A Brief Introduction to Metaphysics
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This is an article in the Overview of Metaphysics Series. You can read the others here.
What is metaphysics and why is it important?
To answer the latter first – It is not important to have any knowledge of metaphysics to live a full and satisfying life. There, I’ve said it.
Though, when answering the first part of the question, we will soon see why it can be important.
Where the term ‘Metaphysics’ originated has rather romantically been attributed to the combining of the two Greek words Meta, meaning after – and physics, but this is only a part of the tale. As legend has it, it was the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle who first coined the term ‘metaphysics’ and although he was responsible for writing the very first book on the subject, he didn’t actually set out to write this book. Metaphysics was published post-humorously, like a few hundred years post-humorously.
He did, however, write and publish a treatise named Physics plus a big bunch of other writings. A few centuries later an editor cobbled a lot of these writings together, writings that didn’t fall into any other category and named it Metaphysics. Meta (after) Physics – meaning “do-yourself-a-big-ass-favour-and-read-these-after-the-more-important-Physics-book”.
If a student of the metaphysics were to pursue the shelves of a book store today they would be bombarded with everything relating to crystals, tarot cards, angels, astrology, meditation, channeling, mindfulness, positive thinking, past lives and a rather expanding, endless list of other new-age fanciness. Conversely, if a would-be student signed up to a serious study course on the same subject they would find themselves discussing what is free will, why does the universe exist at all, what is nothing and other brain poking subjects.
It would be helpful if the two sets of philosophies had different names but alas they are all brought together under one and the same umbrella term, that being metaphysics. It’s a shame because to Joe Public, there is often an adverse reaction upon hearing the name metaphysics as it can throw up lots of incantations of woo-woo and unicorns, even when discussing a classical metaphysical topic such as the nature of reality.
Anyway, onwards and upwards as they say …
In these articles, or the whole site, in general, come to that, it is important to lay out some kind of context to how information is presented. With metaphysics being such a broad term, it is worth noting my areas of concentration, and thus, this series will focus on reality, the human interaction with reality and its functionality or mechanics.
As usual, all the information that I present is researched and I avoid woo-woo like the plague. I also have no time for believing something for the sake of believing it. For me, unless it can be somewhat backed up, either through my own experience or documented experience of others, then it is simply not included. You will not find any unicorns here.
However, like all philosophies, there is some pseudoscience to contend with and this is the nature of the beast. In my own research, I try to avoid pseudoscience as much as possible and certainly do not simply ‘believe’ some theory on the convenience that it simply ‘fits’ a particular outcome. Instead, I try to concentrate on what evidence there is and then join the dots up from there.
As usual, everything is written from my own experience, observations, and commentary and should be treated as such. But like anything in life, what does the information feel like to you?
METAPHYSICS IS EXCITING
OK, not exciting like watching the sun explode but exciting because it unravels all of these hidden forces that we are subjected to at all times. It is exciting because we can see where we fit into the scheme of things and how truly wondrous nature is. If you thought the good Mother was pretty awesome to begin with, when looked at through a metaphysical lens … well, you haven’t seen anything yet …
I’ll just throw out a few examples to whet your appetite:
- There is a direct correlation between the length of your finger and that of the earth and the moon
- The same patterns and ratios appear wherever we look, no matter how chaotic or random things appear
- As above, so below is literal
- Everything in nature is a reflection of something else
- Our thoughts do not affect everything that happens, but our beliefs do
- We have direct access to all knowledge through ourselves
- We don’t need to protest, we just need to change our thinking
- What we experience is an illusion
- Of the 7 odd billion people on the planet, there is ultimately only one
- The only way out is in and the only way through is beyond
- … to name a few
Everything happens for a reason, or so they say, and through metaphysics, we can see what those reasons are, no matter how subtle.
“Learn to see. Realise that everything is interconnected to everything else” – Leonardo da Vinci (may have said this but probably didn’t)
Metaphysics attempts to explain the nature of reality and through this lens, sees the interconnectivity of all things. It views all life, all matter and all, well, everything, as one and the same in a literal sense. To a point, science agrees with this, as quantum theory and the further expansive theoretical physics are discovering the same singularity of reality, as they peel back the layers of matter of a universe sized onion, and beyond.
This is interesting. Over the years metaphysics, and especially the more modern metaphysics, has somewhat merged the standard philosophy with ancient spiritual teachings. Knowledge which has been voiced some 3000 years ago, sometimes more. I believe this has strengthened the field as it attempts to give a more rounded explanation of reality. And these explanations are now being proved correct through modern scientific understandings.
Think of electricity. Before its discovery, philosophers could have pondered on this unknown energy that gives power to all things. At the time, this could have been easily written off as pseudoscience and nonsense by the establishment. Then suddenly, it is all proved to be correct. This is what metaphysics can be seen as. The bridging between the knowledge of the ancients and philosophy with the pinnacle of science and its modern discoveries.
When we begin to see life as a single, interconnected unit of loveliness, we can build a picture of how things are affected by sometimes completely unrelated forces. And this empowers us. This empowers us to not only understand how we are affecting ourselves and the reality in which we live, but also how to consciously direct this tapestry into an effortless flow.
The following articles will each concentrate on the main points of interest, to give a more thorough understanding of the nature of reality and how we fit into the scheme of things …
This post is a part of a larger series on metaphysics. To read the others, please click here.
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