Self and World

SOL·IP·SISM (pronunciation) n.   (1) The theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified. (2) The view that the self is the only reality. (3) Absorption with oneself without consideration for the needs and desires of others: a self-indulgent memoir that revealed the author’s solipsism. [Latin solus, alone + Latin ipse, self + –ISM.]






Bernie, I don’t want to hear another word from you until you cut your ties to HRC and the DNC. Run third party and be our leader or STFU.

Comment posted on Bernie Sanders’ Facebook page






If you’re like most people, your own thoughts and experiences may be your favorite topic of conversation.  On average, people spend 60 percent of conversations talking about themselves—and this figure jumps to 80 percent when communicating via social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. Why, in a world full of ideas to discover, develop, and discuss, do people spend the majority of their time talking about themselves? Recent research suggests a simple explanation: because it feels good.

Adrian F. Ward, “The Neuroscience of Everyone’s Favorite Topic,” Scientific American (July 16, 2013)



Word Cloud Analysis of Some Donald Trump's Tweets
word cloud analysis of some of Donald Trump’s tweets, compiled by Jukka Tyrkko



Roman historian Tacitus on tyranny:


Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 12.48.58 PM

Roger Boesche, Theories of Tyranny (2010)



Philosopher Hannah Arendt on totalitarianism:

It has frequently been observed that terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other and that, therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about. Isolation may be the beginning of terror; it certainly is its most fertile ground; it always is its result. This isolation is, as it were, pretotalitarian; its hallmark is impotence insofar as power always comes from men acting together, “acting in concert” (Burke); isolated men are powerless by definition …


What we call isolation in the political sphere, is called loneliness in the sphere of social intercourse. Isolation and loneliness are not the same. I can be isolated — that is in a situation in which I cannot act, because there is nobody who will act with me — without being lonely; and I can be lonely — that is in a situation in which I as a person feel myself deserted by all human companionship — without being isolated. Isolation is that impasse into which men are driven when the political sphere of their lives, where they act together in the pursuit of a common concern, is destroyed …


What makes loneliness so unbearable is the loss of one’s own self which can be realized in solitude, but confirmed in its identity only by the trusting and trustworthy company of my equals. In this situation, man loses trust in himself as the partner of his thoughts and that elementary confidence in the world which is necessary to make experiences at all. Self and world, capacity for thought and experience are lost at the same time.

Hannah Arendt, “Ideology and Terror: A Novel Form of Government,” The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)





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