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Studies
in Buddhadharma


On Ultimate Logic

formalizing the conceptualization of ultimate truth

by Wim van den Dungen


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"If there were no such things as dichotomies that exclude a third category, there would be no way to make a refutation with analysis that limits the possibilities to two, (asking) whether it is asserted that something exists or does not exist, or is one or many, and so forth. If there are (dichotomies that exclude a third category), then when something is refuted as being one side of a dichotomy and it is not established as the other, it does not exist. (...) if something is eliminated as being one side of a dichotomy, it must be established as the other and that if one is refuted, the other is established."
Tsongkhapa : Extensive Explanation of "Supplement to 'Treatise of the Middle Way'", chapter 6, definite enumeration as only two truths.

"In the seen there is only the seen ; in the heard, there is only the heard ; in the sensed, there is only the sensed ; in the mentally perceived, there is only the mentally perceived."
Ksudrakâgama (Khuddaka-nikâya), I.10


 

homage to Mañjuśrî, Buddha of Wisdom
appearing as an Eighth Ground Bodhisattva (Weber, 1983)

 

In Buddhist philosophy, ultimate logic is the formal exposition of the arguments of ultimate analysis. Instead of conventional analysis, differentiating between conventional realities like sense objects & mental objects, ultimate analysis poses the fundamental question of both epistemology & ontology, namely : What is exactly & truly there ? In other words, what is the precise status of objects and how true is this status ? The first question answers what kind of objects we are dealing with and the second tells us what kind of validity they possess. Being able to answer both questions for all possible objects of experience is the first step in acquiring a conceptual understanding of the wisdom realizing the true nature of all phenomena. And to fully enter this wisdom, contrived (by way of concepts) and uncontrived (by way of direct, i.e. nonconceptual, nondual seeing), is the core of Buddha Śâkyamuni's teaching.

To make a clear cut, I've kept the technical elaborations at the minimum. No doubt this exposition will be expanded in the future. The present ultimate logic is not a formal logic of the ultimate, but a tentative formalization of its conceptual approximation. It ends with identifying proximate emptiness on the basis of a generic idea of emptiness, i.e. a very subtle conceptualization of the ultimate nature of all phenomena.

 Table of Contents

 Introduction

 1  The Primitives.

 2  Instantiation.

 3  Object : A

 4  Logical Instantiation : L
A

 5  Functional Instantiation : F
A

 6  Conventional Instantiation : C
A

 7  Substantial Instantiation : A

 8  Absolute Instantiation : ¬A

 9  Existential Instantiation : A

 10  The Fallacy of Substantial Identity of Persons.

 11  The Fallacy of Substantial Identity of Phenomena.

 12  Affirming and Nonaffirming Ultimate Analysis.

 13  Proximate Emptiness and Non-Contrived Truth.

 The Thirty Steps of Ultimate Logic  

 Epilogue

 Notes


Introduction.


Ultimate analysis is an abstract, conceptual technique for exploring any possible object of knowledge, separating it into its constituent parts in order to study these parts and their relations, aiming to find a stable, substantial element among them. It is called "ultimate" because it does not target the object and its relations as such, but their fundamental, concealed nature. To do so, two questions pertain : What is exactly there ? and What is truly there ? The first question is ontological, dealing with existence. The second question is epistemological, trying to assess the truth-value of what exists.


What is exactly there ?

The exactitude of objects, their quality of having high accuracy & consistency, refers to their ontological status, registering what kind of object is at hand. Distinguish between (a) absolutely nonexistent objects, (b) fictional objects, (c) relatively existent objects and (d) absolutely existent objects.

(a) Absolutely Nonexistent Objects : That Which Is Not

The first line drawn is between existent and nonexistent objects. 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.

(c) Fictional Objects : That What Deceives

Fictional objects2 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. Likewise for mythological figures. Although the Cyclops in Homer's Odyssey cannot be pointed at, many drawings and paintings of him exist. Of course, nobody would say the Cyclops "exists" because someone has drawn him, but if a child asks what the Cyclops "really looks like", such a drawing does seem to give an idea.

And what about objects of our imagination ? 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. But since the advent of the 7th Art (Cinema), the development of the micro-chip and the considerable advances in digital memory, things have drastically changed. 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 manifactured. In that way, what used to be merely private imagination, like a ship swallowed by a large whale, or a unique historical catastrophe, like the sinking of the Titanic, etc. can be made intersubjectively available "on screen" again and again. While these images, so-called "special effects" and holograms, are nothing more than tricks with artificial light, they may move us, influence us and prompt us into action.

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.

This last feature should be well considered. Fictional objects exist because a conscious agent intends to fool. To do so elaborate trappings are introduced. These may be physical (mechanical devices like statues with openings in them or with the ability to rock back and forth, as in Ancient Egypt, or electronic systems, as in contemporary photography or motion-picture technology), or merely 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. This explains why in religious fundamentalism, certain forms of art, or the mere act of taking a picture are prohibited ... Indeed, at some point in its long history even the Catholic Church considered theatre as "the art of the Devil" !

Summarizing : fictional objects are relatively nonexistent objects.

(c) 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 this particular psyche). 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 in 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".

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 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 (cf. Clearings, 2006).

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 awareness 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.

Besides misrepresentation, and the validity of scientific objects, all relatively existing objects or conventional objects appear as existing outside the subject apprehending them, cleaving an absolute difference between the "I" and the "non-I", 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 analysis proves, this is merely an appearance concealing their suchness or that what they truly are. These conventional objects do not appear as they truly are, and so conceal their ultimate, implicit nature. 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, it still conceals its suchness. While (a) a deception, (b) the subject of an optical illusion (immersed) and (c) a valid scientific object, it seemingly does not 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. This points to the ontological difference between, on the one hand, nonexistent objects, fictional objects and conventional objects, and, on the other hand, the real, ultimate, absolutely true nature of all possible objects.

The Two Truths found in the Buddhadharma express this fundamental division between a valid, but mistaken truth, and a valid, unmistaken one. Science can never move beyond validation. It has the greatest difficulty perceiving where exactely it is mistaken. The dream of ultimate substance is dreamt so hard, one needs a sharp blade, a clean-clear cut-through with the Wisdom Sword, the Roar of a Snowlioness, to actually clearly & distinctly understand the fundamental concealment conventional objects present to conscious actors, i.e. percipient participators like ourselves. To awake from that dream a formidable mental tool is needed.

As ultimate analysis is an very strong set of argued and thus valid propositions, it belongs to science. Formalizing the end of substantial conceptualization as a whole, merely invites (does not spontaneously lead to) the wisdom realizing the ultimate nature of all possible phenomena. This invokes the very subtle conceptual threshold between conceptualization and non-conceptualization. Ultimate logic leads to a proximate ultimate, not to the ultimate itself. It leads to the "ring-pass-not" of conceptual cognition as a whole, manifesting a thrust towards "true peace", "nirvâna".

(d) Absolutely Existing Objects : That Which Is What It Is

These objects are apprehended by a mind no longer bewitched by the illusion posed by conventional objects. Such a mind directly sees the suchness of all phenomena, i.e. simultaneously apprehends how (a) all observed events are interrelated and none is self-powered and (b) all phenomena are processes, not substances. It apprehends dependence and interconnectedness. Examples of these objects are awakening (liberation & Buddhahood), and the clear lucid dream. The former is a total presence of suchness, reality-as-such, absolute reality or the Real-Ideal, i.e. the radical elimination of all coarse, subtle and very subtle obscurations of mind, causing the misrepresentation of objects. The latter is a shared dreamstate, as when two or more people remember -during waking hours- of having shared objects or having had a lucid conversation with each other while both functioned in a lucid dream (a parapsychological phenomenon not uncommon between disciple and guru, between those seeking the light and those dispelling darkness).


What is truly there ?

This question seeks the truth-value of objects, whatever their status. This is measured in terms of validity and the presence of a mistake. An object is valid when it can be identified, apprehended or grasped by a subject of cognition acting as object-possessor. An object is mistaken when it appears differently as it truly is, i.e. when it is incorrectly apprehended or misleading. Validity refers to the presence of objects. Hence, valid or invalid objects may be mistaken or not. Indeed, valid objects (such as those of science), may nevertheless be appearing differently as they truly are. In fact, all fictional and conventional objects veil their true, absolute, fundamental nature or suchness ("tathata") by the illusion of own-form ("svabhâva").

Absolutely nonexistent objects are invalid and mistaken. They are invalid because nothing can be identified to correspond to them, not even logically. 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, to paraphrase Carnap (1891 - 1970), merely a string of black dots on a white surface.1

Fictional, relatively nonexistent objects, are valid and mistaken. They are valid because, insofar as they are public, one can point to them. But insofar as they are private, the act of apprehension is private too and so only valid for a single subject of experience (reality-for-me or the first person perspective). Fictional objects are mistaken because they represent something which is not as it truly is and this in a definite degree, i.e. by conscious deception.

Conventional objects may be valid and mistaken. They are valid because they can be identified as logical and functional realities. 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", "substance"), while they are truly other-powered, i.e. depending on conditions & determinations outside themselves. This is what ultimate analysis seeks to prove. Once established, it does not change the valid appearance of conventional objects, but only removes the mental obscurations or false ideation causing them to be experienced as self-powered. 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.

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.

Finally, among existing objects there are those which are valid and not mistaken. Valid because they refer to something every subject of experience can potentially identify 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. Thus they simultaneously reveal fundamental absence of independent existence  ("tathata") as well as dependent arising ("pratîtya-samutpâda") or universal interconnectedness. The objects apprehended by the wisdom-mind of a Buddha are all of this category.

Nonexistent & fictional objects are not the first aim of ultimate analysis. Nonexistent objects are not because their ontological and epistemic status is irrelevant to the question at hand. Fictional objects are not because their deceptive nature is apparent and so unconcealed. Conventional objects are the prime target of ultimate analysis, for the fact their true nature is veiled is not apparent. Quite on the contrary, to the mind of Homo normalis, they are self-evidently existing extra-mentally and substantially, i.e. from their own side. Their accidents (qualities, quantities, modalities & relations) are deemed to adhere to their own essences, and this inherent existence is self-powered, i.e. isolated from conditions & determinations outside themselves. If these objects really exist the way they appear to the deluded mind, then it should be possible to separate the quantities, qualities, modalities and relations entertained by these objects from their supposed substantial core or essence ("svabhâva"). What remains after we remove all the accidents from an object ? Objects can be logically identified and do have functional effects. These can be found. But ultimate logic seeks to prove no objects exists in accordance with our common ideas about them, i.e. such own-form cannot be found at all. Remove its accidents, and the object as a whole vanishes !

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.

Ultimate analysis leads to a first-order conceptual understanding of the wisdom ("prajñâ") realizing emptiness ("śûnyatâ"). Taking the conceptual fruit of this ultimate logic -absence of inherent existence- as the object of placement in a special Analytical Meditation called "Insight Meditation" ("vipaśyanâ") or "emptiness meditation", generates a wisdom analyzing emptiness or "special insight" (also called "superior seeing"). This insight is "special" because, instead of reducing or eliminating meditative equipoise, it actually reinforces the fruit of Calm Abiding ("śamatha"). Indeed, this analysis strengthens meditative equipoise (while all other analytical meditations hinder this).

Thanks to this superior seeing, a deep, higher-order conceptual insight into the fundamental nature of all phenomena is realized. This happens by way of Insight Meditation. This has four stages : heat, peak, patience and Supreme Dharma, leading to the Path of Seeing. At this stage, the Bodhisattva enters the First Stage ("bhûmi"), becoming a "Superior Bodhisattva" ("Ârya"), legitimately part of the Third Jewel, the Sangha.

"Kaśyapa, it is like this. For example, two trees are dragged against each other by wind and from that a fire starts, burning the two trees. In the same way, Kaśyapa, if You have correct analytical discrimination, the power of a noble being's wisdom will emerge. With its emergence, correct analytical discrimination will itself be burned up."
Buddha
Śâkyamuni : Kaśyapa Chapter Sûtra.

Note this superior insight is merely an approximation of emptiness, one still contrived or forged by a generic, conceptual image, albeit a higher-order one. Hence, ultimate analysis and its formalization as ultimate logic is a way to end substantial conceptualization, but by itself it is still conceptual. It leads to proximate emptiness, not to emptiness itself.


"All of these practices were taught
By the Mighty One for the sake of wisdom.
Therefore those who wish to pacify suffering
Should generate this wisdom."

Śântideva : A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, IX:1.

To assist sentient beings in their quest for liberation and awakening, the 84.000 Dharma-doors are a vast treasure-house containing countless methods. In the popular view, morality and meditation are often identified with the Buddhadharma as such, and in certain schools (as in Zen), the practice of "zazen" ("sitting down") is considered to be very important. However, ethics and spiritual practice are central to many if not all spiritual traditions and so cannot be identified with the Buddhadharma as such. Of course, the popular icon of the meditating Buddha reinforces the idea the way of the Buddha is all about meditation. And while meditation is indeed an essential tool, the outstanding feature of Buddha's teaching involves a radical transformation of the mind, a metanoia eliminating the mind's tendency to reify its sensate and mental objects. Moreover, meditation walks hand in hand with study & reflection.

As Śântideva says, establishing wisdom-mind is the central issue, and so all practices are for the sake of it. Such a mind, and here the core of Buddha's view on wisdom comes to the fore, directly apprehends the absolute, true nature of all phenomena. The distinction between how things appear and how they truly are being the corollary of understanding the mistaken apprehension of the conventional mind. This "direct seeing" of the true nature of things also defines the difference between the Buddhadharma and Western Criticism. In the latter, the "Ding-an-sich" (Kant) is deemed unknown, for no mind beyond the conventional mind is discovered. The teachings of the Buddha criticize the conventional mind to awaken it to the reality of how thing truly are, i.e. their suchness. This is apprehended by wisdom-mind, a level of mental activity beyond the conceptual. This purely intuitive, direct and nondual cognizing ends all possible labelling and naming, involving a total apprehension of what is or suchness. This is always already and beyond any categorization of phenomena in past, present and future. However, to irreversibly enter this wisdom, the mind must be supple, clear and alert, and this does not result from egological activity or self-cherishing, but only from cherishing others ! The discovery of this essential preliminary to wisdom-mind should be placed at the same level as the teachings on emptiness, a point overlooked by Kant (1724 - 1804) and his followers, who actually divided theory & practice, attributing a different "level" to each (eliminating the absolute from science to reintroduce it in practice).

Indeed, another crucial point should be remembered. At the Second Turning of the Wheel of Dharma, Buddha introduced his teachings on suchness hand in hand with his view on compassion. Why ? Without the latter, the mind remains engrossed by self-cherishing and so not supple enough to truly understand and rest in suchness. Only when the mind is acute and supple is it stable enough to "see" emptiness. And self-grasping engenders a sluggish and rigid mind. Hence, the fundamental insight offered by the Buddhadharma is the unity of emptiness (suchness, wisdom, truth) and Bodhicitta (great compassion, method, form). Without the mind of enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings, the bird of awakening cannot fly.


This points to the limitations and dangers of ultimate analysis.

Conceptually grasping at emptiness is nothing more than being attached to a generic image, to an idea only meant to lead to the end of ideas. Such attachment is not the same as realizing the benefits of such an image. The act of grasping always implies connecting an idea to a self apprehending it. As long as the self is cherished, and hence its emptiness or absence of inherent existence is not fully realized, one acquires the idea of emptiness in a substantial way. Then one cannot see the emptiness of emptiness, but posits suchness as an ultimate substance. Truly conceptually realizing emptiness means resting in the idea, allowing it to burn all substantial concepts, the generic image and the self included. That's why in emptiness meditation, the substantial identity of persons is targeted before the substantial identity of phenomena.

Moreover, focusing on emptiness as some ultimate concept and not merely as a ladder to be discarded as soon as suchness is directly experienced, leads to nihilism, the wrong and extreme view positing nothing ultimate exists. For if emptiness is deemed to "exist" as a void ontological ground or "hypokeimenon" of all objects (and not as the ultimate truth or true epistemic isolate of all objects), then all other objects a forteriori do not exist. Without the direct yogic experience of emptiness, ultimate logic may become a trap, a "dead" kind of suchness, a void not leading to the Clear Light, but to the darkness of total absence. Instead of an infinite potential, a absolute zero or nothingness ensues. This is like corrupting the medicine !

Finally, meditating on emptiness without having first generated Bodhicitta brings about Arhathood or liberation for oneself only, hindering the advent of Buddhahood or total awakening. Hence, ultimate logic is nothing more than an excellent conceptual tool ending all substantializing concepts, allowing one to see emptiness directly, without the mediation of any discursive activity. Empowered by Bodhicitta, this seeing automatically propels the mind to rest in "nirvâna", true peace.

In this paper, the consecutive steps characterizing ultimate logic are explained. The concept of instantiation will prove crucial in defining the correct object of negation, inherent existence. When the six instantiations of the ultimate logic proposed here have been clarified, the two basic fallacies of any nominal mind can be adequately addressed : the fallacy of substantial selfhood and the fallacy of substantial phenomena. As the procedure of this ultimate logic only involves a non-affirming negation, the fallacy of other-emptiness can also be properly identified. However, to deny the possibility of an affirming ultimate logic does not make the proposed non-affirming procedure uncontrived. Indeed, the non-affirming ultimate logic defended here is artificial, showing the defects of conceptual planning and manipulation. Intended to only remove substantializing concepts, it is a mere approximation, not a way spontaneously introducing the Clear Light of direct yogic experience, i.e. uncontrived ultimate truth, which is cognitive, but nondual and non-conceptual. Ultimate logic does not posit the presence of the Clear Light, but neither does it deny this ! Hence, it cannot be a doctrine calling for a set of axioms explaining suchness (as in the Autonomy System, the Svâtantrika Mâdhyamaka). It does not define identities, but consequences (as in the Consequence System, the Prâsangika Mâdhyamaka). As a logic removing substantial instantiation, it merely invites one to seek a substantial object, i.e. the correct object of negation (as in the Critical Mâdhyamaka of Tsongkhapa). Not finding it, it ends ignorant conceptualization. Doing so, it is an adequate, sufficient and necessary prelude to the direct yogic experience of the original nature of mind.


1 The Primitives.


2.1 The Quantors :

: "there exists" : affirming object x momentarily exists ;

The actualizing quantor confirms A, or x (x = A). A set of predicates attributed to object x is present to the senses or the mind. This presence is spatio-temporarily defined, and hence impermanent, i.e. featuring arising, abiding and ceasing. Object A 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 A. A set of predicates attributed to object A is present to the senses and/or the mind, but these predicates are merely accidents of the substantial self-identical core of A, a universal of sorts A, hence A A. With A the substantial or essential nature of A (As) is confirmed. If this As A changes, then A is not longer A, in other words, A can no longer be identified as such.

: "for all" : universal quantor, encompassing all objects of a set ;

The universal quantor confirms certain features (quantities, qualities, modalities, relations) to hold for all objects targeted by it.

: "element of" : attributing x as part of a set ;

The belongingness quantor confirms certain elements to be part of a family of objects or set.

: "no element of" : negating x as part of a set ;

The alienating quantor confirms certain elements not to be part of a family of objects or set.

2.2 The Objects :

Ins : set of instantiations ;

Alog : set of all logical instantiations ;

Exx : the extensiveness of x : occasions, events & entities ;

S : set of sensate objects : "sensate p's" of taste, touch, smell, audition, sight or the living body, the physical ;

Sz : sensate predicate z :
Sα, taste l Sβ, touch l Sγ, smell l Sδ, audition l Sε, sight ;

M : set of mental objects : "mental p's" of volition, affect, thought, consciousness or the non-physical ;

Mz : mental predicate z :
Mα, volition l Mβ,  emotion l Mγ, thought l Mδ, consciousness.

P : set of functional processes ;

Sys : system or functional analysandum ;

O : set of occasions ;

E : set of events ;

En : set of entities ;

B : set of behaviours ;

C : set of conditions ;

Com : set of components ;

Sf : self, empirical, transcendental or higher (not necessarily substantial) ;


2.3 The Logical Operators :


¬ : "no" : negation of x : "¬x" or "x is not the case" ;

^ : "and" : conjunction of two objects : "x ^ y" or "x and y" ;

v : "or" : disjunction of two objects : "x v y" or "x or y" ;

: "as ... if" : implication of two objects : x y or "if x then y" ;

: equivalence of two objects : x y or "x if and only if as y" ;

: union of two sets of objects ;

= : identity of two objects ;

≠ : non-identity of two objects ;

x = f(y) : functional, effective relationship between x and y

2.4 The Instantiations :

LA : logical instantiation of A ;

FA : functional instantiation of A ;

CA : conventional instantiation of A ;

Cf : "false ideation", imputing on A ;

As : substantial core of A ;

C
t : "true ideation", negating of A ;

2.5 Miscellaneous :

":" or "applies this" ;

? : questionable or weak proposition ;

?? : very questionable or invalid proposition ;

! : strong proposition ;

‼ : very strong proposition.


2 Instantiation.


An instantiation is a representation of an idea in the form of an instance, example or possible circumscription of it. Suppose a single item, piece of information (object x). When this unique, evanescent, transient event-continuum exemplifies a general idea or category, characterizing & particularizing it, then and only then does object x instantiate that idea or category. Categories of instantiations are discursive abstracts instantiated by particular objects like x.

Here, these abstracts
constitute the set Ins of all instantiations of the categories of ultimate logic : A Ins, with x = A. The objects under analysis either belong to the set S of all sensate objects or the set M of all mental objects.

