The frustrations, dilemmas and paradox of the demand to prove materialism from the idealist perspective

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by Schizostroller on April 7, 2015 @ 1:33 pm

I’m a materialist (and I use this term here rather than atheist as there are plenty of dualist atheists), however having read a fair amount of and being aware of our pattern making sensory apparatus and neurological make-up, combined with the work of sociologists such as Durkheim and Levi Strauss on the importance of ritual, myth and imagination in the realm of ideas, I therefore have a healthy respect for imaginative practice as a form of poiesis.

However when struggling with this realm, and trying to understand spiritualistic beliefs as a materialistic representative practice that is a perfectly reasonable navigatory practice especially with regard concrete embodied life stresses and experiences, I sometimes, triggered by what seems to be a reactionary remnant of a religious idealism, hear a voice arguing for me to ‘prove it’, now if something is materialistic it must be provable and part of this is my uncomfortability at not being able to get the work done, knowing it is probably a life time’s work that will never be finished coupled with my difficulties at the current time, however another aspect of this phrase is the paradox of a demand from the ideal realm (as a signified discursive realm at least) that a paradox be solved, the problem is that this paradox is demanded from the metaphysical realm, that in a materialist sense, doesn’t exist so it is like asking me to prove something that itself is unprovable doesn’t exist.

I am well aware that this is in many ways a rehashing of Marx’s overturning of Hegel’s dialectic via Feuerbach. However in the realm of both praxis AND poiesis it seems to be a problem that stubbornly and frustratingly remains in the ideological apparatus and as a form of alienation is directly associated with the experience of psychosis.


image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace