Escaping the materialistic-matrix.

By Neetheam Al-muhaisen

The Materialistic Matrix

The all consuming quest for money and riches is known, part in parcel, as materialism. And there’s many material things, cars, houses, food, furniture, that can be attained with money. Materialism is not limited to money and products. In a strict philosophical meaning of the word, materialism is a theory or belief that nothing exists except matter and its modifications. This would include the human brain. Modern psychology today esteems the teachings of Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist, who was very much on the side of a material outlook of the world. Anyone studying mental health will be acquainted with his writings. And because of this, and the enormous wealth of our age, we see the abandoning of older, albeit more simpler, religious/spiritual principles to health and happiness. Firstly, we in New Zealand are in a mental health crisis and yet we are materially very blessed. If good mental health consists in the abundance of stuff, luxury, delight, then our youth should be the most happy. And even still, our medical system has a variety of drugs that can prop up the supposedly material mis-hap of chemicals firing off in that ball of flesh called the brain. I’m of the persuasion that while drugs, and a better standard of living, can help a person, the problem of loneliness, fear, unfulfillment, and lack of joy, springs from a deeper well.

A Glitch in the Matrix

A Pastor once shared to me an account of his young daughter. During the Christmas season his kids were lavished with gifts. It tends to be that when we are young the infatuation with toys is strong. Showing off the money she had been gifted, she laid it on a table and gloated to her dad. Finally, as the gloating ended she said something that stuck with him. “Dad, I just want my friends”. When the excitement of toys is over, when the world of external material gratification loses its savor, what are you left with? Anyone with children knows they can very quickly go from one toy to the next, and soon a pile of abandoned toys is left on the floor. I think this is an important step in becoming aware of the futility of material things. You’d hope that children eventually grow out of the realm of toys and make belief, and leave the toy-play matrix with some understanding that connection with others is really what makes the tools of toys and methods of play meaningful. Eventually we get to the stage where friends become all too important, and then a prospective partner, but these things, while very important, can even still leave us unsatisfied. So we climb up the corporate ladder or political ladder, to reach the heights. And still is it possible we can feel alone, fearful, discontent, unsatisfied? If this is true then what is the next step?

Breaking free from the Matrix

I would say that toys, and then bigger toys, friends, houses, status, fame, luxury, are all categorized in the materialistic truth, that these things are merely material, or as is the case with friends, not spiritual enough, and that the craving for meaning and fulfillment is deeper. But where to go? As stated before, that Pastor’s daughter figured she craved more than toys, and still will continue to find she craves more than even friends. The next step, the step that requires a “leap of faith”, is to reach for the spiritual, this has to be the logical next step. Delayed, many can spend a lifetime chasing “Castles of sand”. This step must be spiritual, just as seeking a friend upon growing out of the fanfare of toys, is in part a decision attesting to the fact that something more is needed than just material things. And when this realization happens with friends, and partners, and wealth, and political achievement, we are simply left with the question, now what, what is ultimate contentment? If the secret formula is anything material than it would be included in the passing material pleasures, or material things, we become numb to over time. And if the material had the secret bullet, more sex, more pleasure, more drugs, to produce satisfaction, what has come of the many famous men and women who had it all but gave up their lives even at the zenith of their careers?

Faith, the “Substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”, is the choice all can undertake. As Jesus wisely said,..“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes..” Life is more than material-physical things. The quicker we realize the importance of the spiritual, the importance of faith, the importance of the transcendent above the firing of atoms, and modification of rocks, the quicker we realize the truth in the scriptural words “..the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters”, that is, the Spirit existed before all things, and in his midst was only a void and body of liquid, the quicker we realize, that that void is and always will be us absent from the Spirit, the quicker we can take the next step, to have faith in and above the natural. The first step in the creation of life was the material receiving the spiritual, the “spark of life”. Perhaps we are not living today because we have abandoned this vital reception to the development of our past. One of the things that separate us from the animals is the understanding and belief in God, which helps us to look above the material forms around us and delve deeper, searching for meaning and purpose. And yet, God is one of the things that secularism would have us abandon.

Here are some things that separate us from all other animals.

1) A concept of History and the ability to record it.

2) A concept of the future and the ability to make predictions.

3) A concept of civilization and the ability to build it.

4) A concept of the Divine and the ability to pray and believe.

5) A concept of justice, universal morality and the ability to prosecute in the name of it.

Are you merely rocks and matter alone? Perhaps there’s more.