Thursday, August 16, 2007
I am a Solipsist
Solipsism (Latin: solus, alone + ipse, self) is an extreme form of skepticism, saying that nothing exists beyond oneself and one's immediate experiences. More generally, it is the epistemological belief that one's self is the only thing that can be known with certainty and verified (sometimes called egoism). Solipsism is also commonly understood to encompass the metaphysical belief that only one's self exists, and that "existence" just means being a part of one's own mental states. All objects, people, etc, that one experiences are merely parts of one's own mind. Solipsism is first recorded with the Greek presocratic sophist Gorgias who is quoted by the Roman skeptic Sextus Empiricus as having stated:
Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it, and
Even if something could be known about it, knowledge about it can't be communicated to others
My solipsism is suggested by the fact that reality for me is always to be found in the psyche, not in the external world. Inner emotion is so overwhelmingly experienced that everything else, including other people, has only a shadowy existence on the periphery. I do not seem really to relate to other people: the being of each person in my environment is a fragment of my own identity. In the deepest sense I believe that I am the only person in my environment, the different persons being aspects of a single personality, so that my mind is a portrait of the psyche as well as a depiction of the world.
I am closed off to feeling. My affective apparatus is shut down. Only what is at one within itself is intelligible to feeling. What lacks internal unity, what fails to articulate itself in actual and clear form, baffles feeling and drives it over into thought -- that is to say to the imposition of order -- while feeling itself is suspended. The artist who addresses himself to feeling must therefore, if he is to persuade it to his ends, be already so at one within himself that he can dispense with the help of his logical apparatus and use instead, but in full consciousness, the infallible receptive powers of unconscious, pure human emotion. A man who is still not at one in his own mind about what is really important to him -- whose feelings are not as yet focused on an object that will make their expression definite, indeed essential, but who, confronted with an external world of feeble, fortuitous, alien phenomena, is internally divided -- such a man is incapable of this sort of expression of emotion.