Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cogito ergo sum (French: Je pense donc je suis; English: I think, therefore I Am

Cogito ergo sum (FrenchJe pense donc je suisEnglishI think, therefore I am) Rene Descartes, noted French Mathematician and Philosopher coming to the conclusion as did many before him that he actually did exist. Something that many of us take as a given has been the subject of many Philosophers for thousands of years. Many Theologians also wrestled with this subject which seems a bit strange since they accepted God as their creator but until they developed the thought they had doubts as to their own existence. Almost to a man they reached the conclusion that they (we) actually existed and were not a figment of some super powers thoughts.

We do exist but in what form? It seems that there is a physical and, for my lack of a better word, spiritual existence. The physical is touchable, has a "feel" about it. The spiritual can be of two parts, one we can be sure of, our mind. The other can be debatable, the Soul. Some might want to join the mind, the thinking part, with the soul, that which lives on, and say they are one but rather than get into that argument I believe it can be agreed upon that the mind is something that can't be touched and is probably connected to our physical being in the brain. Damage the brain, the ability to think and act clearly is damaged if not destroyed but our bodies can live on. I would guess spiritual things are Ideas, emotions, the ability to love, experience joy and grieve. It is interesting that our spiritual being is determined by our awareness of such things that our mind creates. Also our physical being controls our spiritual being via nerves and chemicals. Chemicals become unbalanced, nerves get damaged and both physical and spiritual are greatly compromised. And even though we exist we only actually exist only for a brief second then what we experience becomes history and the present quickly becomes the future which quickly becomes the past and what we have left is only our memories. Our life goes on in such quick fashion that we can only fleetingly enjoy it as it happens but we can savor it by remembering.

There is so much we do not understand about our existence that many of us choose not to contemplate it at all and just let life happen. But, life doesn't just "happen", does it? There are things we must do or our existence comes to an end. Sleep is very important. It is needed to recharge our batteries so to speak. If we don't get the proper rest eventually we break down. We have to eat the proper foods or again our existence comes to an end. Some of this is understandable some of it isn't. Science still doesn't know exactly what happens when we sleep and why we need it. They know what happens if we abuse ourselves but they really don't know the "why" of it.
The other part of our existence is that we are part of a collective life, what we do and how we live has a ripple effect that can affect someone, or thing half way around the world. Yet our world is only a small box of what we experience and see. Yet we have a collective experience that we don't see, we aren't aware of, and in some way what we do and say keeps resounding through time. There was a theory that whatever is said aloud goes into the atmosphere and can be captured if we could develop the proper antenna. Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address could be heard, in his voice, under this theory. Pictures and sounds are floating all around us and when we use the proper tools we can access them, for example television and radio and telephone. Some theorize that we have some radio active qualities within us so that our images and words are released as energy into our world and with the proper tools we could see and hear Plato, Socrates, Jesus' Sermon on The Mount. All this plays into the question just what is the fact of our existence?  Yes we exist but in what way? How do we fit into the collective existence of mankind? Can we contribute something to humanity or do we just go on and let life happen and be happy in our collective ignorance? 

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