Limitations of ‘Cogito, Ergo Sum’ And C-Rex

This is for those of you who grapple with theories and whose intellectual bend won’t let up. Let’s look at something real in relation to this famous Descartes statement and elucidate some true content.

I replied in one of the comments here that the statement is only correct in one context: when applied to human minds. Outside of this human context the statement is meaningless. Here is the simplicity of ‘why’ it is meaningless.

The original phrase read “Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum” which translates as “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”. It is a postulate to the evidence of the human mind existence and, by extension, the existence of the human in possession of the said mind: you, me, Jack and Jill etc.

Has anyone actually questioned the validity of the statement? Apply this Descartes phrase in relation to a tree. The tree says ‘I think, therefore I am’…. but trees do not think, therefore… they are not? No trees? Is that your true direct experience when you bloody depend on those green friends for every breath you take?

Ego-centric and species-centric humans believe themselves to be the centre of the Universe. They managed to convince themselves somehow, based on ONE statement of ONE French dude that the human mind is where it all exists, that it is the ONLY place where it all exists. This fate hasn’t escaped scores of the 21st century spiritualists, including Jed. Jed’s C-Rex (consciousness is King)  conclusion is based on a very shaky premise drawn from the Descartes’ statement:

Only those who are capable of thought – exist.

Talk about the mind fog, huh…… This is what I call the Collective Conscious in action, whereby people borrow one another’s ideas and develop them, very often in the direction opposite of Reality.

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The dumbing down is stark. C-Rex conveniently leaves out pretty much everything aside from humans. What about the rest? Amoebas? Dogs? Elephants? Dolphins? Rocks? Water? Viruses? if you doubt they exist – you are a member of the self hypnosis brigade which is unable to approach anything with a healthy dose of scepticism and rational enquiry.

This is ironic, considering Jed’s message ‘Think for yourself’ and considering that Descartes is famous exactly for that – the father of Cartesian analysis and rational thought. I am very sure that, just like the Buddha didn’t envision the long-term consequences of his ministry, Descartes didn’t anticipate just how far from Reality his one phrase would take humans.

Thought is the result of the higher cognitive processing, an ability to stand outside of the immediate sensory stimulus and think in abstract, separated from the stimulus, terms. Abstract thought is limited in other species, although I am sure that dogs and other higher order species have some form of thought, and trees don’t have any.

Why do I state this with such certainty? Look at Reality, it has all the answers. If other species had the same higher order psychological functions as humans – we would have an interspecies war on our hands, simply because other species would take it upon themselves to defend the right to existence in the face of the aggressive human expansion. But we don’t have an interspecies war, because other species simply lack the cognitive capacity to organise themselves. If they did…. boy, I would wish them well in such an endeavour.

It would serve us humans right, for all that we have been doing and have done to other living creatures, from carrots to dogs.

Now.. what can I know for sure, outside of ‘Cogito’? Well, a lot actually. I know trees exist. How? Direct experience, which you are also privy to. Go hug a tree instead of reading about its non-existence.

lorem ipsum I suppose I type, therefore I exist? How about that as a premise for our further exploration into ‘spirituality’ of the digital (read ‘fantastically mental’) age? Add the current developments in virtual reality technologies, and hey! human minds are getting screwed beyond further.

Further from what is – into fantasy.

37 thoughts on “Limitations of ‘Cogito, Ergo Sum’ And C-Rex

  1. It’s just your assumption that the “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am” statement implies that only when “I think” that “I am”. You can say that I am, and I’ve got my breath thank to the tree, or my meal comes from the tree,… so the tree is, it’s the one way (speculative way) to know the tree is; the other way is the way you mentioned, direct experience.

    I don’t say Descartes’ statement is correct or incorrect here. Just point out your “assuming and then attacking” it.

    1. Correct. Descartes may not have implied that ONLY when one thinks – they are. But I have not implied that either.

      I have implied that the idea of C-Rex is based on such an assumption, which is limited in its scope and states there is no physical (physical!) universe outside of the human mind.

  2. Many new-agey spiritualists seem to favor mind over matter. And I thought they were intertwined!
    Try to make an argument without a head, see how it goes, hah. But still, without any observers (minds of any kind) there would be no physical universe, you need both aspects to make sense.

    1. “without any observers (minds of any kind) there would be no physical universe”

      Is that true?

