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The Great Dichotomy: Physics vs. Metaphysics
"Physics is the 'real world.' Metaphysics is the only world available to us."
Everyone inhabits two universes: the physical one, which exists independent of us; and the metaphysical one, which we each construct for ourselves. "Reality”, for each of us, is the relative fit between the two.
Physics is the “real world;” It’s everything that exists, from the individual quark to the cosmos; from gravity to teeming "empty space." It includes each of us, for the moment that we are along for the ride, and our constituent atoms before and after.
Metaphysics is everything that we construct within our own skin, including our personal read on the universe. It is made up of electro-chemical impulses mediated by a complicated bath of hormones and enzymes, and whether it is a belief in Santa Claus or a PhD in mathematics none of it is Universally real; because it dies with us. No matter how significant our lives or our impact upon society, it all winks out the moment we do. We may “live on” in print, on recorded media or in the minds of others, but that is all somebody else’s metaphysics.
Words on paper or sounds and images on recorded media have an independent physical reality, but no meaning until they are plugged into somebody’s central nervous system. Voila! Metaphysics.