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Materialism • Posted: Apr 18, 2009 11:09:35Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

Many of us decry the materialism that has so dominated the daily agendas of so many in modern societies. Beyond the grueling oppressions of subsistence living, materialism would seem to be the utopia almost anyone could wish for: abundant, colorful, fanciful, gleefully gratifying convenience. As computer games transition to more elaborately convincing artificial reality, we might expect even materialism will eventually be discarded as inconvenient, wasteful, and amusingly quaint. The prevailing trend is that we want what we want. We want it now. And we want it without cost, effort, or disturbing consequence. Human ingenuity being what it is, quite likely that is exactly what we eventually will achieve. But will that be a good thing?

The peril we face as biological creatures is that we are forever in competition with our fellows for available resources. As resources deplete, populations inevitably collapse. Abundant resources have up until now allowed for the fantasy of materialism to flourish in at least parts of our would. Only the discovery of unlimited resources will allow sustaining the trends we have set for ourselves.

As big as it is, the Earth as it is is a finite resource. However, that could change. Everything the Earth is made of has come from the superheated cauldron of dying stars. Should we eventually master that process, in a test tube, in a factory, resources here on Earth could become if not unlimited, at least renewable for as long as a source of energy such as the Sun can be found to power that process.

In other words, materialism might not be the hastening dead end it seems to be. Palliative spiritual acquiescence or accommodation is not the answer either. Clear thinking, hard work, courage to explore, patience, cooperation, an overwhelming respect for the truth as best as we can perceive it, and a willingness to share are the answers. Let's hope enough of us come to believe and act on that truth before unmastered materialism swallows us whole.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009