This is Part One of, ‘What the #$@%, Cathy, do you do?’. (Note: Please don’t be discouraged if you find this post ‘too academic’, I have to start somewhere and the deeply inbred scholar within me throws a hissy fit with every attempt to start somewhere else. So stayed tuned, this is only the first in a series of posts I will be publishing about my work and my practice, and I promise they will get more colloquial, if that’s what you’re looking for.)
Today’s question: What exactly is a ‘metaphysician’? (My WordPress spell check doesn’t even recognize it as a word.)
The short answer: A metaphysician is a doctor/healer who makes changes in the physical world through meta-physical (i.e. decidedly not ‘physical’) principles. As a metaphysician, I work the principles of mind (and beyond) to create powerful and lasting change in peoples’ lives. The result of metaphysical work, or working with metaphysical principles, often looks like this:
That is the old-school – and by ‘old-school’ I mean at least 2,000 years old – idea of a metaphysician. The more modern, mainstream, and largely academic conception of a metaphysician is a philosopher whose area of study or expertise is the nature of reality itself (called metaphysics). That looks something more like this:
I am a practicing philosopher and healer, a metaphysician in both senses of the word. My consultancy practice is the only one of its kind I currently know of in existence. (If you are interested in working with me, fill out the contact form to get in touch with me directly.)
Now the more detailed answer for those of you who are interested:
Metaphysician as philosopher
In academic circles, a metaphysician is a philosopher whose area of study or expertise is metaphysics: the study of the fundamental nature of reality and existence itself. ‘Meta-‘ means beyond or transcending; so meta-physical means that which lies beyond, underlies or transcends the physical realm/world/reality. So if physics (in addition chemistry, biology, etc.) is the study of the physical world, concerned with discovering and describing the properties and interactions of physical objects (which now explicitly includes energy, hooray!), meta-physics is concerned with discovering and describing the principles that make these objects, properties, interactions and principles possible in the first place. These are the laws and principles that make the laws and principles that science describes and discovers possible and coherent. (This is why we could equally flip the elements of the image directly above, placing ‘Science’ and ‘Physics’ on top with arrows pointing downward to ‘Ultimate Beliefs’ and ‘Metaphysics’.)
Metaphysicians tackle – or, okay, let’s be fair, attempt to tackle – questions that lie beyond or behind those capable of being tackled by the physical sciences. For this reason – and not because it is unscientific – metaphysics is a branch of philosophy and not science. In fact, it is a meta-science (at its best, anyway): a scientific description of the laws and principles that make the physical sciences possible and coherent in the first place.
Here are some examples of the areas that metaphysics deals with. (The academic name of the particular area is in italics, followed by some examples of the kinds of questions it deals with.)
Ontology: What is there? What exists? What is it like?
Epistemology: What is knowledge? What is truth? How do we know anything at all? Do we know anything, really? Does the world/reality exist independently of our knowledge of it?
Philosophy of Mind: What is the exact nature of the interaction between mind (mental phenomena) and body (physical phenomena)? What is consciousness? How can we come to have knowledge of minds other than our own?
Other areas of study and interest include: time, free will, meaning and value, causation, universals and particulars, substance, and appearance vs. reality.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down? If you’re feeling that a lot of these questions are either absurdly simple and/or stupid, or ridiculously weighty and/or profound – or, even better, both – then … you’re hot like fire.
Metaphysician as physician
Outside modern Western academic halls, there exists an older and more esoteric conception of the word as a meta-physician. This is a kind of doctor/healer who effects change in the physical world by effecting, changing, and tampering with what is meta-, or beyond or underlying it. In other words, the metaphysician works with metaphysical laws and principles – not first and foremost with the everyday physical ones. It is because the meta- or more fundamental level of the physical is itself non-physical (sub- and supra- physical), that metaphysicians can and do effect healing and change in the physical by working with what is non-physical.
In working with the principles and powers and ‘things’ in the realm where matter and what is beyond matter meet that we are definitely putting a toe, or maybe a whole leg, down the rabbit-hole. That is, from the perspective of everyday life. Finding any value in this kind of work definitely involves a perspective that is different from the first-person every day experience of our ego. It involves, for example: the psyche, the mind, symbolic language, quantum mechanics, and the clear understanding that where the direction of the mind-body connection is not equal – it is most definitely weighted in the direction of mind to body, not body to mind.
The result of metaphysical work may look, at one far end of the spectrum, like magic and miracle, and, at the other, like placebo or coincidence – and everything in between. Clearly the most important thing is that it works.
In brief, a metaphysician is either a philosopher whose area of expertise is the study of the fundamental nature of reality and existence and/or, more esoterically, a practicing healer/adviser that changes physical reality by working with the principles and powers and ‘things’ that underlie it, and especially the mind or psyche. Again, if you are interested working with me you can contact me here; I am currently taking new clients.