Q: So you talk a lot about the evils of hyper-materialism.
ReeL: I would not say evil. There are good reasons we live in a hyper-materialist age. We are entering a period of history where the human race has the possibility of destroying itself and the possibility of unifying itself. In either case the survivors will have survived because they got the materialist aspect of reality right.
They will have to get things right.
Further, on the other side of things, a lot of people today feel the threat is from an anti-materialism led by all forms of radical fundamentalist religions.
Q: Fundamentalists could unify the world and win.
ReeL: Not likely.
Q: What makes you so sure of that? There’s a lot of fear in the world about political entities like the Islamic State or ISIS. What if they win, what if they take over the world?
ReeL: Think about what you are saying. Fundamentalist religions, of all persuasions, don’t even believe in the core tenants of science, which are the basis of all manufacturing. You are talking about highly ideological groups of people that are not capable of manufacturing anything. Their very world-view precludes the prerequisites.
But the real problem for them lies even deeper. Francis Bacon said it all a long time ago, at the very dawn of the scientific age. People were really worried about the backlash of religion against the nascent scientific thinking of Bacon and his correspondents.
Bacon reassured everyone by saying, in effect, hey, science is just our best method of basing our thinking on reality, it also provides a method of checking, as much as is humanly possible, to make sure our perceptions are also in line with reality.
He then pointed out that reality-based thinking will always eventually win out. Why? Because it has reality on its side. It is very dangerous to not work in line with reality. Reality has a way of asserting itself in deadly ways. If you aren’t in line with reality, it can be very dangerous to your future.
Fundamentalists of all persuasions have a fundamental problem: their thinking is ultimately not based on reality. Their basic anti-scientific orientation seriously jeopardizes their ability to innovate and manufacture. Which along with a lot of other things, seriously compromises their ability to manufacture weapons. I mean, in the long run, it is those who can manufacture and use the best weapons that will win all hard conflicts and eventually control the world’s resources.
Q: But people control those weapons and Religions can control people.
ReeL: Well, we’re dipping into a discussion that we can’t hope to cover within this interview, but short answer to that is that history, so far, has proved otherwise. Science, reality-based thinking, and those who can produce the best weapons have so far determined who has the resources and who controls the ultimate political reality of the planet.
This is one reason our age is a hyper-materialist age. We are in a global struggle for the globe, its resources, and human kind itself, and it depends on who gets the material world right. Hence hyper-materialism is a rational option.
Looking at things from another angle, I suspect all those science-fiction narratives that show a future where all inhabited planets are politically unified are not all that far off. At some point the earth will be unified politically in a more thorough-going form than we have ever thought of so far. Perhaps in a way we still cannot conceive of yet. If the human race survives it will be through reality-based thinking, and at some point those who do this best will run the whole show, for better or for worse. Reality is a relentless master.
Q: Hopefully not by the likes of Monsanto.
ReeL: Yes, Let us hope not. All the more reason to fight them now, while they are still beatable. Make sure they are not one of the players going forward. But when someone is bidding to make monopolistic moves on your food supply, the world’s food supply– and they’re a ruthless poison manufacturer at that–you have to take them very seriously as a major threat. They are automatically a player for the future if they control food supply.
Q: OK, now I am depressed.