A Brief Analysis of The Immorality of Abstraction

What is Abstraction?

Abstraction (or abstractionism) - as understood by The Numinous Way - is the manufacture/creation, and/or use of, an idea, ideal, "image" or category, and thus the denotation, or denoting - usually by means of a name or term - of some "thing" which is either general, a generalization or of a group. Implicit in abstraction is the referring of a "thing", or an individual or individuals, to some manufactured abstraction, and often a judgement, or classification, of that "thing" or individual(s) on the basis of some abstraction which has been assigned some "value" or some quality. The positing of some "perfect" or "ideal" form, category, or thing, is part of abstraction, as is the concept of "progress".

Abstraction is, and has been, applied to us, human beings, to other living things, and to the physical, non-living, things we perceive with our senses, such as physical matter and energy.

Ontology and The Numinous Way

Ontology is basically the study of Reality itself - of what Reality is, and how existence (or Being and beings) relates to Reality. Or expressed another way, of how existence is or can be manifest - presenced - in Reality. Or, expressed in yet another way, how we denote, or describe, through such things as names and categories, what Being, Reality, and beings are, and what if any is the relationship(s) between them.

According to The Numinous Way, Reality is the Cosmos, and this Cosmos exists in both causal space-time, and in acausal space-time, with causal space-time having three causal spatial dimensions and one causal Time dimension, and with acausal space-time having n number of acausal dimensions (which are not spatial) and an acausal Time dimension. Causal space-time may be said to be the phenomenal, physical, universe we are aware of through our senses, and this universe is governed by physical laws and contains physical, causal, matter/energy (Note 1).

The Numinous Way makes a distinction between the knowing, the perception, of causal being(s) and the knowing, the perception, of acausal being(s) - with living beings (in the causal) being regarded as a presencing of acausal being (or energy) by virtue of being alive. That is, because they are such a presencing of acausal energy (or acausal being) it is incorrect to apply lifeless, causal, abstractions to them. The error of conventional philosophies - the fundamental philosophical error behind abstractionism - is to apply causal perception and a causal denoting to living being(s).

For The Numinous Way, abstraction is not a presencing of acausal being or Being but rather a denotation (a description or naming) which not only does not describe or express the essence of the (living) being or "thing" so denoted, but which also through such denotation obscures, or cover-ups, the essence, the being - the reality - of the being or "thing" which possesses acausal energy. This is a devaluing of life - a gross mis-perception of life - and, when applied to human beings, is inhuman: a covering-up of the essence of our humanity.

The faculty of empathy - which is part of our consciousness, albeit often an undeveloped part at present - is a means whereby we human beings can discover the presencing of acausal being and acausal beings as those manifestations of Life are, in themselves.

Thus, The Numinous Way adds empathy to the faculties by which we can perceive, know, and understand the Cosmos, and thus the Life of the Cosmos. For The Numinous Way, empathy is an essential means to knowing and understanding Life, which Life includes human beings, the other life we share this planet with (and which we have already observed/discovered) and the other life which most probably exists in the Cosmos, which we have yet not physically observed or discovered.

From empathy we derive compassion, and personal honour - and thus the ethics of The Numinous Way - and in an important sense compassion and honour are developments of our consciousness: an evolution of our perception, of our very being.


There is thus a fundamental and important distinction made, by The Numinous Way, between how we can, and should, perceive and understand the causal, phenomenal, physical, universe, and how we can, and should, perceive and understand living beings. The physical world can be perceived and understood as: (1) existing external to ourselves, with (2) our limited understanding of this 'external world' depending for the most part upon what we can see, hear or touch: on what we can observe or come to know via our senses; with (3) logical argument, or reason, being a most important means to knowledge and understanding of and about this 'external world', and a means whereby we can make reasonable assumptions about it, which assumptions can be refuted or affirmed via observation and experiment; and (4) with the physical Cosmos being, of itself, a reasoned order subject to laws which are themselves understandable by reason. In this perception  and understanding of the causal, phenomenal, inanimate universe, concepts, denoting, ideas, forms, abstractions, and such like, are useful and often necessary.

In contrast, such abstractions are not a means to correctly perceive and understand living beings. One reason for this is that all Life is regarded, by The Numinous Way, as connected - as particular, individual, presencings of acausal energy. Therefore, each living being should be viewed and understood as unique, as one presencing of that acausal being which The Numinous Way has termed The Cosmic Being. This "acausal reality" - the reality of all living beings - means and implies a respect for all such Life, as it means and implies a personal knowing of such life.

One immoral consequence of applying lifeless causal abstraction to life, is hubris - the assumption that we human beings are somehow "superior" to other life with which we share this planet, and that this other life is a resource, a commodity, for us to use. Another immoral consequence of abstraction is the judging of human beings according to some abstract criteria, or according to some ideal, or according to some generalized concept, with some human beings thus held in "higher regard" than others, and with some held in lesser regard, or regarded as somehow "inferior" or unimportant.

However, according to The Numinous Way, the only ethical criteria of judgement is the criteria of the individual - of a personal and empathic knowing, for example, of the individual human being. That is, the only ethical, honourable, way to assess and know someone is to know them, personally: to be aware of their deeds, their actions, their behaviour; to have a personal empathic contact and awareness of them. Without such a knowing, such empathy, there can be no judgement, and no action against any individual. Hence, for The Numinous Way, the ethic of personal honour sets moral guidelines for personal and social interaction with other human beings


(1) Causal space-time, and acausal space-time, are outlined briefly in the Chapter Acausal Science: Life and the Nature of the Acausal.