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ďMay Stacey Flagler rest in peace,Ē I said to myself, as I perused her anxious handwritten confession last evening while savoring several of Heleneís scrumptious Palm Beach brownies:
ďMy connection to the source is so amazing that I want it for others,Ē Stacey wrote before she took flight. ďThey will believe it when they see it. A million dollars would help me to have the great stuff everyone wants and therefore to be their teacher. I have always wanted to be an example of the best of both worlds and to be proof that one can be happy and wildly successful and abundant in this one.
ďI have always wanted stuff as a physical human, as proof that I have a connection to the source, proof that my connection to the source has value in the physical world, proof that the joy of being sourced can be easily translated into the stuff that brings physical security in this world. I want to feel my stuff, to have proof that I am really here and am really amazing. I have always wanted things to prove how amazing I am. I want to prove my ability to teach my amazingness. And of course I want stuff for my own fun and love and comfort. But I really donít believe stuff has value in itself. Stuff gets boring after awhile. Everybody wants stuff. I want more than just stuff. Is success is based on physical stuff? No, the success is not in the stuff itself Ė success is based on enjoying and appreciating physical stuff.Ē
George Berkeley certainly agrees with Stacey, that stuff has no value in itself. I happen to be a channel for George. He would like to discuss stuff in general on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and has asked me to manifest a brief interview:
WINFREY: George, Iím glad to have you on the show. I can tell from your handsome face Ė Oh my, what a divine aura it has Ė that youíre not the stuffy philosopher I thought you might be.
GEORGE: Thank you, Madame Winfrey.
WINFREY: Just call me Oprah. By the way, I understand that you are a British Empiricist. Just what is an empiricist?
GEORGE: An empiricist believes that experience, especially of the senses, is the sole source of knowledge.
WINFREY: Okay, that makes sense, but your bio also says youíre an idealist. How can a sensationalist be an idealist?
GEORGE: Sensations perceived are really ideas in the mind. Since all knowledge is of perception, only ideas are real, so the idealist is a realist.
WINFREY: Hmm. What about this chair, is it real?
GEORGE: Nope. But your perception of it is real, and that is an ideation.
WINFREY: Yeah. So Iím not an idiot to think the chair itself does not really exist because Iím an idealist?
WINFREY: What about spirits, do they exist?
GEORGE: Of course they do, but they cannot be perceived.
WINFREY: What do spirits do?
GEORGE: They mostly think. A spirit is a simple, undivided, active being, directly aware of its own existence, but we cannot see it.
GEORGE: Really. Spirits are really real. I am a spirit.
WINFREY: But I can see you.
GEORGE: What you see is really not my dear self.
WINFREY: I see. Now the folks at Yale say you are the first great American philosopher. I thought you were British.
GEORGE: I gave my farm in Rhode Island to Yale when I returned to London. I split my library between Yale and Harvard.
WINFREY: Good, good, thatís good. So you were in America.
GEORGE: Right, for about three years. I came over with my dear wife, Ann Foster, with a plan to establish a seminary in Bermuda for the sons of colonists and American Indians. I obtained a charter for the college and some private grants, but Parliament didnít come up with major funding, so I had to call the whole thing off.
WINFREY: Thatís a shame. We canít depend on government funding. I just started a school for girls in Africa.
GEORGE: I know.
WINFREY: Itís not easy. Weíve had troubles.
GEORGE: I know. Thereís always going to be a scandal. Evils always attend great goods Ė one needs its contrary to be what it is. Take my word for it as a bishop: you are blessed in the eyes of the Lord. In fact, although my ideal school failed to be manifested in Bermuda, it was my effort to establish it caused me to be recognized for my good intentions and to be consecrated a bishop.
WINFREY: Praise the Lord!
GEORGE: Yes, indeed, I second the emotion.
WINFREY: George, have you been following Walter Davidsonís best-selling reflections on the late Stacey Flagler?
GEORGE: Yes I have. Walter is one of my channels. The poor girl put too much truck in stuff.
WINFREY: But every self-respecting girl has to have some stuff, right?
