13 Quotes By Rene Descartes For You To Think About This Year

Rene Descartes (1596-1650), who is often referred to as the “father of modern philosophy,” was a Frenchman and brilliant mathematician who invented analytical geometry. After studying at university, he set off for some time to see what he referred to as “the great book of the world.” During this time he had dreams pertaining to the nature of existence and God, and dedicated his life to the pursuit of scientific and philosophical truths by way of mathematics and logical thought.

Descartes lived in a world that was much different than our own. His lifetime pursuit of purpose, understanding, and self-fulfillment, however, is something that still exists in each and every one of us, regardless of our place in time. The New Year offers us the opportunity to consider where we have been and where we plan to go next, and the chance grow both in our personal and professional lives. Below are 13 philosophical quotes by Rene Descartes that can help you gain perspective and continue on your own personal journey this New Year.

1. I think; therefore I am.”

Descartes is alluding to the idea that the mind is the purest form of existence. One does not need to existence only through physical means because the mind is a separate entity of the body, although the two are inevitably bound. You, however, should use this for motivation: if you believe you can do or be something, then you can. It simply requires dedication and effort.

2. “Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.”

Handle your tasks and obligations one at a time. This will ensure you deliver your best performance every time and help you become more confident in handling pressure and responsibility.

3. “I am indeed amazed when I consider how weak my mind is and how prone to error.”

Even great thinkers like Descartes acknowledged their ability to error; it is simply human to do so. Don’t let your mistakes and your failures keep you down. Instead, learn from them, and use your newfound knowledge to help you on your journey towards success.

4. “It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”

If someone like Einstein or Descartes had never decided to put their gifts of knowledge and understanding to good use, imagine what the world would be missing out on. Knowledge is power, so use it.

5. “Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.”

We have little control of what happens to us in life. We can only make our own choices and roll with the obstacles that life throws us. Sometimes it is harder than others, but if you keep your head up and remain optimistic, there is no telling how far you can go in life.

6. “In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn, than to contemplate.”

You should never actually stop learning, but you should take the time to think about your beliefs and the beliefs of others so that you can better understand the perspectives of others. It is only in understanding that we learn to accept each other’s history, and learn to work together for a better future.

7. “It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.”

You should never completely give up trusting people, but you should always be wary of the motivations behind a person’s or group of people’s actions. Take everything with a grain of salt, until you know for certain otherwise, but try to remain open and objective at the same time.

8. “An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?”

Don’t think negative thoughts. Failure has, and always will accompany success. The trick is to get past your failures and keep your focus and motivation fixed on the final end goal.

9. “Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have.”

Basically everyone thinks they know everything, so the sooner you accept that you don’t know everything, the better off you will be. Ignorance is forgivable, but arrogance can be dangerous.

10. “The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt.”

You should never be too quick to believe something without having fully studied it so as to gain a solid understanding of it. On the other hand, you should not be as closed minded as to completely disregard something. Don’t believe anything until it’s proven, and believe everything until it’s proven false.

11. “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”

Understanding the struggles of the past can also help you to understand the struggles that people are encountering all around the world, and even in other parts of your own country. There is always more to consider than your own personal vantage point, so before you rush to conclusions, understand the other side first.

12. “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

You should always try to think with reason. Look for the logic in everything you do and everything that you encounter, and try to gain a holistic understanding before you come to your own conclusions.

13. “Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.”

People are bound to offend you almost every day of your waking life. Don’t let it keep you down, and don’t forget that you may be insulting someone too, even if you are not intentionally doing so. All you can do is worry about your self and try to be as aware as you can.