Metaphysics: Every Theory of Everything Must Start Here
  • Reality is existence, and existence is everything.

    Every theory of everything must start there.

    There’s existence, and there’s essence. These two things are separate but not separable.

    In the language of Thomas Aquinas, esse (or essence) IS identity: To be, in other words, is to be something.

    The conclusion is inescapable because, as Aristotle noted, the only alternative to that which exists is that which does not exist. But that which does not exist doesn’t exist.

    “There is no nothing,” said Victor Hugo.

    Nothing, by definition, is not something.

    The only alternative to reality, therefore, is unreality, which, as the very word implies, is not real — i.e. which isn’t.

    These principles form the fundamental laws of metaphysics — metaphysics being the study of ultimate reality (meta for “beyond” and physics for “physical reality”).

    New-Age pseudo-philosophy has, to a certain extent, bastardized the term metaphysics, but the word still legitimately retains its original meaning.

    In truth, from an intellectual standpoint, nothing is more important than metaphysics. It is the fundamental underpinnings of philosophy, the foundation upon which all the others are built, the science of “being as being.”

    The universe (paraphrasing Thomas Aquinas) is the sum of everything that exists.

    That, I repeat, is what the universe is.

    It’s not what it may be, and it’s not what some people might think.

    The universe is everything.

    There can thus not be “the possibility of many universes,” as many modern physicists would have us believe.

    Neither is there anything “beyond the universe”:

    If something exists, it is by definition part of the universe.

    If it does not exist, it does not exist.

    Metaphysically, the fact of existence is the peg upon which the entirety of human knowledge hangs.

    Without it, knowledge degenerates into a buccal-fecal carnival of solipsism, skepticism, postmodernism, and relativism.

    The proper defense of independent reality is as follows:

    Any attempt to deny existence refutes itself at the outset, because even the barest, most laconic denial of existence implies some kind of existence.

    Quoting the man Dante called “the master of him who knows”:

    “Why a thing is itself” is a meaningless inquiry, for the fact or existence of the thing must already be evident … but the fact that a thing is itself is the single reason and the single cause to be given to all such questions as “why is man man” or “the musician musical” (Aristotle, Metaphysics 7.16.1041a15-18).

    And again:

    He who examines the most general features of existence, must investigate also the principles of reasoning. For he who gets the best grasp of his respective subject will be most able to discuss its basic principles. So that he who gets the best grasp of existing things qua existing must be able to discuss the basic principles of all existence; and he is the philosopher. And the most certain principle of all is that about which it is impossible to be mistaken… It is clear, then, that such a principle is the most certain of all and we can state it thus: “It is impossible for the same thing at the same time to belong and not belong to the same thing at the same time and in the same respect” (Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1005b12-20).

    In support of which, his pupil, Thomas Aquinas, added this:

    Nature is what we call everything that can in anyway be captured by the intellect, for a thing is not intelligible except through its definition and essence…. All around us are existing things. They are certainly different, but they all exist.

    Metaphysically, then, the facts are these:

    Existence is everything.

    There is no nothing.

    Existence is reality.

    Reality is what’s real.

    Nature is reality.

    The universe is everything.

    Nature is the universe.

    There is no “super-nature.”

    All else proceeds from that.

    June 25th, 2017 | journalpulp | 5 Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,

About The Author

I was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. I've worked as a short-order cook, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, bartender, pedi-cab driver, copyeditor, and more. I've written and ghostwritten several published books and articles, but no matter where I've gone or what I've done to earn my living, there's always been literature and learning as the constant in my life.

5 Responses and Counting...

  • Dy 06.25.2017

    I was just thinking.

    Thoughts are things. So, existence is predicated upon thought. If one is conscious then one exists. The quality of one’s thoughts, therefore, determines the essence of a person and determines that person’s experience(s) in nature.

    Is the natural world subject to the consciousness of higher beings or a purer form of consciousness or state of awareness? Would the natural world (weather, for instance) be subject to the mind’s potential power over it? That begs the question, then, who or what is actually in control?

    Your thoughts?

  • Indeed, Brother Harvey!

    Supernatural entities simply do not exist. This nonreality of the supernatural means, on the human level, that men do not possess supernatural and immortal souls; and, on the level of the universe as a whole, that our cosmos does not possess a supernatural and eternal God.

    Corliss Lamont
    The Philosophy of Humanism (1988), p. 116,
    from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief

    Nothing is greater than to break the chains from the bodies of men — nothing nobler than to destroy the phantom of the soul.

    Robert G. Ingersoll
    American lawyer, orator, freethinker

    We cannot avoid reality because we are afraid of the consequences of acknowledging facts.

    Sarah Haider
    American Pakistani-born activist

    Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.

    James Arthur Baldwin
    American writer
    “Letter from a Region in My Mind,” in New Yorker (17 Nov. 1962; repr. in The Fire Next Time, 1963).

    Ray knows all this … but for others:

  • Hi Dy!

    “So, existence is predicated upon thought.”

    Well, I wonder.

    I’m getting a little hung up on the word “predicated.”

    “Would the natural world (weather, for instance) be subject to the mind’s potential power over it?”

    I’m inclined to think not: I’m inclined to think weather is not altered by thought. Nor are the sticks and the stones, nor are the oceans, nor is the moon in the sky.

    Thank you very much for reading and thank you for dropping by.

  • Dy

    To reply re “predicated:”
    Thought determines existence.
    There’s a whole “religion” out there based on the idea that thought determines reality.
    I’m not particularly a fan since it’s a religion, but there is some good food for thought in their belief system.

  • Hiya Scott!

    Just to reiterate, in slightly different words:

    There can’t be a supernature because if it exists at all, it us then by definition a part of nature.

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