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Descartes, Rene - The attributes of God

Identifier

014483

Type of spiritual experience

Background

God is all attributes and all functions.  The summation of all the attributes and functions of the universe in the past, present and 'future'.

By definition we cannot be something outside God, because God is the sum of every attribute and function that exists, thus we are a part of God.

Descartes, being a reverent man, called both attributes and functions perfections.

If the atom contains all function - a tiny mirror of all function, then in theory we should be able to acquire thos efunctions - even if they are switched off at the moment, perhaos there are ways of switching them on, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility as we know because autistic childen often have super human capabilities.

But I think the argument rather falls down over his idea that somehow 'knowledge' and functions are the same.  Knowing that something exists is not the same as being to act like that thing, for example I know that Microsoft Word exists and what it does, but I cannot act like Microsoft Word - emulate it.

The functions, though present in the atoms of which we are composed, need to be activated, not stored in our memory, but this may not have been what he meant.

A description of the experience

Rene Descartes – Key Philosophical Writings

 But possibly I am something more than I suppose myself to be, and perhaps all those perfections which I attribute to God are in some way potentially in me, although they do not yet disclose themselves, or issue in action. 

As a matter of fact I am already sensible that my knowledge increases.... little by little and I see nothing which can prevent it from increasing more and more.... nor do I see, after it has thus been increased … anything to prevent my being able to acquire by its means all other perfections of the Divine nature; nor finally why the power I have of acquiring these perfections, it it really exists in me, shall not suffice to produce the ideas of them...

At the same time I recognise that this cannot be.

The source of the experience

Descartes, Rene

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities