More than any other factor in our modern life, the dissociation of soul/self from the divine realm or Being and from the world terribly impoverishes us. The transformation of our identity from soul to self has indirectly impoverished our world; robbing us of our spiritual potential, this development left us increasingly identified with and thus dominated by the physical dimension of the self. And the more we experience ourselves as mainly physical, the more we see our world as fundamentally physical. This view of the world is in most of modern society the prevalent one: the world is simply matter. Rather than inhabiting a comprehensible but ultimately mysterious living world, we inhabit a material universe, explainable only by physical science. The world or cosmos, separate from soul and from God/Being, is only matter. It is a dead world, an inert universe waiting to be explored by our scientific reason.
For many people in the modern world, and for virtually all thought that is considered scientific, the dominant orientation is materialistic. When the soul is considered to be and experienced as a self, an objectifiable entity whose most fundamental identity is the physical body, we are bound to be materialistic, caring for material well-being, wealth and possessions, security and comfort more than inner depth and fullness.
Materialism is naturally the central philosophic position of our science, for our science is first and foremost a study of matter. Even the study of life involves the consideration of exclusively material components and physical processes. This orientation is actually a logical necessity for the separation of cosmos/world from the rest of Reality. It is clear that if we sincerely desire an amelioration of the rampant materialism of our times, we need not only to become more spiritual—namely, to regain our soul—but also to realize the unity of our Reality. And since the closest and most accessible facet for us is that of soul/self, we need to begin there.
[From Inner Journey Home]