PM5412: A simple summary of Maratreanism

If I was asked to give a simple summary of Maratreanism, this is what I would say. It is not my intention to present an argument for Maratreanism, just a high-level summary of what Maratreans believe.

First of all, Maratreanism begins with a particular understanding of the fundamental nature of reality (ontology) and the fundamental nature of ourselves (anthropology). The most important question here, is what is the relationship between mind and matter? There are three basic views: the first, materialism, holds that matter is the fundamental and ultimate reality, and mind is a derivative, a product of matter. Mind is dependent upon matter for its existence, and cannot exist independently from matter; matter is not in any way dependent upon mind, and can exist independently of it. The second view, idealism, is essentially materialism spun around one-hundred and eighty degrees — mind is the fundamental and ultimate reality, and matter is a derivate, a product of mind. Matter is dependent upon mind for its existence, and cannot exist independently from mind; mind is not in any way dependent upon matter, and can exist independently of it. The third view, dualism, holds that both mind and matter are separate and independent existents, and each can exist without the other — yet somehow, they interact. Maratreanism adopts here the viewpoint of idealism.

Having identified mind as the fundamental constituent of reality, and matter as a product of mind, the question follows: how is matter a product of mind? Maratreanism identifies material things as a particular class of patterns in the experiences of minds. As such, while many idealists have claimed that matter is unreal, Maratreanism does not deny the reality of matter — it is real for what it is. Minds are real, thus the experiences of minds are real, thus patterns in those experiences are real, thus matter, being naught other than those patterns, is also real. It is not the only such class of patterns — ideas, laws, governments, corporations, works of literature — these are patterns of other classes.

Maratreanism then proceeds to consider more closely the nature of mind. It concludes that mind is by its very nature incapable of having any beginning or ending, incapable of being created or being destroyed — and yet, it may merge and divide. That is to say, two or more minds may merge together to become one single mind, and one single mind may split apart to form two or more successor minds.

Maratreanism holds that mind exists only when it is experiencing. To be asleep in a dreamless sleep, to be apart from experiences, is to undergo an temporary interruption in one's existence. Maratreanism sees no contradiction between this notion, and that of the incessability, indestructibility, and everlastingness of mind — the latter implies that there is no permanent interruption to one's existence, no sleep from which one never wakes up, but is entirely compatible with a temporary interruption in one's existence. From this perspective, it follows that time is an essential aspect of mind — experiencing is always a becoming, something never stationary, something always dynamic, never static. Thus, mind by its nature exists within time; there is no mind outside of time, and there being naught outside of mind, there is naught either outside of time.

Maratreanism also believes that mind by its nature is finite — the possibilities contained within mind, although unimaginably vast, are nonetheless finite. Since there is no reality apart from or beyond mind, this implies that all reality is also finite, including time itself. Yet, how can time be finite, when we have already stated that mind exists always in time, yet knows no beginning nor end? The answer is that time is circular — all things repeat endlessly, not new and differently each time, but exactly the same every time (or in other words, only once). Every moment both before and after itself — the past coming after the future, the future before the past.

Maratreanism believes that ethics — right and wrong, good and evil, moral and immoral — possess an objective reality. The world is rocked by many pressing moral questions, and there is a deep lack of agreement as to their answers. Yet, Maratreans insist that these questions have answers, that some answer must be right, and the other answers wrong (or at least less right), even if we don't know what that right answer is. We must have faith that we are forever moving further towards the true and the good and the truth about the good, even if we are as yet far off.

And we say, if there be objective goodness, why not also objective beauty? They say — beauty is in the eye of the holder — and they point to how different people find beauty in very different things. Yet, might it be that some are mistaken as to beauty, being unable to see the greater beauties, they let their eyes settle on lesser ones? Or, even if what they see be truly beautiful, might there not be many beauties, such that some are given the grace to perceive some, and others others — and might all these beauties even be all parts of the one beauty, yet our minds are too feeble to see its fundamental unity, each us limited to appreciate that part given to us?

There is a moment when you look at something beautiful, and you cannot believe that this feeling in you is just something arbitrary and subjective — one is driven to believe that one has encountered something objective. Those who think less of beauty, love beauty less. Thus may we say — truth, goodness, and beauty — we believe these three are one. As Keats said, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
  Maratreanism defends faith — that there are some things we ought to believe, not on the grounds of what we would commonly consider argument evidence, but rather because we are ethically obliged to believe them.

The most common objection to faith, is that faith is abused — it is used to justify all manner of atrocities, all manner of absurdities. Faith leads people to fly planes into buildings. And yet, we should not reject all faith on the grounds of its abuses — just as we should not object the whole of anything on the grounds of the evil of a part of it. Rather, we should try to examine its parts, determine which are good, and which are evil; which are most likely to produce good, and least likely to produce evil; which are least likely to produce good, and most likely to produce evil. Undertaking such an analysis, we believe that certain conclusions can be reached...