The Elevator – A Metaphysical Conversation
by Israel Wayne
The Metaphysical Hotel was the Ritz. John loved the restaurant at the pinnacle of the edifice and enjoyed meeting clients there for lunch. He walked briskly down the sidewalk from his office and entered the automatic double-doors of the building. Heading through the lobby, he entered the elevator which would take him to the 44th floor.
He glanced at the peculiar sign above the elevator door which read, “The Physical Realm.” There was only one occupant when the doors opened and John paused for a moment to allow the gentleman to exit. The man just stood there with his eyes closed. After a second of hesitation, John stepped in and pushed the button to close the doors. He glanced at the man next to him who suddenly opened his eyes.
“Going back up, eh?” John said with a slight chuckle in his voice.
“Depends on what you mean. After all, ‘up’ and ‘down’ are relative terms.”
“Sure. I guess. So, uh, do you work here?”
“Here? In the elevator? You could say that, but it would probably be more accurate to say that I live here.”
John blinked hard. “What was that?”
“I mean, where else am I going to live. This elevator is all there is.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me! There’s a lot more to this place than just the elevator. I mean there are conference rooms, a health spa, and the best restaurant in town! And beyond that, there is the city and the rest of the world. Quite a bit more out there than just the elevator!”
“No, those are all just figments of your imagination. You WANT to believe there is something more than the elevator, so you invent these weird notions. Such beliefs are a crutch for weak-minded people who can’t accept that this elevator is all there is.”
Now John was really shocked. “What is your name?” he asked the stranger.
“Mr. Materialist. But you can call me Matt.”
“Okay, Matt. Has it ever occurred to you that we are suspended at about the 22nd floor of ‘something’ and that there must be a structure that holds ‘The Physical Realm’ up so it doesn’t just crash and kill us?”
“Ah, so you must be a supernaturalist?!” Matt retorted.
“Well, actually I am. I mean, how could an elevator even be built if there weren’t something outside of it? I mean, an elevator can’t be eternally existent, and you can’t get the materials to build the elevator from within it. Does that make sense?”
“Here we go again! The ‘Hotel of the Gaps,’ theory. That’s the oldest one in the book. Just because we can’t explain everything naturalistically, you think that we need a supernatural or metaphysical explanation. I think that is a cop-out.”
“Matt, we can’t conceive of an elevator that just made itself. That just doesn’t make sense. Where did the materials come from? Who was the designer?”
“It’s simple. With enough time, it just built itself.”
“That is absurd. Beyond that, where did the materials come from?”
“They came from lesser materials within the elevator itself.”
“That is begging the question. You are assuming the eternal pre-existence of the elevator itself in your explanation of its design and origin. But that isn’t your only problem. You still haven’t explained how the elevator works. We know that there are pulleys and laws of motion that govern the movement of the elevator. Those laws are ‘outside’ of the physical elevator. Without the structure of this ‘non-physical’ building around the elevator, the elevator could not function.”
“No, quite the contrary. You are arguing that there can’t be a ‘Physical Realm,’ without the existence of the ‘Metaphysical Hotel,’ which surrounds and supports it. I would counter that the elevator itself is responsible for your notions of the hotel. There are chemical reactions that occur inside the elevator that cause an illusion of the ‘Metaphysical Hotel,’ but these things do not exist in reality, trust me.”
“Chemical reactions that cause me to believe whatever I…how did you put that earlier? Whatever I ‘want’ to believe?”
“Oh, uh, yeah, something like that.”
Suddenly they came to a stop and the doors opened. John looked at his watch. He was intrigued with the conversation, but really needed to head off to his lunch appointment. With a bit of sadness for the odd man who remained standing inside with his eyes closed, he stepped out to enjoy the rest of his day.
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” (Psalm 14:1)
Copyright 2009, by Israel Wayne. All Rights Reserved