At Play in the Fields of the Real
There is no middle ground between these two positions. It is reminiscent of Jesus' statements about swords, goats, and sheep. As Gilson puts it, the Cogito -- I think therefore I am -- "is manifestly disastrous as a foundation for philosophy," as it leads -- and ends -- precisely nowhere (or nowhere real, which amounts to the same thing).
Gilson quotes Whitehead, who properly observed that "When you find your theory of knowledge won't work, it's because there is something wrong with your metaphysics." And in the case of idealism, writes Gilson, "nothing works." It "can only be overcome by dispensing with its very existence." Perish, then publish.
Here are some florid but typical examples of idealist pneumapathology, via some imbecilic tweets by Deepak. They are all completely jassackwords: "Your senses send electrical information to your brain. Your consciousness converts it into a material universe." "Your world reflects your brain, which reflects your mind, which reflects your soul." "You create your past & future now."
None of these silly poses can be sustained in any consistent way, as they will eventually reveal insurmountable contradictions. Again, as Gilson says, "The first step on the realist path is to recognize that one has always been a realist," the second "to recognize that, however hard one tries to think differently, one will never manage to."
In short, get over your infantile omniscience and realize that there is a real world beyond the control of your thoughts. But no one ever went broke selling infantile omniscience to new age dupes and religious illiterates.
I might add that -- Deepak's nauseating self-righteousness to the contrary -- no ethic is possible in the absence of a prior reality. That is to say, all ethical behavior is founded upon accurate perception of reality. We can only do the right thing if we first see rightly. But if reality is just a function of our perceptions, then so too is morality.
For example, if I insist in the teeth of all evidence to the contrary that there is no fundamental distinction between animals and human beings, this has ethical implications that are devastating in their consequences.
Naturally there are different levels of reality disclosed by the mind, but this hardly means they are a function of mind. At first glance, writes Gilson, reality "is immediately given to us in a kind of block form." But perhaps the most astonishing thing about this "block" is its endless intelligibility, no matter how deeply we dig into it.
One critical point to bear in mind -- and one which prevents all manner of metaphysical mischief -- is that we are clearly contingent, and yet, we participate in absoluteness. How is this possible? It is only possible because we are created in the image of God. Absent that creative nexus, then metaphysics falls apart, because there is no way for the contingent to know the necessary.
Here is a clear example of the left and right brain differences we've been discussing. For Thomas, writes, Gilson, the singular is apprehended while things are being sensed, while "the universal is grasped while things are being understood."
Only the singular is concretely real, and it is precisely this concrete reality that is experienced by the right brain -- say, a particular tree. But the left brain seems to specialize in extracting the essence from the experience, and coming up with the abstract category of "treeness."
Gilson suggests that "in a sense, all of modern thought goes back to that winter's night in 1619, when, shut up inside a stove in Germany, Descartes conceived the idea of a universal mathematics." While some believe it was just a mild case of carbon monoxide poisoning, Descartes' method nevertheless spread like a kitchen fire, soon enough resulting in "the substitution of a limited number of clear ideas, conceived as the true reality, for the concrete complexity of things." In short, the left brain had muscled aside the right.
Whitehead is all over this fallacy in his Science and the Modern World. The fallacy results in a world drained of qualities -- or of qualities being reduced to the secondary phenomena of a purely quantitative world.
No such simplification is possible with a realist view. Again, since we start with the object as it is, it clearly manifests all sorts of features and levels that cannot be reduced to mere quantity, such that "several concepts are are required to express the essence of a single thing, according to the the number of points of view it studies it from."
And even then, the simplest thing we will ever encounter can never be known in its totality, as if we are God.
Rather, everything is inexhaustible in its richness and depth. There is an important orthoparadox at work here, in that the same factor that makes things intelligible at all -- God -- makes them not intelligible in their totality. Remove our Divine Sponsor from the equation and we literally end in a kind of omniscient stupidity, a la Deepak, for if we create reality with our mind, there is no such thing as reality.
In short, for the realist "every substance as such is unknown, because it is something other than the sum of the concepts we extract from it." You could call it the potent ignorance which grounds the fertile egghead.
All of this, of course, has deadly political consequences, so it is certainly no coincidence that Deepak is such a hate-drenched leftist. Specifically, once we detach ourselves from reality, it follows that we no longer know what the individual is or what he is for.
The result is a monadic individual who exists only for himself -- this is the selfish and amoral side of leftism -- and the need for a leviathan state to control all these selfish and amoral monads. This ends in a combustible mixture of moral anarchy and tyrannical collectivism, each reflecting and aggravating the other.