Meditations, by René Descartes, was published in 1641. It is not an autobiography in the usual sense, but it is an examination of one's life based on the ability to contemplate about one's own existence. Hence: I think, therefore I exist. You know that.
I was so excited to dig into this work simply because of my meager knowledge of Descartes from a philosophy class I had taken in college. Philosophy is interesting to me, but given that this was not a typical autobiography, and that Descartes wrote about thinking about thinking (no, that was not a typo), this book quickly became mind boggling, and I lost interest.
If I had to take a test on this book, I would fail. Oh, I underlined and circled frequently and starred my favorite quotes, but if I had to recall points or give a thorough synopsis, I have not much. So this is not a review or opinion of the actual work, but simply my lame leftover response of having gone through this book several weeks ago.
If I learned anything, Descartes was obsessed with truth and the human mind but insecure about his inability to determine what was absolute. In order to prove truth, he presented six meditations, which were situations and ideas to consider. Then he delved into serious doubts and discussion to prove each situation, like he was playing devil's advocate with himself. He also answered objections about these ideas.
In the end, he concluded that he is a thinking thing, and because he can think, he must exist. He proved that the mind and body are separate entities. Feelings and emotions are not as reliable; only judgments made using the intellect are certain. And if I understand correctly, God is perfect, but man is imperfect; therefore, God exists because imperfect man could not conceive a perfect entity in his mind, and a perfect God would not deceive man of His existence. Did you get that?
Let me finally add that when I came to a stopping place in my reading and then picked the book up again a few days later to continue, I found that I had finished Meditations and did not have to continue anymore. I had not realized that I had come to the end. Happy dance. I was very grateful to not have to read anymore about thinking. My brain hurt.