It is not enough to have a good mind.
main thing is to use it well.
If you would be a real seeker after truth,
it is necessary
that at least once in your life you doubt,
as far as possible, all
"The rational, analytical, objective
worldview implicit in the
discrete Cartesian self, separate and distinct from all other selves and their
environment, is a necessary and proper phase of human development. It is a
phase, however, that sets the stage for
a further phase, one that we
typically no longer experience. We remain therefore stuck in a perpetual
adolescence, waiting our whole lives for some momentous happening that never
happens. That our development remains arrested in the
analytic ego phase is necessary for
the continuation of society as we know it, for the perpetuation of
the World Under Control." -
The method for the
discovery of truth Accept nothing as true except what can be clearly perceived to be
so and accept nothing as true
unless one has no occasion to doubt it.
analytic and consists of four rules:
Divide up each problem into
as many parts as possible and resolve each in the best manner
Carry on reflections in due order;
beginning with the most simple and
proceed little by little, or by degrees, to
knowledge of the most
Make enumerations so complete and reviews so general that
one can be certain of omitting nothing.
Common sense is, of all things among men,
the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly
provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in
everything else, do not usually desire
a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.
not likely that all are mistaken the conviction
it is rather to be held as testifying that
the power of judging aright
and of distinguishing truth from
error, which is properly what is called common sense or reason, is by nature equal in
all men; and that the diversity of our opinions, consequently, does not arise
from some being endowed with a larger share of reason than others, but solely
from this, that we conduct our thoughts along different ways, and
do not fix our attention on the same
For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the
prime requisite is rightly to apply it.
He truly engages in battle who
endeavors to surmount all the difficulties and errors which prevent him from
reaching the knowledge of truth.
I, Rene Descartes, hold in esteem
the studies of the schools. I
was aware that the languages
taught in them are necessary to the understanding of the writings of the
ancients; that the grace of
narrative stirs the mind; that the
memorable deeds of history elevate it; and,
if read with discretion, aid in
forming the judgement; that the perusal of all excellent books is to interview with
the noblest men of past ages and in which are
discovered only their
highest thoughts; that eloquence has incomparable force and beauty; that
poetry has its ravishing graces and
delights; that in the mathematics
there are many refined discoveries eminently suited to
gratify the inquisitive, as well as further all the arts an lessen the labor of
man; that numerous highly useful precepts and exhortations to
virtue are contained in treatises on morals;
that theology points out the path to
heaven; that philosophy
affords the means of discoursing with an appearance of truth on all
matters, and commands the
admiration of the simple; that jurisprudence, medicine, and the
other sciences, secure for their
cultivators honors and bestow some attention upon all, even upon those
abounding the most in superstition and
error, that we may be in a position to
determine their real value, and guard against
I, Rene Descartes, am not at all
the extravagances attributed to
those ancient philosophers whose own writings we do not possess; whose
thoughts, however, I do not on that account suppose to have been really
absurd, seeing they were among the ablest
men of their times, but only that these have been falsely represented to us.
I am quite sure that the most devoted of
the present followers of
Aristotle would think
themselves happy if they had as much knowledge of nature as he
I, Rene Descartes, never accepted anything for true which I
did not clearly know to be such; that is to say, carefully to avoid
precipitancy and prejudice, and to
comprise nothing more in my judgement than
what was presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all
I divide each of
the difficulties under examination into as many parts as possible, and as might
be necessary for its adequate solution. I resolved to
conduct my thoughts in such order that, by commencing with objects the simplest
and easiest to know, I might
ascend by little and little, and, as it were, step by step, to the
knowledge of the more complex; in accustoming my mind to the
compassion and nourishment of
truth, and to a distaste for all such
reasoning as were false.
The long chains of
simple and easy reasoning by means of which geometers are accustomed to reach
the conclusions of their most difficult demonstrations, had led me to envision
that all things, to the knowledge of which man is competent, are mutually
connected in the same way, and that there is nothing so far removed from us as
to be beyond our reach, or so hidden that we cannot
discover it, provided only
we abstain from accepting the false for the true, and always preserve in our
thoughts the order necessary for the deduction of one truth from another.
