Solipsism - chance of birth - world soul

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Preliminary note: This article was written in the original in German. The English translation comes from the author too. A sufficient quality of the translation cannot be guaranteed.

Solipsism - chance of birth - world soul

Metaphysics is useless frills for worldly purposes. This article contains plenty of them. Who got lost here, in order to supply himself with tips and tricks for the course of the world, the Backspace key is recommended.


The paradox of the following explanations on solipsism is anticipated:
If solipsism exists, nobody exists who could read the article;
and if it doesn't exist, nobody needs to read the article because it's about something that doesn't exist.

A short space-saving definition in Wikipedia - keyword 'Solipsism':

'… metaphysical solipsists maintain that the self is the only existing reality and that all other realities, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that self, and have no independent existence.'

At most, it is unclear whether my thoughts arise productively in my ego or whether, like everything else, they are presented to me for a pleasing head cinema experience.

Who invented it? Apparently René Descartes (1596 - 1650) set the ball rolling in 'Discourse on the method' (1637):

'Through the critique of sensory recognition, he doubts the truthfulness of his perception. How can we know that our impressions correspond to the world as it is in real life? Could not an almighty God pursue deceitful intentions (deus deceptor) and consciously deceive man. Thus Descartes brings into play a demon who puts false ideas of the world into consciousness in order to fool and torture him. This evil demon (genius malignus) manipulates reality and creates illusions of false realities, which fundamentally distinguishes the perceived world from the actual reality. Man is without possibility of certainty.' ('Descartian demon')

2 original quotes:

‘Meditations on First Philosophy’, 1641:

'In that case, I, too, undoubtedly exist, if he deceives me; and let him deceive me as much as he can, he will never bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I think that I am something. So, after considering everything very thoroughly, I must finally conclude that the proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind.'

'Principles of Philosophy', 1644:

'While we thus reject all of which we can entertain the smallest doubt, and even imagine that it is false, we easily indeed suppose that there is neither God, nor sky, nor bodies, and that we ourselves even have neither hands nor feet, nor, finally, a body; but we cannot in the same way suppose that we are not while we doubt of the truth of these things; for there is a repugnance in conceiving that what thinks does not exist at the very time when it thinks. Accordingly, the knowledge, I think, therefore I am, is the first and most certain that occurs to one who philosophizes orderly.'

Then David Hume in 'A Treatise of Human Nature', 1739, p. 144:

'Let us fix our attention out of ourselves as much as possible: Let us chace our imagination to the heavens, or to the utmost limits of the universe; we never really advance a step beyond ourselves, nor can conceive any kind of existence, but those perceptions, which have appear’d in that narrow compass.'

And let's not forget Ludwig Wittgenstein - 'Tractatus logico-philosophicus' (1918) – spun with linguistic nonsense:

'… to what extent solipsism is a truth.
In fact what solipsism means, is quite correct, only it cannot be said, but it shows itself.
That the world is my world, shows itself in the fact that the limits of the language (the language which I understand) mean the limits of my world.
The world and life are one.
I am my world. (The microcosm.)'

Peter Möller writes on this topic among other things:

'It is a fallacy to believe that because I have sensory perceptions, there must also be something that affects my senses. I could be the creator of these perceptions all by myself (as in a dream). Besides, undeniable are only my perceptions as an experience. My senses can also be the product of my experience and have no existence independent of that experience.

As much as I think about it, as much as I try to understand with feeling or seek new perceptions or information, I can only create new experiences, nothing else. It seems that I am trapped in the world of my subjective experiences and there is no way out. It seems that any objective truth is unattainable for me.'

This is already the transition to the, from the outset, in principle doomed to failure

Refutation of solipsism:

With the quotations from David Hume and Peter Möller, everything is actually already said. Consciousness or thinking will never be able to step out of itself and verify a possible outside world.

