Descartes’ Motto

Upon reading A.C. Grayling’s biography of René Descartes, I wrote down Descartes’s motto (“to live well you must live unseen”). When I consider nobility, celebrities, rulers, and other leaders who seek or attract notoriety, I wonder what value this attention ultimately has? The benefits of fame will inevitably be tainted by distractions. Without understanding the disruption that overblown attention brings, it seems like fame often leads toward spiritual compromises, disfunction, or ruin. Being shuttled by handlers from place to place for the purpose of being seen and heard (often causing difficulty knowing who to trust) is the antithesis to living unseen. One can see why Descartes wanted to be unseen, he had thoughts and an inner life that needed care.

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