Mod+ 274. DR. BERNARDO KASTRUP, WHY OUR CULTURE IS MATERIALISTIC

Things are hotting up. I'm willing to take the heat for you on this one, if I'm correct about the reasons for your wariness. This is a question relevant to dualism too, which has to account for the lack of parsimony of having two fundamental forces. I sometimes speculate that they were originally united in One, which split for the purpose of furthering its evolution: enhancing its complexity and thus enhancing its capacity for ever-more-sophisticated experiences. Why would this further its evolution? Because of the "arms race" that occurs in war. We've gained a lot of technology through warfare on this planet alone; imagine the advances in "consciousness technology" in which a spiritual war across the entire universe has resulted. But I emphasise that this is pure speculation, I really have no idea what the reality is. And it's very questionable (hot) speculation too: would the benefits really be worth the cost?

In any case, in this sense, again, my interpretation of dualism seems to be compatible with your interpretation of idealism: my One-which-split is compatible with your mind-at-large.
If your view of dualism is that the dual emerged from the one, it is in essence idealism and I see the compatibility you speak of. I am writing about this now, actually. Next year I shall say more... ;)
My suggestion earlier is that 'evil' isn't quite evil from the perspective of mind-at-large, for the same reason that the horror of a nightmare isn't so horrific after you wake up.
 
I get where you're coming from, but I'm not sure I'm totally on-board. a lot of folks point to Easter Island as an example of irreversible ecological mismanagement (speculating that they cut down all the trees to roll their statues arond and then died from starvation as a result). maybe we're just operating on a much larger scale... a difference of scale rather than kind.
Well, when you have a culture that validates as intellectually sound the view that matter is all that lasts and, as such, all that really matters, it can't be helpful. When you have a culture that says nothing will be of any significance for you in maximum 100 years, that can't be helpful. When you have a culture that says your life, if looked at frankly and honestly, has no ultimate meaning, that can't be helpful. When you have a culture that says living beings are just moist robots, that can't be helpful.
 
Well, when you have a culture that validates as intellectually sound the view that matter is all that lasts and, as such, all that really matters, it can't be helpful. When you have a culture that says nothing will be of any significance for you in maximum 100 years, that can't be helpful. When you have a culture that says your life, if looked at frankly and honestly, has no ultimate meaning, that can't be helpful. When you have a culture that says living beings are just moist robots, that can't be helpful.
I dunno. How many cultures really buy into acquisitive or philosophical materialism? Sure, in affluent societies, people buy and waste more than they need, but do they do that because materialism is a dominant paradigm? Or because within any cultural or religious system, there is the tendency to be focussed on immediate desires? Is it more a question of moral inertia to be overcome than the conscious logic of materialism?

It's often said that the primary sin is one of pride: and what is pride? Really, it's the inability to see things as they actually are, instead relying on any number of mistaken notions. And in that respect, we're all proud. If we could see things as they really are, then we would always act optimally. And if we always acted optimally, human-caused evil wouldn't be a problem.

But we can't always act optimally because, if we're the alters that Bernardo proposes, we're here learning about a particular mode of existence on behalf of m-a-l, so that it can apprehend itself in a novel way. And, just as a child takes faltering steps, so do alters: "human evil" is as inevitable as it is regrettable. We can only hope that over time, things will improve. It's not as if m-a-l knows what the outcome will be; rather, it's learning as it goes along in this realm of time it's created.

It's interesting to speculate where it's all leading. What happens if and when alters arrive at a state where the maximum amount that can be known is actually known by them--all of them, not just a few of them? Where pride disappears? Maybe then, m-a-l becomes the thing it wants to be: something, if not greater, then at least different; something, who knows, that can instigate a different agenda. Thinking about it, I have my doubts that it will dissolve itself back into a continuum of un-self-aware awareness, only to start the whole process over again. Mind you, maybe that's just a human expression of the fear of boredom.
 
