T-shirts from my solipsistic planet


I’ve been absent from blogging for several weeks now. I wrote a few posts that I didn’t publish – they weren’t suitable for outside consumption. They were set in my own little solipsistic world. As I stare out of my window, sun is lighting up my garden and in spite of the wintry temperatures, plants, trees and birds are happily experiencing a reality that was/is so distant to me.

Last week I spent a day in Paris. Thinking back, it seems more like an impossible memory. I was there to drum up some business and getting away from my home office was a welcome excuse. I had the total Parisian experience, including strolling along the Champs Elysees, Les Tuilleries and seeing the obelisk, and its bigger brother, the Eiffel tower. We had lunch in a private club next to the Elysée (the french White House) in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and as my celebrity spotting skills are entirely stunted, I didn’t recognize any of the top guns of France as we worked our way through France’s best cuisine.

But none of that matters. I also went to the Louvre: home of La Joconde, setting of the opening scene of the Da Vinci Code and a treasure trove of thousands of years of culture and art.

It did nothing for me.

Huh? How is that possible?

Normally when I visit great art, I get totally lost in it. I step through the gilded frame and start interviewing the characters about their life. I touch the cloth their robes are made off and sit down at the trestle table to join in the feast. I’m the guy holding up a leg of lamb and cracking a joke to the bride and groom who are frolicking on a blanket surrounded by barking dogs and chastised children.


This is serious, doctor.

For the past few weeks I have been entirely consumed by work (a little) and my ‘research’ into genetic fractals (a lot). The results are there and I am delighted about progressing with this. It was necessary: ideas were ripe and had to be born. But to deliver this baby, I had to travel very deep into a solipsistic space where I was God the creator. In one of my last posts I referred to it as the dark forest and although I didn’t get lost, I had to travel a long way in to follow the mental streams to find their sources. Great, but.

This solipsistic world is entirely separate from the reality outside. If there are cherry trees and wild daffodils, they are entirely fabricated by the mind. In the real world, I may have passed a chest of gold or chatted with the reincarnation of Buddha – it would have been lost on me. I was inside and somehow, the experience of reality and the deep forays into a world of mind, are incompatible for me.

I’m used to this and have learned that my experience of life goes through cycles that take me deep into one space or another. When I smell a trail, I follow it stupidly. This has cost me dearly at times when I would strayed away from something good (riches, fame and love) but it has also taken me to great experiences (riches, fame and love) that would never have happened if I had been a wiser man.

This morning I walked around a small lake. I marvelled at the stunning deep colours of spring, reflected in the still water. I thought of Morning Tao’s inspiring sortie from Dharamsala and knew that unlike the beckoning waters of my solipsistic universe, I can actually board a plane today and travel to India myself.

That’s the difference.

Reality is something we can share. The rest may be jolly interesting or mind bogglingly awful but we can only ever talk about it.

And so, with a bit of luck, I’ll following trails in the real world in the next few months, buy the t-shirt and show you the photos. Enjoy.

15 thoughts on “T-shirts from my solipsistic planet

  1. Reading your past posts (the forest journeys) an idea has been germinating in my head. If solipsism is real, then there should be no resistance to exploring the outer edges as there really shouldn’t be any outer edges. Yes, the thoughts that make up the outer reaches might be a little disjointed, a tad incomplete, but they shouldn’t be aggressive or antagonistic. Resistance (confusion) would, however, be a very real experience if we live inside a simulation (the opposite of solipsism). Getting closer to the programs outer limits should be met with uncomfortable things which discourage the explorer and eventually force him back.

    I’m not saying we do inhabit a simulation, or that solipsism is real, but reading your posts this is the way my head tried to make sense of the mental angst you were expressing.

    1. Mental angst, yes, that is a good description. I think that these worlds and the real world are connected, as you say: I can bring back flowers from that solipsistic world and put them on display. Perhaps it is a matter if control. In my solipsistic universe my mind is all there is; in the real world, the mind is ideally annihilated and senses are the boss. If all this were a simulation, than my forest wanderings would be a simulation within a simulation.

      Having said all this, I suspect that many acts of human creativity take place in our solipsistic spaces and like the flowers I referred to, art is taking snapshots from within that space and sharing it in the real world.

      Thanks for making me think about what I write.

      1. Thanks for making me think! The philosophy of reality had a terrible habit of driving me quite mad until i started reading you and Yerle. The appeal to a middle way (with feet and hands and minds in all sorts of pots) is the most acceptable explanation i’ve heard.

  2. Thanks for the mention! I liked what you said about reality being something that can be shared, that the rest is inaccessible to others. Great post! Made me miss Paris..

  3. Good to hear from you again, Genetic Fractals!
    I can agree completely on following a trail, not being worried about the cost. It’s interesting how you can follow the trail into the solipsist experience like you do. Do you know how you find your way back from such an adventure? Or do you let it play itself out and sort of ‘wake up’ as if from sleep?

    1. I have found that it is in fact very hard to get lost for any length of time. Typically these excursions from reality last a few weeks, a month at most. Then, like waking indeed, I notice that there is another world out there. Then I realise that I am way behind with xyz responsibilities and completely re-immerse myself in that. I can see these phases coming and plan around them. As of now, I’m back to where i was when I started this blog in March, i.e. a healthy mix of family, nature, blogging, meditation, work and health. Glad to be back, to be honest!

  4. Great to hear from you again! I had been wondering what you were up to. I find it kind of annoying that our minds don’t let us be in two places at the same time: when we’re really focused on something, we end up missing the rest, almost by necessity. Finding an equilibrium is extremely hard and may not even be advisable, since a lot of creativity happens with obsession. I guess going back and forth is the next best thing!

    1. Yes – totally. Sometimes, when I spend too many months in the real world and I don’t find the entrance to that creative weird space, I worry that my brain is atrophied. In a strange way, experiencing the madness of creativity, is a confirmation of my mental health 🙂

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