III Publishing

We are all Solipsists
October 8, 2018
by William P. Meyers

Site Search

Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry

Popular pages:

U.S. War Against Asia
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Natural Liberation

The Joke is On Me

"We are all solipsists."

Ludwig Wittgenstein, remark to students

Solipsists believe that anything outside the individual mind cannot be known with certainty or even that nothing exists or is real outside one's own mind.

Solipsism is one of the extreme forms of philosophic skepticism. Skepticism injects uncertainty into every argument, possibly until all a person is left with is uncertainty itself. Yet skepticism, applied carefully, is a useful tool.

If I take a solipsistic position, then you do not exist (or I think you don't). And if you do not exist, it does not matter if you are a solipsist or a realist or divine manifestation.

The Zen classic about the Master slapping the aspiring student's face is a way of pointing out that things do exist outside a student's mind.

Solipsism collapses under its own weight, as do other forms of skepticism that end up saying the world is an illusion or that we cannot really know anything about it. Tell it to the Marines.

Solipsism is the philosophic equivalent of the personality defect Narcissism.

The natural presumption of human beings is that other human beings are conscious. We share types of feelings: sadness, happiness, fear, anxiety, etc. The natural position is realistic, not solipsistic

Most people consult philosophy or religion because they want to be happy. Some are simply curious about how the world works. Death of a loved one, or worrying about one's own death, a major reason for unhappiness. Whereas everyday experience tells us death is the end for each individual, most religions, banking on making people happy, tell people that death is not the end.

Thinking about consciousness may lead to Dualism, the idea that mind and body are separate.

I have concluded that mind and body are tightly intertwined.

Fortunately scientists are slowly unravelling the physical nature of consciousness. However, just because scientists know something does not mean people will accept it. Many people reject the fact of Evolution and the fact of Global Warming due to carbon dioxide emissions.

I have read about the difficulties of science teachers trying to educate students from religious families and communities. Humans are social creatures, they usually don't want to break with the local herd. It is frustrating to describe what is real to a person and not be able to prove it before their eyes. You might be able to prove that mixing baking soda and vinegar produces the gas carbon dioxide. Proving there is no heaven, that Jesus was just one of us, and that carbon dioxide causes the greenhouse effect is not possible in a classroom.

Today there is a lot of bad news floating around. The Kavanaugh confirmation, the new global warming report, the hurricane in the gulf.

I can offer no comfort. It is just a personal choice, but I would rather fight than quit. The only question is just how to fight the narcissists. I will address that in other essays.

III Blog list of articles