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Discourse on Method and The Meditations by Rene Descartes

Rene Descartes’ Discourse on Method and Meditations are wildly taught and known, and I can see why.

I remember reading part of them when I was younger but it did not resound with me then, I think it is because I was not at that stage in life where I could understand the maxims he puts forth.

Reading them now has been a very different experience. I found many lessons that are applicable today. It is interesting when reading, that Descartes was able to think about the lessons he puts forth and how they are very applicable in today’s world.

For example, one lesson he puts forth is that we should not freely accept things told by others and that we need to experience and learn ourselves. Our world today, with social media, is filled with false information and “fake news” so this lesson applies heavily. It is so easy to read something online and take it as fact, what isn’t as easy is actually going out of your way to proving/disproving it.

There is a lesson of empathy in his writing. He talks about how the “others” in time were called barbarians or savages but they could have the same reasoning and logic as the educated ones. Just because they are different we label them differently. Does that resound with you as it does with me? How quick are we to judge others that look, think or speak differently than us? Empathy is a valuable lesson we all need to learn and apply.

In Discourse 1, Descartes discusses that he is not trying to teach or create something. He is merely documenting his journey of learning. This is very profound for me as I am attempting the exact same thing through my website, newsletter and book reviews. I even heard GaryVee say it once, “document, don’t create”. We all try to create these perfect end results, but what is more valuable is the journey to get there. Amazing how a discourse written so long ago, speaks so powerfully today.

I truly recommend Descartes and his work to everyone. It is not the easiest of reads but you can extrapolate many lessons that apply heavily in our world today. If you are on a path of growth, then this is a book for you.

Recommended for: Anyone who wants to grow as a person, understand aspects of their journey in life

Score: 9.5/10

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