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Monday, 19 January 2015

Ambulo Ergo Sum

Chapel above Digne-les-Bains (Wikimedia).
In response to the philosopher René Descartes' famous saying, Cogito ergo sum ('I think, therefore I am'), his 17th-century contemporary Pierre Gassendi replied, Ambulo ergo sum ('I walk, therefore I am.') Gassendi had a serious point: mind and body are inseparable, in Gassendi's view, whereas Descartes believed that the mind could exist separately from the body. The act of walking perfectly illustrates the intimate mind-body connection that Gassendi had in mind. Inspired by Gassendi, the Dutch artist, Hermann de Vries, constructed an installation near Digne-les-Bains, France, Gassendi's home. He created a path up a steep mountain-side, marked with gold-tipped spikes and a stone on which are painted the words, Ambulo ergo sum. De Vries wanted the path to be difficult so that the body and mind of the walker would register the effort required.


Digne-les-Bains, capital of the French department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, is also the site of a trail connecting a series of stone sculptures and walkers' refuges which were designed and constructed by British land artist, Andy Goldsworthy.

6 comments:

George said...

Like you, I'm definitely in the Gassendi camp. The famous Cartesian maxim has led many people astray. I'm inclined to think that I exist more in action than in thought. Looking forward to reading the in-depth description of what Andy Goldsworthy is creating in Provence.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Now that I find walking any distance difficult Robert, I am even more envious of your wanderings.

rosaria williams said...

What an inspirational post, marked by two distinct philosophical perspectives. Glad I stopped by.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, all three, for stopping by.

John Pendrey said...

Fresh and uplifting, like walks. Here much wind, huge piles of rotting seaweed and the sun always near the horizon. Thanks everyone.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully and humbly would like to be partial to Decartes. In my opinion he opened one of the biggest doors to human's growth in intelectual achievements and was a brave man as brave as only the smart can be. He knew he was up to something big..and he wrote it in French and rebeled against times...when only Latin was approved.
With God in the ecuation. He made us a beings very powerful. Cognito Ergo Sum defines us. Shapes us. Its a fact - not exclusive to others in life- still a fact about people. In the measure in which I can perceive and process information insight that part of me that makes me then make the decisions and then take the actions that I take throughout time...define me. He meant it as each person has the potencial to create a world for himself. That can be as truthful as any other. So, the very concept of existance and creation are within . for . crafted . and to cut it short, the very product of our process.
Our thoughts might not be end result of our struture or being. Our thought power is merely a part of a wholesome that lives in us....
Cogito ergo sum allows me to have my reality. My world. If I conceive it in my mind and decide to process it next through the rest of the processes by which a person functions unequivaquely on a constant basis....simply human existance is not define by this words...we are much more than that....but aa a starting point to reflect and further investigate it...its an amazing start. Conversely, the school of Existencialism has lots to thank Decartes...with all the limitations of Cogito Ergo Sum...or Ambulo Ergo Sum....
Tan sencillo...si yo creo que algo es o hace o en fin, si algo para mi existe o vive, y a mi me funciona, no basta esto? Porque el debate???
Para mi es asi. Con lo cual ya su existencia y creacion llacen en mi...voilà ergo sum!!!!!