Biography & Links

A Brief Personal Introduction by the Author

I am a philosopher at Stony Brook University in New York and teach Metaphysics, Eastern Philosophy, Moral Reasoning, and Environmental Ethics there. I returned to school to pursue a PhD in Philosophy after working for thirty years in the Information Technology industry designing and developing software.

It was during this former career that my understanding of human creativity, a focus of my work, necessarily grew beyond the confines of a materialist view of reality, which could not coherently explain it. Human creativity, as with the creativity evidenced by the evolutionary nature of life itself, is a spontaneous, yet conditioned (stochastic), phenomenon that cannot be grounded in a mechanistic, causal, closed reality.

This spontaneous creativity, that we see exhibited all around us if we pay attention, is the natural manifestation of a shared (nondual) Nature, which I have chosen to call Awareness, that cannot itself be 'natural' in the sense of being caused by its own naturing; and yet, it cannot be external to that which it natures (i.e. supernatural in the sense of being separate and apart from this world, or merely deterministically causal). Instead, this Nature is what I call the disontological aspect of reality, to distinguish it from the ontological aspect of reality – the beings, like ourselves, and other entities, that make up this world. These two aspects are just two ways of viewing this one reality.

Reality encompasses more than just the natural world of phenomenal things that are studied by science, which attempts to do so without recourse to any immanent Nature. Science does not delve into phenomena but is content to range over the surface of things, no matter how small it cuts those things. In this sense we are always looking at a lifeless collection of de-natured objects. This is because Nature is not measurable by science – only its manifestations are – yet Nature is directly evidenced by this manifest world. If we look and pay attention to what we are seeing we would realize that to believe otherwise is to believe in magic! Thus science finds itself forced to evoke ‘fields’ and ‘forces’ of nature in order to explain what it is seeing, thus proliferating inventive causal agencies in order to explain what it studies.

While philosophy today tends to not be held in high regard, since philosophers seem content to endlessly argue over the details of abstract concepts that appear to be far removed from our daily lives, it is clear to anyone who pays attention that the ideas of philosophers permeate our thoughts – for good and for bad. The ineffable Nature of reality is not widely accepted in the mainstream of thought today, so the ideas that do frame and structure the daily lives of most people are far removed from what many of us intuitively feel to be true. Instead we think of reality as some kind of big clockwork mechanism. What is now worse, and the reason why I feel it is so important to talk about Nonduality and what it means for us in our daily lives, is the ever-growing onslaught attacking the idea that there is anything more to reality than just this empty void of space that is filled with celestial bodies hanging like Christmas ornaments – a mechanical universe.

Mechanistic explanations and ways of viewing ourselves and the world we live in, I feel, are the greatest danger facing humanity today. While this paradigm of the Cosmos as one great machine, or the human body as a machine programmed by its genes, has enabled science to probe deeply into the interrelationships of the natural world because it has been freed from superstition and the arbitrary or misunderstood dictates of religious authority that previously inhibited it, it has accomplished this by ignoring the shortcomings of its approach and the accompanying loss of human dignity, value, and meaning. It is a Faustian bargain whose growing cost is becoming as oppressive to humanity as the earlier Church Authorities were to science. Recent demands by self-proclaimed neo-Darwinists calling for the public ridiculing of opponents of the mechanistic paradigm are an exhibition of the same intolerance that science once was subjected to and this call originates in people who share the same unimaginative mindset as that held by those earlier church authorities who attempted to restrict science. Human knowledge grows only when there is tolerance for differing ideas and alternate worldviews.

For years my interest was automated problem solving – computers programming themselves – during which I was constantly being confronted with the intuitive, and therefore non-procedural, way in which people solve problems. This led me on a long path of discovery to where I have arrived today, understanding that the intuitive and therefore spontaneous nature of thought and our affective responses (visceral feelings) are manifestations of a grander Nature that encompasses all of Reality. How I arrived at this understanding is not important. What is important is that I have come to it and it has allowed me to undertake a radical re-analysis of our most basic understanding of ourselves and our world, that I wrote about in my first book, and which I continue to explore in my ongoing writing.

I am not a student of any spiritual teacher, nor do I adhere to the work of any particular philosopher or school of philosophy, although I continue to research different philosophical and spiritual systems looking for confirmation of what I see as a perennial understanding of reality. I am intrigued with how similar all conceptual systems ultimately are, in that they are merely constructions of thought that attempt to model a certain understanding of reality, just as the programs I designed for computers modeled business processes. But no conceptual system has, or can capture, the fullness of Reality. Words are just not up to the task. Yet words can point the way, even though they cannot take us all the way, to a complete understanding. They can also become a dogmatic prison for us if we misuse them. Thus I have come to realize that these conceptual systems can be both a help and a hinderance for people who are trying to find their own way to understanding. Conceptual ideas intrude into our thoughts and can keep us locked in endless loops of speculation and doubt, if we misunderstand their proper use.

The dual intent of this website is to share with others my insight that these conceptual systems are just human constructions and not the full truth, yet they all share common, eternally recurring ideas that point the way to that truth, and to present my own understanding of Reality. I believe that if we clearly understand that these conceptual systems are merely tools that can assist us, we will be better able to use them rather than becoming blindly attached to them or being ruled by them. My purpose is to counter both a prevalent prejudice within many spiritual traditions against systematic thought of any kind, and its opposite: attachment to concepts as if they truly represent the fullness of reality. Thinking is a fact of human existence that is part of our essential nature, and I feel it is better to engage it with clarity, rather than attempt to suppress it as if it has less validity than other aspects of our being, or elevate it, as if it has more validity than our immediate experience of life.

I understand every present moment of every life to be precious. For me, the mystery of life is that we do not all see this and live by it.

Copyright 2007 - 2009, James M. Corrigan, All Rights Reserved

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A note about the advertisements on this site: The proceeds derived when visitors click on these ads help to offset some of the cost of the advertising that is done to attract visitors here in the first place. The intent is not to make money, as my only goal is to share my own thoughts and experiences without profit, but I recognize that in the overwhelming crush of content on the Internet today, advertising is one of the few ways for a lone voice to catch the attention of others with similar interests.


Links of Interest

Poetry about Nonduality and the ‘nature of Nature’ written by James.

Maria Smith’s art & poetry - the work of an intuitive and awakened artist that delights the soul. She also shares her thoughts in an interesting blog.

The Center for Sacred Sciences - Explores the mystical traditions, their universal principles, and their compatibility with modern science. - An excellent source of information on Advaita maintained by Dennis Waite, the author of the book: “Back to the Truth: 5000 years of Advaita”. - A website maintained by Jerry Katz, the editor of the book: “ONE: Essential Writings on Nonduality

The Big View - A website about philosophy in the widest sense. It includes science, religion, mythology and other fields of thought that are not within the traditional scope of philosophy.

Mumonkan Centre - Retreat/Workshop/Seminar center in Granada, Spain dedicated to the awakening of our true nature.

The Unborn - Mahayana Buddhist articles, links, and thoughts maintained by Ron Henshall.

Dorothy Pere’s Mystic Art - Painter, sculptor, & educator, Dorothy Pere’s work flows from an intuitive connection to the non-individuated pure presence that is the focus of my own work. 

The NEW Yoga - Features the work of Peter Wilberg on the Awareness Principle, that shows strong parallels to my own work.

This - A series of very insightful philosophical essays by Ton Haarmans on what is real.

Radiance of Being - An interesting blog by Rodney Stevens.

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