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11.1. The starting point

Where do we start?

As so often when it comes to philosophy, I choose to start with Descartes and his famous statement «Cogito ergo sum».

«I think, therefore I am», is the English translation.

Already, we have to make an arrest because «thinking» is not everything we humans do; far from it, it sometimes seems. We may be wholly thoughtless, but still, we experience a little of each; heat, cold, hunger, shame, touch, sound, light, happiness, music, taste, etc.

What we humans do is experience.

I experience; consequently, the phenomenon «to experience» exists.

I know this for sure, says Descartes, after our little clarification.

He actually said that he could prove his own existence through this insight, but in my opinion, he can not know anything for sure about himself as an object.

I can only know that experience exists – as a phenomenon.

Nothing else I can know for sure, for everything I know about the world – including myself as an object – has come to me through my subjective experience.

When we try to find the one thing that everything comes from, our experience is the only possible starting point. We know nothing else with certainty.

A majority of today's scientists do not disagree with Descartes, as far as I can see, but at the same time, they regard the world as something material.

They are materialists, physicalists, who either believe that consciousness arises from the material or that our subjective experiences are something else that is outside the material. They are dualists.

We, on the other hand, say that we know nothing but what Descartes points out, that only subjective experience exists. Only the phenomenon «to experience». We have no certain knowledge of anything else.

We cannot know if there is an objective, material world out there even if we experience it. We can not know who and what we ourselves are. We can only know for sure about the experience as such; that experience is a fact.

In my opinion, our point of view is thus the simplest and most honest imaginable.

Other philosophical traditions operate with further claims that we cannot substantiate. They assume the existence of a material world simply because we experience it.

That's an illegal assumption.