Thursday, September 07, 2006

Materialism and Spirituality

As a reply to my blog Interpretations – I received a response from Chetan which said, “In the competitive world, the mantra is one has to be ambitious and keep on earning money, amassing property, wealth and achieving newer goals of life. But the spirituality tells achieving "Ananda" (ultimate happiness) is the real goal.”
These comments lead to some exchange between us about materialism and spiritualism. Thoughts about this had come to my mind earlier also so I just decided to write a blog about it. I asked my friends about what they think about it.

Chetan was of the view that world is changing to a materialistic world and humanity losing its basic goal. Disproving this trend, he hoped that one day this will end and this materialistic world will give way to a more spiritual world.
In his words, “i hope again humanity will take birth again in a different avatar containing different living beings.”

Quite opposite to this view, Parul says “life is about the journey itself and not the goal” ..hence if these materialistic things give us happiness on this journey then why not enjoy them. But, she cautions, “Any thing in extreme is bad”.

KT, in his usual illustrative and bulleted comment comes down to some practicalities. He argues that spiritualism is tied with materialism. Taking the examples of modern so called ‘gurus’ – he says that they talk spirituality but their sermons are held in costly cities, preachers live in 5 star hotels an then they preach that we should not be materialistic.
He further argues out that (quoting him) “spiritualism doesn’t have enough confidence” – in the sense that the concept is not able to hold itself and is trying various ways to make itself popular. Citing a analogy he says : “Its more like allowing bowlers to bend their arms since so many chuckers have entered cricket and taken limelight.”
Elucidating his view point he says “I think materialism and spiritualism together form a virtuous cycle” and if materialism dies, there would be no significance of spiritualism.
His take on spiritualism is something that pleases you and doesn’t harm others. And it doesn’t necessarily mean singing paeans of God or fasting etc. There is no need for someone to claim to be an authority of a particular spiritualism thought. Because there in lies the vulnerability of such thought temples. Further that without materialistic help, nothing - no movement or class of thought can spread wide and far.
KT also gave numerous examples strengthening his points.
So, in what I understand, KT dismisses the concept of spirituality as not strong and confident enough to stand by itself.

Rompy took pains to illustrate his point of view through a image

Taking a middle path, Rompy says “In today’s scenario, I think one should strive to make the two go ‘hand in hand’. When I say, ‘hand in hand’, I mean there is a harmony between the two consciences within the human mind. Though these two urge the mind to come to there camp, buts it’s up to the mind to maintain a trade off between the two.”
Summarizing it I can say that according to him, both exist inside our mind. And the mind decides where to go.
Mind you he explained this with a drawing – after all a picture speaks more than a thousand words.

Liza takes another approach in arguing the case for harmony between Materialism and Spiritualism. She says that it is the desire to excel, in other words materialism which is driving the world today to unthinkable boundaries. But in this mad race, we tend to ignore what our heart says. She questions, “No doubt we have to realize our self being but can it be done without the worldly happiness being there?”
She goes on to explain the role of spiritualism in this “I think we all have the right to dream and while realizing those dreams we should take some spiritual help so that we don’t deviate from the right path”. She finally says there is nothing wrong enjoy worldly pleasures if a right thing is done in the right way.

Amrut further diversifies the discussion. He says that music helps him connect with himself (spirituality) and the materialistic things like good CD player, state of art speakers etc help him in this. He says, “Spiritualism is more a state of mind where as materialism is more plausible or concrete…
If one can find a balance in these two, even though it might seem a bit hypocrite, nevertheless the way the society functions.”
Giving an insight into the definitions of these terms he says that advancement in technology, leads people to have an urge to get them. That is materialism. But to the person who makes these developments, it is a spiritual feeling to make them. (As in the case of Howard Roark of Fountainhead). “….for some the so called materialism is in itself a spiritual existence and for some it is treated as sin in the heart. For me most of the times it is spiritualism!!!!”

Well… pretty interesting and different ideas there… And special thanks to all my friends who contributed to this… this blog belongs to you…
Now, what do I think about Materialism and Spiritualism… had you just asked me I could have replied easily… but now with so many ideas in front of me.. I am a bit confused..
According to me.. Spiritualism is Peace of Mind…this peace of mind can come through materialism as many of my friends have said. May be buying the latest mobile or the latest 30 Gb Ipod will give me peace of mind… but will it really?? For how long will I be spirtitual – satisfied with myself… till the next high end model of the phone comes… or a new sleek car comes.. then there will be a fight to gain that spirituality again… So in a sense, spirituality or peace of mind as I say is totally dependent on materialism. Can it be independent??
For it to be independent, a human has to be satisfied with what he has.. yes he can.. but for that he has to go to live on the outskirts of society… he may become a ascetic… or something where he has minimal interaction with the people of a society.. and go live in some place as shown in the movie Paap. Then he will have no desires… and we can say he is spirtitual… but he ‘dhongis’ as also pointed out by KT – who give sermons in AC halls of 5 star hotels – I don’t consider them spiritual – At all.. spiritual Guru – bull shit…living in society – we will always strive for more.. and never be satisfied. Or in other words will not be peaceful from inside..
There may be short durations for which we are at peace..e.g while meditating.. or going all out while running… or dancing.. or sometimes while listening to music… and I do feel that in this non spiritual world.. some moments of spirituality are necessary…so that we don’t become Insane…


SiD said...

hi Ms N.. thanks for stopping by..
we indeed share the same blog name..
but the views differ - urs are much more beautiful.. :)

White Forest said...

hey ....excellent ..pretty interesting!

Anonymous said...

Well I have two takes on that...
first, wouldn't it be a better way of living if you weren't bothered with the results. it's tough but it's run a race for the pleasure of running, not concerned with winning or loosing, to make software, buildings, and not be setback by failures..or be overjoyed by success. I don't know what state one's ambition will be in by then, but yes, I think you can move forward with that.....

SiD said...

the first one - quite difficult... to keep oneself in that situation.. vaise people do it - who promote free software like Linux..they just want monetary beneifts...

2nd thought - hmm... everyone has to move forward - no doubt abt that... and yes the ways would be different... one would contribute to the society.. other(giving up ambition) may be not..

SiD said...

@sparkle: Thanks for shining here :)
and yes...I agree with you on the point that world is materialistic today.. success is gauged by how much material posession the person has today...and interesting fact u give about the spirituality u give - abt not much materialism being present when the idea was born.. but for me, in today's world peace of mind is spirtuality..

SiD said...

Not at all.. as i have written in the post.. we cant get permanent peace of mind being in this materialistic world... thats why there is so much craze for temporary peace of mind by meditation , yoga etc...

sparkle said...


SiD said...

@ani: wow.. honestly speaking that went straight through me!!