What is transcendental? There must be distinguished between transcendental concept and transcendental content. Transcendental concepts are those concepts that provide the formal conditions for the possibility of experience. Transcendental contents, on the other hand, which can be talked in the abstract through concepts, are conditions for the possibility of the sense of experience. For example, space and time are transcendental concepts, or a priori forms of pure intuition; however, reality and existence are irreducible units of meaning that provide the essential sense of all actual and possible experience regardless of the ontological status of the referents. These contents are provides by the nature and structure of conscious acts. Conscious acts have this peculiarity in that they are ecstatic: They constitute their objects, the cogitata, as standing outside the act itself; this is the manner of their constitution. For this reason the object appears as outside the act and as independent from it; such appearance, such mode of appearance of the content as ecstatic as communicated to the ego in the form of the sense of existence and reality, which merely a meaning and sense of the mode of appearance of the content and not about the content itself. It has to do with the sense of appearance and not what appears.
The absolute spirit that lies prior to all individuation.
Husserl is in many instances wrong; it must be noted that Husserl was so intensely preoccupied with the project of erecting a new science that he missed the deeper and the more radical implications and potentials of his phenomenology. Husserl opened the sphere of transcendental insight, which is a new and radical life, not for mankind but for the absolute spirit itself. Husserl was however obsessed with the problems of psychology, which I find trivial and irrelevant in the face of the transcendental grounding of all existence, namely experience.
What there exists is experience; everything else, such as mankind and cosmos, is the content of this experience; content, as the self-objectification and self-understanding of experience, absolute spirit.
Everything we know and understand takes place under the naïve, natural mode of cognition. This cognition is the essence of mankind; it is the peculiarity of mankind; this cognition is mankind; it is not that mankind carries this cognition. Mankind is identical with such mode of cognition: This natural cognition pertains to things existent; things that are defined under the title of Being, things that have Being. Therefore, this natural cognition is a grasp of things insofar as they have Being of one kind or another. This Being can be concrete object, like all bodies; it can be a logical object; or it can be an ideal, aesthetic object like culture, religion, or god. But these objects are all through and through existent, and they are understood in terms of a priori concepts that themselves pertain and hold only in the case of things existent, like space, time, causality, reality and existence, etc.
There is, however, other modes of cognition that are entirely different than the natural cognition: One such cognition is transcendental cognition. Attainment of transcendental cognition requires the passing of mankind, for mankind insofar as it is man is caught up strictly in the natural cognition. One makes access to transcendental cognition as not man but something else, something that is in principle in accessible to all natural conceptualization, precisely because all natural concepts and categories pertain to things existent, but transcendental cognition is concerned with the meontic, that which is free of existential concepts and categories. From the point of view of the transcendental cognition one finds that the natural cognition is itself a product of transcendental cognition. In other words, natural cognition is a cogitatum of transcendental cognition.
It is important to see that by this I do not mean that the cogitata of natural cognition are the cogitata of transcendental cognition; but rather, the natural cognition, which consists in the cogito, the natural cogito, is itself the cogitatum of transcendental cognition. Since the transcendental cognition is meontic and is not an existence-based cognition, the subject of such transcendental cognition is not egoic; it has no ego in the common sense of the word, or in the sense of the ego cogito. The subject of transcendental cognition is itself transcendental; it is the transcendental subject; it is in virtue of its meontic essence something itself meontic and prior to all individuation, for individuation is an ontic state of affairs.
The notion of transcendental ego much used by Husserl is very much misleading because it refers to the subject of transcendental cognition as something egoic, something existential, for all things egoic are also ontic in essence; they belong to natural cognition. The transcendental subject is meontic.
Hence we see that the natural cognition pertains to the ontic; and transcendental cognition pertains to the meontic.
What is ontic is the cogitatum of the natural cognition, carried out by the ego cogito; but the natural cognition is itself the cogitatum of transcendental cognition whose subject is meontic.
The natural cognition relates to what is existent; but the transcendental cognition is the agent of forming, and constituting, the existent.
For example, we speak of the universe as something existent; but one can always ask “where is the universe itself?” Although science dogmatically condemns questions of this kind under the excuse of their unanswerability, but it is a perfectly legitimate question, both logically and empirically. That science at its current state is not in a position to address such concerns, it does not imply that such questions and concerns are corrupt or ought not to be raised. For example, science cannot provide the condition for the possibility of science itself, and this makes its status shaky in respect to its rigor and truth.
