Tuesday, October 31, 2006

So Singularly Solipsistic


My favorite word. Issued almost as a warning in the banner of this place where you are reading. The subject of my very first entry in the realms of weblogging.

Why my favorite word? Its sibilant sound, its meaning.

From the Latin solus + ipse. Alone + self. The idea (the philosophy!) that only the self exists (or can be proved to exist).

I was delighted to see the word show up in an October 16, 2006 (the day my lovely and endearing mother turned 90 years old, God bless her) profile on Christopher Hitchens in The New Yorker.

Hitchens is quoted as saying, "They want me to immolate myself, and I sincerely believe that for some of them, when they see bad news from Iraq, the reaction is simply 'This will make Hitchens look bad!' I've been trying to avoid solipsism, but I've come to believe there are such people."

At first, solipsism shines like a luminous icon of our age. The Age of Self.

But then, I figure, not so fast.

Memory and perception are acutely subjective, are they not? Maybe there's something to it.

I also like the word because it goes so far beyond "selfish" or "self-centered" or "narcissistic." Plus it sounds so silky smooth.

Smooth. I admit to a fetish for silky smoothness dating back to my earliest memories.

Lying in bed, playing with the silk of the blanket, caressing the unseen ridges in the dark, the tiny protuberances of the stitching along the edge, the verge, rubbing with thumb and forefinger the minuscule slopes of supple effluvium, floating down into the edge of sleep, and drifting into the years-later trance from the self-same fabric now worn on breathing female form and flesh and person.

Such is the act of writing.

I start with solipsism and end up in the sheets.

(So singularly unsurprising, some would say.)

An invitation: share your favorite word. Or delicious memory.

Or your silence.

My metaphysical Web site counter will count the spoken as well as the unspoken.

Thanks for visiting. "This very day," to use a phrase from Soren Kierkegaard.

(Incidentally, "I Leap for Kierkegaard" products in The Laughorist Store are by far the best sellers. Why is that?)


mist1 said...

Um, could you like blog about farts and stuff? I'm not that smart. Seriously.

Currently my favorite words are:

Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.


Reintarnation: Dying and coming back as a hillbilly.

Anonymous said...

fav word....so many to choose from....

Knickers - cos it make me smile when I say it.

Anonymous said...

i have two favs...




so good. :)

Glamourpuss said...

The Age of Self - indeed. Historically, King Lear has been considered Shakespeare's greatest tragedy but post-2WW, Hamlet usurped it, a tragic hero whose flaw is both indecision and self-obsession (arguably).

Love the prose passage. Very erotic.

Favourite word? So many - love slang and swearing. But 'delicious' is a favourite - something onomatopoeic about it. And 'minx', 'saucy minx', makes me laugh.


Pawlie Kokonuts said...

Reintarnation is a coinage from one of my friends at The Washington Post Style Invitational. When they had a slightly diff. contest I got in for "lymph" -- to walk with a lisp.

I like knickers too; silk obviously.

Achui (God bless you!),
Can we be zealous about our foibles?

One order of sultry saucy minx with legs! Onomatapoeia is also a great word. John Prine wrote a song of that title.

I thought of a few others: ordure (nice sound; gross meaning = dung. Dryden was criticized a play, calling it the steaming ordures of the stage.) I think Poe's fave was chrysalis, but he was prob. drunk.

How 'bout "chiliasm" (millennianism)? . . sounds like a chilly you-know-what.

Glamourpuss said...

I believe the popular term for such sport is daffynitions. The Uxbridge English Dictionary game is one of my faves on Radio 4's witty panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.

Examples include:

bigamist: An Italian fogbank.
dockyard: A physician's garden.
dynamite: To take a flea out to dinner.
innuendoes: Italian suppositories.
paradox: Two doctors
pasteurise: Too far to see.
propaganda: A gentlemanly goose.
pronoun: A noun that has lost its amateur status.

Wish I was that clever...


azgoddess said...

wow - love your 'sheets'paragraph..got me a bit hot and bothered..and that's a good thing - smile

my fav words change...and now i've been mulling around the word bitch in my mouth..

having been called it numerous times..with the affect to be shame or horror..

i've decided that it warrants a new look - examine it for it's good

like we've done with the word witch...

so i'm a bitchy witch -- and proud of it!!

Miranda said...

I kind of like obstreperous - stubbornly resistant to control. It sort of fits with solipsistic.

Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog.

monicker said...

Bonk is and was always my favorite word. Call me weird, I like onomatopoeia.

R James said...

For sheer laugh value, insert monkey into most phrases and you've got instant funny.

Also, I've found "17" to be a very funny number.

Anonymous said...

Right now I'm partial to "mooseknuckle" and "twat," but I've been ranting more than usual.

I hope you'll take up my challenge. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ennui, my current favorite word and the best noun to capture how I feel 99.9% of the time.

Anonymous said...

I'm partial to the word "serenity", however long it takes to get it....

Anonymous said...

I like how the word "sensuous" rolls off the page and off one's tongue. :-)

Patt said...

lizza's a naughty wriring lady.

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