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Meditation

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Meditation

1. The Meditation of yesterday has filled my mind with so many doubts, that it is no longer in my power

to forget them. Nor do I see, meanwhile, any principle on which they can be resolved; and, just as if I

had fallen all of a sudden into very deep water, I am so greatly disconcerted as to be unable either to

plant my feet firmly on the bottom or sustain myself by swimming on the surface. I will, nevertheless,

make an effort, and try anew the same path on which I had entered yesterday, that is, proceed by

casting aside all that admits of the slightest doubt, not less than if I had discovered it to be absolutely

false; and I will continue always in this track until I shall find something that is certain, or at least, if I

can do nothing more, until I shall know with certainty that there is nothing certain. Archimedes, that he

might transport the entire globe from the place it occupied to another, demanded only a point that was

firm and immovable; so, also, I shall be entitled to entertain the highest expectations, if I am fortunate

enough to discover only one thing that is certain and indubitable.[ L][ F]

2. I suppose, accordingly, that all the things which I see are false (fictitious); I believe that none of

those objects which my fallacious memory represents ever existed; I suppose that I possess no

senses; I believe that body, figure, extension, motion, and place are merely fictions of my mind. What is

there, then, that can be esteemed true ? Perhaps this only, that there is absolutely nothing certain.[ L][

F]

3. But how do I know that there is not something different altogether from the objects I have now

enumerated, of which it is impossible to entertain the slightest doubt? Is there not a God, or some

being, by whatever name I may designate him, who causes these thoughts to arise in my mind ? But

why suppose such a being, for it may be I myself am capable of producing them? Am I, then, at least

not something? But I before denied that I possessed senses or a body; I hesitate, however, for what

follows from that? Am I so dependent on the body and the senses that without these I cannot exist?

But I had the persuasion that there was absolutely nothing in the world, that there was no sky and no

earth, neither minds nor bodies; was I not, therefore, at the same time, persuaded that I did not exist?
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