End of Materialism

[This essay of ours on this book is intended as a critique, from a theistic perspective, of the basis of the author's atheistic praemises : in this essay, we seek to confute and refute the author's dogmatic praesupposition of the principles of atheism.]

{We indicate that, in tacitly (not quite overtly, but by way of tacit praesupposition) without justification propounding the principles of dogmatic atheism, the author hath effectively conceded to the argumentation of materialist metaphysics : we seek to shew plainly that the author's creed of dogmatic atheism would in fact (if sufficiently rigidly followed with logical consistency) logically lead to the same metaphysics of materialism (viz., an anti-telelogical position logically resultant in total lack of meaningfulness, of purposivity, of ethics, and of morality – described by the author on pp. 28-30 and on pp. 295-7 as the “Western Creed”) as he is claiming (in this book) to be rationally combatting.}

As a prime instance of his atheism-biased logical inconsistency, we look at his assertion (posed in the guise of a quaestion, on p. 339) : “What what if the universe is so built and ordered that …, in spite of all the apparent evil in the world, all things work together for the good of each and all? I hope so!” This might sound like an assertion of theism (the assertion being ordinarily taken as a deduction from the metaphysics of theism), but the author instead sought to deduce it from, instead, a not-quite-theistic principle (posed in the guise of a quaestion, on p. 338) : “What is the cosmos is indeed not dead matter but a living presence? … That is, … life and consciousness do indeed pervade … all of reality.” This might like an assertion of pantheism (the assertion being ordinarily taken as a deduction from the metaphysics of panentheism), but the author instead sought to deduce it from, instead, a not-quite-theistic principle aequivalent to (but rather more intently materialistic than) the Supreme Ultimate of Confucianism, and the Tao of Taoism. In particular, the author would seek to deny (by ignoring) the distinction between pantheism and panentheism (not mentioning either in this book nor any other of his writings), and (quite significantly, from the perspective of logical understanding) the distinction between spirit-possession of a human medium by ghosts of the “deceased” (mentioned on pp. 258-9) on the one hand, and spirit-possession of a human medium by cosmic deities (not mentioned by him at all). The former (spirit-possession of a human medium by ghosts of the dead) is typical of Umbanda in southern Brazil (and largely altered from praecursors in Angola), but was known to the author via Ohio, going back by way of French mediumship to the mediumship in vogue in the French colony of Vietnam – which in turn is taken from Chinese mediumship as of the era when Vietnam was a possession of the Manchu empire) is a non-theistic outlook quite distinct from the latter (spirit-possession of a human medium by cosmic deities), which is typical of the West-African (e.g., Lukumi of the Yoruba) spirit-mediumships (and their derivatives in northern Brazil and in the Caribbean islands).

The closest the author approached a simulation of divine omniscience may have been the hypothesis of a “super-psi” of intuitive “clairvoyance of physical traces of information” (on p. 268), concerning which the

author proposed (on p. 275) that “super-psi ability … might survive death.” In usual shamanic terms, any such “super-psi” would be directly ascribed to deities, who could convey by telepathy (all telepathy having to originate from deities themselves) the information thus acquired to their mortal human agents (shamans); however, the author deliberately (or unthinkingly) omitteth any reference to deities, and (quite arbitarily) instead willfully chooseth to assign psi/clairvoyance directly to mortal humans. This arbitary assignment is something felt as shockingly arrogant by actual shamans, who without exception assign all clairvoyant powers to the deity only (usually, for their own purposes, to their own personal divine spirit-guide). It is quite glaringly evident that the reason why the author (along with his colleague parapsychologists) always remained incapable of acquiring praeternatural abilities (such as seeing a deity, or hearing a deity's voice) is that he evermore continued tenaciously to hold onto a dogma denied by every genuine shaman, namely that mortal humans in and of themselves can perform miraculous/supernatural feats. True shamans insist on the very opposite, that neither they nor any other mortals can ever be in possession of clairvoyant powers; that such powers are the special province of deities only; and that humans cannot approach deities to requaest any information from them, but must instead be approached by the deities at the deities' own discretion. The author's arrogance exceedeth all bounds of propriety and of good taste, is distinctly offensive to the divine world, and is worthy only of the harshest of reprimands.

