Spirituality does two things for you. One, you are forced to become more selfless, two, you trust to providence. The opposite of a spiritual man is a materialist. If I was a materialist I would be making lots of money doing endorsements, doing cricket commentary. I have no interest in that.
I will say that the cross of materialism is that it never quite succeeds in believing what it preaches, in thinking its own thought. This may sound complicated, but is in fact simple: the materialist says, for example, that we are not free, though he is convinced, of course, that he asserts this freely, that no one is forcing him to state this view of the matter - neither parents, not social milieu, nor biological inheritance. He says that we are wholly determined by our history, but he never stops urging us to free ourselves, to change our destiny, to revolt where possible! He says that we must love the world as it is, turning our backs on past and future so as to live in the present, but he never stops trying, like you or me, when the present weighs upon us, to change it in hope of a better world. In brief, the materialist sets forth philosophical these that are profound, but always for you and me, never for himself. Always, he reintroduces transcendence - liberty, a vision for society, the ideal - because in truth he cannot not believe himself to be free, and therefore answerable to values higher than nature and history.
I find that some philosophers think that my whole approach to qualia is not playing fair. I don't respect the standard rules of philosophical thought experiments. 'But Dan, your view is so counterintuitive!' No kidding. That's the whole point. Of course it is counterintuitive. Nowhere is it written that the true materialist theory of consciousness should be blandly intuitive. I have all along insisted that it may be very counterintuitive. That's the trouble with 'pure' philosophical method here. It has no resources for developing, or even taking seriously, counterintuitive theories, but since it is a very good bet that the true materialist theory of consciousness will be highly counterintuitive (like the Copernican theory-at least at first), this means that 'pure' philosophy must just concede impotence and retreat into conservative conceptual anthropology until the advance of science puts it out of its misery. Philosophers have a choice: they can play games with folk concepts (ordinary language philosophy lives on, as a kind of aprioristic social anthropology) or they can take seriously the claim that some of these folk concepts are illusion-generators. The way to take that prospect seriously is to consider theories that propose revisions to those concepts.
Daniel C. Dennett
When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist, or an idealist; a Christian, or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last.
The silent, lethal creep of apostasy began uneventfully. His quest for holiness had morphed into a mere pursuit of happiness. He never discerned it, nor would anyone else. He was a materialist now - just one of the well-respected selectmen who quelled controversy at the expense of progress.....
The Christian and the Materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They can't both be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn't fit the real universe. Consequently, with the best will in the world, he will be helping his fellow creatures to their destruction.
C. S. Lewis
As a myth of national purpose and as a program for individual conduct, the simple life has, in a sense, served as the nation's conscience, reminding Americans of what the founders had hoped they would be and thereby providing a vivifying counterpoint to the excesses of materialist individualism.
Philosophically, I am a logical empiricist and materialist, and I am a veteran of over 400 radio and TV interviews and debates. I am a Christ-myth advocate and am pursuing research into how Christianity could have begun without a historical Jesus of Nazareth. I am married with one daughter and three grandchildren.
Frank R. Zindler
The abstractionist and the materialist thus mutually exasperating each other, and the scoffer expressing the worst of materialism, there arises a third party to occupy the middle ground between these two, the skeptic, namely. He finds both wrong by being in extremes. He labors to plant his feet, to be the beam of the balance.
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
C. S. Lewis
Awe is not a very comfortable standpoint for many people... Hence, all about us today, we see avoidance of awe-by burying ourselves in materialist science, for example or in absolutist religious positions; or by locking ourselves into systems, whether corporate, familial, or consumerist; or by stupefying ourselves with drugs.
Kirk J. Schneider
I cannot be a materialist - but Oh, how is it possible that a God who speaks to all hearts can let Belgravia go laughing to a vicious luxury, and Whitechapel cursing to a filthy debauchery - such suffering, such dreadful suffering - and shall the short years of Christ's mission atone for it all?
