Friday, March 12, 2010

Why I'm Not a Rational Materialist

"The upshot of all this is that we live in a universe whose age we can't quite compute, surrounded by stars whose distances we don't altogether know, filled with matter we can't identify, operating in conformance with physical laws whose properties we don't truly understand."

From Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything


2 comments:

Brutus said...

There are other, better reasons not to (claim to) be a rational materialist beyond Bryson's identification of issues to which our only meaningful appreciation can be "I don't know." To start, we might recognize that rationalism is only a pose we adopt, not our baseline mode of cognition. We're wired for emotion and approximation, not logic and calculation. Further, materialism has gotten us into a pretty big mess with overpopulation, overexploitation of the Earth's resources, and development of a grasping, covetous, venal way of life that doesn't really satisfy our needs. Those needs haven't really changed over time, although our standard of living and lifespan have.

Jeff said...

Well said; I agree completely.

This post is more of an explanation for why I'm personally not interested in the purely rational & material realms. Anything we think we can grasp on to, when looked at close enough, spirals into nothingness - and so such grasping doesn't interest me.