Reductio Ad Absurdum

Now if you take an orange
And hold it in your hand,
It isn’t really there at all –
Or so I understand.
A sensationalist will prove to you
That though you know it’s there,
It’s only just sensations
Of which you are aware.
Seing, feeling, tasting, smelling,
Sensations he will call,
And all these things exist in you
Not in the fruit at all.
“Now eat it ” he may say to you,
“Sensations once again.”
(Though since he says it isn’t there
To eat would seem in vain.)
But still you feel he must be wrong
And so you will persist,
And tell him plainly you’re quite sure
that matter does exist.
“It can’t be seen or touched or heard
And so it can’t be known,
So why assume it’s there at all
When truth can ne’er be shown?”
Thus he’ll reply, and after that
Maybe he will declare
that you are only his sensation
And so you can’t be there.
“But I’m as real as you!” you cry –
To this he must agree,
And so maintains that he himself
Is unreality.
It follows thus that everything
Which you would say exists,
Is non-existent and unreal
To the sensationalists.
And therefore I will cease to write
Since I cannot be here,
And none can ever read this lines
For nobody is there!

-Jane Goodall

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