A common Metaphysical Vocabulary

For anyone seeking truth these days there is no shortage of information. In fact, there is a veritable flood of information through which the seeker must wade in order to discover what he needs. There is a multitude of books, periodicals, journals, magazines, newsletters, movies, DVD’s, websites and lectures from doctors, psychologists, philosophers, academics, journalists, priests, therapists, religionists, celebrities—the list goes on.

Some of these sources of information are sincere, others cynical. Some offer good advice, some bad. Some use the language of science and mathematics, others that of analogy and metaphor. Some are partisan and exclusive, others broad and inclusive.

There is such a dazzling array of opinion that the unaided seeker can easily become confused and desperate as he struggles to find useful information to guide him on his way. What does spirit mean? Or Truth, God, soul, nirvana, karma, providence? What about personality? Free will? Cosmic Consciousness? How can spiritual experience be distinguished from emotion? How can the conflicting claims of different traditions be explained? They all seem to disagree on so much, while seeming to be answering the same set of questions.

Truth-seekers want to share their experiences with one another. They need to be able to communicate with their fellows, to compare and contrast their ideas and concepts with others. But because there are so many different traditions expressing the relevant ideas, there is no common reference frame through which experiences can be compared. One person’s experience may well be similar to another’s, but they are not recognised as such because each expresses his experience in ideas which the other does not understand. It is as if there is no common language in which to communicate. There seems to be no common vocabulary of metaphysical terminology which truth-seekers can employ in order to make themselves understood.

Until the publication of the Urantia Book.

The Urantia Book reveals a set of categories which the revelators suggest will provide the required common framework for the next era. This has been done by taking the most meaningful ways of describing spiritual experience already in use, and adapting and extending their meaning so that they encompass the necessary conceptual frame which is common to the different traditions. Notice how the revelators have developed the notion of personality, elevating it from its everyday meaning to the status of a fundamental cosmic reality. This is typical of the way they adapt and extend familiar concepts so that they serve the higher frame. Similar modifications have been made to mind, truth, finite, soul, and many other commonly used terms, to improve precision and clarify meaning.

As humans evolve further, the need for a common frame will become more urgent, as more and more people start to search for meaning, and structure their lives around that search. They will increasingly need to share their experience with others, to facilitate their own search, and assist and encourage their fellows in their’s. The Urantia Book provides this frame—a language of truth-seeking which spans the existing traditions by taking the highest concepts found in them and adapting them to the common purpose of all.

Though there will always be new ways of looking at things, and new points of view to include, the categories employed in the Urantia Papers are designed to encompass most of what the coming era is likely to need. They are so broad, and encompass so much, that there will be few conceptual requirements which cannot be cast into the concept frame delineated by them. No doubt there will come a time when this frame is outgrown, and a new and higher frame is needed. But for now, the Urantia Book presents the most general frame we are capable of comprehending and putting to use.

It is to be hoped that seekers with insights expressed in their own special tradition will be able to translate them into the frame suggested by the Urantia Papers so that we can all share in those insights. Though all spiritual experience is personal, we all hope that we find ways to share that experience, and the common spiritual language suggested by the papers is our best chance of being able to do so. To fail to use this common frame is to doom your experience to the limited exposure of whatever special frame you have made use of—possibly one which you, and only you, can participate in—and you are in the position of the lonely mystic, incomprehensible to your fellows. The outsider figure, admirable in many ways, is tragic in others. His tragedy may not be necessary in a world familiar with the Urantia Book.