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The Materialist Insult

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posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:24 PM
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The "Materialist" Insult



materialism |məˈti(ə)rēəˌlizəm|
noun
1 a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.
2 Philosophy the doctrine that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.
• the doctrine that consciousness and will are wholly due to material agency. See also dialectical materialism.

Here, in the definition of materialism put forth by the Oxford Dictionary of English, we can see with discerning eyes a not so glaring but visible contradiction. The word “materialism”, as it is commonly used by our more impressionable friends, is associated with material gain, comfort, and the pursuit of these “things”. Yet, why would a materialist—one who believes there is nothing “except matter and its movements and modifications”—strive for these idealistic illusions he cannot find to exist? Of what kind of matter is status, monetary gain, wealth, success, happiness made of?

What is the material value of money? Paper, nickel, copper and their various uses. What is the idealistic value of money? Currency, lega tender, status, wealth, success, economy. An ideal deposited behind what actually exists. The accumulation and acquisition of materials for material gain is an idealistic tendency. How it falls under materialism is beyond me.

It is true, “matter” isn’t well enough defined, and therefore materialism, as a philosophical outlook, raises many as-of-yet unanswerable questions—for that, it is suspect—but it is becoming more and more difficult to pretend that there is no physical nature to everything we’ve already discovered and defined. Observable, measured, demonstrative and methodological inquiry has worked and continues to do so. Denying physicalism and its fruits involves a denial of the undeniable (even a denial of self!) and those who do so likely recoil in horror of what truths it might yet uncover. Human nature I suppose.

But the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in philosophical discussion on the internet or in debate is the use of “materialist” as if it was some kind of insult. When someone calls me a materialist I get the sense that they do so maliciously, much like how they would use the term “atheist” on those they wish to christen as cold, soulless and immoral—as if the term implied that one who doesn’t believe in God must advocate for the Devil. But what they’ve done with these terms is they have idealized it as is their fashion, and changed it from what it actually means, to what they wished it would mean. Materialism defined by Idealists.

Real things—these are the things the “materialist” fights for—not freedom, democracy, love, happiness, consciousness, the afterlife, wealth, status, the state, or Gods. Those are ideals that some will bomb entire villages for; those are ideals people will fly planes into buildings for; those are ideals that some lie to themselves for in the hopes that they will be attained. I value myself, the ones I love, you, us, him, her, nature, life and all the beauty it contains. I value what they are, not what I wished they were. If that is an insult, let’s just say I’m glad you’re offended.



15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides for ever.
1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world. Do not love yourself, life and everything in it. Love outside of the world. Love death. So the idealist teaches. The authors of this text failed to mention their desires for God too are a part of the world, and hence also "not from father". They failed to mention that they too were a part of the world, and hence also "not from father". They spit on their very selves and all over God's masterwork, God himself, in the hopes of salvation.

Hopefully, for their sake, not in vain.


“Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?”
― Janis Joplin



edit on 12-4-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 08:55 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Another high quality, well thought out thread


I think the problem is that the universes mechanics and nature is very foreign to us. We really have no clue what the deal with its fundamental reality is, we dont know what it is, why it is, where it is, when it is, we have recently (past 500 years) been chipping away at how it is. I think a large part of any blurriness in this realm of discussion or argument has to do with the nature of information, the nature of meaning, the nature of objectivity, the nature of absolutes, the nature of purpose, the nature of consciousness, the nature of potential, the nature of logic, ration, reason, to name a few. I know the definition you provided was societal, cultural, and economic, in terms of its application of an individuals perception on how one ought to carry themselves through this life, but if I can speak about the 'physics' connotations of materialism, I dont see how there can be anything other then materialism. The nature of math, and platos realm of form type ideas are interesting and I dont know exactly what I think about that, but if I had to put forth my best statement, would state that, I do not see how anything can exist that is not in some way material, for material by definition = that which exists. If we discover new types of matter and energy, surely it will be something rather then absolute nothing.

