From the Buddhist viewpoint, we might say material culture that encourages the proliferation of desires has as its aim the creation of the state of Rapture. Certainly many people, though perhaps unconsciously, regard the state of Rapture, presented by material affluence, as an ideal condition.
To carry on the analogy, the aim of Western materialistic culture appears to be to employ all the means of science and all the resources of the earth to build palaces for this state of Rapture.
In the days when the futurologists were still predicting a rosy future for humankind, it seemed almost as though this were being accomplished, but now we are beginning to see that the palaces were built on sand. Today they seem on the verge of collapse, along with the civilisation that built them. What it amounts to is that we have traded spiritual affluence for material affluence.
– Daisaku Ikeda