Western Philosophies' Critical Error  

                                                                                        by Richard Quist


I propose that the current prevailing spiritual and philosophical attitudes of the Western World, which, except for the views of
the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches generally reflect either simplistic spirituality or an out right anti-spiritual attitude,
are the result of the combination of a Roman Catholic theology that historically has not properly distinguished between
uncreated metaphysical reality and created metaphysical reality in it's attempt to unify faith with reason, and the philosophical
precept known as Occam's Razor.   

Uncreated reality, as defined by early Church theology, is God proper, who is incorporeal, formless and transcendent, while
created metaphysical reality is the spiritual realm created by God and which possesses a distinctive type of corporeality and
form and includes metaphysical entities such as souls, heaven, angels (etc.). The Roman Catholic Church, while always
having accepted that there is a distinction between created and uncreated metaphysical reality, later incorrectly defined the
nature of this distinction in it's explanations of God's grace and also de-emphasized it in other aspects of it's theology, and
then proceeded to neglect it's true significance when scholastics in the Church attempted to logically demonstrate the
existence of God.  This eventually led to refutations of these demonstrations based upon principles of unknowability, but
these refutations also neglect the concept, well known and accepted in the Eastern Orthodox Church, of there being two
different aspects to metaphysical reality, a created aspect, which is knowable to created beings because it has a distinct type
of corporeality and form, and an uncreated one, which has great limitations in it's knowability for created beings because of
it's incorporeal, formless and transcendent nature.  

The Razor, attributed to William of Occam, a Franciscan monk of the fourteenth century, states that, all things being equal the
simplest solution to a problem is always the best. This has been the basis used by many in their attempts to refute Roman
Catholic theology, and ultimately in the long run, the notion of the existence of metaphysical reality.  It is my contention that the
lack of proper understanding of the concept that there exists two distinct aspects to metaphysical reality, created and
uncreated, has made Roman Catholic theology and philosophical views that embrace the concept of the existence of a
spiritual realm vulnerable to the Razor.  

With the Razor, William of Occam introduced an approach to evaluating belief systems that led to the concept of nominalism,
and eventually, in the hands of some, eliminated the value all but immediately and explicitly provable truth and faith.  His was
originally an effort to refute the concept that the world of ideas, called "universals", have a metaphysical existence distinct
from physical reality, and also the scholastic theologians' attempts to reconcile faith and reason which for the most part
incorporated universals to a degree.

Occam's approach to analyzing belief systems became popular in both philosophical and theological circles just when there
was a growth and proliferation of knowledge of natural law and physical reality, and this eventually helped lead to the
domination of the study of and regard for natural law in academia, it being more susceptible to easy proofs than is
supernatural law.  In the long run this eventually led to the elimination of created metaphysical reality and God in many
philosophers' world view, as these concepts became classified as products of self-delusion and flawed reasoning since
they couldn't philosophically and scientifically be proven to exist and are thus unnecessary complications in any attempt to
know actual truth.   

In regards to theology, Occam's approach began a path to a type of monophysitism (a belief in the real value of only the divine
nature of Christ, at the expense of his human nature), because the elimination of man's capacity to partake in the created
supernatural aspects of reality (for this is the result of the elimination of created metaphysical reality) inherently diminishes
the importance of Christ's humanity through it's redefining of His humanity in terms of only obvious physical reality.
The first problem in applying Occam's razor to theological issues is the caveat "all things being equal".  The Razor actually
means that when there are two solutions to a problem that produce the same answer, thus equal answers, the simpler
solution is preferred.  What is many times neglected when applying the Razor is the natures of the resulting answers to the
problem that each solution gives and whether they are in fact equal.  In regards to soteriology, the nature of the product of any
particular plan of salvation, that is, the saved person, must be considered.  The question must be asked; is a person who is
formed by a plan of salvation that does not include a factor of free will in all things equal in nature to a person who is formed
by one that does?  I would say no.  Plans of salvation based upon simply predestination or faith alone do not form the same
type of person as does a plan of salvation which includes the factor of self-willed choices in all things, and naturally lend
themselves to simpler, if not simplistic, explanations.  A plan of salvation that attributes true value to good self-willed choices
provides a basis for giving genuine dignity and respect to those who make good choices, while one that doesn't does not.  
Consequently, it is not valid to use the Razor when comparing the merits of a plan of salvation that incorporates free will in all
things with one that does not because they do not produce equal results.

