Friday 3 June 2022

Descartes before the horse


There's a saying in England that goes, "put the cart before the horse". It means, to do things in the wrong order; to do something contrary to the natural or normally effective sequence of events.

Years ago there was a man called René Descartes, (31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650). He was a French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and lay Catholic who invented analytic geometry, linking the previously separate fields of geometry and algebra.

He was a writer, a thinker, a philosopher, with many thoughts and ideas which have been discussed by many ever since. 

His best known philosophical statement is "cogito, ergo sum" ("I think, therefore I am"; French: Je pense, donc je suis). 

Basically, he is saying that the fact that he thinks proves that he exists as a person or a being. What a paradox in today's modern world where there are many fatheads incapable of thinking whatsoever. But let me not digress.

Descartes might as well have said, "I eat therefore I am", or, "I reproduce therefore I am" or "I go to the toilet ... here's proof that I am!"

What I am saying is: how do you know that you are? What proof have you got that you exist?

You say that you were born, but can you remember that far? Or are you repeating what you've been told?

What if ... what if ... you don't exist at all? You are only a character in a book being read by an ostrich wearing pink underpants and a woollen hat?

Everything you have done since you were born, (or you think you were born), is only words written in a book being read by the aforementioned ostrich. And whatever else you will do from now on is only the ostrich turning a page in the said book.

You don't exist. I don't exist. No one exists. 

You reading this post now, is only your character in the book reading a Blog on a computer. 

You'd better believe it. Don't bury your head in the sand. Let the ostrich do that. 

I bet Descartes never thought of my theory before he said his "cogito ergo" thing. But then, he was not as clever as me.


  1. René Descartes,was an interesting fellow...I studied
    him briefly in my A~Level Psychology..along with
    Zoology and Botany..
    And being a writer, a thinker, a philosopher, like
    many people before and after him, his theories
    like others will always be discussed..At times
    proved, but later disproved, and again later proved!
    Once again, just recently coffee has been discovered
    'good' for you, it was bad, then good, then bad, then...
    Who do you actually believe...?

    My life and others are more important to me than
    carts before horses..or am l here or l reading
    this post or not...
    So l would'nt bother with any of the theories above....
    Would'nt give them time of day..I live in the real world..
    And Descartes was a human being like the rest of us,
    he must have gone home on four he
    had four siblings..! HeHe!

    I stick to my sayings..he can stick to his....
    "A woman is like a tea can't tell how strong
    she is, until you put her in hot water".
    "To the living we owe the truth, to the dead we owe
    respect". Amen..!

    Mind you..if l looked like an ostrich..l'd certainly
    bury my head in the sand..! :).

    1. You say you live in the real world, Willie. But how do you know what is the real world? I'll pick up this topic in tomorrow's post.

      How do you know you are you? Can you prove you are you? What if you are an alien from outer space that looks like the real Willie; and the real Willie is sitting somewhere reading my books? And who wrote my books? Me or the ostrich?

      God bless.

    2. Your clutching at straws Victor...Clutching at
      Although..I live in the real world..l do have a
      fantasy side as well..l believe in the funy side
      of life..
      The questions you ask..cannot be answered
      by can extend those questions
      to God and the Bible..
      I suggest you go to your sewing box..take out a
      very sharp needle, prick yourself in the finger,
      then ask yourself those same said questions..!

      I think we'll leave it there..otherwise this could
      get out of hand...l have honest, truthful things
      to do the 'REAL' world...
      AND...The answer to ALL the questions is..YES..!
      l can....."Nuff Said".

  2. ...I think of myself as a thinker, but this over beyond my pay grade!

    1. Good point, Tom. Descartes' theory is somewhat confusing to me too.

      God bless.

  3. Worried now??? Never! Maybe concerned! Take care, if you even exist. And be safe... ;-)

    1. I think Descartes must have been on the vino when he came up with his theory. Of course we all exist. Otherwise I've been writing this Blog to myself.

      God bless, jack.

  4. Dearest Victor,
    So many have been great thinkers but as you say, nobody can 'remember' being born.
    At least I don't and that's probably a good thing.
    Feeling a lot better and my days are going fast... only three more nights and flying back.

    1. I have never worked out what Rodin's "The Thinker" was thinking sitting there with no clothes on. He'll catch his death of cold.

      Glad to hear you're getting better, Mariette. Enjoy your holiday. Bon voyage.

      God bless.

  5. My mind is spinning! Or, is that my fictional character's mind that's bewitched, bothered and bewildered? Who in the movie version will be cast to play me?

    In all seriousness, perhaps the proof I seek is my reflection in the eyes of another.

  6. That is a good line, Mevely, "the proof I seek is my reflection in the eyes of another".

    Descartes was making the point that the fact he could think, (and reason), is proof enough of his existence. However, there's a weakness in this argument, because an animal may not think but act on instinct. Yet he exists just as much as a human does. Also, an inanimate object like a stone does not think, but it does exist all the same.

    Your theory, however, is brilliant. The fact that we are seen and recognised by another individual, ( be he human or not), is proof of our existence. Methinks you are far more clever than Descartes.

    Thank you, Mevely, for solving this. God bless.

    1. How kind you are, Victor! In truth, I'm quite simple-minded. (*grin*)

  7. I don't know many people who are as clever as you, Victor, especially when it comes to humor. Blessings, my friend!

    1. You're too kind to me with your compliments, Martha. Thank you. I just see the funny side of life, and I thought Descartes was off at a tangent with his "I think therefore I am" statement.

      God bless you.

  8. I agree with you, Victor! Descartes didn’t know what he was talking about. “I went shopping today, so I guess I am, right.” Your humor always makes me smile. Hugs and blessings

    1. I think Descartes was putting the cart before the horse.

      Praying you are well, Nells. God bless.

  9. Maybe we are but a dream in the mind of The Lord. We'll probably find out for sure one day.



God bless you.