Tuesday, April 20, 2004

How the Existence of God Is Ontologically Proved Via the Medium of Very Good Stout and a Pretty Girl on a Spring Day.

We had been drinking most of day. The sun had vanquished winter, and the streets of New York City flowed with men in sunglasses glaring at young women with pleated, sorbet-hued skirts and bare legs. I was lying on the ground of the courtyard of the bar where we were drinking, in part because I had fallen off my chair and in part to get a better view of those heavenly bare legs.

Sully was lying beside me. After seven hours of consuming Irish stout and whiskey, he felt steadier on his feet when he was lying on his back. I could tell he was in a philosophical mood because he was talking.

“Do you think this is as good as it gets?”

I had to admit that this was pretty good. In the warmth of the sun, my pint felt cool to the touch. Beads of condensation arose and were pulled by the force of gravitation toward the largest body of mass in the vicinity, the Earth. I tasted the stout, and nodded.

“No, I mean, for real. Is this as good as it gets, or could you imagine anything better?”

I told Sully that I thought we should stay here for a while. The girls were pretty and the bartenders were still willing to serve us even though we had abandoned our table for the comfort of this lower perch. Also, I didn’t think I could walk.

That wasn’t what he was getting at. “This spot is good, the beer is wonderful and that girl who is wearing the Temporley ballerina skirt is amazing. I know we’re unlikely to find anything better around here. But we could imagine something better. And, look, our imagining better things presupposes an end, what the Greeks call telepathy.”

“You mean teleology,” I would have told him three or four pints earlier.

“This sun, this stout, her legs—our admiration for them is based upon their imitation of what is best. Do you know what that is called, MT?”

I smiled, knowingly. “Charlize Theron,” I offered.

“Please. She’s just Nicole Eggert with a career. It’s called God.”

Sully was drunk. I told him that I wasn’t sure that he could deduce the existence God from skirts and stout.

“That’s because you don’t understand the nature of God. God is the thing that is So Best, nothing else could be better. This isn’t something you can believe or not believe, because it is presupposed in the concept. How do I know that every point on the circumference of a circle is equally distant from its center? Because that is what a circle is. The question of belief does not enter into it.”

The girl with the ballerina skirt had decided to sit in the seat that Sully abandoned for the ground. She crossed her legs, dangling a sandal in front of us.

“The only question is whether it is better for something to exist than not to exist. If you agree that the existence of something good is better than simply imagining something good—it is better that this pint of stout exists, for instance, than that we are simply pretending it did—then God must exist, since if he didn’t he couldn’t be the best. There would always be one thing that could be better, a God that existed.”

We needed more stout. I waved to the waitress, and indicated that I’d also like to buy the ballerina a drink. I’d been thinking of what to say to her, and decided that it would be far better to actually say it to her than just imagining it. And I was happy to know that this proved the existence of God.