Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's all about meeeeee....

A concept needs to be defined and addressed before I can complete a future post I have in mind. Many of you will have never heard of this before and that is female solipsism.

Vox Day has a helpful post on Alpha Game explaining female solipsism:
 Dictionary.com also provides both philosophic and prosaic definitions:

1. Philosophy. the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.
2. extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.


Now, since we are talking about female behavior, it should be readily apparent that we are not talking about metaphysical, methodological, or epistemological solipsism, but rather an observed predilection for egoistic self-absorption which occurs to such an extent that the woman's behavior makes it appear as if she subscribes to some form of philosophical solipsism. This is not to say she actually subscribes to it, as I doubt one woman in ten thousand, or one man in ten thousand, for that matter, would even recognize the concept. The point is that most women tend to behave as if they do.
The rational explanation for such behavior is easy enough to identify. Most Western women are coddled from childhood and are very seldom held to the same standards of accountability and responsibility that boys and men are, whether one considers sports, societal norms, or the law. This lack of accountability and responsibility, combined with their heightened biological susceptibility to emotion, causes most of them to behave in a self-centered manner which makes it appear they believe that their interests are the only ones that exist, their opinions are the only ones that can possibly be correct, and their observations are definitive of reality. This self-absorption also causes them to assume that the actions and comments of others are always directly related to them, a concept which is encapsulated in the popular feminist phrase "the personal is political", and often inspires them to assign the worst possible interpretation to the statements of others.

Dalrock expands on this with some divorce statistics that contradict commonly accepted theories of divorce trends:

The other example I see very often is the amazing lack of empathy women have for men.  I’ll use an example many here are familiar with.  No fault divorce and the accompanying family court process is designed to punish men who egregiously break their marriage vows.  Academics admit that it is designed as a punishment for men meant to be used as a threatpoint to give wives power.  Women acknowledge this at one level, because whenever a husband misbehaves the instant chorus is Take his kids and his money.  That will teach him!  Yet when men point out how unfair this is given that the system treats all men as if they abused/abandoned/cheated, women want proof that this isn’t fair.  They can’t understand that a system which always punishes a man as if he committed something egregious is inherently unfair.  Because of this, they demand proof that the amount of child support is excessive, and that the men complaining about the process don’t really deserve to be punished.

Read the links in their entirety to get a better understanding of female solipsism if you are still unclear of its meaning.

To borrow a commenter's explanation, think of female solipsism as a woman photoshopping herself into every conversation she participates in and every situation she thinks about.

It is very easy to test and identify in your every day exchanges with women. We women can even (and need to) become aware of it within our own selves. The next time you're listening to a conversation, analyze your thoughts. Are you searching your memories and experiences for how this conversation applies to you? Are you thinking up something to contribute to the conversation that would personalize the conversation for you? 

When you're having a discussion with a woman, either in person or via social networking, take note of how she interjects herself, her feelings, and her experience into the conversation. Scroll down on your Facebook news feed and read women's comments regarding the Connecticut shooting for the most obvious examples.

Whether it regards a highly emotional event as that or something very trivial, you will see it. Think of this conversation:
-Woman 1: Oh, these allergies! I am miserable
-Woman 2: I know, mine are really acting up.
or
-Woman 2: I am so glad I don't have allergies.

Or this one: 
-Woman 1: We're going to start homeschooling our children.
-Woman 2: Oh, I could never do that.
or
-Woman 2: Good, I love homeschooling our children, it's the best decision we ever made. 

If you do participate in this exercise, I apologize in advance, you will likely be very annoyed by the realization of it. It is prevalent in virtually every woman's conversation you will observe. You'll actually be curious when you don't witness it. If you see two women engaging in conversation and one actually engages the other, requests more of her input and addresses the conversation only through the other woman's perspective, you'll wonder what kind of people skills training this woman has had. For example:

-Woman 1: Oh, these allergies! I am miserable
-Woman 2: I'm sorry to hear that. What is it you're allergic to?
 Or:
-Woman 1: We're going to start homeschooling our children.
-Woman 2: How did you come to that decision?

Once you've identified your own natural solipsism, you can monitor it and make changes in your conversations. You can not control your immediate solipsistic inclination, as I've heard it described, it's a feature, not a bug. Meaning, it is there, there is nothing we can do about it other than recognize it and choose to express it or not.

Here's a recent example of my own that took place at the gym.
-Man 1 was talking about a new training that Soldiers will be participating in.
-Man 2 was listening attentively and asking questions about it.
-I was thinking about how I've heard of this training outside of the Army before and how I could tell him what I know about it. Then I stopped. Identified that solipsism and instead listened more. When Man 1 made eye contact with me I asked: "What feedback are you getting from the Soldiers?"

So what is the positive utility of female solipsism?

Blogger Stingray does a great job explaining it:

When a woman talks with her friends about something she experienced, her friends will almost always chime in with their own similar experiences.  I think we women do this with one another to give reassurance that what happened or what the first woman did is not out of the ordinary and will not get her kicked out of the herd.  The other women are giving her comfort in saying, yes, something very similar happened to me, I understand how you feel and your feelings aren’t crazy.  You still belong with us here.  Whatever anxiety the original woman was feeling is now gone as she just discovered she is not atypical and her friends can vouch for her.  It’s an incredibly comforting thing.

