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Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings by René Descartes
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Apr 28, 08

Read in April, 2008

Selections from the writings of the "Cogito ergo sum" guy. He seems to have recognized God by engaging in a rarified uncertainty, and then shared this insight with important people of his time. His god is that of the sexless scholar, the aristocrat as unmanured flower; it is akin to the god frequently invoked by the television persona of today's political players: abstract, perfect, subtly myopic.

One has to wonder what sort of deity our earnest philosopher might have found were he to live here today with us, at the quantum edge of the apocalypse with the vectors of life and death energized beyond Euclid's geometry. In his time the population of the world was under a billion—a number of souls that would today easily fit into the population segment consigned to extreme poverty. It is possible that he might still derive that God is Perfect and that yes indeed he and the rest of his band of merry fortunates are assured of an easy path to heaven, but perhaps he might have instead sought to verify the illumination of the truck bomb, to satiate the wild dogs of our curiosity like a human carcass in a war-crossed street.

His concerns—and the god that therefrom arose—failed to engage my interest. However, because it is an artefact of Western Culture, I don't regret the hours spent plodding bewildered through its passages, and am thankful that someone was kind enough to bestow it upon me as a gift. Thanks Jerry!
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