A Ins : A S v A M

For all existing instances belonging to the set of all instantiations of the categories of ultimate logic applies this : all these instances belong to the set of sensate objects or all these instances belong to the set of mental objects.

This fundamental axiom is a rational starting point, inviting what is paradigmatic in contemporary science, the set of all valid conventional objects. The strict distinction between sensation and mentation, substantialized in Cartesian rationalism, highlights the necessity to differentiate between two types of objects commonly possessed by the conceptual mind, describing cognizing consciousness in terms of objects appearing to the senses (examples of the transcendental object of thought) and those pointing to the internal activities of the mind itself, its volitions, affects, thoughts and conscious self-reflections (examples of the transcendental subject of thought).

The present methodology does not wish to advance a monistic ontological interest a priori, reducing the "concordia discors" of conceptual thinking to either material or spiritual events. Neither materialism and its realism nor spiritualism and its idealism should be given any advantage beforehand. To proceed to what is uncommon and concealed, let us start with what is given to everybody.

Moreover, dualism breaks away from any monarchic presuppositions, causing the reduction of objects and thus a voluntary mental limitation of scope. In the West, this strategy may be an imperialist, ecclesiastical (scholastic) remanence, but one unsuited to the dialogal logic of conceptual thought as a whole. Dualism (2) is the first step outside the monarchy (1) and opens op to (3) the trinity (by again duplicating itself) and from there on to infinity (∞). Monism conceals a metaphysical strategy, dualism an epistemological.

Rationalistic dualism (not to be confounded with Cartesian substance dualism) is the most correct logical foundation for science, definitely positioning itself against the tyranny of the monad, turning the idea of the unity of science from regulative into constitutive. Hence, logic itself is predisposed to duality, and this is what the above statement tries to capture.  Moreover, if
A S or A M are a priori excluded from the axiomatic base, then ultimate logic is crippled beforehand. Such a strategy, indicative of a logical prejudice against either sensate objects or mental objects, would end a comprehensive logical investigation. To be consistent with transcendental logic, both sensate and mental objects must be explicitly recognized ab initio.

As this duality between a material object and a non-physical mentation is cultivated in terms of a paradigmatic, fallible set of valid empirico-formal propositions of fact, the present logic actualizes what is commonly known among all involved sign-interpreters. Hence, the presuppositions of this analysis are limited by the degree humanity has awakened hic et nunc, and therefore by the historical limitations given when considering both the conventional objects of science and the limitless horizon of knowledge still to be reached. The distinction between sensate and mental objects is therefore a solid point of departure.


Kant's categorical scheme instantiates all objects of knowledge. For him, a concept has only "sense and meaning" ("Sinn und Bedeutung")3 when it is possible to experience an instantiation of this concept. Saying something "exists" merely points to the categorical instantiation, the fact something can be allocated to one of the twelve categories. This does not add anything significant to the object. In other words, the term "existent" is not a determining predicate belonging to the set of predicates defining a concept. To say the Sun is a star, hot, radiating, etc. is to attribute a string of predicates to the Sun. To then add the Sun "exists", says nothing more than what is already known. "Being" should never be added to the concept of a thing, for it is not a property, nor a quality. Neither does it report any details about it. At times, this verb and its variants behave as predicates, like in : "Unicorns don't exist.", and then seem to report something not done by unicorns, namely to "exist". In fact, each time, the verb is only qualified as a grammatical or "logical" copula. Saying unicorns do not exist is affirming there is no set of predicates named "unicorn", nothing more.

For Kant, the word "existence" only instantiates, designates or posits the concept. So when the "existence" of something or someone is posited, the totality of known predicates of a thing or an individual is affirmed, adding nothing to it. To say the Sun "exists" means the Sun is a star, hot, radiating etc., nothing more. When this existence is denied, the whole set of predicates vanishes and the referent with it. An object is what can be ascribed to it. To affirm object x "exists" is to instantiate (posit) its concept, but does not instantiate the richer concept "x exists". Every statement of existence  ("there is", or "there are"), only affirms about a concept it is instantiated, rather than it exists. Any legitimate existential statement must contain propositions of the form : "There is an x.", where "x" stands for a determining predicate.

The synthetical propositions of science affirm there is such a thing as "x" or "x (x = x)", i.e. empirico-formal knowledge articulates a mere connection between an object and a predicate (cf. the scholastic "esse"). Hence, claiming object x has the property of existence, i.e. the affirmation of existence ("existit"), or x, is unnecessary, for this adds nothing more to our knowledge of "x", logically reduced to the set of determining predicates, of which "existence" is not part. Saying "x exist" merely asserts some property (quantity, quality, modality or relation) instantiates the concept of x. It does not suggest the richer concept of an "existing x", for the word "existence" does not add anything.

Although this strictly nominalist position is quite self-evident, its clear and distinct features have not always been understood.

In the idealism of Parmenides (ca. 515 - 440 BCE), thinking the necessity of the object of thought, the distinction between the logical (predicative) and the ontological (existential) use of the copula "is" was muddled. That something substantially "is" (or "Dasein") was deemed not to be identical with what something accidentally "is" (or "Sosein"). Properties (accidents) were considered to exist apart from the "being" of the substances ("ousia") or essences ("eidos") they describe. Moreover, he asserted, by introducing the noun-expression "Being", further predicates of the verb "to be". As from his substantialist point of view, not-being was pointless, only an all-comprehensive "Being" could be posited. The latter was deemed ungenerated, imperishable, complete, unique, unvarying and non-physical ... Plato (428 - 347 BCE) and Aristotle (384 - 322 BCE) would maintain substances exist. Although the latter denied the existence of an independent "world of ideas", he did consider the universals to exist in the particulars.

"Then if there is not some other substance ("ousia") besides those which are naturally composed, physics will be the primary science ("proto episteme") ; but if there is a substance which is immutable, the science which studies this will be prior to physics, and will be primarily philosophy, and universal in this sense, that it is primary. And it will be the province of this science to study being qua being ; what it is, and what the attributes are which belong to it qua being ("eta on")."

Aristotle : Metaphysics, VI, I.12, 1026a, my italics.

In the Early Middle Ages, during the so-called "battle over universals", the ontological view prevailed. What was it all about ? In the minds of Platonizing philosophers, the "reales", there was an implicate semantic adualism between the name ("nomen") of an object and its reality ("res"). This symbolic adualism did not differentiate between an "inner" subjective state of consciousness and an "outer" objective reality. It did not conceive the absence of certain properties as not-being, nor did it attribute different forms of "being" to objects. What Parmenides had called "Being", was to them an all-comprehensive being-there standing as being-qua-being, a universal "Dasein" present in all the individual entities of the natural world (and their particular "Sosein"). In altered form, this view returned in the phenomenology of Martin Heidegger (1889 - 1976), in particular after "die Kehre".

For these ontological adualists, there is an implicit bond, reflection or alliance between the mental and the extra-mental realm, between mental states, words and the realities they posit. Words are more than merely conventional ways to describe existence, they actually have the power to convey the substantial nature of what they describe ("nomen est omen"). This is the case because words are not merely "flatus voci", or conventional signs (signals, icons or symbols), but entities which -if true- participate in substantial being. For Plato, an idea is a paradigm for the singular things participating in it ("methexis"). Becoming participates in Being, and only Being, as Parmenides taught, has reality. So true words are empirical reflections of this trans-empirical, higher reality. For Aristotle, the universal ideas are realized in particulars. True words are abstractions realized by the active intellect on the basis of the empirical data gathered by the senses and made ready by the passive intellect. Hence, a direct, inherent correspondence exists or can be found between words and reality (for Plato ontologically, for Aristotle epistemologically). This view, called concept-realism, prevailed in pre-critical epistemology. It can still be found today in various forms of reductionism, verificationism, scientism and materialism. It has been thoroughly deconstructed
:

Towards a Cybernetical Anthropology, 1993, Dutch, 113p - 183KB
Prolegomena, 1994, Dutch, 216p - 403KB
Knowledge and Love-Mysticism, 1994, Dutch, 416p - 1.012KB
Knowledge, 1995, Dutch, 456p - 807KB
The Rules of the Game of True Knowing, 1999, Dutch & English, 57KB
Clearings : On Critical Epistemology, 2006, English, 398KB
Behaviours : On Critical Ethics, 2006, English, 179KB
Intelligent Wisdom : from Myth to Nondual Thought, 2007, English, 443KB
Neurophilosophy of Sensation, 2007, English, 125KB
Sensations : On Critical Esthetics, 2007, English 204KB
Theory & Practice of Philosophy, 2007, English, 180KB
Criticosynthesis, 2008, English, 1852KB
Emptiness, 2008, English, 567KB.

The absence of a radical dualism between the inner mental realm (and its conceptualizations) and outer reality, i.e. the affirmation of an inherent correspondence between concepts and reality or between "verbum" and "res", is what nominalism rejected. Or, as the Franciscan Willem of Ockham (1290 - 1350) puts it :

"Although it is clear to many that a universal is not a substance existing outside the mind in individuals and really distinct from them, still some are of the opinion that a universal does in some manner exist outside the mind in individuals, although not really but only formally distinct from them. (...) However, this opinion appears to me wholly untenable."
Ockham : Summa totius logicae, I, c.xvi.

In an epistemological context, strict nominalism refers to the fact the word "existence" is a notion to be grasped in terms of various instances, namely specific sensate & mental objects. It is not the case the word "existence" does more than confirm the presence of the set of predicates, while "non-existence" is indeed the absence of the set as a whole.


The present formal exposition of ultimate analysis defines six categories of instantiation, i.e. all possible singular objects of knowledge A are instances of one or more categories of the sextet of logical, functional, conventional, substantial, absolute and existential instantiations. The examples of instantiation are identified as logical & mathematical entities, effective functions of all kinds, conventional empirico-formal propositions relating to all possible sensate and mental objects, material and immaterial substances, ultimate objects or mere existential objects.

The Six Instantiations :

1.Logical :
A    LA
If object A, then a logical instantiation of A.

2.Functional :
A = f (B) FA
If object A is a function of object B, then a functional instantiation of A.

3.Conventional :
LA FA ^  Cf  A
If a logical and a functional instantiation and a false ideation of A, then a conventional instantiation of A.

4.Substantial :
A As
The substantial being of A if and only if as the substantial core of A.

5.Absolute :
¬A Ct
A has no substantial being if and only if as the correct ideation of A.

6.Existential :
LA FA (y = A)   A
If a logical and functional instantiation of A, then object A.

Realizing the absolute instantiation ¬A Ct frees the mind from the substantial chains tying it the common denominator, hindering & obstructing the emergence of the very subtle mind of Clear Light (not to be confused with the very subtle conceptual understanding of emptiness). As a roaring lioness nearby, this insight, firmly cutting down the delusions of the coarse and subtle mind, eventually invites the percipient participator to contemplate the threshold of the non-conceptual, the banquet of direct experience. With a good heart, entry into the meta-nominal will be fluid, spontaneous & steady. The honest rationalist can do no more than realize the wisdom discovering suchness by study, reflection and meditation on ultimate logic. But with a good heart, only then.

For only the interplay of conceptual and non-conceptual wisdom and the sublime method of great compassion or Bodhicitta, guarantees the flight of the Garuda, the bird of Awakening !


3 Object A.


The six categories of instantiations of ultimate logic are discursive abstracts instantiating A as existing in some way or another. The set Ins constitutes the set  of all instantiations of ultimate logic ( A Ins), with x = A targeting sensate (A S = SA) and mental objects (A M = MA).

x (x = A) A .......... (1)
A Ins : A S v A M ! .......... (2)

The question of what SA & MA precisely are should not be filled in beforehand. To avoid substance dualism, we should not ab initio claim these objects to be two different substances (cf. Cartesian dualism). To avoid substance monism, we cannot posit -as in all forms of materialism- matter (physical reality) to be the fundamental reality, reducing the mind to an epiphenomenon of the brain, or to an emergent property of the latter (cf. ontological materialism). Neither can we affirm a priori -as in all forms of spiritualism found in most religious discourses- that the mind (psychological reality) produces material phenomena, or posit the ontological difference between both from the start.

On the one hand, materialist ideology, assuming all mental phenomena to be functions or emergent properties of the brain, is challenged by quantum mechanics (cf. infra). On the other hand, idealism cannot be harmonized with the objectivity established by the common sense view on physical reality, featuring nominal, conventional characteristics like spatial extension, location, mass, velocity & impenetrability.

Sensate objects SA and mental objects MA are not characterized as substances (or self-powered entities, properties or states), but as elements of the set of functional processes (P) which go the way of occasions (o1, o2, ... o
m).

A P : A = f(oA1, oA2, ... oAm) .......... (3)

Each and every A is characterized as a function of a unique set of occasions O = {oA1, ... oAm} making A unique. This set constitutes the continuum of A. Everything outside the occasion-horizon of A does not constitute A. Of course, certain occasions constituting A may also constitute B, while the occasion-continuum of each A remains unique.

A, B P : OA ≠ OB .......... (4)
A, B P : oA1 = oB1 v oA2 = oB2 ... v oAm = oBm ..... (5)

(4) & (5) imply two objects have a unique occasion-continuum but may share some occasions. While mass & momentum of each subatomic particle, atom, molecule, etc. form a unique set, these objects apprehended by way of sensation may have identical mass or share the same momentum. While two mental continua define a unique configuration of mental occasions, they may share identical mental occasions.


But what are occasions ? Defining these as aggregates of phenomena, begs the question What are phenomena ? If we then identify the latter as sensate and/or mental objects designated by a subject of experience, circularity cannot be avoided. Indeed, a subject of experience is a conscious entity endowed with, taking possession of its own sensate and/or mental objects, i.e. sensate and/or mental entities appearing to a subject as extra-mental or intra-mental occasions. To define occasion ox we need phenomena, but defining phenomena leads us back to occasions.

Can we do more than accept o
x as a logical primitive, a given ? In any case this is better than to a priori accept sensate and/or mental objects are substances with a self-identical core, i.e. an identity through time for any set of properties or states, in any kind of material or mental particular. But perhaps an ontological definition is to be preferred.

Following Whitehead
(1861 - 1947)4
:

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

ox O : ox Exx .......... (6)

Events and entities are 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.
The world is built up of these occasions. Events are aggregates of occasions. Entities are aggregates of events. Occasions are "atomic" because they cannot be divided.


SA, MA O : oA O
SA, MA E : eA E
SA, MA En : enA En .......... (7)

What all occasions
x have in common, is their extensiveness Exx. This extensive plenum of the continuum of each 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.

Logically, the crucial divide between s
ensate objects SA and mental objects MA is the non-spatiality of the latter, in other words, the absence of spatial extensiveness. Materialism must explain how public spatio-temporal objects (like neurological activities) are able to produce private non-spatial objects (like mental states) ? Non-monistic models need to explain how non-spatial objects MA can produce changes in spatio-temporal objects SA without violating physical principles (like energy-conservation, the First Law of Thermodynamics) ?


Sensate objects SA are defined by the parameters of physics, in particular spatiotemporality, mass, force & momentum. Mental objects MA are given by the non-spatial descriptions of phenomenology, in particular sentience, intentionality, awareness & introspection, giving rise to specific processes like volition, affection, thought & consciousness. The events of materiality cannot describe the events of mentality. The events of mentality cannot describe the events of materiality. Phenomenologically, both events are asymmetrical and involve a different characterization.

This calls for the difference between spatio-temporal extensiveness and non-spatial, temporal extensiveness, between public and privileged access, between observable and non-observable, between indirect and direct apprehension, between non-intentional and intentional, between an analytical manifold and a synthetic unity of apprehension ("e unus pluribum"), between material exteriority and mental self-guaranteeing interiority, in short between physical and non-physical.

These distinctions back the general criticism of materialism already voiced by the Greeks. If all events are material, as for example Democritus of Abdera (ca. 460 - 380/370 BCE) claimed, then how can atomism actually describe atoms without in some way transcending them ? In epistemological terms : how can the subject of knowledge be eclipsed (reduced to the object of knowledge) hand in hand with an active description of this procedure ? Analytically, there is a contradictio in actu exercito at work. Although refusing the subject of knowledge any actual existence, the former is implied in the refusal ! Likewise, how can the object of knowledge be reduced to the subject of knowledge (as in idealism) without making knowledge purely subjective or intersubjective, i.e. not about something ?

Moreover, given no materialist has been able to establish, except ad hoc, how the extended gives rise to the non-extended, i.e. how two different objects can be equivalent, the difference must also be synthetically accepted. Without delving into the mind/body-problem yet, we accept the subject of knowledge to possess two kinds of objects, called SA and MA. The power of ultimate logic is not affected by a possible reduction of mentation to sensation or vice versa. But as we will see, both are deemed irreducible to one another, and both refer to one another. The position mental phenomena are ultimately physical, runs against the fact MA do not have any physical attributes and cannot be detected by any scientific instruments designed to measure physical phenomena. The position material phenomena are ultimately mental, runs against the fact SA have spatio-temporal attributes observable by scientific instruments.


At this point, three important considerata are in place :

Firstly. The distinction between SA
and MA is not a blunt datum "out there", as naive realism would have it, but is made in the consciousness of a direct and unified cogitation. Although, on the one hand, sensate objects SA constitute the objective side of the bipolarity of this immediate experience of a totality of entities, events and occasions and, on the other hand, mental objects MA are the subjective side of the same organic apprehension, both are the two sides of a single momentary process integrating the physical and the mental side of all possible objects of experience or actual occasions in the actual direct apprehension at hand. This happens in the process of concrescence characterizing each immediate moment of actual cognizing activity. In this integrative process, sensation is not before mentation (as in realism), nor is mentation before sensation (as in idealism), for both are simultaneous in the direct apprehension or experience at hand.

In other words, one cannot observe the world without mentation, for the apprehension of objects is a cognitive act, and one cannot cognize the world without sensation, for all cognitive activity is always about something, and so presupposes an extra-mental object to be perceived. Hence, both monistic extremes (materialism and spiritualism) constitute a logical error. Nevertheless, differentiating this organic apprehension or integral of sensation and mentation, brings about a valid distinction between spatio-temporal sensate objects SA and non-spatial & temporal mental objects MA.

Secondly. Sensate objects are not instances of direct, theory-free perception, for
S(ensation) = P(erception) . I(nterpretation), with I ≠ 1 (cf. A Neurophilosophy of Sensation, 2007). Hence, although sensate objects SA -so must be think- do inform us about the objective state of affairs in the world (for P = S / I), they are not a one-to-one representation of the world, nor in perfect correspondence with it (cf. "adequatio intellectus ad rem"). All facts are hybrids, constituted by a theory-dependent and a theory-independent side (cf. Clearings, 2006). Sensate objects SA are co-constituted by mental objects MA. Hence, only in a valid paradigmatic, standard interpretation (with I = 1) -which is always a verisimilitude, never an actual absolute truth- may we temporarily hold sensate objects to represent objective truth (for S = P). But in every actual instance of theory-laden observation, this is never the case, for I ≠ 1 pertains and so S ≠ P too.

This makes it clear both naive realism (materialism, or reducing
MA to SA) & naive idealism (spiritualism, or reducing SA to MA) are outdated, for based on a pre-critical concept-realism in conflict with contemporary criticism, i.e. the principles of transcendental logic, the norms of theoretical epistemology and the maxims of applied epistemology (cf. Kennis, 1995, Rules, 1999 & Criticosynthesis, 2008).

Thirdly. In traditional metaphysics, featuring essentialism, materialism brings in the monad of matter. In a monism, the numerical distinctness between objects does not bring about an ontological difference, for all objects are deemed to be made of the same stuff, namely particles, fields & forces. Dualism breaks away from this, introducing two independent, irreducible principles. Pluralism more than two. So the question arises : are these principles different or merely distinct ?

Classical dualism equates numerical distinctness with substantial difference. While Descartes for example identifies the numerical distinctness between "brain" and "mind" or more general, between "rex extensa" and "res cogitans", he turns it into an ontological difference. Not only are brain & mind to be distinguished on the basis of their distinct functions (public versus private, manifold versus unity, etc.), these distinctions are ontologized by shaping them into substantial, ontological differences. For Descartes, body and mind are two different ontological realities. Like in Platonism, a "chorismos" is introduced, a cleavage defining the world by two different ontological strands : a perfect world of being and an imperfect world of becoming. So Cartesius (putting aside "God", his third, transcendent principle), divides the world in mentality & materiality. Doing so puts the question of the interaction between both centerstage.

In a Whiteheadian perspective, all objects are occasions involved in the ongoing process of creative advance. Hence, although matter and consciousness are indeed numerically distinct, and thus feature different functions or operational roles, they are nevertheless not two different substances. The world is not divided in "closed" substantial entities (Leibniz' monadology being the extreme pluralist example of this substantialism of old), but a unified continuum of occasions, events and entities sharing common ontological features like being creatively advancing actual occasions. While this is the fundamental, ontological nature of all events, one negating the ontological difference between them, objects do possess distinct operational functions and so can be differentiated on the basis of these. Hence, while both SA and MA have distinct characteristics, they are both events ruled by the universal principles of creative advance & prehension. Their distinctness does not lead to any ontological rift between them and hence their possible interaction is less a "fundamental problem" than it was in classical rationalism.


A is either a sensate object SA or a mental object MA. Featuring properties, i.e. quantity, quality, modality or relation, these objects are not substances with a self-identical core. Their predicates make out their existence, and there are no objects without this set of designated predicates. Every A exists either as a sensate property or predicate (Sz) or as a mental property or predicate (Mz).

A(z) : A prop z
A A(z)
A(z) : A prop z = Mz v Sz .......... (8)

So given x (x = A(z)) = A(z), then we know a particular sensate or mental property is also given.