      If I take this sentence of yours at face value, it means there is no Saturn, viruses, deep sea creatures or even your internal organs. Saturn (and other planets) is far, viruses are too small to be seen with the naked eye, deep sea creatures are too deep in the ocean, the internal organs are occluded by outer tissues.

      Soo….. they do not exist as matter (physical universe)? Nobody to observe them, right? No observer – no matter, according to your sentence?

      Is that true?

      You are correct, however, that mind and matter depend on one another. From matter (body) springs forth the mind, and the mind regulates the matter (body), above and beyond the basic somatic functions.

      Damaging either one of those results in infinite variations of ‘not optimal existence’ for an individual organism, and it doesn’t matter whether we are talking about dogs or humans.

      1. Even us humans from far away have observed Saturn with our telescopes, deep sea creatures and other organisms observe each others deep down so there’s that.
        We are hosting insanely huge amount of bacteria and micro-organisms inside and outside of our bodies that could potentially count as awareness, I don’t know. And there could be countless observers that we just cannot observe with our technology at the moment, that’s also possible.

        But all that aside, my take was more on the hypothetical side, like if there would be no observers at all, none in the whole universe, there would be no one to make something out of nothing. There could be different probabilities but it would need to be observed to verify the existence of any kind of physicality. As long as there is no observing, there are just potentiality, observing makes it tangible. What I mean by observing is any kind of awareness.
        Also who’s to say that Saturn is there when no one’s looking, it is there when we observe but outside of it…

        To me awareness is existence, this whole business of being something rather than nothing. But still the underlying rules to this specific kind of human/animal existence seem to be covered by physical laws.

        1. An approximate age of planet Earth is 4.5 billion years. For most of that time there was no human awareness in existence, as there were no humans.

          There were other different kinds of awareness. Any living organism possesses awareness. What they do not have is SELF-awareness, which is radically different from just merely awaring one’s environment on sensory levels.

          Yet… the Earth thrived, without us. It will thrive without us as observers well after we are gone, and Humanity will be gone one day for sure, as nothing lasts forever. The universe could not give a flying fuck and will carry on regardless.

          Where does that leave a human observer? Well, in the realm of egotistical ‘Look at me! I exist! I am aware!’ In the realm of his/her mind, which is to say… lost in Reality.

          Reality is not ‘nothing’. It is rich of colour, full of movement, constantly changing, shifting, morphing. Death is ‘nothing’, and one day it will be yours – forever. Reality – will carry on being.

          1. And I agree with everything you said. But I must emphasize that as we are now, at this moment, we are reality as much as anything else. As humans, we are not better or worse than anything else as far as universe is concerned.
            But within the human moral perspective, it is debatable.
            I’m pretty happy to be human but if we had to choose an ambassador of earth to represent us to a galactic federation, I would rather choose an elephant or a fruit bat or tardigrade than human.
            Crude self – awareness is fine but this whole egoistical bogus is channeling human energy all over the place. But it is what it is.
            But still, hope you are having a nice day, fellow human 🙂

  3. I never read the French guy but the quote itself doesn’t imply that only he exists. It’s his proof for being conscious of himself. I think so I must exist. If I remember correctly Jed paraphrased it: I perceive therefore I am.
    Whether you perceive a thought saying that the tree is real or you perceive a thought that says the tree is not real isn’t that different.

    1. “Whether you perceive a thought saying that the tree is real or you perceive a thought that says the tree is not real isn’t that different.”

      I would be curious to see your reasoning behind this statement.

  4. i see i was trying to be interesting…
    if a tree is real or not, i already experienced it or i wouldn’t think about it. my conclusion may be right or wrong but whatever happened, happened.
    you may argue that it is not the same, let’s say i see a mirage in the desert, it will have consequences if i waste my energy running to that mirage palm trees.
    but i’m not talking about survival skills.
    even if the tree is real or unreal, something was experienced, and it is beyond my control.
    existence is a given. it happens.
    it is the same with thinking, ideas, opinions, emotions, feelings, sensations, identifying with them or not, claiming authorship/ownership or not.

    1. “my conclusion may be right or wrong but whatever happened, happened.” – True, but would it not be better if your perceptions were in line with Reality?

      Don’t we want to see things as they REALLY are? In Truth?

      I will not argue because I find it hard to comprehend the kernel of what you wanted to express. But I will offer this:

      When I perceive the tree as real (existing) – it comes from the sensory input: hugging the trunk, touching the branches, looking at the leaves.

