Yogic Philosophy from René Descartes
Move Through Wisdom Part 8 – René Descartes
Descartes was a bit of a big deal. He had many leather bound books.
Not satisfied with simply being, ‘The Father of Modern Philosophy’, The Big D was also a Mathematician and a Scientist.
Just where do people find the time?
Most famous for his realisation, ‘I think, therefore I am’ – which we’ll come to later - he had a penchant for a ponder on the world and things, much like we do here at So We Flow. Argh!
Sadly, we’ve no pictures of René sporting our latest recycled, organic t-shirts, he was more 17th-Century-cravat-and-cloak than understated-callisthenic-casual, so you’ll have to make do with this oil painting we rifled from his Instagram. #thinkingmenarentalwaystheprettiest
The Big D had some ideas about how we might apply philosophy to life. While many at the time believed in a god, he believed in the power of human logic. Cue introspection, definition, sound argument and clarity of thought.
Now, he spent more time in bed thinking about this kind of stuff than any of us are ever likely to have, so take a look at what our fanciful French Philosopher, the man himself, Mr René Descartes had to say.
Pour yourself a cup of tea.
Maybe even a Hob Nob.
Treat yourself to a few moments and absorb a little jus-de-vie from one of the world’s greatest ever minds.
BREAK DOWN BIG PROBLEMS
‘Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.’ Descartes is famous for referring to rot in a barrel of apples – to stop the rot spreading, you must empty the whole barrel one by one and remove each offending apple. Only then can you can go about the business of refilling your barrel with only the freshest fruit.
‘In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn than to contemplate.’ Descartes believed it was possible to solve the most profound problems by looking deep inside yourself. You just need a quiet room and a rational mind.
EXAMINE YOUR BELIEFS
‘If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.’ In his book, Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes considered what we can really know for sure. And not a lot, it seems. As a result of his premise, the phrase Cartesian Skepticism came to be known.
GROUND YOUR IDEAS IN EXPERIENCE AND REASON
‘A long time ago, I completely abandoned the study of letters, resolving to seek no knowledge, other than that that which can be found in myself, or else in the great book of the world.’ Forget the tradition and authority of universities, scientists and lawmakers. Instead, Descartes suggests that the only genuine knowledge to be found is through travel, mixing with many types of people, testing yourself and reflecting on what you find.
STAY IN BED
'Conquer yourself rather than the world.’ Convinced that thinking was a far better use of time than many of the nonsensical, practical tasks that most folk busied themselves with, Descartes was famous for a good old lie in. So, next time you’re feeling guilty at 11am in the sack, give yourself a break, you’re simply emulating one of the greatest minds in history.
BE SURE THAT YOU EXIST
‘I think, therefore I am.’ It’s not quite rocket science, but Descartes believed this irrefutable truth could be an anchor point to discover other, irrefutable truths. We might live in a Morpheus-style Matrix, but if we can wonder if we exist, at least our wondering must be real, right?
Move Through Wisdom
A philosophy blog series for yogis and men who move
Where did the world come from? Why did God make the universe? Where do people go when they die and what’s the best way to live?
Like deep conversations you have with your bezzies - looking up at the stars with a cold one - we’re nailing all the biggies here at So We Flow. Over 12 months we’re sharing 12 distinct philosophies for men. From Socrates to Chomsky and from Patanjali to Adyashanti, we delve into play, courage, non-duality, hope and more. Together, we’ll make total sense of this cosmic soup.
So stay present and stay tuned to the possibilities, brothers of the Flow.
For more from the So We Flow ‘Move Through Wisdom’ Philosophy Series, check out
So We Flow Journal – Find Courage With Osho
So We Flow Journal – Lift Your Spirit With Alan Watts
So We Flow Journal – Know Thyself With Socrates
So We Flow Journal – Reasons To Hope With A.C. Grayling
So We Flow Journal – Rule Your Happiness with Marcus Aurelius
So We Flow Journal – Travel to the Future of Philosophy with Prof. Andy Clark
For More Info on René Descartes, check out the following links:
Rules for the Direction of the Minds by Rene Descartes
Passions of the Soul by Rene Descartes
Rene Descartes on Youtube by The School Of Life
Noam Chomsky on Rene Descartes
Cartesian Skepticisim by Crash Course
Rene Descartes by College Binary
Rene Descartes – The Encyclopedia of Philosophy