Neurometaphysics is the study of the brain’s neurological activity and metaphysics insofar as they relate to each other (which is entirely).
The term “neurometaphysics” will replace the term “neurotheology” as it becomes more apparent that the later term is obsolete or at least limited. At any rate continued adherence to this term by the meme engineers (by that I mean science magazine writers) would be an impedance to fuller understanding of the association between the brain and the psyche and its experience of the metaphysical. In other words, I predict (and hope) that the area of inquiry that is currently called “neurotheology” by science writers is the area that will come to be called “neurometaphysics”. I think this is inevitable. It’s simply the next logical step as the study moves forward.
Theology is the intellectual study of religion. Metaphysics is far more encompassing, far more scientific. Historically metaphysics refers to a branch of philosophy or natural philosophy to be more exact. At the time (ancient Greece) there was no science per say. With the advent of the scientific method, science emerged distinct from natural philosophy. Science, we can fairly say, cheerfully leaves philosophy to speculate and pontificate while it experiments, studies, observes.
However, today metaphysics includes philosophy, theology, and science of course. You can not ignore any of these. I would go further. I put forth that in metaphysics we can not ignore the psyche itself. In other words we must include psychology. But this is my own opinion and not conventional metaphysics per say.
I carry over psychology to “neurometaphysics”. I would not presume to argue overmuch that metaphysics should bend to my recommendation. Rather psychology may be better applied in neurometaphysics. We can hardly discus psychology without discussing neurology and I would argue that neurology begs to question of mind or psychology. It is the psyche that is, I venture, generated by the brain. I do not argue that the brain creates the psyche but that brain activity must occur for the psyche to be present in the body. Electricity exists independent of an electric generator but we need generators to harness the electricity. I think that mind exists independent of the brain but that the brain generates mind in a particular place and time.
There is both chemical and electrical activity dancing in your brain. You have probably heard of neurochemistry which is associated with the mind but it is really electrochemical activity in the brain. We can say that electrochemical brain activity is associated with mental activity. But we can not reduce one to the other.
Neurometaphysics would not have a reductionist agenda. It would rightfully have no agenda at all per say, but of course it would seek to know as does all science and philosophy.
Perhaps it is prudent to say that we must consider the psyche, the individual, the self-aware, consciousness. Therefore we must include psychology which has yet to fully interlock or interface with neurology . . . yet.
Neurometaphysics would not seek to reduce the psyche to physics alone. It would not try to reduce spirituality to mechanistic science. As proper philosophy and science it would have no agenda.
It is predictable that some will level accusations of reductionism or even heresy at a proper institutionalized study of neurometaphysics. But this would be based on unexamined presumptions and emotional reactions. People of faith would feel that such a study would be a threat to their cherished beliefs and therefore would attack it without fully understanding why. The question of whether or not attacking the study of neurometaphysics would even be helpful to religion will go unexamined in the reactionary emotional objection that will be raised by many an opinion holder. This is inevitable and not to be given too much thought and energy.
Now then, if we have placated the politics and beliefs that should not impeded science anyway, let us qualify…
Neurometaphysics would include
1. the Physical – The scientific study of the brain, neurology, neurochemistry or “neuroelectrochemistry” to be more precise. That is the study of electrical and chemical mechanisms of the brain and (insofar as can be) all the aspects of the association of the neurosystem and mind. furthermore, like metaphysics, it would study the physical universe which of course includes quantum physics which will come to bare more and more on neuro-science. I do not want to burden the reader here but suffice to say that the mind/brain interface, I predict, will be more and more associated with quantum mechanisms and processes (note 1).
2. the Psychological – It seems prudent to say that mind (psyche) can effect the brain and body just as the brain is associated with (but not reduced to) the mind. we are at the point where mental activity can be detected with instruments. It is crude at this point but it certainly is a start. A person’s mental state can be detected with technology to some extent. Therefore psychology comes to bare on all of this.
3. the Philosophical – This includes (but is by no means limited to) theology which is the rational study of religion. The branch of ontology (the study of reality) will be of essential importance to neurometaphsics.
I predict in a matter-of-fact style that neurometaphysics will be prominent in the zeitgeist of the future. It seems plain to me that this is inevitable with or without this author or anyone else.
Neurometaphysics would ask why it is that people with epileptic seizures, saints, and mystics have similar or identical experiences and what occurs in the neurosystem when the mind associated with the brain in question has these experiences. Why when given extra doses of the neurotransmitter chemical DMT do people have similar or identical experiences to people who have had near death experiences, out of body experiences, religious experiences and so on? What of the abduction experience or the experience of entities? What of the results of the isolation tank experiments of Dr. Lilly? The experiments with the effects of magnetism on the brain.mind by of Dr. Persinger? The experiments of the effects of DMT on the brain/mind by Dr. Strassman? More will emerge and these will inventively be included in neurometaphysics.
In the way that neurology brings psychology closer to science, neurometaphysics will bring the so called “paranormal” closer to science. In neurometaphysics the brain or neurosystem and its electrochemical activity will be way to understand the metaphysical. “As above so below” the maxim goes. In Neurometaphysics the individual will be key to understanding the universe. The personal experience is the ground, the center from which to view everything 2. In neurometaphysics the inner and outer will interface like the crossroad of the infinite symbol.
1. If you are read in quantum physics, let us remember that an electron behaves differently when observed by a mind or psyche than if not observed and think of what the ramifications of this may be when we remember that electrons are essential for brain activity.
2. The point of awareness and the circumference of awareness or circle whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere found.