Materialism

Our culture needs a great deal more than a changed lifestyle. In the Western mind, thought-structures and the relationship between consciousness and matter are badly out of balance, so that our world has become wholly pervaded by a materialism that is threatening to squash us to death. We are in a state of materialistic hypertrophy, and our eventual self-destruction would in fact be no more than the logical consequence of our attitudes.

Man gains freedom only through the use of his highest faculties. Materialism makes him more and more a slave to the forces of the phenomenal world... Our present-day materialism points in this direction - that is, in the direction of the enslavement of man by mechanisation and by its direct results, by state organisations, uniformity, the sacrifice of independent intelligence, the sweeping away of individual differences, local customs, local diversity, and all the infinite branchings of humanity that enrich life... Man is made free by ‘truth’. The truth spoken here is equated with mind. This kind of truth begins with self-knowledge.

All men need something to poetize and idealize their life a little - something which they value for more than its use and which is a symbol of their emancipation from the mere materialism and drudgery of daily life.

Your mission is proving that a love for the earth, and for the things of the earth, is possible without materialism, a love without greed

I believe the root of all happiness on this earth to life in the realization of a spiritual life with a consciousness of something wider than materialism; in the capacity to live in a world that makes you unselfish because you are not over anxious about your personal place; that makes you tolerant because you realize your own comic fallibility; that gives you tranquillity without complacency because you believe in something so much larger than yourself.

Then still a purpose enclosing all, and over and beneath all, ever since what might be call’d thought, or the budding of thought, fairly began in my youthful mind, I had had a desire to attempt some worthy record of that entire faith and acceptance to justify the ways of God to man... which is the foundation of moral America... to formulate a poem whose every thought or fact should directly or indirectly be or connive at an implicit belief in the wisdom, health, mystery, beauty of every process, every concrete object, every human or other existence, not only consider’d from the point of view of all, but of each. While I can not understand it or argue it out, I fully believe in a clue and purpose in Nature, entire and several; and that invisible spiritual results, just as real and definite as the visible, eventuate all concrete life and all materialism through Time.

Materialism is decadent and degenerate only if the spirit of the nation has withered and if individual people are so unimaginative that they wallow in it.

The cure for "Materialism" is to have enough for everybody and to spare. When people are sure of having what they need they cease to think about it.

Our life on earth is, and ought to be, material and carnal. But we have not yet learned to manage our materialism and carnality properly; they are still entangled with the desire for ownership.

It is not materialism that is the chief curse of the world, as pastors teach, but idealism. Men get into trouble by taking their visions and hallucinations too seriously.

What is the standpoint of materialism?... We look outwards (via the senses) for the explanation and cause of everything. We start from phenomena as absolute truth... Materialism gives sense and physical matter priority over mind or idea... The customary standpoint of scientific materialism is that primary matter is dead - and the universe is dead and nature is dead - and a dead nature can, of course, aim at nothing. It cannot be teleological.

Agnosticism and materialism... are the fruits of that spiriutal heresy of Humanism by which man came to see himself as a whole, instad of a spiritual-social-biological organism in living relation to the real world of spirit, of other men and things.

Materialism assumes a line of `continuity’ running through the whole scheme of nature, despite its obvious gaps; on the contrary, he underlines the significance of `discontinuity’ as positive evidence of the intervention of a higher source of influence which escapes man’s limited `scale of observation.’ A giant or a microbe would, with similar intelligence, observe the same phenomenon differently; they might be guided by their scales of observation to different, or at least, to modified conclusions. There is no scientific truth in an absolute sense. The phrase Ad veritatem per scientiam is an absurdity.

Our life on earth is, and ought to be, material and carnal. But we have not yet learned to manage our materialism and carnality properly; they are still entangled with the desire for ownership.

Sufficient time must be devoted to the process of “being” rather than “doing.” This is perhaps life’s greatest lesson of all. It is not only true that mindless materialism leaves us empty; materiality alone means that we do not know the value of time. We are actually afraid of time, as well as meaning and value; and this is why we turn to materialism.

The very fact that one can conceive [a]… possible solution may save one from being in the pessimistic position of imagining that there can be no possible purpose in the process at all. Such a defeatist loss of all sense of meaning… is one of the tragic outcomes of the materialism of today.

I believe that, for the rest of the world, contemporary America is an almost symbolic concentration of all the best and the worst of our civilization. On the one hand, there are its profound commitment to enhancing civil liberty and to maintaining the strength of its democratic institutions, and the fantastic developments in science and technology which have contributed so much to our well-being; on the other, there is the blind worship of perpetual economic growth and consumption, regardless of their destructive impact on the environment, or how subject they are to the dictates of materialism and consumerism, or how they, through the omnipresence of television and advertising, promote uniformity, and banality instead of a respect for human uniqueness.

The dogma that “mental diseases are diseases of the brain” is a hangover from the materialism of the 1870s. It has become a prejudice which hinders all progress, with nothing to justify it.

We are in the grip of a scientific materialism, caught in a vicious cycle where our security today seems to depend on regimentation and weapons which will ruin us tomorrow… the intellectual achievements of great scientists are being perverted by the material exploitation of industry and war…I have lived to experience the early results of scientific materialism… have watched pride of workmanship leave and human character decline as efficiency of production lines increased… I have seen the science I worshipped and the aircraft I loved destroying the civilization I expected them to save.

Eternal peace is a dream, and not even a beautiful one. War is a part of God’s world order. In it are developed the noblest virtues of man: courage and abnegation, dutifulness and self-sacrifice. Without war the world would sink into materialism.