An instance of the author's barely missing the point of cosmic theism appeareth in his discussion, of why well-designed parapsychology “experiments” often fail to produce tangible results, on pp. 165-6 : “some paraspychologists … think there's something inherently “perverse” about psi phenomena, that we're being “teased” by it. … I've certainly felt that way at times. … But suppose that there is … a spiritual reality, perhaps with spiritual beings of some sort existing [p. 166] in it? Are the desires and qualities of these spiritual beings part of our experiments also? Is the idea of being “teased” with inconsistent but unignorable psi results more than just a metaphor?” Now, that which is actually “perverse” is atheistic parapsychologists' notion that they have perfect right to intrude on the divine operation of the world and even (in the words of Francis Bacon, on p. 207) “torture … with experiment” God until God “yields the truth of phenomena.” The deities who co-operatively operate the universe do not so much mean to “tease” experimenters as to warn (politely) those experimenters that such experimenters are transgressing the bounds of appropriate behavior (cosmic etiquette) when conducting experiments – transgressions being mostly felt in the frivolity of the experiments, which experiments do not seek to discover the divine plans for perfecting the planet (which would be a permissible endeavor), but instead seek to find out irrelevant details (irrelevant to understanding the over-all divine plan for perfecting the public ethics and the social metaphysics of mortal inhabitants of the planet, which divine plan, if sufficiently well-understood, could be better co-operated with by mortals).

In particular, the author would deny (by ignoring) the abundant evidence of exotic planes-of-existence (which are known – by mortal human visitants to there – to be operating with organization and structure far exceeding anything to be found on the material plane – organization and structure exceeding anything even proposed by human mortals, whether socialism, communism, or any variety of outopia), commonly known as heavens (svarga-s) and netherworlds (tala-s). The author's extreme atheism-biased apparent intellectual semidemi-dishonesty is to be found in, e.g., his omission of description of the contents of two books whereto he alluded (on p. 208), Far Journeys and Ultimate Journey, the author of which books describing in those books his own personal visits to non-material worlds.

Again, the author's low esteem for even familiar planes-of-existence (such as the dream-world, and any after-death world) is evident on p. 312 : “my personal explorations have shown me just how much my sense of self, my particular “I,” is shaped by and at least partially dependent on having a physical body in the material world. How much can “I” remain unchanged when my physical body no longer functions, shaping my experience?” As a matter of fact, one's sense of self is aequally praesent and aequally shaped when one is abiding in a dream-body during a dream, in an astral body during an astral projection, or in a mental body when traveling other planes-of-existence; as is readily testified to by anyone who doth any of these. The material body with its woes and limitations, and with its relatively lower capacities for participating in emotional, spiritual, and mental events, is the least functional of any of the bodies which one may dwell within, and is consequently the least able to participate in, or be shaped by, any world. Indeed, the author's position here is effectively a needlessly complete capitulation to materialism, nearly as thorough as Bertrand Russell's deluded “philosophy of pure materialism” (which the author deplored, on p. 20) : the author's atheistic praemises are nearly as unreasonable as are Bertrand Russell irrational delusions.

Non-material worlds are mentioned by the author only in context of dreams (lucid dreams, on pp. 214-5) – but again denying (by not mentioning, referring to, nor suggesting) their theistic significance. The author would appear to be totally ignorant of the fact that psychic practitioners of shamanic religions (whether they be Siberian, North American Indians, or others) consistently explain that all their supernatural abilities were acquired from deities in the dream-world during dreams, and transferred out of the dream-world into the waking-world. Instead of mentioning any of this (which is much-described in numerous anthropological reports published over many decades by various university publishing-presses, in the United States and in Europe), the author quite lamely and uselessly cited (on p. 262) Eileen Garrett : “While she'd been a medium most of her life, she was also honestly puzzled … about what she did … .” It is no puzzle to those shamans who very well remember how each of their psychic abilities was received by themselves from a deity in a dream; and who frequently explain this fact publically, especially in the praesence of, and to, dying persons, who are expected thereby (by hearing this, in the praesumed praesence of the deity who so visited the shaman) to be more adequately divinely transported into favorable circumstances after death.

