rebooting...

1.

The problem is not "totalization" or "closure" -- the problem is TIME.  Or rather it is the traditional metaphysics of Time.  We do not normally think of metaphysics through a time/space lens but perhaps we should.

What I will call spatial metaphysics is concerned with beings that appear to exist in the present moment.  It addresses issues related what things ARE.  When we make the gesture of "There 'it' is!" we are dealing primarily with entities @ locations.  This holds true when we assert a horizon of meaning or a formal system which presumes to incorporate and define everything that is in existence.  Interesting it also holds true when we critique such a horizon or system.

Temporal metaphysics deals with how we hold becomings -- not beings.  Instead of asking ourselves about the manner in which we currently hold the ontology of beings, we instead inquire about the way we assume the arising of patterns.  Here our postmetaphysics shifts.  It becomes a "process postmetaphysics".  A postmetaphysics of the event.  

2.

When we are examining the relationship between epistemology & ontology (between our means of access to things & our presumption of the ultimate status of things) we are dealing mostly with spatial metaphysics.  We imagine the universe of "things".  Then we act as if we know them (MOSP) or as if we know that they are more than what we know of them (MOA).  They are present.  They are given.  

Perhaps we think they are given perfectly by great entities who are also given.  Perhaps we think they are given imperfectly by the structure of reality.  In either case we are affirming or critiquing a certain type of metaphysics which reaches out spatially to enfold beings within the background of our worldspace. 

There is an uncanny similarity between the ISness of the "it is what I think it is" and  "surely it is more than just what I think it is".  In fact it is precisely this continuity that justifies a phrase like the Metaphysics of Adjacency to describe postmetaphysics.  It continues to operate metaphysically... albeit in a distinctly pluralist & postpluralist sense.

But okay. Let there be a continuity between the affirmation of total access to beings and non-total access to beings.  Perhaps this continuity informs us that the problems we are feeling about totalized metaphysics may not have to do specifically with the metaphysical or totalizing elements.  There is another approach.  In this other approach we forgo "staring at beings" and worrying about whether they are, or are not, what they appear to be.  That appearing is contextualized a bit like Space.  What if it was instead contextualized a bit like Time?

In a temporal approach we are not concerned with the potentially misleading status of what is -- or with the potentially exaggerated systems and horizons which enable a particular interpretation of beings.  Instead we turn becomings.  We take beings only as the output of the process.  The metaphysics that must be overcome is not an assertion about beings but rather an assumption about becomings.

3.

Many things are becoming what IS.  The unknown is pouring into the appearance. We may take the appearance as "is only" or "is more" or "is also" -- reality is still mysteriously already poured in from past patterns.  The identity is not fixed and circumscribed by a spatial enclosure but by a cut that is assumed in the flux of histories.  

In exaggerated metaphysics this cut stands out clearly.  The retroactive doubling of an authorizing origin gives us a finite thing which stands under the sway of an historical power.

4.

Traditional metaphysics reveals this clearly.  They even assert and depend upon it.  The potency of their horizon is not experienced by them as evenly distributed.  It has a privileged moment of potency.  They locate it as the officializing primordial moment.  We should take this seriously.  In the dogmatic opposition to evolution the argument takes roughly this form:

If it is accepted that intelligence and design in nature are not the result of a planner's plan then there is no owner-custodian of the metaphysical universe and it "apocalyptically" ceases to apply.

To pull the plant up by the root we must seek the root.

These traditional metaphysics, and their perpetuation in modern conceptual systems (and in the critique of modern conceptual systems!) are not failing to be open-ended, available to mystery, available to creativity.  All these indetermining factors are present in every worldview.  Thesy are not added by metatheoretical worldspaces.  The shift lies in the assumed prior placement of the mysterious creativity.  It is either "pre-given" or not. 

