I saw this set of philosophy jokes on Buzzfeed today, and thought nothing of clicking the link. In amongst the silly, standard light bulb jokes, there was this. A word I’ve never seen before, and couldn’t exactly glean meaning from the context. So, naturally, I punched it into google and brought up the wikipedia page.
And, there, among the history and various citations of the term, awaited the explanation I’ve been seeking for, quite possibly, my entire life. Essentially, the idea behind solipsism is that “is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist…holds that knowledge of anything outside one’s own mind is unsure.” AH HA!
If you know me, or read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m tremendously insecure, that I seek external validation constantly, and that even when presented with that validation, I question the validity of that, and so on until you throw up your arms in disgust and walk away.
Here, in this philosophical idea, I’m able to see the metaphysical trick I get my mind into and why I can’t trust anything outside of my own mind. In this solipsism, I doubt that anything exists, or at least it’s all presented through the incomprehensible filter of experience.
Therefore it’s all so easily discredited. A friend pays a compliment, dismissed by intention: “Oh they only want to make me feel better. They don’t really feel that way.” Someone is nice to me: “They’re acting that way because of societal expectation and convention. They’d rather just slam the door in my face.” I win an argument: “the truth in this scenario is self-evident, they would have come to that conclusion eventually.”
And so, the mind plays tricks on itself. Because it not only doesn’t trust anything outside of its own experience, but also because of the extent of my damage, it can’t trust itself either. The inability to trust the exterior world leads the mind to inevitably question itself. Because it can perceive both sides of an argument, paradoxical ideals and absurdist humor, the mind understand that it can create whatever reality it wishes. And while that should be freeing, it’s more trapping that one would hope.
Since the mind’s perceptions are as changeable as a whim, there’s no truth left that exists. The futility of existence is now the born from this doubt, and the existential crisis, that nothing is real or exists is the heavy, immobilizing defeat as the mind collapses in on itself like a dying star.