In the materialistic view, physical reductionism, the implication is that human intelligence is the most refined manifestation of physical reality, culminating in the intelligent human who goes through a complex education and heightens his powers of ‘reasoning’ and ‘debate’ for the good of his society. Cultures which have not reached this level of sophistication are seen as ‘less developed’.
Without considering the materialistic paradigm we struggle to come to terms with ‘modernisation’ theory and its place in our collective paradigm. An example is America and its supposed advanced cultural values. The system is supposedly representative of advanced ‘morals’, but it consistently finds allowances in the macro and micro arenas for the very ‘defensive’, short sighted, violent and paranoid behaviour that advanced reasoning is supposed to lead away from. So in this sense, for all its glory, intellectual complication does not lead to any sort of advance, in contrary, it does lead to a lot of damage to life, living and environment. If you live on Earth you should know it. (Unless you’ve had your blinkers tightly secured, but that’s another part of the same story.)
If the doctrine of materialism is true, nothing matters beyond what we make of it. Actions would not have meanings or reactions beyond what we can see. Moral standards would exist only as social norms and law- not in any natural sense. Thus we endorse certain forms of morality today according to their contribution to the continuance of society.
If the doctrine of materialism is false, on the other hand, things might have repercussions beyond our limited perception and ideas. There might be a right or wrong way to conduct one’s self, according to supposedly unknown laws of a supposedly unseeable reality. Consciousness might be a force and entity of itself, apart from the physical, neurological or even mental ‘flukes’ of materiality. A worse prospect, today’s society might not be at peace with that law, hindering society at large and all the beings in it. Actions might mean something! Other people might be more than physical building blocks. Oh what implications for the war makers!
Thank god for those scientists who, at the risk of the reputation and careers, investigate the probablity of consciousness as completely seperate from ‘matter’.