Imagine that an all-knowing mythic God appeared today -- or even last Thursday.  This appearance is curious.  We will have to see what happens.  His existence and his status are not insults to our intelligence.  But... if He existed BEFORE or AT the VERY BEGINNING then there is no room for intelligence. His stamp of fixity haunts the future. Bible and Korans are of interest in the degree to which they are present texts flowing into becoming from past sources.  They are temporally closed if we retroactively presume the "anticipatory and authorial perfection" of their initial instant.

5.

In a spatial metaphysics we always think that what "is" includes unknowns.  Every worldview, every person, accepts unknowns within the existing present context of their reality.  It is no surprise to get surprised.  To specify a world in which unknowns may appear is no great shift.  

Every system and horizon of meaning has to contend with finding things out.  But there is this question of whether we anticipate that what we discover has to fit within a system we remember.  This is a particularly temporal consideration. 

From an MOA viewpoint, or even just a rational viewpoint, we see that patterns are not uniquely sourced in an exemplary past moment.  Rather what is given in the exemplary past moment is precisely the MOSP-like inertia of patterns.  

6.

Every traditional statement of Great Order of Everything (to which we may want to add "or so it seems to us") affirms nature as a perfection of fixed roles.  But these roles are not assumed as eternal.  They are fixed at some point.  

Evolution is fine with traditions in the sense that Nature changes and struggles.  What they need to be metaphysical is a plan, a planner, a beginning at which the patterning is sourced.  Primordial origination turns the obviousness of intelligent design into the cunning of those who would assert an intelligent designer.  

The buck stops with the First One.  

The Fist One conceived, intended & initiated the current situation in which patterns are discovered.  The metaphysical horizon is not fixed by the scope and presence of the Great Orderly System but rather by the primordial temporal placement of its guarantor.

In a traditional sense, I can shoot you on my own land. The legal signing or the moment of inheritance provides me with the authority to impose finite, lop-sided rules for which I am ultimately responsible.  Likewise one person should represent a political region! These traditional metaphysics operate the same principles as their, to me, heretical notion of God -- imagined as the legally, writing-entitled, owner-operator and responsible party whose firstness is the classical theological argument for obedience to the role-and-membership society of trans-tribal dogma assertions.  

The horizon of the universe is locked at a retroactive point in the past.  It is not necessarily locked by any degree of totalization in the present.  A PLAN is a pre-established intelligent design.  It is not just "an" intelligent design.  

7.

Infinity is an ambivalent concept.  It is perfectly thinkable as non-ending processes (like the regress of numbers in "pi").  It is not thinkable as an already completed quantity.  You can observe an indefinite sequence.  You cannot throw your arms around infinity.  Or your mind.  

The operations are different depending on whether we use a spatial or temporal lens.  Every spatialized concept is finite.  That we can add something to it only amounts to affirming the temporal extension... the active time of making an addition.  

Everything can be stated, totalized, affirmed, relative to a space-like metaphysics.  There is only so much of it.  But we cannot totalize a temporal process. To do adds a false note which is the very thing from which metaphysical conceptions suffer.

8.

If we are interested in preserving the terminology of totalization/closure we can just as easy posit two "types" as we can posit an alternative.  I favor the latter for some very simple reasons.  I wish to root out certain spatial metaphors.  Closure, like containment, is originally a spatialized concept. 

However when it applies to space it is appropriate rather than problematic.  Articulations in physics such as "finite but unbounded" point to the functional closure of spatiality.  Space is not open-ended.  In order to indefinitely extend our imaginary vision of space we have to temporalize it.  Infinity is a valid temporal concept but not valid spatial concept.  Therefore we must be open to embrace spatial finitude, closure, totalization.

9.

Compare the following two notions:

(a) THE PRESENT ASSUMPTION OF ALL. This is a totalized statement applicable to the domain which exists in the current reality, the space-like domain.  An example of such a statement is: Reality consists of only and all real things.  That is currently a totalized closure - the onlyness -- of beings.  It is non-problematic.

