JOURNAL ISSUE 6
2002/2003

 

Lennart Nørreklit, Dr.Philos.

 

NATURALISM AND SPIRITUALITY ON THE FOUNDATION OF VALUE AND PEACE


Introduction

Does it matter how one understands human beings; how one understands what they – i.e. we and other human beings - are? If humans have a fixed and stable nature, then it does not matter. They will act in accordance with this nature regardless of how we understand them. If, on the other hand, human beings have no stable, inborn nature, i.e. if their characters are at least partly the result of their efforts at understanding themselves and what type of being they are, then it does matter how we understand them. Then it is an important question: How do human beings construct their values? Do they do it on a purely materialistic basis or on a more spiritual one?

The view that humans have a given nature is naturalism. It is obvious that naturalism must be limited. Otherwise, scientific studies of human beings would be irrelevant for the decisions of practical life. We must think that it matters how we understand human beings and what we believe that they are. Our understanding may not directly determine our behaviour, but it influences our interpretation of the situation in which we find ourselves and consequently, influences our interpretation of our actions. This is part of what makes us human beings. It is a necessary, at least partly non-naturalist, stance.

If the above is true, then it also follows that misunderstandings of humanity or misunderstandings of human ‘nature’ may lead to unbalanced, excessive or destructive behaviour. Ultimately, it may cause us to undermine and destroy our values and wage war instead of creating values and conditions for happiness. This paper focuses on problems of values and peace due to unrestricted naturalism.

In modern society, scientific naturalism is the predominant understanding of human beings. Scientific naturalism differs from spiritual forms of naturalism as found in, for instance, pre-scientific classical philosophies and world views, such as Taoism, or in some ecological post-modern perceptions. Such forms of naturalism are disregarded in this paper. Thus, the term naturalism is used as shorthand for scientific naturalism.


1. Scientific Naturalism

Scientific naturalism is characterized by the three principles outlined below:

A. Scientific method
According to scientific naturalism, any explanation must accord with the principles of scientific method. This means that descriptions and explanations must refer to the experience of things present in the immanent intersubjective world. Explanations must be empirically founded in order to fulfil the methodological demands for reliability and validity characteristic of scientific work. No serious objection can be raised to this principle. The methodological debates concern what counts as scientific method, and the variety of methods available is increasing.

However, when we consider the meaning of scientific validity, i.e. what is meant by the statements reflect reality, then it becomes evident that the principle of methodological naturalism presupposes a theory of reality: some ontology which elucidates what it means to exist or to be real. If no such ontology does exist, i.e. if the basic concept of reality is fuzzy or missing, then the methodological claim of validity cannot be fulfilled. That would invalidate the scientific studies. Thus, an ontology is in demand. This demand leads to the two additional claims associated with scientific naturalism.


B. The rejection of reference to a transcendent entity
In naturalism, there is the negative metaphysical claim that only that which is in the immanent world is supposed to exist. Naturalism regards any transcendent entity as speculation and reference to anything transcendent is rejected as being not explanatory. The claim is ontologically negative. It only says what does not exist. It provides no information on what the nature of reality and existence is. Thus, it does not suffice to establish the basis for analysing validity. Further, the claim eliminates transcendent entities from explanation because such entities render explanations mysterious rather than improve them. In this sense, it is an extension of the methodological claim mentioned above.

One consequence, however, is that naturalism rejects the explanations characteristic of theistic religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism and also the realistic metaphysics of Hinduism. This is a major source of conflict between modernity based on scientific naturalism and non-secular theistic religions as presently demonstrated by the conflict between modernity and some of the Islamic movements. Phenomenological religions, such as found in Buddhism, mysticism, anthropomorphic religions or in spiritual forms of naturalism such as Taoism, are not hit by the naturalist rejection of any reference to a transcendent entity. They do not need to refer to anything transcendent but, instead, find the spiritual power in an immanent world or the phenomenological sphere and may consequently attempt to understand the concept of nature on a spiritual basis.


