In Support of Materialism
Ours is a materialistic era where we put more values on our material possessions than intangible things like human relations, ethics morals etc. Spiritualists, not unsurprisingly, has declared it to be the bane of our existence.
No one asks how one motivates one's brain into prolonged material chase? For this miracle to happen, we do not need motivational speakers or life coaches.
So there must be some deal. Humans do not more out of homeostasis unless the reason is interesting. The interesting part is the ancient link between material and survival.
Humans possess this incredible ability to change materials available next to them purposefully. Animals are oblivious of matter around them. They have a pretty standard way of analysing unknown inanimate objects around them.
Food, Sex, Danger - along those three dimensions unknown matter is examined. In other words an animal tries to determine whether the unknown matter in question can be consumed as food or had sex with or should be marked as a dangerous thing.
Primitive men also thought that way. But with a rapidly expanding brain, they soon started using imagination to gather additional information. To date scientists use a similar mental process. But they prefer to use a term called postulate.
Scientists, being at the top of the contemporary hierarchy of intellectuals, do not use terms like imagination or opinion. The preferable terms are: postulate, hypothesis, prototype etc.
Anyway quite early in evolution humans had acquired the intellectual ability of producing seriously useful stuff. As time progressed tools produced became lethal too. Take a look at this one:
There is no doubt about the lethality and hence the usefulness of those pieces of material.
Supported by many such tools humans rose quickly in the hierarchy of predators and soon occupied the top position. Without weapons a primitive man could not even cope with a wild goat.
I would not go near one such creature solely depending on whatever limbs and appendages God has given me.
But a weapon, be it a primitive spear, changes the equation dramatically.
After millions of incidents where tools played a major role in keeping us alive, human brain rewired itself, and justifieably so, to attach high importance to material possessions. The idea got generalized and well-entrenched forming a part of our instinct.
So, next time you binge shop, pause for a moment and ask yourself if in the recent past there has been any existence-threatening incident in your life. It need not be a dangerous incident like an earthquake or a grizzly bear attack. May be you got superseded at workplace. Or the industry you are in got hit by a fresh bout of automations. Being a proper macho man you refused to harbour any stress around such small incidents. So it was left to your Stone Age mind to diffuse the tension.
The solution that emanated was to buy the latest Rolex watch or a mirror-less full-frame camera.
June 16th, 2022