Metaphysics (as Ken Wheeler understands the term) lies at the root of most of Theoria Apophasis’ other misconceptions. Find out why his metaphysical claims are so far off the mark that one could argue they’re not even wrong.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines classical metaphysics as “the ‘science’ that studied ‘being as such’ or ‘the first causes of things’ or ‘things that do not change.'” Contemporary philosopher Freya Matthews defines it like this, “ultimate questions about the nature of reality and our own place in the larger scheme of things.”
Metaphysics is a very profound subject and also very hard to define, even for scholars who work in the field. Of course, none of that deters Ken Wheeler from insisting on his own, self-taught mastery of the topic.
The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis defines metaphysics like this. “Study of first principles in and of counter space. The realm of energy and ultimate reality. Contrary to current connotations such that the “metaphysics” section of any book store is about occult nonsense, genuine metaphysics as per the Pythagoreans, Platonists and Neoplatonists is about the study and wisdom of first principles and that which lay under the blanket of phenomenon.”
Appropriated the Term Counter Space from Rudolf Steiner
Now, of course, for this definition to mean anything, there would have to be something called counter space. Ken Wheeler has appropriated this term from early 20th century esoteric philosopher Rudolf Steiner, although he rarely gives Steiner his due.
Caught up in the theosophical movement of that era, Steiner believed in a “negative space” in parallel with “ordinary space.” No evidence for counter space has ever been found and modern science dismisses the idea.
Although the host of Theoria Apophasis talks about counter space in virtually every video, he’s very evasive as to what, precisely his term means.
“Counterspace Is the Space Between Space Itself”
The closest Ken Wheeler seems to come is in this passage from his Uncovering the Missing Secrets of Magnetism. He writes, “Counterspace is literally the space between space itself, the very omnipresent membrane of the Ether which requires conjugate field forces to bring it into space or create electrical, or dielectric, or magnet phenomena, or even the creation of matter.”
From this we can gather that the Angry Photographer views counter space as in some way like an outer skin of the ether. As explained in detail under Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong, the Michelson-Morley Experiment proved that the ether doesn’t exist in 1887. The YouTuber Planarwalk also debunks Ken Wheeler’s ideas about the ether here.
So if the ether doesn’t exist, neither does Ken Wheeler’s notion of its membrane of counter space. That makes his definition of metaphysics fundamentally flawed and meaningless.
Counter Space Doesn’t Exist, So His Definition Is Wrong
By “the Pythagoreans, Platonists and Neoplatonists”, he seems to mean classical Greek philosophers such as Pythagorus, Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus among others. He calls himself “a hard-core neoplatonic platonist,” without defining this redundant term.
All neoplatonists are also platonists by definition, so his only purpose in combining both terms is to sound impressive to those unacquainted with philosophy. He goes on to insist that philosophers in the Ancient World made no distinction between physics and metaphysics.
The problem with this claim is that Aristotle, a student of Plato, left us one book called Physics and one very different book called Metaphysics. The former was about phenomena we find in nature and the other was about various underlying principles about the first causes of things.
Borrows Heavily from Coomaraswamy and Guenon
As, always, Kentucky Ken is discussing subject matter he doesn’t understand. He derives his claims from his cursory grasp of a school of thought called the Traditionalists, especially Ananda Coomaraswamy, although he barely mentions their contribution. He also borrows heavily from Rene Guenon, while claiming to despise him.
In a sense, pointing out the eccentricities within the Angry Photographer’s notions about metaphysics is a distinction without a difference. It hardly matters what the Theoria Apophasis creator chooses to believe about such esoteric matters.
We’re all, including Ken Wheeler, free to believe whatever we choose about concepts that are beyond our capacity to observe or explain. Even so, I have some concerns about his agenda for defining metaphysics in his own way and, as the Angry Photographer is fond of saying, “Nobody’s entitled to their own facts.”
“Morality Is a Guide for Conventional Worldly Beings”
In Ken Wheeler’s Ontology Primer, he writes, “There is no conduct that leads to liberation, but there is that which is conducive towards liberation, but this is not action, nor conduct. Morality is a tool and guide for conventional worldly beings to check their evil desires and dark wills.
Wisdom alone is to be enjoined by those seeking transcendence, which brings proximity to the One, the Soul whose attribute is the Good. Beyond good and evil, proximity to the One via wisdom has no connection to the worldly realm where mere morality and ethics are praised by the many.”
Without giving him any credit, the Angry Photographer is borrowing the phrase Beyond Good and Evil from the philosopher Nietzsche, whom he also claims to despise. More importantly, he seems to be exempting those who achieve “proximity to the One via wisdom” from any sort of moral code of conduct.
Presumably He’s Unbound by “Mere Morality and Ethics”
Since the Angry Photographer seems to think he’s in “proximity to the One,” presumably he’s unbound by “mere morality and ethics.” As we can see throughout this website, he has taken a number of unethical actions, such as representing the work of professional photographers as his own, refusing to comply with public health measures to fight the pandemic, deliberately mistranslating ancient texts, and lying to his audience.