D. H. Lawrence
Dostoevsky believed that the gods of rationalism and materialist utilitarianism had joined in conspiracy against all other ethical systems. ... The accumulation of capital, or the acquisition of money, are endeavors par excellence which establish a quantifiable goal: hence they are directly amenable to maximization formulae.
Entrepreneurial creation is the generation, de novo, of novelty and surprise- freedom of choice originating in the world of ideas, and imagination beyond all concern with chemicals. The contrary view- that all ideas are determined by material relationships- is the materialist superstition.
Not even the visionary or mystical experience ever lasts very long. It is for art to capture that experience, to offer it to, in the case of literature, its readers; to be, for a secular, materialist culture, some sort of replacement for what the love of god offers in the world of faith.
Humans are creatures of waste, so it is our duty to minimize our consumption and to ensure that we, as individuals are worthy of the waste that is created. A dull whining paranoiac who is a model of thrift but of little else is more symbolic of waste than an interesting and creative materialist.
The problem, however, is that I have yet to meet anyone, materialist or otherwise, who was able to dispense with value judgements. On the contrary, the literature of materialism is peculiarly marked by its wholesale profusion of denunciations of all sorts. Starting with Marx and Nietzsche, materialists have never been able to refrain from passing continuous moral judgement on all and sundry, which their whole philosophy might be expected to discourage them from doing.
The materialist theory of history, that all politics and ethics are the expression of economics, is a very simple fallacy indeed. It consists simply of confusing the necessary conditions of life with the normal preoccupations of life, that are quite a different thing. It is like saying that because a man can only walk about on two legs, therefore he never walks about except to buy shoes and stockings.
In a hyper materialist environment where everything is reduced to mere economic considerations, what we deem to be important is often trivial, a temporary fix for deeper and more profound yearnings. This has given rise to what some may describe as a unique pathology common to modern wealthy societies: moral and spiritual emptiness among opulence and material luxury.
Like all of modern science, the field of psychiatry, especially in its current biological incarnation, has become smitten with materialist reductionism, the idea that all phenomena can be explained by the interaction and movement of material particles. As a result, to suggest that anything other than brain mechanisms in and of themselves constitute the causal dynamics of a mental phenomenon is to risk being dismissed out of hand.
Jeffrey M. Schwartz
I am a hopeless materialist. I see the soul as nothing else than the sim of activities of the organism plus personal habits - plus inherited habits, memories, experiences, of the organism. I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed.
The de-eroticization of the world, a companion to its disenchantment ... seems to result from a combination of causes our democratic regime and its tendencies toward leveling and self-protection, a reductionist-materialist science that inevitably interprets eros as sex, and the atmosphere generated by "the death of God" and of the subordinate god, Eros.
It is true that a great deal of the rhetoric of the new atheism is often just the confessional rote of materialist fundamentalism (which, like all fundamentalisms, imagines that in fact it represents the side of reason and truth); but it is also true that the new atheism has sprung up in a garden of contending fundamentalisms.
An effort was made to spread this new materialist atheism with its Communist consequence "by the sword" (as the metaphor goes), that is, by the invasion of neighboring countries with consequent further massacres and the extension of the area of despotic Soviet control... This armed attempt at expansion was checked by Catholic Poland, the most immediately exposed victim, in what has been called "one of the decisive battles of the world.
The real causes of terrorism are not poverty and oppression per se, but rather the bankruptcy of materialist ideologies, like Neo-Conservatism, which promise much but deliver little. The central doctrine of Neo-Conservatism is "democratic capitalism." This is the ultimate oxymoron, because in practice the political pluralism that should underlie democracy cannot exist in a climate of economic plutocracy.
Robert Dickson Crane
To transcend means to "go beyond," but this need not compel us to an ornate dualist view that regards transcendent levels of reality (e.g., the spiritual level) to be not of this world. We can "go beyond" the "ordinary" powers of the material world through the power of patterns. Rather than a materialist, I would prefer to consider myself a "patternist." It's through the emergent powers of the pattern that we transcend.
