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.
Novack, George, The Origins of Materialism, New York: Pathfinder Press. 1979. Print.
(Originally written in September 2012, edited in May 2014)