A(z) Mz v Sz .......... (9)

With these propositions, A has been defined. The objects considered by ultimate logic are not substances but processes. They are designated as continua of occasions & events, combining to form entities. These are not self-identical states or properties remaining permanent through time, but a string of momentary occasions & events, bound together by spatial, temporal and spatio-temporal characteristics defined by physical or mental conditions & determinations. These sensate and mental objects are always objectified hic et nunc as certain properties.


Providing a stipulative definition of mental objects MA involves a phenomenological description. Intentionality and introspection are part of the common denominator or phenomenology of sentience :

sentience : mere clarity & awareness, or giving rise to something, making it into an object of engagement or cognizing ;
awareness : making something into an object of engagement ;
intentionality : being directed toward an object ;
introspection : conscious effort to examine the contents of the mind.

Mental objects MA present themselves to an object-possessing mind, i.e. to the experience of the mere arising and cognitive engaging with its contents. The continuity of this experience is called the "mind-stream" or the "mental continuum". This is always a subjective, first-person experience, with each moment following from previous moments of experience according to conditions & determinations inside and outside this intra-mental stream. A "mental state" refers to all the components of the sentient experience of a single person given by introspection during a small time period.

Classifying mental objects MA we arrive at four categories : volition (and compositional factors), affection, thought & consciousness. All objects instantiating these have non-spatial, temporal extensiveness, privileged access, are non-observable, directly apprehended, intentional, mental self-guaranteeing, non-physical and feature a synthetic unity of apprehension.

It is crucial to note conceptualizing MA can only happen by means of a special vocabulary consisting of private indexicals (PI). These words refer to components of mental states. This implies a special ostensive definition featuring private access only. Moreover, PI are completely defined by other words alone and thus private ostension is coupled with semantic isolation. Indeed, PI are the only words available to talk about human sentient experience. Hence, unless a human being has actually experienced the referent of one or more PI, no understanding of it is possible. Human imagination may try to conjure up an image or feeling of something it never experienced, but nothing can substitute an actual experience. This phenomenological uniqueness can not be reduced or taken away. Private experience is private and thus not intersubjective. Describing these states only conveys meaning if and only if the experience to which these descriptions refer are shared in a phenomenological sense, i.e. by way of first person experience. Saying "This music is wonderful." has no meaning for somebody who never experienced music and/or wonder firsthand.

Moreover, MA are always part of an individual mindstream and appear as objects possessed by a first person. This "I", the core private indexical, refers to the empirical ego or self (Sf), positioned at the center of the field of consciousness (Ic) and experiencing itself as a unity. Insofar as Sf is viewed as merely guaranteeing the possibility of conscious apprehension as such, it is identical with Kant's "transcendental ego", the unity of the synthetic manifold of apprehension5. Empty, and merely accompanying all cogitations of the empirical ego, it is "of all times", the apex of the structure of our cognitive apparatus. In the transcendental mode of cognition, this formal Sf has no self-experience and so does not directly witness itself. In the creative mode of cognition, a higher Sf is introduced, one witnessing the activities of consciousness from a panoramic perspective and so highly self-conscious of all possible operations of which the empirical ego is merely a series of instantiations. Such a higher Sf introduces the possibility of a phase-change6 between the circular ego and this bi-polar higher Sf. Hence, once the higher Sf has been integrated into the field of consciousness, the latter has lost its solitary circular structure, with the empirical ego in the center of the circle, but manifests an elliptical structure, with conscious awareness, like a planet, defining an orbit around two foci of possible attention : the empirical ego and the higher Sf. Conscious awareness is then able to witness the complete field of consciousness from two different perspectives, i.e. insofar as its actual contents hic et nunc are concerned (ego) or insofar as the complete extent of this field is envisaged (higher self).

Although the higher Sf is often reified (into an ontological ego), neither the empirical ego, the transcendental Sf or the higher Sf are devoid of change or impermanent. They are merely actual, formal and metaphysical functions of the sensate and/or mental objects at hand. Indeed, one of the consequences of ultimate logic is to prove Sf is always a function of its apprehended objects and not a separate entity self-identical in time.

Sf is a process, not a substance :

Sf = f(MA ^ SA) .......... (10)

Consider sensate objects SA.
Sensations occur to a subject of experience, and manifest as nose-consciousness (smelling), tongue-consciousness (tasting), skin-consciousness (touching), ear-consciousness (hearing), eye-consciousness (seeing) & the concert of these (cf. A Neurophilosophy of Sensation, 2007). They represent the final, "constructive" result of a process starting with naked, "unconstructed" perception (at the sensitive areas of our senses), and ending (after thalamic processing and projection into the neocortex) as sensate objects SA.

Perception Sensation
smell
chemicals
nose-consciousness of odours
taste
chemicals
tongue-consciousness of tastes
touch
ions channels (?)
body-consciousness of feels
hear
mechanical energy
ear-consciousness of sounds
see
electromagnetism
eye-consciousness of lights

Sensate objects SA appear as they do because of our interpretation (I) and, as long as conceptual rationality is at hand, this cannot be put to rest or eliminated. This "interpretation" is not "added" to perceptions. It is not something which can, by some method, be subtracted from sensation to produce "pure" perceptions. The famous cube of Wittgenstein comes to mind. It reminds us two facts of observation depend on how the observing subject focuses attention :

"To perceive a complex means to perceive that its constituents are combined in such and such a way. This perhaps explains that the figure can be seen in two ways as a cube ; and all similar phenomena. For we really see two different facts. (If I fix my eyes first on the corners a and only glance at b, a appears in front and b behind, and vice versa.)"
Wittgenstein, L. : Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 5.5423, my italics.

The association areas of the neocortex process the construction in which the sensate objects appear as entities (cluster of events) with accidents (quantity, quality, relation, modality, etc.) and this by a subject of experience naming and labelling them. Before they "enter" these areas by way of thalamic projection, they have not been introduced to the overall modular activity of the neocortex, the concert of interpretations with an attention area mediating the will of the conductor. They have yet no label and so no conceptual framework in which to appear. And when they do appear as sensate objects SA to the various consciousnesses, possessed by a subject of experience facing them as sensate objects of experience, they are already fabricated. In this fabrication and interpretation, mental objects (theoretical connotations), both conscious and unconscious, play a crucial role.In this fabrication and interpretation, mental objects (theoretical connotations), both conscious and unconscious, play a crucial role.

However,
SA are ostensively defined by pointing to the object the words of the definition refer to. These words are public indexicals (PUI). They too are always definable by description, but never completely by other words. The description of PUI requires a normal ostensive definition, i.e. a verbalization including at least one non-private component. Hence, PUI can be intersubjectively validated, PI only privately. Another way to put this is to say MA are only intra-mental, whereas SA always contain an extra-mental component in their description. The ostensive definition of PI is a special form of the ostensive definition, one not including public conceptualizations, but private concepts only. This is a crucial divide between these two types of objects. Any reduction of SA to MA or vice versa, is doomed to fail because of it. The mind conceptually apprehends two and only two kinds of objects, positing the fundamental difference between private and public access.

Let us dwell on this difference. There is an explanatory gap between neural activity and consciousness, for the former involves PUI while the latter can only be described by PI. Moreover, neural mechanisms are a diversified manifold, and a "binding" of this multitude of neuronal firings does not seem to trigger a neuronal equivalent of the
Sf, i.e. a single cortical area referring to the unity of apperception and the felt self-identity of conscious experience (although the prefrontal cortex seems a good candidate, it still is a large and very diversified area). To this "binding-problem" is added the asymmetry between private and public access. Indeed, neuronal activity can be intersubjectively validated by experiments and arguments, while MA can only be described in terms of a first-person perspective. Nowhere in nature can we witness a sensate object giving rise to a mental object. So why would the brain be different ? How can a system working in accordance with physical laws described by PUI's emerge, cause or produce mental objects MA only describable by PI's ? As no other physical object known to us suddenly produces sentences containing PI's (given no computer has passed the Turing Test), it is likely the brain does not cause, produce or emerges consciousness (as materialism supposes). Such a feat is in contradiction with logic (cf. the binding-problem and asymmetry) and with experimental physics (no other physical system less complex than the human brain produces PI's). Although this issue will be confronted elsewhere, it makes clear the human brain and human consciousness are different entities (or sets of events & occurrences). The complexity of the human brain is co-relative to the complexity of private access but does not cause it. While human consciousness makes use of and is influenced by the human brain, both are different objects and should be studied as such. If ab initio this is rejected, as in the materialism research program, then one cannot expect to find more than what has been accepted ad hoc. Such circularity is however logically unacceptable.

"When finally a brain stops acting altogether, or decays, that special stream of consciousness which it subserved will vanish entirely from this natural world. But the sphere of being that supplied the consciousness would still be intact ; and in that more real world with which, even whilst here, it was continuous, the consciousness might, in ways unknown to us, continue still."
James, W. : Essays in Religion and Morality, Harvard University Press - Cambridge, MA, 1989, pp.85-86, my italics.

Perhaps, as light hitting a prism transmits a spectrum of colours, the human brain is merely a sensate entity transmitting MA's ? Consciousness is then like the beam of light, diversified by the "prism" of the brain ...


4 Logical Instantiation : LA


The Logical Instantiation :

A  LA .......... (11)
If object A, then a logical instantiation of A.

Basically, a logical instantiation is the affirmation of an object, or A = A and thus {oA1, oA2, ... oAm} = {oA1, oA2, ... oAm}. This is purely tautological and so no contents are produced. Distinguish between a phenomenological identification preluding a LA and a logical instantiation LA proper. The latter is analytical, meaning the predicates can be inferred from their referent.

A phenomenological identification preluding a L
A captures the fact every possible cognitive act identifies something as a mere awareness of an object. This identification does not involve physical or mental properties, but the fact an object presents itself to a possible cognizer. This is an apprehension without any naming and so not ending in conceptualization ; for something is merely targeted and identified. So although this identification does not involve a concept, it cannot be realized without positioning an object in its environment. Cognitive activity is impossible without this phenomenological identification. It is a contradictio in terminis to posit cogitation, but to deny this activity at least identifies objects merely as what confronts the subject. Of course, it must be repeated, this does not attribute properties, but is only a preliminary step to proceed to designate sensate and mental properties. This phenomenological identification is the minimum requirement necessary for conceptualization to happen.

In Piaget's genetic epistemology, the first mode of cognitive activity, namely mythical thought, involves two stages (cf. Clearings, 2006) :

First substage :

  • adualism and only a virtual consciousness of identity ;

  • primitive action testifies the existence of a quasi complete indifferentiation between the subjective and the objective ;

  • actions are quasi not coordinated, i.e. random movements are frequent.

Second substage :

  • first decentration of actions with regard to their material origin (the physical body) ;

  • first objectification by a subject experiencing itself for the first time as the source of actions ;

  • objectification of actions and the experience of spatiality ;

  • objects are linked because of the growing coordination of actual actions ;

  • links between actions in means/goals schemes, allowing the subject to experience itself as the source of action (initiative), moving beyond the dependence between the external object and the acting body ;

  • spatial & temporal permanency and causal relationships are observed ;

  • differentiation (between object and subject) leads to logico-mathematical structures, whereas the distinction between actions related to the subject and those related to the external objects becomes the starting point of causal relationships ;

  • the putting together of schematics derived from external objects or from the forms of actions which have been applied to external objects.

So in the first substage, mythical thought is adual and non-verbal. The only "symbols" and "forms" are the material events themselves in all their immediacy and wholeness. It is this non-verbal core, making the mythopoetic mind analogical. In mythical thought, everything is immediate and the immediate is all. Before the rise of language, mythical cognition is embedded in action and allows for the distinction between an object & a subject of experience by being conscious of the material, exteriorized schematics connecting both.

The first differentiation occurs when, on the level of material, actual, immediate actions, the object is placed before the subject of experience. This emergence of subjectivity implies the decentration of the movements of the physical executive agent (the body), unveiling the subject as source of action and preparing for the interiorizations of pre-rational thought. By this foundational difference between the body & the empirical subject, consciousness can be attributed to a focus of identity (ego). Phenomenological identification of the body happens.


Mythical thought is non-verbal but actional. Nevertheless, actions are triggered by a subject conscious of a whole network of practical and material actualizations, although without any conceptual knowledge, but only through immediate, exteriorized material schemes.

Mythical thought has no semiotic functions, but it does -in its second substage-involve identification. This is what the phenomenological identification tries to capture. In the first stage, only a
virtual consciousness of identity and a quasi complete indifferentiation between the subjective and the objective was at hand. Identification was therefore only virtual. But as soon as the first decentration
happens, the distinction between the subject and its apprehended object is generated, and with it a phenomenological identification. This identification remains within the confines of myth, for it has no conceptual means to express itself. Nevertheless, this sets the stage for the next mode of cognition, pre-rational thought and the rise of the first elementary conceptual constructs.

The moment a subject of experience, apprehending or possessing an object of experience, conceptually designates it, a logical instantiation is at hand. But only one type of conceptualization is possible here, namely analytical concepts, of which logical & mathematical objects are clear examples.

In ultimate logic, consistent with formal logic, three analytical relationships are conceptualized : identity, negation and excluded third.

LA :  A = A
LA :  A ¬A
LA :  A v ¬A .......... (12)

When an object is identified, it has been isolated from what it is not and nothing else is given except the object itself and what it is not. These propositions are analytical in a classical sense. Hence, ultimate logic presupposes a classical calculus.


5 Functional Instantiation : FA


The Functional Instantiation :

A = f (B) FA .......... (13)
If object A is a function of object B, then a functional instantiation of A.

Firstly, functional instantiation FA always involves a synthetic object. Such an object A always calls for a non-tautological expression, one adding a public indexical (PUI) to its empirico-formal description. Hence, the predicates of such an object cannot be derived from the object itself. That a triangle has three angles can be derived from analyzing the concept of a "triangle", just as the absence of corners is given with the idea of "a circle", i.e. an infinite series of  points at the same distance from a common (central) point. Basically, these expressions are of the format A = A. But the function of a cup as a container to drink something out, is not given when apprehending a cup.

Secondly, functional instantiation
FA always relates, connects or associates a non-analytical object A with other objects x, y, ... in a functional, efficient way, i.e. one involving an effective determination or lawful connection of some kind (like efficient causality). For example, a cup is functionally related to the activity of pouring in liquids, drinking them, etc. A cup never containing anything and so not used to drink anything out is of no actual use. It performs no functions typical for a cup. Putting sand and a flower seed in the cup gives it another function, and thus another functional instantiation. Breaking the cup in a hundred pieces ends its functionality as a container of stuff ...

FA : A = f(x, y, ... z) ......... (14)

Thirdly, functionalism refers to any synthetic object A
as a system (Sys) or functional analysandum. The set of all analytical objects (Alog) contains no systems, and so, a contrario, all non-analytical, synthetic objects are systems.

A Alog Sys A ......... (15)

It should be possible to view A as consisting of systematically organized parts, a rather undemanding requirement.

Fourthly, Sys A is functionally defined by behaviour, conditions & components, the sets, B, C and Com.

Let us first limit Sys A by introducing a set B = {b1, b2, ... bm}, corresponding to the efficient characteristic functioning or behaviour of
A (cf. Skinner's "overt behaviour"). Each element of B consists of a number of elements yielding information about a part of the functional state of Sys A. The description of the characteristic states and behavioural repertoire of Sys A tells us under what description Sys A is to be defined.
Next, there is a set C = {c1, c2, ... cn}, consisting of all conditions necessary for Sys A to remain in states given by B. C therefore contains processes discovered or postulated to explain each and every b1, b2, ... bm.
Functional analysis also calls for set Com = {com1, com2, ... comp}, containing all structural components associated with each element in C.

For example, if Sys A is "the health of the human organism", then surely b1 is "an adequate circulation of blood", c1 is "the pumping of the heart" and com1 is "the heart". To define "adequate", b1 can be further analyzed.

All B-terms should be precisely defined using a high level of abstraction and a hierarchy of descriptions ranging from specific and detailed descriptions at the bottom to abstract and general descriptions at the top. The bottom of the hierarchy can then be defined as a description enabling one to determine whether two systems act identically under the same conditions. Set C cited to explain B depends on the precision with which B is defined. Moreover, several c's can explain one b, while set C is crucial in any functional analysis.

If B refers to the ideal state of Sys, then C explains how to stay therein. C is the conditional model of the behaviours cites in B. Set Com of structural components is related to C in the same way C relates to B. Several elements cited in Com may explain one c, and a descending order of subordinate c's may ramify before meeting their structural realizations as given by Com.

Objects are functionally connected because a valid efficient operation between them is possible. Of course, identifying
A is impossible without first establishing LA by identification
A A, but moves beyond this by functionally associating A with objects x, y, ... z, explaining which functional operations define A in operant terms.

FA : A  = f(x,y, ... z) {Af(x) ^ Af(y) ^ ... Af(z)}  ......... (16)

LA could be defined as the case of a single function (namely logical identification), while the absence of an object (
¬A) could be defined as absence of functionality.

FA : A = f(x = 1) A = LA
FA : A = f(x = 0) ¬A ............... (17)

A is a system with a set of particular behaviours B, a set of conditions C allowing to sustain B and a series of components Com executing conditions C. The question rises how extended the hierarchies of B & C may be ? Is there a limit to the divisions & subdivisions ? If, for example, we explain b1 with c1, c2 & c3, can we then subdivide c1 in c1a, c1b & c1c and then c2 in  c2a, c2b, c2c, c2d etc. ? And can functions be subdivided in subfunctions and subfunctions in subsubfunctions etc ?

Two possibilities : either the division of functions into subfunctions and subfunctions into subsubfunctions etc. has a "natural" infimum (the bottom limit), or further functional divisions are always possible ad infinitum. That some functions may be divided in smaller functional units is clear. But this logic avoids assuming infinities and this until nothing else is possible.

FA : Af(x) > Af'(x') > Af"(x") > Af"'(x"') ... > Afλ(xμ) 
FA : Af(x) > Af'(x') ... > limλ to ∞ Afλ(xλ) ?  ......... (18)

In the first line of (18),
λ is a definite bottom limit of a final function xμ. Not imposing a limit on these subdivisions gives Afλ(xλ), with λ tending towards infinity.

Science exclusively operating LA & FA (a strict nominalistic science), attributes inherent existence to mental objects MA & sensate objects SA insofar as realist & idealist as if methodologies respectively require. In their outlook, they are functionalist and do not assume any reification whatsoever, working only with (functional, effective) processes, not with eternalized substances. The effectivity of functionalism demands a functional analysis of the working conditions & operating determinations of processes. Unfortunately, such strict nominalism runs against the nominal conditions of conventionalism and its instantiation.


6 Conventional Instantiation : CA


The Conventional Instantiation :

LA FA ^  Cf  A ......... (19)
If a logical and a functional instantiation and a false ideation of A, then a conventional instantiation of A.

Transcendental logic, covering the principles of conceptual thought, identifies, organizes and proves to be a correct concordia discors. It presupposes its transcendental object of all possible conceptual thought to be knowledge about something. On the side of the transcendental subject of conceptual thought, knowledge (in the form of hypothesis & theories) is apprehended as appearing in a community of intersubjective sign-interpreters. Theoretical epistemology, covering valid conceptual empirico-formal propositions, addresses this "about something" in terms of the norms of conceptual knowledge. To conceptualize the possibility of knowledge, facts must be more than intra-mental events. We must assume they also correspond with reality-as-such. If not, objectivity would not be clearly established. In that case, conventional knowledge would merely remain intersubjective and objectivity would be nothing more than a shared opinion ("doxa"). Moreover, if we deny conventional knowledge a certain kind of access to absolute reality, namely via the theory-independent side of facts, then the possibility of valid conventional knowledge itself cannot even be thought ! Practical epistemology, focusing on knowledge production, goes further down the hierarchy to discover the maxims of actual knowledge production and the importance of testing & experimentation (besides, on the side of the subject of knowledge, dialogue & argumentation). In their actual scientific practice, scientist act as if facts correspond to a reality independent & separate from their theories. Although the strict nominalism of the critical philosophy of science rejects the reification of facts, in their actual research-practice, scientists are realists, whereas in their actual argumentations, they behave as idealists.

So although science, to satisfy strict nominalism (
Criticosynthesis, 2008), should operate with logical and functional instantiations only, classical scientific methodology -based on Newtonian physics- presupposes independent & separate objects to truly exist from their own side (A). Indeed, for the last two centuries, scientific methodology has been based on what happens in classical physics. And in this classical approach, reification belongs to the order of the day. Astronomy, chemistry & biology took the Newtonian model for granted. Even in psychology, sociology, economy, anthropology, etc. Newtonian thinking was equated with "scientific" thinking per se !

At the end of the XIXth century, Lord Kevin, were it not for "two clouds", deemed (Newtonian) physics to be completed. Both the experiments of Michelson and Morley (proving the speed of light c to be a constant and the ether to be non-existent) and the ultra-violet catastophe (showing radiation to be discontinuous) would revolutionize physics. The one led to special relativity and the other to quantum theory. These new valid theories brought the era of classical physics to an end. Classical methodologies also came under review ... But because of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory (launched by Bohr), it seemed as if common sense reality could somehow "be saved" from the "insanities" of quantum theory. By dividing the world into two strands (a micro-level versus a macro-level), disciplines still based on classical physics (like chemistry, biology, neurology etc.) could continue to operate as if nothing was happening. Finding the quantum view unacceptable, prominent scientists (like Einstein) virulently fought it. Others tried to "complete" it by harmonizing it with a classical view on physical reality, one accepting independence & locality. It took more than half a century to conclude these efforts failed. And by proving quantum theory correct, quantum physicists discovered more weirdness (cf. the EPR-thought experiment, Bell's theorem and the Clauser & Aspect experiments). In fact, a return to the classical "rational" picture of physical reality was made impossible ...

