Initial Enquiries II

Unfolding the pamphlet, you frown and ask the greeters whether an introductory text is really necessary or appropriate. Surely the exhibits and tour guides within the temple will do a better job of explaining it all. Chances are you will simply disagree with whatever the short pamphlet asserts. You did not come here to read an inferior and abridged presentation of the Eleatic Mystery School.

The two men nod sagely and give you the following response:

Think of it more like a way to set the mood. Diving head-first into an unfamiliar philosophical movement is brave, but perhaps it is wiser to first review the general context and terminology. We could have lured you in with mysterious phrases like "nothing is everything", but we wish to avoid unnecessary confusion and frustration.

The welcome guide explains the breadth of our metaphysical account, provides a little bit of context, and helps newcomers avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. Every guest has their own philosophical background, and what they find in this temple may seem wildly exotic and difficult to follow. It may be the case that the way you use a word, and the way we use a word, is very different.

To demonstrate an issue, consider this: would you say that unicorns and manticores exist? Some say they do not exist, yet we say they do. Are we really in disagreement, or have we assigned different definitions to the term "exist"? Perhaps we have adopted different models of reality, and those differences have quietly caused a conflict that must be addressed.

For our part, we focus on the fact that the terms "unicorn" and "manticore" have distinct meanings; they involve information that we may identify, distinguish, and compare. Those who use "exist" in the broadest sense will say that literally everything exists, because it all has some affirmative ontological presence or weight, some distinct meaning or significance. I would hate for those with a more narrow understanding of the term to become frustrated and dismiss our account out of hand.

You thank the men for the explanation and continue on to the Temple.


You approach the temple doors...