C. Reductivism
All forms of spiritualism are, however, directly hit by the third claim of naturalism. This is the ontological claim that the immanent world has a special character defined by the basic elements of the natural sciences. All other phenomena are then reduced to these phenomena. This form of reductivism thus makes naturalism become a form of atomism. Three such types of reductivist naturalism may be mentioned, depending on which type of science is considered basic:

i) Physical naturalism means that everything in the world is made of matter and operates in accordance with the principles of cause and effect known from physics. The concept of physics involved is basically that of classical physics. It leads to the idea that a person is a machine, albeit a complicated one, but a machine nonetheless.

ii) Biological or functional naturalism includes functional aspects of reality and presents a view of the world as consisting of systems and organisms. The inspiration comes from biology and is widespread in the social sciences. This type of naturalism leads to the idea that a person is an organism, a material biological body. Not all phenomena are reduced to cause-and-effect relations, many of them being reduced to systems and functional relations. Theleological explanations become essential. The whole system is driven by competition for survival where the ‘environment’ selects the fit and rejects the unfit.

iii) Information-based naturalism considers the world an information system or at least holds that it also includes such systems. The information-based form of naturalism is related to information science and leads to the idea that the brain of a person is an advanced computer, in which the brain is the hardware and the learning processes are the programming tools. The information systems are formal and logical, and logical analysis is therefore essential.

The process of reduction is always concerned with eliminating the mental and spiritual aspects to some of these basic elements in the world. Mental and spiritual aspects are considered to be nothing but a material structure – be it described causally, functionally or in information terms. Any understanding of complex phenomena is believed to be achieved by reference to the basic components only: they are the universal elements of all explanations. The higher states of, e.g. mind, thought and feelings are simple properties, structures, dispositions or parts of the lower, elementary form of being. Mind may be considered brain waves, bodily processes, processes in the nervous system, etc. By contrast, spirituality does not accept such reductionism in the analysis of mental life, meaning and value.

2. Naturalistism and the destruction of Values

I have qualms with the reductivism of naturalism, which eliminates any form of spirituality and, in so doing, eliminates both meaning and the real value of life, replacing them with primitive values and a problem-solving behaviour which ultimately becomes destructive and the cause of conflict.

In the reductive world of naturalism, there are no values. The world of matter, the world of atoms, the world of biological functions and the world of information bits and bytes do not contain any value; they only contain matter, functions, bits and bytes. Any atom is an atom and nothing else; any biological function is a biological function and nothing else; any bit or byte is a bit or byte and nothing else. Naturalism can do nothing to avoid value nihilism except to recognise that human beings – like all other living organisms – actually do strive to maintain their existence, which requires them to fulfil their needs. Thus, the maintenance of existence and consequently, the satisfaction of needs have become the ultimate ‘values’ of naturalism, with these values come the emphasis on discriminating and selecting the good ones (i.e. the fit or strong) by competition.

Subjectively, a person may consider the achievement of pleasure and the avoidance of pain as the motivating values in life. Although these motives are subject to considerable variation – witness, e.g. the existence of masochism – some forms of naturalism accepts them as goals and broadly interprets them as the subjective manifestation of the fulfilment of objective needs.

Capitalist economy, especially the welfare state, has fully adopted naturalism. The fundamental goal of the welfare state is the fulfilment of the needs of the people. A free and unregulated market economy has no such direct material goal, however. It is driven by the forces of supply and demand, where demand is assumed to be the expression of the actors’ interpretation of their own needs and values. It is central to the functioning of the capitalist economy that the goods offered are intended for consumption rather than for long-term use. If the process of use did not consume the goods, then the economy would slow down and stop when everybody had the goods necessary to satisfy their needs. This is, of course, the problem with long-lasting products. The continual renewal of demand, i.e. the continual renewal of a person’s state of not being satisfied and thus in need of new goods, is essential to market economy. If the demand for a firm’s products is not renewed, then the firm will cease to exist. On the national level, society generates the highest possible gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, by increasing turnover as much as possible, which is considered the overall political goal of the economy. The objective of the welfare state, then, in addition to redistributing the GDP, is to achieve the fulfilment of everybody’s basic needs.

Firms operating under market conditions are exposed to competition. Essential for the winning position is the ability to identify and utilise free or unused resources available, which is why there is competition with respect to this ability. Free resources may either be ones given to us by nature or the energy, skill and time that people do not spend on productive behaviour. Thus, both the resources of nature and human resources are subject to exploitation, and the firm which is best at exploiting these resources has the competitive advantage. Thus, in order to produce goods for consumption, the resources of nature and the energy and time of human beings are exploited as much as possible in an attempt to achieve the competitive advantages.

The result of this process is the large amount of goods for consumption that is supposed to create human welfare. Consumption, however, is destruction. To consume a product is to destroy it and make it a pollutant. As is well-known, industrial pollution has a tendency not to be fully degradable and consequently, to gradually destroy the structural quality of nature. Water, air and the soil are resources that become mixed with pollutants and gradually lose their once distinct magnificent qualities in a process that, prior to the theory of the big bang, similar to the heat death of the universe, which, was believed to be the fate of the universe predicted by the third law of thermodynamics.

