Pierre Grimes

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


American Academy of Asian Studies


A philosophical analysis of the thesis of the metaphysic of the non-dual that "the world we are confronted with is nothing but words, words, words" is a difficult one upon which to embark. The difficulty does not lie in assuming this argument, but in examining it from the opponent's position. It is equivalent to an evaluation of the New York Giants in Brooklyn. If we assume the thesis of the metaphysic of the non-dual, finding the proper arguments and quotations to substantiate its claims, all that we would be doing is claiming a victory for "our side” when, indeed, no battle had been fought. The issue is not that what has been said can be said, but that there is a validity in the arguments and a truth in the assertions. As pleasant as it might be to find quotations to support this thesis, it would have little value if our sources were all one-sided. To return to an earlier analogy, if the issue were whether the Giants have the better team, we certainly should not confine our inquiries to only Giant fans. The issue is quite simple and clear. One must find in even the Brooklyn fans a tacit agreement that the Giants are a superior team. Or, putting our playful analogy aside, one must find in even the strongest antagonist's thesis a large place for the final pronouncement upon the nature of the phenomenal world of the metaphysic of the non-dual. The advantages are of course obvious even though it might be a more difficult task. But this is always the role of the mythical hero. If we momentarily forget that the weapons are only paper and typewriter and the armor, rhetoric, we can then, perhaps, see the correspondence. The present fashion in philosophy or at least the most vocal and vociferous, is the forthright denial of metaphysics as a valid intellectual pursuit - even in principle. It is with this school that we encounter our first difficulties. Thus, if we can discern in their writings - the critics of the metaphysic of the non-dual and mysticism - a metaphysical bias as well as either an implicit or explicit use of what, for the moment, we may call typifying reality as a word structure, then we can claim not only a victory, but an ally even if they may prefer a disguise.

Again, if we are fortunate enough to see this pattern with the concomitant parts we have mentioned, then it would be interesting, if one is not interpolating too far, to utilize this as a tool for analytical purposes in other kindred fields to see if a general thesis could be maintained to substantiate the non-dualist's claim where the critics might not have lingered. Thus, if the same form can be discovered, an underlying thought process may be discerned that well may prove interesting as well as provide a way of handling thought while escaping the dangers of dogmaticism. If so, this may be the analogue to the non-dualist's thesis presented in a rational context.

A word of caution, however. One must recall the Platonic dictum to joke seriously and sport in ernest.