Ok and going back to the definition you provided, I see why people would be against it. The whole idea of 'spirtualness' is that it is possible there is more then meets the eye, this physical reality is an illusion, a test, it could be anything but there is more too it. It does seem like an unsubstantiated claim, but it is one that humans for a while now have had a natural tendency to grasp at, and understandably why. So in your definition it said something about maximize comfort and acquire physical items; if we can be honest we can admit the ways of mans world is not perfect, and we can doubt it has ever been (surely bursts and regions and relative snips of time here and there, and our standard of living is better then 99% of every living thing to ever live most likely...at least we have it easier) but why do we try to progress at all, why do we try to make things good at all, justice, order, kindness... yes it is in our best interest to cooperate to acquire physical possessions, but I guess im getting into the idea of ethics and morals, if im walking alone on a road weary and hungry, and an old man is hiking by me with a backpack full of food, according to the basic materialist philosophy the logical thing would be to kill him or steal the food, because acquiring physical possessions and creating physical comfort is first and foremost. All the 'informational things' like morals and emotions, and meaning, and purpose and value are all eliminated from reality in this perspective, and the universe is, has been, and only ever can be, its most basic physical forms.

So the materialist because of my previous statement about how anything that ever exists will in some form be material, they can get away with saying, "I am a materialist, reality is physically material", but really we dont know much about reality, or what material or physical is or means, only that from posteriori knowledge we know, for something to exist and be somewhere, something must exist be somewhere. So as energy-y and informationally and symbolically and bizarrely and complexly and foreignly this reality is to us, the materilist can easily dismiss it, as an act of complete acceptance (what else can we do but accept this reality, work within it confines to explore, and build the best experience for ourselves with what short time we have as ourselves) so then it doesnt seem so foreign. But really, humanities combined knowledge of truth (if such a thing(truth) is such a thing) is most likely the tiniest of dents in the speck of a dent on the totality of truth.

Also, I like your threads, the style and everything, I think some day you should compile all your threads into a little pamphlet or something, would be cool, a booklet of philosophical musings and questions, maybe to stealthily leave at coffee shops and bookstores...



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 02:12 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 
The very definition of materialist indicates an ideal. There is no absolute evidence that we are simply the material/physical body-mind - it is just assumed as self-evident. So this assumption is actually an ideal.

And unfortunately, this idea that we are the physical body-mind is the starting point for various other ideas - e.g., that we are separate egos, that there is a Creator-God (that is suspiciously similar to a child's notion of daddy), and of course, the ones you mention, etc., etc.

So why do materialists think they are not being idealists? For someone to emphatically state that they are a materialist should mean that they have firmly concluded this from a complete and thorough investigation and understanding of who they are altogether, and not just a blanket assumption because it seems self-evident and that is what has been assumed by others for eons, etc.

Otherwise, the "insult" to such a materialist would be to call them an idealist.

What is the materialist's actual proof that one is simply and irreducibly the physical body-mind?
edit on 13-4-2013 by bb23108 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 02:26 AM
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reply to post by ImaFungi
 


Good points Fungi.


if im walking alone on a road weary and hungry, and an old man is hiking by me with a backpack full of food, according to the basic materialist philosophy the logical thing would be to kill him or steal the food,


This is where everyone is wrong. This is what the idealist infers would happen to him when he imagines a world with out his precious ideals. He believes that without a soul, without an afterlife and without God, we are essentially worthless meat sacks; and that anyone who is a materialist must be implying such a cop out. This is simply untrue. To think that something is worthless enough to have it destroyed and stolen from is the result of another ideal— namely that we are worthless meat sacks. No one believes that except those who see themselves as worthless meat sacks, so they invent such ideas as souls, the afterlife and God, merely so they can stand the sight of themselves.

To destroy a real living thing to gain a brief state of comfort involves a denial of the physical, a denial of life, and a striving for an ideal.

The modern definition of materialism is wrong. It doesn't involve greed, violence, anarchy or nihilism in the slightest.



Also, I like your threads, the style and everything, I think some day you should compile all your threads into a little pamphlet or something, would be cool, a booklet of philosophical musings and questions, maybe to stealthily leave at coffee shops and bookstores...


Thanks for reading. I do post here to practice my writing. We'll see what becomes of it.



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 02:38 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Two types of materialists. There are banker type materialists who value money greater and things/objects assert their existance .

Then there is materialists who are just earthy, or more physically inclined. Such as with the sun sign Taurus/capricorn and virgo are known as the earth signs.



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 02:44 AM
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reply to post by bb23108
 



The very definition of materialist indicates an ideal. There is no absolute evidence that we are simply the material/physical body-mind - it is just assumed as self-evident. So this assumption is actually an ideal.

And unfortunately, this idea that we are the physical body-mind is the starting point for various other ideas - e.g., that we are separate egos, that there is a Creator-God (that is suspiciously similar to a child's notion of daddy), and of course, the ones you mention, etc., etc.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. Materialism itself is another ideal, but one that doesn't put ideals above physical things. In some ways it is a contradiction.

