Physics vs Metaphysics
When a Yogi floats on air or a dancer performs extraordinary feats that cannot be explained using the principles of physics, they are at best left unanswered and sometimes the persons are even labeled as fraud or cheats. This is because the knowledge of mankind is limited by what they know about the universe and the relationships between things as described by physics. What cannot be explained using even the latest findings in physics is incomprehensible to most of us. But where physics ends, metaphysics takes center stage. Physics is all about nature, natural phenomenon, and our understanding of all relationships while metaphysics also tries to answer why part of all things. Why do we or universe exists or where have we come from and what is the cause of our existence are some of the questions that are tackled by metaphysics. There are similarities but stark differences between physics and metaphysics. These differences will be highlighted in this article.
Physics has its limitations and it can explain things and phenomenon occurring in the universe only upon the basis of Newtonian principles and laws. When a musician transcends these principles, he produces music that sounds magic to ears and impossible acco0rding to principles of ordinary physics. Let me pose this question to the readers. If a big tree falls in a forest and there is a huge sound but no one is there to listen this sound. Is there a sound? We call a physical phenomenon sound only when we are able to hear it. But the phenomenon of sound takes place without we coming to know about its occurrence. This is merely to explain metaphysics simply means physics principles that take place without our knowledge. Physics has its limitations while metaphysics has no limitations. It is only our limited knowledge of the universe through physics that we seem to understand metaphysics which is not possible at the moment. However with advancements in physics and quantum physics coming into existence, many of the unresolved concepts of metaphysics are being explained. There are many principles of metaphysics that are now laws of modern physics. It would not be surprising that metaphysics of today may become physics tomorrow.
Physics studies nature and natural phenomenon such as matter, energy, motion time and space through our limited understanding of the universe. It uses measurements and quantitative and qualitative analysis to discover energy and forces of nature to describe various events and happenings. It is restricted in the sense that it can explain things that can be observed and put to test. It is impossible to tell at any given point of time whether we know everything. As such it is difficult to tell if what we know is ultimate knowledge or there is anything beyond what we know. All our theories of science, especially physics are thus subject to new developments and keep on modifying.
Metaphysics on the other hand seeks to find if there is any reality beyond our universe and whether there is any creator. It is actually a continuum from physics that relates us to may unresolved concepts of our universe. It probes the whole of reality, not just the physical part that is observable and quantifiable. So it talks not just about simple reality but also unconditioned reality, infinite reality, intelligible reality and a spiritual reality.
Physics is limited to the data of our universe and to what can be empirically observed. It can bring us to the limit of the universe beyond which it finds itself unable to explain anything, and this is where it passes on the baton to metaphysics. Metaphysics takes recourse to the idea of a creator because if there was nothing before the beginning of the universe, it could not have created itself automatically. Metaphysics tells us that something else could have created the universe as a whole and this something is treated as creator in metaphysics.
Difference Between Physics and Metaphysics
• Physics is the study of the observable and is thus restricted to what we have in our universe while metaphysics is a philosophical study of being and knowing.
• Metaphysics begins where physics ends
• Many of metaphysical concepts are today accepted as laws of physics since modern physics is not just Newtonian physics but has advanced to quantum physics.
• Metaphysics is close to spirituality though it is not religion
• Physics explains only what can be explained using our knowledge base while metaphysics goes beyond our present knowledge.