It’s disturbing to think that anyone might think of themselves as having “no connection to the worldly realm where mere morality and ethics are praised by the many.” Does Ken Wheeler suffer from the delusion that he has advanced “Beyond Good and Evil” and levelled up to an amoral state where the normal rules of “conventional worldly beings” no longer apply to him?
Does that explain his questionable behaviour toward others? He has said that “the one thing I care about is wisdom.” Does this imply that he doesn’t care about “mere morality”? Since he refers to his life stance as “amoral monism,” this seems like a real possibility.
Contradicts His Heroes Plato and Plotinus
Is that what he means when he says that “wisdom is its own reward”? If so, he contradicts his heroes Plato and Plotinus, who both taught that wisdom was merely a guide to virtuous action in everyday life.
Plato wrote that “knowledge without virtue ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.” Although Ken Wheeler’s videos indicate a degree of low cunning, they display neither knowledge nor wisdom.
The Angry Photographer’s role model, Plotinus, taught that “the purification of the soul must produce all the virtues; if any are lacking, then not one of them is perfect.” Although he taught that we should seek wisdom to purify the soul, Plotinus saw wisdom as a means toward the higher goal of virtue.
Virtue Includes Appropriate Behaviour in Community
Virtue includes what Plotinus called the political virtues – appropriate behaviours toward others in our community. These correspond to what Ken Wheeler calls “mere morality and ethics.”
The Angry Photographer also has another agenda behind his approach to metaphysics. He appears to be preoccupied with the concept of the human soul and what happens to it when we die.
In Plato’s dialogue, the Phaedra, Socrates explains that, for philosophers, “the whole of their study is nothing else than how to die and be dead.” There’s a reason that Ken Wheeler is a self-described platonist.
Needs to Prove We Survive Bodily Death
We also discuss this under Buddhist Souls – Why Ken’s Wrong. Here we’ll consider it from a broader perspective. It seems to be very important to Ken Wheeler to prove that our unique personalities survive bodily death and continue to exist eternally, or outside of time.
To make his case, the Theoria Apophasis creator needs to be able to demonstrate that the human soul is independent of the physical human body. To this end, he constantly resorts to an analogy based on radio broadcasts.
The Angry Photographer explains that our bodies are like a radio receiver and our souls are like the radio signal. A broadcast requires both signal and receiver and if and when the receiver breaks down, the signal carries on.
Radio Analogy Implies No Individual Soul
The difficulty with this analogy is that my neighbour also has a radio receiver. He also experiences exactly the same broadcast that I do. So this signal is not unique to me or to my receiver. The signal is much more like some sort of Ground of Being or the Tao.
If we accept the radio broadcast analogy, then our bodies are animated, not by an individual soul or personal consciousness, but by a sort of universal life force that animates all human bodies throughout the world. That force would continue after we died, but we would have no unique identity within it.
More recently, the Angry Photographer has tried to address this point by pointing out that every radio receiver has its own characteristics based on its unique circuitry. Of course, if this distinct character derives from the circuitry, it ceases to exist when the receiver stops working.
Plato Warned Against Reasoning by Analogy
Kentucky Ken’s hero Plato warned against reasoning by this kind of analogy saying, “Arguments that make their point by means of similarities are impostors, and, unless you are on your guard against them, will quite readily deceive you.”
Ken Wheeler’s radio analogy is just such an impostor. If metaphysics works according to this model, there can be no individual immortal soul, only a universal collective spirit with no unique, personal identities within it.
It’s interesting to observe the Angry Photographer’s apparent attempts to exempt himself from any moral code while seeming to rationalize his fear of death. Leo Tolstoy wrote that “a person who is afraid of death is one who has not lived his life properly and has broken the law of life.”
“A Person Afraid of Death Has Not Lived Properly”
The Theoria Apophasis creator would retort that if his concepts seem like whakadoodle, pseudo-philosophical claptrap to us, that merely proves that we’re limited by our “worldly minds.” He wants us to simply take his word for it that he has found the solution to all of the puzzles of metaphysics.
Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Ken Wheeler’s explanations are never simple, so we can draw our own conclusions from that. His metaphysical musings seem to be an application of the tactic, “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit.”
Or, in Ken Wheeler’s own words, “Fools describe, the wise explain.” His metaphysics alludes to and vaguely describes a number of intriguing but irrelevant concepts, often inaccurately.
Leaves Naive Readers Bewildered but Impressed
He fails to explain the significance of any of them to the field of metaphysics and he leaves his more naive readers bewildered but impressed. As usual, the Angry Photographer should take his own advice.
It takes a lot of hubris to take on the entire scholastic discipline of metaphysics and claim that you have all the answers. The ramblings described above are a classic example of the Dunning Kruger effect, where people who know little or nothing about a subject vastly overestimate their understanding of it.
Metaphysics is one more topic on which Ken Wheeler is absolutely incorrect. In this case, he falls so far short of the mark, that one could argue that he’s not even wrong. His fondness for the Latin motto lux et veritas couldn’t be more ironic.