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Solipsism as it relates to Grendel
Transcript of Solipsism as it relates to Grendel
What is Solipsism?
Solipsism is the philosophical view that the individual is the center and creator of all conscious thought and perception.
Similar to egocentrics, solipsists only view the world through their own eyes. The two philosophies differ in that solipsists believe that they are not only the center of the world, but also the creator of everything in the world.
Solipsists would be likely to think that "I am the only mind which exists," or "My mental states are the only mental states."
A solipsist does not believe that other entities (such as people, objects, animals, and events) can exist on their own and he/she cannot understand experiences, emotions, or thoughts other than his/her own.
Grace Bowman, Sarah Bowman, Mary Margaret Evans, Daijah Fuller, & Lily Mize
The History of Solipsism
Solipsism comes from the latin "Solus ipse" meaning "the sole self."
Rene Descartes set the backdrop for solipsism, by introducing "methodological doubt" into philosophy. This allowed the concept of solipsism to become irrefutable, although far from common sense.
Modern philosophers continue to struggle with clearly defining solipsism, but Descartes' methodological doubt holds strong and supports the basic principles of the philosophy.
Grendel's Bout with Solipsism
In his earlier years (Ch. 2 & 3), before he encounters men and hears the Shaper's songs, Grendel is a solipsist.
Grendel sees the world as a product of his own mind, as most all of his time is spent alone. This isolation leads him to believe that he is the maker of all things around him and that they would not exist if he didn't see them.
Quotes from chapter 2
Though most of Grendel's solipsistic beliefs occur primarily in memories of his younger years, his thoughts seem to revert back to solipsism as he nears death, representing a full cycle of the mind.
Quotes from chapter 11
"I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly-- as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back.
I create the whole universe, blink by blink
"That's all there is. The mountains are what I define them as." (pg.28)
"The world is all pointless accident...I exist, nothing else." (pg.28)
"What I see I inspire with usefulness...and all that I do not see is useless, void." (pg.29)
"More clearly than ever I heard the muffled footsteps on the dome of the world, and even when
I realized that the footsteps were nothing but the sound of my own heart
, I knew more surely than before that something was coming." (pg.152)
Yet I exist
, I knew.
Then I alone exist
, I said.
It's me or it
Solipsism in Modern Movies
is the most cited example of solipsism in well-known film.
Spoon boy: "Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth."
Neo: "What truth?"
Spoon boy: "There is no spoon."
Neo: "There is no spoon?"
Spoon boy: "Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."
The Truman Show
is another example of a film that has underlying elements of solopsism. The main character, Truman, is isolated being the only one who is ‘real’ in the fake world created around him. This relates to the notion that we can only be sure that our own minds exist and everyone else’s minds (and the world) could be false or not exist at all or be a product of our own mind.
, although it does not grasp the entirety of solipsism, conveys the message that the idea of solipsism is dangerous enough on its own. The break between tangible reality and the mysterious mind is alluded to in one of the film's most powerful lines-- "They come here to wake up."