(b) THE PRE-TEMPORALIZED NON-ALL.  This is a statement which connects a non-totalized reality to a metaphysically presumed extra-temporal authorization.  Example: The Non-All Universe appeared from an original Nothing.

10.

Time is necessarily open-ended (at both ends). So NEXT is the position which makes adjacency viable.  The "next" is always a potential discover following the apparent presence.

But this is frequently not invoked by discussions of totalization which, as often as not, revolve around the presumed insufficiency of omni-concepts and logical assertions.  For example, the position that Integral Theory (or anything else) ought to be cautious about giving rise to the impression that it incorporates, includes, contains, everything is a critique of the insufficiency of space-like containment.  Yet it is not terribly relevant.  Any theory can accurately include an All.  The word "everything" is a micro-theory which totally includes all things.  Nothing in the present falls outside of everything.

Yet the meaning of that everything can change.  This change is temporal.  If we presumed that the theory was temporally closed (the reciprocal of pre-temporally authorized) then we would make a grievous error. 

The lion's share of the problems associated with "totality" and "closure" and "all" (which are spatially suggestive terms) exist via implied temporal metaphysics.  They are not very problematic when applied to spatial metaphysics.

11.

So what are some examples of problematic temporal metaphysics?

  • Time began from a Timeless Condition before Time
  • An Authorizing Being set the patterns of reality at the Very Beginning
  • The Universe was created when we started writing History (only several thousand years ago)
  • Time started at the Big Bang
  • The Early Universe was Perfectly Balanced -- we have since deviated.
  • We originally lived in a pure state but fell from Grace
  • Events have single causes
  • Timelessness exists "somewhere next to" Time
  • The Future & Past still exist "somewhere"
  • Time is only a dimension of spatial geometry
  • Time is only a condition of the human mind
  • A designer or decider added "purpose" to the universe at the beginning
  • Subtle, Causal & Nondual bodies "appear" when we evolved foward enough.
  • New emergence happens at the "leading edge" of the forward moving Time
  • Time is a line, road, arrow path or stream (come from somewhere).
  • Ancient metaphysics necessarily are still true
  • Today's best models will continue to be the best models
  • what else?

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Hi, LP, this is an interesting proposal.  I like the idea that a problematic understanding of time plays a role in these issues.  I also do not see the question of totalization or closure or comprehensiveness as the primary one for post-metaphysics (at least in any sense that would bar telling grand narratives or doing meta-theory).  However, while postmetaphysics does involve a critique of traditional notions of God (as the singular, primordial author of order), the focus -- especially in Wilber's approach -- seems to me to be primiarily on a critique of MOSP.  Of course, all of these things *are* related.  For instance, the postmetaphysical critique of ontotheology is a critique, in part, of MOSP and therefore a critique of the concept of 'total access' to things-in-themselves, perfect self-identity (without absence), total objective representation, etc.

From your six points, I did not get a clear sense of why, exactly, the main problem postmetaphysics addresses, or should address, is fixed past-origination.  Can you say a bit more about that?

Yes, these "notes" are the beginning of a new thought.  I'm becoming unconvinced that the concept of "total access" to things-in-themselves is problematic.

The journey beyond MOSPs involves a modern shift beyond traditional metaphysics and then a postmodern critique of the residual traces of those notions remaining in modernism.  At postmodernism we find the beginning of MOA culture in which things are "ishy" and "next to themselves".  But that IS what they are.  The total access to their is-ness is, from this perspective, not changing from level to level.  Only the definition of what things are is changing.

A key shift in our definitions is being pointed at by our critiques, however.  The element which shines forth in traditional, lingers in various forms of modernity and has to be dug as we enter MOAs may not have to do precisely with totality of access, totality of horizons, self-identity, etc.  So I am suggesting an alternative which covers most of the same territory but shifts the problematic element. 

