Reconfiguring My Blog . . . And My Reality?

Reconfiguring My Blog . . . And My Reality?

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

So, I took a short break from writing after my most recent experience in having my words ripped off.  That sounds funny, almost literal, as though the page I had written upon had been torn from my journal and pasted into another’s.  I suppose that’s as literal a vision as it gets here in this digital world.  One of mysterious computer languages.  Encrypted hieroglyphics.  Translated.  Captured.

And Manipulated.

As of the day of this writing, I had actually begun working on another travel story but my mind was pulled in multiple different directions. 

My first task seemed so simple.  I was searching for words used to describe the motion of unlacing my boots.  I’m sure that sounds funny, but it will make sense someday (or perhaps not) when I finish that post.  At any rate, my seemingly simple search led me to a post about the “solipsism problem.”  I stumbled upon this in an article in Scientific American.   

Hand movement, untying boots, was all I was looking for.

Merriam-Webster defines “solipsism” as: “a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing, also: extreme egocentrism.”  The word itself is derived from “a composite of the Latin solus (“alone”) and ipse (“self”).” 

And from John Horgan, the author of the article:

“Solipsism, technically, is an extreme form of skepticism, at once utterly nuts and irrefutable. It holds that you are the only conscious being in existence. The cosmos sprang into existence when you became sentient, and it will vanish when you die. As crazy as this proposition seems, it rests on a brute fact: each of us is sealed in an impermeable prison cell of subjective awareness. Even our most intimate exchanges might as well be carried out via Zoom.”

Humm, while our encapsulation may be physically complete, this theory, if one would call it that, seems not to take into account anything of external communication, or of our intuitive natures, or of our shared physical experiences.  The mere holding of hands or a kiss would seem to me to pierce these prison walls and dispel the fate of this self-reflecting egoism.  If not, perhaps our dream states and astral projection would nail shut the coffin on such mental masturbations. 

Nor would I ever be so egotistical to think that the entire cosmos would be extinguished upon my singular death.

Although this theory, if one could call it that, can make for many an interesting thought experiment. In fact, it serves as the underlying theme of a good satiric work , “Breakfast of Champions,” by Kurt Vonnegut where the protagonist came to believe that he was the only human being and everyone else was a machine. 

If chancing upon this line of reasoning wasn’t enough to overload my brain box today, once landing on the pages of Scientific American, I would hit upon yet another article from this same author.  It turns out he is a critic of Buddhism and his story involved himself going on a Buddhist retreat.  This skeptic, as well as all others in attendance, were encouraged not to be using their electronics, not to be reading anything other than the texts being taught from, and not to be writing or journaling. 

The focus was to be totally on the training and the meditations.

What caught my attention, as often a detail of seemingly little consequence to the story does, was the author told his friend, while protesting about not writing, “I’m not sure what happens to me until I write about it.”

Now this I found to be profound.

Why so?  Because we as writers are indeed in the construction business.  We construct all of the entities that are the subject of our writings.  Their actions and interactions. All of their attributes and all of their faults.  And we relay all of the backdrop surrounding the events described.  All of the nuances.  The colors.  The sounds.  The smells. The tastes.  The textures.  

And that’s non-fiction writing.

With fiction, writers invent entire worlds that only exist in the mind. Characters and lifetimes from visions.  Languages and alphabets.  Years of history that have never transpired on our Mother Earth. 

If a person is unaware of what he or she is experiencing (and I’m not saying that particular author is or is not) until committing it to paper, then by the time the ink has dried, the event may have shifted from non to total fiction.  Said person is free to invent, to revise, to edit, to modify, to rearrange. 

In short, to lie. 

Does this not lead us back to that same egotism of solipsism?  That all we can know is ourselves, and no one else exists?  The world orbits but one.

To other writers maybe, but not to this one.   I’ll do my best to relay my stories as the objective observer, but I’ll also include my subjective feelings. Contemporaneously. Without modification. Even if they show my weaknesses and faults and failures. Even if I’m not the center of attention. Even if I’m not some kind of hero. Even if I’m not part of the story at all.

