1. theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified
2. theory that the self is the only reality
Solus – alone
I found this on the last page of “Reading Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nafisi when I bought it recently from a second-hand bookstore sale. It took me a while to decipher the scribble because it was a little hard to read, only to realize that solipsism was a foreign word to me.
I did a bit of research online and realized solipsism espouses the philosophical idea similar though not entirely identical to Rene Descartes’ “Cogito ergo sum” or “I think therefore I am.”
For the solipsist, it is not merely the case that he believes that his thoughts, experiences, and emotions are, as a matter of contingent fact, the only thoughts, experiences, and emotions. Rather, the solipsist can attach no meaning to the supposition that there could be thoughts, experiences, and emotions other than his own. In short, the true solipsist understands the word “pain,” for example, to mean “my pain.” He cannot accordingly conceive how this word is to be applied in any sense other than this exclusively egocentric one.
Having read up more about solipsism, the handwriting emanated a sense of solitude and loneliness that seems to speak volume of the person who wrote it. Although I would never find out how and why it was written there, it felt ironic that it was written inside a book. If the point of reading any work of literature is to escape into another world that the author has created in his or her mind, a true solipsist would never be able to appreciate literature because he cannot attach any meaning to any other than his own thoughts, experiences and emotions.
This is exactly one of the reasons why as an ebook reader, I still love buying actual hard copies of books. You will never know what lies inside and in between the pages, sometimes an old bookmark, an old photo, a handwritten quote, highlighting of words and many more. They add much color and character to the book which simply cannot be replaced with the digitization movement.
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