On the one hand, the reluctance of quantum physicists to be inclusive, i.e. accepting the whole universe to be ruled by quantum physics, and, on the other hand, the internal tensions between Einstein's relativity and quantum mechanics, explain why an important science as neurobiology has not yet incorporated quantum realities, although the tide is turning ... The XXI century will be the century of consciousness, finally incorporating the subject of knowledge into the equations of quantum physics (quantum theory incorporating relativity).


At the meso-level (covering so-called everyday, nominal reality), valid conventional knowledge or common sense empirico-formal propositions about objects must embody an object deemed to possess a status independent from the subject of knowledge. Besides theory-dependent, scientific facts must also be thought of as theory-independent. This is not a given descriptive fact, but a necessary norm of theoretical epistemology. If we do not accept it, we cannot conceptualize objectivity clearly and distinctly. In that case, the "real" merely seems a form of subjectivity & intersubjectivity (as in naive idealism). Moreover, at this meso-level, valid conventional knowledge not only describes an object as independent (possessing its properties in and of itself), but also as separable from other objects (so it can abide in an isolated state where no other object can exert any force or influence on it). These findings of normative epistemology are themselves based on transcendental logic, operating a traditional formal calculus (identity, non-contradiction, excluded third).

Valid conceptual thinking must integrate this independent, separable nature, this tenacity of the obstructed worldly spaces of all transient arisings, abidings and ceasings. This is the reason why, according to Tsongkhapa7, conventional science (at this meso-level) is valid but mistaken. It is valid (in a worldly kind of way) because conventional reality appears or seems to harbour independent, isolated objects, and allows one to function with these objects. It is mistaken, because a deeper, ultimate analysis shows they do not appear as they truly are, i.e. we are mislead in believing objects, concealing their true nature, are as they appear. When probing deeper, objects (a) do not possess their properties from their own side (but only when interacting with an observer) and (b) are not isolated from all other objects.

In Newtonian physics, the "classical" conditions of independence and locality are satisfied. Even for Einstein, physical reality cannot be completely understood if these two conditions are violated.

"I like to think the Moon is there even if I am not looking at it."8
Albert Einstein

At the macro-level (covering planets, solar systems, stars, galaxies and the universe as a whole), we see distant stars brightening the night sky. They seem to exist "out there", independently from us. But the light of some very distant stars seen today, was emitted before they went extinct millions of years before humanity entered the scene ! The universe is indeed gigantic. Of course, these vanished stars are deemed to exist before they went extinct and before any human was -in principle- able to observe them. Most meso- and macro-phenomena observed by sciences adhering to the classical view seem to psychologically and so (inter)subjectively confirm they do not vanish each time nobody observes them. At these levels, phenomena usually display a stability of determinations and conditions with a lifespan exceeding that of any human observer. A concrescence of events with outstanding "kicking" and "kicking back" (cf. Popper). So mountains seem perennial and walls solid.

Independence implies objects possess their properties without being observed. Locality means a reasonable definition of reality must expect particles to be "Einstein-separable" or "local", meaning no faster-than-light signalling between them is possible.9 Is this a correct description of physical reality as a whole, or merely an approximation valid at the macro- and meso-levels only ? In fact, the macro-level is made of the meso-level, and the latter is made of molecules & atoms (an atom, having a diameter of ca 10-8 cm, is the smallest particle of matter that cannot be taken apart by chemical means). The macro-level rests on the meso-level. The latter rests on the micro-level, the level of fundamental physical reality !

At this micro-level (covering very small objects like proteins, molecules, atoms and subatomic particles), ruled by quantum mechanics, puzzling phenomena happen :

(a) the question an observer asks about the phenomena observed, determines the answer the apparatus gives, and hence the properties of objects also emerge as the result of observation, refuting naive realism and turning the subject of knowledge into a wavefunction-collapsing observer, i.e. an observer-participant ;
(b) quantum phenomena are not restrained by locality. Once two particles are entangled they continue to be linked, even when "Einstein-isolated".

Remark :

In Newton's system, mass & momentum were in tune with our common sense. Macroscopic objects behaved in ways we could visualize. Although Newton was not clear how the force of gravitation travelled in empty space, XIXth century physics was satisfied and projected to solve all major problems. But with Maxwell's introduction of the notion of "field", this common sense take on physical objects started to evaporate. With relativity and quantum mechanics this became even more the case. Physical objects were identified by formal equations and their properties derived by mathematical manipulations. The question rose : What do these equations describe ? Answering this initiated the quest for the correct interpretation of the formalism. And although the one given here is possibly correct, the complexity of the subject allows other views to be equally possible, although perhaps less convincingly. However, this short digress into physics offers interesting parallels with ultimate logic.

In 1932, John von Neumann10 was the first to claim the only legitimate language of physics is quantum theory. He recognized measurement involved (a) an discontinuous, indeterministic transition from the quantum system before measurement to the state after measurement (the so-called "collapse of the wavefunction" or "reduction of the state vector") and (b) the continuous, deterministic evolution of the measuring system in response to the collapse, described by the time-dependent Schrödinger-equation.

The collapse of the wavefunction brings in the "measurement problem", or "quantum enigma", for before measurement particles have no definite location (are delocalized over the whole experimental arrangement) and do not exist as discrete entities, but merely as mathematical abstractions in a state of superposition. They causally interact with the measuring device and then turn into objectively real, elementary building blocks of the physical world. The measuring device (the observer) is given a crucial, central role. Without observers, there is no physical reality ! Of course, this does not mean that by measuring we choose what kind of physical reality we would like to perceive. The influence of the observer goes not beyond choosing the measurement arrangement.

The role of the observer is to make particles real.11

Of course, once the probability-wave collapses, independent reality seems again established and Schrödinger's equation offers a dynamical evolution. But before this collapse, a state of superposition is at hand, making the outcome depend on how the observer observes and poses the question (cf. the structure of the experimental setup). Once the state is observed, this superposition vanishes and an objective situation seems to be at hand. Common sense is again possible, for the object is either corpuscular or undular, no longer both ! The object is again somewhere (or going somewhere), and not everywhere !

This interpretation of quantum mechanics ran against what Einstein considered to be a reasonable definition of reality. For him, basing his metaphysics on Spinoza's Deus sive Natura, it showed quantum theory was incomplete. Reason demanded observer-independent, local objects.

"This theory reminds me of the system of delusions of an exceedingly intelligent paranoiac, concocted of incoherent elements of thought ... If correct, it signifies the end of physics as a science."12 - Einstein.

Einstein wanted to find out how nature is.

"Physics is an attempt to grasp reality as it is thought independently of its being observed."13 - Einstein.

Pragmatists like Bohr & Heisenberg could not care less.

"... the task of physics is not to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature."14 - Bohr.
"... what we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning."15 - Heisenberg.

The best established physical theory of all times, covering phenomena like the Big Bang, lasers, transistors and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), integrates decision (in terms of the description of the experimental arrangement) and points to universal connectedness (or interdependence) ! By doing so, it stopped being a common sense, conventional theory of science ...

"Sanity, I submit, is not a canon of science."16 - Schwinger.


In principle, quantum mechanics applies to the whole universe. This is the position of the inclusivist school, with as leading exponent Stephen Hawking. Niels Bohr and those adhering to the Copenhagen interpretation of Schrödinger's wavefunction understand physics to be based on complementarity, which states nature is too subtle to be described adequately in any single viewpoint. This latter school has come under severe attack, for how to objectively demarcate quantum and classical realities given mathematical abstractions somehow turn into concrete realities ? A solid boundary between quantum and classical seems missing.

It becomes increasingly clear only technological limitations disable us to display quantum phenomena with large objects. If this is the case, then the Copenhagen interpretation of Schrödinger's equation can no longer argue a clear separation -essential to its view- between the micro-, meso-, and macro-levels of conventional reality. With contemporary technology, individual atoms can be directly seen as dust motes in a sunbeam, and they can be picked up and put down (cf. the scanning tunnelling microscope). IBM has had its name spelled out by positioning thirty-five argon atoms ! So atoms (micro-level) do seem as "real" as little marbles (meso-level). To study the Big Bang, cosmologists write the Schrödinger wavefunction for the whole universe (macro-level). Newton's formula of gravitation is merely an approximation of the Schrödinger-equation valid for objects at the meso-level.17 

A philosophy of physics needs to know as precisely as possible what "physical reality" is all about. We cannot be happy with approximations. How to define "reality" ? While most physicists only reluctantly abandon naive realism, they do try to save "scientific reality" by defining it as the existence of objects of knowledge existing and acting independently of the knowledge of them. In physical terms this means objects are deemed to be locally Einstein-isolated, implying they interact with other objects by way of physical forces travelling at speeds limited by the speed of light. All received and exerted influences cannot move faster than the speed of light. If such influences happen, special relativity forces us to consider these as examples of actio-in-distans or, as Einstein called them : "spukhafte Fernwirkung", "spooky action at a distance."18 As no speed higher than the speed of light is possible, such voodoo forces would be instantaneous (or higher than the speed of light). Inclusivism has the winning hand.

Unfortunately for Einstein and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen thought-experiment, John Bell mathematically derived that if two objects possess their physical properties without being observed (naive realism) and they are separated from each other so events happening to one cannot affect the other (local reality), then certain observable quantities necessarily have to be greater than or equal to other observable quantities.19 This experimentally testable prediction derived from Bell's theorem is called "Bell's inequality". So if in an actual experiment, certain observable quantities are not greater than or equal to other observable quantities, then one (realism or locality) or both (realism and locality) must be wrong. Quantum mechanics predicted Bell's inequality would be violated. The actual experiment would determine the outcome.

In the worse case scenario, if both realism and locality are wrong, then conventional reality lacks independent nature and is non-local. If realism or locality are wrong, then conventional reality is either observer-created or non-local. A situation allowing the world to be real (independent) and local (separate) does not occur ! The common sense, "classical" view on reality, allowing for an independent object of knowledge (one possessing its properties from its own side) able to isolate itself locally from other objects is lost.

More concrete, Bell's theorem proves the properties of objects in our world to either have (a) an observation-created reality, (b) a universal, instantaneous connectedness, or (c) both an observation-created reality and connectedness. Bell's inequality is an experimental tool offered by impeccable logic consistent with all known physical laws to decide whether basically (at the micro-level), the totality of physical phenomena can be interdependent and non-local or either independent or non-local. The common view assumes real sensate objects exist as independent objects possessing their properties and existing isolated. They do not emerge as the result of the contact made with an observer and they are not instantaneously connected. In all cases, this common view is wrong. Henri Stapp rederived Bell's inequality without using the naive reality assumption in his equations, showing an experimental violation of the inequality would demonstrate the world lacks separability, leaving naive reality an open question.

In the early 1970s, John Clauser showed Bell's inequality to be violated, an experimental outcome confirmed by Alain Aspect a decade later.20 The violation found in the experiment was by exactly the quantity predicted by quantum theory ! Bell's theorem and the experimental confirmation of Bell's inequality makes it clear all future theories must also describe conventional reality without separability or local reality. Moreover, this non-local interconnectedness has been demonstrated for distances over more than one hundred kilometres, while quantum theory extends it over the entire universe.21 Any two objects ever interacting are forever entangled. The behaviour of one instantaneously affects the other ... This actio-in-distans goes beyond what is considered physical forces (gravity, electro-magnetism, weak and strong nuclear forces).

The logic used by Bell & Stapp and the experiments by Clauser and Aspect confirm ultimate analysis of SA, identifying a wrong ideation Cf, causing a false designation to bewitch the mind and its cognitive operations, namely one identifying mental and sensate objects as self-powered and substantial (independent - A) and allowing objects to become isolated from other objects. The common sense description of the world, one affirming reality and locality is not possible. The validity of empirico-formal propositions of conventional science cannot be known with certainty. But it was possible to know by way of experiment if all future and better theories must describe a fundamental reality without separability. This is the case. The micro-level of conventional reality does not accommodate both naive realism and local reality.

What are the salient features of this interpretation of the formalism ?

1. the co-determining influence of the observer on the observed in terms of making particles "real" by observing them (refutes naive realism) ;
2. the nonseparability of the micro-level from the meso- and macro-levels (refutes the division in separate, "complementary" ontological strata) &
3. the universal connectedness between all physical objects (refutes locality).


Quantum mechanics is not a "classical", common sense theory of fundamental reality. It has nevertheless been confirmed countless times. At the most fundamental micro-level of physical reality, independence between object of knowledge and observer seems lost. Locality is also absent.  Quantum theory, the theorem of Bell and the experiments of Clauser & Aspect, invite an interpretation of reality in which the building-blocks of sensate objects SA do not possess their properties in and of themselves, from their own side, i.e. inherently, neither do they exist separate from other quantum states !

This turns quantum mechanics into a physics confirming Buddha's ultimate analysis, bringing emptiness (absence of inherent properties) and dependent arising (non-locality) to the fore. Firstly, to confirm absence of inherent existence, i.e. emptiness (
"śûnyatâ"), is another way of stating sensate objects are not self-powered, but other-powered. Because the observer makes the wavefunction collapse by observing, thus turning a particle "real" in the conventional sense, the physical properties of the fundamental building-blocks of sensate reality depend on (a) the abstract probability-wave before the collapse and (b) the action of observing them, making the wave collapse. Hence, the "real" properties of these particles are co-dependent on something outside them, eliminating self-power and autarchy. Secondly, finding no Einstein-separate particles, and thus allowing superliminal speeds22 and "actio-in-distans", confirms the interconnectedness of these fundamental building-blocks of sensate reality. At the micro-level, entanglement is a fact and non-locality a given. This universal interconnectedness is but another way to define dependent-arising ("pratîtya-samutpâda").

Despite dependence & non-locality at the micro-level, meso- and macro-objects of sensation continue misleadingly to appear as (a) possessing properties from their own side, independently from their observers, and (b) isolated from other sensate objects, i.e. cut off and separate from their observers. The macro- and meso-levels of conventional reality conceal the micro-level, and so appear differently as they are at a more fundamental level of analysis. This allows us to say conventional sensate objects are illusionary. But while misleading (positing independence and locality were there is dependency and non-locality), and thus mistaken, they do allow us to operate conventional reality as it functionally appears to us. In Sanskrit, the world of appearances is called "mâyâ", having the dual meaning of "to measure" and "to create illusions". Like quantum mechanics (cf. infra), the act of measurement and the manifestaion of illusions are deemed to be connected ... However, the ability to function with sensate objects not appearing as they are (concealing their true reality), is their (functional, scientific) validity (in Shivaism, "mâyâ" is the "śakti" or "power" of "Śiva").

Ultimate analysis demonstrates how this illusionary reality is the outcome of the cognitive error Cf made on the side of the subject of knowledge. The latter overlays the objects sensed with a stability, independence and separateness they do not possess from their own side. To do so is the root of ignorance ("avidyâ"). This superposition or grasping at "a self" ("svabhâva" or
A) is learned and innate. It is learned insofar as our conditioning cherishes the self (in a subjective way as empirical egos and in an objective way as static sensate objects). It is innate insofar as all sentient beings demonstrate a "natural" reflex to posit independence & locality. Apparently, the cognitive error at hand is wired into our system. Eradicating it cannot be but a very difficult task.


Operating the conventional instantiation CA means to designate independent & isolated existence, affirming the persistent existence of object A ("svabhâva"). Besides actualizing object A (A), it existentializes A (A).

Substantialism of object or subject calls in two conditions :

independence : objects (or subjects) are deemed to possess their properties in and of themselves, from their own side, self-powered, autarchic, self-sustained and self-sufficient ;
  isolation : objects (or subjects) seem cut off and separate from other objects (subjects) and the subject (object) of knowledge. If no physical signal can travel between physical objects (locality), then no physical influence is possible between them. 


Ultimate logic shows these conditions imply a reification, ontologization or substantialization based on a false ideation Cf, causing ignorance ("avidyâ"), the root cause of conceptual elaborations ("prapañca") leading to substantialist thinking (designating the object or the subject of knowledge as independent & separate, or both). Moreover, such concept-realism  (cf. Clearings, 2006) will always generate an apory crippling a valid conceptual understanding of the possibility and production of knowledge itself, invalidating theoretical epistemology (Criticosynthesis, 2008).

CA :
A A ?? ......... (20)

On the basis of specific instances (z) of sensate & mental objects (the bases of designation), a subject of knowledge or designator attributes certain predicates to an object deemed to exist independently from the designator.

CA :
A A(z) = A prop z = Sz v Mz
CA :
A(z) Sz v Mz
CA : Sz v Mz Sz v Mz  ......... (21)

Non-scientific, conventional designators always reify, for this is the uneducated, common sense take on reality (both objective & subjective). Objects are deemed "outside" and so to function independently from observing subjects. The subject of experience is a self-identical, essential entity ("Dasein"), with an intimacy no second or third person perspective is able to breach.

To philosophers of science,
conceptualizing the possibility of conceptual knowledge itself, the epistemology of the conceptual must assume scientific facts receive a letter of belief from the world as it is (absolute reality or reality-as-such), deemed independent and isolated from the subject of knowledge (if not, so classical logic proves, all knowledge would be intra-mental and intersubjective). But while transcendental logic (the principles of conceptual thought) and theoretical epistemology (the norms of valid empirico-formal propositions) do not presuppose the reification of object and/or subject, in fact identify this as an ontological illusion to be banned from any attempt to understand the possibility of knowledge itself, the actual practice of knowledge-production, by scientists actually gathering knowledge, cannot do without it. So although this tendency to reify the conditions of the possibility of conceptual thought & knowledge must be kept out of transcendental logic and theoretical epistemology (by switching from a descriptive to a normative mode), reification cannot be eliminated from practical epistemology, involved with the actual production of valid conceptual knowledge. One cannot ask scientists to perform experiments as if nothing corresponds to the facts they produce, i.e. ask them to consider facts to be exclusively theory-dependent. Methodological realism forces them to accept facts as if they represent absolute reality, i.e. as if information about something independent & separate "out there" exists ... Indeed, even in quantum physics, mathematical abstractions, "collapsing" into a single property by mere observation, are pregnant with endless possibilities !

The false designation
Cf of inherent existence is imputed on what are only other-powered objects. This conceptual overlay is a mistaken superposition entailing the distant and cut off appearance of subject and object. The latter seems "external" and "independent" by virtue of the power of this false ideation ("vijñapti") operated by the designator. Due to this, objects are deemed to be established by way of their own character, with attributes & properties misleadingly appearing to exist from their own side. Ultimate logic seeks to establish the falsehood of both independence and separation, in other words, the truth of dependency and interconnectedness.

Conventionally, the imputation of inherent existence itself
cannot be avoided and without it conventional validity cannot be established. This explains why quantum mechanics is not a common sense theory. Its "truths" are difficult to harmonize with how the world appears to ours senses and to our nominal mental framework, accustomed to use classical logic and its three basic formal rules : identity, non-contradiction and excluded third (12). But quantum mechanics does not rule out classical, Newtonian thinking. The latter is a special case of the general principles advocated by quantum physics. Conventional reality is the exception, while ultimate reality is the rule. "Samsâra" is the exception. Ignorance stresses the importance of the linear, common sense view instead of the elliptical, non-linear absolute truth concerning the nature of phenomena.

Ignorance makes us believe the exception is the rule.

By itself, attributing names and labels to objects, is not afflictive. To identify and function in the world these processes are necessary. Conceptual thought and cognitive activity are not the cause of our ignorance and so of our misery. Indeed, this cognizing superposition Cf is the way of "classical" science.

The final goal of ultimate logic, based on the Critical Middle Way, is to establish ad absurdum the reasons why the common sense approach of phenomena, while valid, is nevertheless mistaken, i.e. misleading and concealing its truth (namely emptiness). All conventional objects are other-powered phenomena falsely appearing as distant & cut off. At the macro- and meso-levels, valid conventional knowledge imputes a false substance-nature on its objects (
A), making them persistently appear as independent and separated, while, on a more fundamental level of analysis, they are evanescent interdependent instances receiving their properties as a result of being consciously observed by a wave-collapsing percipient participator, i.e. a subject of knowledge possessing SA and MA objects.

The ultimate goal of ultimate logic is to aid the mind to move beyond conventionality, but not beyond cognitive activity. By fully preparing the mind to experience the ultimate nature of phenomena, by burning all possible substantial instantiations with subtle & very subtle ultimate conceptualizations, and this again and again, an approximation of "seeing" emptiness is realized. This "seeing" is a direct apprehension of the ultimate nature of phenomena. It is observing dependency & non-locality at all levels of conventional reality. Working with these, leads to the collapse of the house of concept & substance, making way for the brightly shining mind, the Clear Light.

Conventional reality is not the culprit, but its reification is.


7 Substantial Instantiation : A


The Substantial Instantiation :

A As ......... (22)
The substantial being of A if and only if as the substantial core of A.

Per definition, substantial existence (As) emphatically posits the persistent, isolated being of A (A), being itself from its own side, as an obvious object not to be missed.

As : y (y = A) ......... (23)

In terms of classical physical objectivity in and of itself, the following pertains :

1. persistent (in itself) : without observation, existing physical objects (SA), possess their own properties in an enduring way, and this independent from their observer and on the basis of their own nature ("svabhâva"), "self", essential ipseity ("eidos") or individual selfhood ("ousia", substance). This is the principle of ontological autarchy of outer phenomena (ontic objectivity) ;
2. isolated (of itself) : these persistent physical substances have their separate locus, niche or "Lebenswelt" in the spacetime-continuum (never receiving and emitting signals travelling at speeds high than the speed of light). Hence, instantaneous interaction between system is impossible. There is no actio-in-distans. Substances are local. They are basically solitary, self-sufficient & ontologically autarchic. They are not joined in the process of the universal interconnectedness between all happening instances. This is the principle of locality.

