Notes, thoughts, ideas on the nature of art & expression
Part I Introduction
As the Greeks set out to formally define metaphysics as a branch of philosophy that describes the laws of nature, of things seen and unseen. One is immediately confronted with underlying dualism lingering beneath the surface of the inquiry. The inevitable split from philosophy to theosophy science etc. The idea that there could be an underlying thread to existence explained by a simple formula, or ideal is still the question metaphysics strives to answer. So many great thinkers have written on the subject that it seems to have created an intricate dialog over many centuries, appearing almost as a self-manifested religious quest.
Somewhere in the mix of forever fractioning dialogs on metaphysics and its widening popularity among academics and intellectuals. Came the branches of materialist vs. idealist occultism vs. mysticism and an endless sea of other dualistic paradigms. My own thinking on the subject having read a good deal of opinions is; frankly there all right, if we can think of metaphysics in terms of (right-wrong).
The idea of a metaphysical truth, or the search for absolute truth, struggles with the existence of truth as a transitory or non-transitory entity, and that it is attainable. It is also to presume its existence, and to conclude that there is lexicon of fundamental laws concerning the universality of truth. And they have all been uncovered and are verifiable as truths. This road leads away from the more traditional pragmatic validations of truth to a more empirical faith or virtue of experience. And in, turn leads to our primary concern that which underlies the enigmatic nature of being. And it is this search for the true nature of being which sets in motion the dialog of metaphysics.
If we were to use a religious route and declare that the first manifestation concerning the dualistic nature of metaphysics is the birth of man and woman. Establishing the first flowering of opposites, the very nature of birth metaphysically connotes.
a. (The fall of man from heaven to an earthly domain dualistic in nature)
b.(Energies that existed separately and where unified to bring a new life into the world.)
c. (The emergence or transmutation of the soul from one-dimensional plane to the other.
I suppose that depending on your standpoint (and what I mean by standpoint is) that thinking of dualism in a metaphysical context cannot be separately extracted from a moralistic structure or dogma. This is because the separate cultures that we have grown up in have molded certain moralistic constructs, which come to form the laws that societies are loosely based upon.
This moral root that I spoke of usually stems from the cultures national or cultural religion. Although I do not believe that religion alone can be used as a guide to finding the true nature of being, because traditionally religion has been seen as a moral structure for life rather than a law outlining the nature of being. However there are some individuals who do view it as such. I do believe that religion holds certain attributes that may have some significance in my discussion.
On the other spectrum science has inadvertently in its search for defining the fundamental elements that comprise the physical universe. Reached out to include religion and philosophy maybe not as a precursor to constructing its theories but certainly as an underlying factor.
As I stated earlier in my section on the branches concerning the current work to date on metaphysics is “frankly there all right”. I honestly do not believe that debating the vast quantity of works written on metaphysics is the best way to proceed in the dialog on metaphysics. And on a certain level I do believe they are all right, in hindsight it becomes easier to see the evolution of a way of thinking concerning metaphysics. In order to narrow the focus on the scope of metaphysics I need to remove it from the popular view and misconceptions associated with it by the masses.
I would like to start this investigation on the presumption that the ideal I’m in pursuit of is the metaphysics that deals primarily with the experiences beyond sensory validation. Not purely empirical in nature but intuited, those ideals which only ones inner perceptions seem to validate. I for one believe that metaphysics needs to break free of its associated materialism concerning the validations of substances or elements as a integrated part of its being. For surely these are rudimentary building blocks of its nature but does the description of the molecules that make up the rose more accurately define the rose or is this simply to much information or merely peripheral? Metaphysics cannot be categorized as one state or another simply because it is both, it is as if we are trying to decide whether photons are particles or waves. They are both in different instances of time and space. All instances of metaphysics are reducible to similar physical parameters as any other natural state. Metaphysics is not merely a relay of physical experiences its aim is to transcend the physical to become pure in its form as a guide or teacher. It may along the way relay information to us about the physical world but I do not believe this is its primary nature. I do not have to see the air to know that it exist, because I’m breathing. I think it is rigid to believe that all instances of perceptions must be validate-able in order for them to be justified. Surely metaphysics lends itself to being definable as a state of perception as one pulls back to observe its role as an underlying principle upon which reality is based.
