Sunday, June 17, 2018
The talk explores materialism with a specific view on moral and social consequences of a materialistic mindset and Bahá’í perspectives on it. Materialistic philosophy maintains that matter has priority over mind and spirit. Accordingly, the human mind, consciousness and spirit are by-products of matter and those who believe the contrary are deemed “idealists.” Reductive materialism ascribes the entire domain of human interactions including individual behavior to the mechanical laws of science and fails to recognize that human thought and reasons are not purely mechanical processes.
At this turbulent time in the development of our civilization when the proliferation of nuclear weapons continues to threaten the existence of the global community, one may wonder what are the chances of human survival. Increasing disparity between wealth and poverty, the rise of social injustice and violence and the promotion of a culture of consumerism and self-indulgence call for rethinking the meaning of global prosperity. Materialism continues to have a devastating impact on individuals and world societies. Bahá’í teachings advocate for a sensible and moderate balance between the spiritual and material aspects of life as two pillars of an equitable civilization.
Dr. Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian is a Professor Emeritus of McGill University, Faculty of Medicine, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. As author, educator and researcher, he has published extensively on psychosocial and spiritual issues and spoken at many universities and public events around the world. Among his publications in recent years are Creative Dimensions of Suffering (2009), Steadfastness in the Covenant: Responding to Tests and Tribulations (2014) and Materialism: Moral and Social Consequences, second edition (2017). His current interest is the exploration of the interrelationship between religion and science in the advancement of civilization