Third of the Meditations Simplified

The existence of God Icon

January 31, 2022

I will now:

  • shut my eyes
  • block my ears
  • cut off all my senses
  • regard all my mental images of bodily things as empty, false and worthless
    • clear them out of my mind.
  • talk to myself
  • examine myself more deeply
  • know myself more intimately.

I am a thing that thinks:

  • doubts,
  • affirms,
  • denies,
  • understands some things,
  • is ignorant of many others,
  • wills,
  • refuses.

This thing also imagines and has sensory perceptions.

My sensory experiences and imagination certainly do occur inside me as mental events, even if they do not exist outside me.

Have I overlooked other facts about myself?

Knowledge

Knowledge means that there is a clear and distinct perception of what I am knowing. Thus, as a general rule, whatever I perceive very clearly and distinctly is true.

I realized that the sensory objects were doubtful. But these led to my ideas of them. Those ideas still occurred inside me.

But I used believed that my ideas of those sensory objects were exactly as those objects. I believed this for so long that I wrongly came to think that I perceived those objects clearly. In fact, my ideas were false. If it were true, then it was not due to the strength of my perceptions.

But what about abstract ideas like those of arithmetic or geometry, like 2 + 3 = 5? These are true*.

Superphysics Note: The truth of 2 + 3 = 5 comes from the fact that 2, 3, and 5 are all idea-objects made up of aether, and not sensory objects made uo of electromagnetism or strong and weak forces. Thus, the idea and mind match, leading to truth, because they are both of the same material. The idea of God is an idea with a huge aether content.

God could easily make me go wrong, even on things that I think I see perfectly clearly.

But when I think about the ideas that I think I perceive clearly, I exclaim:

‘Let him do his best to deceive me! He can never fool me into thinking that:

  • I am nothing while I think I am something
  • I never existed to my future self when I really do exist now
  • 2 + 3 = 4 or 6"

I have no evidence that there is a deceiving God. I am not even sure that there is a God at all. The idea of a deceiving God is a very theoretical one.

I will analyze this idea so I can be certain about what God is.

First, I classify my thoughts into definite kinds, with each kind being true or false.

Ideas

Some of my thoughts are images of things. These thought-images are the only ones that should be called ‘ideas’.

Non-Ideas (Feelings)

Other thoughts come from will, fear, affirmation, denial, etc. These are called volitions or emotions.

Ideas are true when they are considered solely by themselves, unconnected to anything else.

The will or the emotions are also true. Even if I want bad or non-existent things, it is still true that I want them.

Judgments

Thoughts that are not ideas or feelings are called judgments. These are liable to by false.

The most common mistake is to judge that my ideas resemble things outside of me.

Among my ideas:

  • some are innate
  • some are caused from the outside
  • some are invented by me.

The following are all innate:

  • my understanding of what a thing is
  • my understanding of what truth is
  • my understanding of what thought is

These come purely from my own nature.

my hearing a noise or seeing the sun or feeling the fire comes from things outside me; and

sirens, hippogriffs and the like are my own invention.

My ideas might all come from the outside, or might be all innate, or made up by myself.

But my main question now concerns the ideas that I take to come from things outside me=

But why do I think that the ideas from external origins resemble the ideas that I made myself?

Nature has apparently taught me to think that they do.

But from experience, I know that these ideas do not depend on my will. Thus, they do not depend simply on me. They often come into my mind without my willing them to.

For example, now I feel warm whether I want to or not. This leads me to think that this sensation or idea of heat comes from something other than myself, namely the heat of a fire nearby.

What comes to me from that external thing will naturally be like it.

There is a great difference between:

  • natural impulse
  • natural truth.

The natural truth is revealed by the natural light. For example, I know the natural truth of my existence because the natural light tells me so.

My natural impulses, however, have no such privilege. These have pushed me in the wrong way on moral questions. I do not trust them.

The ideas from natural impulses do not depend on my will. But it does not mean that they must come from things outside of me.

Perhaps they come from some faculty of mine other than my will – one that I don’t fully know about – which produces these ideas without help from external things. This is how ideas are produced in me when I am dreaming.

Similarly, the ideas from natural impulses might seem opposed to my will. But these can come from within me. I can cause things that my will does not cause.

Finally, even if these ideas do come from things other than myself, it does not mean that they must resemble those things.

I have often discovered objects which are very unlike my ideas of them. For example, I have 2 different ideas of the sun:

  • Idea 1 comes from the senses which makes the sun appear very small
  • Idea 2 is based on astronomical reasoning, showing the sun to be much larger than the earth.

These ideas cannot both resemble the external sun. Idea 2, from the sun itself, is very different from Idea 1.

Idea 1 shows that ideas from blind impulse do not lead to reliable judgment.

Perhaps, though, there is another way of investigating whether some of the things of which I have ideas really do exist outside me.

As mental events, my ideas seem to be all on a par. They all appear to come from inside me in the same way.

But considered as images representing things other than themselves, they differ widely.

The ideas that represent substances amount to something more. They contain within themselves more representative reality – than do the ideas that merely represent qualities.

My idea of a supreme God as an eternal, infinite, unchangeable, omniscient, omnipotent creator of everything that exists except for himself has more representative reality than the ideas that represent merely finite substances.