by Chris Tong, Ph.D.
The danger of equating self-fulfillment with happiness
The inability for materialism to adequately account for this aspect of oneself called “consciousness” is the reason why death too has been inadequately accounted for. Materialism suggests that death is simply when the battery dies and the “body-mind” machine (thereby) comes to a halt. But if there is a residual part to a human being beyond the part that has died (the physical body), then understanding its destiny is of paramount, personal importance to each of us. Therefore, the inability for materialism to account for human consciousness raises a big question mark in the context of our own mortality. If one has any intelligence one can’t say, “I can’t account for consciousness in material terms”, and simultaneously say, “Who cares about what happens after we die? Let’s just eat, drink, and be merry in the meanwhile!”
We seem to be getting by okay as materialists. Seem. But Avatar Adi Da Samraj indicates that almost all of us die not from “natural causes” but rather, from egoity. That is to say, we are not “getting by” being materialists. Being a materialist has a cumulative effect, which, on a physical level, culminates in physical death, and also carries over into our after-death destiny the psychic baggage that has been accumulating.
Scientific materialism not only fails to account for death, in failing to account for the non-material aspects of a human being; it also fails to account for human suffering altogether.
Scientific materialism tends to equate self-fulfillment and happiness. Thus its proposed solution to human suffering is to find out how to fulfill oneself better (physically, mentally, emotionally, psychically, etc.), and even to devise ever better technological means for doing so. Its wisdom relative to personal happiness is limited to the chemistry of the body and the therapies of materialistic psychology.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj has said that, as a result of this technological frenzy, and as a result of mistaking self-fulfillment for happiness, we are a culture that is increasingly pleasured in body and mind, but increasingly desperate at heart.
The search for self-fullfillment reinforces, from moment to moment, the sense of being a limited sack of flesh in need of self-fulfillment. This is why most of us tend to experience increasingly less pleasure in the same things as we get older, because the addictive activity of self-centering in which we are chronically engaged is increasingly tightening the noose — hunching the body, and collapsing the soul; eventually it will kill us.
“The ego is a guru that has a fool for a disciple”, Adi Da Samraj once said humorously. Self-fulfillment is the worshipping of ourselves, and one cannot worship both self and God. As Jesus put it, we cannot serve two masters:
This is not just a useful moral guideline. It is a psycho-physical principle derived from the way things work. Self-fulfillment focuses attention and feeling on oneself, and so necessarily, it is simultaneously a turning away from participation in (and submission to) the Greater Reality and God. Happiness is Realized in the exact opposite gesture: the submission of self to God to the degree of communion with God, and ultimately, identification with God. Awakening as the Infinite, unlimited Divine Self — our True Self — is Perfect Happiness.
|THREE VIEWS OF REALITY AND HUMAN POTENTIAL
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