After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — “I refute it thus.” Boswell, The Life of Dr. Johnson
Friends, this blog sometimes takes on a downright Copernican tone in its declarations about Consciousness-Without-an-object. If once upon a time the Official Story declared that the sun whirled about the earth, it was mighty exciting and unsettling to learn that, presto changeo, ’twas the other way around. So too were many of us ( or our ancestors) in for a shock when we learned that despite appearances, the world empirical is downright spherical. And so most of us travel about like geocentric flat earthers when we act as though it is the world of “matter” that is the real deal, when in fact, consciousness-without-an-object Is.
Now as a matter of fact, I know that some of the readers of this humble blog are actually or virtually in the Show-Me state. When the spam filter does not negate their comments, they say: “Show Me, mobius, show me that matter – which seems awfully actual when it, for example, smacks me upside the head in a bike crash – show me that this matter is unreal.” I will show you no such thing.In fact, I intend to show you absolutely nothing.
Now “real” and “unreal” – not to mention “matter” – are of course words.. So if “I” ( another word) suggest that it is a worthy practice to treat your consciousness as real, I am suggesting that with tiny tweaks of our symbolic framework – what the great Robert Anton Wilson called our “reality tunnels” – we can inhabit astonishingly different worlds. And most of us go about negating the import and impact of whatever is “in our heads” as if it were without actuality, when in fact, if you are willing to get still, you will see, and I will indirectly show you, that it alone is.
Dr. Johnson famously “refuted” Bishop George Berkeley’s affirmation of the relative reality of Mind by kicking a stone and “refuting it thus”, but this “refutation” ( which by the way took place entirely in consciousness) was perhaps the most convincing non sequitur in history. For when the good Doctor ( or rather, the ensemble of cells labeled “Dr. Johnson”) seemingly kicked, he experienced not the rock, of course, but the sensory impressions mediated through consciousness. In fact “he” does not exist at all, but is merely the transient effect of consciousness which acts well before we intend it. ( See Libet) While we are of course and indeed gloriously ( and not “merely’) physical creatures, we are also (and not “merely”) creatures of consciousness, and this is paradoxically where we spend absolutely all of our time, even when we are refuting the very existence of consciousness. But we don’t notice this because always and everywhere, we behold something, as if this “thing” were somehow the key to what we are and who we are. Now to show you that this not the case, I direct your attention to Nothing, that yawning enormity continuously hidden by your incessant quest for Something. Behold nothing, and you will gently but unmistakeably tune into the actuality of what is, until it once again gets spammed by Something. Together, beholding nothing, we refute Dr. Johnson thus!
Only you can prevent materialist myopia! Behold Nothing today!