actually, the reason I am saying it is not a metaphysical argument, is because it doesn't rely upon the idea of substance. It is based more, as you have noticed, on the emptiness view of Buddhism, and the way that things exist 'dependent on causes and conditions'.
You may be right, it is very difficult to place your theory strictly into a field of thought which essentially deals with things or substances which are unmeasurable or undetectable. The idea of spirits is a strong idea. I would tend to believe that the platonic forms can be both in the realm of ideas and/or spirits.
What interests me is the way in which modern people, or scientific people (which is almost the same!), conceive of the idea of spiritual realities or forms. The idea is they must exist somewhere, in some ideal place. Then, to put it crudely, it is a short step to being able to say 'there is obviously no such place, and so there can be no such thing'. They basically reject them because they cannot conceive of such a thing. I guess, being wedded to what they understand as Naturalism, the first rule of anything is that 'we can conceive of it'. Otherwise they reject it.
I agree that there is utter confusion out there. The definition of ideas is well settled by the modern or scientific man, though. It is the definition of spirits which is in the mists. One problem being, the inability of men to encounter such entities in everyday life. I think more than naturalism, it is materialism that should get the blame, if at all it is right to do so.
Dawkins faces this problem with his conception, or misconception, of Deity. His attitude is that deity must be something more complex than that which it creates, and as the universe is obviously extremely complex, then this deity must be immensely complex indeed. What I see, with thinking of this type, is this demand that whatever deity is, first and foremost it must be something we can conceive of, or imagine. So the way he imagines it, it is hugely improbable that such a being should exist.
No, i don't think there is such a demand or a rule for deitisation and that it is or can only be possible if 'we can conceive it', as or more complex than the universe. If Dawkins, is of that view, he is mistaken. Deities exists because of conceivements. Thats culture.
Spirits is a different ball game. It is the world of intangibles. The dispute, as alluded above is how do we define it. You said it is neither here nor there, and the materialists keep on asking 'where'?........ I remember, from my school days, there was a poem in my local language which translated would tend to mean 'In this my hut/house'. Here the poet goes on to describe his curiosity to know where his God resides. So he goes out seeking Him, he travels all around; he goes to his temple, he could not find him; he goes to the holiest city, he could not find Him; he goes into the jungle, he could not find Him; he goes to the Himalayas, he could not find Him; he goes to mosques, churches, gurudwaras, ashrams, synagogues, and all such places where allegedly God could reside; he looks into the oceans, caves, skies, moon and heavenly bodies, he goes here, there everywhere, but he just could not find his creator. Tired he comes back home. He then says and concludes that God is no where, but is everywhere, and therfore God is in his very home, from where he begun his quest at first. It could be the home or the heart even.
Now, thats poetry but a profound one. hope one can get the message.
You are right, if you assert that the 'idea' or conceivement of spiritual reality can only come through experience, and when it needs verification, and not by merely thinking or reasoning.
I can agree that no such being exists, but also observe that this is from the outset a misunderstanding of the nature of Deity. So Dawkins is spending an immense amount of effort, in effect, of proving the non-existence of something that doesn't exist.
yeah, it is funny, he sometimes jumps into dealing with concepts of which he is not even remotely aware off, except by reading, i suppose.
What I am reflecting on is that I don't think there is a 'where' or 'what' when it comes to these higher levels of being. They are beyond our imagination or conception. Now of course a Christian would say, 'but Deity has revealed something of himself in the life of Jesus and the Scripture. That is how we know'. But even though that may be the case, I am still curious to know something of 'spiritual' or 'formal' realities. So what does 'knowing' comprise in this context?
The esoteric understanding is that the Platonic forms actually represent 'the formal realm' and Deity the 'causal realm' - this is part of the hierarchical ontology. But these are not actually 'realms' in the way the ordinary imagination can depict them. They are subtle realms. The way in which beings on this level both do, and do not, exist, is the subject of the Diamond Sutra.
Now these ideas are known in the various schools of what are now called the perennial philosophy, but it requires considerable subtlety of thought, or should I say cognition, to know what they mean. So the Platonic realm is, in a sense, the way cognition itself works; these forms, represented in one sense as the Archetypes, actually in-form the very way in which we interact with the world. So of course they can never be disclosed by direct inspection, as it were. Because again, they don't exist, but they cause things - in the case of the archetypes - to exist the way they do. They are like the ground of existence, not another existing thing. Any knowledge of them, and I use the term in a very qualified sense, can only arise out of 'meditative realization' as distinct from discursive thought. This is how the understanding is always taught in the traditional setting, whether Christian, Hindu, Sufi or Buddhist.
Yes, i think, you are right to the extent, that meditation has the proven ability to make one believe how the spiritual realm exists. Here than, i also see what you meant by 'Non-metaphysical' things or beings. However, i should caution you that merely a feeling or as you put it, the subtlety of thought, (which is cognition, paradoxically) or a sense or semblance of the spiritual experience is not enough to conclude that a 'Deity' exists. The mind/body experience and not the cognitive or thought experiment (or discursive conceptualisation, as you had said), of the spiritual world or realm transforms into a tangible experience, once it is experienced as one and becomes knowledge.
Even as, the subtle experience still cannot escape the human tendency of interpreting the same in word forms.
So this is a very basic misunderstanding in the modern world generally, the idea that 'spirit' is simply something that can be thought of. I suspect most people would instinctively hold a view like that. But it is a mistaken view.
Yes the spirit cannot be conceived or thought off unless it is equated with energy, which you thought it fit to keep aside from the present discourse.