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  • hardie karges 10:09 am on July 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , auto-da-fe, , Faith, , , MATERIALISM, , Sam Harris,   

    #Buddhism and #Science: #Materialism is an Act of Faith, too, auto-da-fe’…. 

    img_1773Every self-proclaimed atheist takes it as an article of faith (!) that the material world is the real world, and that any competing claims from the realms of religion and/or any other spurious metaphysics must be misguided at best, silly superstition most likely, at worst maybe even one of many conspiracy theory scenarios that inhabit the minds of the disenfranchised and disenchanted…

    Yet materialism is indeed an article of faith. The only question is to what degree. The fact that it goes largely unquestioned in the modern world, with or without the atheistic conclusion, does not make it fact, and if questioned, its typical devotee will most likely defer to common sense, as if it’s so obvious that no explanation is required. These manifestations say as much about us modern humans, of course, as it does about the validity of the assumption… (More …)

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    • davekingsbury 3:34 pm on July 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Speaking as an agnostic who flirts with atheism, I can only applaud your identification of materialism as the villain of the piece. Developing/evolving our creative and more spiritual side seems to be the way forward.

      • hardie karges 9:59 am on July 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Flirting is fine, but I could never truly consider myself an atheist, though non-theist is different. Mostly I just want to consider all the possibilities, like Plato before me. And the fact that almost all near-death experiences involve ‘a light’ is a fact that I can’t ignore…

    • Trebronztul 7:20 am on July 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      On fact, only the early and immature forms of materialism can be considered as acts of faith or, as F. Engels put it, “metaphysics”. In his famous “Anti-Duehring” (published in 1877), he has already presented a critique of this “common sense” based materialism. From this book, I once used the following quote as the motto of my master’s dissertation that I prepared 102 years later:
      “Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research.”

      By contrast, dialectical materialism goes far beyond this “common sense” based materialism. Needless to state that nowadays hardly anyone knows and cares about dialectical materialism, including most scientists. And of course, today much could be added to and modified in Engels’ materialism – WITHOUT FALLING BACK BELOW THE LEVEL THAT HE HAD ALREADY ACHIEVED IN THE 19TH CENTURY, and without falling back into religious mysticism that probably was adequate thinking for feudal and pre-feudal societies (and is dying away to the extent society progresses – good riddance!!). Of course, in times of major crises of the more advanced societies, old religious murmurs tend to come back – as crisis symptoms, NOT as useful recipes for the future!

      Here is a more extensive Engels quote that should clarify things: “Real natural science dates from the second half of the fifteenth century, and thence onward it has advanced with constantly increasing rapidity. The analysis of nature into its individual parts, the grouping of the different natural processes and objects in definite classes, the study of the internal anatomy of organic bodies in their manifold forms — these were the fundamental conditions of the gigantic strides in our knowledge of nature that have been made during the last four hundred years. But this method of work has also left us as legacy the habit of observing natural objects and processes in isolation, apart from their connection with the vast whole; of observing them in repose, not in motion; as constants, not as essentially variables, in their death, not in their life. And when this way of looking at things was transferred by Bacon and Locke from natural science to philosophy, it begot the narrow, metaphysical mode of thought peculiar to the preceding centuries.

      To the metaphysician, things and their mental reflexes, ideas, are isolated, are to be considered one after the other and apart from each other, are objects of investigation fixed, rigid, given once for all. He thinks in absolutely irreconcilable antitheses. “His communication is ‘yea, yea; nay, nay’; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” [Matthew 5:37. — Ed.] For him a thing either exists or does not exist; a thing cannot at the same time be itself and something else. Positive and negative absolutely exclude one another, cause and effect stand in a rigid antithesis one to the other.

      At first sight this mode of thinking seems to us very luminous, because it is that of so-called sound common sense. Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research. And the metaphysical mode of thought, justifiable and even necessary as it is in a number of domains whose extent varies according to the nature of the particular object of investigation, sooner or later reaches a limit, beyond which it becomes one-sided, restricted, abstract, lost in insoluble contradictions. In the contemplation of individual things it forgets the connection between them; in the contemplation of their existence, it forgets the beginning and end of that existence; of their repose, it forgets their motion. It cannot see the wood for the trees.

      For everyday purposes we know and can say, e.g., whether an animal is alive or not. But, upon closer inquiry, we find that this is, in many cases, a very complex question, as the jurists know very well. They have cudgelled their brains in vain to discover a rational limit beyond which the killing of the child in its mother’s womb is murder. It is just as impossible to determine absolutely the moment of death, for physiology proves that death is not an instantaneous momentary phenomenon, but a very protracted process.

      In like manner, every organic being is every moment the same and not the same, every moment it assimilates matter supplied from without, and gets rid of other matter; every moment some cells of its body die and others build themselves anew; in a longer or shorter time the matter of its body is completely renewed, and is replaced by other atoms of matter, so that every organic being is always itself, and yet something other than itself.

      Further, we find upon closer investigation that the two poles of an antithesis positive and negative, e.g., are as inseparable as they are opposed and that despite all their opposition, they mutually interpenetrate. And we find, in like manner, that cause and effect are conceptions which only hold good in their application to individual cases; but as soon as we consider the individual cases in their general connection with the universe as a whole, they run into each other, and they become confounded when we contemplate that universal action and reaction in which causes and effects are eternally changing places, so that what is effect here and now will be cause there and then, and vice versa.

      None of these processes and modes of thought enters into the framework of metaphysical reasoning. Dialectics, on the other hand, comprehends things and their representations, ideas, in their essential connection, concatenation, motion, origin, and ending.”

      • hardie karges 9:26 am on July 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for that, Norbert. In fact some of us care about dialectical materialism AND dialectical idealism…

  • hardie karges 1:54 pm on April 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MATERIALISM   

    GRAY MATTER 

    Communism stops the clock if nothing else. Once the curtain was lifted and the wall came down, it was like opening a time capsule. I missed East Europe in the early days, but Vietnam and Laos were revealing, with their Bolshevik architecture, Minsk motorcycles, and Russian cultural centers. Gray is the color of communism, unfinished concrete and cellblock apartments. All the joy is gone from life in a world devoted to dialectical materialism. Time stands still in a world without profit nor prophecy. Alcohol takes on new importance and sex is more than just going through the motions. You take what pleasure you can find in as much family as you can afford and hope for things to get better.

     
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