Arguably, either a person exists or he does not. He is either in the real physical world, and therefore in existence, or he is in the imagination and, therefore, does not exist. The concept of having separate realms of existence for the spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional aspects of an individual seems problematic as, surely, one cannot exist without the others. However, in terms of these aspects of a person’s individuality, all four certainly do seem to exist separately, although they are mutually necessary to each other.
A person’s physicality depends on them having a physical existence. All living people have a body, and therefore exist in the physical realm. Nevertheless, some people believe in life after death. In this case, it is arguable that a person who has died long ago, and therefore their body has rotted away or been cremated, will not exist in the physical realm, but they may still be seen to exist in the intellectual, spiritual, and perhaps the emotional realms. Generally speaking, however, it seems safe to say that any living human being exists in the physical realm.
It is also fairly safe to assume that all humans who are alive exist in the intellectual realm. As long as a human in capable of thought in some capacity, they intellectually exist. Of course, there are individuals who have suffered brain injuries so severe that their brains are no longer functioning in an intellectual capacity. For such individuals, they exist in the physical realm but not in the intellectual realm. Similarly, for the person who has suffered a severe brain injury, they may no longer exist in the emotional realm either. However, most living people are capable of experiencing some range of emotions.
The person with the brain injury may still exist in the spiritual realm, according to some people. Similarly, a dead person may be considered by some to still exist in the spiritual realm. However, the spiritual realm is perhaps the most difficult to define. For a person who is devoted to their religion, perhaps they exist very strongly in the spiritual realm. However, it is unclear whether an atheist will have the same levels of existence in this area.
In terms of education and hospital care, many professionals of such field believe that treating a patient in a holistic way is the most effective philosophy. They argue that in order for an individual to be ‘well’ they must have nothing impeding their health in any area of their life; this includes physically, mentally or spiritually. Therefore, according to this view, all realms of existence are as important as each other, if we are to view the person holistically.
It seems that a person can exist in some or in all of the four realms, depending on the personal belief system of the observer. If one realm was to be given more attention and importance, it would probably be the emotional realm. This is because without good emotional health, it is almost impossible for a person to be in good physical, intellectual or spiritual health. However, overall, the four realms seem to coexist fairly equally.