Each truth discovered was a rule available
in the discovery of
Expediency seemed to dictate
that I should regulate my practice conformably to the opinions of those with whom
I should have to live; and it appeared
to me that, in order to ascertain the real opinions of such, I ought rather to
take cognizance of what they practiced rather
than of what they said, not only because, in the corruption of our manners,
there are few disposed to speak
exactly as they believe, but also because very many are not
aware of what it is that they
really believe; for, as the act of mind by
which a thing is believed is different from that by which we know that we
believe it, the one act is often found without the other.
When it is not
in our power to determine what is true, we
ought to act according to what is most probable.
I, Rene Descartes, have always endeavored to conquer myself
rather than fortune, and change my desires rather than the order of the Earth,
and in general, accustom myself to the
that, except our own thoughts,
there is nothing absolutely in our power.
If we consider all real objects as equally beyond our power,
we shall no more regret the absence of such real objects as appear due at birth, when
deprived of them without any fault of
I may state that it was my
conviction that I
could not do better than continue in that in which I was engaged, viz., in
devoting my whole life to the culture of my reason, and in making the greatest progress I
was able in the knowledge of truth.
I, Rene Descartes,
attentively examined what I was.
I observed that I could envision that I had no body, and that there was
no Earth nor any place in which I might be, but I could not envision that I was
not; for I still was and that, on the contrary, from the very
circumstance that I
thought to doubt the truth of other things, it most clearly and
certainly followed that I was; while, on the other
hand, if I had only ceased to think, although
all the other objects which I had ever envisioned had been in reality existent,
I would have had no reason to believe that I existed.
I, Rene Descartes, thence
concluded that I was a substance whose whole essence or nature consists only in thinking, and which,
that it may exist, has no need of place, nor is dependent on anything real.
I, that is to say, the
mind by which
I am what I am,
is wholly distinct from the body, and is even more easily known than the body,
and is such, that although the body were not, it would still continue to be all
that it is.
I think, therefore
Although I, Rene
Descartes, might think that I was dreaming,
and that all which I saw or imagined was false, I could not, nevertheless, deny
that the ideas were in reality in my thoughts.
I was disposed
straightway to search for other truths.
I, Rene Descartes, perceived
that there was nothing at all in these demonstrations which could assure me of
the existence of their object: thus, for example, supposing a triangle to be
given, I distinctly perceived that its three angles were necessarily equal to
two right angles, but I did not on that account
perceive anything which could
assure me that any triangle existed.
The reason which leads many to persuade theirselves that there is a
difficulty in knowing this truth, and even
also in knowing what their mind really is,
is that they never raise their thoughts above
real objects, and are so accustomed to
consider nothing except by way of imagination, which is a mode of thinking
limited to real objects, that all that
is not imaginable appears to them not
The truth of
this is sufficiently manifest from the single
the philosophers of the schools
accept as a maxim that there is nothing in the understanding which was not
previously in the senses, in which however it is certain that the ideas of
God and of the Soul have never been; and it appears to me that they who make
use of their imagination to
comprehend these ideas do
exactly the same thing as if, in order to hear sounds or
smell odors, they strove to avail
themselves of their eyes; unless indeed that there is this difference, that the
sense of sight does not afford us an inferior assurance to those of smell or
hearing; in place of which, neither
our imagination nor our senses can give
us assurance of anything unless our understanding intervene.
God is or
exists because all that we possess is derived from God.
follows that our ideas or notions, which to the extent of their
and distinctness are real, and proceed from God, must to that extent be true.
Whereas we not infrequently have ideas or notions
in which some falsity is contained,
this can only be the case when we
proceed from lack of knowledge.
After the knowledge of God
and of the soul has rendered us certain,
we can easily understand that the
truth of reason we experience when awake,
ought not in the slightest
degree to be called in question on
account of the illusions of our dreams.
we know that the thoughts which occur in dreaming occur within
a false reality.
awake or asleep, we ought never to allow
ourselves to be persuaded of the truth of anything unless on the evidence of
It must be noted that I, Rene Descartes, say of our reason,
and not of our imagination.
is not a dictate of reason that what we thus see or
imagine is in reality existent.