In principle, a free and unused resource is everything that has a clear identity in time; it is everything that has an enduring identity, where ‘enduring’ means not being in a productive process. It comprises the identifiable structures of nature as well as the unproductive available time of human beings. These free resources have to be utilised and thereby destroyed as much as possible for the firm to be competitive. This is – paradoxically – to maximize scarcity of resources in order to create wealth.

In the shape of the global market economy and welfare states, naturalism installs a process to minimize, i.e. utilise as much as possible, the enduring structures of nature as well as human energy and time, while, concerning output, it creates goods with distinct identities which have to and do become pollutants as quickly as possible. The overall process, which we normally consider positive in that it produces welfare, appears to be a process increasingly destroying our world and gradually eliminating people’s personal lives. It does not produce happiness; it does not even know what happiness is. It does not create any improvement in the quality of the Earth and people’s situations on Earth. It improves our technology but, and this may come as a surprise, neither our spare time nor the resources available for people to pursue their personal interests and to care for the people and things they love. On the contrary, it generates increasing egotism, stress and depression and thus furthers all kinds of social problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse, crime and violence. On the international stage, it enhances the competition for markets and resources, and people have difficulties developing real values which enable them to take a moral stand and thus be less influenced by hostile propaganda spread by their own society against people from other countries or against such countries.

In sum, naturalism is concerned with fulfilling human needs. Although this is in itself positive, it also has negative and dangerous aspects due to the reductivist perspective of human nature involved. Fundamentally, naturalism represents no values at all. The fulfilment of needs is not a value of life but a condition of life.

Reductivism implies that our social control systems do not only reduce but also increase the overall amount of problems, tensions and conflicts and that they constantly must cover up fires which they themselves have started. The negative features that create these fires include:

a the promotion of egotism;
b increasing destruction;
c increasing competition for scarce resources;
d the alienation of people because the features increase social control and remove the value of their lives; and
e competition and the control of people, which create instability and risk of conflict and war.

Broadly speaking, real values which lay the foundation for peace are friendship amongst people and their governments as well as compassion for those who face special problems. Friendship aims at mutual support and help if these are needed. It does not preclude friendly competition, but it is concerned with the well being of the other and not only with the well being of one’s own nation or one’s own group or power structure.

Although a great deal of compassion is displayed in the international world, neither compassion nor friendship are values rooted in naturalism. Naturalistic peace is considered rational if it serves the interests of the state. This is a question of national egotism. However, it sometimes appears in the interest of national egotism to wage a war. From the perspective of naturalism, friendship is created on the basis of egotistic interests, i.e. it is not real friendship. World politics would look very different if political alliances were based on a concern to create friendship between people and not simply rely on governments which sometimes have little popular legitimacy. Clearly, it is important to identify a different basis for the construction of values than that offered by naturalism.


3. A transcendent foundation of Values

Naturalism rejects the role and meaning of a transcendent entity. One might therefore attempt to reintroduce values which enable the creation of friendship, meaning and peace by leaving naturalism behind and reintroducing a transcendent entity – be it in the form of a personal God, as in theistic religions, or of an absolute principle, as in the Hindu concept of Brahman. The argument runs as follows: “Since the natural world does not give us any values, one must use the idea of a transcendent, supernatural world, to create a value base for human life.” Here, then, is the source of real values. They are spiritual and not subject to competition because, unlike the natural resources necessary for biological life, they are not scarce. This line of reasoning is inherent in traditional theism and still widely in use today.

The reasoning, however, is not valid and leads to problems of its own. History proves it wrong: the theistic religions compete and throughout history they have played a central role in legitimising wars against neighbouring people or others who happened to have different beliefs. They motivate their adherents by promising them eternal reward in a wonderful afterlife. This naive process continues even today, to the amazement of people inclined towards naturalism.