      When I perceive the tree as NOT real – it comes from….. where?

      1. haha, ok,
        so if i perceived the tree as real through my senses it must be there, so how could i perceive it as not being there.
        i didn’t said that
        perceiving the sensory input is one
        perceiving the mind’s conclusions is another
        in the first case the matter of the reality of the perceived isn’t ‘yet’ in question
        the two distinct cases cannot be separated if there is consciousness
        and they are contained in consciousness
        you can say that the reality of that tree isn’t depending on me or my opinion, which i agree with, if you are referring to the ‘me’ that is the product of the brain of this body typing here. this me can come to all sorts of conclusions, even that the tree is both real and unreal.
        “Don’t we want to see things as they REALLY are? In Truth?”
        the ultimate truths that can be known are the spiritual kind [matter is spirit] or the materialistic kind [spirit is matter], or their combinations.

        1. “so if i perceived the tree as real through my senses it must be there, so how could i perceive it as not being there.”

          Good, ZeXe, I would like you to keep thinking, instead of your usual unfocused wanderings in cyberspace.

          Yes, how could one perceive something as not being there, despite the obvious facts that THE TREE IS THERE? How can one perceive – nothing, an absence, and then give a detailed explanation of that absence? But at the same time they DEFINE what that absence was – in our case, that of a tree? How would they know if a tree is not there? How can they give exact details of a tree – IF IT IS NOT THERE?

          A strange phenomenon, right?

          Well, in the case of spiritualists the tree is not there for them because they have read about its supposed absence somewhere in a book by some ‘important’ spiritual charlatan (they are not aware of course s/he is a charlatan). They bought into the ‘authority’ of the person (Ramana! Niz! Jed! UG!….. ffs), unquestioningly. There is no other explanation.

          This is an example of the mind created ‘reality’. For them the absence of the tree is real. This is what is called ‘Maya’ (I hate this term), mental fog, The Illusion etc.

          Look at Ken’s forum. Who was it that said ‘If one lie is repeated countless times, eventually it becomes Truth’?


          1. “a dog is barking at a shadow, a hundred dogs make it a reality”
            actually one is enough. i’ve seen enough psychotics that bring shadows to life. i suppose everyone had the experience of realizing how wrong they understood things. i don’t know how i could secure the ‘right’ view. maybe only as later judgement, but on the spot there’s no way. the mind reacts in the same way to the ‘outside’ as to the ‘inside’ – so i get foggy. both brute reality and mind stuff are real.
            then the reality, the real, is the world and the mind stuff, period.
            it’s all rational, mechanical – “so, it’s mechanical!”
            but i do not believe that even the most advanced AI could know anything. it can react, and it can react to the reaction, and mold itself into a different arrangement, but it could never know anything. to know is not only the right reaction to something, no matter how complex and evolved the reaction might be. to know implies an independent something.

          2. You are not AI.

            There is a certain sense of laziness to what you write.

            I suppose when life/Reality kicks you bad enough – your mind will begin to process with speed and depth. A sense of ‘urgency will not be lost on you then.

            There is a time and space for everything. Until then…. keep on being.

  5. no Advaiten on the forum? where was Descartes “cogito” when he had a good nights sleep? was “he” still there? did he not exist then?
    But its true: “sum” means “I am”, without “sum” being remains, without “cogito”, without “Descartes” like trees or bees….with some more doubt he would have disappeared….(thats what I heard!)

    1. “no Advaiten on the forum? ” – Don’t know what you are referring to here.

      “where was Descartes “cogito” when he had a good nights sleep? was “he” still there? did he not exist then?” – True. He still existed even in his sleep and in the absence of direct thinking.

      So do trees and bees.

      1. “beingness in deep sleep and in the absence of direct thinking” is a full stop , the reference point shown to us by Ramana Mahashi, UG, Karl Renz and some others, anythng before that is hobby, speculation or mindf…..

        1. A reference point to……. what? Shown to us? Who is ‘us’?

          I don’t recall anyone showing me anything. I recall a lot of bullshit coming out the mouths of men influenced by their culture, upbringing, past beliefs and convictions and an unconscious desire for notoriety.

          As Ramana said to UG as a reply to UG’s question ‘Can you give me Truth?’ or something along those lines.

          ‘I can give it, but can you take it?’… which pissed UG off no end. And rightly so: the phrase shows just how much of an egotistic prick Ramana really was.

