Or should I say, I beg to disagree, Mr. Descartes?
Rene Descartes (1596-1650), is the one who bestowed us with the cogito: “I think, therefore I am” (cogito ergo sum in Latin). Wikipedia says he has been dubbed the ‘Father of Modern Philosophy.’ For our present purposes, I’d like to dub him the ‘father of Certainty.’
Descartes was a doubter. Could you blame him? In his day knowledge and information and communication was expanding at a blistering pace (when compared to previous times). In facing his doubts, though, Descartes realized there was one thing he could not doubt – that he doubted. Thus, the cogito. Since he can (and did) think, this was, for him, certainty.
Thinking was certainty not for Descartes only, but for most of the Western World for most of the rest of the millenium. Thinking, and the ability to reason, was bedrock.
My last few days ahve proven to me that Descartes wasn’t exactly right. Sunday evening Eliza came up with a fever. No other symptoms, just a fever.
While this is pretty normal in young children, it threw a wrench in our plans. You see, She was scheduled to get a new cast Tuesday at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children(TSRHC). Fever meant possible delay. Possible delay put the scheduling of our next three weeks on the fritz.
Now, I THINK those kinds of things happen. I THINK that one of the ways I am most blessed in my marriage to Rahcel is that no matter to obstacle, we face it together and get through it. I THINK we had, by Monday morning, thougth of alternate plans to take care of every contigency.
THINKing all those things, kowing the bedrock foundation which thinking provieds, ought to have allowed me to sleep well and cary on with the work that was before me on Monday.
Not so much.
As it turned out, the fever remined “low-grade” and broke before the scheduled procedure. our plans were back on. The cast replacement went very well and, as always, the people at TSRHC went above and beyond our expectations for patient (and parent) care.
I’m a pretty reasonable and rational guy. Yet, Rene, when it comes right down to it, reason, thinking, rationality isn’t as far down as it goes. Not for me; not for anyone.
If you want certainty, it has to go beyond, beneath reason.