Our husbands can derive great benefit from our natural solipsism as well. More than likely your husband works with and around women. In being his ally, you can have him ask you for your response to varying situations in order that he may navigate the mine field, so to speak, unscathed.  When RLB was in sales and had to give a proposal to a woman, he would tell me his pitch. I would be able to assist him on her likely reaction by putting what he was saying through my own solipsistic lens.

We even did this when waiting tables together early on in our relationship.  When we could work a section together we used this psychology to garner the most tips for ourselves. If a group of women came in on an obvious girls night, he waited on them. Same with a young couple. I got the families and older couples. From whom I would always ask for success tips for our budding relationship.

There are many applications for solipsism. Unfortunately, women often have a negative reaction when presented this realization for the first time. It's an important concept to grasp for success in interpersonal relationships. Just as there are positive applications, when conversing with men, as Stingray further talks about, it is best that you recognize and curb your natural solipsistic tendencies.

8 comments:

  1. Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?

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  2. This is intresting. It has never crossed my mind. Makes women sound very shallow, constantly. Yikes, and the scary part is most women don't even know they are doing it. I don't necessarly think it is a bad thing all the time, but now that I am aware of this consept I will make an effort to "curb my natural solipsistic tendencies" when it is inappropriate to use.

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  3. A lot of guys do this too. I noticed a bit of it in myself years ago and started working on it. The men's version used to be regarding more trivial things, but now it seems to be worse, and more common, in men under about 35 or 40. Right about the age when feminism started taking off.

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  4. If you can recall, what was it that caused you to recognize it within your own self?

    I ask because it was never something I recognized on my own, though once I learned of solipsism (it was a brand new word/concept to me fewer than three years ago) I saw it everywhere as if for the first time. And then, with introspection, I recognized it within my thought patterns.

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  5. With all due respect, there is a third form of so called "solipsism". That an outside reality exists, but it can only be seen through your own lens. I think it is a greatly exciting version, and there is nothing negative about it.

    An example. Say you are playing a musical piece. You could take technique tips and manner of playing from someone else and the piece will turn out perfect. But as you play along, you will make the piece "yours", you will play it according to your own nature, and sometimes quite differently from what someone else considers correct. You will have finally achieved creativity. Now, are you solipsistic, perhaps you should be rational and play as someone else said the piece should be played...

    The modern world tries to tell you that meaning lies outside of you, that there is a commonly accepted version of reality out there and your hunches and feelings don't matter, since they sometimes veer away from the accepted version. News flash: they matter. And also, you can trust your own feelings, your own center- but after a certain amount of practice and discipline.

    The reason it is so repulsive when women react from their inner being is that their inner being is clogged, undisciplined, obnoxious. Once disciplined, an inner hunch will be matched to reality and be productive.

    And now for a manly version, Virgil's warning to Dante when he leaves him:

    "Now is your will upright, wholesome and free
    And not to heed its pleasure would be wrong.
    I crown and miter you lord of yourself."

    Would you mind solipsism if your will was indeed upright, wholesome and free?

    And more manly version- martial arts. You don't do martial arts by an outside standard. You use your inner nature- all the while trying to improve it. If you work by an outside standard, you get beaten up.

    So, women are not wrong to put themselves in the middle. It's just they are not quite good at being nice, pure selves and believe their sorry, clogged state can produce a good judgment of reality.

    Or, me being female and inherently solipsistic, one may enlighten me as to more valid versions of reality.

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  6. When introducing the concept of solipsism here, I was aware that many of the women reading will not have even heard of it.

    It was requested of me when I started this blog to keep things in the simplest terms possible. Being that I'm not a philosophical powerhouse, I'm quite comfortable with that.

    I don't object to what you have stated here nor do I find solipsism to be a solely negative trait, like you said the expression of it is influenced by the discipline of the holder.

    When learning of solipsism, it is easiest to recognize in its negative application.

    Within our relationships, the expression of unrestrained solipsism is a communication barrier. It can negatively affect our relationships. "I can't stand talking to her, no matter what I say she always has to talk about herself."

    My objective is to help marriage relationships. Listening to our husbands and restraining our (negative) solipsistic tendencies can go a long way in improving our communication. And like I pointed out in the OP, it can be used for good.

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  7. "If you can recall, what was it that caused you to recognize it within your own self?"

    It was in my 20s, I noticed quite a few of the guys in my social circle were constantly making conversations all about themselves, and two things struck me -

    - "These guys sound like high school girls." It was pretty off-putting to hear men in their 20s (and sometimes older) chattering like the girls of 90120 or whatever.

    and

    - "Do *I* sound like that???" My own form of solipsism, I guess, but at the time it was in the service of self-improvement. Meaning, whenever someone acted annoying, I looked at myself and tried to see if I did the same things without knowing it, and if so, put a stop to it.

    What's funny is that I was never really an "all about me" person until my late teens or early 20s. Somehow I absorbed the trait of redirecting conversations to be about me by unconsciously picking it up from others.

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