The Simplicity of Solipsism

Topics: Mind, Ontology, Reality Pages: 3 (853 words) Published: October 28, 2010
In life, there’s much that seems confusing. We always want simple explanations for everything, but there are some theories that simply don’t possess an “easy way of putting it.” Many of these theories are used in literature; examples include nihilism, existentialism, and monism. However, there’s one theory that’s particularly interesting: solipsism. Solipsism is the belief that nothing exists, or can be proven to exist, except one’s own mind and the creations of it (Glossary). Solipsism is a very old, and often misunderstood, theory. Although it’s used in literature, in books such as Grendel by John Gardner, solipsism also occurs in everyday life. However, it’s not always easy to find. If we wish to do so, we must to take time to ponder. In Grendel, solipsism is incorporated twice. First when Grendel says, “I understood that the world was nothing, […] that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist” (Grendel 16). We get the feeling of solipsism easily from this quote, particularly with him saying “I alone exist,” which is the most basic of beliefs one must have to be a solipsist. Secondly, there’s solipsism when Grendel says, “I resist the world, […] the mountains are what I define them as, […] the world is all pointless accident, […] I exist, nothing else” (Grendel 22). These feelings expressed are those experienced by solipsists: the feeling of being alone in the world, that everything is as perceived by the solipsist, that nothing in the world means anything, and that nothing can be proven to exist but the solipsist. Solipsism is clearly important in Grendel since it is again brought up when Grendel remembers the first time he said “I alone exist,” later in the book. Solipsism was first noted with the Greek pre-Socratic scholar Gorgias of Leontini, who was “quoted […] as having stated: Nothing exists; Even if something exists, Nothing can be known about it; and Even if something could be known about it, knowledge about it can't be communicated to...
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