Imagine That

It has recently been suggested to me that I am a Solipcist.

Assuming this wasn’t some form of sexual deviancy slang, I duly nodded politely and waited for an opportune moment to look up Solipsism on Wikipedia.

Now the very fact that I had to look up something that – in a solipsistic world – I must have already known and created already in my imagination, otherwise – as part of the external world – the definition can’t be said to actually exist; this is a pretty good way to start disproving Solipsism altogether.


Solipsism has been a useful method of Philosophy for me, and is an important phase to go through (to my mind…).

Originating from the initial doubts shared by the likes of Descartes, questioning just exactly what is real is an important route to the inner thinkings of Ultimate Philosophy.

But assuming you have better things to be doing on a Sunday afternoon than running through a suspiciously simple set of Philosophical principles, I will take you through a few ad-hoc thoughts that arose from this mis-labelling of me as a Solipcist:
  1. Although it is flattering to think that everyone else around me is a figment of my imagination, I really do not have that level of imaginative power to conjure such a maelstrom of diverse characters and encounters. [Of course, I could - subconsciously - be the hyper-imaginative creator of the majestic fiction we call ‘reality’, but lets just leave that nightmare alone for the purposes of this discourse]. So Absolute Solipsism can be discounted
  2. But what is important is that people do not disregard Solipsism altogether – as I say above – it is an important thought process to have (if only for a moment). What I believe is far more dangerous is the process that I would imagine 90% of the people in the world go through instead, and make the assumption that everything is not a figment of your imagination, and that the world is made up of certain fundamental objective absolutes, with a whole load more of absolutes that are assumed so as it is unlikely that you won’t encounter a counter to the absolute in your narrow-minded lives.
  3. To expand on that last point a little more clearly – take for example the crowd of a large football match: Here you have a large collection of individuals, all gathered for the same broad purpose – to enjoy a game of football. Okay so there is one pretty obvious division in the crowd; one half are there to support the Red Team, the other half the Blue Team. But ignoring that difference, because anyone with a half-brain can understand that split; let’s focus in on the Red Team’s supporters:
Although they are all there for the same broad purpose; many of the crowd are of different faiths. Many of them have different political allegiances. Many of them are meat eaters/some of them are vegetarians. Many of them like action films/some of them like period dramas. Many of them prefer Coronation Street/some of them prefers to sit naked in front of Emmerdale whilst crushing digestive biscuits with their left hand. Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want to be abused by you. Some of them were children of the 80s. Some of them were children of the revolution. One of them was born just last week, and has no particular opinion of football just yet.

This could go on for near infinity, until you break the crowd down into a finite amount of individual opinions/views/outlooks/biological make-up/favourite song, and the only thing that “unites” them, is the fact they are all in the same location, watching the same thing, for the same broad purpose [I could go further here and demonstrate how their specific purposes can vary quite significantly].

But – I hear you cry – the point is that they do share some common ground; a love of football in this case.

To me, that is such a generic and cliched expression, that it doesn’t hold any water with me; is it correct to assume that one definition means that anyone observing the scene through that definition knows exactly what types of people/opinions/beliefs are gathered for the match? Here’s another example; “they have a love of life” – what the heck does that even mean?

Humanity is far too ready to categorise and identify everything that we do or experience; and we are then far too willing to accept these categories/identities (or we are far too limited in imagination to see beyond the most common of stereotyping of both people and situations):
  • We accept that there is a standard format to growth and learning – Primary School, High School, College/Uni-if-you-can-afford-it – and when you meet someone you didn’t take this route, they are instantly an exception to this system. Which then imbalances our subjective view of what many believe to be an objective truth, and you either regard the exception as an ‘outcast’, through your ignorance; or you adjust your world-view to compensate.
  • I think that the best form of communication for these thoughts is on this blog; other people I know would have preferred a verbal discussion; some might prefer it written in a letter – some might be more receptive it was in the form of an opera; or a web-comic; or a message on the back of a cereal packet.
  • Until recently it was accepted that world news events were carried to your door in the form of a printed newspaper – or also a 6pm television bulletin. Why did we accept this as correct, when some of us may have preferred to be verbally informed the news by a specially educated squirrel, parachuted into our garden in the early hours, who also made our breakfast for us in the morning?

Before this gets far too silly for a Sunday afternoon stroll in the mental park, I shall try and anchor back to my original Solipsism-inspired thoughts:

No, I am not a Solipcist. I do not imagine for one moment {well, okay for the occasional moment when the world gets too crazy for my liking} that you are all figments of my imagination and dreams.

On the flip side, I do not see the need to imagine that I know each and every one of you inside out; or that the objective views of the world that get bandied around so readily, are indeed true – or even real.

Sadly the power of my imagination does not allow me to experience this existence from any other central point than my own – so whilst it would be great that you were all figments of my imagination {in which case, why don’t more of you want to come to bed with me ¬_¬ }; or that there really was a wholly objective nature to the universe, in which case we can all connect through one absolute unified experience of reality – neither of these viewpoints are true.

Imagine that!


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