The human species is a restless form of life, seeking to expand its influence and "control" over prevailing circumstances in ever-widening ripples of influence. The line between the illusion of control and actual control is not bright and distinct, however. While we have made great changes in our ability to control certain things, control of others remains elusive, and perhaps self-defeating. But, that said, humans strive for control of their circumstances. And that's not a bad thing, believe me.
In my personal belief set, I want the simultaneous full embrace of and focus on every smidge of reality coupled with a complete detachment from that reality. I want both at the same time. Full engagement and full detachment. So, for me, much wisdom lies in the rejection of materialism, at least in spiritual terms. However, I also want to eat well, stay warm, enjoy pleasant and stimulating surroundings, and otherwise maintain my physical existance quite nicely thank-you.
Simultaneous detachment and full and complete engagement. But that's just me.
In fact, I would argue that my position is a fairly advanced form of human consciousness (and how very humble of me to say so!) Measuring things in strictly physical terms is as demeaning to the spirit as not also considering them in strictly spiritual terms.
But, here's the rub. Human beings seek to do what works in the physical realm. This has compelled them to seek to discover causality. Fueled mainly by the so-called European enlightenment (with the drumbeat taken up by the entire species over time), as a species, we are fully enagaged at this point in history in discovering "what causes what" through a rigorous application of the empirical method. That is, we are applying this method to isolate variables and try to find those that are dependent and...