Thursday, May 30, 2013

Down to the Base

Descartes sought something that could not be doubted, he arrived at cogito ergo sum. His base truth was that he exists because he could not deny that he was thinking. There is no need to rehash the criticism that Descartes received concerning this: suffice it to say he was not basic enough.

Proceed in this way to shrink to the more basic level:

I think. [This casts thought as the activity of my self]
One thinks. [This casts thought as the activity of a self]
It thinks. [This casts thought as an activity]
Thinking. [This casts the base as mental]

This is the basic essence: perception. Phenomena. Appearance. By saying that they are phenomena that we perceive, or by saying that there is a world of phenomena, we go beyond the base in both cases. The base is merely phenomena.

But why would we ever want to live at the base? We must see the base to know what lies beneath us, not to know where we are going to go live. It is good to know that we can tear down the house if we like, but the mere fact that there is a base need not compel us to tear down the house to go live there.

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