On the Understanding of Metaphysics
Christopher Drysdale

The understanding of metaphysics is basically a useless task—it does not help with anything on a daily basis. That is, unless one is simply trying to understand what is already happening in our lives.

There are many ways to approach metaphysics. Spiritual, Mental, Physical (the common tripartite split), religious, power-focused, and more ad-infinitum.

The understanding of metaphysics is not the same as the doing of metaphysics. Everyone does metaphysics—breathing, eating, smoking, talking, making love, working—all of these things are doing metaphysics—or rather doing things that impact the world in a metaphysical sense.

Yet understanding metaphysics is not as simple as understanding a car engine. Or perhaps it is - if one takes into account everything every car engine will ever do. Burning fossil fuels, delivering passengers, pushing pollutants into the air, and in infinite number of other things must be taken into consideration—each instance and every ramification of each car engine ever made. Through car engines, like metaphysics, we would end by studying ourselves.

Yet it is not that we must look inwards to look outwards, but instead that no matter where we look, we see the same thing—ourselves. But not in the all too common “I’m not responsible/I’m the center of the Universe” way—this is illusion, but one that we all share and reinforce. Yes, all we see is our own self, but not the self we think of, and not the self we show others. The self we see is the universe we have created—from what was there! We do not create our lives whole cloth; we agree, as “life,” as “living things” to pick up where our predecessors left off.

One can say “We do not create the world, we inherit it; we are part of it and the world is part of us. We did not start from scratch.”

Or one can say, “We create the world through our self-creation. We are responsible for what we do, for our choices, and for how we live up to the tests of life.”

But whichever way we choose to see this universe we live in, whether we choose to be responsible or irresponsible, to follow our duty, our hearts, our callings, or the pressures of the world around us, everything we do is recorded in the world around us. There is no escaping the results of our actions, the reflections of who and what we are.

Metaphysics is a tool for seeking freedom. Not freedom from responsibility, not freedom from pain, not freedom from fear, but instead the freedom to be what we must be. We can, with struggle, be free to be our own selves.

© 1999 by Christopher Drysdale
Permission to reproduce this on this page was graciously granted by the author

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