Metaphysics: The Supreme Science

Supreme science is the science of the first and the highest principles. It is known as metaphysics in the strictest sense of the word and not metaphysics as wrongly associated with the supernatural. The principal subject of metaphysics, according to Aristotle, is Being qua Being, Being as such. Thus, metaphysics is an a priori science, its form and content being independent of the empirical facts of the world. Logic and pure mathematics are examples of a priori sciences; the truth or falsity of mathematical propositions is determined with reference to the logical structure of the proposition and not with reference to the facts of the empirical world. Metaphysical truths, too, enjoy the same status, hence the title supreme science: Metaphysical truths, if found, are eternal and unshakable. Therefore, metaphysics is concerned not with actuality but with possibility, with what is logically possible and what is logically impossible. If natural sciences are concerned with contingent facts of the empirical world, metaphysics is concerned with the necessary truths of the world as such. In other words, metaphysics seeks to expose that which cannot not be.

Natural sciences cannot in any shape or form answer or eliminate metaphysical questions. This lack of access to metaphysics from the plane of the empirical world is neither due to the inadequacy of natural science nor due to the impossibility of metaphysics. Physics can neither answer nor discredit metaphysical concerns no more than it can answer or discredit pure mathematical puzzles: The two sciences, physics and metaphysics, operate in utterly distinct spheres of knowledge. Consider the example of human organs of perception: Each organ has access to a particular class of phenomena that is special only to that organ; the hand touches what is touchable; the ear hears what is audible, etc. A hand cannot touch a sound no more than the eye can see a sound or touch a wall; but this lack of access for an organ to the phenomena of another organ is not a defect of any organ; it is only a case of harmonious specialization.

Learning from the beauty both in form and function of the human body we must refrain from giving superiority and exclusive rights to only one species of knowledge and its respective agencies, that is, to empirical facts and natural sciences. Humans have physical as well as metaphysical needs. It is not up to a special class of disciplines, namely physical sciences, to claim superiority over others and pronounce their own truths to be superior to other truths such as religious truth, spiritual truth, and metaphysical truth. This bullying behavior which is rooted in the western idea of “divide and conquer,” and which is also the quintessence of all modern sciences and their overemphasis on quantity rather than quality, is ironically the guiding model of the west in its world politics, the curious division of the world into the first, second, and third world countries, the first always being the criterion for the common good of all. But let us stop our digression here since the point has been made with regard to the roots of the unquestionable reign of modern science and its fascist and totalitarian role as the sole determinant of the human place in cosmos.

Physical aspect is only one dimension of human constitution; natural sciences which are specialized in modelling nature based on a merely quantitative grasp of phenomena have a practical utility meant to address the needs of the physical dimension. The spiritual dimension of man which concerns not just comfort but also happiness and peace of mind and heart cannot be fulfilled by ignoring the spiritual and spoiling the physical needs, and hence overworking the physical dimension. It is for this reason that the modern man is the flattest of all; he is utterly one dimensional.

It is precisely the spiritual dimension as the creative aspect of life that attracts art, religion, and philosophy. If physics is the science that formulates in precise details the physical dimension of man and existence, metaphysics is the science that formulates in precise details the spiritual dimension of man and world. The contingent physical facts of physics can only be complements to necessary metaphysical truths and not their replacements. Physics and other natural sciences can never resolve the human existential questions, for these questions are in principle metaphysical questions in need of metaphysical answers. The following analogy should clarify how the two sciences, physics and metaphysics, and their respective fields of inquiry are incompatible, though they may complement one another within the framework of an all-encompassing science yet to come:

Consider a computer game that is created to simulate human life. In the game there are people, cities, countries, science, religion, etc. If you choose your avatar to be a physicist you can cooperate with other physicists and try to discover the laws of nature as it is given in the game; and the game is programmed so that it is possible to explore the discover exact laws of physics that govern the motions of objects in the game, not necessarily the same as the laws of physics in reality.

Now, see that there are two distinct classes of laws, or facts or truths, that exist with regard to this game: On the one hand, there are the laws the govern the events that happen inside the game, the laws that can be discovered by the player who explores and studies these events using his/her avatar; on the other hand, there are laws that govern the game itself, namely the programming code that makes the game possible in the first place. I want you to think about these two classes of laws from the point of view of an avatar in the game, remembering that this is an analogy with rough edges: The avatar sees only the world inside the game; it experiences events inside that world governed by the laws of nature inside the game. Naturally the avatar has no consciousness of the game-nature of his/her world (remember the limits of analogy.) It can only know about the first class of laws if he/she decides the explore and find them. But the physical laws governing the world inside the game are themselves made possible by a program code; they are governed by another class of laws that are of an entirely different nature: They are programming codes; they do not refer to things such as mass or energy or motion but concern only logic and syntax. Although the existence of the natural laws inside the game depends on the game code, it is impossible to infer or deduce the game code by studying or analyzing the laws that exist only inside the game. The physical laws apply only to what happens inside the game while the game code applies to the game itself. The game code exists in a higher and more abstract level than the laws inside the game.

