Human Nature – Solipsism

Solipsism is an extraordinary word, a powerful word, and by far an underused word. I am not sure why it isn’t used more in trying to understand the human condition. No philosophical worldview has yet to advocate for the concept of solipsism. Yet, I argue at least a rudimentary understanding of solipsism is needed to have a fuller picture of human nature and one’s own nature. An understanding of solipsism helped me develop a worldview, recognize aspects of my nature, and opened the door to obtaining a more empathetic appreciation of the world of others. There are those times when the world overwhelms me, and I need to enter my solipsistic hermetic inner world where I can “just do me.” To some degree all humans are encapsulated in their own inner self-minded hermetic chamber. It is a wise thing to realize we are naturally solipsistic creatures. As I define solipsism see if you recognize any solipsistic traits and moments in your own reality. Gorgias, a Greek pre-Socratic Sophist, is the first on record to use the word solipsism. Immanuel Kant equates solipsism with egoism. It puts the Self at the center of everything. However, not to disrespect the genius of Kant, but for me solipsism includes egoism but it is much more then egoism. Solipsism’s literal meaning is “only-one selfism.” It is from solus (alone), and ipse (self). Solipsism is literally the theory that the Self knows only of its own existence, because only the Self exists.

Reality – Solipsism is a conceptual viewpoint that only I exist; only my reality exists! Only my thinking, my emotions, and my knowledge exists.  Not to disrespect Donald Trump, but solipsism is a Trumpian view where one is living completely alone in one’s own head —> it is what you and you alone are hearing in your head. Solipsistic reality is a self-preoccupational reality. It is a reality occupied by a me-centered subjectivity. Solipsism is “me for me only.” It is a philosophical conceptualization that Self reality can only be known by the Self. I argue that solipsism can be viewed as a Cartesian precept. Rene Descartes must have been thinking about solipsism when he said “I think – I exist.” Solipsistic thinking has the Self being aware of only one’s own experience(s) for nothing exists in real time but the Self.

Extreme solipsism denies the existence of things that are not in one’s mind. For example, to the question “If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?,” —>  extreme solipsism would say no, because I wasn’t there to hear it fall. Extreme solipsism is a kind of Atlas Complex Reality where the world is held up by me, because “I exist.”  My mind, my voice, my inner world is all that exists. Extreme solipsism = a self-referential world of self-absorption,  self-perception, and self-obsession. In Shakespeare’s Henry VI, he has the future king Richard III say, “I am myself alone;” a very solipsistic view. A solipsistic view is about a person being both by himself and for himself and is little informed or influenced by others, and doesn’t care what others think or feel. I view solipsism as being somewhat related to Freud’s concept of primary narcissism. All of us have a narcissistic component to our personality. That is neither good or bad —-> it just is. However, some of us appear to have this narcissistic component more engrained than others. Extreme narcissism can make for an undifferentiated sense of Self where it is difficult to be empathic with others. An undifferentiated Self is about “my” reality and where I can’t accept, and don’t want to understand a reality that is different from mine. And, my reality can become an alternative reality that is a false reality.

solipsism_large