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)
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
limited understanding of this 'external world' depending for the most
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
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
individual. Hence, for The Numinous Way, the ethic of personal honour
sets moral guidelines for personal and social interaction with other