Cogito ergo sum. Descartes famous words. What do they actually mean to us?

Discussion in 'Serious Discussion' started by SOCRATE_MMXII, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. SOCRATE_MMXII

    SOCRATE_MMXII MDL Expert

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    Actually comedy is a good start for introspection, because you can't think while you laugh. ;)
    I'm glad you enjoy it. ;)
    Ahem, the EGO again speaks out. :(

    Nobody has to defend anything. ;) If you have to do something is because your EGO drives you. ;)

    Descartes limited his own view on HIS SELF with this quote. It's was comfortable ground, no need for deep exploration and experience. ;)
    Humans fear what do not understand and that's why there are so many "theories" and "axioms" in the field of science.
    I don't say I know the truth nor I want to impose my view on someone, but my "point of view" has grown into a circle - that's it.

    "Long live and prosper."
     
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  2. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    Nope, that is not it, Socrate - you deffo do not get it by allowing your prejudices to "read Descartes" for you... Instead, you could go down to the texts themselves, including the wider context, social, political and cultural, specifically philosophical context against which Descartes lives and works...

    Of course, that would take a lot longer than trying to force this straight-jacket little formula that you got from who knows where in the "East"... Moreover, since you are repeating this mantra 'till you start believing it, regardless of everything others tell you about Descartes and his maxim, speaks of you, really. But in that case why bother, why trying to communicate with us, if you are not going to listen at all and exchange anything at all?!?

    Ergo, driving those points so strongly, at all times, with ears and mind closed - it sounds almost as if you are advertising your.... wait a second... "strong" or even "superior" ego, which drove you to... do what? Deny your ego? Hmmm... Interesting...:rolleyes::D
     
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  3. Yen

    Yen Admin
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    I will reply detailed ASAP. It takes time... I knew this would be interesting and I enjoy it. No matter how different we 'think' it's also a learning process to get to know each other.
    gorski. May I ask you what is your profession? I mean your daily job....
     
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  4. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    Why do you think I have the time... :D

    'Home-builder'... :D As in 'child and home-minder', as in a 'house-hubby'... :D

    Well, I am now prepping for an EU competition (apart from BA Hons in Philosophy, I earned an MA in EU studies and I have a Croat passport as well, which is now needed... finally :D ), so we'll see... Hopefully soon... ;) Cross your fingers I join you as a tax payer... :D
     
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  5. sid_16

    sid_16 MDL Giveaway Organiser

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    Please, don't get caught up in the phrase. It is but the conclusion of an important argument.

    I have to ask you people , do you think that you can convince someone of something, if that person doesn't exist? If not, then you cannot convince me that I don't exist, because I have to exist for you to convince me of anything.Here is the point of Descarte's reasoning (and his axiom):

    I can think about not existing, thus, I exist. In shortened form: I think, therefore I am.
     
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  6. Yen

    Yen Admin
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    Fingers crossed, the EU needs money. :D

    Now I can classify where you stay in life without to judge about (I try not to..... :D).
    You are probably on your highest level of theoretical knowledge of a special subject and all your efforts and sacrifices created pride you want to have to be respected.....
    To find myself there I have to go back 15 years. When I graduated with honors and best of the year.:smartass:
    I guess I have to admit I had some attributes which you have now, which seem rather negative to me today....

    Your pride and your fixed ideas which you have learnt makes you an expert, but also your defense of this learned complex makes you immune for other insights. Intolerant.

    You are hot now to exercise now what you have learnt. :biggrin:

    What was your motivation to study that what you have studied and what do you expect from it?
    I have studied Chemistry, because I am talented in it. But my basic motivation was my curiosity.
    I wanted to know how things are working. And I wanted to know how 'I' work and who I am....
    I was also very proud to belong to the elite community of the (natural) scientists.....I am older now.....and wiser even though I have lost 'knowledge'.....

    I can now doubt about the famous scientists which went along with my study. I have the freedom to break out of the theories of which I was proud of to have them studied...

    "Not really the way to go into a serious debate, sorry but...."

    This is a funny way to protect your pride and what you have leant.

    I don't want to offer critism, I was not different I guess after study......

    Why I have this posted?
    Well I guess it's important to have a better understanding of each others.....
    It's high amount of theoretical knowledge with not much practical experience versus (more) life experience / influences of 'eastern' cultures.....and almost no theoretical knowledge of western Philosophy.....no assessment here...

    One cannot think about not existing. When I do it anyway I create an idea of existence which I deny then. An idea of existence does not proof existence. One who is existent creates an idea of existence, nothing else he did.
    And this idea is the ego (I) which appears as an individual.

