I am not a solipsist.
I am not a what? What the hell is a solipsist?
According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, solipsism is defined as:
The doctrine that, in principle, “existence” means for me my existence and that of my mental states. Existence is everything that I experience — physical objects, other people, events, and processes — anything that would commonly be regarded as a constituent of the space and time in which I coexist with others and is necessarily construed by me as part of the content of my consciousness.
For the solipsist, it is not merely the case that he believes that his thoughts, experiences, and emotions are, as a matter of contingent fact, the only thoughts, experiences, and emotions. Rather, the solipsist can attach no meaning to the supposition that there could be thoughts, experiences, and emotions other than his own.
Another interesting way of looking at solipsism is the way the Urban Dictionary, of all places, defines it:
Solipsism is the belief that the person holding the belief is the only real thing in the universe. All other persons and things are merely ornaments or impediments to his happiness.
René Descartes proved his existence by saying “cogito, ergo, sum,” or “I think, therefore I am.” The solipsist prefers “cogito, ergo, omnia sum,” or “I think, therefore, I am everything!”
Based upon these definitions and descriptions of solipsism, I again say that I am not a solipsist. But I may be close.
I don’t deny the existence of anything else in the universe outside of myself, or claim it to be non-existent or not real except in my own mind. I know that each and every one of you who may be reading this post exists. You are real. You have your own minds and have your own experiences and they are very real.
I know that this chair that I’m sitting in, which is in front of the desk that holds this keyboard I’m typing on, this monitor onto which my words are appearing, and the WordPress application on which this post is being published are all very real. You and these items are not just figments of my imagination, not mere constructs of my mind.
That said, if I didn’t exist, neither do you. If I don’t exist, nothing would exist.
Okay, let me put it another way. If I didn’t exist, nothing would exist — for me. So everything that exists is dependent upon my existence. For me.
When I die, when I cease to exist, from my perspective, you will all cease to exist. This chair, my desk, my keyboard, my monitor, and WordPress will no longer exist — for me. My wife, my kids, my home, my city, my job, my work associates will no longer exist — for me — because I will no longer exist.
Yes, you and everything else and everyone else will continue to exist to and for each other. The sun will continue to rise and set every day. The tides will continue to ebb and flow. People will continue to go about their business.
There will continue to be strife and violence in the Middle East. Congress will continue to be totally dysfunctional, Vladimir Putin will continue to be a total douchebag, and people will continue to argue about whether or not God exists.
But not for me. Because I will not exist. So for me, nothing will exist.
Therefore, everything that exists is dependent upon my existence. For me. From my perspective.
Does that make me a solipsist?
Or just a narcissist?