Category Archive: Philosophy
Let us turn a last time to the venerable Descartes, our adversary, the great seducer of the modern world. In this booklet on method, he seriously, without any trace of humor, complained that man had impressions before his mind developed to the full power of logic. For twenty years, so his complaint runs, I was impressed confusedly by objects which I was unable to understand. Instead of having my brain a clean slate at twenty, I found innumerable false ideas engraved upon it.
What a pity that man is unable to think clearly from the day of his birth, or that he should have memories which antedate his maturity. Have these naive confessions of the demigod of modern science, the inventor of the mind-body dualism, met with the only success that they deserve: unending laughter?
This brings up the serious question of what the omission of laughter, or its application, mean in the evolution of science. Scientists seem to be unable to grasp the folly of Descartes’ remark. Common sense, however, acts on the principle that a man who fails to apply laughter and weeping in the discovery of vital truth simply is immature. Descartes is a gigantically expanded adolescent, full of curiosity, loathing his mental childhood, and frustrating his mental manhood. â€” Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, “Farewell to Descartes,” I Am an Impure Thinker, p. 15 (paragraph breaks added).