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Synopsis

Philosophy, love of wisdom, is a cognitive answer -extraordinary, multi-dimensional and comprehensive- to this call rooted in our physical, informational and sentient evolution, to know as much as possible, to invent novel order by actively transcending limitations and to open up and unchain our minds, thus producing more complex, refined & subtle states of matter, information and consciousness, thereby aiding creative advance and negentropy. This answer is engaged, open, personal, dialogal, rational, critical, creative and seeks the unconditional.

Philosophy allows recurrent & multiple transferences between, on the one hand, reason and intuition or meta-reason, and, on the other hand, reason and instinct or ante-reason. It is open to the spontaneous, meaningful, wonderous, luminous and ineffable.

Wim van den Dungen
Antwerp, 1992 - 2017.

In this contemporary system* of philosophy, the adaptive, modular, "double coded" tools of postmodernism are used, to focus on a comprehensive understanding of and an intuitive resonance with the multi- and meta-cultural quest of humanity for the gratification of its higher needs in the form of philosophical, artistic and spiritual activities. It invites a postmodernism making way for hypermodernism.

It stands in-between the age (equi-aeon) of presence promoting substance-thinking and the age of process, focusing on the transformation of energy, the product of differences and the absence of substances. It tries to escape radical relativism, skepticism and nihilism, but this without returning to uncritical thinking (realism versus idealism), nor to the neglect of the spiritual & the absent, in particular by way of substance. It opposes radical, monistic materialism.

The first publication in this direction was an epistemological study of rationality & irrationality (1984), written in the tradition of Kant and critical philosophy, providing the formal backbone for a participant observational methodology and a critical hermeneutics. I had been using the methods of participant observation to study the language-games played by so-called "peripheral disciplines" (with their particular semantics, syntax & pragmatics). These are domains of knowledge operating at or moving even beyond the periphery of the contemporary scientific paradigm, like parapsychology, astrology, magic, alchemy & hermeticism (esotericism).

However, in the course of these exotic studies, another, far more interesting area of study emerged, namely, comparative mysticism and the possible direct experience of the Absolute.

The study of the mysticism of the world religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam) led to a wide range of objects to study. However, since 1982, the core interest had remained the same, namely : Is it possible to experience the "Ding-an-sich", the Absolute directly through intellectual perception, illumination, liberation, enlightenment or any other mystical experience ? Was Kant right by denying reason an intellect reflecting itself ? Could it be he was wrong ?

Related to this the crucial question : on what are the abysmal differences based between what the world religions & their many followers claim about the Absolute, and is there a universal core, a file rouge connecting all of them ? 

The Piagetian concept of the different layers, strands, phases or levels of cognition, as well as the results of transpersonal psychology and neurotheology were helpful.

Studied were : Ancient Egypt, Judaism, Qabalah, Classical Yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sufism & Hermetism. In the course of these investigations, major texts had to be translated : the Yoga-Sûtra (Sanskrit, English & French), the Seven Ways of Holy Love (Middle Dutch, Dutch & English), the Sepher Yetzirah (Dutch), the Mystical Theology (Dutch), the Gospel of Thomas (English), Q1 (Greek, Latin, English), and a wide variety of Ancient Egyptian texts, in particular the Memphis Theology (Middle Egyptian, English, French). A wide variety of Egyptian wisdom texts formed a separate study.

Participant observation asks for moments of withdrawal, necessary to organize the data in accordance with their structural characteristics and to articulate hypothesis (if possible) to be tested "on the spot" later. The larger framework being the production of knowledge as problem-solving activity. In the context of the manipulation of knowledge as practiced by the mystics, this is linked with the dynamics between rationality and reason's periphery. The bottom limit of reason being rooted in ante-rationality, and the upper limit touching the creative & nondual modes of cognition. As the knowledge and the practices of the mystics and mystical philosophers of all word religions and of all ages, the latter have a measure of (objective) significance and (subjective) relevance.

logic, epistemology, neurophilosophy, natural philosophy, philosophical anthropology & psychology, esthetics, ethics, metaphysics, hermeneutics, ontology, comparative spirituality, mysticology philosophy of mysticism

(*) In this synopsis, and this after Derrida, an asterix* indicates the word in question may be used as a "false door" (i.e. as an absolute "transcendent signifier") and should thus be further contextualized in the "margin" of the main texts. This, in order to avoid it would become monolithical (i.e. a substantial truth of sorts). In Metaphysics (2012), two signifiers are introduced : "Clear Light*" and "God*".

