Mr Kite wrote:
PeteJ wrote:I'm always happy to chat about these topics, here or elsewhere.
So if we take it from the point where all observable phenomena are understood to be interdependent and therefore devoid of intrinsic existence, it seems there are two choices - either we say that since nothing exists ultimately, there is no such thing as ultimate existence and conventional truth is all the truth there is, or we go on believing that there must be such a thing as ultimate existence, and argue that it cannot be brought under our concepts and that that is why it is not found on analysis. Maybe you would want to finesse one or both of those options, but it seems to me that there is a choice along those basic lines. I want to be clear that the first option is not supposed to be nihilistic, and that conventional existence is not being equated with non-existence. It is just the view that there is no truth of the matter that is independent of our interests and concerns. The attraction of the second option seems to lie in the intutition that if there are appearances, i.e. conventional phenomena, they must be grounded in some ultimate reality. I acknowledge that that is intuitively persuasive, but it does not seem to follow from any of the arguments in MMK - so what are the positive arguments in favour of it?
What a brilliant question. Thus is really getting down the nitty-gritty.
The crucial issue here would be the meaning of 'existence'. You are assuming it has a clear meaning, but are you sure? Have you tried to define this word?
I'll try to answer the questions.
There would be no such thing as ultimate existence but there would be ultimate truth. The final truth would outrun our ability to imagine or conceptualise (for reasons explained by Kant) but it would be knowable, and it can be justified and partially explained in metaphysics, and it would solve all metaphysical problems and answer all its questions.
The dilemma you outline is not really a dilemma but an artefact of language difficulties and habitual concepts. Very roughly, all relative phenomena would reduce to one ultimate phenomenon but this cannot be said to exist or not-exist because it would be Unity, thus beyond such partial judgements and distinctions. Hence Heraclitus 'We exist and exist-not'. This is not a contradiction but an explanation that existence is not quite what we usually imagine it to be. In the end there would be no such thing as 'we'.
I cannot properly explain this in a short forum post. I wish I could. But maybe this suggest that there are answers to the questions. I believe that a study of Kant's noumenon and the way he arrives at it would be valuable in shedding light on some of this, albeit his idea fails without some tweaking.
The basic point may be that mysticism would be blatantly absurd if there were no such thing as knowledge of the Ultimate or certain knowledge. Clearly Nihilism is a non-starter. The Perennial view would be that all consciousness is one at a profound level. This is sometimes expressed as 'God is consciousness'. This would not be the God of the priests, obviously. Those who explore consciousness say that it outreaches the distinction between existence and non-existence, such that we need words like 'unmanifest' and 'transcendent'.
Sorry, this is waffle. Your questions deserve better but it's time for lunch.