And hello to the many great souls I’ve met on this journey.

I wholeheartedly acknowledge your existence and many thanks for all that you’ve shared.

In Metta

Photo: The Prairie Smoke, a beautiful wildflower I found growing in the mountains of SouthEast Arizona. It need not re-write its reality. Its beauty can be conveyed without words. No one can define its boundaries. It, like all things in Nature, is pure perfection.

A not-so-final observation, if other forms of writing are so easily polluted, perhaps poetry is the only “true” form of writing. My hat is off to all of the poets.

Postscript: I am reminded of the phrase Memento Mori. Translated from it’s Latin, it means “remember that you [have to] die.”

A number of philosophers have addressed this, and supposedly a story is told that a conquering Roman general riding in a chariot in a celebratory procession, would have a slave standing behind him holding a crown above his head, while, in Latin, reminding the general that he was but only a man and that he too would die.

This was to encourage humility.

I’ve also read, in Merriam-Webster, that early Puritan settlers (in the US) were so fearful of death that they displayed this phrase on their tombstones as a message to the living to live a moral life or face eternal punishment. It was also said, that in earlier times, it was a European custom to keep a skull on one’s desk as a reminder of one’s mortality.

I suppose such a concept, Memento Mori, would not apply to the egotist of the solipsism theory, however. For when that person dies, they would believe they were taking the entire known Universe with them.

Perhaps that is the most perverse form of narcissism.

Oh, BTW, on the reconfiguring.  And please excuse my rambling. I’m adding a few features to my posts that hopefully will not disrupt any readers, but will, at the same time discourage any who would seek to steal my words or pictures. I’ve no comment as to whether they are worth stealing. 😊 As you can see one of these features is playing around with the podcast function.

An update to the Podcasting – it failed with this piece. I’m obviously on the low end of the learning curve here. But it worked with other posts of mine and you shall be seeing more of those links soon.


How Do I Know I’m Not the Only Conscious Being in the Universe?

A Buddhism Critic Goes on a Silent Buddhist Retreat

Link Rot: I can never guarantee the life of any hyperlink to any web page.  They do deteriorate over time, can be corrupted, and I’ve even seen them hacked to where they take you to other sites.  The most embarrassing of which happened one year when the local news advertised a site that was supposed to stream the Mari Gras parade live – instead the link took you to a porn site.

21 thoughts on “Reconfiguring My Blog . . . And My Reality?”

  1. I’ve had my stuff ripped off too. I write novels and give them away online. Now and then someone cuts and pastes them and sells them on Amazon using my pen name. At first it would feel like a violation, Now I don’t care. It’s their karma.

    I’ve pondered the solipsism problem too. I like the idea of the world as a mental construct, it makes a lot of sense to me, but I couldn’t get past that problem of “if I’m dreaming all of this then who is everyone else”. It was reading a guy called Bernardo Kastrup (why materialism is baloney) who solved it for me, at least in a way that suited my thinking – that we’re the ones being dreamed by the universe. This restored the dream idea and the sovereign nature of all the individuals within it. It also means the universe doesn’t disappear when I die, which will be good news to everyone else.

    Interesting too what that writer said about not knowing what was happening to him until he wrote it down. I understand that. It’s like it’s not enough just to be. I also have to express myself in whatever this reality is, even if it’s only through a keyboard for others to rip off.

    And yes, that is a stunning flower.

    Keep well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to hear that you too have been ripped off in this fashion. I will have to check out Kastrup. I had not heard of his work before. Of course, until writing this post, I had not heard of solipsism either. Fascinating stuff. I do love writing about my experiences as I find I do gain greater insight, but I try to be true to the real experience as it is tempting to recast events and the characters in them. Although, it would be fun to compare those events with the others involved for they may remember things entirely differently. I hope that these ripoffs will cease. And thanks for sharing your insight. You stay well too !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Solipsism, perhaps not unlike the computer simulation theory which is a hypothesis that reality could be simulated by, say, an advanced super quantum computer (controlled by the yet-speculative unknown), to a degree indistinguishable from “true” reality. This simulation, containing conscious minds, or “A” conscious mind (me alone) that’s unaware of living inside a simulation. Pretty crazy stuff until you consider where our own computer simulation technology might take us in the next thousand years or so.

