24 steps beyond dialectic, into the heart of the Real:
1. A stone is given, it rests in my palm, this thing evoking a sense of gratitude and joy;
2. This stone has qualities of stability, intelligibility and mystery (interconnectedness with all);
3. We make concepts of unity, knowing this stone as we know all stones;
4. Things are thus both sensible (it sits in my hand) and conceptual (it sits in my mind);
5. The stone and its concept are apprehended in mutual relation, invoking a ‘new’ reality, of relation;
6. We can make a temple out of many of these such stones. The contemplative sees the temple in the stone and the stone in the temple, indeed, sees the entire universe emerge, in this one view of relation.
7. As a temple is not only it’s stones, so Being is different from beings.
8. There is a prime Being.
9. Humans need to hold a stance of openness to admit the quasi-concept of Being.
10. Symbols can have Being.
11. Supreme entities (Gods) are too given the name Being.
12. entia – are all the beings in our perception, which with a formal jump becomes:
ens commune – which is an empty concept (of intellect), but which with an ontological jump into transcendence becomes;
ens realissimmum – which is a hierarchy of beings (evolving), which with a final plunge falls back into immanence, into the symbol of Being;
13. Aquinas tells us that the ‘ens commune’ is the negation of being – our intellect, or logos, ‘negates’ ontology, with an empty concept. Heidegger progresses beyond this, to say ‘the nothing is more original than the ‘not’, or negation’. In this way, it is possible to understand that the intellect has a seemingly superhuman power, embodied in our carnal existence, that is, it can put a ‘no’ to any being.
14. If Non-being is a function of our intellect, we may say Being embraces Non-Being, insofar as that idea enters into our field of consciousness. Non-Being can be interpreted two ways: dialectically, as contradictory to Being, and dialogically, as that which pierces our logos (knowing mind), without full consciousness, or awareness.
Beyond Non-Being, there is Silence (turiya) which we can denote by saying it is ‘neither-nor’, beyond logic or metaphor.
15. Speech actually invokes this Silence – we know Silence’s presence not by enunciation but by the fact that speech occurs within, within the background of, Silence. Being aligns with this Silence, not as consort to Non-Being, more in the presence of Emptiness.
16. In perceiving the stone we apprehend more than the stone, we apprehend too the ‘not-stone’ – a horizon of nothingness, out of which the stone emerges. This is the level of dialectic, this relative nothingness. Beyond the level of dialectic, the stone occurs as a dynamism on the horizon of Emptiness. There is no dialectic in this relation, the stone arises in absolute Emptiness.
17. Nothingness can be an object of our consciousness, it pertains to the logos; formless Emptiness cannot. At this point, there is no dialectic, Emptiness is not a negation of any affirmation, it is a blank horizon, beyond the impossible or possible.
Silence is that Emptiness from which sound emerges as sound. Pneuma or spirit is a Silence which does not suffocate the logos.
18. We do not have to negate Being in order to have ‘access’ to Emptiness. Whatever Being may be it is different from and irreducible to beings. The experience of Being belongs to the field of Emptiness.
19. Emptiness is outside of dialectic, even though Being and Non-Being (nothing) maintain a dialectical correlation.
20. There is no hermeneutic for a symbol – a symbol speaks directly to overcome the subject-object split, for those that see it and engage it. To say Being is a symbol is to affirm Being as neither merely objective nor purely subjective. To say that the symbol is a symbol only for those who discover it as a symbol is to affirm the existence of the symbol against the horizon of Emptiness.
21. To pay heed only to the material aspects of the stone results only in a crude empiricism; to concentrate on the horizon of Nothingness leaves a crude nihilism – these attitudes reduce to pluralism or monism, respectively. The advaitic intuition of every religion through time asks that we marry these two – the middle way which is neither one nor the other.
22. The advaitic intuition is not rational nor dialectic, it says ‘as well as’ without indulging in an either/or or perspectivalism. It emerges where the dynamism of knowledge is inverted – in touching, we know we are touched, in knowing, we are known, beyond the order of sense or intellect. A wholistic participation, from the purity of the heart.
23. The advaitic intuition does not need anthropology so much as anthropophany, where the spirit is present but not subordinated to the logos. Spirit discloses to us who, and what, we are.
24. The pebble in my hand is truly a revelation of Reality. Being is a metaphysical interpretation of reality. Non-being is a way to handle reality dialectically, Emptiness, mystically.
Being is the root, the dwelling place, and the foundation of everything. This ultimate essence, by which all is animated, that is truth, that is the atman, that art thou.
~ adapted from ‘The Destiny of Being’ in ‘The Rhythm of Being’ by Raimon Panikkar