A lot of materialists wander around the world, telling everyone how smart they are, when they can’t see the blatant ignorance they embrace as intelligence.
Materialism, for purposes of this article, is defined as the idea that only the material exists. Logic, reason, science, all of these clearly non-material things are only brainwave patterns in our brain tissue, and not representative of something that transcends the material.
It is trivial to disprove materialism. All I have to do is show that the above statement transcends the material world and so itself is not part of the material world and thus contradictory.
This is not an easy task to do, because materialists are insistent that the patterns of brainwaves are something important, when they are really just patterns of brainwaves that can sometimes emulate something far greater and supernatural, but nothing more.
To illustrate the core issue, suppose I offer you a sheet of music. I ask you, “Is this music?”
What say you?
If you say it is music, then I suppose we don’t need any performers to actually read the music and actually sound the notes and sing the tunes. We can sell tickets to amazing concerts and just hand out sheets of paper with bits of ink on them, or even just project it to a giant screen. Or better yet, we can just write the words “Really good music” on a piece of paper and be done with it.
Of course, the bits of ink on paper are no more music than the words on your screen are actual words. They are symbols of music, just like the words you are reading are symbols of people actually talking to each other.
Suppose I handed out those pieces of papers to a symphony orchestra and they played it most extraordinarily. Is that music?
Unfortunately, it isn’t music either. See, all it is is sound, something we can actually record and move through time and space, as we regularly do. Keep in mind, however, that the sound is entirely physical, something you can store in the material world and something you can create a machine to replicate. But it isn’t music.
Where is the music then?
The music is not contained in the sound, but it is something that happens when we listen to it. We perceive the sounds to form some kind of musical message which may delight or taunt us, or any number of a thousand emotions music can place directly into our hearts and minds.
The key concept here is that sound is not music anymore than notes on a page are music or the bits that encode an MP3 file are music. Music is an experience that we share when our minds engage and share in listening to it. Music is carried well beyond the lifetime of the sounds in our hearts and minds. Music is, as the Greeks knew so long ago, something so magical it can only come from the gods.
There is the famous philosophical question. Suppose I created something that was exactly like a human except it had no mind, no soul. Would it be alive? Would it hear music? If I could recreate everything down to the molecule so perfectly that no physical measuring device could tell the difference, but I failed to put into it a soul, would it be alive? Suppose it moved and talked and said that it loved and felt music: would that mean it is alive and feeling and loving or is it just emulating those things?
The real question is, are we more than our matter? As we shed our skin cells and our blood cells recycle themselves and our physical, mortal bodies regenerate and completely replace every atom over time, are we those bits of dead things that fall off of us or expelled, or are we the thing that temporarily comes together but for a moment, and then something else the next moment? There is the famous paradox of the Ship of Theseus: Could we be copied as long as we are meticulous enough to do it?
Here I will prove to you that we are nonphysical, nonmaterial beings trapped inside our physical bodies. It’s not hard to do at all. All you have to do is have an immaterial thought, something that weighs nothing and has no way of registering in the physical, material universe, and you know you exist well beyond the material realm and the laws that govern its behavior.
What kind of thought should it be? It doesn’t matter. It can be the perception of music as you listen to entirely physical sounds. It can be you repeating the words I write here in your head. It can be the thought that “materialism is the concept that only material things exist”. Any thought at all proves to yourself and, for yourself, to the universe, that you exist entirely independent of and superior to the universe. You can perceive the material world, but it cannot perceive you. There is no test that I can invent to check to see if you are a thinker of thoughts or just a machine built to deceive me, but to you, the fact that you even thought such a thing means you are entirely real.
This is the kind of thinking that gave us modern science. It is the thought that Descartes had as he said, “I think, therefore, I am”. Meaning, “Because I am a thinker of thoughts, I know that I exist; the universe I perceive, I am not so sure about.”
The fact that we can argue about logic and reason, the fact that we can conceive of illogical or unreasonable ideas at the same time we can conceive of logical and reasonable ones, the fact that there are universally agreed upon descriptions of our human-ness, our souls, such as “You’re stupid” or “You’re smart” — these things all point to the fact that the material universe is not all there is that exists, that there are things way beyond the material universe that exist independent of it, in fact, that reality itself is predicated upon.
Take, for instance, the entirely made up number pi. This represents the ratio of the diameter of a perfect circle to its perfect circumference, something that can only be done outside of the material universe, since circles, at least perfect ones, cannot exist in the material universe. This number is found throughout physics and is a description of it, nay, the formula for its entire behavior. The fact that the universe can’t exist without pi existing is proof that the universe is a construct of the supernatural, immaterial universe. If you want to truly understand the universe, you have got to understand pi. And in order to understand pi, you have got to understand perfect circles, and in order to understand perfect circles, you need to understand perfection. And that, my dear readers, is where you should be focusing your attention. Not on the universe, not on pi, not on circles, but on perfection itself. That should be the ultimate goal of every thinking person themselves, how to understand perfection and even how to engage it to one’s own benefit.
I’ll talk more about that later.