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5 Enlightening Ideas From the ‘GOD EXISTS’ Philosopher: Rene Descartes

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Rene Descartes is famously known for his phrase, ‘I think therefore I am.’ He was an intelligent French philosopher and scientist who came up with great ideas that influenced modern philosophy. I love his work because he was among the few philosophers who had the audacity to argue for the existence of Infinite Intelligence/God.

Here are some of his main philosophical ideas I just had to share with you.

  • Our Senses are not 100 % Accurate

‘The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust those who have deceived us even once.’ – Rene Descartes

Descartes wanted to understand many facts about reality but he realized that he could not rely on the evidence provided by his senses because they were sometimes inaccurate. A straight object appeared bent in water, and people could sense things they saw in dreams although they didn’t exist.

I firmly agree with Descartes on our senses’ inaccuracy because from where you are right now, a bear can smell a carcass that is 20 miles away, but you can’t. The fact that you can’t pick the smell while the bear can pick it shows that your sense of smell is inaccurate. For this reason, you can’t fully rely on your senses to understand reality.

  • The Mind and Body Are Different in Nature

Descartes believed the mind and body are distinct because the mind is a thinking substance while the body is a non-thinking thing. He also believed that our minds can exist without the body.

After pondering on the relationship between the mind and the body, I also realized that they are two separate things. The body is a biological system that allows the mind, a non-physical entity, to experience the physical world.

Moreover, death proves that the mind and body are different because after death, the mind disappears but some parts of the body continue to function. However, I am still not sure whether the mind can exist (think or move) without the body.

  • To Understand the Truth we Must Consider False Every Belief That Can Be Doubted

Descartes believed that the only way to gain true knowledge and understanding of life is to disbelief all beliefs that can be doubted and create beliefs based on what cannot be doubted. You can practice Descartes’ idea by disbelieving in The Creator because there is no proof of ‘his’ existence. Then you can work on finding The Creator by studying creation which we are sure exists.

Most of the wisdom I have gained came from disbelieving everything I initially believed. I knew Infinite Intelligence/God exists after believing that it doesn’t exist. I also realized that the Law of Attraction works after doubting it. Therefore, I believe all seekers of knowledge and wisdom must apply Descartes’ principle to attain true wisdom and enlightenment.

‘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 things.’ – Rene Descartes

  • God Exists

According to Descartes, the fact that we are imperfect means that a perfect being exists. This being is God. Besides this, the philosopher argued that we believe God exists because God placed the idea that he exists in our minds.

I completely agree with Descartes on the fact that God exists. However, for me, God/Infinite Intelligence exists because the world and everything in it appears to be designed intelligently by an Intelligent Designer.

  • Animals Have No Intelligence Since They Are Mechanical Beings

Descartes claimed that animals lack reason and intelligence because they are mechanical beings. This idea resulted in the mistreatment of animals in the later centuries.

After watching thousands of wildlife documentaries, I realized that animals operate instinctively, and for this reason, their reasoning and intelligence are limited. However, I don’t think their limited intelligence should be a justification for mistreating them because I LOVE ANIMALS.

Hope you loved Descartes’ ideas. Comment in the comment box below about the idea you really loved or feel you can oppose.

You are also welcome to my Facebook Community: The Unbounded Wisdom Community for enlightening quotes and ideas.

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Philosophy

Epictetus on How to Unite with God/Infinite Intelligence.

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Many mystics and spiritual leaders believe the main goal of life is to unite with God/Infinite Intelligence. They believe uniting with God makes life blissful and brings higher wisdom and knowledge to an individual. For this reason, I researched on what great thinkers thought on how to unite with The Creator and I stumbled upon Epictetus’ idea.

According to Epictetus, you unite with God when you make God’s will your will. As he put it ‘A person who reasons well, understands and considers, that if he joins himself to God, he shall go safely through his journey. ‘How do you mean join himself to God?’ That whatever is the will of God may be his will too, that whatever is not the will of God, may not be his.’ (John Bonforte, Philosophy of Epictetus)

Epictetus thus trusted that accepting God’s will results in unity with God. According to him, you accept God’s will when you stop being attached to anything since God subjected everything to change: you realize that nothing you have is permanent because things are always changing. You also stop idolizing your material possessions and believing they are necessary for your survival.

Epictetus also believed that to accept God’s will, you must avoid feeling sad when something bad happens to your possessions because doing so is resisting God’s will. Feeling bad when something happens to your possessions shows that you want to retain forever what God made temporary. The Stoic philosopher wanted us to thankfully receive whatever the universe gives us, and let it go without regrets when the universe takes it back.

