When someone says that (literally) 'everything' is and only can be thus or so, 'e often does not say anything more or else than someone saying that 'nothing is or can be thus or so'. If everything is (pre)determined, then 'nothing is (pre)determined'. (This everything is to be everything, not everything minus our feeling that we are responsible for something or not minus our feeling that someone else is responsible for something or not minus people's belief that someone who has committed a serious crime should be punished for it. And if literally everything is determined, then both the belief in determinism and in the doctrine of free will are determined, and so is neither one.) If everything is and must be material, then 'nothing is or can be material'; if everything is and must be ideal or mental, then 'nothing is or can be ideal or mental'. If everything is created (any 'creator' included), then 'nothing is created'; if everything is divine (that is, if one god is everything, or if gods are everything), then 'nothing is divine'. And if everyone has a right to everything, then 'no-one has a right to anything'. All these kinds of metaphysical everything are void. Worlds proposed by these universal statements are 'as replete as they are empty'.

Thought and the ability to express thought solely exist because of distinctions made within reality, that is, by pointing out that some entities are of type T and that other entities are not of type T. (Even those believing in many-valued logics have to distinguish every single value from the other values which are not that value.) It has to be borne in mind, however, that this 'reality' is not necessarily a factual, momentary reality but that it must be looked upon from a temporal angle, that is, thru time, and from the point of view of 'possible worlds', that is, taking into account what is possible and impossible as well. For example, before the coming into being of persons or beings with mental characteristics --if there ever was such a moment-- there were only 'material' (in the sense of nonmental) beings, but this does not mean that the proposition everything (in the first domain) is material did not make sense at that time. (It could only never have been uttered by a person.) There was at that time already the possibility of being nonmaterial, that is, mental. It is void, metaphysical verbalism tho to say that 'everything (in the first domain) is material' with respect to the past, the present and the future, and with respect to the actual and all possible worlds. Then someone else might, metaphysically speaking, as well assert that 'nothing is material' or that 'everything is ideal'.

Some theoreticians have claimed, too, that 'everything is real', others that 'everything is a dream'. But also the distinction between dream and (what is called) 'reality' can only make sense if it is somehow made within reality itself. The former people either say something as meaningless as nothing is real or something that is a tautology or analytical truth adding nothing to what we did already 'know' or could 'know'. The latter people parasitize our (fore)knowledge of a distinction between what is 'real' and what is 'only a dream'. That we have this knowledge, or this faculty of discerning the 'real' from the 'oneiric', entails that there is or could be such a difference. In the first case the contention that everything is a dream is false; in the second case everything is either 'real' in the sense of nononeiric or a dream. Now, the latter people's suggestion was that our world would always be and remain a dream. If it would not always remain a dream, then, in the course of time, 'everything' is nononeiric (that is, 'real') or oneiric (that is, 'a dream'). Well, this is an experience we --supposedly-- all have had, and in this sense the statement would be banal. If our world was always a dream, and if there still was a real distinction between the oneiric and the nononeiric, one or more possible worlds would have to be nononeiric or partially nononeiric. But if our world is supposed to be (necessarily) a dream forever, there would not (and never) be a relation of accessibility to any other (possible) world. (The difference between oneiric and nononeiric would be that between saying "actual at this and every moment or impossible" and "impossible forever, whatsoever".) There would not even be a possibility of our (actual) world being nononeiric. The claim that everything is a dream would, then, amount to the same as saying that 'nothing is a dream'.

Is everybody is an egoist as meaningless as nobody is an egoist? Someone maintaining that it is not could argue that everybody is an egoist is a statement like everybody has a heart. This is a meaningful, contingent proposition, because, logically speaking, mammalian beings or at least people could do without a heart. Rather than to logical necessity it would refer to a kind of biological necessity (whatever that may be). Similarly, it would be a biological necessity for everyone to be an egoist, altho not strictly logically speaking. But then, biological necessity (if there is such a thing) may apply to mammalian or human bodies; it has no immediate bearing on persons as they are not mere (biological) bodies. While there is already no proof as yet that all people in the universe are cordate, altho all mammalians are, it is even not plausible that all persons would be egoists at all times. The idea that everybody is an egoist is parasitic on the distinction between egoism and nonegoism (not necessarily altruism) and on our foreknowledge of this distinction. The suggestion is, in spite of the distinction within factual and/or modal reality parasitized, that every person or human being would always be egoistic, and would have to be egoistic, because 'e could not be different. If this were really the case, the distinction itself could never have been drawn and the word egoist could never have acquired its present, everyday meaning in the first place. (If there still is someone who maintains that 'everyone is an egoist', ask 'im to compare 'egoists' who often derive their pleasure from helping others and 'egoists' who never derive their pleasure from helping others.)

Somewhat paradoxically one might say that material entities solely exist if mental entities exist or can exist, and vice versa; that dreams solely exist if (nononeiric) 'reality' exists or can exist; that egoists solely exist if there are or could be people who are not (always) egoists. It is certainly possible to pronounce that 'everything or everybody is material, or ideal, or a dream, or egoistic' -- metaphysicians and exclusivist ideologues but too eagerly do this and have done this. Even in the context of purely formal, logical systems there is little or nothing against all entities always being of a certain type, and not being able not to be of this type. The crux of the matter is that such statements and doctrines keep us wholly entangled in purely theoretical or linguistic affairs which do not lead to any insight into reality itself whatsoever. If matter exists in a world in which only matter exists and can exist, then the notions of existence and of having an attribute --that kind of attribute-- become themselves devoid of any meaning, at least devoid of having some meaning.

One definition of attribute is: nonextensional element which is common to all members of a certain group and which is not common to anything not belonging to that group. On this definition nonextensional elements which were, are, will be and must be common to all things in the world are not attributes; at the most they are universal (pseudo)predicates. Of course, it is not totally incomprehensible that, for example, all things of the first domain have and must have one or more elements in common, elements which are not logically derivable from their belonging to the first domain. The point is that we could never know these elements as such knowledge presupposes the actual or potential existence of a difference between having and not having these elements. Stating that being material or being ideal is such an attribute, while still suggesting that we know what material or ideal is then to signify, amounts to denying the possibility of a distinction on which one epistemologically depends. (It would be something else to refuse to make a distinction which one cannot or does not understand, like one between the 'divine' and the 'nondivine'.)

©MVVM, 41-57 ASWW

Model of Neutral-Inclusivity
Book of Instruments
Having and Thingness
Existence and Thingness