Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's All An Illusion

Bishop George Berkeley(1685--1753), an Irish philosopher, was the first to prove that there is no such thing as matter at all, that the world consists of nothing but minds and their ideas. In his Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous he takes the side of Philonous who mercilessly drives the matter-believer Hylas into contradictions and paradoxes, and makes his own denial of matter seem, in the end, as if it were almost common sense.


  1. Life is a material illusion. But if we learn that material things are unimportant and that things we can see are not the whole truth, than we might realize what life realy is...

  2. Considering the multitude of atrocities and incredibilities in human history (yesterday I recalled the unbelievable incidents between German and French diplomacy in 1870) you may believe that all this could not be real matter but only perception of human minds.

  3. @cs: I think all this ist just a very little component of the whole - we just often don´t and often can´t notice that there ist more than those obvious circumstances...

  4. Life is like a cherry.

    The sweet flesh represents Shakespeare's (and Berkeley's) "Life is just a dream".

    The hard stone represents Goethe's "Never could the eye see the sun, if the eye wasn't solar."

  5. @epitimaios
    Cherries materially don´t exist. Since Berkley there is only the perception of something sweet. That is the reason for Frenchmen calling their sweethearts “chérie”.
    Good luck for the Ten Commandements. You are going to materialize them. For a while.

  6. @cs

    Yes, and for the same reason Berkeley's and Shakespeare's countrymen call wine from Jerez "Sherry". Thank you for completing always my approximated sketches with your wonderful holistic gift.

    But did you know that the italian translation of Shakespeare sounds "Scuotilancia" and that this is actually a current name in Calabria?

    Two southeners of the globe chatting (Leonardo Sciascia and Jorge Borges) once affirmed that Shakespeare had nothing english and Goethe nothing german in their character.

  7. "Hyle" is the ancient greek word for "wood" and by extension "matter", "Philo-nous" would be the friend of intelligence.
    Yet I didn't read these dialogues, but they are probably very amusing. One should try to insert them partly in a bigger plot with some other persons and write an opera buffa together with, let's say... Giorgio Battistelli or Wilhelm Kellmayer or Rainhard Fendrich.