is the experience of being a source of action. Nothing more. This simplicity explains why overcarried rationality invokes myth, and this insofar as it inspires & creates or, on the contrary, terrifies & destroys.

γ.2.2 The core of myth is irrational. The √-1 of the complex stream or field of consciousness remains the crude expression of contradiction, or A = ¬A. There is no paraconsistency.

γ.3 Conceptual cognition, be it pre-conceptual, proto-conceptual, conceptual, formal-conceptual, critico-conceptual or hyper-conceptual, will always use labels to designate its objects. These names denote the secure information gathered by the senses or construed by the mind itself using conceptual elaboration. They hinder awareness of the immediate reality-for-me of what happens hic et nunc.

γ.3.1 As soon as, by decontextualizing concepts, the rational stage of cognition has been stabilized, the tendency to reify takes on a totally new dimension. Concepts acts as filters and tend to shield awareness from what is going on right now, introducing anticipation on the basis of memory.

γ.3.2 Indeed, where the ante-rational mind stays in contact with the diffused contents of myth, the conceptual mind no longer entertains psychomorphic constructs, nor contextualized concrete concepts but favours the abstract. This power can also be its pain.

γ.4 With the advent of pre-critical conceptual reasoning, there arose a solid, concrete "self" posited inside our head, one deemed to experience or controlling experience as its agent, and a solid, concrete object as its content "out there", with a solid, concrete experience occurring between these two. The solidity of these constructions implied the observer, the observation and the observed were reified and deemed to exist from their own side, as independent substances. Such brontosauric entities cannot be found. In critical conceptual reasoning, the conditions of knowledge are no longer reified and the impact of ontological illusion on conceptual reason at work in the conventional, coarse conceptual mind is understood, but one cannot escape the necessity introducing a solid object/subject relationship "as if". Hence, the whole domain of conventional reason is never without reification, albeit subtle and very subtle. This is why conventional knowledge is valid but mistaken.

δ. Conceptual cognition obscures, covers, veils awareness, as it were pushing it into the depths or in the background.  The power of the conceptual mind dominates attention, driving it outward, clouding the present moment, opening the divide between yesterday, today & tomorrow. The tyranny of names, notions, concepts, opinions, hypothesis, theories & paradigms obscures the conceptual mind, no longer aware of the mind of Clear Light* in the deep underneath the waterline of gross conceptual thinking affirming independent substance. The conceptual mind puts experience in a box with a label.

δ.1 Three layers of mind can be identified : (1) the primordial layer, or mind of Clear Mind*, the very subtle mind of nondual, pure awareness, (2) the subtle mind of translucent hyperconceptuality, and (3) the coarse mind of deluded conceptuality, the root of the acquired grasping at a substantial, inherently existing object, and therefore of the afflictive existential emotional dialectic, translating the self-grasping into the egology of self-cherishing. The coarse mind can be pure, or devoid of reifications (as in process thought) or impure, positing self-nature with inherent properties independently existing from their own side. For pliancy to occur, this coarse mind needs to be opened and purified.

δ.2 Conceptuality by itself does not obscure pure awareness, representing the ultimate station-of-no-station of the mind. This is a mind of absolute symmetry transformations or holokinesthesis. It underpins all possible minds. Not a self-sufficient ground, it is the groundless ground of the mind itself. This ultimate mind is a perfect holomovement and so continuous insofar as the nature of its perfected symmetrical dynamical state goes in terms of its momentum, architecture and sentience. The reification of names and concepts is the true fallacy to negate & avoid.

δ.3