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Can Atoms Smile?

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

We discussed the basic idea of Materialism in the previous post. We mentioned that for Materialism to be true, we need to take “matter” to include both seen and unseen matters. Furthermore, there are questions about the boundary of what to include in “matter”. In particular, we have to consider whether mental constructs such as perfect geometrical shapes should be included. In short, “Materialism” is not as straightforwardly true as it seems to be.

Suppose we take “matter” to include all of the above. Can we announce confidently that Materialism is true?

My first objection to the claim that “nothing exists except matter” is related to “Consciousness”, which I discussed briefly before. What kind of matter can be there to make up “Consciousness”? Can atoms, waves, and energy make up “Consciousness”?

But “Consciousness” may not be “matter”. Perhaps it is only a state of our mental being. Actually, there are other quantities that seem to have a solid existence, but they are more like states of our minds. They can include “Love”, the sense of “Justice”, and “Kindness”. Friends, allow me to use the term “Morality” to include all these “states” of the mind.

How does “matter” give rise to “Morality”?

If “matter” is the only thing in the Universe, then “Morality” must be a result of some kinds of natural processes that governs matter. As “Morality” is something related to human minds or mental process, it must be a by-product of “Evolution”, which is supposed to be the natural process for simple life forms to develop into complex living beings including human. So how does “Evolution” explain “Morality”?

I think a natural explanation of “Morality” from evolution, if that is true, would run along similar arguments as the following lines in a book on this subject:

‘Natural selection... has made us sociable, able to enter into cooperative exchanges, capable of love, empathy and altruism... simply because being nice helped our ancestors make more babies’

In other words, “Morality” is there because it helps the species succeed in survival.

Can we agree with it?

We mourn our loved one when they pass away. Is it because it helps humankind to go further in their evolutionary tract? We smile when both a mom and her newborn baby comes to the world safely. Is it because it represents a success in human evolution and so we smile? My sister-in-law takes care of her sick sister with great diligence. Is it because she wants us human to survive?

It just does not sound right.

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