While he couldn’t predict the future, something within the eternal truth of himself must have tingled with the thought of philosophy students—350 years later—reading his words. Some part of his subconscious swelling because the version of his perfected-self, the version that God decided would be best for the world, was one where he is to be echo throughout history and pop culture.
Ah, but Gottfried was modest; “every individual substance contains in its perfect notion the entire universe” (266). He’ll be the first to admit the profound nature of a leaf or blade of grass—and that his mind is no better than yours or mine.
According to Rene Descartes, existence is predicated upon thinking. In order to know if something truly exists, it must think. So can wax not exist because it doesn’t think? Or does the wax not know that exists because it doesn’t think? Or do we, thinking things, give the wax existence simply by virtue of us thinking about it? But then what thought about us?
Before we can attempt to answer any of these questions, we must first define existence. “Let us consider those things which are commonly believed to be the most distinctly grasped by all: namely bodies we touch and see” (45). We can touch, taste, smell, and see the wax—we use our empirical senses to define its existence. “But notice that, as I am speaking, I am bringing it close to the fire” (45). The wax heats up, it changes shape, it loses its scent, it turns to liquid. “Does the wax still remain? I must confess that it does; no one denies it; no one thinks otherwise” (45). But if so, what happened to all of the empirical data that was originally collected to verify its existence? Those same attributes—its shape, the way it feels, smells, sounds—all are no longer accurate, but yet the wax still remains.
Well, in a not so democratic system, I appointed myself. Why? Well, someone had to. Beyond that, the entirety of my professional life has been spent online in one capacity or another. Sadly, as most millennials, so has much of my person life- though I’ll get into that later.
I started on the internet with free hours from AOL and a 14.4 kbps modem. I collected those damn junk mail CD’s and had a dozen user names in my teens. I eventually convinced my parents that an internet connection and blazing 28.8k dial-up speeds were vital for my success as a high school student. I graduated with honors, so maybe I was right? Or maybe the school system I attended was that bad.
When I joined the professional world in the early 2000s, I knew that the internet was the future. However, management was at least 10 or 15 years older than me, if not 40 years older than me, and didn’t embrace the fad. They hadn’t grown up with it. They didn’t use for anything of value. Some maybe saw the potential, but they didn’t understand how or why it worked.