A calm mind, free from the hurly-burly of external things, may fix its gaze on itself

— Arnauld, Antoine (1612-1694)

Place of Publication
Michel de Soly
A calm mind, free from the hurly-burly of external things, may fix its gaze on itself
Metaphor in Context
What exactly do you want? You can hardly be after my opinion of the author, since you already know how highly I rate his outstanding intelligence and exceptional learning. Moreover, you know of all the tedious commitments that keep me busy, and if you have an unsuitably high opinion of my powers, that certainly does not make me any less aware of my own inadequacy. Yet the work you are giving me to scrutinize requires both an uncommon intellect and, above all, a calm mind, which can be free from the hurly-burly of all external things and have the leisure to consider itself - something which, as you are well aware, can happen only if the mind meditates attentively and keeps its gaze fixed upon itself. Nevertheless, since you command, I must obey; and if I go astray it will be your fault, since it is you who are compelling me to write. Now it could be claimed that the work under discussion belongs entirely to philosophy; yet since the author has, with great decorum, submitted himself to the tribunal of the theologians, I propose to play a dual role here. Firstly I shall put forward what seem to me to be the possible philosophical objections regarding the major issues of the nature of our mind and of God; and then I shall set out the problems which a theologian might come up against in the work as a whole.
(Fourth Set of Objections, p. 138)
Past Masters
Descartes, René. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. Trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothof, and Dugald Murdoch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.