    But why would I give even the slightest consideration to this wild-sounding theory, you ask? Well to start, both Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson are advocates. Then you have quantum entanglement as well as the double-slit experiment, which produces different results depending on “whether you observe the process or not!” YIKES!

    Finally, and most-illogically, is my dream. I once dreamt of surprising an elderly, futuristic and facially-scared man and woman standing in front of a huge one-way mirror. I got the crazy feeling that these two were my true parents and they’ve been watching my simulated life here on earth through this window. As I drew closer to them, they sensed me, panic drew across their faces and my dream suddenly ended.

    It was like having a glimpse at a secret truth that I wasn’t suppose to see! Crazy stuff Right? What was Einstein’s quote? “Spooky action at a distance?” — Yep, that’s me! Be well Earthwalker!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your insights Wayne! I love having my brain running down these corridors of thoughts trying to grasp the concepts of consciousness and awareness and that are blended with existence. It’s challenging, and I’m unsure that it will be subject to scientific explanation. Nor metaphysical explanation. It seems we are left alone in a vast desert, or forest perhaps, to ponder what is real and what is not – including ourselves. BTW, your dream is very powerful regardless of how you may interpret it. You almost pulled back the curtain! Take care and I look forward to sharing more thoughts on such topics

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I stopped writing as I realized it was nothing more than grandiose ego gratification. Well, if I am the only ego in the universe, perhaps I shall start writing again. And the Universe may or may not blink out of existence as I pass, but it will for me in this state of consciousness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi George! I’ve been hoping you’d start writing again. You’d be entertaining all of us simulations around you 😁 And I don’t feel that you are engaged in grandiose ego gratification. But you have me wondering about myself now. I’m not sure what will happen to any of our particles of awareness when departing these physical shells. Universe? New Universe? No Universe? Reborn to something else? Erased completely?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve determined my writing has no value…but I’m starting to reconsider. Sure, I could blog for my own amusement, but I could also masturbate, or simply take a walk. Plus…all these existential questions you raise I’ve been attempting to address in my “story” at some unconscious level, but who am I to solve the mysteries of existence? If this were a boxing ring, that would be my sweaty towel you see on the mat.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting, I had not heard of solipsism. A strange an interesting concept. I agree with you Harold, it is wonderful to meet others on this journey. It is hardly a singular one. (And, I am glad you are writing. I’m sorry someone plagiarized your work).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This blogging community has turned out to be so much different than I first imagined. I expected more shallowness and confrontation as I see on other social media platforms. I’ve been pleasantly surprised here. Most bloggers on WP seem to me to be upbeat. They are looking to share stories and want people to be reading their pieces. And I’ve made more friends here than I ever imagined. And I do think you can get to know people through their writing, as long as they are being genuine and most are. There are a number of people on here I’d love to meet in person but distance and different life paths will stymie that. Which is a shame. Where I live there is little opportunity to meet interesting people, but at least I can meet wonderful people here and I love to share stories. Some of my stories are very personal to me and it’s a bit of a risk sharing because you can never tell how people will take your work. But without taking that risk, you’ll never know. The theft is very discouraging and WP could prevent a lot of it, but doesn’t. I have plenty more stories to tell and hope to get back to writing them soon. Part of me wants to preserve them for my daughter and I hope she will read them and know more about who I am and where she comes from. There are some other things spinning around in my world right now that are taking some of my time and attention. At any rate, I am very grateful to have met you here, and I enjoy your writing very much. It’s a sunny day here, and I hope yours is filled with sunshine too. Thanks for being here and sharing ❤❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you. I am truly glad to have met you too. ❤ This blogging community is full of good people and a great depth and variety of information. I always look forward to your posts, reading your adventures and rich experiences always makes me think. I appreciate you Harold. ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s