It has been just over two years since I wrote the essay, First Metaphysics: Continuing the Heideggerean Project
. In it, I attempted to show the ontological ground of all possible forms of physics. I wholly admit that I tried to make it as dense and scholarly as I possibly could, thereby alienating a huge portion of my potential audience.
I am now at a point, like Kant with his Prolegomena, that I want to present it in a way that is more palatable to the general public. I would also like to use my philosophy as a "touchstone" in terms of critiquing the ideas of others.
The working title of this new version is:
First Metaphysics, or, an Essay Concerning the Ontological Ground of the Physical Universe
Unlike the first version, I am in no rush to get this one finally completed. I want it very much to be an organic process. I would fully appreciate any input from all of you during this process.
So, let us get to it...
The focal point of my entire system of thought concerns the concept that we call: time. It is my opinion that the entire purpose of the discipline of philosophy is to come to an accurate understanding of this concept. For, once we do this, then all problems of "duality" (I hope to show) dissolve into the ether.
The best way to approach the question of time, in my belief, is by using the analogy of geometry. The popular notion of time upholds that it consists of a linear shape. Furthermore, the geometrical definition of a line is simply the points that are at its ends: it says nothing of the "connective tissue" that lies in between. Or, shall I say, all attempts to describe the nature of what lies in between are pure nonsense.
It is my belief that this "betweenness" that divides the endpoints of a time-line is the very ground of that which we call: space. In other words, spatiality-as-such is purely derivative of the notion that is called: time. Furthermore, spatiality-as-such is otherwise known as: dimensionality. The final leap that we must take is that dimensionality, essentially, is the "supporting ground" of that which we call the physical universe.
Let's go back to our time-line for a moment. What if a line is not the "true" shape of time, but is rather only the appearance -- or representation -- of time? If we were to each sit down, shut our eyes, and think of nothing at all, then there are no arbitrary interruptions to divide one point in time from another. This period of time, one could say, is a pure moment of being
. This moment, in itself, is an essential fullness whereby past (memory) and future (anticipation) collapse into a singular present.
Perhaps it would be wise to hypothesize that the "true" shape of time is a zero-dimensional geometrical point: there is no "betweenness" to separate this point from itself. Therefore, there is not now anything like "space", dimensionality, or the physical universe within our philosophical framework. Without this infinitely dense fullness that is time-itself, none of these other things could be said to exist. In this way, it could be said that true time is the ontological ground of the physical universe.
But what is it that we are truly referring to when we talk of true time? Is not this non-dimensional singularity simply the thing that we call: I, myself? When we remove all shifting worldly appearances from the notion of time, are we not just getting to the very core of our being? In other words, are not the statements, "I am" and "There is time", identical in every way?
If this is true, then it makes just as much sense to say that I, myself, am the ontological ground of the physical universe. More rigorously, this is saying that there can be no Object (a world) without its Subject (a witness). Of course, many would say that this position is nothing more than solipsism, and therefore, this philosophy is nothing new.
My reply is that philosophy itself is the process whereby a being attempts to discover what it essentially is. This, moreover, is nothing more than saying that philosophy is simply the journey whereby one "comes into" oneself, or simply "becomes" oneself. Even more radically, the goal of the philosopher is simply: to be. All of this is meant to show that philosophy, as that which concerns only the self, is itself a solipsistic enterprise. It is the manner in which we conduct this solipsistic investigation that differentiates one philosophy from another. From what I've seen, nobody else has had, as their philosophical starting point, an investigation into the possible "geometries of time", in order to derive the necessary conditions of all possible physical experience.
(I have used different labels in the past to refer to this notion of true time, including: "the existential mode of I-world unity", "time-identity" and "the temporal universe". I suppose that labels such as these are the philosopher's attempt at "branding" more than anything else. I am no longer in a mood to do this kind of "idea trademarking". I just want the ideas to speak for themselves.)
So, now that we have gotten to the essence of our philosophical starting point (the absolute self or pure time) the question at large is: How does all the rest (the physical universe) derive from it? It is at this point where we must shift from the typical, epistemological paradigm into an existential one. This shift is the difference between an "objective" knowing (a logical construct) and a "subjective" feeling (a personal disposition).
While in the state of concentration that allowed us to come into an understanding of temporality-as-such, our existential "mode of being" was one of a psychological wholeness, or "spiritual transcendence". However, whenever we are fretting about the future, for example, we imagine ourselves in different possibilities, and our state of unity is consequently torn asunder, as it were. Whenever we divide time into arbitrary moments, we are also tearing apart the fabric of our very being. The point at which this division occurs may be called an "annihilation".
But now the question may be asked: What causes this annihilation? The answer is simply, that which we allow to be a cause. In other words, we are always perfectly free to remain that which we essentially are (an infinitely dense moment of being); it is always fully within our power whether to allow annihilation to occur. This is all to say that we each cause annihilation by simply failing to be ourselves.
Annihilated, the singularity of enduring time gives way to the duality that is spatialized time: its being becomes a mere appearance. This "time-line" is the first form of spatiality (the primordial dimension) upon which all other forms (dimensions) are based. Now that its dimensions have been set, the thing that is called the physical universe can be said to exist.
The fundamental axiom of this philosophy is: all possible forms of "physicalism" rely upon the spatial dimensionality that results from the annihilation of time-as-such. In other words, there can be no meaningful discussion of an Object apart from the "dimensional context" that is freely established by its Subject. The cruciality of the concept of dimensionality is what has eluded all other philosophers (of which I am aware) in their attempts to develop a sound metaphysics.
Whenever a philosopher steps out of his solipsistic box, and "posits" an external world, he is no longer, truly speaking, a philosopher: he has become a scientist. A scientist is one who unquestioningly takes as fundamental the dimensional context in which he often finds himself. Most of the Western tradition, in its desire to "know things", should therefore be looked at as a kind of "introduction to the basic concepts of science", as opposed to the profoundly more philosophical leanings of the East, where the idea of enlightenment -- or, spiritual transcendence -- is of prime importance.
Given all of these considerations, we may now come to a philosophically robust definition of the concept that we call "space":
Spatiality-as-such is the period in which one "awaits" for the reunification of the annihilation of the singularity that is true time. In other words, in waiting to "come back into ourselves", we are held in a kind of suspension between a remembered state of psychological wholeness (spiritual transcendence) and an expected one. This notion of awaiting does not imply a lack of bodily physical activity: it only implies that the pure self is not a physical entity to which the idea of physical activity can sensibly apply. In other words, our bodies can be fully engaged in worldly activity while our inner selves are waiting for psychological reunification.
My hope is that this philosophy will serve as a bridge between the epistemology of the West and the spiritualism of the East. These two aspects of humanity have all too often been seen as essentially distinct from one another, occasionally giving way to outright hostility. However, if it can be realized that the self, as a function of temporality, is the very ground of the spatial dimensions that themselves ground all forms of physicalistic thought, then there is much hope for those who want to continue to push the nature of inter-personal discourse into a positive direction.