Quora answer: What is an Absolute?

Feb 18 2014

There seems to be some confusion as to what the Absolute IS. There is a question that frivolously talks about an “absolute answer” and I tried to say that answers and absolutes really have little in common because answers are relative, and absolutes are like transcendentals in that they are just not supposed to consort with anything relative. But then I thought perhaps they meant an “absolutely truthful answer” and that makes sense, because we expect the absolute to consort with the aspects of Being or Existence. And we expect questions and answers to relate to the truth. So a better question is perhaps Is there an absolutely truthful answer? [http://www.quora.com/Absolute-Truth/Is-there-such-a-thing-as-an-absolutely-truthful-answer]. My inclination is to say that there is no absolutely truthful answer. But it is still an interesting matter to explore how absolute interfaces with truth and how that interfaces with questions and answers.


My take on it is this:


I often give the sequence: given, fact, theory, paradigm, epsiteme, ontos, existence, ABSOLUTE. Many times I say absolutes. By that I mean what is taken to be ultimate. It can change in different cultures over time. But this change in how we think about absolutes has no effect on THE ABSOLUTE itself, whatever that is. I would take it that THE ABSOLUTE itself is beyond all transcendentals. There can be multiple transcendentals, at least according to Kant for which Subject, Noumenal Object, and God are transcendentals. But there can only be one absolute. And that absolute does not consort with anything relativistic, or contingent. it is normally associated with the Godhead, Nirguna Brahman for instance. It is thought about by Meister Eckhart as a desert, which is the same as saying along with the Hindus that there are no characteristics of the godhead, it is empty or void or both. I often talk about it in relation to the Deeper Nondual of Manifestation, in other words it is an emergent level beyond emptiness and void, not merely just both. Interestingly Meister Eckhart says that the Trinitarian Godhead boils to produce creation and incarnation. Fascinating image from an Islamic point of view. But in Islam the equivalent to the Godhead is an even deeper nondual called Dhat beyond Manifestation (Tajalliat of the Sifat). But this association of the absolute with a very deep nondual means that it is not a transcendental, nor is it immanent, as those are duals. So absolute in this nondual sense is I think something that has not really been thought before in our tradition. Nonduals are of course non-conceptual and non-experiential. By saying that the absoute is nondual is to completely turn inside  out the idea that it is a part of a duality with what is relative. It would mean it was a-relative or a-contingent AND a-necessary or a-universal. It would place the absolute off in an orthogonal conceptual dimension from where we normally think of it as being, i.e. somewhere beyond the transcendentals.

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