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Cartesian Critique

“If you correct your mind,
the rest of your life will fall into place.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The mind is a bundle of thoughts.
The thoughts arise because there is the thinker.
The thinker is the ego.
The ego and the mind are the same.
The ego is the root-thought from which all other thoughts arise.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
 “When the mind is completely empty –
only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” ……
“Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still –
only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“To think or not to think,

that is the question!”

“Thinking and Being can’t coexist.

So stop thinking and start Being.
”

“Forget who you think you are

to Know what you really are.
”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Lau Tzu



Introduction

The following Cartesian Critique essay challenges the well-known philosophical proposition deduced and propounded by influential 17th century French philosopher René Descartes – “I think, therefore I am”.

Descartes’ philosophy, known as Cartesian dualism, assumed separation between the human body and mind. Although it became very influential in Western philosophy, Cartesian dualism ignored contradictory ancient Eastern non-dualist philosophies of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, which were scientifically validated by 20th century physicists.

This essay, with above and following quotations and comments, explains how Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” proposition confuses thinking with being; and the ego/mind with universal thoughtless awareness.

Please reflect on these writings with open and intuitive awareness.

Ron Rattner

Cartesian Critique: On Confusing Thinking With Being.

Descartes deduced his presumed separate existence with thought.
He reasoned: “I think, therefore I am”.

But wasn’t that putting Descartes before his Source?

Isn’t it apparent that we exist when not thinking?

Isn’t thinking optional, while Being is perpetual?

Why are we called human “beings”, and not human “thinkings”?

Isn’t existence much more than just thinking?

Don’t we exist in thoughtless states?

Doesn’t Being encompass conscious and subconscious
phenomena beyond thought – like emotions, feelings, sounds,
tastes, sensations, moods, dreams, autonomic processes, etc.?

Don’t all thoughts comprise and concern past ideas,
whereas life is ever lived in the Now,
never in the past or the future?

Aren’t we most aware of our existence
when we are thoughtlessly/choicelessly mindful?

What might Descartes say,
if he were here today?



Ron’s Commentary on Confusing Egotistic Thinking With Being.

Dear Friends,

The above “Cartesian Critique” essay is shared to encourage us to transcend harmful egotistic thoughts and behaviors, and to help us live in harmony with each other and Nature.

It questions famous French philosopher René Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” proposition, and explains how it confuses thinking with being; and the ego/mind with universal thoughtless awareness. 



This essay was composed following my midlife spiritual awakening as consciousness. After so awakening, I learned about and accepted Eastern non-duality philosophy which contradicts Descartes’ duality philosophy of body-mind separation. And gradually I realized that “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans”, and that transcending Ego is the ultimate purpose of all enduring spiritual teachings.

So on learning about Descartes’ influential declaration, I questioned it and composed the above critique.

In my view, Descartes mistakenly presumed and deduced his supposed separate existence with egotistic-thought, which paradoxically placed Descartes before his Source, and violated both Eastern and Western wisdom cautioning against reversing the natural order of things.

For example a Western proverb cautions: “Don’t put the cart before the horse.”

And ancient Taoist wisdom enjoins us to go with the flow, without mental resistance:

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.

Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow.

Let reality be reality.

Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

“If you correct your mind,

the rest of your life will fall into place.”

~ Lao Tzu

Conclusion

Honoring the natural order of things remains of great importance today, because the vast majority of Humans continue to egoically identify with thought and their mistakenly perceived separate mental mirage projections.

In current critical times, when humans are the only species creating huge ecological and other crises which disrupt and threaten life on our precious planet, it is especially imperative that we bring compassionate awareness of our true collective identity and infinite potentiality into the world.

Dedication.

So these writings are dedicated to reminding us to not confuse thinking with being; and to helping us transcend harmful egotistic thoughts and behaviors, allowing us to live in harmony with each other and Nature in current critical times.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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1 Comment

  1. richard on November 28, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Namaste Ron,

    Quite right about putting D’cartes before his Hource

    What might Descartes say, if he were here today?

    Perhaps he might say “I am therefore I think”?

    cheers r

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