In "system*", the asterix indicates that although explicitly organized and systematical, this philosophy does not aim to erect a "grand system" of philosophy comparable with the "great stories" of philosophers like Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Spinoza or Hegel (to name the most outstanding examples). In this sense it is not modernist. Venturing outwards, like the postmodernists, it remains loyal to a fugal structure. Aware of the need of a rational process of global participation, it is hypermodernist.

The "modular" and "fractal" approach of this work should allow everybody to make up his or her own mind. An open mind free to study is the foundation of all possible philosophy.

Nevertheless, Kant wrote :

"Die menschliche Vernunft ist ihrer Natur nach architektonisch, d.i. sie betrachted alle Erkenntnisse als gehörig zu einem möglichen System, und verstattet daher auch nur solche Prinzipien, die eine vorhabende Erkenntnis wenigstens nicht unfähig machen, in irgend einen System mit anderen zusammen zu stehen." -
Kant, I. : Kritik der reinen Vernunft, B501.

LOGIC

Four kind of logics are important here : 

  1. transcendental logic : defines the conditions of thought itself, for no thought is possible without a subject and an object, which are both irreducible. This logic is the necessary condition of the critical theory on knowledge developed here ;

  2. the logic of the ideal speech situation was developed by Habermas in the context of his theory on communicative actions. This logic determines the conditions necessary for symmetrical discourses between communicative actors, the necessary condition of a communication which is not colonized by the media, power & money ;

  3. opportunistic logic is the phrase used by Knorr-Cetina to define the way research cells are organized and seek to produce knowledge (applied epistemology) ;

  4. formal3 dialectics of Barth & Krabbe suggest three levels of formal rules can be seen at work in the context of a theory on argumentation : (1) basic rules, (2) rules covering the use of the logical constants and (3) rules dealing with the argumentation of propositions.

EPISTEMOLOGY

This study has three branches : transcendental logic, theoretical epistemology & applied epistemology. Transcendental logic discovers the principles of the possibility of thought. With norms the theory of knowledge answers the question how knowledge and its development are possible, whereas the application of these insights in the concrete context of the production of knowledge results in the maxims of applied epistemology, identifying the production-process underlying cognition.

The epistemological framework of the present philosophical study has been elaborated in : Prolegomena or the Rules of the Game of 'True' Knowledge (1994, Dutch), Knowledge (1995, Dutch), Clearings : On Critical Epistemology (2006, English), Intelligent Wisdom : from Myth to Nondual Thought (2007, English), Neurophilosophy of Sensation (2007, English), Criticosynthesis (2008, English) and in my Critique of a Metaphysics of Process (2010 - 2012).

Prolegomena (1994, Dutch) : epistemological inquiry into the groundless ground of all thinking in the light of a critical, strictly nominalistic & moderate postmodern view on science and rationality inspired by Kant.
Knowledge (1996, Dutch) : epistemology (theory & practice of knowledge) preceded by a study of transcendental logic. A moderate postmodernism (or hypermodernism) resulting in the methodology of a refined participative observation. Study of Western metaphysics & criteria for a valid immanent metaphysical project.
The Rules of the Game of True Knowing (1999, English) : summary of all principles, norms & rules covering the logical, theoretical & practical aspects of epistemology.
Clearings (2006, English) : comprehensive study of the proposed critical epistemology.
Criticosynthesis (2008, English) : reviews the whole corpus of critical thought in the areas of logic, epistemology, ethics & esthetics, with neurophilosophical & theological counterpoints.

The conjectured critical & genetic epistemology leads to a stratified view on cognition, one defined by three stages and seven modes. Human cognition has "nominal", "habitual" and "creative" stages of development. These reflect three distinct interlocked stages, each functionally defining cognitive genesis & development in their own way. Pre-nominal software consists of mental operators limited by contexts (acting as facilitating causes). Habitual software is successful nominal software steering operations independent of context (but as instances of general formal categories). Creative software is successful meta-nominal software optimizing the creative advance & togetherness of all possible operators.

 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 (ontic ego)

INTUITION
(intuitional)

7

nondual selfless (translucent) self

Whereas the barrier between instinct & reason is crossed by education, the gap between critical cognition and creative cognition depends on the self-realization values cherished by the individual on the basis of his or her own choice & joyous effort. Hence, they are not automatic, but need an act of volition to actualize. If this choice is lacking, cognition is merely rational and never integrates meta-nominal objects of cognition.