I have also observed certain laws established in
nature by God, that after we have
reflected sufficiently upon these, we can not
doubt that they are accurately
observed in all that exists or takes place on the Earth and farther, by
considering the concatenation of these laws, it appears to me that I have
discovered many truths more
useful and more important than all I had before
learned, or even had expected to
If God were now to create
somewhere in the imaginary
spaces matter sufficient to compose a universe
and were to agitate variously and confusedly the different parts of this
matter, so that there resulted a chaos as disordered as the poets
ever feigned, and after that did nothing more than lend ordinary concurrence to
nature, and allow nature to act in accordance with the
laws of nature which God had
established, the result, by necessity, would be as our reality is.
I, Rene Descartes, have pointed out what are the
laws of nature; and, with no other
principle upon which to found my
reasoning except the infinite
perfection of God, I endeavored to demonstrate all those about which there
could be any room for doubt, and
to prove that they are such, that even if God had created more worlds, there
could have been none in which these laws were not observed.
commonly received among theologians, that
the action by which God now
sustains the universe is the same with that by which he originally created
it; so that even although God had from
the beginning given it no other form than that of
chaos, provided only God had
established certain laws of nature, and
had lent it concurrence to enable it to act as it is wont to do, it may be
believed, without discredit to the miracle of creation, that, in this way
alone, things purely material might, in course of time, have become such as we
observe them at present; and their nature is much more easily envisioned when
they are beheld coming in this manner gradually into existence, than when they
are only considered as produced at once in a finished and perfect
I, Rene Descartes, perceived it to be
possible to arrive at knowledge highly useful in life; so
natural to our minds that no one can so
much as imagine himself ignorant of it; and in light of the speculative
philosophy usually taught in the schools, to
discover a practical means
by which to know the force and action of fire, water, air, the stars, the
heavens, and all the other bodies that
surround us, as distinctly as we know the various crafts of our artisans, we might also apply them in the same way
to all the uses to which they are adapted, and thus render ourselves the lords
and possessors of nature.
And this is a result to be desired, not only
in order to the invention of an infinity of arts, by which we
might be enabled to enjoy without any trouble the fruits of the Earth, and all
its comforts, but also and especially for the preservation of health, which is
without doubt, of all the blessings of this life, the first and fundamental
I examined what were the first and most
ordinary effects that could be deduced from these causes; and it appears to me
that, in this way, I have found knowledge of the heavens, the stars, and on Earth knowledge of
water, air, fire, minerals, and other
things which of all others are the most common and simple, and hence the
easiest to know.
I, Rene Descartes, have essayed to find general
principles, deducing them from certain germs of truths naturally existing in
our minds. It is necessary also to confess that the power of nature is so ample
and vast, and these principles so simple and general, that I have hardly
observed a single particular effect which I cannot at once recognize as capable
of being deduced by mankind.
Thereupon, turning over in my mind, the
real objects that had ever been
presented to my senses I freely venture to state that I have never observed any
which I could not satisfactorily explain by the
laws of nature.
I, Rene Descartes, am confident that there is no one,
even among those whose profession it is, who does not admit that all that is
presently known is almost nothing in comparison of what remains to be
I incite men of superior genius to strive to proceed
farther, by contributing, each according to his inclination and ability, to the
necessary experiments, and also by informing the public of all they might
discover, so that, by the
last beginning where those before them had left off, and thus connecting the
lives and labors of many, we might collectively
proceed much farther than each by himself could do.
I, Rene Descartes,
am now in a position to discern, as I
think, with sufficient clearness what course must be taken to make the
majority of those experiments which
may conduce to this end: but I perceive likewise that they are such
and so numerous, that neither my hands nor my
income, though it were a thousand times larger than it is, would be sufficient
for them all; so that according as henceforward I shall have the means of
making more or fewer experiments, I shall in the same proportion make greater
or less progress in the knowledge of nature.
I had hoped to make known
the treatise I had written, and so clearly to exhibit
the advantage that would thence accrue to mankind, as to induce all who have
the common good of man at heart, that
is, all who are virtuous in truth, and not
merely in appearance, or according to opinion, as well to
communicate to me the experiments they
had already made, as to assist me in those that remain to be made.