Nor does it require any complicated consideration to obtain assurance that solipsism cannot be called into question by reference to the 'existence' of the world, which in practice is constantly asserting itself with necessities, especially to the behaviour of man in his environment. As a representative of such misconceptions, an Andrea Birk – 'On the disappearance of the subject', page 5:

'Certainly, much seems to speak against solipsism, because the view that only I exist, the core thesis of this philosophical position according to common understanding, is generally considered absurd, even simply ridiculous. This guarantees the practice of daily interaction, in which the idea of the solitary ego, the solus ipse, proves to be confused and contradictory. So it may be that someone who seriously insists that he alone exists cannot be stringently refuted, because he already doubts the existence of his arguing counterpart, but this position cannot be held and sustained in everyday reality either.'

How could solipsism disgrace itself by the 'practice of daily interaction' or 'everyday reality' when they are predetermined by the demon and the ego has not even been asked how it would like to behave in a supposedly real world? Does Andrea Birk seriously believe that she can discredit the philosophical alternative of the solely existing ego, but not acting, since non-existent human being, by referring to his ostensible actions in the world? This kind of logic has not come very far. No, she is simply biased, as the phrase 'is generally considered absurd, even simply ridiculous' suggests, and is not to be taken seriously as a scientist.

For example, the „Online-Wörterbuch Philosophie“, keyword „Solipsismus“ blows into the same detuned horn:

'However, a solipsist must allow himself to be questioned as to whether he can hold his point of view as a communicable one without getting into a self-contradiction.'

Do they all copy from each other?

Ludwig Wittgenstein was certainly significant more intelligent:

'Now when the solipsist says that only his own experiences are real, it is no use answering him: 'Why do you tell us this if you don't believe that we really hear it?' Or anyhow, if we give him this answer, we mustn't believe that we have answered his difficulty.

Now the man whom we call a solipsist and who says that only his own experiences are real, does not thereby disagree with us about any practical question of fact, he does not say that we are simulating when we complain of pains, he pities us as much as anyone else, and at the same time he wishes to restrict the use of the epithet 'real' to what we should call his experiences; and perhaps he doesn't want to call our experiences 'experiences' at all (again without disagreeing with us about any question of fact).'
('The Blue Book')

Only in passing, it should be mentioned that Andrea Birk's quirky statement, solipsism could not be 'stringently' refuted, since his representative 'already doubts the existence of his arguing counterpart', is a capitulation even before the argumentation has begun. Why should an argument by someone who denies the listener be appreciated differently from one that is committed to reality? Birk's statement, incidentally, allows us to draw conclusions about her screwy way of thinking: to her, the argument of a person who respects her eo ipso seems more respectable than that of someone who fundamentally questions her. Female logic?

No, the compelling reason for the failure of anti-solipsism has been mentioned above and there is logically nothing to be argued against it.

At least Andrea Birk still gets her act together later on page 25 of her opus when she quotes Rudolf Carnap:

'There is no conceivable situation in which the position of the realist or the idealist could be empirically verified (i.e. justified) or falsified (i.e. refuted); therefore neither the statement of one nor the other is factual. 'Science', Carnap concludes, 'can give it’s view on question of reality neither affirmatively nor negatively'.

Do we actually already need a 'situation' to think?

There is probably only one pseudo-objection to solipsism, that of a lack of plausibility: Why should a demon stage all this theatre? Just to keep the ego in good mood? And where does the demon actually come from? Is it to be located in a real world or just a production? The fact that no conclusive answers can be found to these questions does nowhere near disprove solipsism.

Questions upon questions:

Compare these questions, which have just been asked about solipsism, with those which might worry the followers of the real world, who stand on seemingly solid ground:

In a real world, there would be a lot of implausibilities, but hardly anyone takes this as an opportunity to question the reality of the world.

Chance of birth:

It has already been indicated that strange things are happening with the ego, which has been residing in a body since birth for no apparent reason. All the more surprising is the fact that practically nobody addresses this mystery, especially those who only partially agree with the choices made for them (by whom?) due to social status, lack of money, disability, suboptimal appearance, etc. Entire people’s hosts, for example in Africa, would have reason enough to complain about the continental allocation made over their heads. Does this taboo have psychological reasons (supposed criticism of the parents?) or is such displeasure already considered heresy against a realistic look at the world?