There is a phenomenon that occurs when people get spiritual, they also frequently give up the materialistic consumption based life style. Often it is because they choose to take a cut in income in order to live a more spiritual life. It was a common theme of talks given by members at the Zen center I used to go to ... how someone who had a well paid career said they decided to give it up and live at the Zen center so they could spend time meditating and living a life conducive to meditation. I used to think they were nuts....until I retired earlier than most people do because I didn't like the rat race and now I don't mind spending much less money than my peers because I have the time and freedom to pursue my interests in spirituality.
 
There is a phenomenon that occurs when people get spiritual, they also frequently give up the materialistic consumption based life style. Often it is because they choose to take a cut in income in order to live a more spiritual life. It was a common theme of talks given by members at the Zen center I used to go to ... how someone who had a well paid career said they decided to give it up and live at the Zen center so they could spend time meditating and living a life conducive to meditation. I used to think they were nuts....until I retired earlier than most people do because I didn't like the rat race and now I don't mind spending much less money than my peers because I have the time and freedom to pursue my interests in spirituality.
Exactly... speaking for myself, I used to be a materialist-by-default years ago, because I thought there was no logical or empirically-honest alternative to materialism (oh well...). Certain things were important to me then that have become utterly unimportant now, concomitant with the increased clarity with which I believe to see the world: excess money, status, power, image, etc. None of this matters now. Today I am perfectly happy to drive a reliable 12-year-old car (the same I had when my transition started), have a rather minimalistic garderobe, not a care about what people think of me personally, no material ambitions beyond what I already have (a quiet house and a good computer to work on), and so on. My sense of meaning has shifted from material goods and egoic identification to a more subtle and rich psychic space entailing feelings, relationships, insights, connection with nature, an appreciation for beauty, etc. As a consequent of that, my own patterns of behavior and spending shifted significantly. I suspect that if everybody would exhibit these same patterns, most TV shows would die out, many consumer-oriented companies would go bust, advertising would nearly disappear beyond some utilitarian and educational function, politics would look nothing like it does today, etc.
 
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...no material ambitions beyond what I already have (a quiet house and a good computer to work on), and so on... ...I suspect that if everybody would exhibit these same patterns, most TV shows would die out, many consumer-oriented companies would go bust, advertising would nearly disappear beyond some utilitarian and educational function, politics would look nothing like it does today, etc...
Oh dear... you own a quiet house, drive your own car, work on a good computer, have a publisher, write books, fly on aircraft, have a girlfriend, you did have a cat...

You're just part of exactly the same system as the rest of us, and you've aspired to and acquired exactly the same things most people do.

If you have something useful to add, something practical, other than the usual ain't it awful... lets hear it!

Meanwhile... you sit in your beautiful house, writing your books, that get published, and sold through amazon, to consumers, whilst you try to promote your books sale through internet forums like this... honestly...
 
Oh dear... you own a quiet house, drive your own car, work on a good computer, have a publisher, write books, fly on aircraft, have a girlfriend, you did have a cat...

You're just part of exactly the same system as the rest of us, and you've aspired to and acquired exactly the same things most people do.

If you have something useful to add, something practical, other than the usual ain't it awful... lets hear it!

Meanwhile... you sit in your beautiful house, writing your books, that get published, and sold through amazon, to consumers, whilst you try to promote your books sale through internet forums like this... honestly...
Your suggestion that there is something wrong or contradictory in living in a quiet house, being happy and writing/selling books is confusing to me. When did I ever claim that I don't live in 'the same system as the rest' of you? When did I ever suggest that producing and selling useful things is wrong? I am not advocating that we do away with technology and go back to living in a primitive manner. I am not advocating misery, loneliness or unhappiness. I am not advocating poverty or lack of comfort. Neither am I advocating the end of commerce or systems of production.

