How material enjoyment falsifies materialism

Most people are infatuated with material pleasures. Due to such infatuation, they consider matter to be the primary, if not the only, reality. Thus, they have a strong, even fanatical, faith in material pleasures and materialism, and so reject as false everything non-material like soul and God. The Bhagavad-gita (15.11) confirms that those who are obsessed with material pleasures just can’t perceive anything non-material because their vision is locked in matter.

Ironically, the very material pleasures that they passionately enjoy falsify the materialism that they fervently believe. Let’s see how.

The experience of pleasure requires the existence of a non-material experiencer; matter being dead and unconscious cannot experience anything at all, leave alone pleasure. Just as stones and corpses being non-living can’t enjoy, nor can the material bodies of the materialists – both are made of the same insentient substance, matter. If they are able to enjoy now, that has to be due to something more than the matter that will be present in their corpses after death. That something more has to be non-material. Ergo materialism is false.

To evade this conclusion, some materialists claim that the pleasure is simply due to the firing of the brain cells. However, such firing is essentially nothing more than the flow of electric current. As the flow of current doesn’t create feelings in a TV set, the claim that it creates feelings in the brain is just an article of unproven and unreasonable faith.

Of course, analyzing the fallacy of materialism theoretically is much easier than abstaining from its charms practically. Nonetheless, the same Gita verse (15.11) offers invaluable guidance. If we strive to live at the level of the soul by following the appropriate scriptural guidelines, we gradually experience the reality of spiritual peace and devotional bliss. Then material pleasures can seduce us no more.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15 Text 11

“The endeavoring transcendentalists who are situated in self-realization can see all this clearly. But those whose minds are not developed and who are not situated in self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try.”

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Guard against the tiny crack – it can end in mighty crash
If we can’t shun senselessness, we can at least shun the senseless mind

Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

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