This issue of the quality of the product of salvation, meaning the type of person formed, is also relevant to the question of the
distinct existence of universals. This is because if a mind can only acquire information through interactions with physical
reality while operating in the physical world through a physical body then it's access to information is limited, and thus so is
its potential capabilities.  A plan of salvation that includes free will in all things necessarily requires that more information be
made available to those who make free willed choices than one that does not since correct choices require the availability of
the necessary information to make good choices.  That God would structure reality as Roman Catholic scholastic theology
claims He has makes sense when one of the purposes of God is to convey the necessary information for correct free-willed
choices.    

The need for super-natural Creation rests in the purposes of God, which is to empower human beings to become capable of
making good free-willed choices in all things, and also to give human beings the opportunity to exercise that empowerment
in a manner that is beneficial to God and man.  The existence of created metaphysical reality provides another means by
which man can know and understand truth, and also provides the possibility for human beings to exert their will in this realm,
and is thus a possible path of empowerment that is not available within simple physical reality.  True intercessory prayer is
an obvious example of this.
In regards to universals, scholastics theologians made a legitimate effort to explain them but it was flawed.  They developed
what was essentially a compromise between the Platonic view that universals exist in an eternal metaphysical reality and
the Aristotelian view that they exist only in particular objects within physical reality by claiming that they essentially exist in
both realms, in the objects of physical reality, with these forms being related in some way to forms that exist in a
metaphysical realm.  The problem with this solution is that metaphysical reality is not clearly described in terms of two
distinct realms, created and uncreated, with universals attributed only to the created, and not the uncreated, metaphysical
realm. Not properly defining a created metaphysical reality in which universals can exist in such a way that they are unified in
a knowable way with physical reality had the effect of leaving in place a solid barrier between the metaphysical and physical
realms, encouraging a dualist approach to the issue both in terms of the relationship between the metaphysical realm in
general and the physical realm and later in terms of the specific metaphysical entity, the mind, and it's relationship to the
physical realm. This mind-body dualism reached full flower in the field of philosophy in the work of Renee Descartes.  This
then became the central problem in Western philosophy, and in my view the lack of a satisfying solution to this problem in
the long run led many philosophers to dismiss the existence of metaphysical reality.
The mind-body problem includes the issue of whether the mind and it's perceptions exist distinctly and separately from
physical reality, distinctly and in unity with physical reality, or not distinctly at all, but simply as the activity of a complex
physical entity, the brain.  If there is a distinct existence for the mind then there exists a distinct metaphysical reality, since in
this case the mind itself would have metaphysical constructs.  What has been neglected by most Western philosophers
when considering this problem is that when one accepts the possibility that there are two distinct types of metaphysical
reality, created and uncreated, then the analysis of this issue is altered significantly. This is because the possibility of the
existence of two aspects to metaphysical reality fundamentally affects our understanding of the relationships between the
metaphysical realm (God, soul, mind) and the physical world (body, physical Universe), since a created metaphysical reality
can have forms and mechanics connected to physical reality which are very knowable and even provable, all the while
co-existing with an uncreated metaphysical reality which is transcendent and formless, but which operates through created
metaphysical reality.  With this approach the scholastic-Cartesian duality problem evaporates.  

