The Physical and Metaphysical

by | Jul 1, 2022 | Metaphysics, Study notes

The doctrine of the two natures is fundamental to the understanding of Tradition and its antithesis, Modernity. There is a physical order and a metaphysical order. These can also be called natural and supernatural, mortal and immortal, superior and inferior, or in more symbolic terms, Heaven and Earth.

The superior plane is the realm of being, the inferior plane is the realm of becoming.

Now first of all we must, in my judgement, make the following distinction. What is that which is Existent always and has no Becoming? And what is that which is Becoming always and never is Existent? Now the one of these is apprehensible by thought with the aid of reasoning, since it is ever uniformly existent; whereas the other is an object of opinion with the aid of unreasoning sensation, since it becomes and perishes and is never really existent. 1Plato, Timaeus 27a.28a

The physical order is the visible and tangible dimension, accesible to the senses, and designated by becoming since it is always subject to change. The metaphysical order on the other hand, is eternal and unchanging, and thus designated by being. It is the invisible and intangible dimension, not directly accessible to the material senses.

The world of becoming is in always in a state of flux and subject to decay, thus it can never simpy “be” or said to exist in the timeless and eternal sense that is proper to the metaphysical.

The metaphysical order is the origin of the physical order, is prior to it, and gives it existence. Since the metaphysical is the only changeless and eternal, and thus has real existence, it is the true source of all that is transitory and temporary, i.e. the material world that our bodies inhabit. The materialist worldview that underlies modernity is the exact opposite of this.

Awareness of Traditional Man

This knowledge has always been present in every tradition as the foundation upon which everything was built. The man of Tradition was aware of a reality far beyond that which modern materialist man experiences. In traditional societies the invisible was known to be just as real as the visible, in fact even more real, and this influenced every aspect of life.

However, it is important to realize that something being part of invisible realities does not automatically mean it can to be equated with something superior, i.e. the superhuman. There is also that which is below in a sense, the subhuman. A substratum of inferior or ambiguous forces. In the words of Evola:

The ancients had the sense of a dark netherworld, populated by obscure and ambiguous forces of every kind (the demonic soul of nature, which is the essential substratum of all nature’s forms and energies) that was opposed to the superrational and sidereal brightness of a higher region.2Evola, Revolt against the Modern World – p.4

Nature in this sense also includes everything that is merely human, that which is bound by birth & death, impermanence, dependence and transformation, all characteristics of the inferior plane.

The integration and purification of the human element into the direction of the non-human (upwards) can only be led by reference to a superior, otherworldy domain. This superior plane was the essence and goal of any traditional civilization.

According to Evola, the traditional representations of the higher region are solar symbols, heavenly regions, beings of light or fire, islands and mountain peaks. The world beyond this world was a given, the physical world being the fall of the metaphysical, and the latter the liberation of the former.

Physical existence is meaningless unless it approaches the metaphysical and aims to participate in it, achieving finally the liberation from the human condition of bondage.

According to Tradition, every authority is fraudulent, every law is unjust and barbarous, every institution is vain and ephemeral unless they are ordained to the superior principle of Being, and unless they are derived from above and oriented “upward”. 3Evola, Revolt against the Modern World – p.6

See also: Divine kingship; initiation as the bridge between the worlds; the two ways of approaching the transcendent: contemplation and heroic action; rites as mediation; traditional law and the caste system as social foundation; the Empire as political earthly symbol.

  • 1
    Plato, Timaeus 27a.28a
  • 2
    Evola, Revolt against the Modern World – p.4
  • 3
    Evola, Revolt against the Modern World – p.6


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This website contains the personal notes I’m taking during the study of perennialism and esotericism. You’re welcome to read along. More

“Thus saith the LORD, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein.”

Book of Jeremias 6.16

“Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us. There is no remembrance of former things: nor indeed of those things which hereafter are to come, shall there be any remembrance with them that shall be in the latter end.”

Book of Ecclesiastes 1.10-11