    Existence has no cause!!! 'I'-idea has a cause, the cause is thoughts about who I am. My 'I' idea ARE thoughts. And this idea is to be an individual with a own body and a own mind.
    I think, therefore I am an individual.

    I googled an hour and found this which might give some more input on what I mean...

    "FROM DESCARTES’ ERROR TO SARTRE’S INSIGHT

    The seventeenth-century philosopher Descartes, regarded as the founder of modern philosophy, gave expression to this primary error [of the illusion of separateness] with his famous dictum (which he saw as primary truth): “I think, therefore I am.” This was the answer he found to the question “Is there anything I can know with absolute certainty?” He realized that the fact that he was always thinking was beyond doubt, and so he equated thinking with Being, that is to say, identity—I am—with thinking. Instead of the ultimate truth, he had found the root of the ego, but he didn’t know that.

    It took almost three hundred years before another famous philosopher saw something in that statement that Descartes, as well as everybody else, had overlooked. His name was Jean-Paul Sartre. He looked at Descartes’ statement ” I think, therefore I am” very deeply and suddenly realized, in his own words, “The consciousness that says ‘I am’ is not the consciousness that thinks.”

    What did he mean by that? When you are aware that you are thinking, that awareness is not part of thinking. It is a different dimension of consciousness. And it is that awareness that says “I am.” If there were nothing but thought in you, you wouldn’t even know you are thinking. You would be like a dreamer who doesn’t know he is dreaming. You would be as identified with every thought as the dreamer is with every image in the dream.

    Many people still live like that, like sleepwalkers, trapped in old dysfunctional mindsets that continuously recreate the same nightmarish reality. When you know you are dreaming, you are awake within the dream. another dimension of consciousness has come in.

    The implication of Sartre’s insight is profound, but he himself was still too identified with thinking to realize the full significance of what he had discovered: an emerging new dimension of consciousness."
     
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  7. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    #47 gorski, Sep 5, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
    Must go now but you assume:crystal: way too much, m8...:Lighten:

    "Presumption is the mother of all fookups", say the English with reason... :schmorch:

    It seems to me I may be a little older than you:busted_blue: and nope, this "psychologising" of the arguments put before you serve you badly... :D

    More to follow... Must run to get my wife and son now, sorry... ;)
     
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  8. SOCRATE_MMXII

    SOCRATE_MMXII MDL Expert

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    Thank you Yen for clarifying that (I hope gorski gets it this time :worthy:) .

    I'm not above anyone, 'cause if I would then I didn't activate on the forum. no? :D

    I got the fact that gorsky and sid_16 are all into science proof and I respect that...
     
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  9. Yen

    Yen Admin
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    Take your time. I check here frequently. I had chosen my words (presumptions :D) carefully. Avoided to state clearly you are younger than me. But yes assumed that I have more practical experience with my studied 'theories' already and hence a clearer idea what they're worth in 'real' life...:biggrin:...of course without to offend....:eek:...

    One can study something completely new when already older and still has not had the chance to gather experiences with it in life...OK. I should stop to presume.
    I never had the chance to discuss with a Philosopher. I am sure it will bring insight.


    I'm not above anyone, too. To have studied a scientific subject with all the efforts and sacrifices makes one confronted with pride. So the discussion might become heated up..sometimes.....I hope it's OK and the fun to discuss never gets lost. I have 'downgraded' my study (importance) and what I have learned after some years, right after I had finished it it had far more importance to me....anyway I work where scientific proof is demanded...but regarding questions of the own 'Self' I had to get that they proof anything, but never the 'Self'....

    Science has its place and scientific proofs as well. But there are matters where 'thoughts and the demand for proofs' are the reason for blindness....
     
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  10. R29k

    R29k MDL GLaDOS

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    Apparently your brain doesn't multitask maybe it's running on a single core. :D
    You have loads going on subconsciously all the time.
     
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  11. Yen

    Yen Admin
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    Hmm. Some are even collapsing while laughing intensively, maybe the CPU load at all cores is 100% then enforcing the laughing-task? That would explain that there are no more resources left for other tasks (for instance thinking [CMP instruction]) lol. j/k
    I thought the 'Am I a computer?' thread is somewhere else.:D;)
     
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  12. SOCRATE_MMXII

    SOCRATE_MMXII MDL Expert

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    Careful now...you're slipping out of the rational, thinking world into my "magical" world... ;)
    If we take Descartes words into consideration, then the subconscious doesn't exist...wait a second, but we know is there, Descartes knew is there, but still he said "I think therefore I am" >> Descartes made a false assumption. ;)
    I have a few ideas WHY he said that but that's another story.
     
