Materialism

Intelligence alone is dangerous if it is not subjected to the intuitive or rational perception of moral values. It has led, not only to materialism, but to monstrosities.

If the great religions continue to waste their energies in a fratricidal war instead of looking upon themselves as friendly partners in the supreme task of nourishing the spiritual life of mankind, the swift advance of secular humanism and moral materialism is assured.

A way of life that bases itself on materialism, i.e., on permanent, limitless expansionism in a finite environment, cannot last long, and that its life expectation is the shorter the more successfully it pursues its expansionist objectives.

There persists, however, throughout the whole period the fixed scientific cosmology which presupposes the ultimate fact of an irreducible brute matter, or material, spread throughout space in a flux of configurations. In itself such a material is senseless, valueless, purposeless. It just does what is does do, following a fixed routine imposed by external relations which do not spring from the nature of being. It is this assumption that I call scientific materialism. Also it is an assumption which I shall challenge as being entirely unsuited to the scientific situations at which we have now arrived.

Theology is an incubus that a humanist can never shake off. He may seek refuge from theism in atheism or from animism in materialism. But after each desperate twist and turn he will find himself committed to some theological position or other. Theology is inescapable, and it is dynamite.

Civilization begins by a magnificent materialization of human purpose; it ends in a purposeless materialism. An empty triumph, which revolts even the self that created 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.

An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth / in short, materialism / does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.

An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth / in short, materialism / does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.

If materialism is true, it seems to me that we cannot know that it is true. If my opinions are the result of the chemical processes going on in my brain, they are determined by the laws of chemistry, not those of logic.

If materialism is true, it seems to me that we cannot know that it is true. If my opinions are the result of the chemical processes going on in my brain, they are determined by the laws of chemistry, not those of logic.

Maybe the evolutionary sequence really is from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, each transcending and including, each with a greater depth and greater consciousness and wider embrace. And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual's consciousness does indeed touch infinity - a total embrace of the entire Kosmos - a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature. It is at least plausible. And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?

My philosophical viewpoint: The world is rational. Human reason can, in principle, be developed more highly (through certain techniques). There are systematic methods for the solution of all problems. There are other worlds and rational beings of a different and higher kind. The world in which we live is not the only one in which we shall live or have lived. There is incomparably more knowable a priori that is currently known. The development of human thought since the Renaissance is thoroughly one-dimensional. Reason in mankind will be developed in every direction. Formal rights comprise a real science. Materialism is false. The higher beings are connected to the others by analogy, not by composition. Concepts have an objective existence.
There is a scientific (exact) philosophy and theology, which deals with concepts of the highest abstractness; and this is also most highly fruitful for science.
Religions are, for the most part, bad—but religion is not.

Idealism and metaphysics are the easiest things in the world, because people can talk as much nonsense as they like without basing it on objective reality or having it tested against reality. Materialism and dialectics, on the other hand, need effort. They must be based on and tested by objective reality. Unless one makes the effort one is liable to slip into idealism and metaphysics.

The only cure for materialism is the cleansing of the six sense (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind). If the senses are clogged, one's perception is stifled. The more it is stifled, the more contaminated the sense become. This creates disorder in the world, and that is the greatest evil of all.

A person must know that “Gods glory fills the entire world” (Isiah 6), and “There is no place void of Him” (Tikunei Zohar), and “He fills all worlds and surrounds all worlds” (Zohar)… even in the most defiled places there is godliness, for He gives life to everything as it says, “And you give life to everything” (Nechemia 9). So even if a person is stuck in the lowest of places he cannot excuse himself and say “I cannot serve Hashem here because of all the thickness and materialism that attacks me always,” for even there you can find Him and cling to Him and do complete teshuva, “For it is not far from you” (devarim 30), only that in this place there are many garments.

Wealth makes materialism easier to bear.

Another weakness of materialism was its whole-hearted identification of itself with the principles of elementary mechanics. It was naively scientific. We may call this species of materialism reductive materialism. . . . By its very principle evolutionary materialism is opposed to reductive materialism. It is not finalistic, or teleological, in the old sense . . . but it does not hold that relations in nature are external and that things are machines of atomic complexity. Organization and wholes are genuinely significant.

No, I'm just a man committed to great ideas.

When the past has taught us that we have more within us than we have ever used, our prayer is a cry to the divine to come to us and fill us with its power.