How to refute Solipsism?

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dachmidt
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2021 10:28 am

Re: How to refute Solipsism?

Post by dachmidt »

Sophie268 wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 6:57 pm
dachmidt wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 2:19 pm
Lysander wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 5:17 am

This is not exactly the kind of argument you are looking for but its a satisfying answer to me nonetheless.

I think it was in one of Francis Lucille's retreats, he answered to the effect that nobody actually lives as if solipsism is true. Even if you take it as your preferred best explanation of reality, you will find it next to impossible to actually embody and implement. It is counter-intuitive at the deepest level. To resolve the cognitive dissonance you must say: "I know I am the only being in reality, but I will pretend others are real to sustain the fantasy of non-solipsism." In other words, to live authentically as a solipsist means to act as if solipsism isn't real. Because to act as if solipsism is actually real would mean to be a non-empathic sociopath indifferent to love, compassion or ethical restraints of any kind. So even if you cannot logically disprove solipsism, you should be comfortable dismissing it experientially as implausible.
Thanks for your response, I totally agree.

Thinking it through, it's not only experientially implausible (which is still probably the strongest argument against it) but also logically.

I came up with the following points:
1. Even If Solipsism were true, it doesn't change anything at all when it comes to the big questions like "why am I here?" and "what is live all about?". The only difference would be that instead of looking for God or a higher purpose, I would be God and the higher purpose myself, which sounds very narcisstic.
2. Why is it, that I am so dependent on others when it comes to increasing knowlede and wisdom? Why do I have to make up people who teach me what should already be mine? It's more likely, that knowledge and wisdom is a challenge for us humans as a collective.
3. Why is it that the "outer world" is completely out of my control? Why does it sometimes overwhelm me? And if I change stages of my consciousness/psyche/desires/wishes, why does the world not unfold itself according to those new patterns? Again, it is much more reasonable that the world unfolds itself according to a collective consciousness, where I am only a part of.
4. Why is it that relational feelings and interactions like love, empathy or sexuality seem so natural, whereas I would never have come to the Idea of Solipsism myself, if I haven't read about it? It indicates that Solipsism is nothing more than a mind game, while relationships are an inevitable part of our intuitive self.
5. Why is there even a world of forms and languages, a world of perception, when there is no one to interact with? It's very hard to make any sense of the whole story of life and humans within Solipsism, so why even come up with it in first place?
6. The very fact, that I have much more questions than I have answers when it comes to anything important in life, shows, that I would have to be a clueless genius. It's completely contradictory.
I would say that with point number 4, this wasn't necessarily the case for me. Without having read about Solipsism, it came about "naturally" for me during times of extreme and rather constant synchronicities, while in the midst of spiritual breakthroughs (or shall I say breakdowns :lol: ). The feeling that the external world was swirling around me, and me alone, came about through these "breaks" in what seemed previously plausible to me, ie my previously held beliefs of materialism. I would say that it wasn't exactly true Solipsism, but more along the lines that God and I were the only ones in existence and that the world, and those in it, were only there to bring me to new places of understanding. I did not enjoy this feeling, as even with that feeling of God present, it still felt incredibly lonely, terrifying, and yes, narcissistic. The feeling was there all the same, but it was through thinking about some of the other points you've listed that I was able to combat this feeling and ease myself away from the cliff. I am wondering if this solipsism feeling is part of the process when those walls of previously strongly held belief on the nature of reality start to crumble. I will say that these experiences were the reason I went searching for answers and found this forum, for which I am very grateful.
If you think it through, it is somehow funny that we are/were experiencing lonliness and anxiety, independently from each other but for the same reason, just because we do not trust each other for having a self-experiantal I. It sounds redicolous but in that situation it can feel very real.

But you made a good and interesting point, by stating that those kinds of thoughts might be a part of the process when strong hold beliefs start to crumble (which is definetely the case for me).

