Bishop and Philosopher George Berkeley introduced the idea of immaterialism to the western world. His writings suggest that the material objects by which we live are simply illusions delineated through the prism of the five senses, and do not exist. Thus, following through to conclusion, Berkeley argues that perception is all illusion. An illusion of what, is the question that remains.
Some believe that because of immaterialism theory, there can be no reality. Other Philosophers reach a different conclusion, believing that human perception is a distorted interpretation of a set reality. The empiricist can only strengthen these claims. Empiricism in practice tells us that our eyes can only see between infrared and ultraviolet light, yet our technology shows us that there is far more light bouncing about in our universe. It establishes that our eyes can hear only a minuscule decibel range, around 20-20,000 hz, but our technology receives the millions of other high and low pitched frequencies that we can’t.
Once the limits of the Human senses are highlighted, the likeliness of other vibrations, energies, frequencies, consciousnesses moving through the universe are revealed. The desire for material things feels redundant. Humans become aware of their impermanence and irrelevance, which let’s be honest, is a hard pill to swallow. If one lets it, everything can become quite dull and fruitless. For others however, the reason why it is a hard pill to swallow becomes apparent. It is because we Humans feel so connected to something. This search for what this connection is has been attempted and is still being attempted through many mediums, the more cerebral astrology and religion, and the more physical yoga and meditation. The aim of all these mediums is to be transcendental and to reveal higher dimensional/elemental truth. Ultimately they all lead one to the realisation of the importance of the same virtues. These virtues are the ones of unity, love, compassion, and a sense oneness among us all.
Now, I cannot expect everybody to want to pursue this spiritual higher dimension, and because of this, the enlightened need to place these virtues at the top of society and create structures that revolve around the promotion of these values. Unfortunately this is not the case.
Technology and Human progression has made it easier for people to be content with the material world, to leave us not yearning for more real connection. The current western societal structure is based around the masses reacting to the individualism of a propelled certain few. These certain few become puppets for a media rhetoric, a rhetoric that follows a plot line similar to that of the some of the most archetypal forms of Greek storytelling- heroes and villains, gods and beasts and so on. It seems the media are obsessed with the rise and fall of these puppets. The existence of the aforementioned virtues in such rhetoric is sparse and minimal.
The promotion of jovial synthesized things such as borders, money and power is however in abundance. And once you attach a virtue onto these terms, you realise that these objects are the physical representation of some negative human factors: Greed, selfishness, lustfulness, division, just to name a few. Personally, I would prefer a society that didn’t stimulate the most horrible aspects of human behavior.
This is why I find myself located firmly on the left side of the conventional political continuum. Ideologies that support the virtues I’ve mentioned, ideologies that force social change, Ideologies that support true unity never seem to emanate from anywhere else but the left. The right is about conservation of the current. I ask why would you want to conserve the ecological, economic and spiritual crisis we find ourselves in right now?
I am sick, as a young person, of adults patronisingly telling me that this desire for human compassion and unity is ‘cute’. It isn’t too far fetched, but the longer the people in charge keep resisting change-revolution-progression then the more afraid I am of my future.