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P l a t o n i c    T a o i s m

We need to define these “semantic circles” — or maybe we cannot define them but only describe them, because they in themselves are the act of defining in itself, and in that way fundamentally immune to getting pinned down by definition. Yet in any case a person is still free to say things about the undefinable — that happens all the time in daily life; and perhaps with enough eloquence or clarity such words may constitute true descriptions. Let’s describe these “circles” as arbitrary. Their species-limited functionality — running parallel to our hands evolved to grasp — doesn’t prove them to not be arbitrary but, quite the opposite, actually shows just how non-universal they are, how species-specific and dependent on context and thus fundamentally empty they are. They are not Platonic Ideas. We will soon see how there is only one such Idea — for only one entity transcends the universe: consciousness.

So what can we say about the semantic circles in a positive fashion (as opposed to merely saying what they are not)? They are expressions of the “graspiness” of the human animal. The more one lets go of this graspiness, the wider and higher become these semantic cicles that define/limit cognition. When the mind lets go of graspiness in zen meditation, consciousness itself rises in ever widening semantic circles (circles of awareness, that is) — for the effects of coditions from past experiences — a.k.a “karma” — are like a stone thrown into the calm waters of a lake; and here with meditation the ensewing ripples get ever wider until at last the last circle reaches the shore. The shore is consciousness-in-itself. The circular waves having reached the end, one has attained the “It” — the ineffable; the “Holy of Holies”, whose name would be blasphemy to utter, as the Old Testament states in reference to “God”. Here is “God”. Here is “Tao”. No name suffices. Here we are in a place that necessitates Wittgensteinian silence.

In this way I am a nominalist up until arriving at consciousness. I contend consciousness is the one and only Universal. For it is the only non-arbitrary semantic circle because inherently it encompasses everything. This is a truth, if there ever was one, because this one circle is not dependant on us: it exists outside of us. Everything is contained in consciousness; it is the ultimate and most exterior container. All sub-containers — that is, all concepts — are contained within it (within “It” —). In contrast, consciousness because of its very nature cannot ever be encircled/grasped/comprehended: this is dictum absolutum.

Anything that can be conceived of containing the ultimate container is not that ultimate container, but yet more of the contained. And if you conceive of the ultimate container, then you are lying to yourself in thought. “The Tao that can be talked about is not the real Tao,” states the Tao Te Ching — where, incidentally, the “Tao” is also referred to as a container. “Ground of being” a Buddhist idea, is another good metaphor here. But all ideas are just that — ideas a.k.a. sub-containers... That is why to call it, for example, God, would be “in vane”.

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