The Spider’s Web versus Bertrand Russell’s materialist Philosophy (II)

Again, how can you avoid buying what money can buy? How do I avoid the temptation to spend my money in buying the pleasures of this world; pleasures which only money can buy? The world, our world, your world and mine is, going by a tradition, all for pleasure; it is all about pleasure.

Yet the other tradition is equally true – this world, your world and mine, is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever. The challenge for you and me therefore inheres in how to successful navigate between the ‘paradise’ of here and now in order to avoid the eternal hell of the otherworldly.

Brethren, I have since learnt that most chairs in our offices and homes are injurious to our health; that staying for long hours in front of television sets not only damage our eyes but negatively impacts our intellection. But we live in an age where our children are exposed to drama and soap operas on the cable networks every day of the week.

When it is time for ‘Isha prayer every Thursday night, our children rush to watch “the super story”!  Our youths waste long hours in the weekends watching the Premier League. Our women waste their time looking for ‘magic’ in Africa Magic. Others seek a comparison between Nollywood and Bollywood. Yet, a group spend their wakeful moments online betting. Every section of our modern society is afflicted with its own madness.

Look at our roads. The wider the road the more modern the city becomes. The wide road network has become a necessity because, unlike before, humans now ride in big and wide cars. In the 17th century, wide roads in European cities were called in Latin via militares, meaning military roads.

They functioned in making populated areas more easily accessible to government forces and thereby facilitate suppression and control of the ordinary masses. Wide roads in our world today do the above and more. They make tiny roads appear abnormal and ugly. Wide roads equally promote individualism and negate communalism. When everybody rides their cars, little chance is left for communality. Nowadays we get to know the Other only through the windscreen of our cars.

Let us return to the materialist philosophy. It is hinged on the assumption that the center of the universe exists within it, not beyond it; that our world is immanent, not transcendent, that the universe is independent, not contingent.

Materialist philosophers hold that either God has nothing to do with humanity and the universe or He exists as, fal ‘iyādhbihi, an invalid, completely unable to intervene in currents in the cosmos. The materialist, therefore, pooh-poohs the idea of the existence of a nexus between the creator and the created. He would say: “we exist by ourselves and for ourselves”; “nothing would happen to us after death”.

One immediate result of the materialist view of life is the ascension of the notion or philosophy of humanism. This references the thought that humankind is the center of the universe; that matter is the ultimate; that humankind is the god of the phenomena. The world is me and mine only; my body is mine; it belongs to me, not Him, the Almighty.

The materialist philosophy of life equally thrives on the notion that nothing in the universe is unknown, and therefore, unknowable- that which is unknown today will eventually be known through the accumulation of data.

The materialist’s yearning for knowledge is foregrounded by the need to possess complete knowledge of reality which will, in turn, lead to a full control of reality. This philosophy operates and drives the exploration of space by the powers of today.

The West desires to know in order that it may desanctify, possess and control the world; in order that it may instrumentalize and utilitarianize it; in order that the cosmos may assist the West in its effort to maximize production and, ultimately, consumption.

But the above is antedated by one other notion: that existence, be it the animate or the inanimate, is material and is therefore perceptible to human senses. In other words, the materialist philosophy is hinged on the assumption that anything that cannot be perceived by the sensory organ is an illusion, a phantom.

Thus, materialism holds that reality could be ratiocinated and subjected to an order, a symmetry. The materialist epistemology and pedagogy is evident in the fields of science and technology where the atom and the particle have ultimately become bigger than the Divine; it is axiomatic in the social sciences where figure and numbers have become more important than the human soul.

When carefully contemplated, however, you would discover that all terrestrial empires are destined for ruin; the castles we are building are as strong as the spider’s web.

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