A philosophy of quantum physics seeks to understand physical reality at the most fundamental level of the conventional (observational) universe. Quantum mechanics puts into evidence how the observer co-creates the observed. The subject of knowledge causes the collapse of the wave-function, resulting in the emergence of stable properties, and the object of knowledge is in a superimposed state of "all possibilities" before being observed.

Ultimate analysis targets these two assumptions, including existing mental objects in its equations (MA).

So in terms of classical phenomenological subjectivity in and of itself, the following pertains :

1. self-identity (in itself) : the predicates and private indexicals used to identify the subject and its mental objects (MA) ontologically inhere in a "soul" or subjective being-their ("Dasein"), an obvious, unique person or ontological ego, possessing its attributes or inner phenomena from its own side, independent of objective influences (ontic subjectivity) ;
2. self-consciousness (of itself) : the fact one is aware to be thinking, feeling, wanting and sensating posits the presence of a stable, autonomous "être conscient", a subjective substance or personal "own-form" enduring through time and isolated from other self-consciousnesses.

Ultimate logic seeks the root of the ignorant mistake in false ideation Cf.

As : As A(z) ^ Cf ......... (24)

Cf leads to the vast  field of erroneous conceptual elaborations, harbouring wrong views like naive realism or naive idealism. A complete return to strict nominalism is required. Superimposing inherent existence on the sense of self and on (outer) phenomena, both sides of the cognitive field are reified.

Attributing substantial "being" (
As) to existing objects (A) is the fundamental category mistake Cf characterizing the root-error of conventional instantiation. It is the true divider between conventional knowledge & ultimate knowledge, worldly wisdom & the wisdom realizing emptiness. The Two Truths are also based on this distinction. Because of this error, ultimate truth is concealed.

An ultimate description of this "poison of poisons" is the task at hand. We are looking for the correct object of negation. This is the object of the protocol or "psychic mechanism" of the most simple, effective and profound tool to "purify" the mind from its obscurations. A method effectively eliminating itself when the task is fulfilled.

In  Western Scholasticism (5th - 16th CE), counterpointing Greek concept-realism, the distinction between
As and A divided the "reales" (those who adhere to independent objects and/or subjects) from the "nominales" (those who attribute only names and labels to objects and subjects). The "via antiqua" was plagued with an apory between ontological realism (Aristotle) and ontological idealism (Plato). The "via moderna" would not reify phenomena. With the start of the Age of Enlightenment (Descartes), substantial thinking reemerged, and the exercise of demarcating between metaphysics & science had to be redone. Both rational idealism (Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza) as empiricism (Locke, Berkeley, Hume) were criticized by Kant, who, to ignite the motor of the categories, retained the "quasi-causal" influence of the "outer world". His synthesis was again broken down by German Idealism (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) and materialism (Feuerbach, Marx, Freud). The effort to try to rationally understand the world came itself under fire by Romantic protest-philosophers (Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Bergson). The apory started again with the divisions between logical positivism (Schlick, Carnap, Neurath) and phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger), and then between scientific realism (Popper) and "Frankfurter" idealism (Habermas). Strict nominalism (Stegmüller), rediscovering the insights of Willem of Ockham, fallibilism (Lakatos) and constructivism (Feyerabend, Kuhn), allowed Western criticism to find the "groundless ground" (Oger), as well as the principles, norms & maxims of the possibility of knowledge (Criticosynthesis, 2008). These latter insights correspond well with quantum physics and ultimate analysis !

Suppose we accept substantial instantiation, seeking independence and locality. Then lots of doubtful consequences emerge. A few important one : substantial objects are static, non-functional & solipsist.

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 "doors" and so cannot interact with other objects (cf. Leibniz). These objects cannot move, produce or cause. Constant autoduplication ensues.

As : A f(x = 1) A = A A = A ... ?? ......... (25)

Where can these objects be found ? Conventional objects are interdependent and so the "reales" are wrong. An absolute form of objectivity is left though, for the whole unobserved universe, untouched by wave-collapsing percipient & sentient participators exists in a superposition state of "all possibilities".

Substantial objects are non-functional because they are isolated. Without any possibility to relate to other objects, they cannot produce efficient action. Not accepting functions can be subdivided ad infinitum, we arrive at a relative impossibility to function.

As : ¬{Af(x) > Af'(x') > Af"(x") > Af"'(x"') ... > Afλ(xμ)} ? ... (26)

Where can these objects be found ? Except for analytical objects, 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 own nature ("svabhâva"). Their solipsism is however based on nothing else than this affirmation and therefore circular.

As : Af(x = 1) A A ... ?? ......... (27)

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 certainly interconnected, and at higher levels this is probably also the case.


8 The Absolute Instantiation : ¬A


The Absolute Instantiation :

¬A Ct ......... (28)

A has no substantial being if and only if as the correct ideation of A.

The conceptual mind must receive a valid and effective tool to address the issue of ignorance in a simple, swift and powerful manner. A Sword of Wisdom constantly striking precisely without error and a Roaring Snowlioness making sure the mind stays alert & acute. This tool is to know the correct object of negation and void the substantial instantiation. Doing so is the absolute instantiation. With the correct object of negation, and the proper logic of negation, one has found an object encompassing the complete root of ignorance, and when it lurks one strikes it down without any hesitation. A special mental discipline ("jňâna-yoga") is called for. Compare this with a particular set of phenomenological reductions (cf. Husserl, in particular the eidetic reduction, but then one not leading to an essential core).

A wrong object of negation is either too broad, eliminating too much, or too narrow, leaving too much intact. The first tendency may end in nihilism, the second in eternalism. Moreover, one does not "find" emptiness as an inherent ground or essence of all things, for emptiness is also empty ...

For example, saying "samsâra" as a whole is the proper object of negation (as in some idealist schools like Yogâcâra-Mâdhyamaka), is eliminating too much. The world is not the issue, but how it appears and why it appears as it does. This idealism stresses the object-producing capacities of the mind. Saying Buddha-nature has inherent qualities (as in Other-Emptiness & Dzogchen), i.e. enlightened body, enlightened speech, enlightened mind & enlightened activity, and this before all other things, comes close to eternalizing the consciousness-stream of a Buddha in a way reminiscent of the substance-driven identity between Brahman and Âtman in Hinduism. Here one eliminates not enough. This realism emphasizes  too much. Better to say Buddha-qualities need to be generated by directly seeing the natural state of the mind, its deepest stratum. This confirms the potential of Buddhahood in every sentient mindstream, but does not eternalize part of it by affirming that in the very subtle stratum -the very subtle mind of Clear Light- Buddha-qualities inhere.

The great scholar, tantric & yogi Je Tsongkhapa, called "sumati kirti" (Tib. "losang drakpa") or "glory of wisdom", who attained Buddhahood just after death, found the ultimate object of negation : inherent existence (A). One should not bother with ultimate objects or ultimate subjects, but merely teach the mind not to observe its mental and sensate objects as substances in which properties permanently abide, existing isolated from other objects. One merely non-affirmatively negates the false ideation Cf imputing self-sufficient (i.e. independent & separate) mental or sensate objects, in other words : one negates inherent existence in all phenomena.

Show me a substance ? Indeed, all flows !

¬A !! ......... (29)

As Willem of Ockham and Kant, Tsongkhapa draws the line between nominalism and substantialism (essentialism). Constantly negating inherent existence destroys the tendency to grasp at sensate (SA) and mental (MA) objects as permanent (independent) and isolated (local). This does not imply the stream of ongoing change is random. Dependent-arising ("pratîtya-samutpâda") is ruled by symmetry-principles and symmetry-breaks, producing logical & functional structure and thus meaning to the flow, dynamism or display of instances. Perfected, these dynamical forms are the Sambhogakâya and Nirmânakâya of a Buddha. Buddhahood is therefore a perfect movement, and endless series of perfect symmetry-transformation.

The mental operation called for is a true ideation Ct, i.e. a conceptual framework of concepts leading to : (a) the end of substantial conceptualization (22), (b) a very subtle conceptual realization of emptiness, the ultimate nature of phenomena and (c) an approximation of the non-conceptual "seeing" of emptiness called proximate emptiness.

The end of substantial conceptualization is like experiencing conventional reality as a dream-state and dreams as conventional reality.
Coarse & subtle understanding of emptiness is superseded by special insight into the emptiness of the mind itself. Calmness of mind induces more intense realizations and intense bliss calms the mind even more. Active and passive are no longer in conflict, but cooperate in an interdependent dance of joy, love, compassion and equanimity. These very subtle conceptual realizations of emptiness take away the very subtle conceptual obscurations, clearing space for the next stage : approximating emptiness, consciousness realizing proximate emptiness.
the conceptual mind purified by the coarse, subtle and very subtle conceptual tendency to reify, has formed a conceptual "generic idea" of emptiness. This is a "mental fire" able to burn all recurrent substantial instantiations. Using up all the fuel of reification it vanishes. A mind fully & enduringly concentrated on this idea has reached proximate emptiness, eventually ending conceptualizing substances, spontaneously opening the door to the natural state of the brightly shining mind. When emptiness is "seen", one further trains to eliminate innate self-grasping. On the sixth level of the Bodhisattva training, liberation is attained, and on the 9th level, Buddhahood or awakening.


9 Existential Instantiation : A !


The Existential Instantiation :

LA FA (y = A) A ! ......... (30)
If a logical and functional instantiation of A, then an object A.

Finally, there is the mere apprehension of sensate (SA) and mental (MA) objects without any reification whatsoever : A ! Apprehending A is the experience of merely A, nothing more. This is isolating the ultimate truth of A, its emptiness or absence of inherent existence. Apprehending A is the experience of As and hence of the conventional truth of A, the illusion of self-power, possessing inner and outer properties in and of oneself.

Having eliminating the false ideation Cf, the mind no longer attributes inherent existence to the objects it momentarily possesses and is therefore forever shining bright without being sullied by adventitious material, i.e. (substantializing) acts of cognition Cf not integral part of its natural operations. It abides by Ct constantly !

The difference between merely actualizing A (A) and substantializing A (
A) does not refer to two objects, a conventional, worldly A and an ultimate, transcendent A. Such a distinction would refer to objective states invoking an ontological divide reminiscent of the Platonic "chorismos" between the World of Being and the World of Becoming. By which criterion does one divide phenomena into these two classes ? A section of reality (in this case the set of all "transcendent" objects) cannot be privileged ad hoc. Here, Ockham's Razor is inevitable. To divide phenomena a priori has proven unwise (even in quantum mechanics, cf. the Copenhagen interpretation). Not an ontological abyss is at hand, but the continuum of all phenomena.

Tsongkhapa rightly identified CA (turning A in
A by way of the substantial instantiation) and Ct (negating substantialization using the absolute instantiation), as two epistemic isolates of the same SA or MA object. When A is apprehended, this single object appears conventionally, concealing its ultimate nature. But both are at hand.

1. the object as it appears : the object manifests in the conventional, common sense way. It merely appears as independent and separate, concealing the fact this is not the case. Hence, this conventional appearance is illusionary. Eventually, the view of quantum physics may be integrated in what today is seen as "common sense", although the change of mindframe will be considerable. Remember both the Ptolemaic and the Newtonian cosmologies defined physical reality as independent an local. Although conventional reality seems local, violating Bell's inequality proved the foundation of the physical world to be non-local. Giving "objective" body to the claim conventional knowledge is valid (but mistaken) is done by stressing the presence of "propensities" before observation. The choice of the conscious & percipient participator to observe or not (and thus collapse the wave-function or not) allows "objectivity" to rise in terms of "real" objects ... At the meso-level, objects continue to misleadingly appear as independent & local.
2. the object ultimately : sentient beings able to accumulate wisdom slowly realize ultimate nature to exist conventionally, i.e. common sense objects merely conceal their ultimate suchness. This does not invoke another ontological stratum, but merely another cognitive operation (namely Ct ¬A
).

How do Buddhas apprehend phenomena ? The thorough application of the absolute instantiation ¬A, stops instantiating objects conventionally & substantially. They are only existentially (
A !) instantiated. Buddhas know ultimate truth in two ways :

1. as space-like emptiness :

This is the sphere where perception and sensation of objects fades. This is the non-differentiated, non-conceptual, nondual experience, to be directly and personally experienced by the enlightened mind beyond the stage of No-More-Learning. Although involving a cognitive act, it cannot be conceptually known or linguistically described from the outside. Even a Buddha cannot offer any criterion to describe it. In this sphere, suffering, with its coming, going, stasis, passing away, arising, stance, foundations, support, etc. ends. Consistent with the summit of the Via Negativa of mystical experience, nothing can be conceptualized or said about this nondual "apex" or capstone of cognition. While clearly cognitive, for the object of wisdom-mind is emptiness, it is ineffable. If something is actually uttered concerning this, science nor metaphysics are at hand, but only sheer sublime ("Dharma") poetry.

2. as illusion-like emptiness :

In this mode of knowing ultimate truth, simultaneous with the previous, phenomena are apprehended as relational, interdependent and illusory. T
he interdependence of all instances, their universal connectedness is acknowledged. Relational because, as substantial instantiation has ceased, there are no independent objects and so all things are interrelated. Interdependent because all objects are other-powered. Illusionary because they only appear as independent to conventional reason, while they are not. Although there is duality, this does not constitute a misconceived duality. When, with right discernment, one sees all phenomena as dependent co-arisings as they are actually present in this moment, one does not run after the past nor the future. The mere presence of duality, as mere existential instantiation is not problematic. Duality by itself causes no delusions, but the reification of its terms always does. Take this away, and the panacea against all suffering has been found !

So a Buddha directly knows emptiness without designating any names and knows, while cognizing the universal interconnectedness between all possible phenomena, how the conventional world appears to all sentient beings.
All objects are perceived and apprehended (known, cognized) without any trace of reification, merely as a process, not a succession of static states, but as a perfectly interconnected & continuous dynamism. But in all cases, how, in this nondual Clear Light, the object is cognized, is impossible to describe.

Conventional truth is valid and mistaken. Ultimate truth is valid but unmistaken. This because the former appears as something it is not and thus misleads. Conventional objects seem inherently existing, while they merely exist as other-powered objects. They seem to be substance-like, while they are merely process-like. The reason why they cannot be apprehended as they truly are is the cognitive error Cf of designating substance to objects and their properties. Hence, the root-cause of all our problems is ignorance, superimposing what is not the case on what is the case. Establish Ct and this superimposition is gone.

When
A ! is experienced, the whole spectrum of sensate (SA) and mental (MS) associations are apprehended without self-grasping, i.e. without superimposing on these associations any notion of A existing from its own side, independent, isolated & powered by its own self-identity (A). What is observed is the absence of inherent existence of this A, i.e. its emptiness, hand in hand with all the interdependent determinations and conditions which gave rise to A, which sustain A and which eventually make A cease. Nothing more is done. When the conceptual mind is thus totally still & vigilant, the suchness of A is apprehended in a nondual, non-conceptual act of intuitive cognition or "gnosis". This reveals the absolute nature of A.

Ultimate truth exists conventionally, and so the distinction between conventional "samsâra" and ultimate "nirvâna" can be eliminated by merely apprehending A As and, thoroughly cognizing Ct, exhaustively & non-affirmatively negating it (¬A).


10 The Fallacy of Substantial Identity of Persons.


In the Lesser Vehicle, emptiness meditations do not focus on the substantial identity of phenomena, but on emptiness of persons only. As the general mode of practice is based on "renunciation" (instead of "transformation", as in Tantra, or "self-liberation", as in the Great Perfection), the idea is to eliminate substantializing the self (Sf), the center of consciousness and of personal identity (Sf = Ic). Following the inspirations of Newton, considering the brain produced mental objects as the kidneys secrete urine, XIXth century materialist science reduced MA to SA. Most neuroscientists today continue to operate on the basis of this materialist ideology or system of belief. In the Buddhist tradition, both objects have been dealt with separately. Given the fact the first person perspective is fundamental (we first encounter ourselves before we encounter sensate objects), the identity of persons came first.

Introspection, perfected by the practice of meditation, reveals all mental objects (MA) are part of the field of consciousness, the latter being the final "screen" against which intra-mental contents are projected. Even sensate objects (SA) are actually perceived as part of this field of consciousness, the imaginal "area" around this identity (Ic). In this "mirror of consciousness" all apprehended objects possessed by the subject appear, and the self-conscious identity at its center is identified as the empirical subject, ego, person, self (
Sf) or object-possessor. Ic is the percipient participator at the core of consciousness, witnessing the objects appearing in its field. Consciousness itself could be defined as the field of meaningful percipient participations. As these objects of consciousness arise, abide and cease moment after moment, this field is very dynamic and a "stream of consciousness" or "mindstream" is at hand. This field has two main features : contents & state. The state of consciousness is the level at which it operates, defined as the extension of the field. Higher states are more panoramic than lower. The contents is defined as the kind of objects present in the field.

The present moment of consciousness is the result of all determinations & conditions of the previous moment, and the next is the result of the present. That's why Tibetan Buddhists say one can know one's previous rebirth by witnessing what one's situation is right now, and know one's next by observing what one is doing at the moment. The stream of consciousness is not interrupted by the physical demise of the aggregate of the body. It goes on, albeit on a plane no longer consisting of coarse material aggregates (cf. hylic pluralism). Elsewhere, the validity of the arguments backing this assumption will be studied. Then it will be opportune to deal with the body-mind problem.

Ic is able to directly observe the stream of consciousness with its "inner eye". As such it experiences itself as a unity of apperception, i.e. a privileged & unique mental object constantly able, by way of attention & introspection, to review the contents reflected by the field of consciousness surrounding it, and this during waking and dreaming, bringing this information to unity, namely identifying it as (a) sensate objects SA of smell (Sα), taste (Sβ), touch (Sγ), audition (Sδ) or sight (Sε) or (b) mental objects MA of volition (and compositional factors) (Mα), emotion (Mβ), thought (Mγ) or consciousness (Mδ). Sensate objects (SA) are always the product of perception (P) and interpretation (I) : S = P.I (I ≠ 1). Perception (P) is the extra-mental factor presupposed to define empirical SA in terms of public indexicals (PUI). Consciousness (Mδ) is a special MA insofar as it is the only mental object reflecting on itself (conscious of itself) and reflecting all other SA and MA (conscious of what it smells, tastes, touches, hears, sees, wants, feels, thinks and is aware of).

The set of consciousness-events (Mδ) is the "king of inner life" before whom all objects appear. This defines one's personal existence, identity and self-consciousness in terms of private indexicals (PI). All sentient beings are conscious in varying degrees. Indeed,
mere clarity & awareness, or giving rise to something, making it into an object of engagement or cognizing, is different in all living organisms. Traditionally, the Buddhadharma designates six classes of sentient beings, namely humans, demi-gods (asuras), gods (devas), hell beings, hungry ghosts and animals. It seems sensible though to ascribe some elementary form of sentience to minerals and plants too. And may one ask whether an atom, before being observed, has a degree of consciousness ?

To establish Ic lacks inherent existence (
¬Ic), various reasonings can be developed. The one given here formalizes the Four Points Argument, found in traditional textbooks on the subject (also called the "Four Essential Points"). In a general way, this argument first defines the object to be negated : not Ic but Ic is rejected. The logical and functional instantiation of Ic is not the issue. Middle Way logic does not reject the existence of personal identity (Ic), but only the reification or substantialization of this existing identity (Ic), turning Ic into a "hypokeimenon" or a thing underlying all mental processes (a substantial subject). This is the first point. Once this is established, the absurdity of affirming the existence of a substantial identity (Ic) is shown by first assuming Ic is identical with MA or SA (second point) and then assuming Ic is different than MA or SA (third point). As these last points lead to absurdities, and Ic cannot be found, ¬Ic is likely the case (fourth point).

The format used is the argumentum ad absurdum, which does not lead to the definitive proof Ic does not exist (i.e. the conceptual identification of the emptiness of  personhood), but merely to the realization it cannot be found. Hence, ¬Ic is established indirectly. One may then say substantial personhood is very unlikely, if not non-existent.


Preliminary considerations :

MA : MA {
Mα, Mβ, Mγ, Mδ}

All existing mental objects MA are part of the set of volitions (Mα), emotions (Mβ), thoughts (Mγ) or states of consciousness (Mδ).

SA : SA {Sα, Sβ, Sγ, Sδ, Sε}

All existing sensate objects SA are part of the set of objects of smell (Sα), taste (Sβ), touch (Sγ), audition (Sδ) or sight (Sε). One could add the kinesthetic sense, but this does not alter the argument.

States of consciousness are reflections of sensate & mental objects. The latter imply volitional (compositional)23, affective, conceptual and reflective mental objects. Let specific instances z of these mental & sensate objects be the case.

The five senses generate five instances of sense consciousnesses :

SA : SA {Sαz ^/v Sβz ^/v Sγz ^/v Sδz ^/v Sεz}

Four kinds of mental objects generate four instances of mental consciousnesses (volition, affection, cognition and awareness of the latter) :

MA : MA {Mαz ^/v Mβz ^/v Mγz ^/v Mδ(r)z}

Then :

Mδ : Mαz ^/v Mβz ^/v Mγz ^/v Mδ(r)z

Mδ(r)z are instances of special mental objects, making possible the reflection of the sensate, actional, affective & cognitive contents of consciousness in a consciousness apprehending them. Of course, this apprehension can be reduced by eliminating an element, giving rise to purely volitional, affective & cognitive mental objects or a combination of them. But this is irrelevant to the Four Points Argument. Note Mδ(r)z also contains SA, i.e. sensate objects also appear in consciousness, bringing the aggregates possessed by Sf to five : sensation, volition, affection, cognition and consciousness (self-awareness).