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  13. R29k

    R29k MDL GLaDOS

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    You may want to reread what you posted and correct it.
     
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  14. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    #54 gorski, Sep 6, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
    Oyoyoyyyyyy...

    Look at this, guys:

    M8, no offence (really, none intended - this will be "matter of fact" observation!) but this shows how little you know of Descartes and Philosophy... Sorry but to an educated eye this is but an eye-sore. I really (warmly!) urge you to drop the "eastern" pretence and try it out for yourself properly, as in WITHOUT PREJUDICE(!!!), as this kind of attitude leads nowhere and is a sheer waste of time, while promoting only misinformation (well, it would have, if you were properly informed on the subject, that is, of course - but as it is, this is nonsense and nonsense only...)...

    Heh, nope, it's about my family needing the money, as the wife is preggers again... ;) Ergo, I would be very happy to get (legal) work for EU and pay (truth be said: minimal) taxes and join the "(unionised) workforce"...

    No, I want the subject matter and profession respected!

    The fact I was almost the only one doing it, left the task to me but it has very little to do with an "ego". And what "ego" is in there is healthy!

    Sure, you keep avoiding the paragraphs I have written that kick you in your weakest spot but you shouldn't, really, if you wanna debate issues with a philosopher, as you say, to gain some insight... If you are really into that - please, don't make me quote myself :D - it's loathsome... Just go back and address the issues raised, hitherto ignored...

    First of all, the paragraph about scientists being seriously exclusive and philosophers having to deal with a lot more of this kind of thing, simply by the fact that philosophy questions are everybody's questions, unlike specific, specialist, narrowly scientific ones, by and large. Hence, everybody thinks they are the dogs bollocks :D when it comes to it. Well, most people are not anywhere near to being able to discern the first thing about philosophy and philosophical thinking, as some utterly uneducated and prejudiced posts (or at least paragraphs) here strongly demonstrate. Again, no offence intended. Simple facts. Truth be told.

    Now, if you can't stand the heat - don't get into the kitchen! :D
    Congrats! Seriously!

    Oh, btw: now, whose ego is fuelling this debate? :D

    More judgement being passed from on high, but based in nothing correctly assessed first, I am sorry to say... First, you misunderstand the timbre and the substance of my intervention in this thread. The crux of the matter is "labour" or effort needed to get anywhere near the issues and subject matter in any depth! Sorry but it is the same as science or any serious knowledge and/or skill! You really need to stop the pretence of you being "tolerant" because if we start debating your subjects you will quickly, as I pointed out, start with "teaching people the ABC", as would be right and proper, since we wouldn't understand the specialist jargon and methodology, the context, the issues etc.!

    So, both of you need to stop the shenanigans and call things their right name: to earn the right to debate science one must be seriously well versed in science or else one wouldn't be allowed into the debate, to begin with. It's the difference between the wider public sphere, open to all, on matters affecting everybody's life and a more specialist, narrow "scientific 'public' sphere" which is seriously smaller by comparison and can only be accessed by those who spent time studying matters and have the capacity to move the matters forward. There is no way out of this one. It's not a matter of tolerance but a matter of knowledge and inner logic of the thing. If one has problems understanding this logic - oh, well, I can't help them...

    Now, if one wants to learn about a matter and one asks questions - fine by me. I will be happy to assist, if I can, the same as you do! And I appreciate such help greatly, as you well know!

    Sadly, while this attitude is expected towards science and scientists, IT people and such like, no such courtesy is given to philosophy and philosophers... And I object to that! On the same grounds mentioned before. Authority of knowledge! There is no great big secret here! It's just that scientists have very little respect for philosophy, while expecting cow-towing in reverse. Not possible, sorry!!! The same logic applies! I hope you guys have got the balls to get your egos around this one... :D

    (...part 2 to follow, as I need my smilies, so you see I am not writing this in a bad spirit, since this one-dimensional communication does allow for emotions in any other way but through smilies... )
     
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  15. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    #55 gorski, Sep 6, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
    :D Very funny!!! :D

    Actually, the only intolerant lot here are those who refuse to hear anything new from those of us who do have the capacity to understand it much better than you who have not studied it in any great depth. Open your minds and hearts and then we can start talking. In the meantime, this is indeed... :D

    I mean, I applaud you for stating immediately, very candidly, that you have NOT studied this matter and that you approach it from a very specific and very different ('eastern') perspective. Fine! That is the way it should be conducted, openly and honestly! :) However, openness ends here, since Socrate and you simply refuse to give any further consideration of the subject matter than the one you came into the debate with. End of story. Either you change your attitude or this debate - never was! It is a simple statement of prejudice, in that case and no more.

