Family Word Snacks: Solipsism & Modest


“My father told me once that words and letters hold the secrets of the universe. That in their shapes and sounds I could find everything, could see beyond myself . . .”
-Eliza, in the movie Bee Season


solipsism [sol-ip-siz-uhm]: (n) 1. a philosophical view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist. 2. extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one’s feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.

in a sentence: Is it possible to be a good parent and subscribe to solipsism? How could anyone raise well-adjusted children while struggling to acknowledge the existence of others?

FUN PHILOSOPHY FACT: You know how Decartes famously said, “Cogito ergo sum”? Well, many mistake this argument to mean “I think, therefore I am” or /I must exist. But Decartes DID doubt the existence of self! He explained that by “the cogito” argument, one cannot doubt the existence of one’s own THOUGHTS; but everything else is questionable. That is to say, “Cogito ergo sum” really means I think therefore my thoughts exist. This logic suggests we’re theoretically mere bundles of thoughts, or floating brains in cosmic vats. And to think clothing, cosmetics, etc. are multibillion-dollar industries. . . . Someone’s not on the up-and-up!


modest: (a) 1. without overblown regard for one’s own importance; not wrapped up in one’s self. 2. simple and not extravagant or showy. 3. having respect for the decensies of dress, speech, and behavior. 4. limited or moderate in amount.

in a sentence: Mimi often talks about how she’s so much better than everyone at school. But her brother Mike is modest and doesn’t brag about himself. Mike has more friends than Mimi.

Thank you for being tuned in parents. I welcome your comments, suggestions, and tips! There’s more for you, too, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now we’re on Pinterest!

-Elle C.


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