          Human beings have a psychological depth of a paper plate… they can’t discern between plain arrogance and deep wisdom.

          How about your own voice, as opposed to some blokes’ past thoughts and beliefs?

          I’ve just watched ‘The Shape of Water’. I stopped watching two thirds through. It was supposed to be a highly acclaimed film. Turned out a fantastical, and fantastically sentimental drivel, feeding universal human hunger for ‘love’ (read ‘need for external support and admiration).

          In need of crutches, always.

          1. I totally agree: some humans can’t discern between plain arrogance and deep wisdom.
            and I have to admit: I do not have “my own voice”, since baby times I got the imput from my surounding and my reactions thereto, some more imput through my inclinations and interests and my identifications therewith:
            I hear the wise man saying: your only own voice would be silence. (I must have heard that to or else found it out by myself).
            I greatfully like to discontinue the dialogue not to waste your time for response. Thank you.

          2. No time wasted.

            “I hear the wise man saying: your only own voice would be silence. ”

            Sounds ‘wise’, but not true. Look at Reality. Get out there and listen.

            Every living creature communicates in some way, and especially human beings. People who cannot speak the words in voice – speak them in gestures.

            One is silent only in two cases: when they are brain-dead, or when they are dead. No ‘own voice’ then, no voice at all.

          3. “As Ramana said to UG as a reply to UG’s question ‘Can you give me Truth?’ or something along those lines.

            ‘I can give it, but can you take it?’… which pissed UG off no end. And rightly so: the phrase shows just how much of an egotistic prick Ramana really was.

            Human beings have a psychological depth of a paper plate… they can’t discern between plain arrogance and deep wisdom.”

            God dammn, I remember that I read that answer from Ramana some while ago on some website and I twisted the hell out of my mind to understand it. I really tought it was deep wisdom and I just don’t get it. But now I feel dumb and ashamed that I kinda accepted that answer without really questioning its validity. And it makes me think how much still garbage and wrong assmptions there is still in my mind. Its kinda painful feeling, but hey thats maybe the real enquiry.

          4. Don’t feel ashamed, we all have been/are dumb in one way or another.

            If you look at many well-known spiritual utterances with fresh eyes – you will discover that most of them are little snaps of good-sounding… soundbites.

            ‘Dressed to impress’ words. When picked apart – those words of ‘wisdom’ fall apart.

        2. Nah, theres too much importance placed on the whole no mind thing. Sure it’s got its benefits when you need to perform. Like a an athlete who just needs to get out of his head and trust his instincts. Or a lion that goes in for the kill without concern for “right or wrong” But at the human level there is a time and place for both mind and no mind. Nothing wrong with thinking or planning as a higher level of processing or being capable of such unlike the lion. Which is exactly how you arrive at the conclusion that you can either use though or be used by it. Bet the lion never thought of that one and I bet I still go in for the kill when the opportunity presents itself.

  6. It’s not about chasing silence for the sake of being silent. It’s about realising how little do we actually know. And obviously we can’t realise that, if we’re gonna silence our mind every time it wants to speak.

    If we really care about knowing the Truth and living the Truth, we have to become our mind’s worst enemy. Every time it states that it knows something, we demand proof. Every time it states “you should do this, you shouldn’t do that” we demand: “how do you know?” By doing this we will drive the mind crazy. Because it cannot deliver. It cannot know. If you think you’ve figured it all out – KEEP GOING.

    For example. I can use my mind to kill God as a mental construct, a comforting story. But does that mean that there’s no God? Nope. Same with afterlife.

    Should I give money to a beggar? It seems like a compassionate thing to do. But what if he uses it to buy a gun? And would that be a bad thing necessarily? What if he needs to kill someone to wake up? And so on and so forth…

    Would killing all the Swiss be a bad thing to do? Why not push the button and do it? – asks Jed in “Incorrect”. Indeed, why not? Who says that we even need to be compassionate?

    I hear a car outside my window. It would be reasonable to assume that there is a car. But would I bet my life on it? Never.

    Mind’s inability to find itself (who am I?) or anything that it is certain of (what is true?) results with its surrender. Jed’s DONE. We might not know who we are at this point but it is so damn obvious that we’re more that our body-mind.

    But then we might want to be careful not to get to drunk on this part, because it’s far from over. As Adya says in “The end of your world”: “After awakening, the process is happening from a different perspective; you may
    think of it as a bird’s-eye view versus a ground-level view”.

