What is Metaphysics?
The current definition found in most dictionaries describes Metaphysics as a form of Philosophy. In part attributed to the upsurge of the New Age Movement and social media networks, this terminology has undoubtedly changed. Prior to the development of modern science, it described the methodologies used to uncover the origins and fundamental principles of reality.
The word Meta stems from a sense of beyond, seen from a higher perspective. Just as meta-tags are hidden codes that work in the background to structure a website, Metaphysics describes the study of that which transcends physics and physical reality.
Plato’s Allegory Cave
The Greek Philosopher Plato presented a thought experiment in his work Republic (514-520), in which observers only ever perceive reality as mere shadows on a wall. This exemplifies the concept that reality is much broader than our direct experience of it.
Manifest and Non-Manifest
In the West, the roots of Metaphysics go back to the great philosophical thinkers of Ancient Greece, who believed in a Great Architect who’s work could be revealed through the creation of sacred geometric design. Plato’s cave is a metaphor for a much greater force that lies hidden behind the veil of existence. However, this type of thought is by no means limited to Western Philosophy. Even today we find the same concept in all major religions that is expressed through symbolism throughout the world.
The Judeo-Christian-Muslim beliefs find their root with Abraham from around 2000 BC.
Old Testament – Moses
The existence of a God called Elohim who created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a place beyond our perception.
New Testament – Jesus
God is the creator of all things, including entities such as Angels, who exist in another dimension referred to as Heaven.
Koran – Mohammed
A one true God termed Allah, who created beings of the smokeless fire called the Jinn, which translates as the hidden.
The eastern religions find their root in ancient Vedic philosophy. Whilst dates vary considerably, many scholars view the formation of the Vedic Era as originating with Parashara somewhere around 2000-3000 BC.
Brahman is the one true God who is formless, limitless, eternal and encompasses everything in the universe.
Mahayana & Theravada
The concept of duality, manifest and non-manifest reality, cause and effect and processes of time.
Taosim – Confucianism
The Tao is the eternal nameless, the essence and flow of the Universe, that keeps everything balanced and ordered.
In which of these major Religions does the hexagram commonly appear?
The Hexagram, often termed the Star of David or the Seal of Solomon, is the most iconic symbol of Judaism. However, it has been used in every kind of religion and magical order since ancient times. In Christianity, it is the Creator’s Star and stands for the six days of creation. In Hinduism and Buddhism, it symbolises concepts such as creation, balance, and the cosmos. While it is not directly apparent within the ancient philosophical systems of the Far East, the famous Book of Divination, the I Ching, is derived from sets of trigrams that relate to the same fundamental structure of the Hexagram.
Although many religions today differ culturally and ontologically, they unify in many of their ancient symbols found around the world. All of them a believe in a broader sense of reality, a divine plan, that gives rise to morality, which effects life beyond our terrestrial world. However, without reason and logic, blind faith can also lead to misconception if not put into the right context.
Science attains and organises knowledge through experimental evidence that defines the Laws of Nature. A hypothesis is formulated and then tested through an experiment. As external data serves as the ultimate source of knowledge, it is concentrated towards the direct experience of reality. Thereby, it struggles to provide answers to questions that are beyond the world of matter, such as, is there a Divine Architect (God), does man have a Soul, and is there an Afterlife?
Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Faith and reason are like two wings of the human spirit by which it soars to the truth.
Pope John Paul II
The time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.
Imagine if it all made sense
Difference between Science and Metaphysics
The metaphysical view does not detract from the observations of Science, but adds to it important elements that can provide us with an even deeper insight into the truth that is both apparent and hidden from sight.
Quantity & Quality
Outer & Inner observation
Nature & Consciousness
Numbers = Human Tool
Numbers = pre-exist Humans
complex mathematical laws
geometry, music & numbers
manifest & non-manifest
out of chaos
logical & spiritual
Metaphysics: physics that is beyond
Plato’s Cave: reality is broader than our perception
Religions: reality = divine plan, unified through symbolism
Science: experimental data to define reality
Our metaphysical belief: science + spirituality
Understanding of consciousness, numbers, geometry, music, art
Question: Is this a Circle?
The answer is yes and no. It looks exactly like a circle, however, the computer screen itself is constructed from tiny square pixels. Through the arrangement of these squares, a form is created that approximates the circle. We say that the whole of life is experienced in this way. Reality is made from matter, composed of tiny atoms, bound through a field of energy, which is in constant fluctuation. Yet, at the same time it remains constant from the scale of our perception.
The great artists and metaphysist, Leonardo DaVinci created a famous image called the Vitruvian Man, that depicts the human form surrounded by a square and a circle. In view of what has just been mentioned, this image holds a very profound meaning. No form is exact, yet somewhere between the strait line (square), and the curve (circle) we exist and experience life.