Living the Berkeley idealism

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.