The way Descartes chose to write this piece literature captivated me. Descartes was a very intelligent man who wanted to make sense of the world he lived in. The format he used was unusual. It seems to me that he may have used this format, which is a replication of the book of Genesis in the Bible, to have a deeper and more profound impact on the reader. There are many similarities between Descartes' Meditations and the first book of the Bible, Genesis. For example, Descartes' Meditations was written one day at a time, just as God had created the world one day at a time. Furthermore, the order Descartes' daily writings took resembled the same order the Bible had for the creation of the world.
Meditation One in Meditations coincides with day one of God's creation of the world. In the Bible, "God divided the light from the darkness." (Bible Gen. 1:3) In Descartes' work, day one consisted of separating our senses from reality. "[T]here are no definitive signs by which to distinguish being awake from being asleep." (Descartes 352) Descartes is actually questioning whether or not the bodies we reside in actually exist or if we are in a continual dream state. I feel that Descartes' intent in his first entry was to establish a certain state of mind for reading and understanding the remainder of his work. This included, mainly, a separation from our senses as a means of acquiring knowledge and being more open to all possibilities. He firmly maintains that our senses mislead us and we must put them aside in order to see a thing or an event for what it really is. This suggests that all things currently known to us as humans can be called into doubt, including our very physical bodies. ...
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...nd on," saying the same thing repeatedly in a different way. Furthermore, would it not stand to reason from the above quotation that the entire writing had no purpose except to satisfy his own curiosities? Or could that statement have been made just to soothe the people that the writing was intended for? By the time I finished reading the selection, I had hoped that on the seventh day, Descartes went to seek professional psychological help!
Descartes, Rene. "Meditations on First Philosophy in Which the Existence of God and the Distinction Between the Soul and the Body Are Demonstrated." Classics of Western Philosophy. 5th Ed. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 1999. 343-377.
The Inspirational Study Bible. New King James Version. Ed. Max Lucado. Dallas: Word Bibles. 1995. Genesis: 1:2-31.
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