Putting Descartes before the horse


René Descartes (1596-1650) a French Philosopher, Mathematician

and Scientist is famously associated with the saying, "I think,

therefore I am".


That is fine, of course, except he did not speak English and in the case

of the relevant phrase, it was not even written in French (rather, it

appeared in Latin).


The written phrase Descartes used was, "cogito, ergo sum".


As occurs in translation, different interpretations are available and one

is certainly, "I think, therefore I am".


Another option follows:

I think, ponder, meditate, reflect, consider, intend,

design, plan or devise because I exist.

Some will perceive nothing that distinguishes those variants, but others

may identify subtle and not-so-subtle differences (perhaps applying

epithets like 'idiotic', 'indecipherable' and 'profound'). The same might

occur in respect of the following query (rendered first in English, then

in Traditional Chinese and finally in an alternate translation of the

Chinese that appears as a statement in response), namely, "Can a

person be empathic, Christian and drawn to the occult all at the same







One single mortal capable of, bearing or withstanding censure, denunciation, obstruction, poverty or evil is a match for the season in which embodying reason, principle, logic and truth is critical.


Primary and fundamental oversight and direction is only gentle, mild, kind and harmonious.


To suffer, sustain or cover one's self with a mind that is secretive, misunderstood, incomprehensible or mysterious mimics that which imbibes quotes, references and 'following instructions'.




The image shown above is an engraving of Rene Descartes

by William Holl the Younger (1807-1871) after a painting by

Frans Hals (1582-1666).






Who said what and what matters


Did Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) a German philosopher, cultural critic and philologist utter the quote shown below?

God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him.

How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all


No ... he did not speak English. Instead, he wrote the following passage:

Gott ist todt! Gott bleibt todt! Und wir haben ihn

getödtet! Wie trösten wir uns, die Mörder aller Mörder?

Not surprisingly (at least for those familiar with translation), those

German words can be read differently ... perhaps something like this:

The supreme idol is death! The supreme idol remains

death! And we embrace it by killing! How to console us,

we who are killers ... all killers?

It is quite different from the traditional variant and sounds a little    

all-too-curiously like the sort of thing many a teenage Vegan has

shouted at one time or another (and Nietzsche, himself, is known to

have wrestled with Vegetarianism in his life). Not that it matters (in

some respects) amusing, poignant or misdirection, the next moment

awaits and what we make of it relies (in part) on our own endeavours.


As Layman Pang (龐居士 ["big Ge-Se" {or "the huge retired scholar"}] said to have been a Buddhist who lived in the  8th Century CE might have spoken:



Many would be familiar with the popular paraphrasing of that, namely:

My supernatural powers? Carrying water and cutting


That, of course, is fine and quite grounded, but the Chinese may also be

read as follows:

Mind, expression or the sublime are common sense and

profound, exquisite or ingenious therefore, carrying

water, fortune or what is good or beautiful extends or

reaches the territory that is defended or cut off.

Cue ‘the next moment’.




The image shown above is an painting of Friedrich Nietzsche

by Edvard Munch (1863-1944).






On the matter of χρηστώ vis-à-vis Χρῑστός


Some might interpret “δῠνᾰ́μεις ἡμεῖς είναι χρηστώ ᾱ̓μήν” (a passage in Koine Greek) as follows:

Our strength is in Christ amen.

Given the variable meanings of words, there are many ways of interpreting that Koine Greek passage, but none include 'Christ'

(χρηστώ is not Χρῑστός ... an ἰῶτα makes a world of difference [as

others including Philo of Alexandria and Michael Servetus have observed]).


The term χρηστώ has various meanings including "good", "useful", "kind", "gracious", "easy" and "manageable" (and as it happens

was a word used in association with Jesus in the New Testament until Χρῑστός was interposed some time during the 13th Century [historically, a 'great shift' is apparent in Bibles of the period where even "η" is scraped off the velum and substituted with ""]). The word ᾱ̓μήν, too, is not self-referential it means "truly", "certainly" or "so be it". Covering the other relevant term δῠνᾰ́μεις can be interpreted as a variant of "power", "ability", "influence", "military force", "magical or miraculous powers", "capacity", "value", "meaning" and the like.




The image shown above is an painting known as 'Salvator Mundi'

by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Said to depict the Jesus of the

New Testament, the image shows the subject making a hand

gesture curiously similar to the Buddhist mudrā́ ("seal") indicating

prāṇá ("life", "vitality", "breath", "energy", "vigor", "strength",

"power", "the soul" and "ātmán" ["self", "character", "body",

"mind", "understanding" or "effort"]).









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Last modified: 12/06/22