The problem involved in the conflict over different interpretations of a transcendent entity is the lack of a public criterion by which to determine who or which spiritual leader – whether priest, rabbi, mullah or guru – expresses the will of that which is good, i.e. God’s will, and who expresses the will of that which is evil. They all claim to speak the will of the good God but, as they contradict each other, some of them are mistaken – but who? Or are they all mistaken, as is the claim of naturalism? People need to ask themselves and their neighbours the following question: “Is our spiritual leader sometimes speaking with the voice of evil?” If one believes in the existence of the invisible, transcendent and all-powerful God, then one had better ascertain that one’s spiritual leader is not mistaken. That might be the case as the spiritual leader is a human being and as such may make mistakes. They may even mistake what is good for what is evil and what is evil for what is good. What they believe to be the voice of God may be the voice of an evil demon. As Descartes, one may easily imagine that a powerful demon, a devil, may fool a small human being – regardless of whether s/he is a spiritual leader. Appeal to public scriptures does not solve the problem either. There are different scriptures, and they were written and have been interpreted by human beings.

People need to find a common way of establishing whether a spiritual leader has been fooled by a bad demon or in some other way and has therefore come to confuse good and evil. History shows that spiritual leaders cannot be trusted in matters of peace and war – then when can they be trusted, if ever?

The criterion needed cannot be found either in naturalism or in a transcendent entity since many spiritual leaders disagree so strongly that they willingly support war and terror to solve the conflict. In this historic age, a transcendent entity is once again used to wage war and promote terrorism. As a basis for peace, appeal to a transcendent entity is not reliable. We must look for a different basis for our values.


4. Values versus Needs

Values and goods for consumption are contrary phenomena. For instance, we need water. We drink it and it is destroyed, transformed to a pollutant, but we have satisfied our thirst. However, we love the river, the ocean, the lake. We want to live in close contact with the water. We want to enjoy the view of it, to smell it, to swim in it. We do not want to consume, pollute and destroy it. On the contrary, we want to preserve it. Unlike values, which we do not want to be destroyed, goods for consumption have to be destroyed, i.e. consumed; otherwise, they are useless. Not all products are goods for consumption, however. A good painting may be enjoyed day after day. We do not want to consume and destroy it. We may copy or reproduce it so that everybody may see and enjoy it and nobody needs to fight over it. Similarly, a good piece of music may be heard over and over again. It has eternal value. Everybody may play it without it being consumed and destroyed. The things of value are not meant for consumption and destruction. Consumption is a means to preserve life and not the value and goal of life. Human beings have this double ‘nature’ in their approach to the world. On the one hand, we have needs that must be satisfied and which are fulfilled through consumption and destruction. On the other hand, there is everything which we feel has value and which we want to protect, strengthen and preserve. The process of value is the creation of wonderful recurring structures. The process of consumption is the destruction of structures. Nothing is more seriously wrong than confusing the satisfaction of needs with values. It amounts to confusing destruction with creation, to confusing good and evil.

Now we see why the continuous efforts to increase GDP per capita are dangerously crazy. They mistake means for ends. The economy is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end. The goal is not consumption and destruction. The goal is the creation and experience of value. Therefore, the economy should be as small as possible relative to the values. This means that society must define a minimalist approach to consumption, a minimalist form of naturalism in order to support the creation of values. A minimalist approach reduces destruction and attempts to increase the time and resources available to human beings to allow them to pursue real values.

Most values may be enjoyed repeatedly. We can see the ocean over and over again, which does not pollute it. We can listen to the same music again and again, which does not destroy it. We may look at paintings, laugh at jokes, enjoy the company of others and so on. Real values are spiritual in nature and not destructive. They are only to a very limited degree based on exploiting scarce resources and are thus no reason for conflict. The ‘infinite’ nature of real values, such as the view of a lake or the value of a good company, gives us happiness and enables people to inspire each other.

The foundation of peace work is the cultivation of real and ‘infinite’ values. If the whole focus is on the need for scarce resources as if they were the end and not some means, then conflict is always lurking. Focusing on real lasting values makes people giving rather than demanding. It makes them spiritually satisfied and happy instead of tense and unbalanced. When concerned with real values and not value substitutes, people are peaceful and satisfied because they feel that their lives are filled with meaning.

Some effects of minimalist naturalism/consumption are:
a the creation of space for real values, whose nature is spiritual;
b increased preservation of the Earth; and
c diminishing conflicts, which enhances the possibilities of peace.


5. Love as the foundation of value

Appeal to a transcendent entity yielding conflicting answers due to the lack of a common criterion, there must be a principle in this world which can provide us with guidance as to what is good and what is evil. The principle, however, cannot be found in the reductions of naturalism.