    Seriously, what do you do when you work? Forget all that you have worked so hard on? I mean, let's get serious for a moment or three... ;) You want to be efficient and productive, when you work (to drag this from W8 debate). Fine! How are you going to do that if you do not deploy all that you have learnt? Working as a scientist without any previous knowledge required? C'mon, man, don't insult your intelligence, let alone ours... :D

    You see, philosophy is my work, my profession and teaching is what I always wanted to do (but for various 'objective' reasons [such as conscientious objection and not wanting to become a part of a war machine in ex-YU] - I never got to actually doing it, sadly... :( ). I can do that (teach) with open-minded, young people (young is spirit), not with old, closed minds... And this has nothing to do with years one has lived, although more open-mindedness can be found in youth, for sure, as a general rule...

    Make no mistake: you and Socrate have completely closed minds, when it comes to THIS. Not in general, I can NOT say that! I do not know you personally (and I think I would like that, if I met you, honestly speaking, having seen your critically minded efforts in other debates here!), so I dare not generalise the charge! I think it would be unfair! (And I hope you can keep an open mind, i.e. be "tolerant", when it comes to me... :D ) But when it comes to what I know best, my profession (it includes methodology of teaching philosophy, didactics, psychology, logics, all the subjects I have been trained in, to do this job), I can tell you that in such a subject you two would perform very badly, unless you opened your minds to exploring the subject-matter properly, not from a very specific point of view only!

    Moreover, you seem to be defending such a specific point of view very strongly but you are not giving me the same courtesy! You have obviously spent some time studying these matters and now you want that to be respected. Fine! When it comes to debating those issues! But this is not the issue in this thread! The issue is whether or not you show any elementary understanding of the subject matter. And clearly, no offence (this is a matter of fact statement, without any emotion!), you do not, sadly...

    Now, whether or not you will one day be able to do this is entirely possible and it may happen. But not with this attitude, guys. Sorry but... And this is my challenge to you! Seriously speaking! Just as I would need to work a great deal, for a looooong time, on my science in order to be able to speak to you in your workplace, otherwise I would waste your time, as you would not be able to talk to me, if I didn't know anything about methodology of science, a specific scientific field in which you work, your own scientific discipline and so on. You would throw me out, as I would stop you from achieving anything at all! In fact, I would not be able to get to you, in your workplace at all! Think about it and be honest for a second, please...

    Similarly, getting into my Philosophy class (and in particular passing it!) would require certain attributes, like open mindedness, in order to get anywhere in the subject matter...

    I hope you understand the meaning of "professional pride" now a bit better and you are able to show some elementary courtesy to me, as I show to you and your colleagues, when it comes to their profession... As a starting point...

    And forget this nonsense about you not being "above" anyone else. You were bragging about being top of your class. I think rightly so! You are a Westerner, after all! :D And you should be able to do so, as you worked hard on it and you had some ability, some talent! Certainly the right thing not to lose that part of your "ego". But please, allow me to do the same, ha?!? You are above other people, when it comes to your profession! Your effort must be respected! But why not respect the Philosophers, just the Scientists?!?:rolleyes:

    (...part 3 to follow...)
     
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  16. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    #56 gorski, Sep 6, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
    Truth, wherever it may lead me - no fear!

    Ach, that pesky "Western" ego.... :D just won't go away... :D

    Absolutely! The mark of a young spirit! And I bet you didn't come to class telling them off for using "Western science" and asking for "Oriental approach"!!! :D

    How about giving Philosophy the same treatment? ;)

    Welcome to my neighbourhood! The same here! Just a different petri dish! :D

    Well, whaddya know... we are so much alike!!! :D Except the "elite" part - I never got that... I cringe when I hear that, I have to add...o_O

    You mean, you made no scientific breakthrough yet. :D Keep the faith, m8! I also (secretly :D ) dream of a writing a great study concerning Human Nature... one day... :D

    (...part 4 to follow...)
     
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  17. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    #57 gorski, Sep 6, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
    Yes, it's called honesty and logic of the thing itself - it has to do with authority of knowledge. You can try to destroy it all you want, but with all that "ego" from above, I think you will be punishing yourself in the process... :D

    That part never went anywhere, m8! You are still proud of your achievements! And rightly so!