For the culprit I select the key thing which modernism undermines about traditionalism -- exemplary sourceness

If traditionalism is the exaggerated version of metaphysics, let us see where "they" place the key to their metaphysical conceptions.  It is not evenly distributed through their worldview.  They locate it as the officializing primordial moment.  We should take this seriously.  In the dogmatic opposition to evolution the argument takes roughly this form:

If it is accepted that intelligence and design in nature are not the result of a planner's plan then there is no owner-custodian of the metaphysical universe and it "apocalyptically" ceases to apply.

The same basic shape appears in many forms of modernist metaphysics.  The egoic doer of intentional deeds.  The physics of the beginning of Time.  The copyright status born in the creator's moment and thereafter transferable within the economics of modernity. 

To pull the plant up by the root we must seek the root.

Teilhard opens the door for a lot of postmetaphysical attempts at Christianity because he places Omega in the future.  Emergence.  Attractors.  Morphic momentum.  These are all one side of the new thinking while concern about non-fixation, residual limiting concreteness of the notion of "things", etc. are on the other.  We need to see how they are connected. 

All worldviews involve creativity and mystery.  These are not added by metatheoretical worldspaces.  The shift lies in the assumed placed of the mysterious creativity.  It is either "given" or not.  It is either "at a point" or ubiquitous at threshold. 

The point at which the givens are given, imagined as a past point, is NOT (from our view) the actual source of patterns.  So what is it?  It is the source of the MOSP inertia of patterns.  It is the protected and assumed element of what is normally criticized as metaphysical. 

Something like that.  The idea is still forming.

If I'm following you, I think some speculative realists have made a similar move.  I'll get back to you on this when I have more time to post.

I'm modifying the thread-starting post now...



Balder said:

If I'm following you, I think some speculative realists have made a similar move.  I'll get back to you on this when I have more time to post.

Hi LP and Bruce.

The physics, metaphysics, postmetaphysics continuum is like a meteor trail across the sky. I am actually asking?

In my imagination now I see the hot leading ball of fire that presumably is quite solid, hot, moving fast. At some point towards that front I see that the trail is different in its shimmer and greater subtlety of density. I see towards the rear of this lit-up vibrant contrail an almost translucency, a diffusion, an almost no-density.

I don't see the hump. I don't see the flare. After the leading ball, I'll say, I don't see the difference.

When I hear what I suppose is metaphysical commentary, I sorta get the distinction between the less abstract physics and metaphysics. When I hear "postmetaphysical" commentary or conversation, it sounds metaphysical to me. I'm not yet seeing the hump in the lines of the linguistic contrail, the tell-tale flare, the beef. Where's the beef? Where does the turn of abstraction act significantly differently?

I'm allowing some humor to come in because simultaneously I imagine that I am missing something obvious (and eventually I will learn 'what they were talking about' like I usually do) - and I imagine that this is a distinction without a big difference or purpose.

I get that post means after the metaphysical utilization, presumably because it doesn't work well hence forth or a different sort of languaging and understanding has to take place. But it sort of sounds the same to my ear - people still talking a lot about implications of the 'physics', in rarified abstraction. So I need to wait for more subtly to inhabit my discernment of differences?

Does my metaphor fail because (of course it fails, but is it because) At the level of image evocation it is not easy to see quantum shift in the quality of the trail, though there may actually be, like the different colors that seem to transition from the lit match head to it's outer coloring.

So is abstracting speculations about a 'thing' that is utilized to know it more in the largeness of intrinsic meaning and relationships to other things what metaphysics is about, and post metaphysics is huge shift. Like suddenly we return to the god-as-now-known word and say let's stay with that now. Or does that analogy fail too.

I realize that this may be a digression from your metaphysical or postmetaphysical discussion (which, btw, I follow somewhat and am enjoying). This question has been with me for quite a while, (what the hell is post-metaphysics - a further refinement, a qualitative turn?), and given that the title of this thread places real and post-metaphysical next to each other, this may be related enough :)

I do hope I am capable of understanding this soonish, since I am hanging around here. Smiles and seriousness. ambo

Reminds me of Heidegger's "Being and Time"

With everyday Dasein we're in these three modes:


In the Present:  Fallenness. we're fallen, "being alongside entities" ("self absorption in things and entities") in identification with and allowing ourselves to be defined by external things.  Inauthentic.  


