The Radical Metaphysics
of Richard Schain


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My concept of a radical metaphysics, as opposed to philosophical scholarship, is founded on personal expressions of an independent philosopher. It must be created from one’s inner being, from one’s blood, to expropriate a phrase from Nietzsche. Of necessity, such an effort is metaphysical in nature. Paul Tillich, one of the most profound metaphysical writers of the twentieth century, said he had abandoned use of the term "metaphysics" because of its indiscriminate and confusing usage. In its place, he preferred the term "ontology." However, metaphysics has a unique meaning in the English language and cannot be abandoned without a significant loss in thought. Metaphysics refers to a domain of the mind (in its most inclusive sense) that transcends the material processes of the brain, albeit the integrity of the latter is required for its expression. If this definition is rejected, metaphysics is rejected.

Another way of referring to metaphysical expression is to say it is existential in nature, a term that has suffered with the same problems of indiscriminate usage. The word existential is essentially synonymous with metaphysical since it refers to the condition of the interior self, which cannot be derived from physiological theories of brain function. Existential expression leads to personal development. Philosophical efforts that are not existential in nature become scholarly tracts, which have their place in the world but which do not either develop or communicate the inner self of the writer. Insofar as an individual wishes to achieve these latter goals, he must turn to the subjective element of his being, to his intuitions, feelings and desires. There is a natural rationality that modulates the subjective nature of homo sapiens but it is a modulation, not the dominant feature.

Since contemporary analytic, materialist culture does not recognize the reality of the realm of metaphysics, except as part of the history of philosophy, any movement in this direction is judged to be mystical, the greatest of sins to scientifically-minded philosophers. Thus I have labeled my thought as radical metaphysics since it runs counter to the culture of my times. One exception to the overwhelming influence of the analytic mindset is traditional religion, which has stubbornly survived the predictions of its demise. Although Christianity has long since become a superannuated metaphysics, it remains the metaphysics of most people of the western world, as was observed by Schopenhauer a century and a half ago. Its survival is a testimonial to the need for metaphysics by all human beings.

All my writings deal with the metaphysics of the existent, interior self. Writing in this manner is my method of self-development. I have often pondered the question of why I should try to disseminate these writings to a generally disinterested public. I have no answer persuasive to myself. Perhaps it is a feeling stemming from the scriptural imperative of placing one’s lamp on a lamp stand. Perhaps, as Max Stirner said of himself, it is analogous to a bird singing his song on a tree branch. In any case, I have followed my instinct and my works are available in the section entitled "Published Philosophical Writings."

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Updated: July 2014