June 01, 2015

Horse 1909 - Solipsist Strawberry Fields Forever

Let me take you down,
'Cause I'm going to
Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about,
Strawberry Fields forever.

I think that Mr Lennon had a real problem; rather a self-referential problem. Exactly how are we to fulfil his request to go with him to Strawberry Fields if "nothing is real" and by extension, Strawberry Fields must also be not real. How does one travel to a non-real place?

No one I think is in my tree,
I mean it must be high or low.
That is you can't, you know, tune in
But it's all right.
That is I think it's not too bad.

I think that Mr Lennon is trying to say that the world outside of his mind has a distinct possiblity of being not real but he isn't entirely sure. If the existence of the world outside world beyond Mr Lennon's mind is unclear then I'm going to assume that John Lennon is expressing a Solipsist world view.

The problem that Mr Lennon immediately encounters though, is that he is using language to convey his position that the world and other minds might not exist; yet if they do not exist, then how would they be expected to interpret what he has just said? If the world outside his mind did not exist, then even the act of writing a song is itself both madness and a colossal waste of time because it achieves precisely zero purpose. However, the conclusion that I draw is that he must have assumed that there was a world outside his own mind and indeed other minds who would be able to interpret his song or otherwise he simply wouldn't have bothered. If this is true, then the line that "Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about" must be a logical falsehood and Mr Lennon is a liar.

I think that it might have been the second century Greek Philosopher who said that if nothing exists, then nothing can be known about it and even if something could be know, then it couldn't be communicated to others. To some degree that's correct and the example that immediately springs to mind is trying to explain colour to a person who was totally blind from birth. How do you explain what the colours red, blue or green are to someone who has literally zero perception of colour? Even to attempt to do so is but a poor attempt,

Always, "no" sometimes, think it's me, 
But you know I know when it's a dream.
I think I know I mean a "yes", 
But it's all wrong.
That is I think I disagree.

Is Mr Lennon trying to convey doubts with his own ability to perceive the world? Maybe the three word proposition by René Descartes "Cogito ergo sum" (I am thinking, ergo I exist), is helpful because in thinking about one’s existence, there must be at least an "I" which exists to do the thinking.

I do think that Mr Lennon's claims that "nothing is real" is itself unfalsifiable. I don't know exactly how one would even frame an argument which could disprove the theory. How does one prove that anything is real anyway? Even if I were to come up with some whizz-bang argument then even if I were to do so, how would you prove to Mr Lennon that we weren't just some figment of his imagination; even if we were to cause him harm like punching his arm, he still might argue that that was a figment of his imagination (albeit a rather painful one).

At any rate, I'm not convinced. I think that Strawberry Field is real (not in the plural) and that it's on Beaconsfield Road and just off the A562 and that it's not forever either... it's closed.

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