And you're right, the physicalness of reality is the foundation of every thought and doctrine whether they admit it or not is another story.


So why do materialists think they are not being idealists? For someone to emphatically state that they are a materialist should mean that they have firmly concluded this from a complete and thorough investigation and understanding of who they are altogether, and not just a blanket assumption because it seems self-evident and that is what has been assumed by others for eons, etc.

Yes, but we should be saying that about all ontological explanations. Of course none are written in stone and they always evolve. But if we've assumed and found something self-evident for eons and eons, when should we adopt it as a principal? Maybe never it seems.


What is the materialist's actual proof that one is simply and irreducibly the physical body-mind?

It's true, no one's going to pop out of no where and tell us we've been right or wrong; but take a look around, the proof is in our face at every moment. To deny that is to be not alive.



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 02:48 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 



The word “materialism”, as it is commonly used by our more impressionable friends, is associated with material gain, comfort, and the pursuit of these “things”. Yet, why would a materialist—one who believes there is nothing “except matter and its movements and modifications”—strive for these idealistic illusions he cannot find to exist?


Even after all that person has acquired, he would "likely" find that he is still not happy....

The problem with "materialism" is that it is selfish... and an outward expression so to speak...

it says I love myself... look at my things... Look at how great I am.... everyone LOOK at ME!!

It does not bring happiness...nor does "attachment" to one's possessions...

edit on 13-4-2013 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 02:52 AM
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"I value myself, the ones I love, you, us, him, her, nature, life and all the beauty it contains. I value what they are, not what I wished they were."

This shows you. That's lovely.
I like it, and you don't appear to be too bored by the thoughts you share today either. Good.

Materialist question/statement that irritated me recently "so, you've found the rainbow then." which in the tone of the write one had to assume some sort of wealth or monetary gain came but instead further elightenment was found.
Unfortunately you can not put a price on ' knowing' it is priceless and makes me wish sometimes that the collected memories of bric abrac carted all around would just burn and go away, it weighs heavily.

Good thing oppulance makes me uncomfortable....nice thread.



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 03:28 AM
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I personally percieve different ways materialism exists in personalities. But you are describing it as an idealist notion.
There is also a "physicality" type of materialism- being driven by the senses instead of thoughts.

I think that this is partly what people who use the term in a derogatory way are refering to.
It is in relation to mastership and control of the instinctive drives and appetites. For many spiritual and religious types, a big part of the focus is being freed from the tyranny of our animalistic drives and appetites.

It may be yoga, prayer, a philosophy.... it could be holding the instincts at bay with a promise of fulfilment after this life..... but whatever it is, these people often imagine that without the use of some kind of tool like this, your appetites and base drives will take over and result in unethical behavior.

One of those drives, for example, is the draw to power. With no belief to channel and limit it, money can be sought after in unethical ways, not for the matter object it is, but because of the power it vehicles.

You don't even have to have a belief in money giving you power to experience it in very down to earth ways, and without need for a conscious intent at all, the subconscious will associate them instinctively and feel drawn to it.

This is the concern, about the instincts of reproduction, survival, draws to physical pleasure and repulsions to discomfort.... the spiritual person tends to assume the materialist is without tools to rein those in with.



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 05:02 AM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides for ever.
1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world. Do not love yourself, life and everything in it. Love outside of the world. Love death. So the idealist teaches. The authors of this text failed to mention their desires for God too are a part of the world, and hence also "not from father". They failed to mention that they too were a part of the world, and hence also "not from father". They spit on their very selves and all over God's masterwork, God himself, in the hopes of salvation.

edit on 12-4-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)


The world is the unreal because what 'appears' is transitory and ever changing and this is what the quote is telling you (and the world is passing away). The real does not 'pass away'. Until the 'real' is realized there will be suffering. The 'real' is the father - the 'real' is the source of all that is. The real is ever present and never changing but is overlooked.

You exclaim 'do not love the world - do not love yourself, life and everything in it' and then you conclude 'love outside of the world - love death'. No one told you to love death or outside of the world - this is your interpretation.
God does not have to be desired - desire leads away from God. To 'want' (desire) other than what is to deny God. It says in the Bible to 'not worship other' - because there is nothing other than what is. Only thought will tell you there is more - if one listens to thought and believes thought then one is lost in thought, lost in time.






edit on 13-4-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 05:17 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

The root of materialism starts with the idea that you are a 'thing' living in a world of other 'things'. It starts at the moment of separation. The story of the banishment from the garden of eden tells this story.
A little voice says 'you could become like.......'. The idea of 'becoming' leads one astray -it says that I can become 'something'.
You are not a 'something'. You are not a 'thing' - in fact there is no thing anywhere.
There is only 'being'. To be or not to be?

