Saturday, October 27, 2007

Descartes Cogito: I think, therefore I am.



Rene Descarte, a French scientist and philosopher from the 17th century is messing with my life. Because he had a crisis of faith, he is messing with my GPA and sucks up 3 hours of my life a week, not to mention the mental torment he puts me through writing papers. His is the famous, "I think, therefore I am"...referred to as "Descartes cogito". His name is pronounced "Day-cart"...almost everything is silent...the French have a twisted sense of language...hence their influence on words in our vocabular such as thorough (why the "g"?) and elephant (really? "ph" makes an "f" sound?). Hahahahah...those French...good thing they make a tasty croissant (another tricky word) and to quote a recently deceased comedian, "The French may have invented the flaky croissant, but it took American ingenuity to slap a piece of crappy, shiny cheese on it and call it a breakfast food".

But I digress...Back to Descarte (this name sounds even more ominous if you can say it through your nasal passages and keep the "t" silent)...he came up his cogito because he postulated "what if everything I ever knew was false?" This would be a terrible thing to ponder at its deepest level. One would come to doubt, eventually, one's own existence. Finally, he decided that if he could think a thought, any thought, he must be a sentient being...he MUST exist.

My assignment for my next paper is to construct an argument to contradict this. Really? Descarte was a genius, recognized as one of the greatest minds in all of science...philosophy...history...a mind equal to that of Galileo, Socrates, Plato...and I, me, a little white-haired lady with a bum knee who can't remember the name of the comedian she just quoted above has to counterpoint one of the most famous statements of existence in the world?

So...as my GPA begins to descend, I feel like the Titanic...I sink, therefore I am.

Thanks Descarte...thanks a lot.

3 comments:

frizzlefry said...

Wow. I'm not sure I could go there right now. My life is 180 degrees from where it was this time last year. I believe the old Day-cart would provide me with too much existential angst (am I using that term correctly? Because I REALLY like it and want to properly use it in common conversation so as to look super super smart. However, you're one of a few people I know who could call my bluff). I'm pretty good with the sacrament talks. Mostly they don't make my brain hurt at the moment. . .

katzbox said...

Oh Melissa, I'm of an age where I know something for a short time and then it's gone...vanished...apparently it has to make room for the next piece of information...my brain has become a "rooming house" of sorts...limited space...something has to go before the next roomer comes in.

katzbox said...

And the solution to the cogito problem is thus: I changed it from a first person narrative to a third person; giving the "thinker" a witness so that in his dreamless, thoughtless state he has a witness that he does indeed exist...and now to bed...to dream and therefore exist.