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 reality, but he realized he couldn’t rely on the evidence provided by his senses because senses are 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 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 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 doubting The Creator’s existence because there is no proof that ‘he’ exists. Then you can work on finding ‘him’ by studying creation which we are sure exists.
Most of the knowledge I gained came after I disbelieved everything. 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 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, our imperfections imply the existence of a perfect being which we call God. Besides this, the philosopher argued that we believe God exists because God placed the idea of his existence in our minds.
I completely agree with Descartes on the fact that God exists. However, for me, God/Infinite Intelligence exists because the world appears to be designed intelligently by an Intelligent Designer.
- Animals Have No Intelligence Since They Are Mechanical Beings
Descartes believed animals lack intelligence because they are mechanical beings. This belief 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 intelligence is 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.
The Brave Man: The Wisdom of Seneca
‘The assaults of adversity don’t weaken the spirit of a brave man.’ – Seneca
Seneca was an amazing stoic philosopher who’s remembered for his life-changing moral essays. I read these essays to find out why most great folks love them, and I was amazed by the amazing pearls of wisdom they contained.
The best teachings from the essays are his writings on The brave man.
Seneca’s Thoughts on the Brave Man
According to Seneca, a brave man is any individual who welcomes adversity, knowing that it trains him to be a better person. This man, as Seneca writes, rejoices in adversity and fears nothing, and for this reason, he never worries about the possibility of future hardships.
As well, Seneca compares the brave man to boxers who match their strength with several, but not one opponent because they know that fighting several opponents will improve their skills. Seneca thus believes that brave men, just like boxers, seek challenges that will make them stronger.
Moreover, Seneca advises all those facing many hardships to realize that God considers them brave because he only sends hardships to brave folks. For as he writes, ‘Why is it that God afflicts the best men with ill health, or sorrow, or some other misfortune? For the same reason that in the army, the bravest men are assigned hazardous tasks.’
Seneca also believes God sends several hardships to brave men to prepare them for something big. He uses the example of fathers and their sons to prove his point. He explains how fathers make their sons toil and sweat when preparing them for something great in the future.
Fathers, as Seneca writes, ‘ensure their sons wake up early, and they never allow them to be idle during holidays, they draw from them sweat and sometimes tears’ because they want them to gather true strength that will enable them to handle what’s waiting for them in the future.
Discussions and Conclusions
For us to consider ourselves brave, we must welcome adversity and stop worrying about the possibility of future hardships. Furthermore, we must trust that Infinite Intelligence/God sends us hardships because it believes we have the power to overcome them and because it uses the hardships to prepare us for what’s ahead of us.
Apostle Paul firmly supported Seneca’s advice on hardships for he wrote in Romans 8: 18, ‘God hardens whom he wills.’ He also believed that facing many hardships indicates that God has something great for you.
Therefore, from today onwards, we must embrace hardships knowing that they are preparing us for the great things that the universe has in store for us.
Seneca & John Basore. “Seneca, Moral Essays, Volume I.” Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1 Jan. 1928.
A Summary of Pythagoras’ Secret Teachings That Were Hidden From the Public
Pythagoras, once considered a god, was an extraordinary man. Several ancient texts claim he performed miracles, used music to heal people, and possessed the ability to be in two places simultaneously. Also, it is believed that most great people and secret societies lived by his principles and teachings.
Besides, legend has it that he was assassinated by the ruling classes who feared that his secret teachings would awaken the public.
The ruling classes noticed that Pythagoras became extraordinary because his secret teachings enabled him to awaken his inner self and contact the spiritual world. For this reason, they feared that these teachings might land on the public’s hands.
I gathered some of these teachings from Thomas Stanley’s book, ‘Pythagoras, His Life, and Teachings,’ which I believe would enable the awakening of our inner abilities.
- Maintain silence for a long period of time.
- Don’t be obsessed with riches and honor.
- The Divine cannot communicate through visions and dreams to those who are governed by the love of pleasure and anger.
- Excite your soul with music when you wake up, and soften the mind with music before you sleep.
- Virtue purifies and perfects human life because it eradicates the excess of passions.
- You attain intense happiness when you have a good soul.
- The best gifts from the Divine are: speaking truth and kindness.
- Prefer the company of constructive criticizers to flatterers.
- Always think about the Divine/God.
- God is within the world and permeates everything.
- Your soul is sempiternal: eternal and non-changing
- Your soul lives several times in different living things.
- Your soul has two lives. One is within the body, and the other is outside it.
- Forget about worldly matters while worshipping or when in a sacred place.
- Avoid the way of the crowds and pursue what’s unique and holy.
- Rise above the illusion of material reality and focus on living a spiritual life.
- Strive towards a tranquil mind, and avoid anger because it lacks reason and prudence.
- Be just to all, and respect equality.
- Philosophy enables us to understand the truth, which is often hidden and hard to find.
- Practice receiving without resentment or envy.
- If you are patient and industrious, you must avoid lazy people.
- All pursuers of knowledge should only associate with the gods and the wise.
- Beware of anything that might interfere with your communication with the Divine.
- Strive to make friends with virtuous people.
- Do not do anything without reasoning.
- Avoid any action that will result in envy.
- There are many paths, but choose the path that is best for you.
- Allow yourself to be guided by the Divine.
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