With all instances of mental consciousnesses and all instances of sense consciousnesses reflecting in a moment of consciousness aware of them (the ideal situation), we arrive at :

Mδ(r)z : Mδz   {Mαz ^ Mβz ^ Mγz ^ Mδz} ^
{
Sαz ^ Sβz ^ Sγz ^ Sδz ^ Sεz}

In a general way, when consciousness ideates its own self-identity falsely (correctly), the existence of a substantial (non-substantial) identity of Sf results.

Mδz : {(Mδz = Mδz) ^ Cf} Ic (??)
Mδz : {(Mδz = Mδz) ^ Ct} ¬Ic (!)

Let us now analyze the Four Points Argument.

First Point :
(designating an obvious "I")

The existing logical & functional "I"
 (Ic) established by mere existential instantiation is not targeted, but the substantial instantiation Ic of the "I" is. Let us distinguish between the empirical ego, the transcendental ego and the ontological ego :

Ic : Ic = f(Mαz...δz v Sαz...εz) FA = Sf

The empirical ego exists because it is designated on the basis of four mental and five sensate categories of objects. Without these, no empirical ego can be named or identified. Moreover, the empirical ego is a function of these objects and operates as a result of the constantly changing variables associated with them. Hence, the empirical ego is a dynamical function designated on the basis of mental and sensate objects.

The unity of apperception is a logical, transcendental ego "of all times" accompanying every empirical cogitation by necessity (cf. Kant). It is a self-identical "I Think", devoid of any actual contents.

Ic : (Ic = Ic) LA = Sf

To think the possibility of a subject of knowledge, it must be presupposed.

"What was the transcendental unity of consciousness required for, and what did it require ? It required that a temporally extended series of experiences should have a certain character of connectedness and unity, secured to it by concepts of the objective, and it required this as a fundamental condition of the possibility of empirical self-consciousness. (...) We have here, as it were, the basic ground for the possibility of an empirical use for the concept of the subject of such an autobiography, the concept of the self."
Strawson, P.F. : The Bounds of Sense, Methuen - London, 1982, p.163.

The ontological ego, a reified higher self or creative ego, moves beyond mere nominalism and posits the existence of a substantial ego claiming "I, I exist" ("ego sum").

{(Ic = Ic)}  Ic (??)

While the empirical and transcendental selves are not problematic (stay within the confines of the logical and functional instantiation), the ontological ego designates a substance-self
Ic. Such a substance-self is an obvious object. It is possible to posit a higher self without reification (the creative ego), but this is not at hand here.

An obvious object is a self-referential and autarchic object that, would it exist, could not possibly be missed.

Ic : {Ic = f(x = 1)} Ic = Ic (??)

This point should be grasped. Substances are self-powered and, as monads, have no need of anything outside themselves. Hence, they should be easily identified, i.e. obvious. But is this the case ?

Second Point :
Is the obvious "I" identical with mental and/or sensate objects ? No.

Is the singular, substantially existing, permanent "I" (
Ic), identical with its multiple parts, to wit its "body" (smell, touch, taste, audition, sight) or "mind" (volitions, affects, thought, consciousness) ? If so, then there should be a body-I & a mind-I, which runs against the singularity of the "I". Perhaps body & mind are a singular entity, but then designating "I" would be superfluous. There would be no need for the appellation of the word "I", which is again problematic if a substantial I is postulated. It also runs against the first person perspective, the logical and functional presence of the "I".

Is the "I" perhaps the "collection" of both body & mind ? But, there is no such a "collection", for the collection of body & mind is designated upon the basis of body & mind. If this collection would be truly existent, it would be obvious and found under ultimate analysis. As body & mind depend upon their components and so change, they cannot, apart or as a "collection", be identical with the substantial, unchanging "I" !

Hence, the truly existent "I" (
Ic) is not identical with the aggregates, nor with the mere "collection" of the aggregates. The identity of the "I" with its aggregates cannot be validated. The postulated "I" cannot be found as identical with its aggregates.

The obvious object
Ic = Ic is not an element of the set of mental objects, nor of the set of sensate objects.

Ic = Ic : Ic = Ic Mα...δ ^ Ic = Ic Sα...ε

Third Point :
Is the obvious "I" distinct from mental and/or sensate objects ? No.

Is the existing substantial "I" (
Ic) perhaps distinct from the aggregates of body & mind ? If so, then analytically setting aside the body on one side and the mind on the other, there should be something left over to point to as the truly existent "I". But besides body and mind, nothing is found.

A substantial "I" would have to be independent from the aggregates, but as there is no substantial "I" apart from them, this postulated "I" cannot be found distinct from the aggregates.

{(Mαz...δz
v Sαz...εz)} ( Ic = Ic) = (Mαz...δz v Sαz...εz)}

If the obvious object
Ic = Ic is distinct from the aggregates, then uniting the set of all sensate and mental objects with this object would not generate the set of all sensate and mental objects. Something more would be found. Hence, the obvious object cannot be found distinct from mental and sensate objects.

Fourth Point :
So then, where is the obvious "I" ? Nowhere ? If not, show me one ?

As the existing substantial "I" (
Ic) is not found to be identical or distinct from the aggregates upon which it is designated, it cannot be found, and hence represents an empty set (a collection containing no elements).

[
{ Ic = Ic : Ic = Ic Mα...δ ^ Ic = Ic Sα...ε} ^ {(Mαz...δz v Sαz...εz)} ( Ic = Ic) = (Mαz...δz v Sαz...εz)}] Ic = {Ø}

If the set of all obvious substantial self-identities is empty, i.e. cannot be found, then is the negation of these identities : ¬Ic (!!) not the case ? Consequentialists pose the question and invite an identification. Is ¬Ic the case ? If not, where is Ic ? Autonomists affirm the negation : ¬Ic !

In both cases, the fallacy of attributing substantial identity to persons has been put into evidence.


11 The Fallacy of Substantial Identity of Phenomena.


All possible phenomena are either mental or sensate. As no mental object has been found to exist substantially, can substantial sensate phenomena be found ?

The Four Points Argument can again be used.

First Point :

The logical (LA) & functional (FA) objects
A established by mere existential instantiation are not targeted here, but the substantial instantiation of such existing objects A is.

Second Point :

Is the existing substantial
A identical with its parts ? Suppose A is an inherently existing table (other famous examples are a chariot, a flower, but any object will do). If so, then there are as many tables as there are parts, which is absurd. There is only one table with multiple parts, like a single table-top, three or four legs, nails etc. As soon as the table is broken in pieces, the designation "table" is no longer valid. As long as these pieces of the table can be identified, we may say: "This is a broken table.", but as soon as we split the pieces again and again, at some point the logical instantiation LA   A of the table can no longer be made, and so an observer novel to the events will only identify multiple pieces scattered about and not "scattered pieces of what was a table".

Perhaps the existing substantial table
A is the collection of its parts, but such a "collection" can not be found. We observe the object, and on the basis of the available parts designate "table". We never observe the "collection" as such.

Hence, the table is not identical with its parts nor with the mere collection of its parts.

Third Point :

Is the existing substantial table
A different from its part ? If it were, we should be able to find the table if we eliminate all its parts. Then we would find the "essence" of the table. However, existing "tableness" A can not be found, for only the parts are logically instantiated.

Hence, the table is not distinct from its parts.

Fourth Point :

As the table, instantiated as an existing substance
A, cannot be found to be identical nor different than its parts, we conclude the substantial table cannot be found. Consequentialists will not posit such a substantial table not to exist (¬A), but merely ask : Where is such a table ? Autonomists will affirm the substantial table does indeed not exist.


As all sensate objects SA are the product of the perception P of A times interpretation (I ≠1), let us analyse the reality of physical matter from the point of view of physics. Indeed, we must assume physical reality stimulates the sensitive areas of our sensory organs, triggering a series of impulses travelling upwards to the thalamus and then projected upon the neocortex (at which point they become sensations). Hence, if we can identify physical substances (i.e. self-powered material objects), then the existence of substantial sensate objects (SA) may be inferred. Suppose these cannot be found, then the case of physical substance, all being mere process, is unlikely.

Moving from the macro to meso to micro, smaller and smaller units are encountered. In the Newtonian view, the smallest units are atoms, pictured as little balls. Physical objects existing as substances must (a) possess their properties and (b) be able to exist locally, i.e. isolated from other objects. With the advent of quantum mechanics, this "particle" model had to be relinquished, for photons also displayed interference-patterns, and so had (also) to be waves. The wave/particle paradox emerged, and with it the conscious observer, the measurement problem and the quantum enigma. The observer decides whether a subatomic phenomenon will behave as a particle or as a wave ! Independence is lost and physical objects no longer possess their properties. Then, with the EPR-experiments, locality had also to be given up. At the fundamental level of reality, physical objects are co-defined by the conscious observer and exist interconnected with all other objects.

In general, a "vacuum" is the lowest possible energy state of a volume of space. It is what is left when all else is taken out. The absolute vacuum is whatever remains once everything the laws of nature permit has been removed. Quantum physicists theorize how configurations of mass (energy) emerge out of this absolute vacuum. Fields of elementary particles are then excitations of "empty" space. Much like surface waves in a pond, "real" systems are excitations of the pond's water. The absolute vacuum is shapeless, but assumes specific states. Hence, matter consists of oscillations of immaterial quantities.

How remarkable these theories come close to the results of ultimate logic. Considering object A, we continue to divide it in smaller and smaller units (A > A' > A'' etc.) showing how its designation constantly shifts. At some point "A" is not longer recognized and another object B is designated. Hence, because of ¬A, in principle an object A can be transformed into any other object B, C, D etc. This is another way of saying form emerges out of the formless, objects emerging out of the absolute vacuum, being merely oscillations of the latter. There is only emptiness, and what we observe are specific, seemingly localized movements of that selfsame emptiness. As soon as we posit A, all of this is lost, and we are stuck with non-functional, isolated and independent objects. Also quantum mechanics asks : Where to find independent & local objects ? If there is no substantial object, then there is a forteriori no substantial "object of objects".

A short digress about the Divine.

The Buddhadharma affirms the absolute, but denies the combination of a substantial God-as-Caesar (cf. Whitehead) with the monotheist notion of "creator". Omniscience & omnipresence are not omnipotent. This is the pivotal difference between "the religions of the book", teaching a personal God ruling the universe as a sovereign, wanting to have communion with humans, and the Dharmic religions (Buddhism, Taoism). Because this (Solar, paternal) emphasis on omnipotence, inherited from Ancient Egyptian religion and sapience, the monotheist view promoted itself with an apology subscribing to the categories of Greek philosophy, in particular its concept-realism. The great monotheist theological revolution consists in thinking a process-God and to abolish all substantial instantiations in religious thought.

With great insight Willem of Ockham affirms how the metaphysics of essences was introduced into Christian theology and philosophy from Greek sources. He deploys omnipotence to back the view God cannot be bound by eternal, static, self-referential, substantial ideas ! How can an omnipotent God be bound by His own rules ? Moderate form of nominalism (Abelard, 1079 - 1142), saving parts of Greek substantialism (cf. "ousia"), are rejected. There are no universal subsistent forms, for otherwise God would be limited in His creative act by these eternal ideas. Indeed, every substance is limited by its own essential individuality. For this Franciscan, this non-Christian invention has no place in Christian thought. Universals are only "termini concepti", final terms signifying individual things which stand for them in propositions. Nothing more. Both Plato (idealist concept-realism) and Aristotle (realist concept-realism) are rejected.

God is not the case ! But God maybe ...

The rationalism of Spinoza (1632 - 1677) produced the rational definition of this substantial God (God).

"By God, I mean the absolutely infinite Being - that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses for itself an eternal and infinite essentiality."

Spinoza : Ethics, Part I, definition VI.

Spinoza gave the fundamental postulate of rationalism and idealism this form : "leges cogitandi sunt leges essendi" (the laws of thinking are the laws of reality). So all things possible in the mind (i.e. without contradictions) are also possible in actuality. Back to Plato and the inherent semantic & adualistic bridge between "vox" & "res".

The way Dharma redefines the religious landscape is studied elsewhere.


12  Affirming and Non-affirming Ultimate Analysis.


The Middle Way avoids two extremes : affirming too much (allowing some substantial instantiation to abide) and negating too much (denying the validity of conventional existence). A crucial preliminary to the destruction of the fabric of substantialism is finding the proper object of negation (inherent existence or A). But to thoroughly conceptualize emptiness as the ultimate nature of all possible phenomena, we need a logic in tune with the conceptual necessities of positing the idea of emptiness in an exhaustive manner. To back the teaching of the Buddhadharma with rationality, its "apology" must anticipate the twists and turns of as many as possible opponent views. But this never by conceptualizing emptiness in a way contradicting the lack of inherent existence. So this logic should not try to  "reveal the essence of emptiness", cannot turn emptiness into the ultimate ground of all things.

Although, as Tenzin Gyatzo, the XIVth Dalai Lama said, Tibetan Buddhism is "wholly Indian", Tibetan scholars are prone to organize the original material with great care, logic, adaptability and practicality. Often, this is of great assistance to monks seeking awakening. Study & reflection blend in with meditation, ritual and ceremony. The Tibetan division of the Middle Way in two subsystems -the Autonomy system ("svâtantrika") & the Consequence system ("prâsangika")- was probably coined in the XIth century, after the works of Candrakîriti
(ca. 600 – 650), in particular his Mâdhyamakâvatâra (Entering the Middle Way), had been translated. It is a good example of creating a division with liberating effect, for the dividing line is precisely the logical method & philosophical view used to establish the truth of the Middle Way, the coarse, subtle and very subtle conceptualization of emptiness (
"śûnyatâ").

Historically, the division refers to Candrakîrti's emphasis on the use of (absurd) consequences and his criticism of Bhâvaviveka (ca. 500 - 578). The latter, in expounding the Middle Way of
Nâgârjuna's (2th CE) Mûlamadhyamakakârikâ (A Fundamental Treatise on the Middle Way, employed the formal syllogism ("prayoga-vākya") of Indian logic. According to him, Buddhapâlita (470 - 550), when commenting on Nâgârjuna's Treatise, had a faulty logical method. Candrakîrti defended Buddhapâlita and replied a proponent of the Middle Way is not required to construct arguments concluding in syllogisms. Consequentialist follow Candrakîrti. Autonomists Bhâvaviveka.

For Je Tsongkhapa, the difference between both is not only logical but foremost philosophical. The Autonomists introduce syllogisms and therefore must designate axioms and assumptions. These basic premises express and certify what emptiness is all about, and so conceptually objectify the ultimate nature of all phenomena in some way. Eventually, by wrongly objectifying, namely by turning the emptiness of an object into an "objective" concept of emptiness, absence of inherent existence itself is allowed to withstand ultimate analysis ! This means the Autonomists posit emptiness positively, attributing inherent existence to its axioms (autonomy). Emptiness is allowed to be its own final mode of abiding ! This leads to emptiness as inherent, true existence (), to emptiness as the "substance of substances" underlying all phenomena, grounding them in emptiness in and for itself. In this view,
"śûnyatâ" exists by way of its own character ("svalaksanasiddha"), own-form, substantial nature ("svabhâva") or "being". For Tsongkhapa, emptiness is found, known and realized by a mind of ultimate analysis, and so it is an ultimate truth. But when this mind analyses an object, not the "emptiness" of the object is found, but the emptiness of "the emptiness of the object". The final mode of every instance is the absence of inherent existence of that object, but no emptiness is its own final mode of abiding. If this would be accepted, one would have negated too little.

For the Consequentialist, no phenomenon exists inherently, not even emptiness or Buddhas. Permanent substances are avoided. One asserts conventional phenomena exist in a conventional way. Annihilation is avoided. The Consequentialist does not posit emptiness, nor does he conclude : "An inherent object does not exist !", for this is positing he has found a path to deduce such a final, complete conclusion. As he has been using the reductio ad absurdum, showing the absurd conclusions resulting from accepting substances hypothetically, the only outcome possible confirms no substances have as yet been found ! This is an "open end" kind of logic. So to his critics, he may ask : "Show me a static object !", "Posit a substance !", etc. As soon as the challenge is taken up, the absurdities can be deduced, dislodging the opponent. When asked to positively prove no substances are to be found anywhere, he can only answer : What is a mere absence cannot be affirmed.

This brings us to the distinction between non-affirming and affirming negations, relating to the two schools within Mâdhyamaka, namely "Shentong" or Other-Emptiness and "Rangtong" or Self-Emptiness. Logically, a non-affirming negation is a negation thoroughly negating an object. For example, when thus negating the presence of an object in a room, its absence is affirmed without affirming its presence somewhere else.
 ¬(As A) is a non-affirming negation, i.e. it negates substantial instantiation without positing anything else. An affirming negation negates an object to affirm something else. For example, negating the object is in this room, but affirming it is somewhere else, like in the next. For Shentong, an affirming negation is the highest tenet or philosophical view on emptiness, while for Rangtong a non-affirming negation says the last word.

Shentong (or "empty of other") affirms the nature of mind to be empty of all qualities other than an luminous, ineffable root-nature of the mind. Because it is "prabhasvara-citta-santana" or "Clear Light consciousness continuum", the emptiness of Buddha-nature is not to be characterized in the same way as the emptiness of all other phenomena, for it is endowed with limitless Buddha qualities from the very beginning (a priori, inherent, i.e. substantial or ). Shentong considers itself to be the highest possible and thus final tenet based on Nâgârjuna, Âryadeva (3th CE), Buddhapâlita, Candrakîrti & Śântideva (8th CE).

Rangtong ("or empty of self") denies the nature of mind has an inherent, ineffable nature. It does not deny the Clear Light, nor does it affirm it. Nothing more can be posited than to say all phenomena (emptiness and Buddha-nature included) are empty of "svabhâva", inherent existence. Buddha-nature exists conventionally and not as some "transcendent" essence, substance or A to be separated or isolated from other phenomena, causing an ontological rift between immanent & transcendent, between "samsâra" and "nirvâna", reducing the Two Truths to the single Truth of the Ultimate. Rangtong considers itself to be the highest possible and thus final tenet. It does not understand Shentong to fully accept Buddha-nature is empty of inherent existence.

For Shentong (the Other Emptiness School represented in Tibet by the Jonangpas) in general, and Dolpopa (1292 - 1391) in his  Mountain Doctrine and Târanâtha's (1576 - 1634) The Essence of Other-Emptiness & Twenty-one Differences Regarding the Profound Meaning, in particular, the fundamental point within Mâdhyamaka is the status of meditative equipoise (the fruit of Calm Abiding, "śamatha") and the meaning of emptiness (the fruit of Insight Meditation or Emptiness Meditation, "vipaśyanâ").

In Shentong, meditative equipoise conveys just existing established phenomena. Their definition of "inherent existence" differs from the usual take. The Consequentialists define inherent existence as substantial (), while in the Other Emptiness School it merely means "it exists". Dolpopa does not distinguish between being found by a mind in meditative equipoise on emptiness and being able to bear ultimate analysis by such a consciousness. In his view, shared by lots of yogis, when an object is found in meditative equipoise, it is deemed a forteriori as existing (not necessarily substantial) ! Their experience of the difference between the conventional world and the lands of bliss is so acute, it makes them conceptualize it in terms of a rift between two ontological planes.

For Shentong, the ultimate can bear analysis by a mind in meditative equipoise. Transcending the conventional, the ultimate found is what the Buddha's pristine wisdom realizes, namely the qualities of enlightened body, enlightened speech & enlightened mind. These are not merely generated, but are all ultimately established, primordial and permanent. They do not inherently exist (¬) but "just exist". The ultimate is the ground or basis of emptiness, empty of all other non-enlightened conventionalities, but not empty of itself, i.e. non-empty, but complete (full of Buddha-qualities) & from the very beginning awakened. This is a view not necessarily consistent with a substantialist interpretation of Buddha-nature. Dolpopa accept self-emptiness. Moreover, the ultimate is an affirming negative, taking away the adventitious conventionalities and retaining what has been there from the very beginning, namely the existing Buddha-nature, in which all enlightened quality always already inhere.

Compounded phenomena are empty of themselves and thus merely illusionary. Nothing of any importance is found in the world. Saving people is removing them par force out of this world ! So for Shentong, the ultimate existent, the existing non-substantial Buddha-nature, is continuous and non-deceptive. This refers to a different ontological perspective. The ultimate is a different entity, belonging to another, superior & pure, ontological stratum of the set of all phenomena, one not governed by dependent arising, free from causes & conditions. Like in Plato's system, the world is split up in two worlds. On the one hand, a true ultimate "being" and on the other side, an illusionary false "becoming".

In the schools initiated by these yogis : Yogâcâra-Mâdhyamaka, Shentong & Dzogchen, the Two Truths are different entities, like an object and its shadow. In their final analysis, ultimate truth must be the "One Truth" and only this truth is truly worthy of the name "truth", while conventional truth is only falsehood & illusion. Because Buddhas are always in meditative equipoise directly realizing the ultimate, they cannot be in any way related to conventionality.

But if not, then how can they teach ? Rangtong replies.

