Archives for posts with tag: Descartes

Ever-since Descartes –¬† dubito ergo cogito, cogito ergo sum, the western culture had considered that a person becomes truly human only after they actively start looking for answers. Start thinking about their own persona, in a conscious manner.
Otherwise put, we start existing only after we notice our existence.

The corollary of this concept had been ‘rational thinking’. The belief that it is possible to consider something – to emit a judgement about a subject, only after dispassionately examining all available facts – and only the facts, pertinent to the matter.

While the ‘thinkers’ were coining the concept of rationality, the more practical minded had come up with the scientific approach. Gather as much information as possible about the subject you’re interested in, interpret it and come up with a conclusion. But keep an open mind about any new information which might come up and be prepared for your conclusion to be invalidated – or, at least, ‘nuanced’, at any moment.

At first sight, there isn’t much difference between these two approaches. Only at first sight, of course…
Those who consider themselves to be ‘rational’ have a hard time accepting other people’s conclusions while the bona fide ‘scientists’ are actually happy when they are contradicted. ‘My work has been considered important enough for somebody to check it. I’ll just have to make amends and all will¬† be fine’.

Now, I’m convinced that you’ve all figured out that I’m joking.
There’s no such thing as a fully rational person who denies the facts which happen to contradict their conclusions just as there’s no such thing as a scientist pure enough to actually enjoy being proven wrong.

But I’m not joking when I observe that there are so many people who consider themselves to be rational and who refuse to accept as fact anything which contradicts their beliefs. Who have a ‘scientific’ approach. Who cherry-pick only the facts which confirm their theory and dismiss – as ‘fake-news’, all the rest. Just as many as the scientists who do the same thing.

I wonder who supervises their thinking processes.
Are they truly aware about what’s going on inside their heads?
Or about the consequences?

Vorbeam intr-o postare anterioara despre cum, interpretandu-l ‘entuziast’ pe Descartes, am ajuns la concluzia ca ‘ratiunea il face pe om’.
Iata aici o noua dovada altceva il face pe om si nu ratiunea pura. Aceasta din urma este doar un mecanism, o modalitate de a asambla si folosi in scop propriu informatiile pe care le avem la indemana.
Catre ce scop? Ne putem folosi de ratiune pentru a incerca sa raspundem si la aceasta intrebare. Din pacate vom obtine doar atat, un raspuns. Atunci cind vom alege cu adevarat catre ce scop sa ne indreptam vor intra in joc caracterul nostru, bunul simt, educatia… Adica exact ceea ce am acumulat pina in acel moment din interactiunea cu oamenii de care ne-am ‘lovit’ de-a lungul vietii. Unii ar zice ca din acest moment intervine ‘morala’.
Se poate spune si asa. Eu prefer explicatia lui Humberto Maturana:
‘Oamenii nu sunt singurele fiinte constiente. Si cainele e constient, simte atunci cind este lovit. Spre deosebire de caine insa omul este constient de faptul ca este constient.
Iar aceasta constiinta nu a aparut din intimplare la unul dintre indivizi si apoi s-a raspandit pentru ca a fost folositoare ci a aparut prin interactiunea intensa si repetata intre indivizii societatii, mai ales prin intermediul limbajului. Acesta din urma a aparut tot asa, ‘intre’ indivizi, si impreuna, constiinta de a fi constienti impreuna cu abilitatea de a comunica idei in intreaga lor complexitate, au transformat o grupurile de ‘maimute’ pre-umane in societatile (aproape) umane de astazi.
Sa nu uitam totusi contributia esentiala a lui Descartes. El a inceput rationamentul sau cu ‘Dubito ergo…’
Asa gandesc cu adevarat oamenii: “Ce ar fi daca…” Unii ajung la concluzia “Ce tie nu-ti place altuia nu-i face”, altii la “cum sa fac sa mai castig odata alegerile”.
Poate ca ar fi timpul sa inceapa si alegatorii sa gandeasca: “Ce ar fi daca…?”

“Dubito ergo cogito, cogito ergo sum”
This was the original.
We have chosen to keep only ‘cogito ergo sum’ and be extremely proud of the fact humans are the only animals able to reason.
There is a small video that makes me wonder.…(You can enjoy all of it later, for the purpose of this post please watch from 28:01 to 32:00)
The way I see it, the monkey IS able to reason but is unable to refrain itself. When the situation allowed for ‘cold reasoning’ – when only numbers where involved, not real candy – he displayed the same kind of reasoning as the one we’d usually do.

By contrast, it is us, humans, who have the unique ability to think discursively – please see one of my previous posts about this – and hence the possibility to ask ourselves “what if?”
Maybe this is what Descartes wanted to convey to us, that it’s our capacity to ‘dubito’ that makes us humans, after all.

PS. Here you have the full transcription of that video.

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