The Kingdom of Heaven is laid upon the earth, but people do not see it.
— Gospel of Thomas
For thousands of years the mind has perceived the world outside as a foreign object. While holding onto this thought we have pushed deep inside the hope that someday the world will better reflect our dreams. For a time, this state of mind comforts us: we have a home to dwell in, and the laws of nature and God to ensure it stays in place.
The assumption that the external world exists independently of the mind is backed by today’s most authoritative intellectual discipline, modern science. At this moment, all across the globe—in living rooms, textbooks, classrooms, laboratories, newspapers, and television shows— this assumption frames discussions about the world. It is the given lying in the background of everything we say. It is the most important opinion we hold, and also the one we have least questioned.
But something noteworthy occurs when we do examine this assumption: it fails to withstand the very sort of questioning that science applies to other beliefs. Night dreams and hallucinations find our mind duplicating physical reality with no help from the forces of nature. In some instances, a link appears between mind and body, as in the placebo effect or mind-driven medical cures. Accounts of patients who have been cured of real physical ailments through the power of faith and belief fill medical literature. In material science’s eyes, however, faith and belief can have no effect on our machine-made bodies. Feelings and emotions have no currency in science.
Other phenomena suggest a link between separate living things, as with animal instincts, telepathy, or synchronicity. Ants live in colonies, work in teams, wage war, and capture slaves; geese fly in formation to speed their way through the wind; bees assemble a honeycomb as if they work from the same construction manual; human children learn language much quicker than if each had to begin the lesson anew every generation. In each instance, an instinctive reaction seems to spread invisibly across living things and then down through generations, as if one mind had already learned the lesson once and now conveys it to new forms.
At times we seem to sense what other people are thinking and feeling. We sense their mood; they don’t want to visit the in-laws, walk the dog; cook dinner, or say goodbye. In other instances, the world itself seems programmed: events seem synchronized as if one author writes life’s script. A song is in our mind; it plays on the radio. We think of a friend, she calls. We are down and out on our luck, the phone rings—a friend offers support, a job opportunity arises.
On a different scale, the planet Earth balances with the sun and allows life to develop, evolve, and prosper. Fruit grows on trees; vegetables from the ground. Animals of all kinds inhabit the landscape, providing to some a picturesque background, and to others, a means to survive. The world itself works together in harmony as if it always has—a complicated, involved script, but still one story. Order floods the world, from the smallest particle to the most expansive galaxy.
Material science rejects the interconnectedness between the mind and the world because it does not fit science’s current model of the world. On other similar occasions where theory no longer accounted for observed facts, science has been given the choice of ignoring the facts or changing the model. Up to this time, science has chosen to ignore the facts and to refuse to let go of its death grip upon the material science worldview.
Material scientists insist on separating mind from matter in their theories, and assume that the entire universe arose from forces external to the mind. Their theories, however, turn silent when explaining the origin of matter, or how it all operates in mathematical harmony. Matter and the laws of nature, they assume. Whether the event is the formation of the solar system out of the big bang or the evolution of life from a one-celled bacterium, the question is the same: How did dead matter arrange itself into the infinite order surrounding us without an intelligent guiding force?
Penetrating into matter, scientists uncover another clue to the world’s true nature: matter is composed not of things but of pulsating images and wave packets—precisely what one would expect to find at the bottom of a dream. Entranced by the strange features of the subatomic world, scientists seem to forget that quantum theory supports the view that the world is not the self-powered machine they first imagined, but a dream the imagination builds.
And when we are done asking the questions and examining the evidence, we come upon the truth: it is we—and only we—who have erected the notion that the external world exists beyond the mind. And this is a strategy the mind must have planned. We have unknowingly built the mold for a world to live in; the animal instincts of God indeed run deep.
But we now have reached the stage of evolution where we are ready to accept the world for what it must be: a product of our united imagination. This thought is the sky above, the stars overhead, and the invisible canvas covering the world. The material science worldview is a stage in the evolution of God that we now need to pass by. It has fulfilled its purpose. It is time to move on.
We want a world to unfold before us because that is what we dream for. But in misperceiving the natural world, modern science tells us that our own dream is the prison from which we can never escape. We surrender to it before testing whether the belief that brought us to this point is valid. In the end, we have built this misconception, and we are the ones to tear it down.
We must tear it down by the use of discussion, argument, and experiment. This is a scientific revolution that will become a social revolution by an act of necessity. We should start by rewriting a few textbooks and begin breaking down the artificial barriers—religious beliefs, social status, national origin, and color—that separate us.
In the not-too-distant future, the material science worldview will begin to fade away like a mirage, and then we will have cleared a path to a new homeland: a way of looking at the world that will never change because it is rooted in truth.
In this new world we might find it wise to put our faith not in material science’s impersonal laws and indifferent machines, but rather in ourselves. Instead of devoting resources to billion-dollar space probes, atom-smashers, space stations, and ever more deadly bombs, we might consider pursuing goals that will produce true benefits in a dream world.
We can begin by disarming those who use weapons only to terrorize the poor, the helpless, and the innocent—those who kill and spread fear in the name of God. We must devote our resources to sustaining a way to improve the quality of life for more people, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, comforting the sick, protecting the environment, and educating the masses. We can hardly expect to improve a dream world unless we improve the state of mind of those doing the dreaming.
We do not know how far this thought will take us; there is still much we do not understand. But we know what type of world we produce when the material science worldview controls our mind. Every day the morning newspaper announces the failure of a world where we look at nature and other people as self-operating machines; it should not be hard to do better than this.
So let us embrace the new millennium by adopting a fresh outlook, a new worldview. In the true spirit of science, let us dive into the Real Dream, put it to the test, and see if we have the power to make the new age equal the world of our dreams. Perhaps the experiment fails, and we find that we are self-operating machines after all; then we will have lost nothing. But then again, if we pour everything we have into this quest, we may find that the dream, once buried inside, now shines out in front of us.
The natural world that once imprisoned us now expresses what we can be. Mind and nature inspire each other to reach higher, as we take hold of the ladder of the dream and pull ourselves upward to the goal that still shimmers overhead: the highest dream, an eternal home—a place we may someday, with the steadiest of voices, come to call heaven.
©2013, 2014 by Philip Comella. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission. Publisher: Rainbow Ridge Books.
The Collapse of Materialism: Visions of Science, Dreams of God
by Philip Comella.
“Philip Comella, takes a fresh and bold look at the debate between science and religion—and attempts to go farther than any other book to unite them... Probing, well written, and thoroughly researched, and bolstered by a wide range of enlightening sources, including religion, eastern philosophy—and science itself—this book breaks important ground regarding the limited purview of life as we’ve come to know it, encouraging readers to explore the unfettered depths of a new vision of universal purpose.”—Dominique Sessons, Apex Reviews
PHILIP COMELLA is a practicing lawyer with a philosophy degree whose mission in life is to expose the fallacies in our current materialistic worldview and to advance a more promising—and rational—outlook. In pursuit of that mission, he spent 30 years studying the foundational ideas to our current scientific worldview and developing the arguments made in this book. Visit his website at http://www.thecollapseofmaterialism.com/