A great gulf has become apparent, ever wider in the last decades.
On the one side there are those who believe in the existence of an a priori essential Unity, a Oneness which divided and from which separation emerged form and matter, engendering human being and the natural Universe. People who hold this kind of belief, and its expressions are manifold as it is the foundation of all world religions and metaphysics, seek salvation or enlightenment of various orders, which constitutes a faithful return to this union, or, in short, to God. Excavation of the traces of earliest tribes and civilisations demonstrate that a belief in an all-encompassing supra-natural order has been the fundamental ground of human intelligence since discernible antiquity.
On the other side there are those who believe that humankind has been progressively evolving from its earliest beginnings in some sort of protoplasmic mulch, the Universe has manifested from random electrical configurations, that various biological traits fortunately emerge and are perfected or discarded in some instinctive striving towards order and that mortals will eventually progress to being super-human, all of our own accord. What knowledge there is to ever know will be comprehensively revealed via tools constructed by human design, and the very fabric of life will eventually come to be whimsically spun much as clay is moulded as humanity extends its penetration in the material world.
This gap between fundamental world views opened long ago, officially in the age of Enlightenment, so called, when prominent people sought to throw off the shackles of tradition and embrace the scientific theory. Yet, for a few hundreds of years thereafter, religious people and materialists lived in a tolerant accommodation of each other’s world views. It is only in quite modern times that the materialists have felt emboldened to summarily dismiss those who believe in any semblance of metaphysical essence and unity as being the superstitious devotees of contemptible sky fairies.
At this time, the schism appears unbridgeable. Attempts at argument from first principles are dismissed now with a casual, ”So what?” and even more ironically with, ”What does it matter?” To counter such insouciance is nigh on impossible presently because as soon as there is a whisper of anything beyond the observable world of dense reality, the argument is dismissed out of hand as being irrational. One may hold that both sides must be rooted at some earliest point in a unified prima materia, but more and more this idea appears optimistic and naive. It seems as though some profound alienation has occurred which has effectively split the world in two.