What Descartes said, and what I think he meant

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 Part One


Truth does not inhabit the space of possibility, but rather, only inhabits the space of what is. Conversely, possibility merely exists in a realm of expectation. It can only hope for that which truth has already obtained.

One cannot “know” truth. If what is true is identical to what is, then only that which is, can obtain that truth. To assert that an individual is able to obtain the same truth is to make the individual identical to the thing that is true.

It seems that this is what Descartes saw, but was unable to articulate it properly because he was unable to properly understand his own subjectivity. Descartes was supposed to misarticulate it. What an odd paradox we find ourselves in: Descartes doubting was a product of his self. His inability to doubt his doubt was true only insofar as it was his own subjective doubt. For instance, there is no problem for Descartes to doubt some other’s existence. Instead, the problem arose in Descartes inability to doubt his own doubt because to do so would be to doubt the subjectivity necessary for his doubt to begin with. To doubt the other individual is merely the performance of some abstract act.

Descartes had no notion of his own subjectivity insofar as it related to ontological truth. What Descartes encountered was a “moment” within his own subjectivity where ontological truth had revealed itself through the experience of his moment. That is, it was a moment where Descartes actually experienced himself.

The reason for Descartes misarticulation is due to languages inability to consume the ontological status of truth. To put it another way, the individual is unable to send out into the world the exact properties of the object using language without jeopardizing the ontological status of the objects true qualities. I am of course only speaking about truth in its absolute form. Certainly, we are able to chip off pieces of truth to send out into the world. The goal is always the same; namely, having the other individual apprehend our symbolic gestures as closely as possible to how we have experienced them.

Truth is very much like a light. The further out into the world light travels, the dimmer it becomes. Moreover, the ability for something to be more true than another has to do with the point of view the individual has. Is the individual closer or further from the source?

There is yet another barrier for the totality of truth to overcome. That is, interference. What if when we shine our light it happens to be foggy out? What if, some individuals are deeper in the fog than others? The deeper into the fog the individual goes the more convoluted truth becomes. One person believes the object to be a lamp light. Another thinks it could be a street light. However, only the individual holding the source of the light knows that it is in fact a flashlight.

But, in what way does he know of the flashlight? Is it that he has seen a thing called a flashlight on so many occasions that he has come accustomed to calling the device a flashlight? No, he is always stuck in a realm of possibility where he can doubt the existence of the thing he is holding. The only aspect of truth for him is the in the experience he has called “holding the flashlight”.



My Incredible Dream
What Descartes said, and what I think he meant