What I Never Told My Students About Descartes

When teaching Descartes, I dutifully described his dualism in detail.

 I discussed his importance as the father of modernism,

But also his common ground with scholasticism.


Together we examined the ways he attempted to prove God

And the reliability of both mathematics and his own senses.

Also, some biographical information including his early education,

Military service, travels, and later work as a tutor to royal women.


I never told my students that, like Descartes,

It is easier for me to befriend women, but

I am still sometimes accused of being sexist or even

Typically male.


I didn’t tell my students that, like Descartes,

I have at times been overwhelmed by grief

And felt ashamed while also becoming more patient with the

Grief of others.


I didn’t tell my students that, like Descartes,

I tend to intellectualize and rationalize my problems,

Calming my anxiety with anything at all that I can know

Is certainly true.


I don’t think I mentioned in class that, like Descartes,

I sometimes wake to wonder where and who I am

And whether anything at all in the universe is not

Hostile to my being.


I’m sure I never brought up the fact that, like Descartes,

I sometimes scream out in my sleep, convinced that the

Evil demons pursuing me in my dreams are more real than

A perfect God.


And I certainly never told my students that, like Descartes,

I fear dying alone on a cold street in the wee hours of the

Morning, running from my personal problems and hoping

To find salvation.


◄ Love Like a Cliche

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