Philosophical Idealism; Phantom Limb Syndrome

In philosophy, idealism is the view that reality consists entirely of minds and their experiences. Extreme idealists will deny that the world even exists outside of our minds. For example: as soon as I leave this room, it will cease to be. Or, if I do not see something and I am not thinking of it, then it is no more.

The best way to mend a broken heart is by using an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. As I exercise this method, I have taken to avoiding someone. If I do not see him, then he does not exist. All of the hurt and disappointment slowly subside as my attention is drawn away, until I don’t think of him anymore and everything we had together vanishes.

However, most people who know heartbreak understand that to stop thinking of someone is not so simple. Many find it difficult to completely eject another person from their minds. And even if stopping these thoughts in the daytime proves successful, it’s impossible to build a barricade around your dreams while sleeping.

As I relate idealism to this method of coping, I consider phantom limb syndrome. Most amputees, especially in the early months and years after limb loss, experience phantom limb syndrome. Often an individual feels sensations in an arm or a leg that has been severed from the body and long removed from the hospital’s pathology lab to meet its fate. The majority of the time, the sensations are painful.

A patient can also choose to have the limb sent to a funeral home for cremation or burial. A person who chooses to do this must truly value the body part that has been sliced from his/her life.

So, as I avoid someone in order to eradicate him from my mind, I regret that I am also denying myself existence. Essentially, if my not seeing him causes him not to exist, but as a result he does not see me, then I have inadvertently caused myself not to exist. It makes me question how much I value myself. Additionally, I wonder if I am allowing myself to depreciate in the mind of someone who I care for.

Yet I can’t determine if facing him will be redeeming or forfeiting. He is my phantom limb. There has been some deviation from the initial hurt following the amputation, but it still itches and trembles.

Phantom limb pain, like heartache, is usually not perpetual. Past cases show that the regularity and intensity of onslaught by the once-existent object lessens with time.

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3 Responses to “Philosophical Idealism; Phantom Limb Syndrome”

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