    1. That’s some solid advice for someone who doesn’t trust themselves. Theres a difference between “knowing it all” and trusting that you’ll figure it out as you go. Not needing to rely on what (insert guru) said.

      Looking at it now it’s so absurd to have ever looked to someone else for the answers. Maybe fear, laziness or both.

      1. Justin and Tano:

        I’m all for trusting one’s own authority. But when we turn “inside” we hear all kinds of voices. Some are worth trusting, some aren’t. A big part of waking up is learning to discern one from the other. Crucial part. Otherwise, who do you trust? Your ego?

        So what does it matter from whose mouth wisdom/BS comes?

        Without realising how tricky ego is, that it is its job to fool us, and that it will do ANYTHING to survive, we’re gonna get stuck somewhere.

        You might say that you learn to trust your Self, by mistrusting your self first.

        1. Well Joanna it’s up to you where you take your wisdom from. I tend not to take advise from people who cant relate or that I wouldn’t want to emulate. I also shut down certain voices of my own that are of a self defeating or weak nature. I know what I want and I focus almost exclusively on that. It’s not about ego for me. It’s about trusting my own judgement learned from hard lessons and past experience that have gotten me to this point. I dont always make the right decision but I make MY OWN decision and learn from them. At least in that way I take the responsibility. For everything. That’s what I’d call actually waking up as opposed to inputting the bs of others and leaning on that for better or worse.

          1. Honestly, your obsession against gurus sounds more like some sort of trauma, than a lesson learned.

            Again, whether you turn “inside” or “outside”, you have to decide for yourself what is worth listening to and what’s not. And here you have your “responsibility and authority”.

            When Life/intuition tells me “read this book”, and I’m answering with “I don’t need books, I have my own authority”, then who am I listening to? Who is it that tells Life in what form it is supposed to speak to me?

            What do you mean: “It’s not about ego for me.”? The shortest definition of ego is “a blindfold”. How can you speak about waking up and say that it’s not about ego?

          2. What do you mean: “It’s not about ego for me.”? How can you speak about waking up and say that it’s not about ego?

            Its pretty straight forward…I’m not “waking up.” I’m awake and I’m not concerned one way or another with any ego.

    2. Joanna, at the risk of sounding politically incorrect… I have a serious problem specifically with women who get involved in this kind of debate. Why? Because women (not all, but the majority) seem to have a problem with rationality and a very uneasy relationship with own brain.

      Females are devotional, belief-orientated and not questioning. They PRETEND to ask questions, but as from your piece above, those questions end up in the gutter.

      I mean.. you are asking something reasonable here “Every time it states “you should do this, you shouldn’t do that” we demand: “how do you know?” ………………. followed by “By doing this we will drive the mind crazy. Because it cannot deliver. It cannot know.” WTF???????

      What THE HELL is this???? A usual female by-passing in the way of pretending to sound clever, in pretending to look at things in all honesty, and yet finishing it off with ‘It cannot deliver’????

      A bird’s eye view – it ain’t. It’s a view from the Flat Earth perspective and, incidentally, from a female perspective. The female who has absolutely no trust in herself.

      Welcome to the home of billions huh…

      P.S. You do not need to ‘be compassionate’. You need not to remain an animal. That should be enough in this human life of ours.

      1. “P.S. You do not need to ‘be compassionate’. You need not to remain an animal. That should be enough in this human life of ours.”

        How quickly you go into conclusions. Which is my point exactly.

        Before you decided that we have only two options: to keep our learned morality OR to live as an animal, have you met your human-animal? Have you bothered to listen what it has to say? What does it believe in, what is it afraid of, how does it feel?
        Ironically, deciding to be a good person can keep us from discovering the goodness of our true nature.
        And then you assume, that when someone speaks of our human innocence, it’s because they’re ignoring those animalistic parts. And many are. But maybe not all? Maybe being aware of something doesn’t mean that you’ve really met it?

        The guy who said “God sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal…and awakens in man.” was aware that there is something more than our minds that differs us from animals.

        And speaking about rationality…

        Years ago I made a prayer: “Hey God, I’m praying because if you exist I could use your help (in finding you), but eventually I’m gonna need some proof”. Wasn’t it unreasonably reasonable of me?

        Ramana woke up, because he let himself be stupid enough to believe that he can experience physical death by lying on the floor with eyes closed.

        The power of (unreasonable) intuition.

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