So how do we know the metaphysical world exists? We can prove it.
It is a simple matter to logically establish its existence. We simply
use that tried and true logical proof, the Greek
syllogism, as the core to establishing our thesis.
Proposition A: All things which exist can be defined in terms of the five senses, ie,
taste, touch, sight, smell, sound. This is an enormously important statement as it is the
foundation of all rational thought and the scientific revolution which emerged out of the
so-called Age of Enlightenment in Western Europe some 300 years ago.
The entire corpus of Western scientific research and technology stands on this
assumption. Any man or woman of science will immediately nod their head in agreement
with this. Without this axiom of material existence, the person of science will tell you, the
world would descend back into cesspool of ignorance and superstition such as the Middle
Ages. Indeed, it is precisely because of this axiom that science and rational thought was able
to lift Western society out of the pig stye of Medieval sorcery, fear, and ignorance.
Proposition B: The human mind exists. To be glib, if the human mind doesn't exist,
then what is reading this web page? Here we have a variation of Rene Descartes' famous
delineation of subjective idealism, cogito ergo sum, one of the few
unchallengeable statements of existence known. Note that the existence of the human mind is
a very separate proposition from an assertion that the human mind is being used wisely. I
know better than to get into that one. I only state the mind exists.
We are now ready to construct our devastatingly logical syllogism:
A: All things which exist can be defined in terms of the five
senses, ie, taste, touch, sight, smell, sound.
B: The human mind exists.
C: Therefore, the human mind can be defined in terms of the five senses, ie, taste,
touch, sight, smell, sound.
So here we have our ice-cold logical conclusion, that the human mind is definable by
the five senses. Well, since it has been proved logically (and all of us here are logical,
correct?) that the mind is definable by the five senses, let's see if we can do it.
Can we define the human mind by touch?
So what does the mind feel like when you rub it between your fingers? Smooth?
Rough? Slippery? Hot? Cold? Oh, my, we're trouble with touch.
Can we define the human mind by sound?
I wanna buy the CD and crank it up on the stereo until the neighbours complain. No
CD? Oops, we're in trouble again.
Can we define the human mind by sight?
Kewl. Where can I rent the video? Or is this a midnight screening at the local repertory
movie house? No can do? This one isn't working, so we are in trouble with seeing the
Can we define the human mind by taste?
I dunno about you, but I've never seen a Mindburger for sale at McDonalds, even at
regular price. We're in trouble on this taste thing with the mind.
Can we define the human mind by smell?
"Ah, mon cheri, how I love the sweet smell of Mind
Perfume wafting to my eager throbbing nostrils." M-m-m-m-m......I don't think I'll
ever get laid with that line. We're in trouble with the smell of mind, too.
In fact we are in very big trouble. Our ice-cold logical syllogism just collapsed around
us. We know all things which exist can be defined by the five senses. We know the mind
exists. But we are unable to define the mind in terms of any of the five senses. We can show
what the mind does, but showing what the mind does, unfortunately, does not define what the
mind is. Our logical conclusion, then, becomes illogical, OR, one of our initial two
propositions is wrong.
Maybe it's time to look at those two propositions again. No one yet has refuted
cogito ergo sum, and it hasn't been for lack of effort by some very
skilled mental (ironic isn't it?) activity by highly skilled philosophical and academic
personnel. So we know the mind exists.
That leaves us with the logical conclusion that the other proposition is
in error, the proposition about defining all existence with the five senses.
It seems we have found something which exists which can
NOT be defined by the five senses.
So the logical conclusion is that if we have found one thing which
exists and cannot be defined by the five senses, then we must conclude
there may be more than one thing which exists and cannot be defined by
the five senses. Logically, it cannot be proven that there are no other
things besides the mind which also exist and also cannot be defined
by the five senses. Attempting to logically prove such a negation, in
layperson's terms, is a mug's game.
So what we are left with here is that there seem to be two categories
1. Those things which can be defined by the five senses;
2. Those things which cannot be defined by the five
Somewhere along the line, long before I was born, these two categories were given
1. Physical plane: All things which exist and can be
defined in terms of the five senses.
2. Metaphysical plane: All things which exist and cannot
be defined in terms of the five senses.
Isn't logic wonderful?