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All Alone In The Dark

Solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist.
Solipsism as an epistemological position holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure.

Solipsism is usually invoked to support a "You can't trust science!" line of argument, something like... "You can't be sure of anything being 'real' - anything is possible - therefore god is."
Most of us who have debated with theists will be aware of the phraseology used to deny any certainty of knowledge of that which is external to the person thinking, of all that is 'else', 'external' to 'self'. Debate seems an inadequate word for what we have to endure from much of the theistic community but anyway, I suspect most who have 'debated' will have heard... "But none of us can claim to be able to prove anything exists other than our minds." They always use 'mind', I think it's because it sounds more spooky and mystical. They usually conclude with what they see as the full-stop, argument winning point... "You might just be a brain!"

Now, in the head of the listener, that image of a brain forms but as all that we know comes from the physical world, we form an image of what each of us interprets it to be. Some may see just the brain existing alone, floating free in space with just a backdrop of the universe. Others may imagine a cartoon sci-fi "brain in a jar" connected to some sort of machine. And others a brain flying free, maybe a little pair cherub wings flutter as it glides through delightfully soft clouds and rainbows (Well, they might!) but whatever image we see, we see the brain.
While these are only our imaginings of what a brain existing alone may be like they do point to an understanding of the issue. Whatever we call the individual - mind, brain, personality etc. the "person" must have form. I know you could say it could be like a cloud of energy but that just changes the parameters, "cloud" is a form, "energy" is the substance of that form.
And, while that interpretation does remove the "purely physical" from the the concept of "person", it does nothing to answer "in what sort of environment does this "substance" that makes up "person" exist?"

Solipsism is, ironically, a dead-end, a wild-goose chase. It's as productive for a theist to invoke solipsism as for a dog to chase its tail! Solipsism is not the argument winning-point against the factuality of reality that theists think and promote it to be, it's just another cupboard-full of questions.
In response to "you might be just a brain" one may only proffer "Of what does this independent brain consist? What are its properties? Is it held captive by some evil being or vindictive spouse? Of what does the environment in which it exists consist? Is it on a bench in a lab? Does it require sustenance? If so, how is this achieved?" And, I think, many, many etcetera queries.

In the final analysis Solipsism still leaves us with... "And how did the universe in which the single brain exists, begin? Why does that universe exist? What was the cause for the brain to come into being?" Which are all square-1 questions.

Finally, any god that may be imagined also falls foul of the solipsism accusation...
How, Mr/Mrs theist, can you be sure that you are not just a figment of the imagination of a mind existing alone?
Or, further, prove to me or anyone, that the god you imagine exists, is not just a "brain in a jar", imagining not only your existence but also that you are currently pondering on the nature of the Jar Brain's existence? And, could you prove that without thinking up a fantastical story for how that imagined jar brain came about?

Very finally, no really this time...
Doesn't arguing for Solipsism denigrate the personalities of each and every human who ever struggled up the evolutionary ladder? Doesn't it reduce the collective effort of humanity and individual desires of each and every valuable member thereof to the whimsical muse of an entity of no importance? And, doesn't it do so ONLY so that the invoker can pretend they'll live forever?
I think it does and from there one must wonder... What is all this selfish, death avoidance pretending doing to how we(humanity) view ourselves? I mean, such a vast majority of 'us' living a life of lies and pretence in fear can't really be doing our collective psyche any good, can it?


This is one of the Too Many Questions
PEACE
Crispy
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If you enjoy what you read here
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21 days in May


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