For the last two and a half years I’ve kept a diary. I don’t remember particularly why I started it – although luckily, my diary remembers for me. As recorded, it was “to hold for myself a private compendium of my thoughts and feelings, highs and lows, successes and regrets, so that when I’m older I might browse through it and remind myself of what it was like to be alive five, ten, fifteen years ago.” Reading through it, I can now recall my reasons more easily, and consequently I’m feeling a little re-invigorated about maintaining the habit.
Cogito ergo sum, or its translation, “I think, therefore I am,” is a frequently-quoted line from well-known mathematician and philosopher René Descartes. I’ve noticed that it often seems to be misunderstood; this post is a brief outline of the idea and some of my thoughts on it.
The concept of identity doesn’t usually get much scrutiny, but it’s one we tend to have a lot of assumptions about that often haven’t been properly thought through. The implications of a change in our understanding of what it means to be an individual are enormous – it could affect our criminal justice system, our laws, politics, and our understanding of personal responsibility.