Believing fully, regardless of any scientific or logical means of proving the idea wrong is pretty much the basis of any faith. In a slight departure from arguing whether the Creator actually exists or is merely a figment of people’s imagination, Rene Descartes preferred touching upon the reasonability of faith, i.e., believing in God.
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Taking a closer look at the arguments that the philosopher offered, one can possibly figure out whether they make a completely coherent and logical string of ideas or if there are certain issues that slipped their attention. However, there is an even more interesting idea in Descartes’ Mediator’s train of thoughts, namely, the rejection of the ultimate truth. Descartes claims the following:
Nevertheless, the belief that there is a God who is all powerful, and who created me, such as I am, has, for a long time, obtained steady possession of my mind. How, then, do I know that he has not arranged that there should be neither earth, nor sky, nor any extended thing, nor figure, nor magnitude, nor place, providing at the same time, however, for [the rise in me of the perceptions of all these objects, and] the persuasion that these do not exist otherwise than as I perceive them ? (Descartes)
Hence, the fact that people perceive the everyday reality the only possible right way is questioned. To put it in a more simple language, one can no longer be one hundred percent sure that what people call a red color is truly red. Thus, not only the qualities, but also the existence of the elements of the everyday world is questioned.
If stretched to its logical maximum, the given idea leads to the suggestion that the entire world is merely a figment of someone’s imagination. Even though Descartes argues the absurdity of the given idea by saying “I think, therefore, I exist” (“Cogito ergo sum” (Descartes)), it can be still argued that one’s thoughts are the exact proof of the existence of reality.
According to Descartes, a single idea produced by a human being proves the fact of the existence. However, if pushing the question of reality as it is even further, one can suggest that the thought itself can actually be an element of a dream, like one of those fantastic dream sequences that people have. To put it simple, the thoughts and ideas that people have can actually be the part of someone else’s well-planned reality, like the elements of a strategy game.
Therefore, it is clear that the arguments which Descartes offers are rather provocative. Even though they drive to the commonly known “I think; therefore, I exist” (Descartes), they still leave a lot of food for thoughts. Raising the question of whether the world is a reality or merely a part of someone’s consciousness triggers a range of the most intriguing issues to discuss, such as what happens when the supposed dreamer wakes up or starts dreaming about another universe.
Intense and thought-provoking, the idea that the world might be not actually what people see it, but something quite different might seem absurdly plausible, may actually turn true. Vast and truly immense, a world is filled with riddles, and mistaking while tying to understand it is the only way to approach the truth.
Descartes, Rene, n.d., Meditations on First Philosophy. 28 Sept. 2012. <https://oregonstate.edu/>.