John Hodgson can describe Richard Dawkins's atheism as vacuous only because 'atheist' is a term which non-believers use purely as a polemical convenience when we have to define concisely what we don't believe [... ]. No atheist is principally that. What we'd want to call ourselves is humanist or materialist, or biologist or linguist, or for that matter socialist, because one or more of these, or something else again, is what we do and think and are. We have 'purely and simply finished with God', to adapt a phrase of Engels's.
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
Whereas Absurdism in Europe seemed a logical, almost inevitable response to the irrationality of war, the analogous elements that surfaced in American drama seemed more a response to a materialist society run amok. The American-style Absurdism seemed to spring full-blown out of television advertisements and situation comedies, which had become new myth-making machines.
One way of saying that is that there is an objective reality beyond our mind. A way to think of this in a philosophic sense is to look between the two great extremes: the idealist philosophy that says mind and consciousness is the only thing and that matter is simply an illusion, or a Maya, the product of mind; and the other extreme, a strict materialist determinism, which says that mind and consciousness is a secondary phenomenon of the collision of matter.
The downside was that for 400 years, science has grown up, has arisen and developed as a purely materialist concept and avoided the subject of mind and consciousness, leaving it to the realm of religion. Only with the founding of quantum science in the early part of the 20th century have we realized that the Cartesian Duality is wrong, that body, mind, physicality do interact and they're interrelated.
I don't know whether Asimov realized he was saying this as well, but as an old historical materialist, if only as an afterthought, he must have realized that he was saying too: No one here will ever look at you, read a word you write, or consider you in any situation, no matter whether the roof is falling in or the money is pouring in, without saying to him- or herself (whether in an attempt to count it or to discount it), 'Negro... ' The racial situation, permeable as it might sometimes seem (and it is, yes, highly permeable), is nevertheless your total surround. Don't you ever forget it... ! And I never have.
Samuel R. Delany
The artist's mission is to make the soul perceptible. Our scientific, materialist culture trains us to develop the eyes of outer perception. Visionary art encourages the development of our inner sight. To find the visionary realm, we use the intuitive inner eye: the eye of contemplation, the eye of the soul. All the inspiring ideas we have as artists originate here.
One of the great unresolved psychological enigmas of the modern western world is the question of what or who has persuaded us to accept as virtually axiomatic a self-view and a world-view that demand we reject out of hand the wisdom and vision of our major philosophers and poets in order to imprison our thought and our very selves in the materialist, mechanical and dogmatic torture-chamber devised by purely quantitative and third-rate scientific minds.
Yes, I'm a materialist. I'm willing to be shown wrong, but that has not happened - yet. And I admit that the reason I'm unable to accept the claims of psychic, occult, and/or supernatural wonders is because I'm locked into a world-view that demands evidence rather than blind faith, a view that insists upon the replication of all experiments - particularly those that appear to show violations of a rational world - and a view which requires open examination of the methods used to carry out those experiments.
Material possessions in themselves are good. We would not survive for long without money, clothing, shelter and food. Yet if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, we make of our possessions a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death.
Pope Benedict XVI
it is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist, he takes the side of spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin. I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it... Among the sayings & discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence: and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. [Letter to William Short, 13 April 1820]
As thinkers, mankind has ever divided into two sects, Materialists and Idealists; the first class founding on experience, the second on consciousness; the first class beginning to think from the data of the senses, the second class perceive that the senses are not final and say, The senses give us representations of things, but what are the things themselves, they cannot tell. The materialist insists on facts, on history, on the force of circumstances and the animal wants of man; the idealists on the power of Thought and Will, on inspiration, on miracle, on individual culture.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Science and religion both make claims about the fundamental workings of the universe. Although these claims are not a priori incompatible (we could imagine being brought to religious belief through scientific investigation), I will argue that in practice they diverge. If we believe that the methods of science can be used to discriminate between fundamental pictures of reality, we are led to a strictly materialist conception of the universe. While the details of modern cosmology are not a necessary part of this argument, they provide interesting clues as to how an ultimate picture may be constructed.
