Materialism of the Mind
Posted on January 25, 2008
Materialism of the Mind
Materialism has been defined as an “interest in and desire for money, possessions, etc, rather than for spiritual or ethical values “. I’m sure most people associate the word with cars, houses, and paper dollars.
I suspect there is a worse form of materialism. I think this second form of materialism is much more insidious. It limits Man, confines him, and reduces him to a gibbering idiot, locked -by his own hands- in a small, airless cubicle.
I believe in Science. I believe in Physics. And Chemistry. And Biology, Botany, and many other sciences. I respect them. It is not Hope that provides lift to the wings of an aircraft. Or Prayer. Or wishful thinking. Rather, Lift is provided by the smooth flow of air around a precise shape, defined as an “airfoil “. We have a formula for it.
Lift = half x (rho) x (Velocity squared) x (coefficient of lift) x (surface area)
This dry, unemotional statement of raw physical fact would shock and maybe disappoint the Ancients. They saw flight as some mystical pursuit reserved for the Gods. In paintings and poetry handed down, all the way back to Homer’s Odyssee, we have conjured up for us pictures of amazing winged creatures. Hermes, the fleet footed messenger of the Gods, in their minds was a divine being, quite unbound by rules that ordinary men could possibly understand. The fact that modern day flight basically involves precise aerodynamic shapes, and simple brute force provided by huge engines, and the burning of fossil fuels is in many ways a disappointment. No gods, no miracles, no supernatural forces. Just thousands of gallons of Jet A1 aviation fuel, some basic physics, and a boarding ticket. The (often bored) drivers of these vehicles, referred to as pilots, are not remotely super human.
A great pity.
So much of the mysteries that baffled our ancestors have been explained along the way in terms of boring formulaic dissertations, that I think we are in danger of allowing the pendulum to swing too far the other way. From mystery, the unknown, and winged footed messenger gods, we have swung to pilots half asleep behind their three axis autopilots, passengers grumbling about the cost of inflight drinks, and a rational, scientific explanation for everything. Indeed, things have gone so far, that it is not unreasonable to state the following:
“In the minds of many people today, if it can’t be weighed, measured, analysed, picked up, dropped, photographed or sold for profit… then it musn’t exist. “
That seems to me to be a materialism of the worst kind. A materialism of the mind.
So, some would ask pointedly, what else is there? And that, I would say, is the million dollar question. What else is there?
I have a hunch that there is a lot more. I have a gut feeling that a man who limits himself to the known physical Universe may be guilty of an astonishing smallness of mind.
He may be placing himself in the smallest of cubicles. Surrounded by four cardboard and paper walls, only feet away from his meager little desk and chair. The walls, boringly festooned with trivia from his career and his ambitions, far from reflecting what matters in his life, serve only to hamper his vision. I see Modern Man, pacing his little self imposed cubicle, surrounded by millions of other men each in their own little cubicles.
Often competing like hell with one another…
I’m inclined to suggest that beyond those cardboard and paper cubicle walls… lies our dynamic Universe, and our minds and spirits, fully unleashed.. With Forces and Knowledge and Age that we cannot even begin to grasp. For any man to contemptuously ignore even the possibility of the existence of a Supreme Being with a dismissive, irritated wave of the hand… and to then point blank refuse to research the issue any further… I don’t get it. There have been so many great human beings who spent their lives convinced of the truth of their respective religions, are we saying we know unequivocally better? That we are superior? That all that knowledge, all that searching, all that faith found by so many millions of people, is founded on nothing? And that the issue is dead? Not even worth pursuing? Only the formulas count?
I say, let’s tear down those paper and cardboard walls of our self imposed cubicles.
Let’s get to the view. Let’s get to the meat. The hundreds and thousands and billions of miles of view behind those cubicle walls. Distances of space, and distances of mind.
Places we can go in Galactic terms, and places we can go in emotional and spiritual terms.
We have a long, long way to travel, for, truthfully, we know nothing.
Will you join me?
Last edited by Francis Meyrick on August 10, 2009, 9:09 pm