I’ve been seeing this commercial a lot lately:
Now I think Windows 10 is fine, and I think this young lady’s desire to benefit others with cancer research is great. I still have to comment, though, about her second-to-last statement. She says, “Half of science is about convincing the world that what you’re working on matters.” And that got my attention because the fact is that this is impossible. It is impossible to convince the world that what you’re working on matters. It is impossible to convince the world that anything else matters, either. It is impossible to convince the world that anything matters because the truth is that nothing matters.
Nothing matters in a materialisitic worldview, that is, the worldview which asserts that matter (which is different from matters) is all there is, that there is no spiritual/non-material/non-physical element to existence. In this worldview, the universe and all humankind are nothing other than materials of various kinds which will eventually cease to exist.
It is a popular worldview in our time. I think it is, anyway. Certain applications or ramifications of it are certainly popular. It kind of acts as a default worldview; we all seem to be interacting on something similar to this in the public sphere. If it is true, though, it dashes that young lady’s hopes of doing something that matters. If it is true, it dashes everyone’s hopes of doing something that matters. If it is true, nothing matters because everything will cease to exist and everything we’ve done (good, bad, or indifferent) will be null and void.
This is the truth that drove Leo Tolstoy to despair. While searching for “meaning”, that is, something which mattered, he asked this question.
His implied answer, of course, is, “No.” It is “no” in a materialistic worldview, anyway. If materialism is true, then, as Tolstoy so rightly saw, there is nothing which mattered, nothing which death would not stop from mattering.
This is likely what MacBeth was thinking about as well when he made this statement:
More than anything, though, it is what Solomon discovered. After spending a good deal of time trying to determine what was good in life (that is, what mattered), he came to this conclusion:
All is vanity (empty, worthless, meaningless, matterless), Solomon says. All is vanity, that is, apart from God (a spiritual worldview).
Now you may not accept Solomon to be the inspired and thus infallible teacher I take him to be. You may not even accept that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes. But you can’t deny that Ecclesiastes contains wisdom. You can’t deny that whoever wrote the book was wise and that the book itself was considered wise enough (or containing enough wisdom) to be preserved. You can’t deny that whoever wrote the book had more time and resources to devote to this question than most of us do (as he details in the first two chapters). You can’t deny that his well-researched conclusion has some validity.
And it does. I’d love that young lady to become a doctor and cure cancer. I’d love her to do something that matters (not just convince the world of it but actually do it). That’s not going to happen in a materialistic world or a materialistic worldview, though. The only way to do something that matters is to get a different worldview, a spiritual one.