NEUROPHILOSOPHY

Three perspectives are introduced

  1. the study of cognition : defines the genesis of thought, taking into consideration ante-rationality, rationality and intuition. The former is divided in three modes : mythical, pre-rational and proto-rational thought. Conceptual thought is rooted in ante-rational proto-rationality, and ends with the beginning of nondual thought ;

  2. structure and function of the central nervous system : introduction to those aspects of neurology contributing to a better understanding of human actions, emotions and thoughts ;

  3. revolution of the mindbrain : description of the brain in terms of a visualized matrix enabling its user to change brain software.

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY & PHILOSOPHICAL COSMOLOGY

Chaos (1996, Dutch) : the myth of chaos in Ancient Egypt, Greece, Judaism & Christianity. Scholastic & rational chaostheory. Short history of modern physics (classical, relativity, quantummechanics). Philosophical inquiry into the meaning of (postmodern ?) chaostheory in general system theory & the evolution (process) of living systems.

PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY & PSYCHOLOGY

Towards a Cybernetic Anthropology (1993, Dutch) : conventional but eclectic study of the human, examining -through a functionalistic approach- the cognitive genesis of the nominal dimensions of consciousness, taking into account the ideas of Freud, Kohlberg & Maslow.

ESTHETICS

Towards an Aesthetic of the Excellent Exemplaric & the Sublime Beyond (1993, Dutch) : esthetical theory inspired by Kantian exemplarism leading to the sublime integration of harmonization (order) and disharmonization (chaos).

A more comprehensive Study of Eesthetics is available (2007, English).

The application of the principles of esthetics gave rise to Studies in Music (2013).

ETHICS

The proposed system of ethics is called "participationism". Starting with individual participation, it ends in what I call "planetary participationism", involving the formation of a global social system regulating the free market in order to safeguard social, political, economical & ecological justice on this planet. An English Study of Ethics was published in 2006.

METAPHYSICS

In Critique of a Metaphysics of Process (CM, 2012), totality (immanent metaphysics) and infinity (transcendent metaphysics) are approached in conventional and ultimate ways. Metaphysics is the heuristic of science. The latter is arguable and testable, metaphysics only arguable. Valid metaphysics has strong argumentative backing.

In the Book of Lemmas (2014), the fundamentals of epistemology and ontology contained in CM are developed.

HERMENEUTICS

If direct participant observation is impossible, the study of textual records is the only thing left. Hermeneutics teaches how to adequately read and interprete texts.

This was initiated by a study of Flemish mysticism. Other texts were translated, read & interpreted using the same hermeneutical tools : the Yoga-Sûtra (English & French), the Seven Ways of Holy Love (Dutch & English), the Sepher Yetzirah (Dutch), the Gospel of Thomas (English), Q1 (Dutch & English), the Third Life (English, Dutch), the Mystical Theology (Dutch), the Memphis Theology (English), the Great Hymn to the Aten (English), the Didache (English) & the Discourse of a Man with his Ba (English) and many more Ancient Egyptian texts.

ONTOLOGY

Ontology is part of Metaphysics, the three cosmic operators active in the ontology (or theory of being) of this philosophy are :

  • matter (hardware, pragmatics) : executive material aggregates, composed of nominal (crude, gross) and/or meta-nominal (subtle) matter - cf. hylic pluralism ;

  • information (software, syntax) : ordered architectures by virtue of the laws of symmetry which describe their well-formed code and non-redundant information ;

  • consciousness (userware, semantics) : source of meaning, of a unique perspective or conscious outlook enabling one to auto-redefine, auto-regulate and auto-reorganize as a function of the degree of intelligence (or freedom).

COMPARATIVE SPIRITUALITY

The study of mysticism, mysticology or study of the direct experience of the Absolute, is impossible without comparative data about the spirituality advocated by the world religions. Compared were : Ancient Egypt, Judaism, Hermetism, Qabalah, Classical Yoga, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam & Sufism.

MYSTICOLOGY

The study of the direct experience of the Absolute with the aim to discover the cognitive manipulations founding the sacred phenomenon.

The initiating  study was : Knowledge & Love-Mysticism (1994, Dutch). It deals with love in the work of Beatrix of Nazareth, the mystical knowledge-manipulation and its strictly negative & symbolic theology. Provided are : a general and contextual study of Flemish mysticism, a commentary on and critique of Beatrice's treatise and a study of the totalizing mental operators supporting contemplation and the yearning for God, i.e. the contemplation of God through God. A study on Ruusbroec has been added. Many more text studies emerged (cf. supra).

PHILOSOPHY OF MYSTICISM

This branch summarizes the comparative results and tries to develop a universal theory on mystical experience.


                 

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initiated : 01 XI 2001 - last update : 20 X 2015 - version n°8