of solipsism appear in 38 on-line dictionaries, some devoted to
or religion, others to
or cybernetics. With a pedigree traceable to
Georgias of Leontini (483-375 BC) and a much venerated lineage (Sextus
Empicus, Protagoras of Abdera, René Decartes), this entry would
win ribbons at any word-show and ought to be welcome in anybody's conversational
kennel, including mine. I don't use solipsism -- but only
because there is now a much better word to express what I want to say:
I just coined
along with 150 other
words, by pure serendipity.
We are not talking philosophy
here, and I don't think solipsasm qualifies as a medical
condition either: Whereas spasmodic dysphonia (quaking voice)
may be a symptom of solipsasm in some cases and spasmodic nictating
(winking) in others, I have observed neither. Excuse the oxymoron, but
is an exceptionally common behavior, exhibited in all ages and genders.
It is most reliably discernible by the first person singular at the beginning
of conversational responses to any mentioned topic...
spontaneous, seemingly uncontrollable, response to almost any stimulus,
a verbal behavior characterized by expressions of egoistic self-absorption.
Latin slus, alone; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots + Latin
self + -asm (whatever that means).
...each being a Non-Sequiturs of the
Second Kind (a statement to which no answer seems appropriate or reasonable).
For confirmation, try conducting surreptitious experiments at parties,
business meetings, family gatherings. You will see that invariably,
after shifting the conversaton to himself or herself, the solipsast
have all but terminated the topic with an assertion of superiority -- as
effectively as by the deliberate and audible release of pent-up flatulence.
| "I haven't had a cold for two years."
construction on I84
| "I never take that freeway."
| "I don't know anybody in jail."
| "I loath peanut buttah."
Fiddler on the Roof
| "I saw it on Broadway with Zero Mostel."
| "I never get bored."
| "I always wind my watch at bedtime."
instance of 'orthogonality'
| "I have no use for that word."
health care reform
| "I have never needed health insurance."
cup-hooks in a cabinet
| "I don't believe in cup-hooks." (see hate)
-- Diary selections dating
back five decades. PN
Finally, there are some who might say that 101
Words I Don't Use is the ultimate in solipsasm. I
sure hope not.
Before starting this entry, I made an originality
check for solipsasm at OneLook
and got no hits. Good news for an inveterate neologer!
I proceeded confidently with the first draft before thinking to search
the World Wide Web for any instances of solipsasm.
Bing, Google, and Yahoo all came up with the same solitary page, a charming
essay by Janet LaPierre entitled "The
Music of What Happens." I continued to hope that she had made
a typographical error. But no. The word solipsasm appears
at the end of a poem, undeniably featured for its rhyming with spasm.
Thus, I am forced to concede the coinage to Janet LaPierre. Bummer.
|solipsism n. Science =Egoism
n. 1. The doctrine of certain extreme adherents or disciples of Descartes
and Johann Gottlieb Fichte, which finds all the elements of knowledge in
the ego and the relations which it implies or provides for. 2. Excessive
love and thought of self; the habit of regarding one's self as the center
of every interest; selfishness; opposed to altruism.
solipsism n. Phlosophical
Terminology Belief that only I myself and my own experiences are real,
while anything else -- a physical object or another person -- is nothing
more than an object of my consciousness. As a philosophical position, solipsism
is usually the unintended consequence of an over-emphasis on the reliability
of internal mental states, which provide no evidence for the existence
of external referents [which presumably would include God -- ed]
The doctrine that I alone exist. The self can know only its feelings and
changes. There is only subjective reality. Solipsism is of importance to
philosophy and psychology. Rene Descartes (1596-1650), the French mathematician,
physicist and "father of modern philosophy", made solipsism a central issue
in philosophy. Since solipsism has to do with how we learn and know, it
concerns cognitive psychology.
The theory that locates reality entirely in the mind of the beholder. It
specifically denies the existence of involuntary experiences with an outside
world be it through direct perception of something or through vicarious
experiences created in the process of communication.
Spastic pseudoparalysis n. Medical
[Searching among -asms finds only extreme syndromes, such as this
one], better known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). A dementing disease
of the brain. Symptoms of CJD include forgetfulness, nervousness, jerky
trembling hand movements, unsteady gait, muscle spasms, chronic dementia,
balance disorder, and loss of facial expression.