GEORGE: At least Stacey was in possession of the truth about stuff, that no matter what it might be, stuff has no value in itself, and if she had focused on that, she would not be in purgatory, figuratively speaking. Stacey wanted to have stuff to appreciate. She apparently believed stuff existed, and was not yet aware that careful reflection on the subject would have led her to the incontrovertible conclusion that the stuff she wanted did not really exist outside of her mind. What she longed for was the appreciation, not the stuff. I proved long ago that stuff in general is just an empty concept. There is no such thing as material substance in the world. If Stacey had been an immaterialist, you might have her on your show this afternoon instead of me, as I am a bit outdated.
WINFREY: Hmm. Immaterialist? That means matter does not exist?
GEORGE: If matter did exist, it would be of little moment. Itís like the accountants say in accordance with one of their generally accepted principles: ďItís immaterial.Ē Meaning the so-called fact of the matter is inconsequential.
WINFREY: Whoa. Please elaborate a little bit, so people wonít think your knowledge is just foolish talk.
GEORGE: Well, a little talk is not enough to persuade most people that my proposition is not absurd on its face. Yet it is as plain as the nose on your face that, from your own perspective,, when you think about it long enough, that neither the nose nor the face exists, but are simply reflections. WINFREY: I can make out the tip of my nose, butÖ.
GEORGE: Itís not on your face but in your mind with your facial experience. The value of stuff perceived rests in the perceiver and not in the stuff.
WINFREY: Yeah, itís like, like, like beauty is in the mind of the beholder.
GEORGE: Yes it is. It all is. Perception is a judgment on sensation. I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the heat of a hot iron is not really in the iron.
WINFREY: Then why is it called a hot iron?
GEORGE: It is not a hot iron; itís a hot-feeling iron. The hotness is not in the iron. In fact, the iron itself is unknown, and, in my opinion, does not exist as an object. What Stacey perceived was not the objects she thought she needed in order for her to be recognized and approved of by others. She perceived the ideas she had about stuff, as if stuff existed, and her reflections on her perception, and what others thought they perceived, caused her to believe that stuff exists; yet it is really the perception and not the thing that existed for her.
WINFREY: Yeah, but ďas ifĒ is good enough for some people, and the appearance of having stuff and getting respect from others because one has it is a fact we must deal with, whether stuff is ultimately real or not. And there is some stuff like food and water that we canít do without no matter what it is or is not. What about my 2.5 billion dollars? Wonít that buy plenty of stuff even if stuff doesnít exist?
GEORGE: Spoken like a liberal intellectual, Oprah. Money is an abstraction that facilitates the communication of ideas. The abstraction is not a thing in itself. And allow me to remind you that extension, figure, solidity, gravity, motion and rest are all habitual judgments on sensations, and do not inhere in material objects, but are directly perceived ideas; the objects themselves are not perceived. Sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and touches have no existence absent the mind.
WINFREY: Are you saying that sugar isnít sweet? Thatís odd.
GEORGE: Sugar is not sweet in itself, it simply tastes sweet; and the fact that it tastes differently to different people demonstrates that sweetness does not inhere in the sugar, nor, for that matter, does any taste whatsoever inhere in foodstuff. As for the primary qualities, if it be allowed that no idea nor anything like an idea can exist in an unperceiving substance, then surely it follows that no figure or mode of extension, which we can either perceive or imagine, or have any idea of, can be really inherent in matter, not to mention the peculiar difficulty there must be in conceiving a material substance, prior to and distinct from extension, to be the substratum of extension. Be the sensible quality what itÖ.
WINFREY. Whoa, already, I got it, but Iím concerned that pressing a matter so contrary to common sense, that matter does not even exist, although that is the very subject we are talking about, might be talk about nothing, and might cause people to be suspicious about the most sacred and unquestionable things, such as the existence of God, and the reality of love.
GEORGE: I beg your pardon, Madame Winfrey. God certainly exists, and the world, which is really nothing but minds and ideas, would exist in Godís mind even if we were not here to perceive it.
WINFREY: Would God then perceive the world as an ant or an elephant, or some other member of the animal kingdom?
GEORGE: As a godly human, first of all.
GEORGE: We must remember that our receptive minds are passive; therefore mind is not the cause of its ideas. Since no objects exist hence objects do not produce ideas, there must be willing spirits that produce them. The divine mind is one mind over many minds, and when those minds are turned away from the mire we call stuff, towards the divine mind, they are bathed in the light of love, and it is then and only then that the soul may experience the joy of the source Stacey Flagler longed for.
WINFREY: Weíll be right back. Weíll be right back. Stay tuned.