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The etymology of "spirit" connects to a Proto-Indian-European term speis meaning "to blow, breathe."
The Proto-Indian-Europeans (PIE) were various populations with spoken but no written language. The first written language was the Sumerian language of Southern Mesopotamia in 3100 BCE, while the spoken language of PIE existed earlier in 4500 BCE.
"Spirit" has a Latin translation spirare and spiritus related to energy, ghosts and pride. The Old French espirit of 842 meant "soul; the essence of being."
Between 1100-1500 AD, Middle English use of gāst meant "archaic; spirit; souls of the departed."
From 4500 BCE to modern civilization, "spirit" evolves from defining a physiological process to identifying ephemeral and passé phenomena.
A physical definition of Spirit focuses on the chemical functions that cooperate to illuminate human consciousness. Like historic poet Walt Whitman writes about, the body is spirit. The body is soul.
Image Description: Portrait of Poet Walt Whitman
"I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
The body has just as great a work as the soul,
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
Subtle, vast, electric is the soul, that other heaven,
The invisible something contained within, the cosmic intellect,
In the whole universe I see nothing more divine than human souls."
Image Description: Animated Torso With Lungs Breathing In and Out
Metaphysics is a philosophical term that comes from the Greek word meta meaning "above, beyond." It is an arena of philosophy to discuss the implications of physics or questions pertaining to it without actually doing physics.
This doesn't mean metaphysics is useless. There are many scenarios where we question the state of reality without doing proper physics, but that doesn't mean metaphysics is totally exempt from underlying mechanics or principles that physics is concentrated in.
Philosophy is the study of questions surrounding existence and reason. Its etymology comes from the Greek word philosophia meaning "love of wisdom."
Physics is a quantitative and technical science that rigorously tests and theorizes structures of existence.
Metaphysics is not an alternative science but rather a branch of discussion that occurs around science and physics. In order to be science, a discipline must participate in the due processes of science. It's not a requirement to participate in science, but most religious beliefs and metaphysical curiosities are categorized by art and philosophy unless they apply the scientific method.
That doesn't mean metaphysics should be separated from physics or contradictions to one another. Metaphysics needs physics because it is an outcome of physics. Abilities to dream, ponder and reason are neural activities. Since science cannot test or directly observe every bit of existence, metaphysics is a philosophical branch to reason about it anyways.
If metaphysics is tested by the tools of science, its subject are then adopted into physics or related scientific fields. For thoughts, questions and discussions that apply logic but not the scientific method, that is the purpose of philosophy. Philosophy includes branches such as theology, ethics and metaphysics.
While scientists test for the most significant and reproducible ideas and theories, philosophers debate and discuss. There is even a philosophy of science to discuss the qualifications as science and reliability of theories. Consider the main difference between philosophy (including metaphysics) and science as the tools that are used to make each of the discoveries. In philosophy, the tool is cognitive reasoning. In science, the tool is test, retest and data.
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3. SUPERNATURALEmbed from Getty Images
The term "supernatural" is misused similarly to metaphysics. The etymology of supernatural comes from the Latin word "naturam" meaning nature and "super" meaning above, beyond or over. The supernatural is what is beyond nature as we know it. It does not imply a loss of physics or an absence of nature. It is what is beyond natural understanding.
Inaccessible stories from history, private thoughts and fantasies of our peers, the atmospheres of undiscovered extraterrestrial life — these are supernatural to us.
Magick and the supernatural used to be more integrated with academia and research, but that changed when astrologers couldn't accurately predict celestial movements, and scientific population split off from more "supernatural" populations. At this time, the supernatural was seen as being total separation from nature, so some supernatural thinkers felt there was no good reason to examine or perceive life as physicists and astronomers do.
Spookywood argues that this is a mistake since "supernatural" does not imply loss of physics, only what is outside of natural understanding. People have the option to choose to believe some realities are without principles of physics (energy, lines, space, etc.), but that is only a settlement for the believer.
Secular supernaturalists may not feel a need to separate the supernatural from design and functionality.
"Physical" is defined as being anything with elements of physics like energy, design, substance and function. On the other hand, physical is also (badly) used to differentiate non-virtual reality from virtual reality. The reason it is ineffective to use "virtual" to define something non-physical is because this asserts that virtual reality does not have energy, movement, space, time or any other principles of physics.
Thoughts, love and dreams can be perceived as nonphysical since they feel immaterial, brief and transcendental, but their underlying mechanics do indeed have form/substance (design) and an interaction of parts (function).
Spirits, metaphysical spells, supernatural ghosts — these are always described as having substance and calculation. Under these terms, they qualify to be studied by physicists.
EXAMPLE IN PRACTICE
Consider Casper the friendly ghost. Casper is an example of the ephemeral depiction of spirit. He can be philosophically questioned as a part of metaphysics, and the experimental systems of science can be applied to discover what most likely makes his form and experience possible.
Metaphysical topics concerning Casper:
1. Is Casper real, and what does it mean for him to exist?
2. Since Casper was once a fleshy body but is now translucent, will he ever become flesh again or turn into something else?
3. Is Casper's form an evolution of his body? How can we verify he is the same person and not a clone or impersonator?
To learn if any of our metaphysical ideas about Casper are valid, we need to apply science to test and see about his substance, gather data about his design and function and do this time and time again to draw conclusions based on the evidence.
Casper is a form of energy and physics even as a ghost. He is computational and made of substance. He exists.
You may wonder, what if Casper doesn't want to be discovered by science, and the only person he wants to be known by is you? Then that is Casper's choice, but the religious gods are spoken to be dissimilar and very much seek our awareness and alliance at a global scale. Why would such deities deter the tools of science?
What if science gets it wrong about Casper? The beautiful thing about science is that it fiercely welcomes change. What matters is what can be transparently demonstrates consistently and reliably enough to be trusted as effective.
No reliable ghost, person or god would ever encourage your blind trust. Don't be afraid to ask questions and be critical. It's usually the ones who do that discover the most.
Image Description: Casper the Friendly Ghost Reading and Snacking by a Fireplace