This morning I got to wondering about a nifty little mind experiment* in the spirit of Rene’ Descartes, so first I should set the stage with a taste of his words (perhaps it was simply recognizing what I’ve been doing most my life, ).
From: A Discourse on Method, by René Descartes
The Project Gutenberg eBook of
** Descartes: "I learned to entertain too decided a belief in regard to nothing of the truth of which I had been persuaded merely by example and custom; and thus I gradually extricated myself from many errors powerful enough to darken our natural intelligence, and incapacitate us in great measure from listening to reason. But after I had been occupied several years in thus studying the book of the world, and in essaying to gather some experience.**’
I at length resolved to make myself an object of study, and to employ all the powers of my mind in choosing the paths I ought to follow, an undertaking which was accompanied with greater success than it would have been had I never quitted my country or my books.
Descartes … "And as a multitude of laws often only hampers justice, so that a state is best governed when, with few laws, these are rigidly administered; in like manner, instead of the great number of precepts of which logic is composed, I believed that the four following would prove perfectly sufficient for me, provided I took the firm and unwavering resolution never in a single instance to fail in observing them.
The first was never to accept anything for true which I did not clearly know to be such; that is to say, carefully to avoid precipitancy and prejudice, and to comprise nothing more in my judgement than what was presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground of doubt.
The second, to divide each of the difficulties under examination into as many parts as possible, and as might be necessary for its adequate solution.
The third, to conduct my thoughts in such order that, by commencing with objects the simplest and easiest to know, I might ascend by little and little, and, as it were, step by step, to the knowledge of the more complex; assigning in thought a certain order even to those objects which in their own nature do not stand in a relation of antecedence and sequence.
And the last, in every case to make enumerations so complete, and reviews so general, that I might be assured that nothing was omitted. …"
I don’t presume to have D’s smarts, let alone mental discipline, but I don’t live in the dark ages either, so I fancy I do have a scientific edge on him, no matter how masterful his mental abilities were.
This is probably what makes me surprised at how much of contemporary philosophy still seems to be echoing his struggles.
This morning I thought of grande mind experiment.
If we swept away all of today’s philosophical musing and stuff them away in an old sailors chest for future reference.
Upon what foundational tenets would you create a new philosophy, knowing that the human condition is going to be changing in challenging and most radical ways over the next decades?
What comes to my mind for me is:
Appreciating the physical reality ~ human mindscape divide on a deep personal level.
Appreciating I am an evolved biological sensing creature, a product of Earth’s evolutionary pageant with a string of parents going all the way back to Earth’s origins.
Appreciating it’s self-evident that Gods are created within our personal and collective human thoughts and imagination.
Consciousness and life is all about dynamic interactions, not a thing to study like a specimen.
We need each other to keep ourselves honest.