Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Of Materialistic Endeavors
Since I am inarticulate when thinking, I'd recommend Gaghdad Bob's two posts on the Decalogue. Part one, part two.
One thing that has really surprised me about the spiritual path is that no matter how deeply you get into it, you keep discovering others from the past who have visited the same place, as well as contemporaries who know exactly what you’re talking about when you discuss it--just as if you were both viewing the same garden or landescape. And I’m talking about very minute, subtle things that one can only discover for oneself, not objective or “exterior” dogmas that can be disclosed to anyone. This leads me to conclude that the world of Spirit--which can only be revealed to subjects--is actually a thoroughly objective world.A reader responded to his second post (in part):
The take home point here is that God may not require that all people at this time have the correct intellectual apprehension of the cosmos. In fact, I believe it possible that materialist people, en masse, may have an important part (even an indispensable part) to play in the evolution of life on earth, one that only they can play properly. ... What drives your certainty that you must now deliver polemics against secular materialist people? I question the need to rail against materialists for their own good in particular; after all, upon their deaths each individual one will become appraised of their erroneous ideas anyway.Well, the answer to that is obvious. The Jews were the first secular materialists, and they did it better. Of course their secular materialism ended up being a process of discovering That Which Is in the material world and in history. The "secular materialist" of today is engaged in a totally different pursuit. I responded to this comment:
Grant - but the materialist of today is engaged in a denial of some part of material reality, always.To that I would only like to add that since the reality of consequences for others emanating from our deeds is felt to be an oppressive reality, the "materialist" of today is bent upon denying the cohesiveness and connectedness of our mutual lives.
There really isn't a dichotomy between dealing fully with the material world and recognizing that there is a transcendant reality not contained by the material world - BUT THAT IS NOT THE PURSUIT OF MATERIALISTS! They don't seek to deal with (all) material things, but some subset of them, and that subset is always selected by the materialist in question.
Thus, for instance, you will encounter them roaring in disapproval at "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate me". It is, they cry, wicked to worship such an evil God who would punish the innocent. But this statement is simple truth. Ask any doctor who has treated congenital syphilis. Ask any psychiatrist. Ask anyone who has dealt with an adult survivor of childhood abuse or neglect. Because the world is material, the consequences of material acts are transmitted through generations.
What the "materialist" wants is to take the responsibility for what he or she does out of creation. The materialist cannot succeed in that, and so the materialist ends up inhabiting a self-created world founded in a denial of reality and fiercely reproaching those who want to deal with material reality.
Judaism is a deeply materialistic religion, and so is Catholicism. Both enshrine the day-to-day duties and stress the duty of the individual to recognize, repent and atone for that individual's errors of deed.
The materialist of today is NOT a materialist, but a wishful thinker, who angrily wishes to impose his or her own wishes upon even the mental and cultural life of others.
The conception of the individual as a self-contained unit that has no impact upon others is ridiculous; how has it gained such currency? This fallacy worshipped as wisdom is being opposed by an opposite ideology which goes to the other extreme - seeing the individual of importance only as a useful sacrifice to the common cause. See Sigmund, Carl and Alfred's post on Don Singleton's post about the child of jihad:
Fanatical terror suspect Abdula Ahmed Ali, 25, and his wife, Cossor, 23, are among those being interrogated by police as suspects in the massive plot to attack trans-Atlantic flights in midair. What the outwardly normal couple had secretly plotted is almost too horrifying to consider, cops said. The Alis planned to use 6-month-old son Zain's baby bottle as a liquid bomb, blowing themselves and their child up, along with hundreds of others aboard the flight.Reality may scorch us, but failing to live in it burns us entirely up. Also see Shrinkwrapped's The First Day of School.