Furthermore, he trusted that you make God’s will your will when you place your ‘pursuits under the direction of God’ and accept whatever life throws at you. He wrote, ‘Say to yourself, ‘I have placed my pursuits under the direction of God. Is it his will that I should have a fever? It is my will too. Is it his will that I should obtain anything? It is my will too.’ Epictetus trusted God so much that he believed that whatever the Universe/God allowed to happen was good.

He believed God controlled everything including our experiences and possessions. He trusted that The Creator determined what happens to us and what we can amass in this world.

To sum up, Epictetus believed that accepting whatever happens showed one’s trust in God and understanding of the nature of the universe. This, he believed was the surest way to unite with God.

‘Conduct me, O God, and thou, O destiny. Wherever your decrees have fixed my lot. I follow cheerfully.’ – Epictetus (John Bonforte, Philosophy of Epictetus)

References

Bonforte, J. (1955). Philosophy of Epictetus. New York: The Philosphical Library

You are welcome to join my Facebook closed group: The unbounded wisdom community for fascinating quotes and ideas.

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Philosophy

12 Incredible Quotes That Reveal Epictetus’ Thoughts on God/Infinite Intelligence

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I love Infinite Intelligence. (You can call it God if you like. I don’t care). I’m fascinated by how this Intelligence designed both living and non-living things. I always wonder how it designed the brain, digestive system, sun, stars, and everything in the universe. I’m obsessed with knowing how it works, what it wants, and how it created the world.  For this reason, I love studying what great thinkers wrote about it. One of the great thinkers that loved talking about God/Infinite Intelligence was Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher. I gathered some of his powerful thoughts on Infinite Intelligence/God.

Enjoy.

  1. ‘Were I a nightingale, I would act the part of a nightingale; were I a swan, the part of a swan, but since I am a reasonable creature, it is my duty to praise God.’ (John Bonforte; the Philosophy of Epictetus).
  2. ‘If any is unhappy, remember that he is so for himself; for God made all men to enjoy happiness and peace.’  (John Bonforte; the Philosophy of Epictetus).
  3. ‘A person who reasons well, understands, and considers that if he joins himself to God, he shall go safely through his journey. How do you mean join himself to God? That whatever is the will of God may be his will too, that whatever is not the will of God, may not be his.’ (John Bonforte; the Philosophy of Epictetus).
  4. ‘If you will always remember that God stands by as a witness of whatever you do, either in soul or in body, you will never err, either in your prayers or actions, and you will always have God abiding with you.’ (John Bonforte; the Philosophy of Epictetus).
  5. ‘Great is God, who has supplied us with these instruments to till the ground; Great is God, who has given us hands and organs of digestion; Who has made us to grow insensibly, to breathe in sleep.’ (John Bonforte; the Philosophy of Epictetus).
  6. ‘So when you have shut your doors, and darkened your room, remember never to say that you are alone, but God is within, and your soul is within.’  (John Bonforte; The Philosophy of Epictetus).
  7. ‘But you are a primary existence. You are a distinct portion of the essence of God, and contain a certain portion of Him within yourself.’ (John Bonforte; The Philosophy of Epictetus).
  8. Assuredly from the very structure of all made objects we are accustomed to prove that the work is certainly the product of some artificer, and has not been constructed at random – (Oldfather, Epictetus, The Discourses)
  9. ‘You carry God about with you, poor wretch, and you know nothing of Him. Do you suppose I mean some external idol made of gold or silver? It is within yourself that you carry Him; and you do not observe that you profane Him by impure thoughts and unclean actions.’ (John Bonforte; The Philosophy of Epictetus).
  10. ‘From God, the seeds of our being are descended, not only to our fathers and grandfathers, but to all things that are produced and born on earth; especially, to rational creatures, since they alone are qualified to communicate with God.’ (John Bonforte; The Philosophy of Epictetus).
  11. ‘If you fix your desires on riches, health, power, honors, your country, friends, children. In short, on anything beyond the control of your will, – you will be unfortunate. But fix them on God, give yourself to Him, let Him govern, let your powers be ranged on the same side as His, and how can you any longer be unprosperous?’ (John Bonforte; The Philosophy of Epictetus).
  12. ‘If a person could be persuaded that we are originally descended from God, and that He is the Father of all on earth and in heaven, I conceive he would never think of himself, meanly or ignobly.’ (John Bonforte; The Philosophy of Epictetus).
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