Friday, June 16, 2006

Solipsism

It's my favorite word in the English language, first learned from a William F. Buckley Jr. column, in the 1960s. Why do I like this word? Its Latin root says it all: alone + the self, only the self. Just me. Moi. Even a formal philosophy based on this. And is this not The Age of Solipsism, as evidenced by this very writing, this artifice itself, the Whole Blog Plant spinning on the axis of Celebrated Self, Sellabrated Ipse-ness, for all the cyber world to see (and sometimes hear, if one is so technically disposed or talented)? It's not as if I'm exempt from such solipsism by merely declaring it, it's not as if I'm exonerated by announcing it. Really, now, we're all subjectivists to a degree (not me, you protest! But if you truly doth protest, do not use that suspect pronoun d'ego).

What would the perfect solipsistic blog consist of? And endless loop of "I"s linked to one's own phot only accessible by one's own computer with the username "I" followed by the password "memememememememememenotyounotyounotyounotyounotyounotyouoryoueitherIgotyourpointasshole"?

How could we have a culture of celebrity without our friends Mr. and Mrs. Solipsist?

And why end with this [likely inexact] quote from Fyodor Dostoevsky: "Gentlemen, you ask me what is hell? It is the inability to love"?

The cool thing about the internet is that someone will read this and find the totally precise and exact quotation and its source and page number. Now, that is very unsolipsistic, is it not. Thank you in advance.

I should be sleeping.

It is 0122 hours.

While you are researching quotations, maybe you can help with this. Several years ago, in a front-page story in The New York Times, it was noted that for many years a series of aphorisms (not laughorisms, as on my www.laughorism.com) were attributed to Mother Teresa. Nice, cogent aphorisms. Turns out she unwittingly cribbed them, from some guy who in the 1960s or maybe 1970s had written them for a thesis at Harvard, who owned the copyright, and who subsequently published a book of these not-really-Mother-Teresa-pithy-spiritual quotations. The 20 million krone question is: who is that guy? Where are those quotes? Does it matter? Yes, it does to me. Even wikipedia.com didn't seem to help me ("misattributed quotes" might've been the topic I tried). In researching this, I discovered a wonderful online research project that someone did through a library (sorry, as I type it is not at my fingertips but I printed it out somewhere): a quote he says is falsely attributed to Edmund Burke, a quote oft quoted [wrongly] that goes [wrongly] something like: "All that good men have to do for evil to prevail is do nothing." I told you the quote is not exact. If I recall, this fellow challenged ANYONE to find that quote [or the "real" one like it] ANYWHERE in Burke's writings, or he would keep the url up there.

More later.

I really should go back to reading The Kite Runner in the hopes I'll go to sleep.

I do have to work tomorrow. At a real job.

And I thought I'd write just one sentence.

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