[In retrospect, I now think this entry doesn’t make much sense. However, I don’t think I should delete my entries just because they don’t make sense. Philosophical engagement with the world occasionally has missteps.]
The elephant in the room, of course, is Christian getting voted out. An interesting entry could probably be written about why he was so well-liked; or whether voting him out is good or bad for the game. However, others on the internet have already written about those two topics extensively. I’d like to write about something else for this blog.
When Davie found his secret advantage, he acted as if the camera crew didn’t know about it. This seems very common on Survivor. Players find idols or secret advantages and act as if they’re almost natural occurrences. They never say to the camera: “I knew you guys were hiding it there!” or “Jeff can’t fool me that easily.” But it’s not like they’re finding treasure left by ancient pirates. (I wonder if the producers specifically make sure that the cameramen don’t know where the idols are, so they can’t even give unconscious clues about their location.)
Why do the players do this? Well, the most likely answer is probably that those parts are edited out. The next most likely answer is that the crew instructs them to do this. The third most likely answer is that the players get into the rhythm of the game so much that they kind of “forget” that the crew places the idols and clues. That last answer reminds me of the philosopher George Berkeley.
In A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (published in 1710), Berkeley proposed that objects in the world only exist because minds perceive them. Any time that our minds try to penetrate to some essence of these objects that exists in addition to our sensory perceptions, we come up short. Therefore, he concluded, there is no essential existence – only mental perceptions.
One of the strongest rebuttals to this is that the universe very frequently behaves in ways that don’t seem to be merely products of our mortal minds. Unless our minds are vastly more intelligent than we currently believe, it seems extremely doubtful that they could contain all the complexities of the cosmos, from termite mounds to ocean waves to galaxies.
Berkeley’s reply is that humans are not the only minds in the universe. There is also God. The wide expanse of the universe does exist separately from human minds, but only because the mind of God perceives it. We humans are, in a manner of speaking, living in virtual reality software running on the hardware of God’s mind.
[This is where I really start to go off the rails…] For opponents of Berkeley who believe in both God and the existence of objects, there’s a sense that once God creates objects, they have an existence that sort of “runs” independently (though also NOT independently, which is one of the paradoxes of faith). Therefore, if God seems to have intervened in the “normal” flow of his created universe, it’s an unusual event, because God has presumably set up the universe to run according to a regular and efficient plan. (Which we can see through patterns like the seasons, the tides, the behaviors of plants and animals, etc.) An unusual event like that should be acknowledged as an intervention, and appreciated or disliked.
This is where the Survivor players come in. I think they treat the idols and advantages like objects in Berkeley’s version of the universe. In that version, God doesn’t “create” trees, birds, or immunity idols – he perceives them. Nothing is an intervention. God is just imagining the universe the way that he wants to imagine it. Therefore it’s not really necessary to proclaim that God did it. Of course he did. I think a Berkleyite should say that to proclaim the creator of an immunity idol makes as much sense as proclaiming the creator of a cucumber, ladybug, or anything else we ever encounter. Then again, maybe Berkeley would disagree. He’s not here to defend himself anymore. And I’m not an expert on Berkeley anyway, so if you are, please feel free to burn me in effigy.
One week left to the finale, though they’re going to pack several tribals in a single night. It’s interesting how far Nick has gotten, considering how shaky he was in the early episodes. I think Davie might pull it off. He seems to have good alliances, though Mike has shown a willingness to take down anyone who threatens to have a better social game than him.