Idealism

Idealism provides the philosophical foundation for Under the Tree. In this philosophy, the thought or idea, is primary, and the material is secondary.

God or Spirit precedes any and all material conditions; the material realm arises from the Mind of God or Spirits. “In the beginning was the Word” expresses the same concept.

Idealism thus posits a supernatural cause behind the origin or creation of the universe. It postulates material conditions emerge from the realm of the supernatural.

Idealism directly contradicts the philosophy of Materialism which argues that consciousness, life, and the universe emerge from material conditions. In Idealism, spiritual thought is primary. In Materialism, matter is primary. These two opposing philosophies inform most debates regarding the origin of the universe.

Skeptical materialists argue that those who hold a belief in the supernatural lack objective evidence for their views. They claim the subjective is not reliable and unworthy of serious consideration.

However, it is the materialist who rests on a weak foundation. When we subject their claim of an objective world to scrutiny, we find the only way they know anything is through their subjective awareness. They rely on subjective consciousness.

The skeptical materialist replies that his subjective observations can be duplicated by others and thus there is an objective world “out there.” This is the scientific method. Bob observes A; Betty observes A; thus A must be “objectively” real.

However, given Bob and Betty both rely on their subjective awareness to know A, we can only state A is an inter-subjective reality. Bob and Betty may be observing in a common dream. They might share a common illusion.

The “objective” can be no more than inter-subjective agreement. Reality may have no existence independent of Bob’s and Betty’s subjective awareness.

How could we know if the “world out there” is objective and exists independent of all subjective awareness? To test the materialist assumption, we need to remove all subjective awareness from the world. Would there be anything there?

Therein lies the problem. If we subtract all subjective awareness, we no longer have a way of knowing. We can no longer observe as subjective awareness is our only way of knowing and we have removed it.

This means that, even in theory, we cannot confirm the existence of an “objective world” independent of our subjective awareness. The premise of materialism cannot be verified. It must remain blind faith.

This turn of events is quite upsetting for the materialist who, prior to this walk through the logic of the situation, assumed he had objective proof in his corner.

Instead, we find the materialist has built his argument on a house of cards and his belief in an objective world that exists separate from our consciousness must always remain a matter of blind faith. For a skeptical materialist this is a terrible outcome.

On the other hand, one can research whether or not the universe is consistent with the premises of Idealism.

Given our knowledge is subjective we can explore whether or not that subjectivity can give rise to physical conditions. It is not an easy task, but unlike the materialist program which can never be accomplished, there is a possibility of success.

The two great questions that stand before modern science, the question of the origin of the universe and the nature of consciousness, demand a better understanding of Idealism and subjectivity. The impasse in these two lines of inquiry will force science to consider new paradigms.

Under the Tree visits an ancient line of thought in the contemporary search for answers.