Meditative equipoise is not a valid criterion to establish inherent existence. Only ultimate analysis is. If an object is found to be substantially initiated  (A), then it would exist as a substance, not as a process. Tsongkhapa makes a clear distinction between objects found during concentration (direct yogic perceivers) and ultimate analysis finding no inherently existing objects. Pristine wisdom-mind (subject) and the ultimate, namely emptiness or the absence of inherent existence (object) are mutually exclusive and not equivalent. Rationality, conceptuality, cognition and conventional reality are valid. As the ultimate, direct yogic perceivers are non-conceptual, but not also non-cognitive, duality is not the problem at hand. For Rangtong, Shentong accommodates a wrong object of negation. But one may agree that in meditative equipoise on emptiness, there is no sensing of their difference, for in this realization of the ultimate only emptiness abides, only endless purity is perceived.
 No truly established objects can be found, conventionally nor ultimately. All phenomena, wisdom-mind and its object, emptiness itself, are self-empty, i.e. devoid of self-power, inherent, substantial establishment (¬A). All phenomena are dependent-arisings ("pratîtya-samutpâda"). Buddhas are no exception. Shentong agrees, but posits Buddha-nature as existing and "empty" of anything else but its own enlightened properties.
 Compounded phenomena, although devoid of inherent existence, are not empty of themselves, i.e. Rangtong is not nihilist and self-emptiness does not necessitate nihilism. Although conventional objects do not appear as they are, they are not merely illusionary, but exist in terms of their logical, formal & conventional instantiations. They are mistaken (and so illusionary) insofar as they entail a misleading substantial instantiation, but valid (and functional) insofar as their logical & functional instantiations go.
 Tsongkhapa agrees the ultimate, i.e. emptiness as absence of inherent existence, of "self" in sensu lato, is other-empty insofar as it is not a compounded, mistaken conventional object. As even the ultimate is empty of inherent existence (and so cannot be established by ultimate analysis), it is a self-empty emptiness and not a non-empty emptiness of inherent Buddha qualities, as Shentong claims ! Buddha-nature is not inherently endowed with ultimate qualities. Given the permanently residing Buddha-potential, joyous effort (diligence) practicing the Buddhadharma, compassion & wisdom are needed to generate all the qualities of Superior Bodhisattvas & Buddhas. These are not given inherently, but must be actualized by changing Buddha-potential into realized Buddha-nature or Buddhahood.

If wisdom-mind is permanent because it is one with ultimate truth, we may ask how Shentong explains the actual apprehension of emptiness by Buddhas ? Without any type of duality, with aduality instead of nonduality, how can there be any cognition, any real apprehension of this substantial Buddha-nature ? When cognition is identified with conceptuality, then it must be eliminated together with all other "compounds". For Shentong, the object of negation is conventionality, cognition included. This undermines its conceptual exposition, running in the same problem as Dzogchen, affirming in the act what is refuted by the words ("contradictio in actu exercito"). Shentong eliminates too much.

In Tsongkhapa's view, not a single phenomenon escapes ultimate instantiation. Like Aristotle, a single world is affirmed. This pan-sacral world, in which the ultimate exists conventionally, offers sensate & mental objects hand in hand with their subjective, apprehending consciousnesses or minds. There are Two Truths because each entity (A) gives rise to two (epistemic) objects of knowledge, one conventional, one ultimate. In other words, every single entity has two epistemic isolates or two ways of knowing A giving rise to two properties.

The ultimate, nondual direct yogic perceiver is a non-conceptual mode of cognition. Experiencing sensate & mental objects, it apprehends their ultimate natures, emptiness, hand in hand with their conventional natures, i.e. dependent arisings as they are witnessed by sentient beings. Hence, duality is not considered to be a problem.

Insofar as it makes objects appear as if they were substantially initiated, while they are not, conventional knowledge is deceptive and mistaken. Empirico-formal propositions of fact are valid insofar entities are logically & functionally distinguished from other objects. While mistaken with respect to its appearing objects, it can be valid with respect to its object of operation. These conventional objects are simultaneously perceived by Buddhas as the diversity & interdependence of phenomena apprehended by sentient beings (cf. the illusion-like emptiness). Buddhas know both the ultimate & the conventional explicitly (omniscience) hic et nun. While they themselves only perceive endless purity, they also directly, explicitly & simultaneously perceive all other contaminated phenomena, but the latter only as these appear to sentient, deluded beings (explaining why a Buddha is the best of teachers). So Je Tsongkhapa agrees with Dolpopa ordinary phenomena do not appear to wisdom-mind, but he disagrees this perfect mind is disconnected or set apart from conventionality and its valid misunderstandings. Doing so gives Tsongkhapa the edge to distinguish between valid & invalid conventional knowledge, keeping the Buddhadharma directly connected with science and its progress, and with compassion and its methods to direct sentient beings to true peace.

Always abiding by the logic of the non-affirming negative allows Je Rinpoche to teach the Buddhadharma, as well as explain the crucial role of compassion and Bodhicitta. In other words, Tsongkhapa's solution does not turn its back to the world, but understands it as a field bringing virtue to fruition. The members of his school, the "Gelug", are therefore called "the virtuous ones" (Gelugpas) ... Because all phenomena are of the same nature of emptiness, deluded sentience can generate Buddhahood. This sameness cannot be maintained if, by using the affirming negation, some set of phenomena are set apart as "special". Buddhas and non-Buddhas share the same ontological structure.


13 Proximate Emptiness and Non-Contrived Truth.


Kamalaśîla (ca. 700 - 750 CE) integrated the teachings on emptiness in five "paths". These form the basis for the understanding of the Path of the Bodhisattva in Tibetan schools like the Gelug. They presuppose the realization of Calm Abiding (meditative equipoise). They have been dealt with in more detail elsewhere.

1. the Path of Accumulation : one accumulates merit & wisdom, spontaneously generates Bodhicitta and acquires special insight or "superior seeing", i.e. a mind able to analytically investigate emptiness while remaining in one-pointed concentration on (coarse & subtle) conceptual insights on emptiness. This is a mind having realized meditative equipoise takes emptiness as its object. In special insight, performing analytical meditations on emptiness makes the mind automatically enter meditative equipoise. Self-cherishing is abandoned ;
2. the Path of Preparation : here an exhaustive conceptual analysis of emptiness in meditative equipoise (special insight) is at hand. This eventually results in the realization of a "generic idea" of emptiness. This is a very subtle conceptualization of emptiness. Acquired self-grasping is eliminated ;
3. the Path of Seeing : the absence of inherent existence of objects is directly "seen", i.e. non-conceptually cognized (intuition) and, to perfect this "gnosis" or "direct, special knowledge", further training is needed. Innate self-grasping is not yet abandoned ;
4. the Path of Meditation : the direct experience of the last stage is further developed, stabilized & refined by way of the remaining nine levels (eliminating big, middling & small innate self-grasping delusions in three stages) ;
5. the Path of No-More-Learning : the seeds of self-grasping themselves are eliminated, automatically leading to the state of Buddhahood.

The issue here is to move from the Path of Preparation to the Path of Seeing, i.e. abandoning the generic concept of emptiness (result of eliminating all possible substantial conceptualization) and entering the non-conceptual, non-dual mode of cognition.

Entered upon the generation of superior seeing, the Path of Preparation offers a deep & very subtle conceptual insight into emptiness, realized by way of Insight Meditation ("vipaśyanâ"), the thorough analytical investigation of emptiness in meditative equipoise (special insight). Once achieved, this very subtle conceptual understanding of emptiness is irreversible. Preparation is necessary to directly "see" emptiness. When the conceptual mind is truly convinced of the rational grounds for the absence of substantiality, it has the power to identify the illusions of conventional reality, generating the conceptual antidote for conceptual, acquired self-grasping, and so ending the Path of Preparation. Concentration of the very subtle "generic idea" burns away the last conceptual obscurations and this ends this Path. Without annihilating duality, cognition or conventionality, the conceptual mind thoroughly cancelled its substantial instantiation. This path prepares for a direct "gnosis" of emptiness. As long as the Path of Preparation has not ended, the mind still reflects emptiness using a mental image, concept or "generic idea".

The Path of Accumulation had emptiness is a virtuous object among virtuous objects. A coarse concept was arrived at, and then a subtle one, ending this Path of Accumulation. Then, on the next Path, the object and its emptiness are drawn closer and closer, until they start to mix. By repeated Insight Meditation, dissolving "own-being" ("svabhâva"), a deep and very subtle conceptual understanding of the ultimate nature of every object is attained. Realizing this ends the Path of Preparation.

The Path of Preparation has four stages : heat, peak, patience & supreme Dharma :

1. heat : the beginning of a very powerful enthusiasm to perfect wisdom. The "fire" of non-conceptual understanding will soon be produced, precursor of unconditioned "gnosis". In meditative equipoise, a clear conceptual awareness of suchness is realized ;
2. peak : the culmination of this strong love of wisdom is a very intense mind coming conceptually very close to emptiness, as if the mind mixes with it, which is however not yet the case. The virtuous roots cultivated will no longer be lost or cease. Conceptual understanding of suchness increases ;
3. patience : a special attitude is generated towards Dharma in general and emptiness in particular. Gross conceptuality is gone, but subtle conceptual appearance remains, hindering a complete mixing of mind & emptiness. Nevertheless, a refined conceptuaization of emptiness is the case ;
4. supreme Dharma : here mind and emptiness are nearly mixed. It is the highest experience of the "ordinary" Bodhisattva. All their experiences are supreme Dharma paths of preparation, and the highest worldly attributes are attained. Object & subject are no longer consciously perceived as separate. When this very subtle conceptualization of emptiness happens, the antidote against substantial conceptualization has been found and concepts have no longer an independent and local absolute existence (A).

The point here is the approximate nature of the very subtle conceptual realization of emptiness at the end of the stage of supreme Dharma. 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.

One needs certain formal steps to establish the generic idea and only when entering on meditative equipoise on it does one realize the end of acquired self-grasping. Innate self-grasping, the tendency of the mind to grasp at objects as existing inherently, is still active. This does no longer result in positing substantial concepts (thoroughly eliminated by the "generic idea"), but still invites the reflex, urge or innate habit to consider the object as existing from its own side (not conceptually, but instinctively, naturally, spontaneously). It is this last instinctive apprehension of emptiness which needs to be eliminated. And conceptual thinking, nor the evocation of the generic idea will do so. A move to purely non-conceptual cognitive acts is necessary, and this is precisely the task set for Superior Bodhisattvas, those entering the Path of Seeing.


The Path of Preparation brings the limitations of any conceptual understanding of emptiness to the fore. It also points to the fragility of ultimate logic at this level of realization. One cannot be satisfied with preparations only. Being able to thoroughly conceptually understand sensate SA and mental MA objects do not exist as substances (A), is not the same as directly observing. Yogis are right in stressing this and Gelugpas are wrong when focusing on this conceptual understanding only. The Buddhadharma is not irrational (as the Path of Preparation shows), but neither is it exclusively rational (as the Paths of Seeing, Meditation and No-More-Learning make clear). A meta-rational goal is set. Of course, what can one say about what lies beyond names, words and labels ? Neither can one deny compassionate, conventional words may be helpful to direct the mind beyond the level of conceptuality. At the border between conceptual "preparation" and non-conceptual "seeing" a remarkable balance is called for. To be too stern, causes the "dead bones" of formal logic to take over. The danger here is negating too much. To be too enthusiastic may lead to untrue statements and unwarranted conceptualizations, i.e. negating too little.

Tsongkhapa considered meditations on emptiness, and the realization of coarse, subtle and very subtle conceptual insight as a preparation for Tantra. This is like saying one should use philosophy to be equipped for direct experience.

Ultimate (uncontrived) Truth is ineffable. But while object of un-saying, it involves a cognitive act uniting great bliss (form, Bodhicitta) and a direct experience of emptiness (truth, wisdom). It is therefore surprising, Kagyu yogis have described this in positive terms, affirming other-emptiness ? For Kagyupas, it is impossible to "generate" the enlightened qualities of a Buddha, they have to be given a priori. Making metaphysical compliments to their Buddha-natures, they exalt it and create a rift between the illusionary conventional world and the transcendent world of "nirvâna". They ontologize their experience. Indeed, by doing so, they in fact reduce the scope of Buddhahood, for Buddhas are deemed unrelated to "samsâra" and so their qualities must be rooted in a transcendent inherently existing (non-empty) Buddha-essence. But if this is the case, then how can Buddhas interact with sentient beings ? Why would they care for them or be compassionate ? Moreover, by positing the opposite, namely generating the qualities of a Buddha by actualizing the Buddha-potential by way of meditating on the emptiness of one's own coarse & subtle minds, one allows conventional reality to exist, although not inherently. Deluded sentient beings are able to generate Buddha-qualities, i.e. create the conditions necessary for substantial instantiation to stop. They are potential Buddhas. They may not know it or allow me or us to know it, but potentially, as the greatest ignorance can be removed, all are Buddhas.

The yogis relentlessly stress all sentient beings are enlightened sui generis, implying that to realize awakening, nothing more has to be done than to uncover this intrinsic Buddha-nature and its enduring, sempiternal qualities ... To do so is the highest form of compassion (sic). This uncovering or unveiling may happen suddenly, only by pointing out the luminous, clear nature of the very subtle Clear Light mind already there, this brightly shining wisdom-mind (primordial consciousness) ever united with the primordial ground ("dharmadhâtu"). Once pointed out, the process of clearing away may start ... For the scholars, this is too optimistic. A graduated path is deemed far more reliable.

Yogic experience can however not be rejected. Their view is clearly based on experience rather than logic. Their aim is to awaken, not to philosophize. They mistrust too much conventional knowledge. Their focus is on direct experience and actual yogic perceivers, on effectively work with the mind in meditative equipoise on the mind. On the Path of Seeing and beyond, they directly experience the Clear Light of the very subtle mind. To them, it does not seem the case this natural mind is "generated" or "caused" by their previous meditations on emptiness.

Their take on reality may be perhaps somewhat outerworldly, but nevertheless in tune with the "siddhas", the special "powers" (precognition, clairvoyance, telekinesis) all accomplished yogis share. Especially in Tantra, acts of pacification, increase, control & destruction are performed within the context of emptiness. This can only be realized if one can explain how "form" arises out of the "formless", and -in order to do so-, the latter cannot be viewed as devoid of any inherent characteristics, as in Rangtong. But in Shentong, these "inherent" properties are not substantial, but merely existing since beginningless time.

Also in Taoism, the absolute Tao ({Ø}) has two components :

1. a black component : the Great Mystery or ineffable utter darkness, absolutely invisible transcending being and non-being, the ultimate metaphysical state lacking even a shadow of possibility - this Great Mystery is empty of self ;
2. a red component : the Gateway of Myriad Wonders, or the foreboding of all things as sheer possibility, pregnant with all things in potentia. This has again two components : the potential of non-being ("wu") and the potential of being ("yu"). This Gateway is not empty of self, but other-empty !

This "red component" is the "potential" pregnant of all things. It is the faint foreboding of the appearance of phenomena, explaining how form can be born out of the formless, i.e. how the fundamental nature of all phenomena births occasions, events & entities. To be able to do so, it has to be viewed as a potential holding some inherent stuff ...

The blatant tension between Rangtong & Shentong Mâdhyamaka, between the definition of emptiness as either self-empty (without inherent existence) or other-empty (deplete of stains) leads to heated debates and even schisms (cf. Against Sectarism & Centralism). If both positions are taken at face value, a contradiction is clearly present. Focusing on this, we ask : Is Rangtong correct or is Shentong correct ? It seems both cannot be true ! But if we probe the intent behind these conflicting views, we see, on the one hand, how Rangtong fears to posit Buddha-nature a priori because this may lead to misunderstanding this nature as an "âtman", an eternal, substantial entity. They are correct to do so. Thus, only a Buddha-potential is accepted, and the qualities of Buddhahood are deemed generated, by way of emptiness meditations on the mind, a posteriori. Shentong, on the other hand, fears a mere conceptual understanding of emptiness (as in Rangtong) may lead to nihilism, the idea Buddhahood is a mere void, a nothingness. This danger is also present and so must be taken care of.

Head/Heart Conceptualizing Emptiness Levels of the Mind
head coarse understanding coarse (elemental) mind
head subtle understanding subtle mind
heart very subtle understanding
heart beyond conceptualization - nondual cognition - intuition or gnosis very subtle mind of Clear Light

When these intentions are grasped, their differences may then be understood as follows : to dissolve substantial concepts Rangtong is best and to describe the actual experiential content, Shentong is best (cf. Rimé). Both approaches should be combined and not driven into opposite corners. They are complementary.

To harmonize excellent rational conceptuality ("prajñâ") and non-conceptual intuitive knowledge ("jñâna" or "gnosis"), the emptiness has to be placed "in the heart". The physical, moral, psychological and spiritual aspects of the heart have been dealt with elsewhere. Let it suffice to mention the heart is crucial to realize the very subtle mind of Clear Light, whereas the head is very much concerned with the coarse & subtle conceptual understanding of emptiness. The head is important to start preparing the mind to directly experience emptiness in the heart. The head nearly brings down substantial conceptualization (the dead of the concept of substance), whereas the heart finishes this (in proximate emptiness) and offers the direct experience of the fundamental nature or suchness of all things ("seeing" emptiness, or actually seeing emptiness).

Should we be surprised Tsongkhapa recommended his tantric students to let the vital breath enter the heart-wheel instead of the navel-wheel ?


It is possible to integrate rational philosophy & direct yogic experience without introducing inherent existence ? Doing so demands a new kind of logic, one less classical and more in tune with quantum logic and chaos-theory. Three features must then be combined : observation-dependent properties, universal interconnectedness and large effects caused by small changes (cf. the Butterfly-effect of Lorenz - cf. Chaos, 1996). These characteristic are combined with a general survey of the dissipative nature of open systems, with their symmetries, symmetry-transformations and symmetry-breaks (asymmetry-formation).

In his magisterial work La Nouvelle Alliance (1979), the Russian-born chemist & Nobel Laureate Ilya Prigogine (1917 - 2003), describing a system's dissipation of entropy (disorder, absence of differentiation or homogeneity) into its environment, coined the term "dissipative structure". A system, or whatever we study with regard to its symmetry properties, is "dissipative" when it dissipates disorder. Such self-organizing systems possess principles of evolution and develop complex stabilities in their dynamism, but these are never in static equilibrium. These systems are "open" and the Second Law of Thermodynamics (according to which all systems must eventually decay into maximum chaos, highest entropy or absence of differentiation) does not apply to them, but only to "closed" systems.  In mathematical detail, Prigogine showed how these negentropic, highly ordered, open systems arise in accordance with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Every open system, i.e. any system exchanging energy and entropy with its environment, undergoes sudden changes of state from a state of lower energy & less order (high entropy), to a state of higher energy & greater order (lower entropy, or negentropy). The latter states are meta-stable, i.e. stable within a limited range of energy input. With an influx of energy above this threshold, the system will either break down to a lower state or evolve upward to another meta-stable state of higher energy and greater internal ordering (order, crisis, meta-order, crisis, etc.). Open systems can be found everywhere, in chemistry, nature, economy, sociology, cognitive development, etc. These dynamical systems are the rule, while closed, static systems are the exception.

Dynamical principles governing the organization of systems in general and dissipative systems in particular can be expressed in terms of symmetry- transformations & symmetry breaks. In general, symmetry is defined as a transformation causing no noticable difference. A symmetry-transformation is any action performed on a system leaving its integrity intact. Take a square. Turn it 5°. The square is still a square. The 5° rotation is a transformation. Symmetry-transformations are changes leaving some property of the system unchanged. Rotating the square 90° in its own place leaves the property "orientation of the square in its plane" unchanged and is a symmetry-transformation. Rotating it through any angle other than a multiple of 180° does not leave this property unchanged and so involves a symmetry break, a state away from the original, characterized by another signature (of space, time, mass, energy etc.). When higher-order dissipative systems turn entropic (decay or lose heterogeneity), a symmetry break is involved. When they continue their meta-stable dynamics, they perform symmetry-transformations (changes not affecting their properties). Clearly, dissipative systems do not behave in accord with the "closed" logic of classical models. Their "logic" is non-linear, probabilistic and, on the quantum mechanical level, even violates the principle of contradiction (cf. the state of superposition before observation, i.e. allowing for the co-existence of mutually exclusives).

Guenther was the first to apply the work of quantum physics and dissipative systems to the Buddhadharma. A Buddha, so his view goes, continuously wipes out what needs to be dissipated, and is a non-unfolded totality of qualities as the pure ground-potential. All sentient beings share this pure ground-potential. A Buddha is "gone-unfolded"24, i.e. a non-unfolded totality of qualities as pure potential, constantly destroying the substantial instantiation of objects, ending the false ideation Cf causing the unfoldment of objects as independent static things (A). The Tibetan "sangs-rgyas" or "gone-unfolded" retains the dynamical connotation of a self-structuring process or dissipative structure. This dynamism moves beyond all static, fixed notions of quantity, quality, modality & relation.

So "Buddhahood" is a continuum with ongoing symmetry-transformations. These ongoing changes do not affect property and so Buddhas are deemed "permanent" but not "static". While changing (as dependent-arisings or "Rûpakâya"), they nevertheless remain identical to their truth and form ("Dharmakâya"). Viewed from the side of sentience, to "attain" or "generate" Buddhahood, one merely has to increase energy influx so thresholds are corrected upward. This by increasing the number of interactions with the environment (cf. Bodhicitta). The "path" is a change in energy-patterning, an increase of negentropy facilitated by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. An "awakened one" is a structure dynamically ever-blossoming all endless potentialities of an given system ("one"), dispelling all of its confusion, disorder or entropy ("awakened"). This implies an ongoing dynamism of symmetry-transformations relating to the process of continuous self-(re)structuring, and this by voiding misleading substantial instantiation of existence (¬A). Consuming this entropy, a system "unfolds" Buddhahood because of the ongoing dissipation of excitability (Calm Abiding) and the elimination of the delusion resulting from the ignorant attribution of substance to phenomena, both acquired & innate (Insight).