A US Department of Education; implementation of a scientific materialist philosophy; studies, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology; students taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and general ethics of a new socialist society; present obsolete methods of teaching will be superseded by a scientific pedagogy. The whole basis and organization of capitalist science will be revolutionized. Science will become materialistic, hence truly scientific. God will be banished from the laboratories as well as from the schools.
William Z. Foster
Since ancient times, the left side has stood for the side of the unconscious or the unknown; the right side, by contrast, has represented the side of consciousness or wakefulness. Through the late twentieth century, the movement of the Left limited themselves to a materialist understanding of reality- exemplified by Marxism- demanding social justice and economic equality but not the restoration of intuition and the recognition of the hidden, qualitative dimensions of being suppressed by the mental-rational consciousness, narrowly focused on the quantifiable.
Through all the ages the mind has been regarded as evil, and every form of insult: from heretic to materialist to exploiter-every form of iniquity: from exile to disfranchisement to expropriation-every form of torture: from sneers to rack to firing squad-have been brought down upon those who assumed the responsibility of looking at the world through the eyes of a living consciousness and performing the crucial act of a rational connection. Yet only to the extent to which-in chains, in dungeons, in hidden corners, in the cells of philosophers, in the shops of traders-some men continued to think, only to that extent was humanity able to survive.
Everything is emotional because hope is... When I talk to people I no longer see rational beings engaged in rational discourse, I see objects, emoting. It has made me such a deep materialist that I see everything as objects, people, dogs, trees, rocks- objects that burn with the animation of hope, each engaged in their own private miracle of being. And the things that people make, the buildings and machines, the paintings and the poems, are artificial miracles, which glow from the light borrowed from their makers.
Science regards man as an aggregation of atoms temporarily united by a mysterious force called the life-principle. To the materialist the only difference between a living and a dead body is, that in the one case that force is active, in the other latent. When it is extinct or entirely latent, the molecules obey a superior attraction, which draws them asunder and scatters them through space. This dispersion must be death, if it is possible to conceive such a thing as death where the very molecules of the dead body manifest an intense vital energy.
H. P. Blavatsky
A materialist feminist approach to women's oppression destroys the idea that women are a 'natural group' . . . What the analysis accomplishes on the level of ideas, practice makes actual at the level of facts: by its very existence, lesbian society destroys the artificial (social) fact constituting women as a 'natural group.' A lesbian society pragmatically reveals that the division from men of which women have been the object is a political one . . .
Music escapes ideological characterization. Just as there are some social scientists who believe that what cannot be measured does not truly exist, and some psychologists used to believe that consciousness does not exist because it cannot be observed by instruments, so ideologists find anything that escapes their conceptual framework threatening - because ideologists want a simple principle, or a few simple principles, by which all things may be judged. When I was a student, I lived with a hard-line dialectical materialist who said that Schubert was a typical petit bourgeois pessimist, whose music would die out once objective causes for pessimism ceased to exist. But I suspect that even he was not entirely happy with this formulation.
The capitalist mind perceives the world purely in terms of material resources to be used for its benefit, to increase productivity and profit without thought of long term consequence. If there is still a vague and oppressive sense of guilt, of wrongness and imbalance, this gnawing guilt spurs capitalism on to greater acts of consumption, more... Read moreviolent attempts to subjugate nature, more totalizing efforts to create distractions. To the "rational materialist" mind, death is the end of everything; this thought feeds its rage against nature, which has placed it in this position of despair.
Some take pains to be biblical, but many [Christian financial teachers, writers, investment counselors, and seminar leaders] simply parrot their secular colleagues. Other than beginning and ending with prayer, mentioning Christ, and sprinkling in some Bible verses, there's no fundamental difference. They reinforce people's materialist attitudes and lifestyles. They suggest a variety of profitable plans in which people can spend or stockpile the bulk of their resources. In short, to borrow a term from Jesus, some Christian financial experts are helping people to be the most successful 'rich fools' they can be.
