Descartes might just save me

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Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 08:16 am
Everything seems so real around me. They can't be false, right? You guys on the forum, my desk full of things, my attachment to favourite colours and numbers, the history I read, the news I read, the science articles I read - how can they be all made up?

This world just seems so real. How is it possible that I have been deceived? The details are just so detailed - from the small writings in the corners of postcards that I bought in a bookshop in Amsterdam to the veins in leaves. All of this must be real.

Or is it real? Perhaps this is all just a game. Perhaps I have been deceived all my life. Deceived in what direction or magnitude, I do not know. Until I find it out, I would make sure I live in doubt.

I came up with a few preliminary ideas to check for any deceivers behind "my life":

1. Believe in yourself.

2. Make as many moments as possible to be think clearly. Write down your thoughts so you don't forget them.

3. Find patterns that keep recurring in your life. Observe and reason why that is. Break these patterns and observe what happens.


What do you guys think about us being fooled? Will you fool me?
 
mark noble
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 08:51 am
@platorepublic,
platorepublic;173794 wrote:
Everything seems so real around me. They can't be false, right? You guys on the forum, my desk full of things, my attachment to favourite colours and numbers, the history I read, the news I read, the science articles I read - how can they all be made up?

This world just seems so real. How is it possible that I have been deceived? The details are just so detailed - the small writings in the corners of postcards that I bought in a bookshop in Amsterdam to the veins in leaves. All of this must be real.

Or is it real? Perhaps this is all just a game. Perhaps I have been deceived all my life. Deceived in what direction or magnitude, I do not know. Until I find it out, I would make sure I live in doubt.

I came up with a few preliminary ideas to check for any deceivers behind "my life":

1. Believe in yourself.

2. Make as many moments as possible to be think clearly. Write down your thoughts so you don't forget them.

3. Find patterns that keep recurring in your life. Observe and reason why that is. Break these patterns and observe what happens.

Why do you guys things about us being fooled? Will you fool me?


Hi Plato,
Are you certain that you doubt? (reality that is) I'm curious as to what reality you are declaring here. Is mine any different to yours, I wonder?
I believe in myself totally. I trust in myself totally. But is what I deem to be reality truly so...? Yes! And if not - I don't care, because I can't apply it in this realm.
What if the devil is the author of all things (I don't believe in a devil, by the way)? And the religious are being deceived into believing otherwise?

Did you see that BBC reportage on the news today - About N.Korea? They are deceived from birth (brainwashed) into believing that the outside world is in a state of despair of (biblical proportions). Having no contact with the outside world - They believe everything they are told - Ruled by fear. Very sad...

Catch it if you can - You will see that "reality" is very different depending on the shoes one is in.

Thank you, Plato, have a brilliant day.

Mark...
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 11:05 am
@platorepublic,
platorepublic;173794 wrote:

1. Believe in yourself.

2. Make as many moments as possible to be think clearly. Write down your thoughts so you don't forget them.

3. Find patterns that keep recurring in your life. Observe and reason why that is. Break these patterns and observe what happens.


Why do you guys things about us being fooled? Will you fool me?
I made a rule when I was young: whatever I experience... the experience can not be denied. I won't say that in a certain case my mind was playing tricks on me. That leads to a paradox.

I will always allow my interpretations of my experience to be in flux, though.

Finding patterns in life can be helpful for noticing hidden features. I've been rereading a book by Thomas Moore: Care of the Soul. He talks a lot about that.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 11:27 am
@mark noble,
Platorepublic, et. al.

Descartes is definitely an awesome choice for practical application to one's own life. The inherent method laid out in Discourse on the Method is very practical. Doubt, analyze down to the simplest component, reconstruct in a manner that is known to you as the most clear and distinct, and enumerate. Which is interesting in the respect that Descartes was thoroughly against the concept of the Aristotelian syllogism (a set of premises and a conclusion, etc.). In short, Descartes hated logic. He thought it hindered a persons natural train of thought from the "clear light of reason." And this is not a personal observation, but taken from Descartes' rage against dialectics (AT X 300-410: CSM I, 10-40).

Universal skepticism is definitely something that comes to mind in personal application. And especially within the context of the method in which we utilize universal doubt that Descartes posits in Discourse on the Method, universal doubt becomes a very applicable subject. You have superficially a notion which has Descartes (and the reader) spinning around in a world of doubt. What really is certain in our own lives? This not only applies to the metaphysical dealings, but also to more abstract occurrences as well, like whether or not I am absolutely certain this may be the right job for me or that may not be the best course of action to take. Superficially, if you doubt that you have doubt about a given subject, perhaps it requires further examination. I think this is something many people could take to heart. An author and Cartesian commentator made a very interesting observation that the latter meditations on which universal doubt is founded are the actual necessary conditions in the first place, like a transposed Aristotelian notion of cause and effect.

There is fantastic quote from Descartes' unpublished work Search for Truth (a must for the avid Descartes enthusiast) in which Eudoxus (Descartes figurehead), states, "Just give me your attention and I will conduct you further than you think. For from this universal doubt, as from a fixed and immovable point, I propose to derive the knowledge of God, of yourself and everything in this universetry now to show how these doubts can be used to prove God's existence." (AT II 38-9: CSM K, 99)

But if you read Descartes the "right" way, you get some very good personal insight into his (and potentially your own) quest for knowledge. The notion of God (not to be misconstrued with religion or spirituality) was critical to him because it provided a fundamental basis to work off of. This applied to many rationalist that followed, like Spinoza and Leibniz. Cartesian philosophy seems to always come back in one way or another to the two primary theses of Descartes, God and the soul, and how they abstractually branch into universal knowledge, an ultimate goal for him.

Actually, truth be told you may find it very interesting to read Descartes Search for Reason. It may lend some insight into your preliminary ideas to check any deceivers in your own life. Believing in yourself may be reflected in the parts where Descartes discusses logic, emphasis on intuition, geometric certainties, etc. On your second idea, perhaps the concept of clear and distinct ideas (common throughout most of Descartes work) would be of increased interest to you. And maybe, as to your third idea, perhaps you may come to some very interesting parallels with Descartes abhorrence of patterns but rationalized knowledge. Good stuff Platorepublic!
 
 

 
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