This moment right here and right now is all there is - it is the presence of the lord. This is God. What 'this' is cannot be named but words are used to name 'this' - God is not a person - God is all there is.

Naming is what produces the 'illusion' of separate 'things'.

Here is the first chapter of the tao te ching translated by Steven Michell::

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.


The 'world' that you 'think' you know is made of 'names' and this seems to separate the whole into bits but naming does not really split anything into bits - it just veils the 'real'. The mystery is here to be discovered but only when desire ends will it be realized.
There is only what is happening presently. The trouble starts when you believe that it is happening to you. There is no you that it is happening to - there is just what is happening.
edit on 13-4-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 08:51 AM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

What is the materialist's actual proof that one is simply and irreducibly the physical body-mind?

It's true, no one's going to pop out of no where and tell us we've been right or wrong; but take a look around, the proof is in our face at every moment. To deny that is to be not alive.


The truth shall set you free.
No one will pop up and 'say' that you are right or wrong but the fruit will tell.
When the peace that surpasses all understanding descends you will know for sure. Anger and condescension will lift and compassion will take their place.
edit on 13-4-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 08:58 AM
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Spiritual one descends into materialism and goes back to his/her spiritual self. Spirituality has the world in its unity. Do not judge lest thee be judged.



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 10:11 AM
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Oxford Dictionary’s definition of Materialism:
A tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

What could be our modern perceived reality in regards to materialsm – all matter, all materials, all materialistic possessions? How can one have the luxury of embracing spirituality without first acquiring even the basic materialistic necessities? Considered more important than spiritual values...who’s spiritual values?

A home (shelter, security, spiritual comfort (retreat), status symbol), food (sustenance, comfort, celebration, gluttony and decadence), furniture and other belongings (physical and spiritual comfort, status symbols), clothing (protection from the elements, status symbols), personal technological devices (the new mode of societal connection (a human non-materialistic interrelationship need, gotten through a materialistic device)).

The definition of materialism above excludes further explanation, in that, once one has acquired all of life’s necessary material possessions to survive in creature comfort and security, thus enabling one to turn to spirituality, if one so desires. Not everyone desires to live a life exploring the human condition, self-awareness, religion, or spirituality.

There are some people who have passions to aid humanity. This type of situation encompasses the need for material technological possessions and strong desires (drives) to be met after the spiritual and self-less desire to help humanity came into fruition. Again, the definition above doesn’t go far enough in explaining every scenario.

LesMes Quote: The accumulation and acquisition of materials for material gain is an idealistic tendency. How it falls under materialism is beyond me.

The definition of materialism also excludes the all important factor of ‘greed’. What is greed? What level of greed (or perceived level and by whom?) is acceptable before it becomes disgusting (disgusting to whom?)?

The definition of greed, as per the Cambridge dictionary:
A strong desire to continually get more of something, esp. money: He was motivated by pure greed.

The definition of materialism, as per the Cambridge dictionary:
The belief that money, possessions, and comfort are the most important things to obtain in life. I was a materialistic person, very career-oriented, with a large ego.

Why harshly judge those that have not balanced the materialistic and spiritual – isn’t life for learning and, hopefully, making a satisfying life you, yourself, require (for whatever reasons/needs (realized or not))?



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 10:48 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


The materialist is all about status. The 'thing you think you are' is always scared of being not good enough so it is always trying to prove itself. You think you are a thing among other things and it goes hand in hand with survival of the fittest (Darwin's theory). If I appear bigger than you then I will be safer.
It is fear based.
A thing cannot live forever. A thing will expire and this causes fear for the one who believes it is a thing.
Only when the truth is realized will the fear go and you will not have to big yourself up or put others down.



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
I wholeheartedly agree with this. Materialism itself is another ideal, but one that doesn't put ideals above physical things. In some ways it is a contradiction.
Yes, contradictory indeed - in fact, paradoxical because of the nature of matter in terms of being energy.


Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
And you're right, the physicalness of reality is the foundation of every thought and doctrine whether they admit it or not is another story.
I agree with this - and especially if you equate physicalness (physicality) with form or conditionality. I can also agree that the physical body-mind is the foundation for every thought in the sense that thoughts are a product of language.

