The Physical-Psychic Gap

It doesn’t take much to see that experiencing reality (a physical function) and interpreting it (a cognitive function) are intrinsically bound up together.

Furthermore, our interpretation of reality will automatically generate a psychological-emotional response which may bring (limited) peace and rest or psychic suffering and pain (worry, doubt, discouragement, despair and various forms of trauma and anxiety).

Therefore we can say that there is a gap between “physical” suffering and pain and the “psychic” suffering and pain it may produce since psychic suffering is filtered through our interpretation of reality as it affects us.  This is an example of the “physical-psychic” gap or the power (and danger) of interpretation and perspective.

It is also true that there is more than one interpretation, or system of interpretations, available to the inquiring mind.  One thing is for certain, animals do not bother themselves with the interpretation (or the knowledge) of good and evil.  They may experience it and complain about it, just as we do, but lacking self-awareness, they are unconcerned with the question of “Why should my existence be this way?”

But even so, not everyone has an inquiring mind, and many are too busy “surviving” to be bothered with the larger questions of morality and metaphysics, social contracts and law and justice.  That can be left to the academics, the politicians, the religious leaders.

The fundamental issue for most people is survival and, in the marketplace of daily living, a rough sort of common law based on the basic tenets of a social contract expounded on utilitarian grounds, has emerged in many societies. It allows them to work together and get on with the daily business of life.

This view of the world is practical and immediate though it usually exists within a religious worldview and some sort of social or political authority structure.   In this way, a rough sort of “homeostasis” is created, a balance that keeps things moving forward (or not, as the case may be).


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Tears of the Desert Warrior by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright 2012 by vanKregten Publishers.  All rights reserved.
Footnotes and references included in the original manuscript.