Materialism or Spiritualism
In which direction is man headed? What will be his future? Questions such as these do not have immediate answers. To be able to decipher the events that are characterizing this fraction of history or, if we prefer, to find the so-called key to the problem in such a complex issue, means putting existential perplexities in order, facing the difficulties of a generation which has been emptied by the contents of historical tradition and misled by the illusionism of the materialistic and consumerist model.
Materialism or spirituality, within our lives, cannot find coherence with such a system; the dissatisfaction present in this civilization draws its origin from the lack of depth in the vision of the future; not because this generation is less able to interpret the times than the preceding ones, but because perhaps new times are nearing in which simple and predictable answers cannot satisfy the questions; times that foretell the advent of something that escapes man’s ability to analyse, that have been produced by the history of tradition, a product of that same culture and logic that has led us to today. Times that are therefore projecting man towards a new dimension of thought and history.
If this is true, a new great historical event is foretold that would be reductive to describe as a new Renaissance; if this can be interpreted through the signs of the times, then this epoch of the near future will have characteristics and forms that the man of today can barely perceive. The great world wars, the great scientific discoveries and the unbelievable technological applications (which unfortunately often go against man), the great process of globalization, the great migrations: all seem to announce the preparations for a great change in historical scenarios, a history that from the Big Bang has led to the apparition of logic in the material universe and to the pursuit of Wisdom, of Truth.
The great wars that have characterised the 20th century were not only fought in the great trenches (both real and cold) but were produced by the opposition of materialism and spirituality, of the immediate and the transcendental. This duality in man and in his path has produced movements, ideologies, dictatorships and subcultures, fundamentalism, racism, discrimination.
Marx, Hitler, just to name two, are not only the promoters of doctrines and movements that had the tendency to empty man of his one and true identity, removing from him that dignity that only a full life can give him; the perfect race, materialistic man, the illogicality and the inadequacy of faith “in the modern era”. These have been, and unfortunately still are, in the “followers” of these and other doctrines, the expressions of the cultural deviation of an epoch that could not express more values. It is still hinged on a materialistic philosophical formulation that, even if useful in some aspects in the evolutionary history of man, does not correspond to the demands of a truth that can no longer have either limits or confinements. Man cannot be described and circumscribed in any human philosophical tendency that is based only on matter as an absolute entity. Today more than ever there is a need to complete, and to integrate (and not rewrite) the sense, the connection of every entity and reality that surrounds us, from those which are tangible to those which are transcendent. Today, with greater and renewed substance, it is opportune to answer to the demands of the only progress that humanity has known from its first footsteps to today: the development of logic, the development of that characteristic that distinguishes man from other creatures and that can never stop until it has developed full conscience, namely Wisdom, Truth.
And so the great wars, the great revolutions in ideologies and thought of this last century, of the second millennium after Christ, must be read with a new vision; a vision that gives a dignity to history which is different from the infamies of wars and their injustices; give him a renewed dignity and a final and full sense. Give him that great impulse that the whole of humanity, united by a single need, is, without realising it, impressing onto the times.
Great armaments, nuclear warheads, the threat of any description and any kind, can not put the universe in order; order can only derive from knowledge, which is man’s true objective.
Ulysses’ words in Dante’s poem, “we were not made to live as brutes…” ring out in the epoch of television, computerization and the Internet, as if to sign the start, and not only in philosophical terms, of a great change for which humanity is preparing.
This is why this historical moment, while sad in some aspects and thrilling in others, having reached a moment of complex interpretation, must be appraised in the sign of a great truth: humanity does not look for stars, it perhaps does not even look for other sentient beings in other parts of the universe; it above all tries to escape from the imprisonment of a materialism that has conducted it up to the thresholds of folly.
The ideological-religious schisms, the incomprehension between west and east, between north and south, between whites and blacks, are only the result of a lack of equilibrium between the two components that generate man: the transcendental component and the material one. The more they fuse to become a single entity, the more we will be able to see the beginning of a new dawn. The more we distance ourselves from the stupid and short-sighted consideration that one is incompatible with the other, the more we will free man. The more we realise that Religion (the study of the transcendental) and Science (the study of the immediate) are branches of the same tree, the more the man the creature can feed and grow.
There have been too many teachers of nothing and of empty words that have ploughed the admiration of the masses, and who still today pull men and ideologies into a void by colouring themselves up like peacocks. A. Einstein said to this regard – “during the last century, and part of the previous one, it was widely held that there existed an unsolvable conflict between knowledge and faith. The opinion that by now faith had to be increasingly replaced by knowledge dominated intelligent minds; faith that was not based on knowledge was merely superstition, and had to be opposed as such. According to such a conception, the sole function of education was to open the road to reflection and knowledge, and the school system had to have this as its sole aim. It will probably rarely happen, if ever, to see a rationalistic point of view expressed in such a coarse form…”.
We can never love and therefore enjoy Creation until the wall that divides the transcendental from the immanent is torn down. After the Berlin wall, and the wall of materialistic consumerism which is in the process of breaking up, the last wall to have to be torn down is this: the wall that separates the finite from the infinite.