My argument -- which I'm sure you understood but chose to misrepresent so you could take a cheap shot at me -- is that projecting numinous meaning onto things is a neurosis characteristic of a materialist ontology, which leads to all kinds of sick patterns of behavior and associated economic, political and power structures, as well as potentially major global crises. This is expressed by taking things to be the very meaning and purpose of one's life, instead of tools. It leads to a compulsive, addictive need for wealth accumulation, status, power, and runaway consumerism, and takes one's focus away from the psychic reality of existence. But things as tools are entirely valid, necessary and good. Producing and selling them is entirely valid and I never advocated otherwise. Commerce is not the source of the problems I am pointing out. Commerce is simply misused for the reinforcement of a psychic ethos useful to current power structures.

What I am saying is that a non-materialist ontology allows one to see material goods as tools, not as the meaning of life. This prevents the exaggerated, compulsive, pathological need for the accumulation of things, beyond any reasonable context of utility or necessity, that materialism is conducive to.

I am quite happy and unapologetic that I have a reliable 12-year-old car that brings me from A to B so I can commute to work and earn a living. Years ago, I would swap this car every couple of years to look cool, which I couldn't care less about today because I see my car as merely a tool, not the meaning of my life.

I am happy that I have a quiet and warm house to shelter me and provide me with an environment conducive to expressing myself through my ideas. Expressing myself is the meaning of my life, and shelter is a basic tool for realizing that meaning. That said, I have no interest today in upgrading my house to a mansion; that means nothing to me, whether I can afford it or not.

I am happy and entirely unapologetic about the fact that my books are published (what the hell could possibly be wrong with it?). Do I earn money with my books? Nothing of any significance, which is the reality of publishing today in case you didn't know. People who live from their writing (which is not my case) do so from speaker fees, which I don't get because I hardly speak and, when I do, it's usually without a fee. Remember, I work a regular working week.

And yes, I am very happy that I have a girlfriend. I have been through the nightmare of a divorce before and am quite grateful to have found love again. What the heck motivated you to suggest that there is any contradiction between this and the points I am trying to make?

Your post is specious and the motivations behind it unclear but alarming to me.
 
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Your suggestion that there is something wrong or contradictory in living in a quiet house, being happy and writing books on a computer is confusing to me. And when did I ever claim that I don't live in 'the same system as the rest' of you? I am not advocating, and have never done so, that we do away with technology and go back to living in a primitive manner. I am not advocating misery, loneliness or unhappiness. That's not my point at all. I am not advocating poverty or lack of comfort. Neither did I ever claim to be unhappy.

What I am saying is that a non-materialist ontology allows one to see material goods as tools, not as the meaning of life. This prevents the exaggerated, compulsive, pathological need for the accumulation of things, beyond any reasonable context of utility or necessity, that materialism is conducive to.

I am quite happy and unapologetic that I have a reliable 12-year-old car that brings me from A to B so I can commute to work and earn a living. Years ago, I would swap this car every couple of years to look cool, which I couldn't care less about today because I see my car as merely a tool, not the meaning of my life.

I am happy that I have a quiet and warm house to shelter me and provide me with an environment conducive to expressing myself through my ideas. Expressing myself is the meaning of my life, and shelter is a basic tool for realizing that meaning. That said, I have no interest today in upgrading my house to a mansion; that means nothing to me, whether I can afford it or not.

I am happy and entirely unapologetic about the fact that my books are published (what the hell could possibly be wrong with it?). Do I earn money with my books? Nothing of any significance, which is the reality of publishing today in case you didn't know. People who live from their writing (which is not my case) do so from speaker fees, which I don't get because I hardly speak and, when I do, it's usually without a fee. Remember, I work a regular working week.

And yes, I am very happy that I have a girlfriend. I have been through the nightmare of a divorce before and am quite grateful to have found love again. What the heck motivated you to suggest that there is any contradiction between this and the points I am trying to make?

Your post is specious and the motivations behind it unclear but alarming to me. My argument is that projecting numinous meaning onto things is a neurosis characteristic of a materialist ontology, which leads to all kinds of sick patterns of behavior and associated economic, political and power structures, as well as potentially major global crises. This is expressed by taking things to be the very meaning and purpose of one's life, instead of tools. It leads to a compulsive, addictive need for wealth accumulation, status, power, and runaway consumerism, and takes one's focus away from the psychic reality of existence.
That's what you said...

