Desiring to get the most out of life, life’s lovers intend to earn and therefore deserve the best the world has to offer. Materialism is an anti-concept which damns this desire as a spiritually bankrupt, destructive pursuit. In the most rudimentary separation, it considers the body and mind to be two halves of a man with no interconnection, and more often than not, declares them to be fiercely at odds—the modern equivalent of religion’s “man fighting for his soul. ” They claim they can put him back on track, exclaiming that spirituality can only be achieved by renouncing all material interests and necessities. The anti-concept is further narrowed as no intellectual pursuit is considered spiritual, omitting whatever could offend the non-thinking, non-producing man. In true Fear-driven fashion, they look down on the physical world where they have no power, and look up to the spiritual where they have no responsibility.
In their world, spiritual pursuits must yield no hard-earned clarity or material advantages, just some empty, unquestionable, eternal bliss. Has anyone ever asked why? Why is that spiritual; because it’s the Hindu’s answer? Centuries of monks have passed through time, sitting Indian-style in silence with steepled hands and have brought to the world a value amounting to exactly…nothing. Their credo is mindlessness as the price of spirituality and stagnation as the price of peace—not a healthy pattern to follow. Why renounce the material world? “Man’s greed” would be their response, and the only way around wanting something improperly—as the Fear-driven see no alternative—is to want nothing, the only way for them not to harm is not to move. But greed or any desire, great or small, is only wrong when one seeks the unearned. Greed as defined by Webster’s dictionary, is “an excessive desire for getting or having; a desire for more than one needs or deserves. ” It has a very negative connotation, yet can simply mean as stated under greedy, “intensely eager. ” It’s a word twisted to draw a moral conclusion in advance; to assert that a strong desire is wrong in itself regardless of whether its means of fulfillment is honest or dishonest.
Are people that “never have enough” truly evil? Beginning with the obvious, a human being is an entity of matter and consciousness, requiring material and spiritual products to sustain itself. Should we damn our bodies because they are never done consuming food? Every day, on and on, nourish, expel, nourish, expel—the simple nature of the entity. Did it ever occur to you that Man’s spirit runs the same cycle? Spirit Murderers often deny this nutritional cycle, reaching a point where they decide they are done learning—what I call the Finished Product. They stifle the expansion of their knowledge, yet expect to continue to gain spiritual values, never seeing its link to their unhappiness. Man can no more settle for a fixed amount of achievement, than he can exist with a single breath of oxygen. Happy people do not seek or settle for an intellectually or physically static state of being, at any age. There is no such thing as a mindless body or a bodiless mind, and a man cannot live lacking either. To survive, he must continue to feed both. You may hear about their wonderful out of body experiences, but what do you think their body was doing while they were off floating in no-man’s land? Keeping them alive is all.
They dispense with our ambition, saying “There are non-material ideals to consider. ” That’s true. The non-material ideals are the abstract ideals of a Self-made Man, which make grasping and seeking the material ideals possible. With our own neurobiological understanding, it is becoming clear that there is no real separation between mind and body at all. All living organisms have specific nutrients they must pursue in both realms. But how is this done? Proper spiritual nutrition is found exactly in the creative activity of bringing abstract ideas into material reality, which they damn, not first in buying the goods, but in producing them. It’s exciting to come up with an idea and see if the world will go for it. Win or lose, I keep running this process over and over—I love it! I love the opportunity to buy the products of another’s genius—simple inventions like my tool-grabber, things I’ve imagined but haven’t the time to develop, and revolutionary new ideas from people who’ve spent passionate time out on an epistemological limb I’ll never have to walk alone. The passionate endeavors of others have brought such wealth into my life, that in my thankfulness, I don’t know where to begin. Maybe from the harnessing of fire, to the invention of the wheel, to Aristotle’s laws of logic, to the founding fathers of America, to Benjamin Franklin’s experiments with electricity, to Thomas Edison’s light bulb, to Henry Ford’s Model T, to IBM’s personal computer and its unlimited applications, to the exotic cars I treasure—these are all products of Man which I benefit from greatly, and had no part in designing. All were considered foolish ostentation or evil upon their inception, in malicious fear of the creative faculty from which they came, by those whose productive significance history never seems to record.
Very few people are wrapped up in “over-consumerism” —shopping themselves silly as a manic attempt to replace spiritual fulfillment. Such an addiction is an aversive dependency just as alcoholism or gambling, but in these others, the remedial push is to get their act together. There is rarely a call to separate oneself from oneself, and reformers focus on those afflicted; they don’t declare it to be a worldwide epidemic. Their solution for this supposed rash of greed is only to relegate our time to idle prayer or to a cruder material pursuit they can understand, such as farming. Only in socialist slave-pens such as China, does a society need to focus solely on the preservation of Man’s body, a need their political system consistently fails to meet. Freedom translates into innovations for efficient farming requiring less labor, releasing individuals to create new products and new markets. Those who want to stop men from producing whatever comes to their mind as a salable product, then dictate to them how they will spend their time, their money and on what, are the ones to be criticized. America’s wonderful bounty of products is the result of every man’s right to exist being recognized, and that’s all. Breathe easily when a man is after money and luxuries he is willing to earn, because when he isn’t, he is after control. The Spirit Murderers are the ones responsible for wanting the unearned in both realms; the problem was created by them, in self-restraint supposedly solved by them, and the Finished Product was its result. This cold, mindless, dead relation to matter and spirit has nothing to do with us, so we should leave them to it.
Self-made Man can and does act without harming. He can want properly. Most forget that those accused of being materialist, often put many unpaid years into their fields before any profit is realized, if at all. And profit, damned for centuries, is the basic necessity of life, the requirement that one stays ahead of even—in body and spirit. It is the third step of cognition, the act of creation—the hope of prosperity in any realm in which one dares to dream—that brings the human spirit to life. It is the fourth step of cognition—validation, whose equivalent in work is profit, which determines whether one remains on course. Whether one’s interest is commercial, romantic or both, profiting is not evil or wasteful as the Spirit Murderers claim, but essential: the very fiber of our self-esteem, and the key to the deepest spirituality a man can ever hope to reach—and they know it.
To know that one’s divine inspiration has a productive purpose—that it brings joy to others and prosperity to ourselves, that our energy serves a sum, not to be lost in the past, but a value to be brought forward with every day of our lives—develops an inertia that will supercharge our exhilaration for living. This moral awareness is the whole point of Moral Armor. As a result, all thought and action becomes tied to prosperity, as it should be. The structure of every mind assumes the correct hierarchical order and gains the capacity to project across the span of its own existence, bringing to fruition a height of personal significance, almost too precious to contemplate.
Copyright 2005 Ronald E Springer
Ronald E. Springer is the Author/Philosopher of Moral Armor, the world's first fully-integrated moral philosophy based on the nature of Man. Featured on The Mitch Albom Show, NBC and FOX News radio affiliates, Mr. Springer is available for interviews, speaking engagements, philosophy workshops and seminars. Please contact RonaldESpringer@MoralArmor.com or visit http://www.MoralArmor.com for details.