Friday, February 22, 2013

Cogito ergo sum

A few years ago Russell Shorto wrote a fantastic book that I picked up at Barnes & Noble because of the beautiful artwork on the cover. The title then caught my eye, Descartes' Bones. Of course I bought the book! It turned out to be as amazing as I had hoped. Well-written and engaging, the book follows a 350-year tale of the remains of the RenĂ© Descartes and their historical influence on science, math, democracy, reason and faith. I've always been intrigued by Descartes and his schools of thought–Cartesianism, Rationalism, Foundationalism–his legacy in Mathematics, Epistemology and Methaphysics, his moral philosophy and his influence in church doctrine.

Yet, I have been most influenced by his writings on Dualism and his most quoted principle of Cogito ergo sum–I think, therefore I am. I thought about these concepts today as I became a clear example of my reasoning. I arrived at my own critical conclusions based on Descartes' principles over fifteen years ago. My conclusions are much simpler though. I don't think about the pineal gland or spinal fluid because I am not well-versed in scientific studies of the body, but I do think in terms of the mind-body relationship.

I combine his concepts to arrive at my own. I think, therefore I am proved to the French philosopher that we exist because we think: someone must be doing the thinking therefore that someone is me who, obviously, must exist. Dualism explains that there is a communication between the body and the mind, also the soul. Your Soulcerer's conclusion is that I think, therefore I am what I think and what I think has an effect and a direct correlation to my body and, in turn, my body affects what I think.

Case in point. I am writing this as you sleep, the night before I publish it. I don't know how I will feel in the morning. I am writing it tonight because I am sick. There. I said it. I am sick. And I am sick because I think I am sick. I had an off day today. I let my emotions get the best of me and this affected my sense of well-being. I met a friend for a late lunch who noticed I wasn't myself. I didn't want to go over my feelings, so instead I focused on the subtle aches in my body. I told my friend I was sick. I believed it. Now I am sick. After a two-hour lovely lunch, my mood was better, but then I was having body chills. The fact that my body felt sick made me think about being sick. I came full-circle, I was back to being sick. There is a mind-body connection.

My thoughts made me susceptible to illness. I now have a fever. I am turning this around, though. I am not thinking I am sick. I am thinking I am healing. I will be well.

Our thoughts make us susceptible not only to physical illness, but to a host of physical, emotional and mental states. Our body language, our outlook on life, our stamina, our moods, our resilience, our ability to accomplish our dreams, our levels of stress, our self-appreciation, our perceptions, our sleep, and more are all affected by what we think.

Today is a good day to watch your thoughts. Your thoughts affect your body and your soul. You think therefore you are what you think.

The cover that caught my eye. I still have this book somewhere in my library. 

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