Friday, August 18, 2017

What Does It Mean To Exist?

What Is Existence?

"Diagram from one of René Descartes' works."
I think, therefore I am.
René Descartes
Also: Cogito ergo sum
Je pense, donc je suis 
"A fuller form, penned by Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes’s intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum ("I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am"). The concept is also sometimes known as the cogito.
"Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one's own existence served—at minimum—as proof of the reality of one's own mind; there must be a thinking entity—in this case the self—for there to be a thought." Quoted from:
Please read how Descartes shaped our modern world 
and our modern sense of time 
which is explained at the bottom of this blog. 

Portrait of Rousseau dressed in an Armenian outfit.
I feel, therefore I am.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
(a distillation of Rousseau's thought)

"I felt before I thought," wrote Rousseau
or as e.e. cummings wrote,
"since feeling is first"

I continue, therefore I am.
Rick Doble

Yet even more fundamental than thought or feeling
is that awake or asleep we continue
and keep on going as long as we exist

From the moment you are conceived to the moment you die, you continue.
When a species of animals no longer continues, it is extinct.


Descartes And 'The Grid'
Of The Modern World

Descartes essentially invented the modern world from my point of view.  In a sense, he defined what it means TO EXIST in our contemporary societies because he invented "the grid" which is how the hi-tech world functions.

With his Cartesian coordinate system he assigned a mathematical value to any point in space. His idea of accurately describing space with an X/Y grid (for 3D a third axis Z was added) has become the basis for both the design and the operation of computers, GPS, airline traffic, cell phones, TV screens etc. When time is added as a fourth coordinate, just about anything can be imagined, placed, located and tracked in space and time. But for time to work as the fourth coordinate, time has to be our modern precise regulated synchronized atomic clock time with defined world time zones.

(Left) The original Cartesian X/Y graph. X = the horizonal line (axis), Y=  the vertical line (axis). Any point in the graph can be determined and also placed with these two numbers. 
(Middle) By adding a third aixis Z an object can be described in 3 dimensions. 
(Right) By adding time as a fourth dimension, as in this construction work schedule, time and place can be graphed and events can be planned. In this case the time schedule might refer to X/Y/Z graphs showing what was to be done and where in a certain time period during construction.

(Left) A mathematical structure visualized in a graph.
(Middle) A structure for a possible domed roof for a building.
(Right) A 'random walk' accurately mapped out with  X/Y/Z coordinates.

Representation of the trajectory of aircraft on an air traffic control radar screen.
On this screen space and time are represented. The x/y/z position of the aircraft is available as is the time for that aircraft at a given position..Our modern technology can pinpoint all four coordinates to display, document or record a time period in the life of an airplane.

Descartes And A Fly = The Cartesian Coordinates
"The coordinate system we commonly use is called the Cartesian system, after the French mathematician René Descartes (1596-1650), who developed it in the 17th century. Legend has it that Descartes, who liked to stay in bed until late, was watching a fly on the ceiling from his bed. He wondered how to best describe the fly's location and decided that one of the corners of the ceiling could be used as a reference point."Imagine the ceiling as a rectangle drawn on a piece of paper: taking the left bottom corner as the reference point, you can specify the location of the fly by measuring how far you need to go in the horizontal direction and how far you need to go in the vertical direction to get to it. These two number are the fly's coordinates."