Defamiliarization

    cogito ergo sum
    Peter Edward Atwood

    We can defamiliarize the idea of parametric narrative by suggesting a “real life” application done by Rene Descartes

    In his first meditation Descartes investigates everything he can call into doubt. Or in other words he constrains his thoughts to anything which can not be doubted. He creates a parameter to set against the world.

    “whatever I had admitted until now as most true I received either from the senses of through the senses. However, I have noticed that the senses are sometimes deceptive”

    For example, Descartes observes that whether he is sleeping or awake he is still experiencing or sensing the same things, regardless of whether or not these things really exist. From this Descartes is able to call into doubt all sensible things or, in other words, the size, shape, quantity and place of things, including anything that is extended from man’s body. Because of this Descarte can no longer claim that he has arms, legs, a body, or even valid sensation nor, everything that he held as true. Anything that come to him from his senses.

    In the second meditation, Descartes asks whether or not he exist himself. He has already proved that the existence of everything else is skeptical so the next legitimate thing to be skeptical of is himself. He rigorously puts himself to the test and tries to think of how his own existence can be skeptical. But in this Descartes finds the thing which he cannot call into double and he states it clearly as…

    “after everything has been most carefully weighed, it must finally be established that this pronouncement ‘I am, I exist’ is necessarily true every time I utter it or conceive it in my mind”

    This observation was also described by Descarte with the phrase cogito ergo sum, or I think therefore I am and it is one of the most rational phases ever conceived. Descartes’ work not only stated that the mind and reason were the only paths to truth, but it also denied the existence of anything other then the mind. This extreme skepticism become the dominant epistemological view of the world and resulted in both a Cartesian ordering of perception as well as a complete quantification of reality. For example the work of Galileo, Newton, and later Einstein is a result of Descartes rationalism.

    Not only does this defamiliarize the idea of parametric narrative as existing only in movies but it also, because of Descartes, defamiliarized the world. Was this a good thing?

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