Monday, May 08, 2006

Word of the Week – Solipsistic

Nothing gives me greater delight, when reading a book or article, than to come across a word that I not only do not know the meaning of, but also have never heard of before that moment. It is a momentous occasion. The discovery of a new treasure!

Today’s word is enunciated in a flowing manner, which, by itself, gives it an immediate appeal. Said slowly, it just rolls around the tongue, lips and mouth rather as an echo bounces off the walls of a valley. It could perhaps even be thought of a sensuous word.

I came across the word whilst reading an article in The Daily Telegraph on blogging (See the world though our bloggers’ eyes, April 28, 2006). The sentence ran thus: ‘They do not do so in solipsistic isolation’.

Cue the New Oxford Dictionary of English (NODE). According to this knowledgeable tome, in the form of a noun, solipsism is ‘the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist,’ or ‘the quality of being self-centred or selfish’. Solipsistic is the adjective, solipsistically the adverb. The word originates from the late 19th century, from the Latin solus (alone) and ipse (self).

Returning to the article, blogging is an isolated activity at source. However, the blogger knows that his work is to be potentially exposed to the entire world through the medium of the Internet. Thus, he does not blog in ‘solipsistic isolation’. Nicely put. I am very glad I read the article as the attainment of a new piece of knowledge tunes my psyche to a level of contentment for the rest of the day.

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