I neither have so high an opinion of myself as to be willing to make
promise of anything extraordinary, nor feed
on imaginations so vain as to
fancy that the public must be much
interested in my designs.
If I, Rene
Descartes, were to publish the principles of my philosophy: for although they
are almost all so evident that to assent to them no more is needed than simply
to understand them, and although there is not one of them of which I do not
expect to be able to give demonstration, yet, as it is
impossible that they can be
in accordance with all the diverse opinions
of others, I foresee that I should frequently be turned aside from my
grand design, on occasion of the opposition which
they would be sure to awaken.
I may say that such individuals have an interest in my
refraining from publishing the principles of the my philosophy; for,
since these are of a category the simplest and most evident, I should, by
publishing them, do much the same as if I were to throw open the windows, and
allow the light of day to enter.
Rene Descartes, resolved by no means to consent to their publication during my
lifetime, lest either the oppositions or the controversies to which they might
give rise, or even the reputation, such as it might be, which they would
acquire for me, should be any occasion of my losing the time that I had set apart for my
own inquiries and life.
For though it be true that every one is bound
to promote to the extent of his ability the good of others, and that to be
useful to no one is really to be worthless, yet it is likewise true that our
cares ought to extend beyond the present, and it is good to omit doing what
might perhaps bring some profit to the living, when we have in view the
accomplishment of other ends that will be of much greater advantage to those
yet to be born.
Even superior men have no reason for any great
anxiety to know these
laws of nature, for if what they desire
is to be able to speak of all
things, and to acquire a reputation for learning, they will gain their end more
easily by remaining satisfied with the appearance of truth, which can be found
without much difficulty in all sorts of matters, than by seeking the truth
itself which unfolds itself but slowly and obliges us to freely confess our
Descartes, do not wish to forestall the judgements of others by
speaking myself of my writings;
but it will gratify me if they be examined, and, to afford the greater
inducement to this I request all who may have any
objections to make them.
I have resolved to devote what time I may
still have to live to no other
endeavor other than acquiring some
knowledge of laws of nature, the reality
of the cause is established by the reality of the effect.
It is likely that Rene Descartes died of
poisioning while tutoring Queen Cristina of
Enlightenment comes from brief
insights into the nature of
things. Although such insights are
rare and difficult to sustain they allow us to understand the basis of our
desires and grant us the virtue to control those desires.
have mastery over their desires will have a healthy regard of others as they
see them as equally capable of a virtuous
will. Those who possess this knowledge of themselves readily come to
believe that any other individual can have the same knowledge about themselves
because this knowledge involves nothing which depends on anything outside of
Those who have mastery over their desires are
self-assured and confident and have mastery over their
anger. Contentment through virtue is attained by
acceptance of the reality that the only things we actually control are the only
things that we should concern ourselves with.
relies for its supra-cultural validity on principles that are themselves among
its own assumptions. The logic
of its justification is circular.
A parallel would be an aborigine
insisting, "Okay, let's settle this question of whether scientific experiment
or dreaming is the way to true
knowledge once and for all . . . Let's settle it by entering the
dreamtime and asking the ancestors."
It is hard to imagine, but the principal assumptions of
objectivity and determinism that
lie at the foundation of the
are by no means shared by all the world's traditions of thought.
A non-objective, non-deterministic, yet coherent
system of thought is possible.
It is more than possible: it is
necessary given the impending collapse of the world of the discrete and
separate self that we have wrought. It is also necessary in light of the new
scientific revolution of the last hundred years. Our ways of thinking and being
are not working anymore." - Charles Eisenstein
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buildings and in which each and every individual is encouraged to develop a
personal relation with the Creator and Sustainer through the pursuit of the
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and is responsible for the collapse of morals, the elevation of self-centered
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social mores and values have declined precipitously over the last century as
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through prior corporate media psychological operations. The results have been
the destruction of the family and the destruction of social structures that do
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Through distraction and coercion the direction of thought of the bulk of the
population has been directed toward solutions proposed by the corrupt
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