In Descartes’ first meditation in The Meditations it reads, “I shall only in the first place attack those principles upon which all my former opinions rested.” He talks about his skepticism in how he viewed everything in life when he was younger and gullible. Now that he is older he can do a clean slate on all his beliefs and everything he has learned up to that point. Going forward Descartes will start to question everything with a new perspective. He mentions that everything that he questions and after has doubts about the matter that it is enough for him to disbelieve the idea which I believe is the purpose of Meditation I.
In the first mediation it’s about him coming into realization that he can start all over and find the truth about everything he thought was certainty. In the beginning he seems to be enlighten by the idea that he needed to feel no doubt in what was questioned. He wanted to know what was real and what was not due to our senses. An example in The Meditations reads, “I shall then suppose, not that God who is supremely good and the fountain of truth, but some evil genius not less powerful than deceitful, has employed his whole energies in deceiving me.” He would evaluate the theories and foundation from where this theory was built on and seek truth on actual facts.
The Cogito Argument Descartes claims is, “I am a thing which thinks.” Simply because he thinks, he exists in this world but knows that he is tangible. As read in The Meditation III, “the mind, which alone I at present identify with myself—is by me deemed to exist.” Descartes feels that truth cannot not be doubted and if doubted then he seeks facts. In The Meditation, he talks about how dreams can feel authentic but they are just illusions, that you must differentiate and not be fooled with its authenticity of the truth. He states that dreams can feel intense which makes you feel like it’s reality but it is not. Dreams are just made up in our mind by what we see in real life when we are in a conscious state. When we are sleeping we can create images that have never been seen before but they all derive from what has already been seen and not real.
Descartes discuses on how he is not perfect and only God is pure and infinite. He understands that he is unmeasurable in comparison to God. As read in Meditation III, “I understand a supreme God, eternal, infinite, immutable, omniscient, omnipotent, and Creator of all things which are outside of Himself, has certainly more objective reality in itself than those ideas by which finite substances are represented.” Descartes feels that there is a greater higher power and we naturally are not capable of thinking of perfect ideas. He feels that by having his clean slate on what he believed in before and removing that as the truth he can now figure out what is truth.
God has put these ideas for us to find and figure out but Descartes knows that we are not perfect. As read in Meditation III, “But among these ideas, some appear to me to be innate, some adventitious, and others to be formed or invented by myself; for, as I have the power of understanding what is called a thing, or a truth, or a thought, it appears to me that I hold this power from no other source than my own nature.” Descartes also mentions, “is it likewise a fiction of my mind, for it is not in my power to take from or to add anything to it; and consequently the only alternative is that it is innate in me, just as the idea of myself is innate in me.” By knowing that he is innate Descartes knows that someone far more superior is the one giving him these ideas. When seeking truth and getting ideas it is God who has transmitted to us his ideas, which we are only able to have because of him.
In conclusion, I believe that there is space for both science and religion. I sometimes find myself questioning my faith as I take these types of courses like philosophy and religion. I feel that science has proven actual fact that we are able to see but at the same time I feel like we come from a greater power. I feel that as human beings we crave to have faith in something. Just last week I almost got into a car accident and managed to stop myself from hitting two cars and the wall on the right side of the freeway. As soon as I was safe I thank God because at that very moment I felt that he was protecting me. I know that there is proof on evolution based on Darwinism but maybe God put him their to help guide him. Regardless, if you believe in God I feel that everyone needs faith in something.