GEORGE BERKELEY: If He Sees It, It Must Be Real!

…was an Irish Anglican bishop who didn't believe in the existence of matter. Instead, he said: "To be is to be perceived."

GEORGE BERKELEY: If He Sees It, It Must Be Real!

written by Fred Van Lente drawn by Ryan Dunlavey colored by Adam Guzowski

Script for Action Philosophers: George Berkeley

Panel 1: Fred addresses the reader while GEORGE BERKELEY, dressed in his Anglican Bishop cassock, stands beside him, watching him. To the right of Berkeley, there is no background in the panel – it ends where his field of vision ends. 


FRED: (1685-1753) was an Irish ANGLICAN BISHOP who didn’t believe in the existence of MATTER. Instead, he said: 

BERKELEY:  “Esse et percipi” – “to BE is to be PERCEIVED.”

Panel 2:  Berkeley starts to turn when he hears the doorbell. 

FRED: There is no EXISTENCE beyond THOUGHT; therefore, if you’re not THINKING about something – even in a PASSIVE sort of mental activity, like merely SEEING it—

SFX: ding-dong! 

BERKELEY: I’ll get it. 

Panel 3: Berkeley turns around to the right side of the panel to answer the door. When he does that, the left side of the panel – Fred included – JUST VANISHES, ceasing to exist! Likewise, the formerly blank right hand side is filled with the open door and the UPS guy. 


BERKELEY: He’s not here – I’ll SIGN for it. 

Panel 4: Berkeley turns back to the left side of the panel, and that background and Fred wink back into existence while the right side disappears. Berkeley looks at the package. Fred looks highly disturbed that he just winked out of existence. 

FRED: --it will CEASE TO EXIST! >Gasp!<

FRED: Thus, uh, ac-c-cording to Berkeley’s “IMMATERIALISM” principle, unless GOD was perpetually perceiving ALL of reality at once, um, it T-T-TOO would--   

BERKELEY: These must be the JAPANESE BRUSHES Ryan ordered.

Panel 5: Berkeley turns around with the package and walks off the panel. When he does so, Fred disappears again, and the right hand side of the panel reappears. 

BERKELEY: I’ll just leave this on his DRAWING TABLE.

Panel 6: Berkeley stops and turns back around and Fred returns, even more disheveled than before. He shakes Berkeley violently. 

BERKELEY: Unless you know a BETTER place-?