Solipsism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "solipsism" (showing 1-30 of 34)
Philip K. Dick
“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.”
Philip K. Dick

Ursula K. Le Guin
“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. Le Guin

Christopher Hitchens
“I suppose that one reason I have always detested religion is its sly tendency to insinuate the idea that the universe is designed with 'you' in mind or, even worse, that there is a divine plan into which one fits whether one knows it or not. This kind of modesty is too arrogant for me.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Ludwig Wittgenstein
“Hell isn't other people. Hell is yourself.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein
“I am my world.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

David Foster Wallace
“But the young educated adults of the 90s -- who were, of course, the children of the same impassioned infidelities and divorces Mr. Updike wrote about so
beautifully -- got to watch all this brave new individualism and self-expression and sexual freedom deteriorate into the joyless and anomic self-indulgence of the Me Generation. Today's sub-40s have different horrors, prominent among which are anomie and solipsism and a peculiarly American loneliness: the prospect of dying without once having loved something more than yourself.”
David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

David Foster Wallace
“The assumption that you everyone else is like you. That you are the world. The disease of consumer capitalism. The complacent solipsism.”
David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

Ludwig Wittgenstein
“A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

David Foster Wallace
“When a solipsist dies ... everything goes with him.”
David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“But what can a decent man speak of with most pleasure?

Answer: Of himself.

Well, so I will talk about myself.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead

Samuel Butler
“[P]oetry resembles metaphysics: one does not mind one's own, but one does not like anyone else's.”
Samuel Butler

Martin Gardner
“If you ask me to tell you anything about the nature of what lies beyond the phaneron… my answer is “How should I know?”… I am not dismayed by ultimate mysteries… I can no more grasp what is behind such questions as my cat can understand what is behind the clatter I make while I type this paragraph.”
Martin Gardner, The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener

Christopher Hitchens
“Many things in this period have been hard to bear, or hard to take seriously. My own profession went into a protracted swoon during the Reagan-Bush-Thatcher decade, and shows scant sign of recovering a critical faculty—or indeed any faculty whatever, unless it is one of induced enthusiasm for a plausible consensus President. (We shall see whether it counts as progress for the same parrots to learn a new word.) And my own cohort, the left, shared in the general dispiriting move towards apolitical, atonal postmodernism. Regarding something magnificent, like the long-overdue and still endangered South African revolution (a jagged fit in the supposedly smooth pattern of axiomatic progress), one could see that Ariadne’s thread had a robust reddish tinge, and that potential citizens had not all deconstructed themselves into Xhosa, Zulu, Cape Coloured or ‘Eurocentric’; had in other words resisted the sectarian lesson that the masters of apartheid tried to teach them. Elsewhere, though, it seemed all at once as if competitive solipsism was the signifier of the ‘radical’; a stress on the salience not even of the individual, but of the trait, and from that atomization into the lump of the category. Surely one thing to be learned from the lapsed totalitarian system was the unwholesome relationship between the cult of the masses and the adoration of the supreme personality. Yet introspective voyaging seemed to coexist with dull group-think wherever one peered about among the formerly ‘committed’.

Traditionally then, or tediously as some will think, I saw no reason to discard the Orwellian standard in considering modern literature. While a sort of etiolation, tricked out as playfulness, had its way among the non-judgemental, much good work was still done by those who weighed words as if they meant what they said. Some authors, indeed, stood by their works as if they had composed them in solitude and out of conviction. Of these, an encouraging number spoke for the ironic against the literal mind; for the generously interpreted interest of all against the renewal of what Orwell termed the ‘smelly little orthodoxies’—tribe and Faith, monotheist and polytheist, being most conspicuous among these new/old disfigurements. In the course of making a film about the decaffeinated hedonism of modern Los Angeles, I visited the house where Thomas Mann, in another time of torment, wrote Dr Faustus. My German friends were filling the streets of Munich and Berlin to combat the recrudescence of the same old shit as I read:

