Philosophical Vision: Idealism vs. Materialism

Materialism is defined as, “a belief that only matter and its physical properties are real, while mind, thoughts and the like are simply manifestations of matter”. With that kind of definition, it would seem simple to be directed towards the materialist world, but nothing is just that simple in life. Everything falls in with each other on a complex level. 

Idealism is even more-so a complicated topic for reality. If it wasn’t for the mind, not the brain, where would our matter or materials come from in a materialist’s reality? Better yet, how does one just learn or discover new things in life or how to name it a specific name? Even though we can’t seem to perceive the unknown with our eyes, how come it is present in our hearts through any emotion that maybe present at the time?

Materials are things that you can use your five senses on, whether it’s touching, seeing, tasting, smelling and/or hearing. So does that mean a song is material? Even though we can hear a song, can we see it? In a music video, we see the idea of the song. On a piece of paper, we see music notes and the words to the song, but where did these “materials” come from? It didn’t come from an atom or a neuron. It isn’t part of any of the scientific method of reality, even though parts of music seem to be materials. Overall, it’s a bunch of ideas and words coming together as one to make beautiful or horrendous sounds.

Not only is emotion a trick to the mind, but how about some other factors you can perceive through your mind like color, figure, motion, taste, and smell? These senses can easily be a trick to the mind as well. Let’s explain the example of color. Has anyone every seen a color with such mass?

In order for anything to be real, we need to experience it through the five senses, as agreed upon both idealism and materialism. However, materialists say the five senses are the main purpose that God can’t exist, because we can’t see, taste, touch, smell, or hear him. If you can, well then, you must be hallucinating, because bottom line, God isn’t in existence. The fact that no one can really provide proof of God’s existence is an exit point to any argument holding God or an Eternal Spirit in anyone’s argument.

For example, Berkeley’s argument as he quotes, …”that consequently as long as they are not perceived by me or do not exist in the mind or that of another created spirit, they must not have any existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit.” He needs God in his theory, but yet, no on is able to prove he exists. Therefore, the idea is that materialists would have an upper hand.

Key word is idea in the last paragraph. Even though materialism is one of the ancient beliefs and philosophies in history today, where did materialism come from? Nothing is presented in reality, until an idea of the matter has formed in the mind. Let’s think of inventions or creations of your favorite foods or favorite clothes. Those materials didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. Someone had to have come up of the idea to make spaghetti, to make jean pants, etc. unless someone invented them by accident. However, how did they invent them by accident? The inventors must have had been thinking of something else to invent at the time.

Another sense that we really haven’t gathered on yet in Philosophy is the sixth sense. So what is it? It’s a sense, but is it a sense through the mind or the body? Why can only a few people experience the sixth sense in this world i.e. ghost hunters, mediums, psychics, ect? Are they hallucinating or is just a gift from the Eternal Spirit? Is this His way of saying? “Hey, the big man is in the building and is watching.”

The conclusion, Berkeley’s argument makes a lot of sense to the great question, “What is real?” There is more out there than what the eye perceives or what our minds are limited to comprehend and the reason we haven’t seen the truth is because humans are not ready for it. I question materialists and their idea of reality. Oh, there’s that word again. Idea! There is no doubt that we do have science and there is no doubt in my mind that we still have a ton of realities and truths in the unknown. The debate between materialists and idealists seem endless and maybe it will always be until the end of time or when the unknowns are ready to come out to the truths and stop hiding. I will remain with an open mind that anything is possible.

Work Cited
        Berkeley, George. A Treatise Concerning The Principles of Human Knowledge. Dublin: David R. Wilkins. 2002. Print.

Sonnet #1 (Poetry)



If not joy, it shall be of annoyance,

With the circular notion of this life.

Like at a world’s end on a voyage,

I’ll die without the title of one’s wife.

But I rather have fortune through trials,

Rather than fake value grown on trees.

I’ve walked in these shoes, a million miles.

I’ve come too far to return the old me.

If not annoyance, it shall be of joy,

With the addition of motivation.

When I look back at every girl and boy,

That I’ve influenced out of temptation.

So I’ll continue to polish and shine,

I refuse to give up on confinement.
 

©H.M. Gautsch

Philosophical Vision: What Is Reality?

As I recover from the pain from my very first kickboxing training session, I think about if I am materialist or idealist when it comes to life. Well what is pain? Is it a feeling? Is it reality? The “pain” I have is a feeling in my tense and sore muscles caused from getting physical (feel) by learning kicking and punching techniques, as well as pushing my limit with working out on Sunday. It’s not so much of a bad feeling; it just means that I am gaining improvement on something in my life, in reality. 

So what is reality? Materialists believe reality is based off of your five senses (physical) is primary reality and emotions and mind is secondary, whereas, the idealists who believe the main leverage of reality is based off of emotions and mentality and secondary is matter. (Novack)So who is right? Is anyone really wrong?

If you think about it, if it wasn’t for our mental state, our body wouldn’t really have the ability or function to feel, taste, smell, see or hear. Our mind is a wondrous thing with how it operates and allows our bodies to function as they do. Even if one is blind, their other senses are spiked, so to speak, to replace the lack of the sense of vision. Just because they are blind, doesn’t mean that their reality is gone. They are still in the here and now, functioning almost as normal with some of the five senses.

A lot of debates about reality are about what about after we die? Then what? Materialists say that our body just shuts down and rots in the ground, idealists lean towards the “sixth sense” basis and says our spirits/mind leaves our body and moves on with life. No one really knows, but speculates when individuals do have near-death experiences.  That is more proof that mind truly is over matter for idealists even though materialists still contradict it with the excuse of the brain and functions shutting down. Nothing more or nothing less.

So this most classic debate in Philosophy may just be one of those arguments that will remain until the very end of life, whether it’s your life, my life, or all human lives. The truth about the reality seems to be more than what just meets the eye for most. It’s a feeling or emotion they have within their heart like hope or faith that keeps them as idealists or maybe the higher power (if there is one) is hiding the truth better to some than most. 

               
Work Cited

            Novack, George, The Origins of Materialism, New York: Pathfinder Press. 1979. Print.

(Originally written in September 2012, edited in May 2014)