On the night of 10–11 November 1619, while stationed in Neuburg an der Donau, Germany, Descartes shut himself in an “oven” (some type of room specially heated for that purpose) to escape the cold. While within, he had three visions and believed that a divine spirit revealed to him a new philosophy. Upon exiting he had formulated analytical geometry and the idea of applying the mathematical method to philosophy. He concluded from these visions that the pursuit of science would prove to be, for him, the pursuit of true wisdom and a central part of his life’s work. Descartes also saw very clearly that all truths were linked with one another, so that finding a fundamental truth and proceeding with logic would open the way to all science. This basic truth, Descartes found quite soon: his famous “I think therefore I am”.
On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars - Something good will come out of all things yet - And it will be golden and eternal just like that - There’s no need to say another word.
― Jack Kerouac, Big Sur
Show him how happy a Thing can be, how innocent and ours,
how even lamenting grief purely decides to take form,
serves as a Thing, or dies into a Thing –, and blissfully
escapes far beyond the violin. – And these Things,
which live by perishing, know you are praising them; transient,
they look to us for deliverance: us, the most transient of all.
They want us to change them, utterly, in our invisible heart,
within – oh endlessly – within us! Whoever we may be at last.
-Rainer Maria Rilke, excerpt “The Ninth Duino Elegy”