posted on Nov, 6 2012 @ 07:30 AM
To me they are two sides of the same coin.
Materialism tells me that my life may be utterly meaningless other than meaning I choose to imbue it with. That the universe may have been created by
the collision of two membranes, and that what we see around us is simply "our" membrane infinitely twisted and warped into quantum "foam" which
constitutes the fundamental basis of matter, space, and time in our universe. That, neurologically and generatively, I may even lack what we
traditionally classify as free will. That free will could be entirely illusory. That our very sense of self and identity and "personhood" could stem
from emergent behavior, interactions and timing delays between the different hierarchical "subsets" of the mind, which in turn are associated with
the different organs/regions of the brain, coupled with nervous and electromagnetic stimuli (information.) That love, friendship, compassion, success,
achievement, etc. may be utterly without inherent meaning beyond our subjective interpretations of them, coupled with our instincts and other emergent
properties of our psychology and neurology. Just chemicals in the brain. Just waves in the membrane. A potentially infinite expanse of dimensional
interplay, full of membranes, bulks, and continually colliding and moving elements.
Idealism tells me that things which lack empirical proof can be accepted and experienced as though literally "real." That my subjective
interpretation of the material world and my emotions and experiences with regard thereto, is just as valid as any empirical interpretation thereof.
That the bonds of friendship, compassion, love, empathy, and kindness matter or, at the absolute minimum, are an inescapable part of my nature and
therefore meaningful by default, and inexorably, whether it makes empirical sense or not. That there are possible realities and beings I can have no
direct, scientific proof of, but which may be experienced as "real" nevertheless. That direct experience and knowledge (sometimes termed gnosis) can
supersede collective empirical repositories of experience and knowledge. That my existence does matter, and that there is something wondrous beyond
the boundaries of this existence.
After struggling with this question for many years, trying to avoid and disallow cognitive dissonance to dictate my beliefs and thoughts, to the point
of deep disillusionment, depression, and nihilism, I came to the personal conclusion for myself that 1) Regardless of objective "meaning,"
compassion and love are a part of my nature, whether I can make them objectively meaningful in a materialist interpretation or not, and 2) If the
materialist conclusion is potentially nihilistic, and at the same time depends on a degree of subjectivity even at its most scientific, then there is
no danger is entertaining the possibility of the idealistic and even the spiritual.
In short, if nothing inherently matters beyond what meanings we choose to attribute to life despite no compelling materialist reason to do so
by my standards, then there is no downside - for me personally - in defining what meaning I do or do not attribute to life for myself,