The chance of birth does not only refer to the selection within humanity. On Werner Brefeld's website the number of all living beings on earth is circulated as 10^18, i.e. a 1 with 18 zeros, whereby these are admittedly mainly insects. But what speaks against being born as an insect? Well, there are roughly 10 billion people, i.e. 10^10, so the probability of seeing the light of day as a human being instead of another living being would be 1 : [10^(18-10)] = 1 : 10^8 = 1 : 100,000,000, i.e. 1 : 100 million. Should one therefore simply swallow the fact that the ego personally had the honour of being the only human being among 100 million living beings to have been chosen at birth? But such luck! Not to mention all the aliens that populate the universe or the multiverse.

One is almost tempted to believe that chance at birth has made little progress after all. And if you bear solipsism in mind, you could succumb to the conspiracy theory that your own birth should initiate a scavenger hunt according to the will of a demon, at the end of which the discovery, if not necessarily of solipsism itself, then at least of all the oddities of the illusory reality we perceive should take place. It is interesting, however, that it is precisely this person, chosen from among 10 billion rational beings, who conceives on the widely unknown solipsism … Is the ego something like a remote-controlled laboratory rat, nobly expressed as an animal metaphysicum? And who is Dr. Frankenstein in this context?

Can it be a coincidence that I am in the body of the only species capable of thinking about solipsism, or is it that solipsism makes me believe that I am a rational being in order to confront me with solipsism in a coherent way? Shouldn't the demon break out into Homeric laughter in the face of the absurdity that into this pure subjectivity according to the logic of its virtual world is drummed in to dwell in the body of a species which, by means of its highly developed mind, is able to rise above all other species and prides itself on it, even though it is only an immaterial marionette?

World soul:

Now that nothing has been clarified, one more can be superimposed.

This suspicious chance of birth, the selection of a single living being for the implantation of the ego, would be to relativize or even to exclude with the assumption that there is no individual ego at all, but a world ego, a world soul, which includes all egoes of this world without them knowing about each other, since each of them closed off from the rest of the world soul in the body reserved for them? Then 'I' would have experienced or would experience everything that other living beings have experienced, experience and will experience in the past, present and future, not in my body, of course, but in theirs. Everything I do to other people or animals, I would then do to myself. This would also be a basis of argumentation for animal rights and peace activists, but they would probably be afraid of being admitted to a psychiatric ward, as their reputation is not the best.

Peter Möller again:

'Perhaps it is now the case that even though all people in the world of my waking consciousness are independent, themselves knowing subjects, i.e. having a consciousness of themselves and the world, but being individual awareness splits of an all-embracing world consciousness. The separation of the single individual consciousnesses would be only a partial, temporary one, or an illusion, or even a reality that is confronted by another, contradictory reality. Whether there is only one consciousness or several, would only be a question of approach. The world spirit would be a kind of 'multiple personality', every human being would be a person in it …'.

And Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, 'Thus spake Zarathustra', 'The convalescent 2.':

'Now do I die and disappear,' wouldst thou say, 'and in a moment I am nothing. Souls are as mortal as bodies. But the plexus of causes returneth in which I am intertwined, – it will again create me! I myself pertain to the causes of the eternal return. I come again with this sun, with this earth, with this eagle, with this serpent – NOT to a new life, or a better life, or a similar life: – I come again eternally to this identical and selfsame life, in its greatest and its smallest, to teach again the eternal return of all things …'

In rehabilitation of this website assurance is given that the local theory of the world soul was not plagiarised from Möller or Nietzsche, but rather as a possible conclusion drawn from the chance of birth. Two ways, one (possible) result.

If the world should be of the reality that has been drummed into us with our senses, the author would have knowledge of Möller or Nietzsche - if not as masterminds, then at least - parallel thinkers who would relieve him of the feeling of metaphysical loneliness a little.


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