Thursday, 12 April 2012

Nothing Ever Happens

Existential nihilism and metaphysical solipsism make for a bad combination. In fact they may even be mutually exclusive - I haven't quite made up my mind on that.

It's all well and good believing that my reality is the only true reality, and that other beings are merely representations of myself. That at least leaves one with a feeling of immense power and untouchability. But combine that with the belief that existence is pointless, without meaning, and you're (I'm) left with a rather redundant outlook. Further; the futility of searching for or assigning meaning being fully acknowledged, leaves one with little alternative but to sit and thumb-twiddle.

This is a brilliant quote from Donald A. Crosby (he's merely another representation of me, but it would be wrong not to let you (also me) know which (other) me came up with it): "There is no justification for life, but also no reason not to live. Those who claim to find meaning in their lives are either dishonest or deluded. In either case, they fail to face up to the harsh reality of the human situation".

Poor Dr Crosby is labouring under the misapprehension that he and others that are not me are real, separate beings, but apart from that he makes a good point: I exist and I may as well embrace that fact, because no other facts can be verified. I do celebrate the fact of my existence purely for that reason. It's all I can be sure of, so there's really nothing else to celebrate, ever. And I can only celebrate the knowledge, as opposed to making use of it or acting on it in some way, because it has no inherent worth or usefulness; it just is.

This is a philosophy of ever-decreasing circles, and I can begin to see why Descartes' (my) famous soundbite is perhaps the most well-known philosophical phrase there is. It's a deliberately pithy summation which just about perfectly describes the simplicity and brutality of existence.

It all sounds rather bleak, but actually it's just neutral, benign. Not that that's any better than bleak. It may even be worse.

Friday, 6 January 2012


It's been and gone, again. Some of the events are modified from year to year. The locations aren't always the same ones. Even the individuals taking part have varied. Yet Christmas is to me a reassuring constant. There is a pleasingly jolting change of pace, of focus, and of expectation.

For want of a better word, Christmas is a good time. I have time to concentrate on my partner and my family, and I feel closer to them as a result. Ritualised generosity breeds spontaneous generosity, material and otherwise. The quality of rest, and of play, is increased. There is no clutter, no obstruction or interference, no background noise to distract from individual and collective enrichment.

At least, that's the theory. But in the solipsist world, the whole thing is of course invented, unreal, and potentially even worthless.

The simple view of why my unconscious mind might have created Christmas is I suppose as a rest and/or recuperation period. A periodic immersement in positivity undoubtedly refreshes and recharges, and by giving myself a Christmas from time to time, I both reward the progress I have made since the last one, and provide emotional nourishment to sustain me until the next one. In this way, we might think of Christmas as a pleasant commercial break in the TV mini series of life.

On the other hand, assuming only I exist, and everything I experience is devised, designed and delivered by me, to me, for me, then wouldn't an event like Christmas be at the very centre of any reason there might be for my existence? Surely if there are no other beings but me, there's no reason why I shouldn't be enjoying myself all the time? Why should I have any reason to feel guilty, or lazy, or shallow, if there is no-one else to offend, to be judged by, or to care about?

From this perspective, an event like Christmas must be at the very zenith of my singular existence. It is when my powers of imagination and creativity reach their peak, providing me the opportunity for a short space of time to feel heightened emotions and an enhanced connection with the imagined beings I have created to keep me company. The more prolonged periods of time, during which it is not Christmas, might then be about building up these creative reserves in order to facilitate another peak, another blast of the festive after burners to propel me onwards towards... well, I haven't quite worked that bit out yet.

Creative peak, or recuperating trough, I'm glad I have Christmas.