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Descartes, Rene - On pain and the 5 senses



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Rene Descartes – Key Philosophical Writings

… although in approaching fire I feel heat, and in approaching it a little too near I even feel pain, there is at the same time no reason in this which could persuade me that there is in the fire something resembling this heat any more than there is in it something resembling the pain; all that I have any reason to believe from this is that there is something in it, whatever it may be, which excites in me these sensations of heat or pain ...

for I see in this, as in other similar things, that I have been in the habit of perverting the order of nature, because these perceptions of sense having been placed within me by nature merely for the purpose of signifying to my mind what things are beneficial or hurtful to the composite of which it forms a part, and being up to that point sufficiently clear and distinct, I yet avail myself of them as though they were absolute rules by which I might immediately determine the essence of the bodies which are outside me, as to which in fact, they can teach me nothing but what is most obscure and confused.

The source of the experience

Descartes, Rene

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Contemplation and detachment