- Published: Tuesday, 27 June 2017 15:17
- Written by SW Hammond
George Berkeley slides onto the scene a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business; the “cool guy” that’s had enough of these schoolmen stinkin’ up the place with their Pigpen philosophy.
Yeah, he might be a little self-indulgent—I assume he has orange skin and sweet comb-over—but that’s okay because he speaks for us common folk. He waves a big banner of common sense and God, and as long as I can keep my guns, I’ll vote for him as my favorite modern philosopher.
“It’s gonna be huge,” I envision Georgie B trying to explain himself to a confused reporter. “What I make public here has, after a long and scrupulous inquiry, seemed to me evidently true and not unuseful to be known—particularly to those who are tainted with skepticism or want a demonstration of the existence and immateriality of God or the natural immortality of the soul” (438). Yeehaw—I like the sounds of that campaign promise! Let’s see if he can build that wall.
Using the “illiterate bulk of mankind” as his inspiration (438), Berkeley strives to regain a child-like wonder and innocence of philosophy. The good ol’ days—back when God was the single end-all be-all for everything. What are you thinking, philosophy? “All these questions,” Berkeley snorts, “which multiply and grow upon us as we advance in speculation, until at length, having wandered through many intricate mazes, we find ourselves just where we were, or which is worse, sit down in a forlorn skepticism” (439). I have to agree with him. The more I read Spinoza, Leibniz, and Locke, the more disheartened I become. These guys are the white-curly-haired version of an Internet forum. All this bickering back and forth over speculative and unknowable details is like a Kevin Smith film critiquing Star Wars—only God or George Lucas can answer these questions, and neither is picking up the phone. Like Berkeley, all I’m looking for is some practical knowledge and insight—answer a few questions before taking on the multiverse.