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Lions Roar : September 2005
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2005 5 7 On a simple level, these aspects of materialism deal with the challenges of everyday life: fulfilling one’s needs for food and shelter for the body, food for thought, and spiritual sustenance. The problem arises when we begin to pervert these parts of our lives, adopting them as the saving grace or using them to pro- tect us from our basic insecurities. Why are you unhappy? What is it that you need in life? When you begin to think that the pink pair of shoes you saw last week at the mall is going to really rock your boat and rescue you from depression, that is the moment when the Lord of Form, or physical materialism, begins to hold sway. Think that all your problems will be solved by winning the lottery, writing a best- seller, or being the winning contestant on Survivor? Welcome to the game show of the Lord of Form. Just about any religion or spiritual movement will tell you that physical materialism is not the ultimate solution. It is an extremely powerful force, especially in the world today, but it is easier to deconstruct than the other two Lords—although not necessarily easy to escape from. Psychological materialism, on the other hand, is much more subtle, and religion is split on whether or not psychology, philosophy, and scientific systems of belief are enemies or friends. The Lord of Speech rules the realm of our thoughts, our con- ceptual understanding of ourselves and the world. Why is speech connected with psychological materialism? Because we construct ourselves with words; we present ourselves to the world with speech, whether written or spoken. Your business card tells people who you are, as does your resumé. When you meet somebody, you introduce yourself with your name, and then usually you tell the other person a little bit about yourself. That’s your story. Behind the story, we are saying “This is me. This is who I am.” Most of the time, most of us want to protect this basic sense of self at all costs. The Three Lords understand this per- fectly and that’s how they make their living, so to speak. If the Lord of Form hasn’t convinced you that plain old physical materialism will satisfy you and keep you safe, then the Lord of Speech takes over the sales pitch.