Descartes quote

“As far as I know,it is perfectly possible that the entire outer world,
everything that I perceive, including my own body, could be an
hallucination or a delusion generated by some diabolical creator.”

Renè Descares.



Well, isn`t that special – as the Church Lady in Dana Carvey`s guise would say in glee. As far as I know also, this is a good run away from the absentism discussed by the Deists; closer to the claustrophobic metaphysics of Matrix and other pop-cultural phenomena. Not that I am going to drag the rather idealistic (with regards to thinking and the inspection of naval-lent, sorry, introspection and analysis of epistemological, ontological and cognitive phenomenon which Descartes, as well as most of his critics, represented) philosopher involuntarily, and probably kicking and screaming, into such company… just observe how this bit of suggestion from Descartes fits in both in the conspiracy ruckus and how worse it fits with the entire “holotropic” theorem which is based in conjecture that anything which can be thought, imagined or in any way construed by the mind or the senses – must be real and must necessarely exist; that is to say – the psychoanalytical tail to this quotation is how such existence, if delusional, is directly associated with a diabolical creator. To a certain type of conservative thinker you can`t get more at odds with the values which apparently our entire civilization for the last three centuries has been sustained to preserve – and hence could well prove as yet another example of the “infection” of Gnosticism into Modernity.
And here I waste my time and your time and probably generated hits for both Conservative, Gnosticism and Modernity by mentioning them in the same paragraph… my point being that if you just attend classes for the Examen Philosophicum (my particular class was thaught by Jostein Gaarder.. I was sidetracked enough and at 18 I was trying to “multitask” thought-processes which would provoke migraine in adepts.. oh well) you get exposed to these thoughts and get the sense that there are a pattern in education, in literature, history, public debate and “inner” personal orientation.
Incredibly, the two questions “What is real?” and “how do I know anything is real?”- on one hand, attracts certain types of young persons, such as myself, to both philosophy and fantastical literature (science-fiction etc.) – and on the other hand it repulses, almost violently, another type, usually older and more experienced. The former lacks skills in critical and deductive thinking, which they may _repair_ from such experiences and experiments presented to them in the form of ever expanding and far reaching riddles and challenges; the latter appears to be somewhat condition by fear for the self-same.
It`s difficult to anyone who haven`t had one – to understand what is involved with an hallucination. If you have experienced hallucinations, however, even without sophisticated language, you can maneuvre yourself through an inquiry concerning the reality of reality, the illusionary nature of illusionary things (…) and mental, emotional and cognitive projections/imagining.
Moreover, Descartes touches the touchy area of the outer and inner – in discussing the outer, as the phenomenal world; the physical world, that world in which we are at leisure to pull everything and anything apart – suggested, for a jest, that it is plausible that it (the entire outer world, including _my_ body) is all the production of the inner; to wit, the diabolical creator, having a delusion or suffering a hallucination. That is not a flattering treatment of either the creation nor the creator, I know – but it also demonstrates that the same reasoning which appears to be somewhat valid in conventional Christian theology and thinking, at least from Augustine and later the Thomists onwards – could and was put into use by such as did not subscribe to the same diagnosis of the situation; with the world, with the mind, with the phenomenal and mental/psychological universe of objects and subjects – or with the hidden or revealed source of it all.

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