Our world, so we see and hear on all sides, is drowning in materialism, commercialism, consumerism. But the problem is not really there. What we ordinarily speak of as materialism is a result, not a cause. The root of materialism is a poverty of ideas about the inner and the outer world. Less and less does our contemporary culture have, or even seek, commerce with great ideas, and it is that lack that is weakening the human spirit. This is the essence of materialism. Materialism is a disease of the mind starved for ideas.
Striving for longevity through versatility facilitates what we might call an ecological or true materialism. ... we are not truly materialist because we fail to invest deep or sacred meanings in material goods. Instead, our materialism connotes an unbounded desire to acquire followed by a throwaway mentality. True materialism could become part of a new ecological consciousness.
Juliet B. Schor
What is the idea of God in heaven? Materialism. The Vedantic idea is the infinite principle of God embodied in every one of us. God sitting up on a cloud! Think of the utter blasphemy of it! It is materialism - downright materialism. When babies think this way, it may be all right, but when grown - up men try to teach such things, it is downright disgusting - that is what it is. It is all matter, all body idea, the gross idea, the sense idea. Every bit of it is clay and nothing but clay. Is that religion?
The moral peril to humanity of thoughtlessly accepting these conveniences [of materialism] (with their inherent disadvantages) as constituting a philosophy of life is now becoming apparent. For the implications of this disruptive materialism... are that human beings are nothing but bodies, animals, machines...
Capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity-thus capitalism can lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the materialism taught by communism.
Martin Luther King
It is quite an old-fashioned fallacy to suppose that our objection to scepticism is that it removes the discipline from life. Our objection to scepticism is that it removes the motive power. Materialism is not a thing which destroys mere restraint. Materialism itself is the great restraint.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Spirituality brings a class of men who lay exclusive claim to the special powers of the world. The immediate effect of this is a reaction towards materialism, which opens the door to scores of exclusive claims, until the time comes when not only all the spiritual powers of the race, but all its material powers and privileges are centred in the hands of a very few; and these few, standing on the necks of the masses of the people, want to rule them. Then society has to help itself, and materialism comes to the rescue.
I was lucky enough to have had great success early on in life; to have had all the things the material world can offer. And yet, I realized that what I had actually neglected was the more spiritual side of myself, which has always been there. But it's easy for us in our culture to become consumed in a sense by materialism. Now materialism is fine. We live in a material world. I'm not saying that beautiful things don't enhance our lives. But, in our culture, we're never happy.
We regard promissory materialism as superstition without a rational foundation. The more we discover about the brain, the more clearly do we distinguish between the brain events and the mental phenomena, and the more wonderful do both the brain events and the mental phenomena become. Promissory materialism is simply a religious belief held by dogmatic materialists... who often confuse their religion with their science.
John C. Eccles
The rejection of all abstract formalism. Materialism reminds every science of its real source: the world men transform. No science can, whether in its history or its object, grasp its own origins within itself or constitute itself as a closed world, exhaustively defined by internal rules. Materialism refers every science and every activity to the reality they depend on, even if this dependence is masked by a great many abstract mediations: mathematics as well as logic, aesthetics as well as ethics and politics.
The fundamental absurdity of materialism is that it starts from the objective, and takes as the ultimate ground of explanation something objective, whether it be matter in the abstract, simply as it is thought, or after it has taken form, is empirically given - that is to say, is substance, the chemical element with its primary relations. Some such thing it takes, as existing absolutely and in itself, in order that it may evolve organic nature and finally the knowing subject from it, and explain them adequately by means of it; whereas in truth all that is objective is already determined as such in manifold ways by the knowing subject through its forms of knowing, and presupposes them; and consequently it entirely disappears if we think the subject away. Thus materialism is the attempt to explain what is immediately given us by what is given us indirectly.