I've been reflecting on my fear of lonliness and the anxiety that comes from Solipsism, and one thing that was very salient was the fact, that because of my christian, evangelical upbringing I never learned to really trust myself. Instead I was taught that we as humans are sinful and depraved and in need for a saviour. Being "alone", without concrete divine guidance or orientation (at least I am not sure anymore how to think about God) made me feel very uncomfortable and anxious. Probably my challenge is to find divinity within myself and to start to trust my experiences instead of neglecting them. Maybe the fear of solipism is only a symptom of a deeper underlying problem, instead of the problem itself (due to the practical and logical flaws).
ParadoxZone
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:59 pm

Re: How to refute Solipsism?

Post by ParadoxZone »

Hi Sophie,

"I would say that with point number 4, this wasn't necessarily the case for me. Without having read about Solipsism, it came about "naturally" for me during times of extreme and rather constant synchronicities, while in the midst of spiritual breakthroughs (or shall I say breakdowns :lol: ). The feeling that the external world was swirling around me, and me alone, came about through these "breaks" in what seemed previously plausible to me, ie my previously held beliefs of materialism. I would say that it wasn't exactly true Solipsism, but more along the lines that God and I were the only ones in existence and that the world, and those in it, were only there to bring me to new places of understanding. I did not enjoy this feeling, as even with that feeling of God present, it still felt incredibly lonely, terrifying, and yes, narcissistic. The feeling was there all the same, but it was through thinking about some of the other points you've listed that I was able to combat this feeling and ease myself away from the cliff. I am wondering if this solipsism feeling is part of the process when those walls of previously strongly held belief on the nature of reality start to crumble. I will say that these experiences were the reason I went searching for answers and found this forum, for which I am very grateful."

Thanks for that. You've just sparked a memory in me that might have been a first derealisation experience(?) It was around 9-10 years old, and my sense-making then was to think "hey, this is a game and everyone else knows the rules, except me."

So then I wondered about the stage of life, and the impact that might have on how we make sense of these experiences. A child might shrug it off, a teenager might act out, an adult might freak out etc. (I'm only calling this derealisation now because of an experience in middle age that introduced me to the concept - "Solipsism" wasn't a word/concept that I was familiar with.)

Would love to hear more about those synchronicities, if you're willing to share.
Sophie268
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2021 6:25 pm

Re: How to refute Solipsism?

Post by Sophie268 »

Hedge90 wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 9:31 pm
I had similar feelings during my last shroom trip, but it wasn't a bad thing, just a change of perspective. One part of my trip saw me fall back into the deepest abyss of my mind, with the outside world and any kind of dynamic experience ceasing. There was nothing and I was nothing, but an empty awareness, and through that awareness I "saw" myself, and thereby was able to infer that "I" am not that person, "I" am the awareness. There was no time there and I thought it possible that I'll be in that nothing forever, but I wasn't scared, because any feelings I had stayed with the ego. I was totally neutral about the whole situation.
And I think, that "I" is MAL. And indeed, that's the only consciousness in existence. We each share it. But it is not lonely, because loneliness is a feeling humans developed as a result of that it was very dangerous in our evolution to be separated from the pack / tribe. MAL cannot be lonely because nothing threatens it. The feeling of the need for companionship stems from our separation from being One. If you felt a negative emotion in that state, like fear or loneliness, I'd say that were the flickers of your ego.
So, in conclusion, there's one consciousness, but everything that makes you a person stems from the self-referential loop of experiences that is entirely yours. It doesn't matter that it is the same consciousness that experiences all the other alters and the universe itself - in fact, it couldn't be any other way. Consciousness is a (or rather, THE) fundamental ontological element of reality; having more than one would be like having more than one gravity or more than one space or more than one time.
Hedge90,

In more recent moments with my spiritual breakthrough/awakening (which began happening in 2018), I have definitely felt less anxiety and loneliness, which I believe has been due to reading more about other people’s experiences and learning more about idealism and M@L. I think it could also be a part of the process in itself, as that feeling of solipsism, and my negativity associated with it, pushed me in the other direction, giving me a strong desire to feel connected to the world as fully conscious on its own (were I not to exist) and not arising from only my own consciousness, or that I was the only player in a game that God had built, which was really the feeling that led to most of the negativity, because I knew it couldn’t be true. I would feel quite foolish afterwards for believing anything of the sort, even though the belief was fleeting.

