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Thinking “Cogito, Ergo Sum”

Majid Mumtaz Hussain
3 min readNov 1, 2019


“Cogito, ergo sum; I think, therefore I am… Rene Descartes”

Can this be negated?

We are thinking beings, we think without deliberate intervention, our attention griped by this phenomenon which exists, but then, is attention in itself not a form of thinking? Attention assumes this temporal abstracted form of one’s wider reality into a single concept, without completely dissolving this external reality, similarly generalizing, where one observes a rule, a pattern and searches for its consistency in other schemas.

These forms of thinking are parts of the larger universal described in Cogito, Ergo Sum; If I think, therefore I am, then in its most simplistic antagonistic shape, I don’t think, I don’t exist, I should evaporate, cease existence; but that does not happen, even abstractly.

Thinking is more than deliberated, focused thinking, which exists even when choosing not to think, a deliberate abstinence must intervene, as such there is nothing without thinking, ones comes back to “I Think, Therefore I am”.

While these forms are universal forms at a certain level, these are contents of the notion of thinking. Cogito, Ergo Sum, but with new insights on why “I Think, Therefore I am”, from this point, one can analyze this “I’s” finitude, it’s abstract negation.

If “I” is a state of self consciousness, one knows I as a conscious singularity formed into one’s desire, one’s will, which quickly moves into its own negation. I is one’s identity, one own inward bending reflection, mediated by what is not I, the other. In this way I am I, and not you, the other, yet this self inflicted negating identity is its universal within which I exists as duality of I and the other.

One’s negation into “I” is a reflective contradiction; one can not negate this I but only through the other its circle of identity is completed. Thinking exists within this intersubjective circle; I is not just I, it includes within its self an other, for example, if one stops thinking, one still is, only reduced to a reflective agent of the other, as such one is no more, but even in this reduced form of thinking one exists.

This intersubjective relationship assumes its thinking form from this duality of identity within universal; one can not become universal, identity negates this move by including in itself reflection from the other, the universal therefore exists outside this duality.

It’s inversion, if one views that universal necessitates the notion of identity, then the one and the other become unessential elements in this abstraction, on the other hand the universal corrodes need of identity. In this way, “I am, therefore I think” emerges momentarily just to collapses again into Cogito, Ergo Sum.

The point to grasps lies between this paradoxical wordplay, its actual form and its inversion; does “I” exist before one starts thinking, or, thinking gives this “I” its notion of identity? This can be cleared in this way, thinking exists within one, therefore one must exist before thinking, but for one to become I, thinking must fill this empty “one”, “I” therefore emerges when an empty subject is filled with thinking.

This becoming is mediated by universal, the force which shapes thinking. This universal is not collective inward reflection of ones and others, on the contrary it is the absolute which is reflected on the one and the other, assumed internally as such, vaguely a presupposition, a priori of this notion which becomes “I”.