After a heated discussion this afternoon with my boyfriend about how understanding things will remove fear and how emotions are largly based on misunderstandings and misreadings, I have been sent away to think about my wrongs and misunderstandings in the company of Descartes, Plato, Hume and Kant.
So I have never studied filosophy. Or well, let me rephrase that, I have never properly studied much filosophy. While in high school we all had to do a course called Theory of Knowledge, unfortunately it was just not very good at all in unwrapping the world of thought, or providing you with any theories to base your knowledge on. I remember us touching upon Plato and Socrates, but I remember the essay competition we were taking part in for my German class at that moment much better. ( I revamped a cheesy comment from Forrest Gump, you know which one I mean, and won a trip to Germany..)
Anyways, so here I am then. Unable to escape the great filosophers (or my boyfriend) and their insights into life and all that is. I started off with Descartes, well the Wikipedia entry about Descartes, and had a bit of a “Oopa” moment halfway through the text already (I hadn’t even reached “Discourse on the Method” yet!) when his famous comment cogito ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”) came up and how it more or less says that existence is questioning things. Right, I can see that, but what really touched a nerve was a bit further down the page:
“He perceives his body through the use of the senses; however, these have previously been unreliable. So Descartes determines that the only indubitable knowledge is that he is a thinking thing. Thinking is his essence as it is the only thing about him that cannot be doubted.”
God damn. 1 – 0 to J and Descartes. My arguments from the discussion before about my extremely overwhealming feelings being uncontrollable and me shutting down into animal mode when faced with any form of fear and becoming unable to deal with them in a rational manner is starting to crumble already. How annoying.
I must say though that I really enjoyed reading up a bit on Descartes. I continued with a summary of his “Discourse on the Method” and I am intrigued to read more. Found a link to the audio book for this that I think I will download just in time now for our 8hrs long trip over to Nicaragua in a few weeks. I think some deep filosophical teachings might be an excellent thing to drill down into while bumping along on the Costa Rican highways towards a new Tourist Visa.
But for now I think Id better stop my filosophical musings on Descartes in order to focus fully on the next filosopher in line, Plato. More on that later. I promise.