Borges on Emersonian Monism…

Borges writing about Emerson; a rather strange opinion on Monism…
“The foregoing lines will suffice to establish the fantastic philosophy professed by Emerson: monism. Our destiny is tragic because we are, irreparably, individuals, restricted by time and by space; there is nothing, consequently, more favorable than a faith that eliminates circumstances and declares that every man is all men and that there is no one who is not the universe. Those who profess such a doctrine are generally unfortunate or mediocre, avid to annul themselves in the cosmos; despite a pulmonary disorder, Emerson was instinctively happy. He encouraged Whitman and Thoreau; he was a great intellectual poet, a skilled maker of aphorisms, a man who delighted in the varieties of being, a generous and sensitive reader of the Celts and the Greeks, the Alexandrians and the Persians.”
I am surprised that Borges would interpret Monism in such a manner: I for instance subscribe to Monism, Experiential Monism to be precise; everything can be reduced (in epistemological terms), to experience; that in no manner ‘eliminates circumstances’ or ‘declares that every man is all men’ (a position that Borges however constantly promoted). Also surprising is that he would declare that Monism implies mediocrity or misfortune… It might be that Borges is using the word ‘monism’ here in a neological manner, to imply the specific egalitarian doctrine which he ascribes to Emerson, and not to its standard usage within philosophy.  If so he was unclear, and intellectually irresponsible…

After several years of neglect, I am returning to my Philosophical work.  I will begin by a short restatement of ‘Transcendental Naturalism’, as a philosophy-religion (atheistic in terms of creed), which conceives existence as the search for a state of transcendence within secular living.

This endeavour to establish a sense of existential transcendence operates in two main levels:

The material level, where nature is transformed into a transcendental object through design and technology; the psychological level, where nature is interpreted as a transcendental system through a semiotic interpretation. The material level is sustained on the work of Emerson as concreted architecturally by Wright; the spiritual on the theories of Salvador Dalí and the literary conceptions of Jorge Luis Borges, filtered through a Jungian analysis.

Philosophical Note…

Upon the question: “Is it possible to empirically verify a metaphysical truth?”

I (J.F.), responded:

“Then it wouldn’t be ‘metaphysical’…

Unless experience is accepted as metaphysical, which establishes a duality…

But if experience is accepted as the physical 0 of the singularity, then the basis of existence is thought, and thus it is not metaphysical, but the basis of the physical, which is sensation…”

By which I mean that thought itself is the only knowable ontological truth, and what we call ‘the physical’, is knowable as an aspect of thought, and not it’s totality (imagination is experienced as separate from the physical, the ego-experience as separate from the world-experience) ; thus thought is not ‘metaphysical’, but the epistemo-physical; the knowable mechanism of physical manifestation…

Historical Notes…

Pre-Enlightenment Natural Philosophy (Science), was seen as bound to theology: Servet for instance discovered the pulmonary circulation of blood as part of his research towards the idea that the soul resided in the blood, and thus needed a mechanism to be distributed through the body…

“Natural Philosophy” was the science of the day… today’s “Science” is a practical religion, ontologically committed to atheistic materialism; I prefer in Science an epistemological commitment to agnostic mechano-idealism.


Transcendental Naturalism is a philosophical system sustained on Epistemological Experiential Monism; the notion that knowable reality is equivalent to the contents of experience, (mental content).  Thus metaphysics is rejected as an invalid exercise, since no knowledge or claim of ultimate reality beyond experience is possible.  Physics, then, is understood as a description of the mechanical behaviour of experience.

As a practical system, Transcendental Naturalism stresses that objective material reality is an aspect of subjective psychology:  Thus material wellness/bodily health, relative to the individual’s will and desire, are the aims of living.

The Spirituality of Matter

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– Jósean Figueroa

The Spirit has been understood as an extra-corporeal entity which gives vital-emotional-transcendent functionality to the Human Being, transcending its ‘’inert’’ material structuring. An “atheistic” view at this concept would conceive the Spirit as an inherent vital-emotional functionality of the human organic system, an organizing energy. Matter in this model is not ‘’inert’’ but the manifest of this ‘’spiritus’’: the perceivable aspect of existence; thus, when we feel/think, we call the feeling and the thought ‘material’, meaning it has been codified into a memory form. “Form” denoting that it has a permanent recurring pattern ingrained within human memory. Thus Spirit can only be perceived as matter; body denotes the feeling of existing.

Matter is thus the manifestation of the Spirit; as the only aspect of Spirit knowable to us, matter needs to be accorded the dignity of ‘’Spiritual”, that is, as belonging to the category of subjects deemed ‘’sacred’’. The psychological construction which constitutes human consciousness-action.

Historically, these ideas have an ample development: They are seen in various forms and variying levels of development and clarity in Alchemical Lore, the Mystics, in Bruno and Bacon, in Calderón; Descartes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Schopenhauer, Emerson… It’s technical philosophical basis can be describe as Epistemological Experiential Monism, the equivalence between awareness and knowable existence; associated with Epistemological Solipsism and the negation of ontology. In this sense, the material ‘’Natural” World is an aspect of the mind, and all the Universe is an aspect of the psychology of the individual.

Materialistic Spirituality searches for the feeling of sacredness in every action, understanding sacredness as a feeling of Exalted Life-Joy. It sees matter as the concrete manifestation of the divine, that is, as the ambit of manifestation of knowable wholeness. Materialistic Spirituality thus searches for a perpetual state of emotional stability, bliss, to be achieved through the manipulation of the environment towards pleasant perpetuation of the body and the need of entertainment; aesthetics.

Existential Notions

The prime existential notion can be described as a binomial formed by the sense of self differentiated from that which is not the self:  The ego differentiated from the non ego;  The internal versus the external;  the human versus the environment. Further notions develop from this prime, establishing a series of ever more complex existential relationships:  The ego is perceived as an element within an external environment; The external environment is seen as possessing elements both sympathetic and antipathetic to the ego; These environmental sympathies and antipathies are understood in reference to the antithesis of the prime notion: the comprehension of annihilation of the ego, non-existence, death. And the ego itself is understood as being differentiated within, an external to an internal deeper self.

Humans perceive existence –  reality – the universe – as a system composed of innumerable sub-systems within and overlapping one another ad infinitum and including as one of these infinite subsystems the self.  These systems can be stable or unstable, decomposing or composing, interacting between themselves harmoniously or conflictively – self preserving and self destroying.

The drama of human existence is the interaction of the system self with the system not-self.  The mind-body system interacting with the social-environmental-cosmic system in an attempt to achieve self-perpetuation.  But as humans are also differentiated within, a self composed of sub-selves (a condition leading to and accentuated by the human intellect), a soul-self differentiated from the corporeal self, greater demands arise than simple perpetuation of the body, and the drama of human existence becomes not only survival but aesthetics and ideology.