In his writings, Immanuel Kant, arguably the most influential philosopher on modern thought, claims that the existence of
both physical and metaphysical reality is not definitively provable because perception is a subjective experience stimulated
by a separate external reality, a subjectivity though circumscribed by reason since the mind does possess intrinsic
organizing properties that enable it to comprehend the external world.  This reasonable solution has led many to conclude
that since physical reality can be empirically measured and scientifically analyzed and metaphysical reality can not, we can
be more sure of our knowledge of and the existence of physical reality than metaphysical reality and thus this type of
knowledge has more value. However, in Kant's approach he basically neglects the possibility of there being two distinct
types of metaphysical realms, created and uncreated, this neglect limiting our understanding of how knowable created
metaphysical reality relates to objective physical reality, thus also limiting our understanding of what can be known in
regards to both  physical and metaphysical reality.  None the less, his criteria for knowability has become the standard for
most later Western philosophers, and this helped redirect many philosophers' attention away from efforts to know the
mechanics of metaphysical reality.
An important aspect of Kant's influence rests in his defining the parameters of knowability in regards to the degree that the
mind can know external realities, whether physical or metaphysical, with his conclusion being that this question is not
definitively answerable but this doesn't matter because through the use of reason the mind can relate to both realities well
enough to make sufficiently accurate conclusions about them.  In my view this is an example of an overly simple solution to a
problem, as opposed to the simplest valid solution called for by the Razor.  The reason it is overly simply is because it leads
to a neglect of the possibility that there is a form of metaphysical reality (created) that is fully bound to and integrated with
physical reality, this providing a means of describing a unity between metaphysical and physical reality, leading to a greater
knowledge of both.  

For many, Kant's solution made the issue of metaphysical constructs moot, while others looked for new ways to strengthen
the bond between the mind and physical and metaphysical reality.  This led to two separate and almost opposite directions
in philosophical inquiry, one, followed by
Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard and others, using Kant's parameters to justify a turning
away from the issue and to an emphasis on subjectivity, individuality, and effect of will, and the other, most notably followed
by Hegel, emphasizing the concept that greater knowledge of the specifics of reality can be had through a greater
understanding of the unity of reality, while basically following a
neo-Platonic model of unity.

Time has  improved man's capacity to understand the mechanics of physical reality.  Through progress in the field of physics
and the other sciences we now have an extensive understanding of physical reality and it's unified nature. This supports the
Hegelian view for unity and the concept that one acquires more accurate perceptions based upon an understanding of unity,
at least in regards to the physical realm, and also to a degree enhances the bond between the mind and physical reality by
demonstrating the correlation between the results of the mind's use of abstract mathematical concepts to not only describe
physical reality but also to predict it's structure, and actually observe structures of physical reality that were previously
unobservable.  The problem, though, is that metaphysical reality has been left by the wayside, as for many everything is now
reduced to simply physical reality, and philosophers and theologians have not found an acceptable way to incorporate
metaphysical reality into this physically based unity.  In my view this is because of the neglect, continued by Hegel, of the
concept of there being two different aspects to metaphysical reality, the uncreated, which is God proper, and the created,
which can be understood in terms of forms, and through these forms be related to physical reality.  This distinction is
necessary in order to accommodate concepts such as eternity, formlessness, non-being, and total transcendence in such a
way that they lay outside knowable reality, so that there can be completeness and full unity within knowable reality.  
Otherwise, there will be confusion as to what is knowable or not, this inevitably leading to an undermining of our
understanding of the unity and completeness of knowable reality.
This confusion is reflected in the Platonic concept of emanations, the idea that reality emanates from and reflects perfect
eternal forms. Besides it's difficulty in accommodating the concepts of formlessness and non-being, this concept implies an
eternal, as opposed to a created and everlasting nature for the soul and physical reality, leading to the concept that man is by
nature an integral part of God, thus also intrinsically possessive of the qualities of all knowingness and total transcendence.  
Assuming these qualities for man is easily questioned.  If however, we assume that there are two aspects to metaphysical
reality, uncreated and created, then these qualities are not implied as intrinsic to man's nature, which is created.  It also
becomes possible to describe time itself as created, and thus souls and universal forms can be described as created,
everlasting and time transcendent, giving them what can be termed relative transcendence, as opposed to total
transcendence.
The early Church had always taught that there are two aspects to metaphysical reality, the uncreated, God, and that which He
created, this including Heaven, Hell, the human soul and the mind.  It is in the person of Christ that these two aspects of
metaphysical reality are united, in the union of his divine nature (uncreated), and human nature (created), which includes his
soul and mind.  According to Orthodox Christian theology (St. John of Damascus), the soul (a created metaphysical entity)
and the body (a created physical entity) are each corporeal in their distinctive ways (with only uncreated metaphysical reality,
God, being completely incorporeal), and also in union with each other in particular ways at all times, even in death.  This
reflects the unified, though distinct, natures of created metaphysical and created physical reality.  The mind is the interface
between the soul and physical reality.  The soul and the mind reside in metaphysical reality, but a metaphysical reality that is
unified with physical reality.  

