The Hubris of Materialism
It is not always easy to feel pitty for the arrogant, and there is a great deal of arrogance propping up materialism. To be a successful materialist, which is to say that either you have tenure in science at a prestigious university, or are making a lot of money in a high tech industry, means that you are near the top of the cosmic food chain in a dog eat dog world. Trying to reason with such people is an exercize in humility, and also eye opening.
At Hopkins University, the administration has long since lost patience with my entreaties, and so my proselytizing there is done on the run. Why do I pick on these benighted souls? Surely I have a chip on my shoulder. Mine is the art of the intellectual mugger. A mystic is a materialist who has experienced a cosmic mugging. I am just a stand-in in that arena.
Control is the big item. If God is dead, then it falls to the scientists to keep the world running, and to protect our sanity from the likes of me. This is a heavy burden, and it has not been getting any lighter as postmodernism closes in on the remaining hard core of scientific rationalism. I am one of the circling vultures, waiting for the heyenas to make the kill. I am out of control.
Being in control is being a good materialist. Losing control is losing sanity, is falling out of grace. This is the hard core residue of Victorianism, stiff upper lip, and all that. When I experienced that dark night of the soul, it was only in retrospect that I could appreciate this as proof of my having a soul. When you hit bottom it feels solid, more solid than bricks and mortar. This is what it is to be born again, and it may be more difficult than the first time around.
Materialism is based on the presumption of cosmic accident, yet there is nothing it fears more than accidents. Suffering misfortune of one sort or another, even of the most physical sort such as an auto wreck, is perhaps the surest way to break out of ordinary reality, to lose control. The prototype is the world-shattering near death experience. This can come in many forms, and the result is a spiritual emergency and hopefully, emergence.
A spiritual emergency is, perhaps, the most private of all phenomena, unless you are talking eschaton, and then it becomes quite public. That is what the arrogant materialists have to look forward to. Naturally, they have some trouble understanding that I am here to make the Eschaton a little easier to swallow. What did those Victorians have to say about strong medicine?