I Think. But Do I Know Who I Am?

” cogito ergo sum“-René Descartes-

I think therefore I am. This statement began and summarizes the most basic and simplistic roots of western philosophy. I feel that this is something that Alice has missed her encounter with the caterpillar summarizes her feelings very well.

“I ca’n’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir,” said Alice, “Because I’m not myself, you see.”

This inner battle that Alice fights is not so different from the thought process that brings to mind the ever important question we will all inevitably ask ourselves sometime late at night.

Do I exist?

This is very closely linked to Alice’s search for identity. She is thinking therefore she knows she exists, but how can she truly know who or what she is? Is it even possible for her to know?

In the magical realm that is Wonderland do the same principles that guide our perception of self still apply or has all reason gone out the window?

Let us look at this from Alice’s perspective for a moment. In her mind everything about her has changed, so therefore she must not be the same person. But in reality are we not all constantly changing from the time of our birth until we die we are changing; mentally physically, emotionally. From the moment we begin life we can never truly return to what we once were.

I think therefore I am. No other elements fit into that equation. If nothing else exists then at the very least I do for the sole reason that I can think. Perhaps this most vividly applies to Alice because in reality Wonderland is a dreamscape.

In a world where nothing is real then truly only the act of your own thought can justify your existence.

5 Responses to “I Think. But Do I Know Who I Am?”

  1. Interesting, involving Descartes in this observation. Alice is faced this difficult question which has haunted humanity for some time. If you read “Through the Looking-Glass” Alice is unable to justify her existence,because what if something thought for you, therefore you would not exist because you think that you think. Reason, logic, and philosophy are no mach for what Wonderland can bring against you. This is a creepy part that your own mind is working against you, making you doubt your existence. If logic cannot justify your existence, than nothing can. But as we grow, we absorb experiences and that forms are personalities, so Alice is still an uncertain personality and is still moldable. I’m sorry that I have said ‘you’ and ‘your’ so many times.

  2. Excellent job on the blog. “I think therefore I am.” It really is a wonderful quote. We can certainly verify our exsistance by the pure thoughts that go on in our minds. The only problem is, if I exsist who or what am I? If we were not constantly being reminded who we are, than could we really know? It is often confusing to think that the person I imagine myself as might be somebody else in different eyes. Several major changes occur in our life. There is a point in our lives where we make a big change. When you become a teenager the world changes completely. In the story Alice is at the beginning of that phase. When we enter into this world we have to make choices to decide what kind of person we will be. Alice is loosing her child-mind and is moving foward. When we exhibit these changes we lose lose our original selves. So it all comes down to what we think of ourselves. How we picture ourselves is what we will become.

  3. I like the quote, “I think therefore I am.” It’s true, Alice throughout the story believed that if she could think, and remember things the right way then she herself existed and was Alice. I love your post, it explains everything so well and I agree 100%. Alice thinks that because she continues to change she’s not herself, but growing up is all about changing and having no clue who you are. It’s kind of curious to think about how we know what is real and what is not, and how we know if we truly exist.

  4. Rachel M. Says:

    I really love this. I love that you simplified the idea that “if nothing else exists then at the very least I do for the sole reason that I can think”.
    I would say that all reason in wonderland is non-existent, or it is at least not the type of reason that we would consider rational. But then again, what is thinking without reason or vice-versa? I doubt it would do you any good to think or likewise try make sense of things if all your effort would not apply to the world you are trying to figure out. I agree that that in itself is proof of existence, but in wonderland nothing is for certain, and my head spins trying to make sense of it all in a world that has no rhyme or reason. She thinks, so she must be, but then again she is in wonderland, so all reason does go right out the window. I don’t think there’s anyway to the bottom of it.

  5. Vivian H. Says:

    I absolutely love this. I am sure Mrs. Bonner would be pleased to know you’ve been paying attention in AP Euro. You ask if it possible for Alice to know who or what she is, well I think in a world where logic and reason dominate, not really. However, I believe that in wonderland Alice may be able to find out more about herself. Reason or logic has no place in Wonderland, therefore anything is possible. Sometimes all we need is a little imagination and ability to trust in something we cannot rationalize to find the real answers to our questions. Isn’t that why kids know exactly what they want to be when they grow up? As one get older it is harder to keep sights of your childhood dreams, because we convince ourselves it isn’t possible, or let ourselves be tied down to what we believe is a more ‘sensible’ job.

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