Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

We’re Infected by Materiality . . .


Our last post, was a setup to prepare for a series of posts dealing with the tragic split between Body and Soul.

If for some technological reason you can’t scroll down to read that post (and, I hope you have read that post before you continue with this one), it’s also right here.

I usually write these posts in a way that can include the perceptions and sentiments of most people. Today, I must be rather specific in my offering and I may lose a few readers

It began in earnest around 600 years ago. Science, in it’s newest garb was “born”.

It took a little while, since the earliest “modern” scientists still held metaphysics to be an important part of their mental equipment, but a war broke out between the entrenched and materialistic religionists and the new breed of rational explorers.

If the proponents of religion back then had been able to be more rational, science and metaphysics could have had a very fruitful marriage and we might not have inherited metaphysical practices that are completely irrational and scientific establishments that are more concerned with prestige and money than the honesty of actually submitting their “theories” to the rigor of experimentation.

Perhaps you don’t know that much of “science” these days is an orgy of mathematical computation that feeds speculation into the equations then uses the resultant answers as proof.

Perhaps you don’t know that much of religion and metaphysics is floating free of rational thought, lost in a fog of self-importance that preys on people’s fears and insecurities.

“What the heck does any of this have to do with Reading, Writing, and Publishing??

All three of the raisons d’être of this blog depend on words and words are what we think with and respond to emotionally.

In a culture that has hobbled any appreciation for what lies beyond the merely physical and has become attached to a priesthood of materialistic scientists who have abandoned their own best practices, words have their meaning warped–words, too often, are used to attack and befuddle rather than enlighten and comfort.

How would most present-day scientists define the word “value”? What are their thoughts on the word “moral”? Can they, without clear and precise language, think rationally about the forces that effect us but can’t be seen–like gravity?

How do most present-day religionists expect us to respond to a world ordered on the principles of production and consumption of material goods? Shall we shun our bodies? Should we just pray and wait to die? Should we kill other religionists for the sake of our “God”?

I want to quote one of the most practical yet mystical men I have ever read. He uses the word “religion” in this quote but, due to the extreme opinions about that word in our culture, if you need to substitute the word “spirituality” to have it make sense, feel free:

“Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone! Should a man try to fly with the wing of religion alone he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wing of science alone he would also make no progress, but fall into the despairing slough of materialism.”

~~~ Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 143

So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and ask my readers to tell me what this post really has to do with words and their use in reading, writing, and publishing.

Care to comment?
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17 responses to “We’re Infected by Materiality . . .

  1. Simone Benedict June 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    It’s true the connotations of a lot of words change when our ideas change. It’s happened for myself over the years. In recent years, I’ve noticed that some words that were acceptable no longer are. Other words that were rarely used on now common. The meanings of the words haven’t changed at all.

    As writers we have to pay attention it all. If I’m understanding your point, we also need to be aware of where these changes are coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alexander M Zoltai June 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      Yes, Simone, pay attention to where these changes in the use of words are coming from; especially, in those areas where a word can be used to seem like it’s saying one thing while what’s happening is the writer is hiding behind the word and actually means the opposite

      Like

  2. Karla Telega June 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    In writing, we’re asked to suspend disbelief. That doesn’t mean that we have to convince the reader of anything. We just weave our perceptions into the story in a way that makes sense for the world we’re writing. That last sentence would make it sound easy. There’s never any guarantee that the reader will come along for the ride. If you believe that science and spirituality are interconnected (as I do), fiction is a far more effective expression than debate. Case in point: The Celestine Prophecy. That book was fiction, but it got a lot of people believing that there was something more “out there”.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai June 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      Bingo, Karla!! (with your reference to the Celestine Prophecy–even if I can’t agree with its tenets, I’m glad it got people thinking)

      I just love these words of yours: “…fiction is a far more effective expression than debate.”

      Like

  3. Darcia Helle June 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Fascinating topic, Alexander, and one that would be sure to spark a lot of controversy if it were ‘preached’ on a street corner.

    The first thing I thought upon reading this topic was – “What was the thought process like before words?” You made the point that “…words are what we think with and respond to emotionally.” I agree with that. So how did we think and respond before words?

    Then I hit upon the phrase, “…words have their meaning warped…” and I found myself nodding in agreement. It is so easy to take someone’s words and twist them to fit your expectations and desires. The Bible is a prime example. Those same words are read by various religions and countless people. Yet, each takes away what they want, interprets meanings that reinforce their moral beliefs, then leaves behind what doesn’t fit.

    If this can be done so easily with a book read and interpreted by scholars, what happens to our own words when they are read by the masses?

    I could stand on my soapbox for days, ranting about the flaws in our scientific world. The additives in our food are safe. But, wait, no they’re not. Factory farming is safe. But, wait, no it’s not. It’s okay to give all farm animals antibiotics all the time. Oh, wait, we didn’t realize we were creating super bugs with antibiotic resistance, so it’s not really safe after all. We all need milk and meat. Well, no, only the dairy and meat industries still promote that as fact.

    In a way, I think the ease and availability of language has made it too easy for individuals to stop thinking on their own.

    But that is not the question you asked. Or is it? As usual, I got sidetracked along the way down this path…

    By the way, Alexander, I have tagged you with a blog meme in my recent blog post. Consider yourself challenged to continue the meme. :)

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai June 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      “…how did we think and respond before words?”

      Perhaps we didn’t “think”–perhaps we lived at peace with our Unconscious minds which don’t need words to function

      “…each takes away what they want, interprets meanings that reinforce their moral beliefs, then leaves behind what doesn’t fit.”

      It’s exceedingly rare to find a person these days who will concentrate on a text long enough to find out what it truly means; and, I include what it truly means to them since a well-written text should have multiple layers of meaning.

      “…what happens to our own words when they are read by the masses?”

      God only knows

      “In a way, I think the ease and availability of language has made it too easy for individuals to stop thinking on their own.”

      Dear Darcia, I would love some explication of that last sentence

      As far as the meme, it fits perfectly into my current stream of posts–look for it tomorrow :-)

      Like

      • Darcia Helle June 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm

        “In a way, I think the ease and availability of language has made it too easy for individuals to stop thinking on their own.”

        What I meant by that… My brain is foggy today but I will attempt to elaborate.

        Before words became ubiquitous, we were forced to do more thinking for ourselves. Conclusions were ours to make. Then came the printing press, which brought information to help us reach those conclusions. But, all too soon, TV came along and interpreted all those words for us. We now have small pamphlets that interpret big books. We have “talking heads” who tell us how to think, so we don’t need to read the words that help us form our own opinions. We are easily swayed by the few words of someone else’s conclusion, because reading all the words and forming our own opinion is too time consuming. We seek out sameness – people who we think are like us and therefore will guide us with conclusions we can agree with. We avoid information – words – that opposes our own preformed conclusions.

        It seems as though the more information we have available, the less we seek out.

        Like

        • Alexander M Zoltai June 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm

          From you explication, I would modify your, “…the ease and availability of language…” to read, “…the ease and availability of language that appears to resolve the challenge of thinking for oneself…” :-)

          Like

  4. tsonoda148 June 22, 2011 at 1:41 am

    I was one of your readers who had to substitute ‘spirituality’ for the religion because I’m not…religious. I do, however, very much believe in finding your own inner peace in whatever way you can and/or what works for you, and what raises you up when needed. So, yes, I do agree with the Abdu’l-Baha quote that ‘spirituality’ and science must exist together.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai June 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm

      I am a person who strives to be religious; yet, I also completely understand when folks would rather say they are spiritual–just look at all the atrocious acts committed in the name of religion

      I am also a person who strives to be scientific; yet, I also completely understand folks who wish science would stop messing up our lives

      Like

  5. Simone Benedict June 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    When I saw your last comment about science, Alex, I was reminded of the post Freedom wrote at her blog yesterday. It might interest you. I think the link to her blog is Freedombytheway.com. If I’m wrong hers is on the blogroll over at mine…

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai June 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Freedom’s post reminds me of the machinations of the Corporate World in my novel :-(

      Like

      • Simone Benedict June 24, 2011 at 11:08 am

        And as one comment over there said we are seen as consumer machines. It’s interesting for me when I place this post and Freedom’s post together, along with “Notes from An Alien”.

        Thinking of the word chip, a word that once meant an item to eat. Now it also means an item holding information. It possibly might one day mean an item holding information that I eat? Hmm.

        Like

  6. Pingback: “ONE WORD” My First Blog! | John'z Place

  7. Simone Benedict June 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I think Freedom would deserve credit for the idea as her post plays with the word. It’s an idea for a story to be sure. We are what we eat? More food for thought too is your post’s reference to religion or spirituality. I’m so looking forward to your piece on this!

    Like

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