Living the Berkeley idealism

by Yuxi_Liu 1 min read4th Sep 20193 comments


Quick observation, more funny than insightful.

Today I was thinking about how to publish my thesis when it's finished, and rethinking again what format to put it in. The standard pdf format seems reasonable, but it is merely made of digital print, with no interactivity. Putting in interactivity requires me to not only learn something (web hosting, JavaScript, etc), but at the same time trying to guess which one is future-proof. Flash are Java applets are daily reminders of what not to bet on for future-proof.

Book publishers enjoy a relative longevity. Go to the library and open a book that hasn't been touched for three hundred years, and it would still work. Books run on light energy, with almost no upkeep cost (if located in a building with dry and ~300 K temperature air). It would be a small cause for celebration to find something interactive online that is 10 years old and still works as intended.

To live in this kind of uncertainty is to experience Berkeley's Idealism. Berkeley thought that anything exists only because God is perceiving it, and if God stops perceiving it, that thing disappears. Just like that, as long as you are paying attention to something online, it would keep existing. As soon as you forget about it, it has a serious chance of decaying and stop working.

From which we conclude that Berkeley's God would probably feel annoyed all the time that the world can't seem to run without His constant staring.