In the Past:  Thrownness  "always being already in the world" ; "Facticity" (settled facts which are always of the past), Determined by our "states of mind", and "moods."  Ruled by memories and floods of affect-laden images from the past.  Inertia.  Habit.   Being determined by habits, addictions, contexts, surrounding ecosystems, complexes, moods, memories, and his personal, cultural, national, and genetic PAST.  Thrown into an existing milieu which will determine much of what is possible or not.  Being largely determined by one's environment which is the past.


In the Future:  "Projection"; "Understanding"; "Existentiality"  "Being Ahead of Itself"      The Future:  "the first part of authentic Dasein is living with its being toward death."

Isomorphically, these also can be represented as three intersecting axes with Anxiety at the center.  hint, hint ... :-)

Joe

To choke Ambo's metaphor on its own tail:

Physics detects and predicts the material actions of the meteor.

Good Metaphysics detects and predicts the immaterial variables which enable physics to work.

Bad Metaphysics becomes trapped in an inflexible hypothesis about the nature and origin of meteors.

PostMetaphysics thinks about "whatever seems, in part, to us, to be a meteor" and wonders if that affects the physics.  But that is also a form of metaphysics... it just discovers that "more than", "not quite" and "also" are part of the immediate definition of things.  

But this does skate away from the issue of a "spatial" or "temporal" limitation in bad metaphysics.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once explained his great skill in scoring and assisting goals thusly: I don't skate where the puck is, I skate where it is going to be.  The future is built in.  His motion escapes a fixed moment upon which another lesser player might react.  And the parallax between the thing you detect and the thing you have to deal with is a (post)metaphysics of adjacency symbol.  

I just added a small feature to the opening post in this thread.  To the effect that an all-knowing mythic God could appear today and be an object of rational interest.  But if we presume him to be privileged primal moment, the beginning, the First Thing, then it ceases to be open ended.  It becomes locked.  No because he IS, or because he is all-knowing, but because he is stamped into the past in a certain insidious way.  The lines of becoming are falsely foreclosed.  

Interesting correspondence, Joe.  The "thrownness" puts our ontology at a disadvantage -- fixing and deranging it in a way (although perhaps apropos of older world systems) that now intolerably confines us in an addict's metaphysics.  And we would then have to keep an eye out for critiques which make our "fallenness" into the potential source of limitation.



Joseph Camosy said:

Reminds me of Heidegger's "Being and Time"

With everyday Dasein we're in these three modes:


In the Present:  Fallenness. we're fallen, "being alongside entities" ("self absorption in things and entities") in identification with and allowing ourselves to be defined by external things.  Inauthentic.  


In the Past:  Thrownness  "always being already in the world" ; "Facticity" (settled facts which are always of the past), Determined by our "states of mind", and "moods."  Ruled by memories and floods of affect-laden images from the past.  Inertia.  Habit.   Being determined by habits, addictions, contexts, surrounding ecosystems, complexes, moods, memories, and his personal, cultural, national, and genetic PAST.  Thrown into an existing milieu which will determine much of what is possible or not.  Being largely determined by one's environment which is the past.


In the Future:  "Projection"; "Understanding"; "Existentiality"  "Being Ahead of Itself"      The Future:  "the first part of authentic Dasein is living with its being toward death."

Isomorphically, these also can be represented as three intersecting axes with Anxiety at the center.  hint, hint ... :-)

Joe

OK, good.

To try to get a little more in sync with how you understand this contrail of different 'thinkings', let me ask a question or two further.

