Rampant Materialism is Dystopian. Let’s Wake up Before It is Too Late

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By Shahid Majeed Mir

Human beings are multi faceted living beings possessing cognitive abilities, among other things. This ability renders them capable of distinguishing between right and wrong from multiple dimensions. Apart from this , mankind possesses reason which teaches it to distinguish between true and false. The latter case is guided by empirical methodology. This method, in modern terminology, is called as the scientific method or, what is generally , referred to as in social sciences ” “Behavioral Approach”. It was Rene Descartes who first proposed a complimentarity between science and social science. Therefore what is present along both dimensions in contemporary world is Rational Deliberation of Issues.
But, this notion when it is stretched to an extreme gives rise to Materialism. This perverted mentality of reason in man deteriorates the normal functional capacity thereby disturbing the complex harmonic balance in society. Since mankind possesses a spiritual dimension as well, therefore the delineation of a crisis in either dimension becomes an uphill task. Is it spiritual lacuna or natural evolution? But, the consensus has reached on moral crisis being the precursor of rise in Materialism.
Materialism, according to Oxford dictionary , “ is a philosophy based on belief that nothing exists beyond physical. The dictionary further explains materialism as a “constant concern over material possessions and wealth; a great or excessive regard for worldly concerns”. Hence, to a simple orientation, the concept envisages undue amplification in material ambitions of mankind. This craze is driven by the engine of scientific attributes. Materialism teaches man to be pragmatic in economic pursuits from an individualistic perspective. It alienates the contribution of society from the personality of man. Those who follow such a school of thought in practice or defend such values provide the rational basis on defense. They measure the worth of each and everything from its contribution towards increase in physical stock of society.
There’s a three dimensional narrative at its base. First of all, the scientific revolution itself destroyed its base through the supremacy of reason. Since, mankind being spiritual is not digestible in scientific terminology therefore; all those beliefs based on unqualified attributes are not permissible at all. This orientation led to erosion of belief in wrong deeds followed by wrong results or Karma theory and so on. Gandhi criticized science from this angle. Because, it leads to what I call “despiritualization of man” it’s not spirit which is humanized but soul which is alienated”. Rousseau also criticized science and gave back to nature slogan. On the second front, the rise in individualism through capitalism and liberalism laid the expressway for rise in Materialism. This belief endorsed the thesis of “one for one’s own and for nothing else”.
Third, is the demoralization of life style(s). The crisis and chaos evolved through selfish and parochial tendencies decreased the role for religion in day today’s life. In fact, as per Gandhi, religion is foremost guiding path for man to lead life worthy of living. Machiavelli laid a notorious path through separation of religion and politics. This extreme dichotomy led to friction between what is social to what is individual. Herein the religious teaching of Quran “Save yourself as well as your near and dear ones from hell” implies that society nurtures mankind and shapes its intellect. It checks undue ambitions of “mine and thine saga”. All these dimensions are in full bloom today.
The cult of materialism can be seen everywhere. Each and every relation is seen through prism of economic gains. There’s a sustained fall in spiritual goals of mankind. Society is guided by mechanical relations having their origin in material ambitions. The dichotomy of teacher and student, son and father and so on has reached extreme proportions. The rise in commercialization is sync with societal duties is even intruding it in education and religious teaching. The community call is unheard off and community service is forgotten. The social relations which were earlier guided by spiritual pursuits is not found anywhere. Someone has really commented” robots are replacing human task “. When there’s alienation of spirit from life of man, the above comments are usual. The Frankenstein syndrome is turning color to Humanistic paradox with only dimension being Materialism. One dimensional man is a one dimensional world with a one dimensional aim.
Summing the moral degradation and disastrous discussion leads one to conclude on ” If science is humanized then science is indeed a wisdom in itself “. The belief rests on the spiritual world of human beings. Materialism is natural for human beings but world of materialism is obviously the degree of verb unknown in grammar. The need of hour is to include and forcefully implement religious teachings in the syllabus of young ones. This will sharpen the intellect of future generations. Moreover , man itself needs to awake from deep slumber and discard the material pursuits. Since soul is immortal while as body of man is mortal. It’s insane to prefer mortal over immortal.
Society guided by such mad craze manifests in the deteriorated qualities in their life style. The western countries record highest level of illegitimate marriages and children. Gun violence is breaking records in America. The difference between man and animal is dystopian talk in western world. The relationship of blood are a mystery in the world of industrial prowess. Is this the goal of humanity? Isn’t there any difference between man and animal? These results are a sown poisonous toad eroding the base of humanity. Man is moral and ethical while as materialism is essentially an unethical and immoral. This contradiction is antagonistic which needs to be understood at earliest. Let’s hope the humanity awakes from its slumber.

The author hails from Misribehak Machi, Kupwara and can be reached at: mirshahid363@gmail.com

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