Disclaimers: 1) Nothing that proceeds is based on the supernatural, the afterlife, souls, sixth senses, out of body experiences, the paranormal, etc. Not to say that these things cannot exist, but just to say that this particular concept is not based on anything beyond our material universe. 2) The use of the phrase "metaphysical" is meant literally as "that which is not physical". While this may include supernatural phenomena, it also includes those things which are not physical in nature, but every bit a part of the empirical universe. Examples would include emotion, democracy, capitalism, ecology, mind, beauty, ethics, and so on. These are examples of things which cannot be held in the hand as a physical object, but rather are descriptions of processes and relationships. Because they are not physical, they are metaphysical, but not supernatural. This is the sense of the word used here. 3) This is a fresh attempt at summarizing a concept that was initially not communicated clearly in the thread "Where to WE begin and end". Hopefully this is more successful. THE METAPHYSICAL BODY When we consider our bodies, we usually think of the organism that is encased within our skin. Biologically, this may be a fitting description, but conceptually it may be arbitrary. The ethical value in a human being is not in his biological body, but in his mind - that interaction of data (thoughts, memories, impulses) which together form the "person". With the ability to think as sentient beings, our physical bodies are less significant - now only having ultimate value in that they allow the continued functioning of our minds. This being the case, it may be closer to the truth not to be bound by biology in considering philosophically what is, and is not, our body. When I look at my finger on the desk, and the pencil beside it, one I consider to be my body and the other I do not. I say the finger is part of my body for two reasons: I can feel it and I can move it. When we feel something we are really just detecting - gathering data. Feeling is just one of five senses. So, if something touches my finger, my brain is informed through nerves. But if something touches my pencil, my brain is also informed, but simply with a different sense (in this case vision). When we move our finger, we use nerves as well. But all that is philosophically important is that I am able to move the finger with nerve impulses. I am also able to move the pencil with my finger. Each is done by causing a chain reaction through physical matter, which begins with a decision. So, I can move the pencil and I can detect what happens to the pencil. In this respect, many things could be considered my "metaphysical body" - my car, my television, my clothing, my home. By technologically extending our detection and our ability to affect change, our metaphysical bodies can extend over great distances. The metaphysical body is an amorphous thing, pulsating, shrinking, growing, splitting off in various directions, but always rooted back to our decision-making minds. One might counter that when our pencil is taken away, we do not feel pain, but when our finger is taken away, we do. But bodies are addictive to a mind. The more dependent we become on something we have made into a part of our metaphysical body, the more we miss it when it is destroyed. There are many forms of pain. One might also counter that, we can loose a finger, but if we lose a heart, our lungs, our brain, that our personhood will also cease. So, the parts of our physical body that our life depend on are therefore our "real" body. However, there are other "organs" just as necessary to sustain our life. The food distribution system that brings food to my supermarket for instance. And what if I pollute the air and it damages my lungs, causing me to die early? This is no different than if poison were injected into my veins. So that is the concept of the metaphysical body. It seems to me a far more significant body than our biological body. Consider Stephen Hawking, whose physical body is damaged, but who probably has a more powerful and influential metaphysical body, defined by his ability to know about his universe (detect) and change his environment (effect). Perhaps the underlying goal of all sentient beings is to attempt to grow their metaphysical bodies as large and as powerful as they can get them. Thoughts?