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 he couldn’t 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.
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Discussing Arthur Schopenhauer’s Shocking Thoughts on Romantic Love
According to Merriam Webster, romantic love is ‘attraction based on sexual desire, or affection felt by admiration.’ Most of us believe we fall in love because we are attracted to each other and want to be together all the time. However, Arthur Schopenhauer, the most pessimistic philosopher, had different and shocking thoughts on love.
Arthur Schopenhauer’s Thoughts On Love
Schopenhauer believed love has nothing to do with the present moment because it makes people
For as he wrote, ‘Love is of such high import, because it has nothing to do with the woe of the present individual. It has to secure the existence and special nature of the human race in future times,’ and this is the reason why most lovers ensure that their children have a good future.
Furthermore, Schopenhauer argued that love is our sexual instinct wearing the mask of passion and romance. This sexual instinct deceives people that they love each other so that they have sex and accomplish nature’s greatest goal – procreation.
Schopenhauer thus believed that love is only advantageous to nature even though people believe it’s beneficial to them. He argued that nature makes us attracted to qualities such as strength or beauty because it wants the best for the human species.
To prove that love is nature attempting to attain its goals, Schopenhauer provided an example of how a man’s love for his woman decreases after a while and the man gets attracted to other women so that he spreads his seed to many women and ensure the survival of the human species. He also supported his argument by claiming that a woman’s love towards her husband is constant to ensure there is a supporter that will provide for the future offspring hence securing the human race.
In summary, Arthur Schopenhauer believed love is life’s way of ensuring that the ‘human species is unharmed by death.’
Schopenhauer’s thoughts on love are true to some extent because romantic love usually results in sexual intercourse. Besides this, romantic love makes parents cooperate in enabling their child to have a bright future hence securing the human race.
However, this does not mean that love is an illusion. Love is real and it’s the greatest gift from Infinite Intelligence because the feeling of loving someone or being loved reduces stress, makes people happier, and enables them to take good care of themselves. Moreover, sometimes love inspires people, especially men, to pursue success so that they provide everything their spouse needs.
Anyway, what are your thoughts on love? Do you believe Schopenhauer was right? Is it true that love is an illusion and life’s way of ensuring that procreation takes place? You are welcome to express your ideas on Schopenhauer’s thoughts on love in the comment box below.
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Epictetus on How to Unite with God/Infinite Intelligence.
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 understanding that nothing is permanent and accepting whatever happens
‘Conduct me, O God, and thou, O destiny. Wherever your decrees have fixed my lot. I follow cheerfully.’ – Epictetus (John Bonforte, Philosophy of Epictetus)
Bonforte, J. (1955). Philosophy of Epictetus. New York: The Philosphical Library
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