by American Kabuki
Descartes had it bass-ackwards
I AM BEFORE I THINK
The energy between spark and flame
The twist between arc and frame
The probability between zero and one
The taste between hotdog and bun
I AM I AM
I AM BEFORE I MANIFEST
Vortex forms before pirouette
Imagination fills Source’s genome pipette
Genes twist and resonate
In ways I can never anticipate
I AM I AM
I AM THEREFORE I FEEL
I knew you then,
I know you now,
What is new is familiar somehow
I AM I AM
I AM LIGHTENING
AND ITS THUNDERING PEEL
Clues drop like dew fall from the aether
A third spiral spins DNA, tis not matter either
Spirit rises and goes where it will
ONE never tires of getting its fill
I AM I AM
I AM DARK AND I AM LIGHT,
I AM THE HEART OF BRIGHT STARS IN THE NIGHT
Mirrors face each other and echo each move
Taunting twists timed to each groove
Beat rises and trumpets blow
To announce that which we already KNOW
I AM I AM
I AM THE OUTBREATH,
I AM THE INBREATH,
I AM LOVE
The space between the spaces
Inside the inside
and outside the outside
Nowhere and Everywhere
I AM I AM
* Rene Descartes
"The eight volumes of THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY (1967) is a wonderful compilation of just about everything philosophical. The encyclopedia carries a rather extensive entry for ANIMAL SOUL. That entry is well worth reading, if only because, all things considered, it is one of the most amusing, if not outright hilarious entries in the eight volumes.
In the context of ANIMAL SOUL, we again encounter the personage of Rene Descartes (1569-1650), the famous French philosopher and scientist. As is stated in many authoritative sources, Descartes was chief among the founders who designed the contours of modern thought and among the most original philosophers and mathematicians of any age.
In its essay on Descartes, the Encyclopedia points up that the “concept of the animal soul did not give rise to any serious problems until the seventeenth century, when Cartesian dualism brought out distinctions which had been latent in the dominant Aristotelian tradition.” However, as a result of Descartes’ concepts, debates increasingly surrounded the animal soul or mind, and they became “sensitive indicators of a number of fundamental issues in modern philosophy and science.”
The debates are traced back to Aristotle, had postulated gradations from inert, inanimate matter to plants, and then to animals. Plants had the functions of nourishment and reproduction, but animals were also endowed with sensation, motion, and all degrees of mental functions except reason.
Aristotle reserved reason for man, but his gradations from inert to reason precluded a sharp discontinuity between physical and mental functions in man.
To help resolve various resulting theoretical complexities, Descartes advanced the concept that “animals are pure machines, while men are machines with minds.” Further, if biological phenomena could be included in the domain of Descartes’ idea of a universal physics, “then a boundary would no longer lie between inanimate and animate beings.” Physics would then include all of nature except the mind of man.
Note that it is somewhat of a wonderment to consider what an inanimate being might consist of. The Encyclopedia goes on to state that after the discovery of the circulation of the blood, Descartes “was encouraged to attempt a general mechanistic physiology in hydraulic terms.” He argued that most human motions do not depend on the mind, and he gave examples of physiological functions and reactions which occur independently of the will— functions such as digestion, reactions such as sneezing.
Descartes went on to stipulate that in man the mind could also direct the course of the fluid (or animal spirits) which controls movements. However, to attribute minds to animals would threaten traditional religious beliefs, “since the psychological concept of mind was conflated with the theological concept of soul.”
To help resolve THIS problem, Descartes argued that it would “be impious to imagine that animals have souls of the same order as men, and that man has nothing more to hope for in the afterlife than flies and ants have.” Similarly, “God could not allow the sinless creatures to suffer. Without souls, animals would not suffer, and man would be absolved from guilt for exploiting, killing and eating them.” One of the longer-term results of Descartes’ ideas, many of which became modernist doctrines, was that the distinction between man-mind and animal-beast became more recognizable, largely because, in a philosophical sense, the distinctions tended to inflate men’s appreciation of man, and relegated animals to a lower order.
The encyclopedia points up that the debate of the animal soul controversy was enormous. The central issue, however, did not actually focus on the animal-machine and man-machine-with-mind hypotheses, but concerned the adequacy of mechanistic explanation to account for all biological and psychological phenomena. Prior to Descartes, the search for mechanistic explanation had incorporated the concept of Final Cause and Purpose— i.e., with regard to the origin especially of animate life forms and their purpose of their existing.
In other words, is mechanistic explanation adequate to account not only for the mechanistic (hydraulic) workings of biological and psychological phenomena, but also for origin and purpose? Descartes coped with this difficulty in an expeditious and surgical manner: he excluded explanation-by-purpose from physics and from biology. This was very comforting to societal mainstreams, since they no longer had to worry about THEIR Final Cause and Purpose.
Thus, purpose has remained excluded from the modern mainstream sciences ever since. Indeed, the exclusion of Purpose is convenient to the elimination of conscience. In any event, the nature of Purpose (the Why of things) was an issue of enormous antiquity, in all pre-modern cultures, and was inextricably bound together with the Life Principle.
Eliminating Purpose from the science of physics and from biology served quite well in also eliminating the difficulties of admitting the existence of a life principle. So, these theoretical maneuvers had the long-term effect of setting science free of metaphysical contexts, and free of the mysteries of how and why matter came into existence and how it became animated. Thereafter, as the Encyclopedia indicates, “adherence to the animal-machine doctrine in physics and biology became the crucial test of loyalty not only to Cartesianism, but a test of loyalty to the formats of the modern sciences.”
Swann, Ingo (2015-01-14). Psychic Sexuality - The Bio-Psychic "Anatomy" of Sexual Energies (Kindle Locations 863-903). Crossroad Press. Kindle Edition..