This old, folkish layer survives in us all, and to speak as I really think, I do. not consider religion the most adequate means of keeping it under lock and key. For that, literature alone avails, humanistic science, the ideal of the free and beautiful human being. [italics mine]


The path to this concept of enlightenment is not to be found in the pursuit of self-pity, or of self-love. Of course to be merely a political animal is to miss Mann’s point; while, as ever, to be an apolitical animal is to leave fellow-citizens at the mercy of Ideolo’. For the sake of argument, then, one must never let a euphemism or a false consolation pass uncontested. The truth seldom lies, but when it does lie it lies somewhere in between.”
Christopher Hitchens, For the Sake of Argument: Essays and Minority Reports

Robert A. Heinlein
“Mike did not seem to grasp the idea of Creation itself. Well, Jubal wasn't sure that he did, either--he had long ago made a pact with himself to postulate a Created Universe on even-numbered days, a tail-swallowing eternal-and-uncreated Universe on odd-numbered days--since each hypothesis, while equally paradoxical, neatly avoided the paradoxes of the other--with, of course, a day off each year for sheer solipsist debauchery.”
Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Kedar Joshi
“The worst mockery God can make of a moralist is that He compels him to be a
solipsist.”
Kedar Joshi

Shirley Jackson
“Poor things, she thought - do they have to spend all this energy just to surround me? It seemed pitiful that these automatons should be created and wasted, never knowing more than a minor fragment of the pattern in which they were involved, to learn and follow through insensitively a tiny step in the great dance which was seen close up as the destruction of Natalie, and far off, as the end of the world.

They had all earned their deaths, Natalie thought, by a job well done - the woman in the seat ahead who had never needed a face, had perhaps been given for her part only the back of a head and a dark cloth coat collar, the man in the seat next to Natalie, a full-dress part, even to the watchchain and the grimy shirt collar - had not this same man, as a matter of fact, been close to Natalie in the station, memorising her face so that although when next they met she would not know him, he would be able to identify her, winking and gesturing with his head to the others, murmuring perhaps to the bus driver, 'That one, there.”
Shirley Jackson, Hangsaman

Kevin Guilfoile
“A good critic is trying to tell you what she has learned about herself from the reading of a particular piece of literature. A bad reviewer is often trying to tell you how smart he is by declaring whether or not he liked a particular book. If he liked the book, then this is the kind of book a superior person likes, and vice versa. He might try to explain why he didn’t like it, but the review is really just a tautology. “I didn’t like this book because it is bad,” is equivalent to “This book is bad because I didn’t like it.”
Kevin Guilfoile

“In my mind I lead a phantom's life. My neighbor makes me real.”
Marty Rubin

“He may actually have been existing in the past and approximating a conceivable future, which brought even the assumption of his immediate perceptions as being in the present into doubt. And thus, he couldn’t—beyond a hint of skepticism—say that he truly existed right now and in this moment, but instead it seemed more rational to assume that he simply existed and nothing more.”
Ashim Shanker, Don't Forget to Breathe

Alberto Caeiro
“And since today’s all there is for now, that’s everything.
Who knows if I’ll be dead the day after tomorrow?
If I’m dead the day after tomorrow, the thunderstorm day after tomorrow
Will be another thunderstorm than if I hadn’t died.
Of course I know thunderstorms don’t fall because I see them,
But if I weren’t in the world,
The world would be different —
There would be me the less —
And the thunderstorm would fall on a different world and would be another thunderstorm.
No matter what happens, what’s falling is what’ll be falling when it falls.

(7/10/1930)”
Alberto Caeiro, The Collected Poems of Alberto Caeiro

Dean Cavanagh
“I obviously invented Solipsism”
Dean Cavanagh

Sophocles
“For if any man thinks that he is alone is wise--that in speech, or in mind, he hath no peer--such a soul, when laid open, is ever found empty.”
Sophocles, Antigone

Iain M. Banks
“War, famine, disease, genocide. Death, in a million different forms, often painful and protracted for the poor individual wretches involved. What god would so arrange the universe to predispose its creations to experience such suffering, or be the cause of it in others? What master of simulations or arbitrator of a game would set up the initial conditions to the same pitiless effect? God or programmer, the charge would be the same: that of near-infinitely sadistic cruelty; deliberate, premeditated barbarism on an unspeakably horrific scale.”