    Just keep the faith for the future! You never know... ;)

    You know, I have been a member of an online "community", in various parts (like sat TV hobbyist, philosophy and political groups and so on) for donkeys years! But this attitude of yours I find sooooooooooo RARE!!! People just do not do that! I mean, open up! It is - however - a precious thing!!! And hence I do that, too! I really know how to appreciate this! Therefore, I take from my sleep, in order to answer! Where are you at the moment? Germany? If you're in the West/S-W part I would like to buy you a mighty big drink... or three!!! :D I live nearby...

    Ach, you see, I have experiences for several lifetimes... From working (umpteen various jobs, just most of them... not exactly legal... starting with a 14 year old kid, earning his first vinyl record player in a factory, over summer...), to teaching (sadly, only voluntary, as I was not allowed in, so to speak, in the UK), sport coaching (I used to be a sportsman and now I am also a basketball coach), activism, from the tender age of 17, risking at least my liberty in a Stalinist, totalitarian system we had (political, pro-democracy in ex-YU, setting up a regional organisation of UJDI, before the war etc.), volunteering for various causes (Amnesty International, for instance, which led me to my first MA study in Human Rights, sadly not finished due to health and money issues...), musician (songwriter/guitarist [not any more, the latter :( ] with plenty of songs, but never published... as of yet...) and so on and on...

    Currently being a father, as a very special "job"... ;)

    Not only that you can think about it - you can even act on it and abolish your existence, m8... Human Spirit is pesky and capable, like that, so it can even go against body to the point of destruction... since we do not have only Eros, as Freud noted, looking at WWI... and most people seem to forget that or not notice it (even in kids)... This is but a part of us, the potential of which is horrific and has to BE civilised/culturally repressed...

    Maybe you need a dose of good old Western Philosophy, after all?!? You know, no presumptions, bare all, all cards on the table, let's see what's what and have the balls to deal with it, not "deny it"... :)

    Nope, sorry, see Sid's reply a few posts above... Missed the point, sorry...

    Actually, in Mediterranean-Western Civilisation, since at least Aristotle, one thinks of a Subject as having one's cause within oneself (as opposed to a suicide bomber, for instance, who apparently do not have an 'ego'.... go figure...).

    Again, if this is related to the topic and Descartes' account of it, you should not necessarily individualise it, the way you do, although the consequences of a fundamental philosophical principle are potentially that, yes...

    First of all, this is not Gospel! And even if it was - I would oppose it, such is the pesky Modern spirit in me, you see! :D Just missed the point entirely! If he wanted to make his little theory of his time and place he could have. And he did. The fact he distorted Descartes' work in the process is neither here nor there. But the point is, I am not a believer.... :D

    Btw, Sartre was not exactly beyond reproach, you know... Lots of those poor sods at the time revered chairman Mao, for instance... Moreover, the "Phenomenological" (and not just them!!!) tradition in France, which left some trace in Sartre, based itself in Heidegger pretty badly. You also had Heidegger mediate reception of Nietzsche there, which underlies almost all of French philosophy, for which I have very little time, I must say... This power-driven (or at least power-underlined) discourse leaves me dead cold...

    But that is a different debate, of which you are not aware, I am sure but hey... who better to help you understand it than a philosopher... :D
     
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  18. SOCRATE_MMXII

    SOCRATE_MMXII MDL Expert

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    @R29k...please ponder on it. ;)

    @gorski: you've taken that phrase out of the context. I was referring to the fact that Descartes said his "famous" words without a self introspection (aka "deep exploration and experience"), just because it was more comfortable and easy the statement he made.

    OK. Let's look at it from your point of view: have you seen an atom? 'cause if you didn't it means it doesn't exist.

    Reality is more than you see, feel, taste or touch. ;)
     
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  19. sid_16

    sid_16 MDL Giveaway Organiser

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    Primary and ultimate, both, goal of philosophy is finding the truth. The truth might not be useful. Might lead to conclusions that existence is meaningless. You can not cross any river, because there is nothing on the other side of it. That could be true.
    .

    But starting with a preference of bias that "If it is not useful to me, its not good" is not an actual limit of philosophy, but actually a limit of "readiness to give up biases in pursuit of truth".
     
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  20. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    And how would you know about it? Have you studied Philosophy, have you studied Descrates' work, have you read about Descartes sufficiently to state something like that?!?

    This clearly shows you have never read any philosophy seriously at all! This is ABC from at least Ancient Greek thinkers onwards... Jeez...

    Moreover, how on Earth can you put this to me as some kind of "critical" approach to my statements above :swoon: - I'll never know...:dunno:
     
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