When we distinguish non-arbitrarily between good and evil, we do so for a reason which explains why this is good or evil. For instance, the view of the ocean is good because it is beautiful and makes us feel good. Coffee is good because it tastes and smells fine. Company is good because we feel good together and have inspiring conversations; etc. A reason can only function as a reason if it means something to the person concerned. For instance, the beauty of the sunset may mean nothing to a blind person. If the reason is just an external one and not one that is felt and accepted by the person, then it is no functional reason at all.

The basic reason for people to organise their lives is, however, that they love to live, they love their life. The only reason a person can have for being and living in this world is that he loves this world. The reason cannot be that he hates the world or that he is objectively neutral. But if you love life and being in this world, then you do have a reason to exist. A weaker reason for living might be that you like it, possibly, because it gives you pleasure. This reason does not, however, consider life an activity but rather something receptive. Thus it may provide a reason for being here now, but it cannot provide a reason for living to the end, for structuring life and filling it with important interconnected activities. This is only possible where the motive is love. Love unfolds in creative projects which organise time. This is not the case for pleasure.

In a world where people cannot believe in any future, where they cannot believe that their activities make a difference, they cannot form love projects to organise their lives and giving them meaning. The role of love is to give life meaning by enabling people to organise their activities in a way which they feel to be directly meaningful.

This provides us with the criterion which we have been looking for, by which to judge what is good: what is good is based on love; what is evil is based on anger, hatred, revenge or similarly destructive motives. We can now discriminate between good and evil authorities or spiritual leaders: if the authorities or spiritual leaders preach hatred and destruction, then they represent something evil. If they preach friendship, love, creativity and care, then they represent something good. If they preach both, then they are both, and we should listen only to the good part of what they preach.

Love is the reason for living. It provides the motivation for good and loving things. It is the very opposite of the egotistic motivation presupposed in naturalism. People want to be with whatever they love. They do not want to let it disappear or to destroy it. If people love the Earth, then they will not destroy it. Acting and living on the basis of love is also the way to happiness. To be happy is to love what one is doing and happiness is doing what you love doing. This has nothing to do with satisfying one’s needs. One may feel in a terrible shape because one needs a rest, some warmth or shelter but one may, at the same time, feel happy if that state is the result of having done things which one has loved doing. Without love, there can be no happiness. Acting out of love, realizing a love project cannot be replaced by satisfaction in one way or another. Satisfaction relates to needs; love and happiness do not. Therefore, motives such as anger or hatred are often oppressed forms of depression.

Three Forms of Love

It is important to distinguish between three forms of love: existential love, universal love and subjective love.

Existential love is the primary form, which is the love to be, to be alive and to exist. This basic feeling or state of mind is the core of it all. It inspires people and makes them feel happy. It is a birth gift which provides us with our great appetite for living and enables us to enjoy what we do and to overcome any frustrations in our development. Our existential love is the most important gift we have for other people. It makes us appear vital and emanate a good mood and warm enthusiastic feelings. Our existential love, i.e. a loving way of being, is the primary gift that we have for other people. It is always good to be with people who love to be. This love is the basis on which a subject structures his or her world. Any person whose existential love is in trouble is a depressed person, a clear sign of depression being the lack of any vital existential love emanating from that person. The love for existing with which we are born enables us to find out how the world works and to create an image of a recurring world in which we may organise our love projects. Being in this world involves the two interrelated forms of worldly love. While existential love has no object, these worldly forms have the other as their object.

Universal love is a person’s love for the world. Its object is the general other, the world. This does not mean that a person who has universal love necessarily loves each and everybody, but it means that such a person has a loving approach to the world as the basis for his interaction with it and is motivated by positive values. It does not mean that such people will turn the other cheek but that they will stand firm on the basis of their love for the world. Universal love makes the world rich because it is the love of otherness as such and therefore ensures a general openness to good things in the world. It may cross cultures and enables people to receive a wealth of experience.

Subjective love is a person’s love for the specific other, for specific people and for things and activities in the world. Subjective love is mostly what motivates people. It may create the projects which enable a person to organise a good life. The success of subjective love is the development and success of the loved other. In a sense, the success is the independence of the other from the lover: the success of parental love lies in the ability of the children to leave home and live their own lives. The success of a painter lies in the ability of his paintings to find acceptance in the world with people who love them. Subjective love cannot easily succeed without universal love. Love of the world is a condition for taking care of the things one loves in a way that may lead the other to success. If a loving person primarily wants to protect from the evil world what s/he loves, then s/he makes it a problem for the loved one(s) to acquire the resources from the world necessary to become strong, successful and independent. If, for instance, painters hide their paintings, then they may not receive the feedback necessary to develop them. Similarly, if parents keep their children away from other children, saying, for instance, “Do not play with them, they are not good enough”, then they may render them insecure and make it difficult for them to become independent.

