Paul Hartal

Descartes' Despair - Poem by Paul Hartal

How can we affirm our own existence?
Cogito ergo sum, Descartes said,
I think therefore I am.

But wait!
Who is doing the thinking?
The body?
Am I my body?

Well, Descartes explained, we are talking about
Two incompatible substances:
The unextended and indivisible mind
In contrast with the extended and divisible matter,
Res cogitans versus res extensa.

Yes, but am I my body?
How is the contact created
Between the mental
And the physical worlds?
Princess Elizabeth of the Palatinate asked.

Well, somewhere at the base of the brain,
In the pineal gland, replied the philosopher.

Oh, I have a problem with that,
The princess remarked.
For, if the brain exists in space,
How can the non-spatial mind dwell in it?

And Descartes threw up his hands
In despair.

Comments about Descartes' Despair by Paul Hartal

  • Kim BarneyKim Barney (2/18/2015 7:49:00 PM)

    Did you ever hear how Descartes met his end?
    A friend of his came up to him one day and asked,
    Say, Old Chap, do you think I'm good looking?
    Descartes replied: I think not.
    and POOF! he disappeared just like that!

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »

Langston Hughes


Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Thursday, October 6, 2011

[Report Error]