Viewed from the side of awakening, all deluded states of consciousness are merely "lower" expressions of the primordial Buddhic energy-potential, to be directly experienced & realized by way of yogic perceivers, i.e. minds trained to see emptiness. As this dissipation is constant, Buddhahood implies a supercomplete dynamism, a process of ongoing symmetry-transformations. Because this totality is an unbounded wholeness, its dynamism is endless. Because, like all other things, a Buddha is devoid of inherent existence, he or she is a dependent arising. Depending on the conditions of the display of the energy of these symmetry- transformations (cf. the "Rûpakâya"), Buddhahood is ever-changing, but because the specific dynamism of the symmetry-transformations is enduring, ongoing & continuous ("Dharmakâya"), awakening is an impermanent everlastingness. Because the display has its own conditions, each and every Buddha has a unique "signature" of display.

To precisely define what is meant by an Awakened One, we say a Buddha is the unique unity of a Truth Body ("Dharmakâya") and a Form Body ("Rûpakâya"). Of these Bodies, the Truth Body is the suchness aspect. Traditionally, the Truth Body of a Buddha is divided in a Nature Body and a Wisdom Body, or the ultimate true cessation and the ultimate true path.

The Nature Body is of two types. On the one hand, there is a naturally pure Nature Body, or the absence of inherent existence since beginningless time in the sphere of Buddhahood. It is called a "non-product" because it lacks production, duration, disintegration, beginning, middle and end. On the other hand, there is the adventitiously pure Nature Body, or the absence of adventitious stains. It is called "spontaneous" because -having utterly eliminated the subtle motivational efforts initiating deeds of body & speech- it allows for the spontaneity of the Form Body, divided in an Enjoyment ("Sambhogakâya") and an Emanation Body ("Nirmanakâya"). The Nature Body is not knowable as being limited to any measure and so vast. It is innumerable, non-conceptual, unequal and completely pure. It has five qualities : non-production, non-difference, non-perversity (free from all extremes), purity and Clear Light.

The Wisdom Body is the final, perfect mind of wisdom, cognizing the genuine mode of existence of all phenomena. It also cognizes the varieties of phenomena insofar as they are conventional, apparent realities. This is a Buddha's omniscient consciousness, with omniscient eye, ear, nose, tongue, body & mental consciousnesses. In a single moment any of these cognizes all phenomena. This Wisdom Body is omnipresent, cognizing the emptiness of everything in a nondual way.

Buddhahood may be compared with a perfectly performed series of movements, like swimming or flying. These are activities defined by their dynamic display, by the act itself. Each perfect swimmer has his or her style ("Rûpakâya"), but all swimmers execute their style perfectly ("Dharmakâya"). To designate a swimmer, the act of swimming must be at hand, for swimming is an ongoing process. The moment one stops to swim, one is not longer a swimmer. Sentient swimmers exhaust themselves or reach shore. Buddhas never stop swimming with perfect symmetry in the endless sea of the absolute space of all phenomena ("dharmadhâtu"). Insofar as their symmetry-transformations are ongoing, they are dependent-arisings, but as these transformations are perfect, they are permanent & without end.

So note Buddhahood implies the co-existence of mutually exclusives, namely conventional truth and ultimate truth (apprehended simultaneously), dynamism (ongoing symmetry-transformations) and permanence (of the display-conditions), etc. The traditional "catuskoti" (or "suite of four discrete functions", namely : A, not-A, both A & not-A and neither A nor not-A), describing the state of Buddhahood by way of classical logic (cf. Nâgârjuna), is also suggestive of the "quantum logic" of Buddhahood avant la lettre. For one may ask, if a Buddha is none of the four functions, what is there to be said about Buddhahood ? Clearly this points to a state of superposition, containing all possibilities ...

One may argued early Indian Buddhism favoured an essentialist and ontic approach. The word "Buddha" was used as a noun and not as the past participle of the verb "budh", "to awake", indicative of an experiential, existential state. In the Lesser Vehicle, the claim there is only one thing (person) "fully awake" leads to the absurd notion no other thing can be "awake". In this ontic reductionism, the Buddha then becomes an object, a noun and not a dynamical, experiential, existential state.

Both the Yogâcârins and the Dzogchenpas, representing two schools based on the yogic, experiential approach, emphasize self-organization and a dynamic perspective based on a free and creative appreciation of existential awareness & psychic receptivity in meditative equipoise. They view Dharma from the side of the Path of Seeing, gaining an unfolding "out of this world", i.e. a breakthrough releasing the non-conceptual from the stranglehold of the objectifying, representational tendencies of the conceptual Path of Preparation exalted by Classical Critical Mâdhyamaka. Here we find the first inkling of the realization of Buddhahood as an energy-increase moving beyond a threshold, i.e. a dynamism away from asymmetry to symmetry.

The intent of the Buddhadharma is not to establish a logical framework ending logical frameworks, but unveiling or uncovering the true, empty nature of reality. Conceptually understood on the Paths of Accumulation & Preparation, a coarse, subtle and very subtle intellectual realization of emptiness ensues. In meditative equipoise on the Path of Seeing, the emptiness  of the mind is directly "seen" and ultimate reality is realized by ending the substantial instantiation of the mind itself, revealing its luminous clarity (the very subtle mind of Clear Light). Of course, if this intuitive unity is afterwards squeezed into the narrow confines of the arguments of classical logic (as in traditional "philosophical" Shentong), logical difficulties rain down. But, taken as the elucidation of what can be directly experienced beyond conceptuality, namely the Clear Light or brilliant radiance of the brightly shining mind actualizing its Buddha-potential by returning to the highest energy-expenditure, the yogic view can be apprehended (in a non-linear logical framework) as referring to the totality of supercompleted Buddha-qualities as pure potential (maximal negentropy of a sentient dissipative system).

non-unfolded : Buddhahood is supercomplete, or an unbounded wholeness, an impeccable entirety, a profound ultimate completeness needing no unfolding in the past, present or future ;
totality of qualities : Buddhahood is enlightened body, enlightened speech, enlightened mind & enlightened activity ;
as pure potential : Buddhahood is an ongoing self-empty dynamic process of self-(re)structuring, continuous symmetry-transformations of endless qualities, a spontaneous "holomovement"25, a superimposition of all possibilities of the world of potential, displaying to and exchanging with its environment the actualization of these boundless possibilities (cf. the Form Bodies as symmetry-transformations).

Eliminating the entitative, classical framework of language itself (a structure Tsongkhapa was unable to replace), makes it possible to understand how Buddhahood and sentience are connected by way of process, no longer introducing the rather "static" split & simultaneity of the Two Truths, linked to the classical logic at hand. Thinking dynamic freedom as a self-organizing process, "like a snake uncoiling", is understanding "samsâra" (conventional truth) as a symmetry-break, a phenomenal "surface" transformation of Buddhahood (ultimate truth), a settling down on a lower energy-level due to substantial instantiation. So, viewing sentient beings from the side of a Buddha and not from the side of sentience, is understanding the causes & conditions of their lack of entropy-dissipation, their devolution from dynamic, subtle, higher-order supercompleteness and involution into static, lower-order coarseness. This happens by bringing about symmetry-breaks through actions contaminated by substantiality, triggering a lowered energy state and an increase of chaos, entropy, closedness, insatisfaction & suffering for both the lower-order system and its environment. The only difference between sentient beings and Buddhas is the latter's lack of actual substantial instantiation of existence (¬A).

Instead of seeing sentient beings as the rule and Buddhahood as the exception, awakening is understood as the "nominal" state and mere deluded sentience as the lower-end or ignorant exception to this unbounded wholeness. Sentience is a lower energy signature, Buddhahood the highest. Je Tsongkhapa focused on the object of negation, understanding Buddha-qualities as resulting from such emptiness-meditations. The yogis focus on the self-empty Buddha-potential, drawing in higher energy by eliminating own-form, spontaneously manifesting Clear Light. Both are equivalent.

Positing Buddhahood as a supercomplete dissipative system dissipating ignorance turns sentience into a symmetry-break away from this natural supercompleteness, the super-dynamical, super-transforming pure potential innate in sentience.


The Thirty Steps of Ultimate Logic


x (x = A) A .......... (1)

A Ex (Ax) : A S v A M ! .......... (2)

A P : A = f(oA1, oA2, ... oAm) .......... (3)

A, B P : OA ≠ OB .......... (4)
A, B P : oA1 = oB1 v oA2 = oB2 ... v oAm = oBm ..... (5)

ox O : ox Exx .......... (6)

SA, MA O : oA O
SA, MA E : eA E
SA, MA En : enA En .......... (7)

A(z) : A prop z
A A(z)
A(z) : A prop z = Mz v Sz .......... (8)

A(z) Mz v Sz .......... (9)

Sf = f(MA ^ SA) .......... (10)

A  LA .......... (11)

LA :  A = A
LA :  A ¬A
LA :  A v ¬A .......... (12)

A = f (B) FA .......... (13)

FA : A = f(x, y, ... z) ......... (14)

A Alog Sys A ......... (15)

FA : A  = f(x,y, ... z) {Af(x) ^ Af(y) ^ ... Af(z)}  ......... (16)

FA : A  = f(x = 1) A = LA
FA : A  = f(x = 0) ¬A ......... (17)

FA : Af(x) > Af'(x') > Af"(x") > Af"'(x"') ... > Afλ(xμ) 
FA : Af(x) > Af'(x') ... > limλ-∞ Afλ(xλ) ?  ......... (18)

LA FA ^  Cf  A ......... (19)

CA : A A ?? ......... (20)

CA : A A(z) = A prop z = Sz v Mz
CA :
A(z) Sz v Mz
CA : Sz v Mz Sz v Mz  ......... (21)

A As ......... (22)

As : y (y = A) ......... (23)

As :  As A(z) ^ Cf ......... (24)

As : A f(x = 1) A A A A ... ?? ......... (25)

As :  ¬{Af(x) > Af'(x') > Af"(x") > Af"'(x"') ... > Afλ(xμ)} ? ... (26)

As : Af(x = 1) A A ... ?? ......... (27)

¬A Ct ......... (28)

¬A !! ......... (29)

LA FA (y = A) A ! ......... (30)


Epilogue


Most people never use the word "substance". They ask, is this something to eat or drink ? When told substances are static, unchanging, stable entities, most are rather relieved to hear such objects might exist, for in this suffering world of ours, something stable seems welcome ! Continuing to revolve in the merry-go-round of our imaginations and sporadic abstract thoughts, our world is filled with physical objects existing independently, separate entities walking hand in hand with an existential certainty of oneself, undeniable and ontological. We do not apprehend this self of ours as merely logical & functional, but as a "true self" ("Dasein"), with an essence or inherent "ground" ("causa sui"). If substances exist, then surely this self is one. When pressed about these self-powered objects & subjects seemingly existing from their own side, with properties untouched by any observer, commoners applaud and carry on, believing science to deal with them ... Is self-grasping not valid ? Yes it is, but also mistaken ... On a more subtle level of analysis, things are never as they appear. The whole of cyclic existence is misleading, subjectively as well as objectively !

"Most men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and continue as if nothing happened." - Winston Churchill.

Seeking the root of our emotional afflictions and mental obscurations, we first discover the tendency of the common, coarse mind to hate (reject) or desire (attract). Rejecting, we divide and thus suffer. Desiring, we try to hold on, and thus suffer. These forces explain why we produce negative emotions and afflictive states of consciousness, leading to suffering for ourselves and for the world at large. Hate, cruelty, violence, greed, stupidity, exaggerated attachment, arrogance and pride are the stinking flowers of these powerful tendencies to push away or to grasp. Working on these afflicted emotional states calls for the transformation of our emotional life. Unfortunately, mostly crisis, turbulence and catastrophe incite us to start and confront ourselves. The more self-engrossed, the heavier the suffering. The more personal happiness is sought, the less happiness is found. It seems good news the worse case has the means to temporarily outrun severe suffering. Due to the result of past good actions, the fruits of unwholesome deeds can indeed for a while be avoided. But positive reactions exhaust themselves. At the end of the day, or at the end of one's life, nobody escapes the vast sea of suffering. And while we may get accustomed to pain, true peace of mind never does.

If we are lucky to meet the crisis-point early in life, the necessity to review the sense of self comes in sight. How does this self-cherishing and learned self-grasping come about ? Is the subject of these emotional states indeed a stable substance, or rather an impermanent phenomenon interconnected with its environment ? To end suffering, the cause of afflicted emotion is addressed, leading to study, reflection and meditation on the sense of selfhood. Thanks to the pain felt, we may come to realize something about the one in pain. By eliminating self-cherishing, we are liberated from these gross afflicted states. But while this takes away a mountain of mental obscurations, it does not lead to the brightly shining clarity of the awakened mind. Afflicted emotions are not the root cause of our suffering. Self-cherishing, taking the self to be more important than other sentient beings, robs away one's peace of mind, nourishing the afflictions. But when liberated from these, awakening is not yet realized ...

A calm, happy mind is still suffering, for although worthy of liberation, one's surrounding world remains congested with pain and one lacks the means to truly assist others. And is there not something truly perverse in realizing liberation while others continue to suffocate in their tears ? Eating at lavishly filled tables, while underneath the famine-stricken are begging to receive leftovers or waste ? Apparently our marvelous brain is not programmed to deal with the suffering around the corner. It has the sordid ability to block out what it does not observe, or turn away from what it cannot avoid but does not want to confront. Understanding we are each personally responsible for all the suffering in the world is a bridge too far ... But precisely such universal intention is called for. Even if we cannot drink the sea, we must, knowing we cannot succeed, nevertheless try. Great compassion is not concerned with what is possible, but only with what is needed. Liberation is great, but awakening is the greatest. The former allows us to observe our own lack of enduring qualities, the latter eliminates the self-power of all phenomena. Helping ourselves is then turned into healing all others. Such skills are the outcome of truly understanding and observing all phenomena as they are.

To awaken, and so possess the skills to truly help on a gigantic, universal scale, the deeper cause of hatred and desire must be rooted out : ignorance of how things truly are. In other words, a Buddha never misconcieves any object. Ending self-cherishing, an Awakened One also stops self-grasping, and this in an exhaustive way. Both our conditionings (indoctrinations) and innate tendencies to reify must be burned on the wisdom pyre.

The first thing to do is to realize where we are. We are suffering. All sentient beings are suffering. Then, we must be willing to see the exceptional chance of being where we are and actually being able to pose such important questions. For example. Can we accept death in a comfortable way ? Finally, we need to create the conditions to address the issue of suffering seriously & diligently. When such thoughts are firmly established, consciousness may start to remove the root-cause of all suffering, ignorance. But nobody ruled by hatred and excessive desire should hope to find the wisdom realizing emptiness. Only the calm mind of "śamatha" uncovers ultimate truth by insight ("vipaśyanâ").

Realizing the absence of permanent, independent and isolated objects is very challenging, both emotionally & intellectually. It leads to the freedom of heart to understand one's own reality as well as that of others as it is. Then we acquire the means to truly help. Each time we identify with states of consciousness and grasp the object, we suffer. We close up and chain our mind to its self-imposed limitations ; emotions & thoughts being "ours" and conditions being "always" or "never".

Again and again, the conceptual mind has to come to terms with this basic property of each and every phenomenon : absence of inherent existence. Ultimate analysis has to be repeatedly invoked and thoroughly executed. Only when it has become conceptually clear no substances can be found, may the next step be expected. To actually observe emptiness is to constantly witness the universal interconnectedness between everything. What happens in a large hadron collider 100 meters under the ground is connected with all other events in the universe, in particular with the observers of the collisions. Isolation is an illusion. If feeling responsible for the suffering of the universe is difficult, imagine how hard it is to see things as they are, to actually observe how the observer co-creates the observed and to apprehend all phenomena in a single, omniscient cognitive act ? But if we seek to really end all suffering states, nothing less will do.


Notes


(1) Carnap, R. : Pseudoproblems in Philosophy, 1967.
(2) Crittenden, Ch. : Unreality : The Metaphysics of Fictional Objects, Cornell University Press - London, 1991.
(3) Kant, I. : Kritik der reinen Vernunft, B149.
(4) Whitehead, A.N. : Process & Reality, § 113 - 119.
(5) Kant, I. : Kritik der reinen Vernunft, B153 & 379.
(6) Deikman, A. : "Bimodal Consciousness", in : Archives of General Psychiatry, n°25, 1971, pp.481-489.
(7) Tsongkhapa, J. :
The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, The Ocean of Reasoning and The Essence of Eloquence.
(8) Rosenblum, B. & Kuttner, F. : Quantum Enigma, Oxford University Press - Oxford, 2006, p.125.

(9) Baggott, J. : Beyond Measure, Oxford University Press - Oxford, 2004, pp.134-135.
(10) Von Neumann, J. : Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Princeton University Press - Princeton, 1955. The approach of Von Neumann has been critized by Omnès, who wrote : "It is difficult to understand how this proposal, which was later developed by London and Bauer (1939) and upheld by Wigner (1967) could lure such clever people. (...) The proposal seems incredible today, not only because cognition sciences have begun to unravel the working of the brain, but also because experimental data are now most frequently 'read' by computer and not by human beings. I feel compelled to add here an aside. The story that great physicists would think of the human mind as the final actor in a measurement, as the deus ex machina transforming indeterminacy into reality, did not remain confined to the physics community. It was great news for the believers in parapsychology and all sorts of occultism : mind acts on matter ! This is why, with all the respect one may have and should have for the people who went that far in their hypothesis, one's duty is to emphasize that there is no hint anywhere of its validity and one does not need it, as will be shown in the next chapter." (Omnès, R. : Understanding Quantum Mechanics, Princeton University Press - Princeton, 1999, pp.60-61.). A response to this : "Omnès (and other advocates of decoherence theory) wants to retain quantum probability in its original Born interpretation and uses decoherence to connect the quantum world (with all its superpositions and indeterminism) to the macroscopic world where experience tells us that all superpositions have disappeared. It should not be surprising that not everyone is satisfied with this approach." (Baggott, J. : Op.cit., p.234). I would like to add an aside : a critical read of the passage reveals several striking elements : (a) how strange clever people are "lured", (b) the thesis itself is merely a "story" of the "great physicists", (c) cognitive science & neurophilosophy are per definition materialists, (d) the "danger" of occultism is invoked to clearly take the side of the "sane", (e) the results of parapsychology are denied, turning those, who scientifically know telepathy and telekinesis are highly probable, into "believers" and (f) despite computers, at the end of the day, it is always humans who read computer outprints. A meta-analysis looking at 832 random number generation studies done in the last decades calculated odds against chance beyond a trillion to one. (Radin, D. : The Conscious Universe : The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena, Harper - San Francisco, 2007, pp.138-145.) "The evidence for ESP and for PK -and I have presented only brief summaries of a few examples of it- seems to be adequate. Serious attention to the evidence should be convincing to all except those who are irreversibly committed to the worldview of materialism and sensationism, according to which ESP and PK are impossible in principle." (Griffin, D. : Parapsychology, Philosophy & Spirituality, State University of New York Press - Albany, 1997, p.89).
(11) Baggott, J. : Ibidem, p.256.
(12) Einstein, letter to D.Liplein, July 5, 1952, quoted in : Santinover, J. : The Quantum Brain, Wiley & Sons - New York, 2001, p.127.
(13) Einstein, A. : "Autobiographical Notes", in : Schlipp, P.A. : Albert Einstein : Philosopher-Scientist, Evanston - Illinois, 1949, p.81.
(14) Petersen, A., French, A.P. & Kennedy, P.J. (eds) : Niels Bohr : A Centenary Volume, Harvard University Press - Cambridge (MA), p.305.
(15) Heisenberg, W. : Physics and Philosophy, Penguin - London, p.46.
(16) Schwinger, J. : A Progress Report : Energy Transfer in Cold Fusion and Sonoluminescence, 1991, quoted in : Santinover, J. : Op.cit., p.137.
(17)
Rosenblum, B. & Kuttner, F. : Op.cit., p.111.
(18)
Rosenblum, B. & Kuttner, F. : Ibidem, p.141.
(19)
Baggott, J. : Op.cit., p.157.
Bell, J. : "On the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox", in : Physics, 1, 1964, p.195.
Bell, J. : "Against 'measurement'", in : Physics World, 3, 1990, p.33.
(20) Clauser, J. & Shimony, A. : "Bell's theorem : experimental tests and implications", in : Reports on Progress on Physics, 41, 1978, p.1881.
Aspect, A., Grangier, Ph. & Gérard, R. : "Experimental realization of Bell's inequalities using time-varying analyzers", in : Physical Review Letter, 49, 1982, p.1804.
(21)
Rosenblum, B. & Kuttner, F. : Op.cit., p.151.
(22)
Baggott, J. : Op.cit., p.171 mentions a collapse occurring at speeds 20 or 30 million times the speed of light, with a lower limit of 20.000 times the speed of light !
(23) "compositional factors", per definition subsumed under "volition" are all categories of mental objects (like objects of memory or imagination) not classified under consciousness, affects & thought.
(24) Guenther, 1989, p.14.
(25) Guenther, 1989, p.195.


 
 

© Wim van den Dungen, Antwerp - 2017
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Mistakes are due to my own ignorance and not to the Buddhadharma.
May all who encounter the Dharma accumulate compassion & wisdom.
May sentient beings recognize their Buddha-nature and find true peace.

 

initiated : 24 IX 2009 - last update : 30 X 2014 - version n°5