If we extend the concepts defined by the Church to include the idea that Christ's created mind and soul were actually created
with the creation of the Universe and in union with all other souls and minds which are also created at the creation of the
Universe, and since these souls, in time, are eventually born into the physical world, we then have a basis to say that in the
fullness of time all souls and minds are united with the physical universe.  The unifying principle binding the soul, mind, and
physical body together would be the everlasting soul's capacity to transcend time, meaning that once created the soul has
the capacity on some level to experience all time periods simultaneously. This characteristic would also be the basis for
defining it's unique corporeal nature, a corporeality based upon time transcendence, thus one not directly detectable through
time dependent physical entities.  With this structure metaphysical reality is the unifying construct of reality, while physical
reality is the differentiating construct, with the metaphysical construct binding together physical reality through it's capacity to
transcend the barriers and gaps, including those described by quantum theory, within physical reality. The mind, residing in
the soul, would have some capacity to perceive reality through this time transcending characteristic of the soul while acting
and reacting in both the metaphysical realm and the physical realm. Through the souls capacity to transcend time the mind
acquires a type of information about physical reality, and this information can be considered to be a type of universal, not a
type that is separate from physical reality but one that is united with it.
Since according to Orthodox Christianity there is a distinction between uncreated and created metaphysical reality, it is
possible to conceive of the above construction for reality without including the existence of God and the specifics of
Christianity.  For a Christian it is the uncreated grace of God, sometimes referred to as His divine energies, which influences
a mind's perceptions of Creation and determines a soul's true condition, and, while the mechanics of the created soul and
mind can be understood and while uncreated grace manipulates perceptions through these mechanics, the mechanics of
the interface between uncreated grace and the created soul and mind are unknowable since one of the components of the
interface, uncreated grace, is formless and incorporeal.  From this we can draw a line between what can and cannot be
analyzed and defined.  This line is what historically has not been properly drawn, and this led to flawed analysis and
conclusions in regards to determining the true nature of reality.

The construction for created reality described above provides a basis for uniting all souls and minds with all physical
creation, and also for uniting every soul and mind with every other in such a way that, theoretically, they could communicate
with each other through the created metaphysical realm.  A person's thoughts then could manipulate both other peoples
minds and physical reality, positively or negatively.  Ideas themselves could also form or break down metaphysical barriers
within minds, blocking or enabling accurate perceptions.

I've just presented one example of a structure for reality which includes a created metaphysical reality that is in union with
physical reality and knowable.  When a belief system leads a society to believe that something can't be known, then that
something can become unknown, since little effort is made to know it, and this is what has happened to Western society
under the influence of their philosophers in regards to metaphysical reality.  With the approach I've put forward here it is
possible that a created metaphysical reality could be theoretically proven to exist by demonstrating that physical reality can
only exist as it does if it has this type of metaphysical component.  It is also possible that experimental proofs of telepathy
and telekinesis, which in fact are abilities claimed by Christians for Christ, could be devised through the development of this
approach, and this would provide a definitive proof of the existence of a created metaphysical component to reality.  These
proofs however are far less important than the simple idea that the metaphysical realm is in fact always being experienced
by all beings whether or not they define the experience as such, and one's consciousness of the experience of the
metaphysical can be increased through a growth in one's understanding of the truths of reality.