All empirical observations and experiences are perspectival in nature, thus there are no objective empirical facts.

A “view from nowhere,” “or a god’s eye view,” that purports to be a basis for an objective truth, is a fiction, and such “truth” can only be a phantasm of the understanding because:

From Enantiomorphism: All natural phenomena, whether physical, chemical, or biological exhibit some form of “handedness,” “polarity,” “chirality,” or “mirroring,” etc., necessarily imposing a point of reference, i.e., a perspective.

From the “Arrow of Time”: All physical phenomena unfold in a unidirectional, ordered and coherent fashion, necessarily imposing a perspective onto all durational phenomena, but most especially onto the unfolding of formal manifestations.

From the limitations of our Senses: all biological senses are inherently limited in range, resolution, and application; and we can sense only what is happening now (for us) and here (where we are), i.e., from our current perspective, even if that perspective is being technologically enhanced.

From the limitations of Perception: all sense data is interpreted by the perceiver based upon their current understanding, and thus, from their perspective.

From the limitations of Cognitive Abstraction: What we directly know is a continuum of imperience that is an unbroken, undifferentiated, never static, flux. When we cognitively abstract certain aspects or states from this flux of imperience, we fundamentally change what actually is into a certain conceptual distinction which is nomologically taken as a fact, but which can never be relied upon as anything more than an illusory sign pointing to what actually is, when properly considered. The illusion is not that there is nothing; but rather, that we take the sign to be something real itself.

From the incommensurability of Meaning: If “meaning” means anything at all, then it is entirely perspectival due to all of the preceding arguments. If it is perspectival then it is impossible that the meaning can be exactly commensurable between perspectives because of the limitations of cognitive abstraction.

How, then, can we even communicate? Is it redundant information provided by the way we combine disparate ideas together into a syntactical structure — a kind of meta-sign, that hones down the possibilities until some level of ‘closeness’ is reached? Or is it that, once a meaning is established within each perspective, all further communication on the subject is assumed to be about each receiver’s own understanding until such time as an obvious disagreement arises?

All communication is a matter of skill on the part of the speaker, and a matter of imagination on the part of the listener, and overall, a matter of a developed context consisting of ongoing shared experience. Thus communication via language is stochastic in nature.

Perhaps this is the reason that diplomacy is harder to accomplish than shooting bullets is.

An “objective fact” must be independent of any mind; but once it is known, it is by apperception into a body of understandings that occupy the mind of a knower, so by definition, there can be no known objective facts. And an “unknown objective fact” is empty of any meaning whatsoever, so there are no objective facts.

Because facts are the contents of our experience, they can only be known by a mind. “Objectifying” the facts of experience, by abstracting out the subject, results in a conceptual idea, which is different than the original imperiential fact — but it is still not an objective fact because nothing can be known outside of a mind. It is just a confused mind manifesting an assertion that the fact is now “objective.”

We ignore this last point as a matter of nomological habit; but doing so ignores how each mind — which is only a single perspective upon the whole of manifest existence — structures all that arises within that perspective — all that which we perceive, think, emote, embody, remember and intuit — in that mind’s own particular manner. This is what arises as the processual unfolding phenomena of mind. Therefore there are no objective facts.

There is, however, a great overlap and sharing of the genesis of this structuring of knowledge between members of the same species, and sub-groups within the species — human in our case; and a French Human in the case of a particular sub-group, for example — because it’s not just genetics that sets our mind in its manner of operating, but also culture, as well as our body of understandings. But that does not excuse anything from this veridical necessity that a mind is the only knower of facts. Therefore there are no objective facts.

An assertion of the existence of an “objective fact”, which is a fact about something, is asserted to be independent of mind for its existence. Yet the mind only knows the facts it can experience. How can a mind know what is asserted to arise beyond any mind? Therefore there are no objective facts, merely foundationless assertions of “fact.”

Individual minds are the grantors of existence, how then could “objectivity” actually be possible? Is it because democratic agreement about an idea is unimpeachable? But this would undermine science as a practice, therefore there are no objective facts.

Math is held out as evidence of “objective facts” because 2+2 is always equal to 4; but it must be added, “for us.” Even though we cannot see how it could be otherwise, a mathematical truth is based on categories of structure imposed by the mind on our experience — the categories of “Quantity” and “Relation” for example, and permissible operations, or ways of organizing mathematical entities such as octonions, for example — none of which are inherent in what is imperienced; but simply imposed by the mind, and which, therefore, are not necessarily true in reality.

Quantity is founded upon a structuring of our experience onto a conceptual field called SpaceTime in which objects, composed of: being (existence), relation (difference), and identity (self), are positioned in time and space — even if we are doing this only “in our head” as we do when we are thinking about something.

But all of these (being, relation, identity, time, and space) each have profound criticisms that have been raised over millennia by a myriad of rational and empirical thinkers and contemplatives. Quantity is a practical convention only. It is not an inherent truth. Being is always contingent; relation has been shown to be empty of meaning;⁠¹ the foundation of identity has never been identified; and position in time and space is always and necessarily relative. Therefore, there are no objective facts.

Knowledge is based upon what we experience, so it would seem that our knowledge is always contingent. After all, isn’t this a founding principle of the scientific method — that all knowledge can be challenged? The question that I raise is this: if we can become conscious of the structuring of our experiences, thoughts, and judgments, can we not improve the quality of our knowledge? And by “conscious” I don’t mean as an exercise in thought. I mean as a visceral perception of our mind, in a word, metacognition.

Someone might say that even if we could remove the structure imposed by our mind on our experiences, thoughts, and judgements, we can never have full knowledge, because we can never experience all things, think all thoughts, observe all judgments. But look at that sentence and see where it goes awry: “all things” is not a veridical fact. It is based upon the category of structuring known as “quantity.”

Someone else might point out that the mind cannot perceive itself; it can only perceive what is available through human senses. But I must assert, and there are similar assertions in the scriptural texts of a myriad of mind-training traditions throughout our history, that there is only a single perceiver, a common sense, and that is the mind. Our sense perceptions are distinguished — via our body of understandings — by their source in the human body: eyes for vision, ears for hearing, tongue and nose for taste and smell, skin for touch, various nerves within muscles and joints for proprioception. But in all cases, our perceptions arise only in the mind based upon physical conditions within the body, and especially the brain.

The senses are physical; the brain is physical; but perception is mental. There is only one perceiver, one perspective, for each of us — and that is the mind. Mind training is by definition the process of turning the mind upon its own activity. How then can it be asserted that the mind cannot perceive itself?

Even though there are no objective facts, mind training allows us to break free of the prison of the structures imposed upon our experiences, thoughts, and judgments which cause us to suffer, lead us to live our lives inauthentically, and to misconstrue what is real with what is not. Even a partial breakout from this prison, a short furlough, benefits us.

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཕན་ནོ་ཕན་ནོ་སྭཱཧཱ།


¹ “Appearance and Reality — A Metaphysical Essay,” by F.H. Bradley, Oxford, 1893, Chapter III — “Relation and Quality”

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