A Solipsist’s Guide To The Movies

by Larry Gale

We had just left the theatre after sitting through nearly three hours of bombastic superhero action on a large screen with a very loud sound system. This particular movie (I would hesitate to dignify it with the word “film”) had a convoluted plot involving lots of people with extraordinary powers hopping across time and space in order to save the universe, no, the multiverse from certain doom. It was all a bit over the top, rife with computer generated special effects and would probably earn a billion dollars at the box office.

“Do you believe in parallel universes, where we exist in one of many worlds that make up some sort of multiverse?” I asked.

“Parallel universes?” he responded. “I’m not sure I even believe in a single universe.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m a solipsist. For all I know, there is just me. Everybody else, everything I see, hear, smell, taste or touch is just a product of my imagination. Everything I know exists only in my mind.”

“You can’t be serious,” I said, laughing.

“Of course I’m serious. You’re just a product of my imagination. Everybody I’ve ever known, anything I’ve ever seen, every place I’ve ever been to or read about is really just my brain making up stuff for my own amusement.” he continued. “In fact, once I get bored with you, you’ll cease to exist.”

“That’s ridiculous. I’m your oldest friend. I’m as real as you are.”

“No, sorry, but you’re not.” he insisted. “I just hate going to the movies alone. And now you’re starting to bore me.”

I began to wonder if he was just joking, or if perhaps he was suffering some sort of mental illness. I opened my mouth to reply, but no sound came out. My peripheral vision started to blur, and colors began bleaching to gray. Finally, everything faded away as he imagined me out of existence.

~

Bio:

Larry Gale is a computer scientist, professional percussionist and fine art photographer. He is a lifelong fan of the science fiction genre and is currently working on a novel. He is an active member of the South Carolina Writers Association. His website is larrygale.com.

Philosophy Note:

I have always believed that science fiction is the literature of big ideas. The universe is a big place, and I like science fiction that reminds me of just how large that may be.

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