Solipsism, Solipsist, Solipsistic
Have you ever awoken from an incredibly complex dream filled with characters some of whom you have never met in reality? Perhaps the phone rang, and suddenly the narrative came to an end before you were forced to contend with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. You may have been relieved to discover that it was only a dream.
Now imagine if you did not wake up, but the dream continued on and on, all produced by your own mind, but unbeknownst to you. Your world would be that of a solipsist. You'd be all alone! In some ways, solipsism represents the farthest reach of skepticism: doubt about the existence of other minds such as your own or, if you like: subjects of consciousness.
How do you know that I, sherapop, really exist? How do you know that I am not a figment of your imagination? Perhaps you are an evil genius creating in some corner of your mind the entire salon de parfum—texts and comments alike! You might object that since you did not know the word solipsism until today, you could not have produced the text in which it appeared. However, the same thing happens in your dream, as its plot unfolds, you have no idea what is going to happen next, despite the fact that the dream is clearly created by your very own brain! Is it not?
It might not seem that solipsism has much bearing on perfume or perfumery, but I used the word here at the salon a while back in diagnosing the problem which I found with the idea of appropriating the jargon of visual art theory for talking about perfume. Since art theorists don't seem to know much about perfume, and perfumistas don't usually know all that much about art theory and history, how can they have a conversation using that language? If someone decides to theorize about perfume in this way, then it seems that he will end up talking to himself. No one can participate in a meaningful dialogue, because no one else will have any idea what he is talking about. It would be like being all alone. Hence, my use of the term solipsism.
Another possible application of this term might be in cases where people simply emote short and strong praise or denunciation of a perfume in their review. We were discussing this problem in the comments a couple of days ago: how does emitting solely the words "I hate it" communicate any meaningful information or knowledge to anyone but the speaker himself? It gives no context or reasons or explanation or even a clue as to why the reviewer hates the perfume. Perhaps the perfume contains patchouli, which the reviewer happens to hate. Or perhaps the perfume does not contain patchouli, which the reviewer happens to love and feels should be there.
It seems to me that simply emoting love or hatred is a somewhat solipsistic form of reviewing, since it does not reach out to readers to communicate the basis of the love or the hatred. I don't really believe that "solipsistic reviewers" are solipsists, but they might be like small children who believe that the world is exhausted by the limits of what they know and can see. Of course, there is no need to communicate with other people, if they do not even exist, but then why do such reviewers bother to write at all? Perhaps it is a way of expressing their emotions, no more and no less.