Metaphysics: East vs West

Metaphysics: East vs West

Aristotle referred to metaphysics as the “first philosophy.” A metaphysician or metaphysicist studies all things and how they relate. Whether the focus is ontological (loosely the study of everything in our physical world) or cosmological (the study and relationship of everything in the universe) metaphysics, both approaches clearly cover a wide swath of thought and study. Though the questions may be universal, the approaches in finding answers vary. Taoism (or Daoism) best represents the oriental tradition of thought employing metaphysics.

The Taoist does not believe in the “religion” of Tao, for Tao is not a belief system in the way Christianity, Judaism or other organized religions are. Tao is a path. A western analogy would be a Christian who seeks the truth of the Christ teaching in everyday occurrences, sans the influence of dogmatic rhetoric, seeking purity of path versus strict adherence to ritualistic demonstrations.

Tao is the flow of the universe; metaphysicians study the flow. Metaphysicians studying in the oriental tradition have used the Tao Te Ching for guidance in meditation and study. Now, it would be a mistake to refer to oneself as a Taoist, for “The name that can be named is not the constant name” (Tao Te Ching). The naming of a thing limits it, the definition subverting it. Lao Tzu on the Tao Te Ching: “The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao.” The metaphysician avoids limiting terms and realizes that naming is itself contrary to the path.

Eastern metaphysicians seem to study the “first philosophy” from a more earth centered, individual, ontological perspective than western metaphysicians tendency towards the cosmological. However, when dealing with metaphysical thought, we are each the captains of our own journey to enlightenment, so whether eastern or western, the journey is the destination.

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Published by Vincent Lee Jones

Silk sheets or city streets, Park Avenue or park bench, addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer of lives. My name is Vincent Lee Jones and I have been in recovery since September 1985. My professional career began when I was nearly 20 years in recovery and was asked to work pro bono with at risk students at Huntington Beach High School. At the time I had developed a reputation within the at large recovery community as an effective communicator and was known to some of the faculty. After the death of two students from prescription drugs I was asked to start working with at risk students, which I did for nearly 5 years. Word of mouth lead to offers of compensated freelance Facilitator and Director positions with numerous local treatment facilities in the ensuing years. As a retired Building Contractor/Designer, working in conjunction with a treatment facility, I created a construction program utilizing a workforce comprised almost exclusively of people new or returning to recovery, helping them to not only learn a trade and start making a living but since many of them had relapsed numerous times, to begin truly building a foundation with real aftercare to live free of active addiction. This program changed many lives. In my 30+ years in recovery I have worked with thousands of individuals from all walks of life, teenagers to the retired, famous to infamous, prosperous to those living hand to mouth, adamant atheists to those embracing strong Religious beliefs; suffering from all manner of intoxicant and behavior-based addictions as well as those who love and care about them, both as a member in recovery Fellowships and as a treatment professional. I can be contacted at 714-366-1725. I write and publish daily a recovery based nondenominational spiritually based blog at with accompanying videos that can be found as well on YouTube and LinkedIn at Vincent Lee Jones.

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