Cogito Ergo Sum

For God and mortals’ sake,
Speak no more of Cogito ergo sum-
Nor think what I think I become
Nor what form I think I take.
The mind is indivisibly amorphous!
It has no visible or indivisible form;
To invisible thought it is analogous;
Anonymity is its nominal norm.
Like immortals, it covertly goes
Where no mortals dare may go;
Like mortals, it goes on tiptoes
Where fear makes it tremble so!
Go then, filthy, feeble mind!
Know that penitentially evil is the sham
In thinking so beatifically blind,
‘I think therefore I am’.

Notes for Cogito Ergo Sum
‘Cogito Ergo Sum’ (Latin for ‘I think therefore I am’) is the philosophical statement by which Rene Descartes attempts to prove his existence. The poet has great admiration for the statement but cannot resist the temptation to make light of it. In this poem, he wonders if the ‘Cogito’ (as the statement is sometimes abbreviated) is more applicable to the ‘I’ that is the human body or to the ‘I’ that is the ‘mind’. In particular, he is critical of all attempts to debase the Cogito by associating human existence with all notions of the divine and the afterlife.

This poem is part of the Poetry Book Arrow of Time

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