Not Just a Material Girl Part (1)

Two things can be true at the same time.

In order to create harmony within our societies we need to first create harmony within ourselves. How many internal and external struggles exist because we try to style ourselves as entirely one thing or another?

On the one hand we might see ourselves as totally rational beings, devoid of a ‘higher nature’ and motivated only by narrow self-interest – we’ve even given that story of ourselves a name – homo economicus.

On the other we might try the ascetic route and disappear into our non-material side to the extent that we deny – or at least don’t entertain – our physical/material selves.

Maybe it’s time we dropped the dichotomies?  Maybe it’s time we recognised them as the unhelpful and fragmenting conceptual constructs that they are and instead tried to see the whole picture in everything?

On an instinctive and intuitive level we know we are multi-dimensional beings – emotional, physical, mental, spiritual – we call our ‘dimensions’ by different names but we really do know our reality is much more than a simple physical, or even psychological, truth.

As Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist points out,

Modern people are fundamentally materialistic…and the fact that we’re materialist in our scientific philosophy has made us extremely powerful, maybe too powerful for our morality but extremely powerful from a technological point of view. But it’s also blinded us to certain things and I think one of the things that it’s really blinded us to, is the nature of our own being.

Because we make the assumption that the fundamental constituent elements of reality are material we fail to notice that the fundamental constituent elements of our own reality are not material. They’re emotional, they’re motivational, they’re dreams, they’re visions they’re relationships with other people, they’re conscious, they’re dependant on consciousness and self-consciousness and we and we have absolutely no materialist explanation whatsoever either for consciousness or self-consciousness and we don’t deal well from a materialistic perspective with the qualities of being.

And everyone knows those qualities exist I mean for most people there’s nothing more real than their own pain. Pain transcends rational argument – you can’t argue yourself out of it, it’s just there. And materialist or not there are very few people who will allow the claim that their pain is merely an epiphenomenon of some more material process. Pain is fundamental. Consciousness is fundamental. (1)


Photograph – The photo of the Schie sisters at 71 – is part of a larger series, taken by photographer Barbro Fauske Steinde in 1989.
See the rest of the photo series of the Schie sisters on our web….

(1) Jordan Petersen – Virtue as a Necessity

7 comments on “Not Just a Material Girl Part (1)

  1. nrhatch says:

    Much (if not most) of our emotional pain is self-created by the stories we tell ourselves. When we change the stories . . . the pain dissipates . . . or expands . . . in direct correlation to what we tell ourselves about it.

    In that sense, pain is NOT real.
    It is an illusory creation born of our imagination.

    Change your mind . . . change your life.

    • I don’t know, Nancy, I think emotional pain is like physical pain – which in an absolute sense isn’t real either – mind you it usually feels pretty real! In the same way emotional and psychological pain is – I think – very real but I do agree that that’s not the end of the story – we have a lot of control over how we act on it. I don’t think that nursing grievances and pain is a good idea – we’d never do that with a physical pain – but in my experience if we try and ignore our emotions the little devils just pop up somewhere else demanding attention!
      Giving our emotions – including our pain and suffering – an appropriate amount of attention and then working out ways using all our faculties, to overcome whatever it has inflicted on us – or even occasionally bestowed on us.
      Thanks for the comment.

  2. […] Principle * Zen & The Art of Happiness * Attack of the Killer ANTs * Watch Your Thoughts * Not Just A Material Girl (Creating Reciprocity) * Vanquishing Illusions (Kate Shrewsday) Spread The Word:MoreLike […]

  3. granbee says:

    Should we deny all material goals in our lives, we will have nothing to give others in their own pain.

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