One such eternal difficulty of natural cognition and its reductive method is that since it cognizes everything in terms of its existence and under existential concepts and categories, then its reductive method, which must of necessity move within the same ontic sphere, get caught up in an infinite procedure of producing more things existent. But insofar as something is existent, which cannot be understood but under causality, it demands further causal reduction to another things existent; therefore, one can see and say from the outset that natural cognition can never, by its essence, achieve any ultimate ground for its endless productions and constructions. Let us look at this state of affairs: Assume that science, or whatever human activity, as found everything that is in the cosmos and all of its causes, even assume that the god of the whole universe has come down and introduced itself with all possible fantastic maneuvers and miracles. Everything that can be there is introduced and known to us. Despite this, we can still ask “what then?” “What does contain this whole existent totality?” “What is beyond this and its god?” “If god exists then how is responsible for its existence, and who for the existence of the one responsible for the existence of god?” “What is the point of whole this?” “Why is it at all?” or as famously asked, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” “Even if god unconceals the purposes of its creation, then I ask still why is there god instead of nothing and absolute oblivion?”
We see that the same questions that are raised now and guide our scientific inquiries can still be asked with the same vigor and seriousness. As far as we refer to something existent, there is going to be endless positings and abstract constructions. This is the same in both directions: Whether we go outward toward the macroscopic or inward toward the microscopic. Then, anything that can have the form of a proposition, which refers to things ontic and is itself something existent, can never have the status of ground; can never be truth:
So, although we have no idea of truth and its nature, but it is clear to us that if there “is” a truth at all, it cannot take the form of anything we have known so far; it cannot itself be formulated into a proposition, under something existent; truth, then, must be meontic; and we now know this from the outset and out of logical necessity. But since natural cognition deals with things only existent and ontic; then if there is a truth, its attainment must occur but another mode of cognition; it cannot be grasped or formulated within natural cognition.
What naturally suggests itself in respect to the possibility of truth and its proper mode of cognition is to reflect and inquire not on the cogitata of natural cognition, as we have so far done, but to reflect on and inquire about the natural cognition itself, its conditions of possibility, its phenomenal, structural feature; and this only in pure description rather than the usual analytic explanation which naturally must enter into the sphere of the ontic. For if there is another mode of cognition, and if it is at all accessible to us, then since we know that goring forward under natural cognition has will fail out of necessity, then it must be out of natural cognition, such that natural cognition may be itself a phenomenon before transcendental cognition.
Now if I can say that the object of my sight is something that exists, can I equally say that my sight itself, seeing, too, exists?! If I can say so, in what sense does my seeing of an object exist?! Where does it exists?! Although I can determine the object of my seeing spatiotemporally, I cannot determine with clear sense the phenomenon of seeing itself spatiotemporally! Where is my seeing taking place?! We see that place is itself a notion applicable to the objects of sight; place is rather a form in which sight is made possible; how can we apply this notion to sight itself?!
Also since truth, for it to be truth and absolute, cannot be propositional and ontic, cannot be something existent, something that existential concepts and categories cannot by applied to it whatsoever, then it cannot be experienced within the structure of retention-protention-horizonal synthesis. Everything revealed and experienced with such structure is (appears) transcendent to consciousness. Therefore, truth cannot be anything transcendent; it must be immanent, for everything transcendent to consciousness appears as real and existent outside consciousness; this is its essential mode and sense of its appearance. Also anything that is immanent is revealed and experienced all at once; it has no sides or manifolds within which an identity appears. It is identical with itself and doesn’t refer to anything beyond itself. But everything transcendent to consciousness carries the mark of existence; it is essentially ontic. So truth must be essentially something immanent if it is to be truth and absolute, instead of existent and contingent.
Everything existent is contingent.
Also everything transcendent to consciousness, which appears through retention-protention-synthesis structure, is essentially embodied, for it has to appear partially; it must have sides and aspect; embodiment is defined here as that which has sides, aspects, and profiles; it may not necessarily be physical embodiment. But we defined embodiment in its broadest sense, as something that appears adumbrationally, with sides and aspect and profiles; and the necessary condition for all such appearance is the retention-protention-horizonal synthesis.
So anything transcendent to consciousness is embodied, in that it appears adumbrationally and gradually, and not all at once.
But since truth cannot be something transcendent to consciousness, and has to appear immanently and all at once; I mean it has to be given in its entirety and not partially; it is either there fully and entirely or not at all; then truth cannot be embodied. I mean it cannot appear adumbrationally and within the structure of retention-protention-horizonal synthesis. Truth cannot have embodied character. It cannot be seen or understood in terms of any embodiment, whether physical or spiritual or else. It may appear rather as an emanating point; of course it would not appear as an emanating point standing there; it would be an experience with the essential sense and character of singular emanation.
Also it cannot be localized, for localization is the character of embodiment, all things transcendent to consciousness, which have to appears within the structure of spatiotemporality; but what is immanent, like subjective experience, doesn’t obey such limitation. Our subjective experience of love or hatred, or our thoughts, are not experienced as things in space-time, or with a distance from us. This is because they are immanent and given all at once in their entirety. Spatiotemporality is again another mark of that which is transcendent to consciousness.
