For many centuries people have been trying to find answers to questions concerning the reason for their existance and the meaning of self. Questions such as: ‘What is the meaning of I? Where does the idea of self come from?’ pose many arguments in our society. Many philospophers tried to find solutions to these questions yet it seems that those questions are much more complex than we perceive them and are not fully explainable. One of the most famous philosophers, Descartes, spend much time analyzing human existance and the idea of self. Even though his solutions are questionable to certain extend, he provides us with helpful knoweledge on how to approach this complex matter of self.
The matter of self is very complex and not easily explainable. Self is a principal and most important part of every human being. It is what makes us unique and distinct from one another. The self is much more than a body; it heavily depends on our mind. Just as Descartes concludes the body and the mind are two distinct things. The minds takes up no space and consists of the senses and all modes of thought. The body on the other hand takes up space but at the same time has no consciousness. They both are crucial to our elements of being, but they are independent, even though there is always a constant interaction between the two. So the mind, which is very closely connected to self is the main source of our knoweledge through the use of senses and reason. Senses, which present the mind with images of sight, touch, taste, and smell not always deliver true information about the world. The reason lets us draw conclusions from given premises and allows us to “see” the truth. The self therefore is like a window to the world. It allows us to form opinions and make choices about our lives.
Since we know we exist because we have the ability to think, we are consider unlike other living beings as intelligent beings. We are able to think critically and distinguish ideas from each other. Yet these ideas are not always stable and well-understood. As Descartes proposes the self is filled with images that might appear true yet in reality are nothing but a false images created by our senses. The self has the ability to understand the world outside and decide for itself which images are true and which are false. Before making a decision the self or I uses reason to establish the possible outcome and see if it will benefit the self. We do everything to satisfy the self. Our mind is designed especially to fulfill the wishes, sometimes unnecessary, to make ourselves feel better. Intellingece we posses, helps us find a right place for the self in this world.
The decisions we make based on our desires to please the self are not always beneficial and ethical. Many times we place certain unimportant values above other more helpful and correct ones in order to fulfill temporary desires. The self is satisfied for a short period of time until the conscience takes over and analyzes the situation again. Every choice taken has a consequences on ourselves; either a good or bad. Our understanding of world through our senses could be very deceiving. Our senses deceive our self and impose on us certain values and beliefs which otherwise would not come up. The urges to do something unethical are created by nothing else but our senses. Therefore in order to act accordingly to ethics we have to rely mostly on our reason not the sense.
God a perfect, infinite, supreme being who created us in his image gave us free will, an ability to make choices. Our will is infinite, in that it is able to assert, deny or withhold judgment from given idea of the understanding. Our understanding has its limitations. We are unable to distanguish a lot of times bad from good. Having the choice to decide what is the best for the self, many take the wrong path in their lives basing their decision on senses not the reason. Human beings are very weak when it comes to pleasures. Even though we want to act rightfully, our desires put too much pressure on our mind and many times we start to believe things that are false and unjust. Sometimes we can believe something just beacuse we want to believe it. You might believe something for reasons that are independent of the truth, the evidence, or clarity because it is easy, or comfortable, or pleasurable to believe it. We began making excuses for our actions justifing them just so our self or conscious will feel better. We use God’s gift of free will to our advantage even though we know it is wrong.
The self is faced with many decisions, which according to Descartes are influenced both by our intellect and our will. Our intellect does not, on its own , declare certain ideas to be true or false. It simply puts forward and considers ideas without giving a verdict on those ideas. The intellect does not make judgments. Judgments are made when the idea put forwarded by the intellect are affirmed or denied by an act of the will. Error arises when the will affirms ideas that are not clear or distinct, and therefore makes a false judgment. Sometimes we might understand a thing or an idea without knowing what it is like. Our senses might be telling us one thing yet our reasoning another. When that happens we use our will to distinguish which is true. The self depends heavily on our mind, consisting of both senses and reasoning. When making choices based on reasoning we most likely opt to make a right decision and follow the right path. Therefore the self plays a huge role in our lives. It allows us to differ from one another, by letting us make the choices we feel are right for us. The self tends to put itself first in almost evry situation. Everything human beings do we do it to satisfy our self, a complex part of ourselves.