Meaning Of Dreams By Descartes

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While describing dreams, Descartes writes:
How do we know that the mental states that come to us in dreams are any more false than the others, seeing that they are often just as lively and sharp…For, in the first place, what I took just now as a rule, namely that whatever we conceive very vividly and clearly is true, is assured only because God exists and is a perfect being, and because everything in us comes from him. (Descartes 17).
In this text, Descartes first categories dreams as false but “lively and sharp”, yet asserts immediately afterwards that whatever we conceive vividly must be true (17). At first glance this is very confusing, because he seems to say that dreams are both true and false. This contradiction is later clarified, however, when he mentions that our reasoning when asleep is not as complete as when we are awake (18). Perhaps dreams are misleading not as a result of their content, but because we lose our rationality while asleep and have a harder time comprehending what we perceive. Being asleep is like reading a book in hieroglyphic script, and being awake is doing so with the Rosetta Stone. The two states are equally as valid, yet it still easier to understand the natural world when equipped with reason, than it is to understand dreams without. Al-Ghazali points out that “a state may arise that bears the same relation to the waking state as waking state does to dream”. This of course is the mystic state. As was demonstrated earlier, reaching this

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