"...no material ambitions beyond what I already have..."

"...if everybody would exhibit these same patterns..." [the world would be a different (better?) place]

I'd be rather surprised if you don't have insurance... because just like most of us... your terrified of losing all your acquisitions...

...honestly what a load of twaddle
 
I'd be rather surprised if you don't have insurance... because just like most of us... your terrified of losing all your acquisitions...
Of course I have insurance. And yes, of course I don't want to be left without shelter or a means to survive. What's your point?

...honestly what a load of twaddle
Ahh... I see your point now.
 
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Of course I have insurance. And yes, of course I don't want to be left without shelter or a means to survive. What's your point?



Ahh... I see your point now.

I think you are wasting your time writing lengthy responses to people who only see what they want to see and not what you intend them to see,

It's evidently clear to me that what you are saying is that, before you placed more importance on material gain and material status, rather than you new position which places more importance of the less material aspects and more spiritual aspects of life.

You said.

My sense of meaning has shifted from material goods and egoic identification to a more subtle and rich psychic space entailing feelings, relationships, insights, connection with nature, an appreciation for beauty, etc. As a consequent of that, my own patterns of behavior and spending shifted significantly. - Kastrup

I can relate to that, but unfortunately others have problems computing this simple logic.
 
I think you are wasting your time writing lengthy responses to people who only see what they want to see and not what you intend them to see.
Thanks Johnny. I wrote the lengthy response mostly because Max's post gave me an opportunity to elaborate further on my points for the rest of you. I was writing mostly for the rest of you, not Max.
 
Of course I have insurance. And yes, of course I don't want to be left without shelter or a means to survive. What's your point?



Ahh... I see your point now.
You said if everybody exhibited the same patterns as you, the world would be a very different place.

Total rubbish... You are like everybody else, and so the world would not be a different place.
 
You said if everybody exhibited the same patterns as you, the world would be a very different place.

Total rubbish... You are like everybody else, and so the world would not be a different place.

Dude are you trolling, because clearly you fail to see the implications or effects between holding a totally materialist worldview or adopting a more spiritual view.
 
You said if everybody exhibited the same patterns as you, the world would be a very different place.

Total rubbish... You are like everybody else, and so the world would not be a different place.
My reply to you here shouldn't be taken as a sign that I care about what you think (by now I no longer do). You're just giving me an opportunity to elaborate further on what I said, and I will take it.

Let's see what would probably happen if everybody had the same attitude towards material things that I have today...

-- No high-end cars, SUVs, sports cars, etc., would be produced or sold. A lot less ordinary cars would be produced, since their average life (in the West) would be much longer;
-- No 'luxury goods' of any kind would be made or sold (do you have any idea how big the luxury goods market alone is today? Have a look)
-- No houses would be built larger than, say, max 200 square yards of living space, except for large families that would actually use the extra space;
-- The mobile phone market would shrink seriously (I still use an 8-year-old Nokia E65 as my sole mobile device; it does just fine);
-- The clothing market would shrink seriously, since I use my clothes until they are on the edge of physical damage;
-- Animal farming would nearly collapse;
-- Only organic foods would be produced and sold;
-- Most TV channels and associated advertising would disappear, since I hardly turn my TV on and, when I do, I mostly watch documentaries;
-- The market for books, documentaries-on-demand, museums, theaters, concerts and other forms of selective cultural products would significantly increase;
-- Many not-for-profit organizations would suddenly have a much, much larger budget... :)
-- etc.

So yes, I guess things would be a little different.
 
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My reply to you here shouldn't be taken as a sign that I care about what you think (by now I no longer do). You're just giving me an opportunity to elaborate further on what I said, and I will take it.

Let's see what would probably happen if everybody had the same attitude towards material things that I have today...