 

Love and identity

If one divides the world into us versus them/the others, thus implying that we are good and the others are not so good or even evil, then, of course, universal love has come to an end. One is no longer a citizen of the world but only of a specific country, religion or gang. Such forms of fundamentalism, which may be nationalistic, ideological or religious, counteract universal love. They force people to identify with a group which defines itself negatively against the others. They may create a strong sense of belonging but not one of belonging to this world. The rejection of universal love and the cultivation of such divisions, which replace it, lay the foundations of hostility which eventually enable rulers to mobilise their populations to engage in conflicts and war. The cultivation of these divisions is often an integral part of education at school as well as of ongoing public propaganda. The consequence of this divide is that the character of the structure of love changes and turns into its own opposite. In principle, worldly love is directed towards the other. With the divide, however, the other is suddenly no longer exciting but has become a hostile or low- ranking entity. Love for the other ends and can only be replaced by love for the alternative, i.e., for a person’s self. This creates a closed and narrow mindset and instils depression because the genuine nature of love has been abandoned, which makes it impossible to obtain identity through the other, i.e., for several reasons the subjective love cannot function. Such depression may even trigger acts of suicide.

The self-identity of a person stems from his/her love. There are two forms of identity, the existential identity and the worldly one. The existential identity stems from existential love. It gives us a direct sense of being. But, except for the excitement of existing, it does not provide us with any clue as to who and what we are because it has no other to relate to. When you ask yourself: “Who am I?”, you will most likely think of whoever or whatever you love: “I am the one who is in love with …, and I like to do the following things …”. You know that what you are forced to do does not reveal your nature whereas what you love doing does. The latter reveals who you are. Thus, a person defines his/her worldly identity though his love. Love is identification with the other in a double sense. It is not only identifying with the other in order to take care of and understand the other. That is not love but only care and understanding. Through love, a person defines himself/herself through the other.


6. Spiritual Life and Peace

Love is the centre of a spiritual way of living, organising meaning and setting values. If you live on the basis of love, then you create a loveable world, a world of friendship and one filled with high values. You will speak well of your neighbours and you will be loved yourself. If you live on the basis of hatred or anger, then you create an angry world filled with hatred and fights. You may be feared, but you will not be loved.

Love, however, is subjective. It cannot be commanded and it cannot acknowledge any authority because it is itself the authority of life. Loving people who realise all three forms of love can live with all kinds of neighbours. Universal love is incompatible with terrorism and the waging of war. If there is a conflict of interest, loving people can find a solution.

The spiritual element of love places man in the centre. The centre is not the formal authority of society; it is neither facts of science nor the rules of law. It is first and foremost human beings. Human beings, not unlike worms and butterflies, are wonderful creatures. So why are people so afraid of not being good enough? Why must they strive so hard to become acceptable? Placing human beings in the centre again will give everybody a voice and respect.

The real values realised by a person’s love are infinite and cannot extinguish the candlelight of peace. By contrast, only fear prevents people motivated by egotism and greed, power or fame from waging war; so you will always have to watch the power balance during any cold peace.


Summary and Perspectives

Values are based on the subjective strive for endurance and recurrence of the valuable other through which we identity ourselves. We want to protect and share what we love. We want to experience it once more and again. It makes us what we are to ourselves. Satisfaction of needs, on the other hand aims at consumption and thus destruction, whereas values are to be enjoyed and not destroyed.

Thus, it is through love we can realize values. In distinction to the economic mechanism of consumption, values are not focused on maximizing destruction and thus do not necessitate conflict over scarce resources. On the contrary, the ‘infinite’ nature of values make them shareable and mediators for harmony and peace.

We need to supplement scientific naturalism with explanations that concern values. Such explanations relate to human reason and are therefore not a question of manipulation but of helping people to become sovereign in their lives. The reason is the reason why they live. There is such a reason. It is the most precious we have to offer, our love.


References

K. E. Lögstrup,: The ethical Demand ,1971, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A

Erich Fromm: The Art of Loving (1989 Harper Collins Publishers, New York, U.S.A.)

Sören Kierkegaard: Works of Love, Kierkegaards Writings vol. XVI (1996, Princeton University Press,
Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Plato: Symposion in John M. Cooper, ed., Plato: Complete Works (1997 Hackett Publishing Co.
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.).




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