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?)