The wild worship of lawlessness and the materialist worship of law end in the same void. Nietzsche scales staggering mountains, but he turns up ultimately in Tibet. He sits down beside Tolstoy in the land of nothing and Nirvana. They are both helpless-one because he must not grasp anything, and the other because he must not let go of anything. The Tolstoyan's will is frozen by a Buddhist instinct that all special actions are evil. But the Nietzscheite's will is quite equally frozen by his view that all special actions are good; for if all special actions are good, none of them are special. They stand at the crossroads, and one hates all the roads and the other likes all the roads. The result is-well, some things are not hard to calculate. They stand at the cross-roads.
At some level, it is even tempting to think that since strict materialism is among the most incoherent of superstitions - one that has never really asked the question of the being of things in any depth or with any persistence, or one that has at best attempted to conjure that question away as a fallacy of grammar - it is incapable of imagining any conception of God more sophisticated than its own. The materialist encounters an instance of unjust suffering and, by a sort of magical thinking, concludes from the absence of any immediately visible moral order that there must be nothing transcendent of material causality, in much the same way that certain of our more remote, primitive ancestors might have seen a flash of lightning in the sky and concluded that some god must have flung it from on high. In neither case does the conclusion follow from the evidence (though in the latter case the reasoning is somewhat more rigorous); and in neither case is the god at issue much more than an affective myth.
David Bentley Hart
When I reached intellectual maturity, and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; a Christian or a freethinker, I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until at last I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure that they had attained a certain 'gnosis'-had more or less successfully solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in holding fast by that opinion... So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of 'agnostic'. It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the 'gnostic' of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant; and I took the earliest opportunity of parading it at our Society, to show that I, too, had a tail, like the other foxes.
Thomas Henry Huxley
One criticism of Freud still sometimes heard on the political Left is that his thinking is individualist - that he substitutes 'private' psychological causes and explanations for social and historical ones. This accusation reflects a radical misunderstanding of Freudian theory. There is indeed a real problem about how social and historical factors are related to the unconscious; but one point of Freud's work is that it makes it possible for us to think of the development of the human individual in social and historical terms. What Freud produces, indeed, is nothing less than a materialist theory of the making of the human subject. We come to be what we are by an interrelation of bodies - by the complex transactions which take place during infancy between our bodies and those which surround us. This is not a biological reductionism: Freud does not of course believe that we are nothing but our bodies, or that our minds are mere reflexes of them. Nor is it an asocial model of life, since the bodies which surround us, and our relations with them, are always socially specific.
There are at least two ways to believe in the idea of quality. You can believe there's something ineffable going on within the human mind, or you can believe we just don't understand what quality in a mind is yet, even though we might someday. Either of those opinions allows one to distinguish quantity and quality. In order to confuse quantity and quality, you have to reject both possibilities. The mere possibility of there being something ineffable about personhood is what drives many technologists to reject the notion of quality. They want to live in an airtight reality that resembles an idealized computer program, in which everything is understood and there are no fundamental mysteries. They recoil from even the hint of a potential zone of mystery or an unresolved seam in one's worldview. This desire for absolute order usually leads to tears in human affairs, so there is a historical reason to distrust it. Materialist extremists have long seemed determined to win a race with religious fanatics: Who can do the most damage to the most people?
There is something about the very idea of a city which is central to the understanding of a planet like Earth, and particularly the understanding of that part of the then-existing group-civilization which called itself the West. That idea, to my mind, met its materialist apotheosis in Berlin at the time of the Wall. Perhaps I go into some sort of shock when I experience something deeply; I'm not sure, even at this ripe middle-age, but I have to admit that what I recall of Berlin is not arranged in my memory in any normal, chronological sequence. My only excuse is that Berlin itself was so abnormal - and yet so bizarrely representative - it was like something unreal; an occasionally macabre Disneyworld which was so much a part of the real world (and the realpolitik world), so much a crystallization of everything these people had managed to produce, wreck, reinstate, venerate, condemn and worship in their history that it defiantly transcended everything it exemplified, and took on a single - if multifariously faceted - meaning of its own; a sum, an answer, a statement no city in its right mind would want or be able to arrive at.
Iain M. Banks