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Why Be Blinded by Science and Materialism?
Part 4: Limitations of the materialistic view

by Chris Tong, Ph.D.
Dr. Chris Tong

The “obviousness” of naive realism

In some sense, the primary limitation of materialism is its “obviousness”. We rely on our senses all the time, to the point where we place a great deal of trust in those senses. And rightly so, relative to ordinary functioning and survival: our senses are constantly keeping us alive, whether we are speeding down the road in our automobiles and suddenly swerve out of the way of an unexpected car; or we are spitting out something that tastes “off”. Why would we want to bad-mouth such good friends as these five? We are so intimate with (and habituated to) these friends that there is even an emotional overtone of “obviousness” to everything they “tell” us.

It’s worth recalling how the "apparently obvious" has been shown to be untrue the stuff of mere appearance time and time again.


Albert EinsteinCommon sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.

Albert Einstein
in Alice Calaprice (ed.),

The Expanded Quotable Einstein


Forget for the moment all our school book learning. When we look up in the sky over the course of a day, it is obvious that the sun goes around the earth. It’s over to my left in the morning, right above me at noon, and over to my right at sunset. It’s obvious that the sun is moving and the earth isn’t. Yes, our contemporary belief system include such “facts” as “The earth goes around the sun”, but how many of us can actually recall the various reasons that led scientists to switch their view? Most of us carry around a lot of “facts” like these, in much the same way that the Sunday school student memorizes and then carries around his or her religious “facts”.

Again, suspending our awareness of all the “facts” we learned in school, we can add to the catalog of obvious, directly perceivable facts that the earth is flat not meaning that there are no mountains, etc., but that all of these are aligned perpendicularly (“upward”) with respect to a flat plane, and the upward direction of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California is the same upward direction as the Himalayas in Nepal.


If the Earth were a globe, there certainly would be — if we could imagine the thing, to be peopled all around — 'antipodes:' 'people who,' says the dictionary, 'living exactly on the opposite side of the globe to ourselves, having their feet opposite to ours' — people who are hanging down, head downwards while we are standing head up? But since the theory allows us to travel to those parts of the earth where the people are said to hang head downward, and still to fancy ourselves to be heads upwards, and our friends whom we have left behind us to be heads downwards, it follows that the whole thing is a myth — a dream — a delusion — and a snare, and, instead of there being any evidence at all in this direction to substantiate this popular theory, it is plain proof that the Earth is Not A Globe.

from “One Hundred Proofs Earth is Not a Globe” in The Flat Earth News


We could go on and on: The stars are tiny pinpoints of light; etc. That’s the way it appears to be. Therefore, according to naive realism, that’s the way it is.

Now those among the Spiritually Realized don’t agree with this. The “material-only” vision is not the way Reality appears to them. And that is because they are not limited to “the five senses”. They also have a “sixth sense”, a sense of feeling-awareness that reaches beyond the body, beyond the material, beyond the realm of the five senses. With proper activation and training of this sixth sense, God is as immediately obvious and accessible as our own bodies are to us. The Spiritually Realized see all that we see, sense all that we sense. But they are also directly aware of much more than us, and are directly aware that what the rest of us take as the whole reality, is just the surface of reality, “the tip of the iceberg”. They are the explorers and Realizers of the depth of Reality.

Scientific materialism limits itself to the exploration of objective reality

While, in going from simple materialism to scientific materialism, the scope of phenomena considered “real” has been extraordinarily expanded (over and against the exclusive use of the five senses alone), the requirement for objective results, and hence for a separation between the perceiver and the perceived, restricts exploration to objective reality. It is not that the subjective realm doesn’t show up at all; in the so-called “soft sciences” (where “soft” is measured relative to that ultimate “hard” science, “physics”), such as psychology, sociology, etc., people’s subjectivity is indeed examined, but is examined as objectively as possible.

What is disallowed from the purview of materialism is any participatory exploration of reality, because that would result in a loss of objectivity. But that participatory exploration through the “instrument” of one’s own feeling-awareness turns out to be the primary tool for exploring the Spiritual and Transcendental dimensions of reality. Thus scientific materialism inherently disallows the very means required to validate the Greater Reality, and, because it takes a reductionistic stance, it is then forced to declare that no such Greater Reality exists.


Avatar Adi Da SamrajWhat is “knowledge” in our time? It is epitomized by the method and the accumulated culture of scientism. And the method of science epitomizes the tendency toward non-participation. The method of science is, at its best, a right and useful tool for acquiring certain kinds of information or data about conditional events. But as a world-view, or an ideal orientation toward existence, it is nothing other than the attitude and method of egoity. This is because it is based upon the abstraction or separation of the observer from the observed. It expresses a preference for the non-participation (or non-interference) of the observer in the observed and in the results of the observation. . . .

The disposition of scientism has, in our time, become the model or ideal attitude toward what is. Science has come out of the closet, from an esoteric discipline engaged by a few revolutionaries, to a world-view that commands what is acceptable as knowledge for all. I do not object to the factual usefulness of the scientific method as one of the possible tools of Man, but I thoroughly and vehemently object to the culturally enforced notion that it is the single, sufficient, and ideal tool of Man. . . .

Science is not love. Science is not surrender. To do science is to stand apart and inspect and analyze. To know without love and submission is to magnify power and the motive of control. Power and control are secondary needs of Man. Such knowledge is, therefore, only a secondary need of Man. Science is only a secondary tool of Man. What is our primary need and our primary tool? We need love, union, unity. Our primary tool is participation. And participation requires submission of self to what is. Therefore, participation is love, or the act of loving or self-transcending submission. If we act as love, submission, or in the attitude or by the tool of self-transcendence, then we also come to know and experience. But the knowledge and experience that come by such means do not enhance or magnify the power of self to control what is. Rather, they enhance and magnify our freedom, our Realization of Reality, and our ultimate Happiness. . . .

We cannot discover whether or not there is God, or soul, or Transcendental Spiritual Reality by analytical or non-participatory means. The ego cannot discover the Truth. . . . Our greatest need is to discover the Truth. And in order to discover the Truth, we must understand and transcend ourselves. . . . And if the Way of self-transcendence is magnified as the fullness of participatory capability, then what is will be discovered to be Divine, unbound, eternal, Transcendental Happiness.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, “The Cult of Narcissus and the Culture of Participation”
p. 73, The Transmission Of Doubt


Scientists often cast themselves (or are so cast by those that make them into the high priests of our contemporary civilization) as the seekers of “truth”. But at best, what they find are the facts and principles of the material dimension of reality. That is, at best they are finding ways to characterize (and control) objective reality. Truth is altogether different, altogether greater. Truth is that which is changeless and unconditional, that which is always already the case, even in the midst of the changing and conditional reality. Finding the Truth transforms our sense of Reality and sets us Free.

A little earlier, we mentioned a “sixth sense” of feeling-awareness. The “use” of this sense is participation and relationship. One cannot be exercising this sense and also standing apart objectively. Thus, the use of the scientific method precludes the use of feeling-awareness. More specifically, objectification or standing apart is the result of contracting from fullest feeling-awareness. Elsewhere, I write how the ego is exactly this separating-itself-out activity that my Spiritual Master calls the self-contraction. Thus, no one comes to exercise this “sixth sense” of feeling-awareness to any significant degree without a significant degree of self- (or ego-)transcendence.

That which materialism cannot account for is the clue to what will supercede it


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