Our society is mired in a materialistic paradigm that has degenerated into something of a pseudo-religion among its most fanatical adherents. Science is a double-edged sword in our society today in my view. It has allowed us to advance our understanding of the physical world to a great degree and create a highly advanced technology that stretches across most or all areas of knowledge. However it has also had a very destructive effect as well. The materialistic approach and its underlying beliefs have brought the planet and humankind itself to the edge of destruction. Our material worldview has blinded us to seeing the earth as a living breathing life supporting organism and instead systematically stripped it of its resources and polluted its atmosphere to a point where its ability to function to sustain life is being compromised. Our materialistic views of our bodies and health have caused us to reject natural medicine and adopt a drug culture where we regularly poison ourselves with synthetic chemicals that alter our body’s functions in ways we don’t fully understand. We add chemicals to our food and genetically engineer plants and animals while we destroy the biodiversity of the planet and create a new set of diseases never before seen in human history. Our worldview and technology create such a rigid and intense relationship to time that we find ourselves living in a world where stress and stress related diseases are the norm and we seldom have time to really take care of ourselves. The meaning that our forefathers found in all aspects of their world has been stripped away by a cold materialistic understanding and created a crisis of meaning where peoples attempts to find meaning become convoluted and destructive. In my view this is in large part due to a fanatical attachment to the materialistic worldview.
This fanaticism causes us to adopt this worldview and accept it as the only valid approach to understanding the universe and our own consciousness. The problem is this worldview is flawed. The scientific approach itself is nothing more than a belief system; all of its supporting constructs function only within its limited version of reality. It is a man made approach that seeks to find meaning by imagining that we can understand the universe by measuring it. Science makes an assumption or accepts a belief that material reality is all that exists and that is something it must do. If we approach something scientifically we also know that we are approaching that subject from a materialist point of view. However we have no evidence that the material world is all that exists, actually we have a great deal of evidence that there is much more to the universe than that. This evidence comes from other ways of knowing. There is nothing wrong with looking at something from a materialistic point of view until you mistake that for all of reality because then you have become trapped a rigid incomplete viewpoint. Science makes many assumptions and accepts many beliefs just like non-scientific approaches. The belief in a totally materialistic universe is one of them. The belief in objective truth is another and it’s a concept that creates serious flaws in the scientific approach. There is no such thing as an objective observer; this has been shown in studies in quantum physics and psychology as well as being known to the mystical traditions for thousands of years. The consciousness or mind of the observer influences the outcome of the experiment by virtue of the observer’s observation and bias. The objectivity that science relies on is impossible because that’s not the way human beings or the universe function. Our experience of the universe co-creates it. Science also assumes that measurement, quantification and reductionism are the ways to understanding. While this may be the case with some phenomena there is no reason to make this assumption across the board. Much of the universe and human consciousness is complex and qualitative and the very act of reducing it to fit our limited viewpoint also destroys meaning.
The materialistic paradigm has had the effect of putting blinders on our society. It’s like looking at the universe through a keyhole. I see this approach deteriorating and falling apart at this point and I think we need to retain our scientific understanding but put it in perspective and integrate it within a new more expansive paradigm where we see the materialistic approach as one of many ways to see reality all of which have their own flavor of validity. In this way we can deepen our connection to ourselves and the universe and find much of the meaning we have lost.