Contemplating Solipsism and Death

Yesterday I was exposed to the idea of solipsism. This is a philosophy that says only our own mind and subjective experience can be known. Everything outside of ourselves and our own consciousness cannot ever really be confirmed or verified as true and existing. Because of this concept, solipsism is unfalsifiable. It cannot be proven or disproven.

I have considered this perspective before but never knew it had a name. I can still remember my sister and I discussing this idea as young children. Teasing my mother, saying we couldn’t be sure she was real. She and I agreed that we believed in one another, but that everyone else’s existence was suspect. I never realized until now how intelligent we were at even such a young age.

I still find this idea quite fascinating and think about it often. I’ve heard some use this as an excuse to do whatever they please whether or not that causes harm to others. I never looked at it that way though. I think it falls in line with yogic philosophy in a way. We are all that exists, but everything that exists is us. We are one with the universe and all that is in it.

For some reason this topic makes me contemplate death as well. If we are all that exists, we can’t be sure that we will truly ever die. The world around us is made up of never-ending cycles in a lot of ways. Perhaps we are just the manifestation of yet another cycle. Perhaps life, existence will also continue on in a new cycle after death brings an ending to the current one. I find myself hoping that is the case quite often. I’m not really sure what difference it makes though. Both ceasing to exist and existing forever are frightening concepts.

Death wouldn’t seem much less terrifying to me even if reincarnation is correct. As far as I know, I wouldn’t retain any of my current memories in my next life. So in a sense it wouldn’t be me anymore. I suppose that’s the part I can never wrap my head around though. I guess the me I identify as isn’t my true essence ultimately. There is a me behind the me I know. The stillness behind my eyes that watches my thoughts as they come and go.

If that continues on forever and simply my ego dies with my physical body, I’m not sure if that is comforting or not. In the end I guess I’m just trying to find a way to overcome my fear of death. I’ve been thinking about death and dying a lot lately for some reason. I’d like to find a way to make peace with it. With my own death and the death of my loved ones. Both of which encroach further and further each day. Perhaps I’m just foolishly searching for a way to justify continuing to live in denial for a bit longer.

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