Descartes and such.

Achieving enlightenment is something I find to be very interesting.  Enlightenment, to me, is something that is a cross between a spiritual and philosophical way of looking at life based on the trials you go through mixed with the things you watch everyone else around you go through.  I believe enlightenment to be something personal on a “when you know you know” type of level, achieving enlightenment I believe is a possible thing; I in no way consider myself to have achieved enlightenment because of how young and unexperienced in life I am, however I believe this to be a tangible thing in one’s life. Enlightenment, is the way in which you understand things based on what you know about reason and what you have learned from the world in a philosophical (possibly opinionated) and spiritual sense of understanding.

Mettrie talks about enlightenment in a way that talks about it as something that deals with reason.  She says, “What makes reason excellent is not its being immaterial but its force, its scope or its acuteness”, she talks about reason as something that is what it takes to make up one’s own understanding of everything. I agree with this to an extent because of the way in which enlightenment, or this idea of understanding goes along with just that, you can’t argue with certain types of reason, the pen is blue because there is a definite idea of what blue is and you cannot change that, so reason is important when trying to become enlightened.

Descartes famous for his “I think therefore I am” theory is someone who I can agree with.  In his two meditations he goes through what he understands in both of the senses I am talking about in my idea of enlightenment.  He starts by saying in his first meditation, “Whatever I have accepted until now as most true has come to me through my senses”, which I agree with because it goes back to what Mettrie was talking about with reason but on a more personal level, like saying, “this pan is hot, I know because I touched it and it burned me”.  In his fourth meditation Descartes says, “I previously accepted as perfectly certain and evident many things that I afterwards realized were doubtful”, in reference to thinking about understanding in a spiritual sense, using things like your perception and imagination.  I also agree with this but less than I agree with his senses theory a little bit more because of the tangible evidence senses provide, which is not to say that your perception of a color or thing changes your feeling, it does and can, but the concreteness that goes along with the theory in his first meditation is more appealing to me when thinking of my theory of enlightenment.

Milton deals heavily with reason in his piece which we were assigned (“Aeroepogitica”).  When talking about reason and trying to convince other people he says, “When a man writes to the world, he summons up all his reason and deliberation to assist him”  talking about how reason can allow you to gain a better understanding of arguments for yourself.  We know this because the piece was all about him getting people to think to themselves about the politics that went into publishing laws.  I obviously agree with Milton because of the way he used reason in his argument to make people think about the laws and how the politics should not factor in when thinking about how pieces should be protected from the authors and readers and even publishers standpoint.

Equiano, whom I agree with most tells the story of her life.  The ideas and theories she comes up with about the world are all based around what she was taught by her parents and family mixed with what she learned about the world just through experience.  She says in the middle of her writing “The next day proved a day of greater sorrow than I had yet experienced” which greatly appeals to what I think about when I am forming my theories about enlightenment.  Equiano had all of these experiences that lead her to her understanding of what life was about, through her perception.  A quote comes to mind, “Experience is the mother of knowledge” (Cervantes), which is what enlightenment is all about, the way in which you take in and experience life and create an understanding of knowledge.


La Mettrie:


  • Meditation 1:

  • Meditation 2:




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