The author is foolish (or facetious) enough to quote with approval (on p. 313) Benjamin Franklin's self-written epitaph that a material body occupied by him “will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More in a New and More Elegant Edition, Revised and Corrected By the Author.” Is he unaware that the material body in which he is now residing was not made by himself, nor could he select (not even “revise” nor “correct” any divine decisions to that effect) the material body into which he came for this life?

A consequence of the author's failure to compraehend the primary ro^le of deities in arranging incarnations for humans is in evidence on p. 314 : “my current bet is that … karma is real … . Purgatory? Bardos?” Now, it is abundantly evident that mortal humans' behaviors are praedicated on the social situation whereinto they are incarnated; and that if this incarnative process be arranged by the deities, then any consequent karman would be properly have to be imposed not upon the mortals themselves, but rather upon the deities who selected where, when, and how to incarnate those mortals into this world. Furthermore, if any karman would be determined by the long-range effects of actions, and if the principle (cited above from p. 339) that “all things work together for the good of each and all” be true (in the long-range, long-term effects), then no unfavorable karman could be being generated anyway; and, incidentally, about the only way feasible to arrange that “all things” could “work together” would be for benevolent deities to be operating the universe (a possibility not even considered by the atheist-minded author).

Instead of referring to any sort of theistic description of how deities can assist mortals after those mortals' deaths, the author shockingly cited (on p. 311) the worthless Bauddha doctrine that “A being might have godlike powers but be quite neurotic and unenlightened.” [Now, it is a fact that the ability to change and/or interchange and exchange one's body for or with another, and be omnipraesent beyond all embodiedness; to know both any information desired and to be ominiscient; to share all supernatural abilities with both specific beings and also universally – such functional capacities of deities exclude them from any possibility of being “quite neurotic and unenlightened”.] It is largely because of the inventing of such such gross insults against the universal telepathic combine of divine intelligences, that this planet is remaining languishing in worldwide misery and maltreatment by international capitalism : for, deva-s will not be willing to arrive aboard their vimana-s to ameliorate the socio-oikonomic conditions on this planet while the majority of the planet's population is so fanatically intent on insulting the universal system of conjoint intelligences – such that the author hath failed to perceive that the Bauddha insult against divine intelligence is at least as grievous as the Christian insult (of which he disapproved, on p. 303) of God in asserting “that he was a jealous and wrathful god”, or of God (as he disapproved, on p. 314) as a “petty tyrant, ruling by force”. So long as Buddhianity and Christianity continue to dominate this planet, there can arrive no rescue (by deities) of this planet from international capitalism with its world-wars, ravaging of the environment, impoverishment of civilization, and falsification of metaphysics.

Indeed, we can more readily surmise the the real reason why this planet is being subjected to the harsh abuse inflicted on it by international capitalism is more due to its insulting attitudes toward divine intelligence by self-styled “religions”, than to mere agnosticism and self-proclaimed atheism (for indeed, much so-called “atheism” is simply a reaction against the Christian description of God as vicious – so that decent people might praefer to have no religion than have a religion so slanderous toward God). The harshness of capitalism may well be a divine punishment visited upon the working-class by divine powers in punishment for working-class's acceptance of the foolishly absurd impieties of Christianity and of Buddhianity, as well as of Jainianity and of other ruling-class-invented and ruling-class-imposed inanities all masquerading as religions.

Charles T. Tart : The End of Materialism : How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together. New Harbinger Publ, Oakland (CA), 2009.

An excuse on behalf of the author : He has written quite a number of books; this is his most recent. Because he was for a long time a professor (since retired), he had keep away from considering theism. Universities do not tolerate advocating theism (not any more than they tolerate criticizing capitalism – both advocacies are forbidden). Since he would expect his books to be read largely by university-professors (and by other persons under similar such restrictions), he, even after retiring, would take care not to advocate anything in his books which, if quoted, would get university-professors into trouble with their respective university-administrations. (When the author writeth (on p. 207) “I would've been labeled not only a kook but a determined kook threatening the status quo in the field”, it would be to the university-administration that he is alluding to as doing the labeling; it is the official administration that is concerned for maintaining the status quo.)

[written Jan 29th Tue 2013]