This negative methodology proves more fruitful than all positive methodologies for the case of truth. For, since we do not know beforehand what truth is or what it looks like, we can only show, by strictly logical means, what it cannot be and how it cannot appear if it is to be absolute truth. We may even be able to arrive at truth be a sheer force of negative inquiry, negating all that there is so only one and the same thing is left which cannot be subject to any negation in principle, namely it is apodictic and appears with immanent, apodictic certainty.
We must show that no accomplishment of natural cognition can have the character of truth. Truth-Forms cannot appear within natural cognition. But natural cognition itself is a truth-from.
(A piece of music has temporal embodiment): Kant calls Noumenon an object of awareness not produced by sensory experience.
That it is possible for man to transcend his condition and situation, although he is always already situated, is indicative of his transcendental origin. He can lift himself up into transcendence, without being consciously aware of it, and influence or change the very condition to which he is bound.
And so far the attempts of philosophy and logic has been to begin from the world and move toward truth. I would like to begin from truth and move toward the world. The former approach is of course the most natural because world is the first thing we know; we first open our eyes to the world, the phenomenal world; and then from this world-experience we, at least some of us, scent the being of something else, something indubitable, behind the system of appearances that we call the world. Of course, our original attention to, or awareness of, some truth has the character of a scenting; we are not clear what it is or how it looks like, and not even sure if it exists at all. Despite all this skepticism, and against the advice of parents and all practical men, we continue on our way toward something of whose being we are not certain. It is for this lack of certainty, and the natural obscurity of the beginnings, that we have all these system philosophies, spiritual and mystical practices, and religions and schools. Since man is not sure of what direction to take, the course of history has allowed for a trying of almost all possible directions.
Now assume that someone, say me, has in some way arrived at that absolute truth. And such truth in virtue of its absoluteness and the apodictic certainty in its being and appearance, is wary of all and any obscurity. Then, isn’t this a batter ground for a beginning, where one has a firm foot on apodictic certainty?! One may begin from truth and move toward the world, for if the being of the world requires the being of such truth, then such truth must have as logical consequence the phenomenon of world and world-experience. Now our approach is begin from the truth and derive the world and its necessary existence as an accident of truth.
For I have argued before that consciousness is not a property of mankind: Mankind is an accidental property of consciousness: Fuck the thing-in-itself.
William James’ conception of philosophy as a struggle to achieve clarity is itself an ambiguous goal. And even so, philosophy’s journey so far has brought more obscurity into the picture, and nothing more than science itself has been responsible for such production, for it is standing on obscure grounds, thanks to skepticism and corrupt empiricism of modern philosophy.
Verba volant, scripta manent
Natural cognition is meant after the manner of the natural attitude in Husserl. It is the natural cognition in virtue of the structure of its cogitata. The cognition is always correlated with its cogitata. The cogitata of a particular cognition is always limited to the limit and scope of the constitutions of the cognition itself. The natural cognition, which is a characteristic of mankind, is what it is in virtue of its essential relatedness to that which is always existent. The natural cognition is an achievement of ontic validities; it always and only deals with ontology.
But natural cognition is itself an accomplishment of transcendental cognition. Natural cognition is in fact the cogitatum of transcendental cognition. Although the cogitata of natural cognition are always meant as existent and ontic, but the natural cognition itself is not so easily reduced to and exhausted in something merely existent. Let us inspect the following example:
I am seeing a cup in front of me. I can say that the cup is since I am seeing it in front of me. (Please keep in mind that I am giving a descriptive account; I am not concerned with the material structure of the cup itself or the mechanism behind my visual cognition.) I see the cup is something that has Being for me in front of me; its Being is enveloped in spatiotemporal restrictions: It is, it is located, a particular distance from me; I am seeing it in this particular time, from this particular angle and within this particular perspective and under particular lighting. It has it Being, it appears, as something outside me, as something that has its Being regardless of me seeing of it or being directed at it. I can simply say about this cup that “It is there.” Not let us direct my attention to my seeing of this cup. I am no more attended to the cup itself but to my visual experiencing of the cup. I can say here that “I am seeing or having an experience of seeing.” My seeing is something that I have, that I am currently undergoing. I cannot speak of it as something there, for my seeing itself has no spatiotemporal relation to me; it is no located a distance from me; I also cannot speak of it as something inside me; there is no relationship of this kind between me and my seeing. I cannot grasp my seeing as something either external to me or internal in me. I also cannot view my seeing from other points of view, from other perspectives and angles and under a different lighting. I may move around the cup, view its other sides, aspects, and profiles; but my seeing has no sides to it; it does not appear to my in such way. It has a peculiar character that is entirely different from that objects that appear is the act of seeing. I view the cup with certain properties which I can say some of them depend on my manner of viewing it; I can posit a cup-in-itself as the substance of cup that exists in itself regardless of my viewing of it; for instance, I know that this or that particular lighting under which I see the cup does not belong to the cup itself but rather the my condition of seeing the cup. In the same manner I attribute certain properties that belong to the cup itself and not emergent in my experience of the cup; I posit this as the cup in itself. But I cannot say or posit any of this regarding my experience of seeing. Seeing is always already appearing as something in itself. It is itself and has no properties; I cannot grasp it in terms of substance and attributes. It is given to me either all at once in its entirety or not at all. It has no further aspects to be explored. It is a whole.