But the reality that we have all become familiar with splits into several social hierarchies not all of which are lived by the masses although the masses may be aware of them. Just as metaphysics exist on many levels that may not be known to all knowing does not ensure understanding. And for the inquisitive the need to search for meaning or purpose is at the heart of their nature. I think the answer may ultimately be in the quest because metaphysics itself is evolving so that at any onetime we begin our inquiry it has changed as to remain pure to its form. And in doing so we may only start to define what it was when we began our inquiry but not what it is now. In this perspective it is possible to derive a history of metaphysics based on prior belief systems exhibited throughout the philosophy of metaphysics. Those that have written in contemplation of metaphysics have come to outline the basic elements, which comprise metaphysics. And it is from my contemplation of their thinking that has lead me to the conclusion that ” their all right”.
What is metaphysical thought? I believe that this type of thinking works on multiple levels one involving the raising of awareness as a kind of guide or teacher to those individuals who are in pursuit of such knowledge. And another acting as bridge to those experiences involving universal unwritten intellectual and spiritual phenomena. This thinking being primarily based in observational correlations as a way to understand the relationships of intellect to nature via a harmonious wisdom. Joseph Campbell in a lecture entitled Occidental Mythology talks about the metaphysical ideal being broken into four parts:
He goes on to state that the metaphysical deals with unity and quotes a work by Schopenhauer called Foundations of Morality in which Schopenhauer states, “the individuality that we experience is the secondary effect of the mind and beneath this state is the true connectivity of mankind this connectivity transcends the individual uniting us both in mind and spirit.” Mr Campbell proceeds to tell a delightful story which I really think sums up this idea of metaphysical thought which reads as follows:
“This is the story of the Tigers who was pregnant and who was starving hungry she came upon a herd of goats that was graising and in her eagerness for a meal she sprang very hard at the goats and subsequently brought on the birth of her cub and Caused her own death. She basically over did it, the goats scattered and when they came back to the little grazing area they found the just born little tiger and its dead mother. Now these goats had very strong parental instincts and they adopted the tiger and it grew up imagining that it was a goat. It learned to eat grass which it couldn’t digest very well and in general it was simply a clumsy goat. And when this miserable reached adolescence a male tiger pounced at the little flock it scattered but this little fellow was a tiger and he didn’t run away and there he stood and the big one looked at him and said “what you living with these goats” Bhaaaa said the tiger the big one was mortified he walked back and forth a couple of times the little one embarrassed nibbles more grass and lets out a few more Bhaaaa. So the big one takes him by the neck and brings him to a pond where there’s no wind blowing and the surfaces like a mirror. Now the eastern notion of yoga is that the mind must be made still this belief is yoga and the intentional stopping of the spontaneous movement of the mind stuff. The second notion being that there is a subtle substance in the mind that takes the form of everything that impacts the senses and that’s why we experience it. And we see how quickly it moves, the problem is it doesn’t’stop moving you couldn’t hold in your mind for more than a minute unless you practice meditation a single idea immediately you have associated ideas, make the mind standstill. what is the value of making the mind standstill well they tell of the rippling of a pond the wind blows upon the pond and the pond ripples, and we see broken images, images come and go come and go you identify yourself with one of them I was born going to die etc….. You become attached to the broken images make the mind stand still and you’ll see the form of forms, the image there standing still, your own image the true image which doesn’t come and go but is the eternal consciousness. Identify with that and the release of the coming and going, and this is one of the big Mystic points. so this little tigers looking over and he sees his own face for the first time. It’s not the face he’s been looking at, its not a goats face and the big tiger puts his face over there and he says “you see your not a goat you’ve got the pocked face of a tiger your like me so be like me.”You see that’s this guru stuff so the little one now has got this notion, so the big one takes him by the neck again and walks him to his cave where he has the bloody remains of a gazelle and big fellah takes a chunk of this bloody stuff tears it off and says “open your face” the little ones steps back and says I’m a vegetarian the big one shoves it down his throat he gags on it and the text says as all do on true dogma. So gagging on the true dogma he nevertheless is simulating his own proper food and this activates his true tiger nature. And he takes a stretch and a little roar comes out of his mouth Tiger roars 101 and the big one says “okay now will go into the forest and eat tiger food”. Now my dear friends the moral as I see it is that the social sciences cultivate our goat nature, mythology religion deep religion mystical contemplation and the art introduces by way of the madras the path to our tiger face. There comes another problem when you’ve found your tiger face how do you live as a goat? The Sufi have answered this they say one wears the outer garment of the law and the inner garment of the mystic way. Our biggest mistake is living in terms of just one or the other we are mixed beings we live at the interface and the myth to put us at that interface”.
End Part I Reference: Joseph Campbell lecture series entitled Western Quest this lecture entitled Origins of Occidental Mythology 01-JAN-1999 53 min 24 s