It does seem like my ego was taking center stage during those experiences of solipsism. I was very unprepared (I wasn’t initially seeking mystical experiences, my break was trauma related), and as reality seemed to completely shift, but those around me didn’t seem to be aware or affected by it, it really felt like I was alone in the universe, or not alone exactly, as I did feel that presence with me, which I believed to be God. I imagine I would have felt much lonelier had I not felt that presence, but perhaps less like an egocentric jerk about it. It certainly felt like I was being tested at times and failing miserably.

dachmidt wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 9:42 pm
If you think it through, it is somehow funny that we are/were experiencing lonliness and anxiety, independently from each other but for the same reason, just because we do not trust each other for having a self-experiantal I. It sounds redicolous but in that situation it can feel very real.

But you made a good and interesting point, by stating that those kinds of thoughts might be a part of the process when strong hold beliefs start to crumble (which is definetely the case for me).

I've been reflecting on my fear of lonliness and the anxiety that comes from Solipsism, and one thing that was very salient was the fact, that because of my christian, evangelical upbringing I never learned to really trust myself. Instead I was taught that we as humans are sinful and depraved and in need for a saviour. Being "alone", without concrete divine guidance or orientation (at least I am not sure anymore how to think about God) made me feel very uncomfortable and anxious. Probably my challenge is to find divinity within myself and to start to trust my experiences instead of neglecting them. Maybe the fear of solipism is only a symptom of a deeper underlying problem, instead of the problem itself (due to the practical and logical flaws).
dachmidt,

While I was very much in the materialist and atheist mindset when I started having these strange mystical experiences, I was raised Christian, which is perhaps why I believed the presence with me was God when these experiences began. One of the most interesting things about my moments with this presence is that I was very much wanting this presence to just spell things out for me, tell me exactly how I needed to be viewing the universe, etc. This was not what I got, but more of that feeling of being tested to find what was actually within me all along, what I could find within me to better understand reality and the universe. It felt like it was guiding me into different ways of thinking, but it was not telling me that this was how I should view things, merely giving me an option to ponder and work out (ranging from the very concrete and personal to the very abstract). This intense one-on-one was very much a contributing factor to my solipsism problem, but then again, through that one-on-one, it seemed to lead me out of it, so… ::shrugs:: :lol:

ParadoxZone wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 11:34 pm
Thanks for that. You've just sparked a memory in me that might have been a first derealisation experience(?) It was around 9-10 years old, and my sense-making then was to think "hey, this is a game and everyone else knows the rules, except me."

So then I wondered about the stage of life, and the impact that might have on how we make sense of these experiences. A child might shrug it off, a teenager might act out, an adult might freak out etc. (I'm only calling this derealisation now because of an experience in middle age that introduced me to the concept - "Solipsism" wasn't a word/concept that I was familiar with.)

Would love to hear more about those synchronicities, if you're willing to share.
ParadoxZone,

Happy to have sparked a memory! I’m definitely willing to share about the synchronicities, but I fear diverging too much from the topic and writing a novel-length post about these things, as I tend to get excited when talking about them and no longer know the meaning of concise. I may eventually create a topic about these experiences (so I don’t take over someone else’s thread), but for now I’ll just say that for the past few years, I’ve had some very beautiful synchronicities that seem to help guide me to different viewpoints on things, mostly spiritual or mystical in nature but not always the case, at certain points in my life when I need them the most. But I’ll also say that when I’m going through emotional turmoil, these synchronicities get really really overwhelming and can kinda take over my life (along with some disruptive patterns of thinking). It does occasionally look like psychosis, and it would be wrong to say I don’t get delusional. But these delusions will often later (after I’m safely away from feeling like I’m living them) show some basis in something tangible in the world…like a film or book that has a plotline that is way too close to the thing I lived inside my head. The past few years have been pretty wild.
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