If it happens that the avatar in the game somehow suspects that he might be inside a game and decides that he wants to know the codes that are behind the game (assuming this possibility exists within the code), he must choose a method totally different from the methods used inside the game for discovering the natural laws of the game world. He/she will no more have to experiment on objects as regards their motion because unlike the local laws of nature the code game is global and has a logical rather than empirical origin. The avatar should no more be concerned with what happens inside the game, with what is actual; instead he/she should be concerned with the most general structures governing his/her experience of the game, for his/her own very existence in a way suggests the whole code; the avatar is subject to the game code before he/she is subject to the physical laws of the world inside the game. In other words, the physical laws concern the actualities inside the game while the programming code concerns the possibility of the game itself.

From the standpoint of the player who moves the avatar the world inside the game though it appears to the avatar to be endless and infinitely exploitable, it is in fact a small screen with nothing beyond it; the game is precisely made such that the avatar appears to be moving in a vast world of endless possibilities.

Similar to the way that laws inside the game are related to the game code, laws of natural sciences are related to metaphysical truths. I am not at all implying that our reality is a game running on some computer code and advice against all such Matrixy conjectures. The point is to see how physics and metaphysics are, or are not, related to one another, and that how it is impossible to construct the metaphysical, if any, from the physical; the two classes of laws, physical and metaphysical, operate in different planes of existence. As it was the physical laws that were consequences of the game code, it is also the laws of nature that must follow from metaphysical truths and not the other way around.

Even assuming the extremely successful, yet improbable, scenario in which physics has solved all the problems of cosmos and its origin and teleology, it is always possible and even mandatory to pose the question “But what was before that and how did this come about?” If the naive physicist claims that the cosmos, which is by the way only a theoretical construct, can spring into existence without a cause and then proves that his claim is a logical consequence of the verified laws of physics, then he has resolved the problem of the origin of cosmos by creating another problem concerning the origin of the laws of physics: If according to the laws of physics the universe can jump into existence without a cause, then these laws must preexist the universe in order to make this immaculate conception possible; if the laws preexist the inception of universe, then how did the laws themselves come to exist? If the laws do not preexist the universe, then they cannot be applied to the moment of inception, hence refuting the physicist’s proof that the laws remove the need for a cause in the beginning! To avoid more headache I stop here and suggest you use your imagination to see that no matter how successful physics may be it can never address certain kinds of questions and it can never access certain kinds of truths.

It is here that metaphysics must be revived and utilized with unprecedented seriousness, for man is now more than ever in need of a qualitative grasp of his essence and existence in the face of the Absolute and the Infinite. The revival of metaphysics must be done in such as grand and glorious scale that it can first eliminate the adverse effects of the quantitative reign of modern science, and then silence the epidemic irrationalism and intellectual perversion of our age whose ugly symptoms are existentialism, atheism, and the consequent irresponsible spirituality with its fake gurus and shallow disciples.

Much like the case of the game, the metaphysician need not concern him/herself with petty details of cosmic phenomena and its differential equations; instead he must have mastery over logic and equipped with a penetrating intellectual intuition that can grasp the perennial truths accessible through gnosis: Metaphysical truths dwell in the heart and are accessed by means of pure intellect which is the divine spark in man. It is in and through metaphysics that we can realize the unity of macrocosm and microcosm and see that one is the image of the other.

The ultimate goal of metaphysics is to establish in a systematic way what is known as The Supreme Identity which states that man is essentially divine:

Ultimate Reality is non-dual, indivisible, and invisible. It is one without a second. It is the Absolute and the Infinite. It is beyond being and non-being. The true Self of man which is the Self of all beings is of the nature of Ultimate Reality and one with it. This Supreme Reality which is directly perceived and known in transcendental experience is of the nature of existence, consciousness, and bliss. In Hinduism Supreme Reality is known as Brahman and is characterized by the Sanskrit compound Satchidananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). The true Self of man which is essentially the same as Brahman is called Atman. It is important to note that Satchidananda or existence, consciousness, and bliss are not attributes of the supreme reality: Supreme Reality is existence itself; it is consciousness itself; it is bliss itself.

The metaphysical doctrine behind all religions and accepted by their esoteric exponents in Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Platonism, etc. is best formulated in Advaita Vedanta which is a nondual system of metaphysics. It is as follows:

Brahman is Real

World is illusory

Atman is Brahman 

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