"Good Metaphysics detects and predicts the immaterial variables which enable physics to work." Starting simply, so energy would be a conversation of metaphysics and less belonging to physics? Or are you meaning energy implicitly also when you speak of material - the material/energy dance?

Regardless, as I follow you, time and space could easily be felt to be immaterial variables. You mentioned spacial metaphysics - so, ok. Then you speak of temporal metaphysics that seems to become better called temporal postmetaphysics when we think and consider about...let me see if I get what is different about the dot dot dot, from,

"What I will call spatial metaphysics is concerned with beings that appear to exist in the present moment.  It addresses issues related what things ARE.  When we make the gesture of "There 'it' is!" we are dealing primarily with entities @ locations.  This holds true when we assert a horizon of meaning or a formal system which presumes to incorporate and define everything that is in existence.  Interesting it also holds true when we critique such a horizon or system.

Temporal metaphysics deals with how we hold becomings -- not beings.  Instead of asking ourselves about the manner in which we currently hold the ontology of beings, we instead inquire about the way we assume the arising of patterns.  Here our postmetaphysics shifts.  It becomes a 'process postmetaphysics'."

"we instead inquire about the way we assume the arising of patterns.[pulled from your initial post immediately above]"

In your more current reply to me you say, "PostMetaphysics thinks about 'whatever seems, in part, to us, to be a meteor' and wonders if that affects the physics.  But that is also a form of metaphysics... it just discovers that 'more than', 'not quite' and 'also' are part of the immediate definition of things."

Highlighting, "whatever seems, in part, to us", sounds more immediately personal and subjective. Maybe implying, as I follow what you are saying, that metaphysics is still trying to be more objective. The hump, the flare, the beef, the postmetaphysical turn would then be the shift to include more subjective, personal assumptions about how things work.

Before I take this further, are you saying that for you this is the or a distinguishing feature between metaphysics and postmetaphysics?

I hope my translating in myself and questioning does not feel too cumbersome.

Ambo,

Yeah. Energy is very much a metaphysical element.  It is an abstraction between transformations.  It has no real material aspect but only an explanatory aspect.  Buckminster Fuller calls this metaphysical.  It is a weightless idea which enables the physical.  Energy is a concept which boundaries the gross and subtle planes. 

Once metaphysics includes "the beef" of subjectivity and intersubjectivity then it is always "sort of" what it IS.  So I prefer MOA to Postmetaphysics.  Although Theurj might say Paraphysics!  We can imagine this as a rift between metaphysics and postmetaphysics.  Or we can note the continuity and suppose that it is a metaphysics which has just a slightly different flavor.  A more useful flavor.

Not too cumbersome these questions!  I hope I am addressing them...



I must admit that I think of energy more on the physics side of the equation, though it is spoken of often in the common vernaculars of 'new-age' and everyday life now. I almost equate the material/energy dance with the particle/wave dance, and in that sense I don't feel materio-centric, based on the little physics I have followed. I could have that incorrect.

Yes, to reinforce my understanding of how you hold these words, it is the overt subjective/inter-subjective insertion into the conversation that takes metaphysics to postmetaphysics. Again, is that it?

Excuse the apparent repeat.

Gooday.


Layman Pascal said:

Ambo,

Yeah. Energy is very much a metaphysical element.  It is an abstraction between transformations.  It has no real material aspect but only an explanatory aspect.  Buckminster Fuller calls this metaphysical.  It is a weightless idea which enables the physical.  Energy is a concept which boundaries the gross and subtle planes. 

Once metaphysics includes "the beef" of subjectivity and intersubjectivity then it is always "sort of" what it IS.  So I prefer MOA to Postmetaphysics.  Although Theurj might say Paraphysics!  We can imagine this as a rift between metaphysics and postmetaphysics.  Or we can note the continuity and suppose that it is a metaphysics which has just a slightly different flavor.  A more useful flavor.

Not too cumbersome these questions!  I hope I am addressing them...



Once again the acronyms have lost me right off the bat. DWA! (down with acronyms!)

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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