Douglas Hill
opinion, humor and small town common sense
Monday, December 20, 2004

Metaphysical Meandering

Descartes’ cogito ergo sum is irrefutable rational evidence of my own existence – a rational proof. An interesting logic arises if one posits instead: I am in pain therefore I am. While the pain is a priori to the rational conclusion, the pain proves nothing – it is merely conscious awareness of pain. Proof is a rational concept, not an existential one; therefore, Descartes was correct in that the first possible, or fundamental, proof of ones own existence grows out of the conscious rationalization of the rational existence – the rational consciousness reasons its own existence. Moreover, the concept of I, as a discrete, bounded subject reveals itself to be a rational construct, and not a predicate of consciousness. Pain, without a rational construct to interpret it, reveals itself to consciousness as awareness that there is pain [pain is] [pain exists]; as opposed to I am in pain. Animals, such as my noble dog, in their consciousness are seemingly confronted only with an awareness of pain, without comprehending that the pain is their discrete pain. Consciousness conceives of itself as I when it is rational consciousness. Further, if pain is experienced consciously only, without a rational self identity, then it is presumably without notions of horror or dread that overlay pain in a rational consciousness that is aware of its discrete contingency. For consciousness without reason there is brightness (the sun), there is wetness (rain), there is pain – an extended field of Being in the Heideggerian sense. But even here, in referring to brightness, wetness and pain, we rely on rational concepts. But consciousness precedes and surrounds reason, like Being, and therefore, lying outside of and beyond reason, frustrates rational conception. And yet, as reason operates within consciousness, consciousness is partially revealed to us. Consciousness is revealed to reason as the total and immediate, indiscriminate awareness of all being that is present to it. It does not qualify, value or judge. It is as transparent as sight. It illuminates only. There is. And that is presents itself to consciousness to the extent that the discrete consciousness is able to apprehend what is present before it through the channels of awareness available to it, i.e. sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, reason.
Henry David Thoreau

Simon & Garfunkel

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