Hyrlis looked expectantly at them. “You see?” he said. “By this reasoning we must, after all, be at the most base level of reality – or at the most exalted, however one wishes to look at it. Just as reality can blithely exhibit the most absurd coincidences that no credible fiction could convince us of, so only reality – produced, ultimately, by matter in the raw – can be so unthinkingly cruel. Nothing able to think, nothing able to comprehend culpability, justice or morality could encompass such purposefully invoked savagery without representing the absolute definition of evil. It is that unthinkingness that saves us. And condemns us, too, of course; we are as a result our own moral agents, and there is no escape from that responsibility, no appeal to a higher power that might be said to have artificially constrained or directed us.”
Iain M. Banks, Matter

James Boswell
“After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, “I refute it thus.”
James Boswell

Fernando Pessoa
“O que parece haver de desprezo entre homem e homem, de indiferente que permite que se mate gente sem que se sinta que se mata, como entre os assassinos, ou sem que se pense que se está matando, como entre os soldados, é que ninguém presta a devida atenção ao facto, parece que abstruso, de que os outros são almas também.”
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

“All religious and spiritual practices lead to one deep realisation: We Are One. All is One.”
Anita B. Sulser PhD, We Are One

Debasish Mridha
“I don’t believe in solipsism, but I also believe that if I am not existing—nothing exists for me.”
Debasish Mridha

Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt
“Mme Therbouche: Ah oui, qu’avez-vous fait jusqu’à présent pour la morale ?
Diderot: (sans vergogne). Mais... j’ai offert mon exemple.”
Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Le Libertin

“Here in Alpha City, we have a common saying: “What we call ‘sky’ is merely a figment of our narrative.” The most dreamy-eyed among us seem to adorn themselves and their aspirations in that proverb and you’ll see it everywhere: in advertisements on the sides of streetcars and auto-rickshaws, spelled out in studs and rhinestones on designer jackets, emblazoned in the intricate designs of facial tattoos—even painted on city walls by putrid vandals and inspiring street artists.

There is something glorious about kneading out into the doughy firmament the depth and breadth of one’s own universe, in rendering the contours of a sky whose limits are predicated only upon the bounds of one’s own imagination. The fact of the matter is that we cannot see the natural sky at all here. It is something like a theoretical mathematical expression: like the square-root of ‘negative one’—certainly it could be said to have a purpose for existing, but to cast eyes upon it, in its natural quantity, would be something akin to casting one’s eyes upon the raw elements comprising our everyday sustenance. How many of us have even borne close witness to the minute chemical compounds that react to lend battery power to our portable electronics? The sky is indeed such a concealed fixture now. It is fair to say that we have purged our memories of its true face and so we can only approximate a canvas and project our desires upon it to our heart’s dearest fancy. The most cynical among us would ostensibly declare it an unavoidable tragedy, but perhaps even these hardened individuals could not remember the naked sky well enough to know if what they were missing was something worthwhile. Perhaps, it’s cynical of me to say so! In any case, we have our searchlights pointed upwards and crisscrossing that expanse of heavens as though to make some sensational and profane joke of ourselves to the surrounding universe. We beam already video images of beauty pageants and dancing contests with smiling mannequins who look like buffoons. And so, the face of space cloaks itself behind our light pollution—in this respect, our mirrored sidewalks and lustrous streets do little to help our cause—and that face remains hidden from us in its jeering ridicule, its mocking laughter at this inexorable farce of human existence.”
Ashim Shanker

Thomas Nagel
“If you can't prove that anything exists outside you own mind, is it all right to go on believing in the external world anyway?”
Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy

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