Solipsism – Part Three
“Dubito ergo sum.” We have discussed how solipsism began perhaps with Rene Descartes famous quote “Cogito ergo sum.” Someone protested as to the literal translation. Latin is considered a dead language but the truth is that it never really lived except as a written text. Based upon the century and the class structure, Latin varied much like colloquialisms do in many areas. Of concern to us in this third part of our discussion on solipsism is not the exact translation of Descartes famous saying but the entirety of it.
Descartes did indeed state “Cogito ergo sum” but he followed it with “Dubito ergo sum” – “I doubt therefore I am.” Solipsism can be a great tool for maintaining one’s calm, I believe. When faced with a dark pathway, it is comforting to know that the reality is one’s self moving forward, not imagined scary things that go bump in the night.
I never conversed with Descartes but I believe he was encouraging us to use our brains. To think is to be alive and to doubt is to learn. The person who claims to know everything is a fool, in my humble opinion. No one knows all. Can we ever know all that there is to learn? I certainly hope not.
Phillip K. Dick once said: “Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication … and there is the real illness.”
When we believe that we are the only truth, then we disregard and devalue others. We put ourselves above everything else. We lose our connection with each other and even our own reality. We become something impossible – the past, present and future as well as all of creation. Life is the sum efforts of all that has been and alal that is but it is also the vision of what may yet to be.
What makes tomorrow worth waiting for is the dream of what might be, the possibility of a better world. The living we do today is important but perhaps its real value is in paving the way for a superior day yet to be.