So we see that since the object of experience has an essentially different character than the experiencing of the object, then I cannot apply the same concepts and categories to my experiencing that I also apply to objects of experience. My methodology and toolbox for inspection and analysis should always be chosen according to the nature and structure of the object. I cannot pick up a hammer in order to use it as a screwdriver for working with a screw. The machinery that I choose for analyzing the natural objects cannot be used also for my analysis of the natural cognition that provides the objects in the first place.
5 thoughts on “Morphology of Truth III”
I like the seeing the cup metaphor. I simplifies some of this in http://heliosliterature.com/2014/10/19/the-biggest-question/
I like them very much.
Reblogged this on dog biting its leg.
“Why is there something rather than nothing?”. This was one of my main questions. How come even a grain of sand is there ? What can be that God which is behind all this and how can he access every nook and corner of this creation? etc.. It is because I think I was more used to absence of objects than their presence. A philosopher is born from deep sleep I guess. One who is used to deep sleep or samadhi will naturally be more familiar with absence of experience than its presence and so the questions form themselves in that manner. One who is more used to dream will be an idealist who does not put the required effort in material world nor puts the required effort to realize Truth and one who is used to waking state will be those successful men of this material world, who don’t bother themselves with any ultimate Truths and who have no conflicts in accepting the material character of this world.
In Vedanta, the transcendental cognition is called as turiya. The consciousness in waking state is called visva, the consciousness in dreaming state is called taijasa and the consciousness in sleep is called prajna. Unless we analyze all the 3 states of our experience, we cannot get at Truth. Absence of experience is also an experience which we should consider. Appearance of experience without any real external world like in dream has also to be considered. Then only we will have a clear understanding of how this waking world is within the scope of consciousness and not outside it and the so called experience of solidity, liquidity, externality etc which we experience in dream also, is only an experience within consciousness and no such real objects exist. That is there is no object and then experience. The experience itself is the object! Have we ever touched a real object except through our experience of an object? Our body itself is only an experience as it disappears from our experience in deep sleep or dreamless sleep. Through what do we know the presence of our body? Only through our consciousness of it. If something called body independently exists, how can consciousness come to know of it unless it is of the same character? Can two different principles interact if they are different?
So, instead of seeking varied experiences, we need to seek the Truth of experience. Science does not do this. It doesn’t seek the Truth of experience. It has already assumed experience is real and independent of consciousness even if the results indicate consciousness. Also psychologically the mind will never be fulfilled unless it finds its true source which is the pure consciousness itself. The mind will be looking for satisfaction through objects, which is like trying to find water in mirage. The way to bring transcendental cognition into our practical waking lives is to observe thought itself without getting carried away by it. Once you know how to observe thought also as an objective entity, then you have retrieved your transcendental cognition. The idea of external world is only assumed by thought and once you don’t give reality to thought, the error introduced by thought also vanishes. Though you will experience the world as before, you will not externalize it from your consciousness anymore. This error of perception called “external, independent world” has to go in order to realize the already existing unity among humans, which is the common, single, true Self. The unity orchestrated from outside is only the mind’s reaction to the diversity and not the true uncreated unity which already sustains us.
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Thank you SRK for this great comment; it is exactly the point that should be taken seriously. As you said the idea of something existing outside consciousness is itself an idea inside consciousness. It is only & ONLY by understanding experience as experience by intuitively looking at it that we can get close to truth; natural sciences take for granted the reality of what is experienced. But this is an unjustified assumption. The only discipline that has ever done this work, except only Advaita Vedanta of Hinduism which has done it beautifully and perfectly, is Transcendental Phenomenology which is an a priori science of experience. It was from this discipline that I arrived at exactly the same conclusions and experiences that are mentioned in Vedanta text, the only different being that Hindus knew it thousands of years ago while phenomenology recently discovered. It is even sad that even phenomenology is ignored and most philosopher don’t even know about the actual method of Reduction; the reason is that under the spell of natural sciences they think that phenomenology is not scientific since it doesn’t involve experiments in world; but math too doesn’t involve experiments but it is even more rigorous than science. Phenomenology and Advaita Vedanta metaphysics have the exactness of mathematics. They are even more scientific since they do not presuppose the independent existence of the world which is never proved. Only understanding experience as experience can take us to truth as you said; since truth is in the experiencing itself.