"The sum of it all is that the absolute is not forced on our belief by logic, that it involves features of irrationality peculiar to itself, and that a thinker to whom it does not come as an ‘immediate certainty’… is in no way bound to treat it as anything but an emotionally rather sublime hypothesis. As such, it might, with all its defects, be, on account of its peace-conferring power and its formal grandeur, more rational than anything else in the field. But meanwhile the strung-along unfinished world in time is its rival: reality MAY exist in distributive form, in the shape not of an all but of a set of eaches, just as it seems to—this is the anti-absolutist hypothesis. Prima facie there is this in favor of the eaches, that they are at any rate real enough to have made themselves at least appear to every one, whereas the absolute has as yet appeared immediately to only a few mystics, and indeed to them very ambiguously. The advocates of the absolute assure us that any distributive form of being is infected and undermined by self-contradiction. If we are unable to assimilate their arguments, and we have been unable, the only course we can take, it seems to me, is to let the absolute bury the absolute, and to seek reality in more promising directions, even among the details of the finite and the immediately given."
Now, in his response to my critique, Bernardo Kastrup writes:
... I should make one thing absolutely clear about me: I am not here to accommodate sensitivities; I'm not here to collect a large audience by catering to the inclinations of the highest possible number of people; I'm not here to find compromises that give everyone a warm and fuzzy feeling. My commitment is to truth, and truth alone, whatever the cost. [his emphasis]
If belief in the existence of a real external world is just an inference, as Kastrup insists, then it's a universal inference, an instinctive inference that every human being, even the most hardened idealist, has make to get by in reality. It's also very useful when it's time, say, to tell the difference between a real apple the thought of an apple. It's true that a handicap in this regard would have been a comfort to the children in the above photograph, who died in the famine Stalin inflicted on the Ukraine in the name of another abstraction. They could have had their fill of mental apples. But they still would have starved.
I realize this last paragraph is a caricature of Kastrup's thought. My point is that certain philosophies are so abstract, so divorced from the realities of embodied and ensouled experience, that they are only purchased at a high price. Buyer beware.
* Meaning, the first in a list of "implications and practical applications" of monistic idealism, given in answer to the title-question: "Does it matter whether all is in consciousness?"