Thank you Rene Descartes

How many degrees can one person attain during their lifetime? I would like to pursue Anthropology, Philosophy, Religion, Women’s Studies…any or all of the above and combinations also.

What does that have to do with Descartes? Nothing, or maybe everything. The great philosophers name came up today as I was reading my International Relations text. Firstly, this is not a class I would have ever intentionally sought out on my own. It was one of a small handful of core requirements and in my opinion infinitely better than either macro or micro economics. Let’s digress for a moment shall we. When working on my AA degree I purposely chose to focus on the broad area of Humanities which is a kind of glorified, worldly, cosmopolitan general studies degree. I chose Humanities because:

1. It contained only 1 math requirement

2. Refer to the above description of broad focus. I wanted my initial college endeavor to allow me to explore as many areas as possible.

Fast forward to my current degree pursuit: Sociology/English minor. I found myself so fascinated by so many topics while working on my AA that I seriously had days and weeks of indecision in trying to choose a BA major. I still am not completely sure that I chose correctly, although so far I love Sociology and I get to experience and continue to learn about a broad range of topics as evidenced by my reading in IR. I am actually very proudly applying my as yet meager knowledge of Sociology basics for this current class. I hope my fellow students don’t revolt as I continue to base my opinions and replies to discussions of politics, government and global interdependence on sociological principles, but darn, it feels so good to be able to actually use some of this knowledge I am paying for and cramming into my head.

So back to Descartes. In a discussion of transnationalism philosopher Descartes was quoted as part of an example of sources of globalization. Human thought is in part one way we as a people define and connect with other people around the globe. In discussing abstract thought and self-awareness the famous, “I think, therefore I am” from Discourse on Method (1637) jumped out at me. (in homage to Dr. Bach-professor of IR, I will cite this reference, rather out-of-place but cited non-the-less). (Rourke and Boyer 2010, 115). And no I will not provide a reference list–I choose to be a rebel.

Descartes quote above was in a twisted way the inspiration for the title of this entire blog. I was aware of this phrase long before I ever participated in a philosophy class or knew who Descartes was. I simply liked the original and decided to adapt it to fit my image of this blog. My ultimate meaning, if it’s not clear, would be something like: I exist in this world as a human with emotions, opinions and feelings and because of this I must write about the way those aspects affect me. I hope I didn’t plagiarize Descartes with this. Up to now, the citation police have not silenced me so I have to assume I am forgiven for any indiscretion.

So here I am, experiencing college classes that open up my mind, make me realize just how much I don’t know about the world, challenge me to learn more, make me shake my head either in disbelief or joyous agreement and in the words of the wry curmudgeon chef Anthony Bourdain, “make me hungry for more.”

Seriously though, does anyone out there really know just how many degrees one person could attain? Does one’s brain simply run out of room after 1 or 2 or 3. I tend to think that my pockets will run low on available funds long before my brain cells fill up but regardless my quest for knowledge is endless and for as long as I can I want to keep learning.

I leave you with a bit more by Descartes:

“In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn, than to contemplate.”



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