The sixth most confident proposition of ultimate reality is I am a part of something larger (the unity of the universe). Unless one denies the existence of an external world and other people, one is only a part of a whole. Participation in and identification with that whole is a fundamental understanding for a person seeking a meaningful life. In its extreme form we get the wonderful ancient Hindu truth atman = brahman; your inner self is the same as the ethereal self of the cosmos.
Next is Something always existed. This is perhaps more accurately a metaphysical principle based on the logic that something cannot come from nothing. It is echoed in our own being: while we “know” nothingness as that state before our birth, we concede, nonetheless, that our existence was caused by something else. The corollary is of a lower degree of certainty, but remains the most rational explanation of eternal existence – Somethingness is necessarily existent. No other explanation offers equal justification and plausibility.
Eighth in order is Nature and others should be respected. Since nature and others are that portion of the cosmos with which we make contact and we are undeniably one with the cosmos, this follows as a mixed ultimate and ethical principle.
Ninth is I sense the divine at times. Most of us will have at least transient experience of an ethereal realm of beauty and oneness, which phenomenologically we recognize as integral to the human condition. Only the strictest materialist will deny this experience, and here I follow Husserl in bracketing the source of that experience.
Last of the top ten is Contemplation is one means to participation in ultimate reality. This proposition is far too vague to stand up to rigorous philosophical or scientific scrutiny, but is subjectively true. Detachment from the everyday and internal meditation on the fundamental nature of reality brings one to the ultimate, but its internal origin means this truth cannot be shared directly with others. Readers will have to discover this on their own.
We are ready now to tabulate our results again with addition of a few additional propositions important in thinking about practical philosophy.
|PROPOSITION||DEGREE OF CERTAINTY||COMMENTS|
|1||The cosmos is a unity||99.6+|
|2||There is a state of nothingness.||99.5+|
|3||God defined as the origin of the universe or the universe itself exists.||99.4+||Other characterizations of God are of low certainty.|
|4||The cosmos is governed by rational laws.||99.3+||Mixed empirical and ultimate principle.|
|5||Creativity is an element of the universe.||99.1+|
|6||I am a part of something larger (the unity of the universe).||99.0|
|7||Something always existed.||97.9||Somethingness is necessarily existent.|
|8||Nature and others should be respected.||97.8||Mixed ethical and ultimate principle.|
|9||I sense the divine at times.||96.9||Others’ mystical experiences are less certain.|
|10||Contemplation is one means to participation in ultimate reality.||96|
|What is, is supposed to be.||92||There is no alternative possible world.|
|I am here for a reason.||91|
|World religions incorporate authentic ultimate reality.||80|
1See the section on God on this site, especially blogs dated 3/18/2019, 3/20/2019, and 3/22/2019.
2See blogs this site dated 7/20/2020, 7/22, 2020, 7/29/2020, and 7/31/2020.