-- No high-end cars, SUVs, sports cars, etc., would be produced or sold. A lot less ordinary cars would be produced, since their average life (in the West) would be much longer;
-- No 'luxury goods' of any kind would be made or sold (do you have any idea how big the luxury goods market alone is today? Have a look)
-- No houses would be built larger than, say, max 200 square yards of living space, except for large families that would actually use the extra space;
-- The mobile phone market would shrink seriously (I still use an 8-year-old Nokia E65 as my sole mobile device; it does just fine);
-- The clothing market would shrink seriously, since I use my clothes until they are on the edge of physical damage;
-- Animal farming would nearly collapse;
-- Only organic foods would be produced and sold;
-- Most TV channels would disappear, since I hardly turn my TV on and, when I do, I mostly watch documentaries;
-- The market for books, documentaries-on-demand, museums, theaters, concerts and other forms of selective cultural products would significantly increase;
-- Many not-for-profit organizations would suddenly have a much, much larger budget... :)
-- etc.

So yes, I guess things would be a little different.
Big deal... you got here just like everybody else, as if where you are now allows you to absolve yourself of your past decisions... Remind me what you said... You used to swap your car every 2 years, to look good... Lol

Now your still trying to look good, by saying you have an 8 year old mobile phone... (now that you've got where you want to be in life)... By preaching that you are somehow different... And if everybody was like you... The world would be a different place.

Rubbish, you are just like everybody else, and have aspired to the same things, and fear to lose them. House, car, wife, computer, garden, cat... and therefore the world would be no different, because you're no different from the rest.
 
Big deal... you got here just like everybody else, as if where you are now allows you to absolve yourself of your past decisions... Remind me what you said... You used to swap your car every 2 years, to look good... Lol

Now your still trying to look good, by saying you have an 8 year old mobile phone... (now that you've got where you want to be in life)... By preaching that you are somehow different... And if everybody was like you... The world would be a different place.

Rubbish, you are just like everybody else, and have aspired to the same things, and fear to lose them. House, car, wife, computer, garden, cat... and therefore the world would be no different, because your no different from the rest.
This is just whining. You have some clear issues there, buddy, not the least of which some major projections. Unfortunately, I am not a shrink and am afraid I can't help you.
 
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Big deal... you got here just like everybody else, as if where you are now allows you to absolve yourself of your past decisions... Remind me what you said... You used to swap your car every 2 years, to look good... Lol

Now your still trying to look good, by saying you have an 8 year old mobile phone... (now that you've got where you want to be in life)... By preaching that you are somehow different... And if everybody was like you... The world would be a different place.

Rubbish, you are just like everybody else, and have aspired to the same things, and fear to lose them. House, car, wife, computer, garden, cat... and therefore the world would be no different, because your no different from the rest.

Seriously, adopting a more spiritual view doesn't mean you have to neglect all things material, it just means that you place less importance onto material things and value immaterial things more. Such as having to have the latest model, or intent on keeping up with all the latest trends so you keep prestige regarding material possessions, It doesn't mean you have to neglect all material things either, just that what you deem as necessary is sufficient, as nothing more is needed, adopting a spiritual view, just means you have no place for excessiveness regarding material things.
 
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Try addressing the point Bernardo that you believe the world would be very different, if everybody was like you.... Lol... I read it, so did everybody else...
I just addressed that point extensively and you had precisely nothing of substance to offer in response to it. I mentioned my own behavior as an example because I was confronted with the criticism that no ontology-motivated changes of behavior could change present social realities. I used myself as the example because I think I am somewhat authoritative when it comes to my own behavior and its underlying motivations, not because I consider myself special or fundamentally different than anyone else. Anyone can help bring about change by adjusting one's behavior and patterns of consumption, that being precisely my message. The arrogance you may see in me is at best a projection. I also mentioned specifics, like my phone, because you challenged me to do so, not because I was eager to volunteer this information, as you suggest. I understand it is unpleasant to be out-argued, but your anger is misplaced. Thanks for the exchange thus far, but I am not interested in pursuing it further because I see no more value to be had from it. Neither am I interested in making you overcome your obvious dislike of me.
 
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