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Intraphysical - three definitions


My original use of the term

Intraphysical means "within the physical". I first used this term in passing back in the (presumably early) 1990s in the context of Steiner's work (later posted as a web page), in reference to realities beneath ordinary physical consciousness (Subphysical)


Intraphysical as rejection of metaphysics (Ken Wilber)

More than a decade later I discovered this word independently coined in the work of Ken Wilber, where Wilber - who champions a secular holistic worldview - external link rejects the metaphysical cosmology of Huston Smith's perennialism in favour of what he calls the Intraphysical. In other words, subtle and spiritual realities are located within the physical. Although Wilber isn't actually a crypto-materialist (although external link i did think for a while that he was), it is clear that his Integral Theory has difficulties with occult and supra-physical phenomena, as does the secular Integral movement in general.

Wilber's rather confusing usage, which seems to be a well-meaning attempt to make mystical experuience more acceptable to modernity. While I respect his goal, I myself prefer to present esoteric and gnostic knowledge unmediated, without apologetics. So I'll leave aside his definition here and focus on two rather different meanings Intraphysical can have within the scope of esotericism.


Intraphysical as physical incarnation (Waldo Vieira)

There is Intraphysical in the sense of the incarnation of the non-physical self (generally used in the context of the the astral, as in the soul or consciousness or subtle principles) within physical form. This definition would seem to derive from Brazilian physician and psychic researcher Wikipedia link Waldo Vieira, his co-worker Wagner Alegrett (no web page at time of writing), and others at the International Academy of Consciousness Vieira established. For example, the external link Glossary of Conscientiological Terms (great page, I love all the neologisms!) gives the following definitions

Intraphysical consciousness - Human personality; citizen of intraphysical society. Outworn synonym: incarnate.

Intraphysical society - The society of intraphysical consciousnesses; human society.\

Intraphysicality - The condition of human, intraphysical life, or of the existence of the human consciousness.

Much as I love using and creating obscure jargon, just for the sheer geek joy of it, it would seem that neologisms should serve a specific purpose; they shouldn't be gratuitious. "Incarnate" therefore isn't necessary an outworn synonym; in fact it's a very clear and useful word, which means, literally, "in the flesh" (or in a Wikipedia link metazoan physical body if you want some more geek speak)


Intraphysical as consciousness within (rather incarnating in) matter itself

Finally there is Intraphysical in the sense of consciousness or existence that constitutes the inner quality of physical matter itself, rather than referring to the condition of the non-physical incarnate in matter. This is the consciousness of matter, not of the incarnate but originally non-physical or supra-physical etheric, astral and mental being. Although the emphasis on panpsychic interiority is in keeping with Wilberian theory, the reference here is to the opposite end of his "pre-trans" spectrum, the pre- rather than the trans-.

Examples here are the Subconscient and Inconscient described by Sri Aurobindo, the obscure consciousness of matter itself. In depth psychology, the Subconscient corersponds to the Unconscious of Freud and Jung. It is the Subconscious (subconscient is French for subconscious, possibly the term derives from Theon's cosmic group, via Mirra), so called because it is beneath ordinary physical consciousness.

This might also be referred to as Subphysical, especially in the context of Steiner's inverted etheric hypostases as described in his booklet external link The Etherisation of the Blood. However I understand these principles to be not so much sub-physical as adverse, and in a sense at the junction of physical, lower etheric, and lower astral. So although I had previously considered these the same as the Aurobindonian Subconscient and Inconscient, I no longer consider this to be the case.

Wilber's partially corresponding term (not used in his current work) is Pleromatic, although his definition would also seem to include the involutionary supra-physical.



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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 8 November 2008