I can also assume that conditionality is the foundation or the cause, and also caused by, conditionality itself. However, I cannot simply assume that the physical body-mind is the foundation of all experience, just like I cannot assume the body-mind is the cause of all conditionality. In other words, I cannot simply assume as self-evident that the physical body-mind is the senior principle operative in our arising as conditional forms altogether - and also because there is no proof that I am simply the physical body-mind.


Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
Yes, but we should be saying that about all ontological explanations.
If it is simply conjecture or idealism, yes. However, if one's being is understood for what it actually is, that may still not be acceptable to the materialist, whereas it is self-evident to the realizer of one's being.


Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
Of course none are written in stone and they always evolve. But if we've assumed and found something self-evident for eons and eons, when should we adopt it as a principal? Maybe never it seems.
The assumption that we are the body-mind has been the case for eons because we have fundamentally identified with the mechanism of attention that is a function of the body-mind. This identification is the root pattern of individuation, the ego-I, and from here all the rest of identification with the functions of the body-mind occur.

Almost no one questions this presumption of being the body-mind because to do so fully actually requires great energy, attention, and commitment to a process most people do not want to bother with, as this presumption of identification with the body-mind runs very deep, is animated in each and every moment, and requires taking great responsibility for the body-mind, in life, etc.


Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

What is the materialist's actual proof that one is simply and irreducibly the physical body-mind?

It's true, no one's going to pop out of no where and tell us we've been right or wrong; but take a look around, the proof is in our face at every moment. To deny that is to be not alive.
Yes, the body-mind appears but is that what we actually are? Or are we awareness - not the observer function that arises as a function of the body-mind, but unchanging awareness? Isn't it more obvious than the body-mind that no matter what arises, awareness is always the case? That fundamental awareness does not age? Isn't it true that your fundamental awareness never changes? Awareness is more apparent and self-evident to me than the presumption that I am simply the physical body-mind, which is always changing.

Here - I can re-word my favorite question to you: What does the body-mind actually look like in reality? The body-mind can only see from a single point of view at any given moment, and so to try and observe what the body-mind actually looks like altogether is not possible, because a slight shift in point of view and it looks different. But what does it actually look like?

We cannot ever know this from the point of view of the body-mind, nor can we ever know what anything looks like altogether in reality, much less what anything actually is. So why would we trust these very limited body-minds as being the foundation for our reality? For this reason, materialists are idealists because they are making a great leap of faith by assuming they are fundamentally the body-mind.

Doesn't this compel one to at least not blindly assume that one is the body-mind - but rather to let the whole body-mind be opened up altogether physically, emotionally (in feeling), mentally, etc., - to allow whatever reality is, to reveal itself? Such a disposition is that of a true realist, not an idealist (materialist or otherwise).
edit on 13-4-2013 by bb23108 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 11:33 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

Is it materialistic to gain religious status by being righteous?

Or is that spiritualistic?

In my mind, it's all about the gaining part. Ego!

We don't have to be gaining anything tangible. We just have to think we're gaining something.

Thought isn't exactly something you can hold in your hand. It's abstract.

I just read a short story where one of the principle currencies is haut; status! How do they gain haut? By doing things that others find interesting or worth praising. They can lose haut too.

Our brain has a risk/reward system that it lives under. Perhaps this is related. When we feel we're making progress to meet certain goals, it gives us a feeling of security and reward. Meeting our goals is supposed to mean that we have more control over our lives. So maybe it's about control.

What's the opposite of security and control? How about the threat of imminent death or slavery? Maybe then these two equal/opposite forces act together to define our lives.
edit on 13-4-2013 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 11:41 AM
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As far as greed, seeking image and status...... the materialist does not have the monopoly on that!

There are plenty of people who seek status, power, and recognition through being recognized as spiritually superior!

Desiring the aquisition of knowledge (some even consider themselves as "possessing" it) and spiritual awareness can get to a level of gluttony too.



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by Bluesma
As far as greed, seeking image and status...... the materialist does not have the monopoly on that!

There are plenty of people who seek status, power, and recognition through being recognized as spiritually superior!

Desiring the aquisition of knowledge (some even consider themselves as "possessing" it) and spiritual awareness can get to a level of gluttony too.



Do you think that 'spiritual awareness' can be acquired?

What do you think 'awareness' is?

edit on 13-4-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 12:53 PM
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Originally posted by Itisnowagain
[

Do you think that 'spiritual awareness' can be acquired?

What do you think 'awareness' is?


No, I don't.
I also don't think one can "have" or "possess" knowledge either. Nonetheless, there are many people who use those terms and consider it possible, and something one can search for, or have more of, than another.





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