Black Moon Lilith conjunct Pluto in Capricorn

Astrology: Black Moon Lilith conjunct Pluto in Capricorn

Black Moon Lilith is conjunct Pluto for the rest of the month of May. Since both of them move slowly, they are ensconced in Capricorn for a while; in fact, Lilith will be visiting there until August 2018. Astrologer Tom Jacobs states that the conjunction of Pluto and Lilith is about recovering from abusive relationships. However, I would say that Lilith and Pluto dancing in Capricorn is a placement that affects more than bad relationships. Black Moon Lilith in Capricorn is not always the happiest placement. Especially when Black Moon Lilith and Pluto travel together, the energy can be sensitive, reactive, irritable or impulsive. By itself, Pluto can bring about transformation, but with the two of them together, anything can happen. Let’s look at some examples.

When Capricorn represents the status quo in a person’s life, Lilith and Pluto may or may not fit inside society’s rules and standards. In that case, Lilith can fire up the rebellious streak, which could lead to confrontations, protests or demands for respect and transformation. When Capricorn embodies the desire to get to the top of the hierarchy, Lilith can bring anger that fuels a fight for equality.

Either of these can lead to internal or external conflicts. If a person’s status quo includes an abusive relationship, Lilith will insist on change and Pluto will apply pressure to that insistence. If an individual feels stuck, Lilith will bring frustration, and if a person experiences multiple occurrences of injustice, Lilith may push for flight or fight.

If Capricorn represents cause and effect (based on one of Jeffrey Wolf Green’s interpretations), then Lilith conjunct Pluto will bring awareness to those things that were previously festering in the unconsciousness. This new understanding can allow individuals to choose to recognize their emotions, the resulting reactions and underlying connections, and thus they can start to heal themselves.  The key is to be aware of the stuff that is bubbling up from the unknown depths — this means we need to recognize we are dealing with what some people call shadow work.

If an individual is not alert to the release of the shadow, the person could spend the months of this conjunction oblivious to their feelings and evolutionary needs. The conflict of this transformational conjunction would leave the person with reactions based on what was happening underneath the level of consciousness. Because of that, the unaware individual might feel they were being manipulated or repressed by those around them or by society itself.

Lilith in Capricorn can push people to deal with their ambitions. When aligned with Pluto, it can also bring up judgments, biases, and denunciations.  All of that pressure can lead to sudden actions taken without consideration of the consequences. Although Black Moon Lilith can bring an urge to escape a situation, the conjunction with Pluto can also create forceful, passionate or even aggressive reactions.

Lilith is associated with both the upper world, also called the heavenly realm, and the lower world while Pluto is linked to the Underworld, the abode of death. Under the influence of this conjunction, you will be forced to review your assumptions, your goals, your past, your future, and your truths.


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Touching the Divine or Living by Chance

Many religions have been founded on the teachings of individuals viewed as holy beings. Buddha and Jesus reached a state of enlightenment so pure that they changed everyone they met. Yet, most of us only find enlightenment in brief glimpses of the Divine. However, anyone who has experienced the feeling of being-at-one with the universe for even a short moment knows that it changes your life afterwards. It is a similar feeling when you realize that some power in the universe cares about you and is helping you.

Years ago when my son was young, we drove up through the hills into the woods. We hiked to a perfect spot for a picnic. Overlooking a green valley, in sight of a mountain etched in purple and white, we spent a wonderful afternoon. The sunlight danced through the shade of the trees as we ate, relaxed, talked, and played together.

A week later, that mountain blew up. The volcanic eruption destroyed our picnic site, miles of ancient forest, a crystal blue lake, several communities, and an entire ecosystem of living beings. Thankfully, we were safely at home when the mountain exploded. Decades later, signs of that violent transformation still show like scars on the geography.

Some people tell me that the date of our picnic was chance, but I don’t believe it was a twist of fate that we survived.  I believe Spirit protected us.  When we are protected from tragedy, either we can discount it as luck or we can recognize that Spirit acted to help us survive.  Now and then, when we are recipients of a miracle, it is easy for us to see how the Divine touches us.

But, let’s assume that we picked the day of the picnic just by chance. If so, we take chances every day of our lives. We chose to go a different direction, take a new road to get to work. Is it coincidence that by doing so, we missed a huge multi-car accident?  Could it be the intervention of the Divine in our lives that nudges us to go that way?  On the way, we stop at a coffee shop to pick up breakfast and we enjoy a chat with the person next to us in line. A year later the two people marry. Is it chance that you meet the individuals you love? What happens if you believe that your dearly loved grandparent watches over you and helps you?  What happens if you live life as if there were no coincidences?

If you accept such happenstances as proof that you are interacting with the universe, you cannot view life as blind luck. If you believe that the Divine wants to help you, wants to guide you and protect you, you must understand that you are an important part of the world, perhaps more important than you know.

Many people are haunted by what happened in the past. They compare the present to a similar situation in the past when events did not work out the way they wanted them too. They worry that if they try something new, the same outcome might happen again. They focus so much on what might happen, on what might go wrong, that they miss living their lives. Their fear of the past causes them to miss opportunities in the present.  They are so afraid of making a mistake, that they do not do anything. They don’t even make a choice. And that is the true basis of free will. We can choose to take a chance, make a mistake, play it safe or have an adventure.

Yet, the wonder of the universe exists all around us.  Parents watching their newborn baby open her eyes for the first time feel a touch of the divine. When we witness a gorgeous sunset, the ball of exotic colors apparently falling into the ocean, then we recognize there is more to life than our to-do lists, rush hour traffic, and catching a meal on the go.

Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.” The advice is still faultless today. Henry Miller also said, “Until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery, we shall learn nothing.”  You can choose to believe that the Divine is here interacting with you in this mystery — or you can decide it all happens by chance.

What would happen if you decided to be present in your life? What would change if you choose to believe that the Divine is present there too? What would happen if you embraced the mysteries in your life?

Whether or not you recognize your interactions with the Divine Ones, life is what you are doing right now; it is what you did yesterday, and the experiences you will have tomorrow.  Regardless of how you feel about the Divine, you are here to encounter life in this physical form. The Great Mystery — Big Bang, if you prefer — from which everything came is still here. That Infinite Spirit is a tiny part of every molecule, of every person, tree, and animal. It is there regardless of the emotions we feel — or maybe, it is there precisely because of the emotions we feel.

Life exists for you in all its glorious experiences. Go and live it.


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Ozone and Air Pollution: Good News and Bad

It took 30 years, but the prohibition of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) is finally making a difference. CFC was used in packing materials, spray cans, air conditioners, refrigerators and insulation. Around 30 years ago, scientists realized that CFC was one of the causes of ozone depletion. The earth — and everybody on it — needs that ozone layer to keep the right balance of sunlight, oxygen, and maintain climate patterns.  Many people and companies voluntarily stopped using aerosol sprays. In 1987 a world-wide ban was agreed to, and numerous countries implemented government bans on CFC manufacture and restrictions on its use. After 30 years, we have a bit of good news: scientists believe the ozone layer is starting to heal.

The bad news is that the Trump administration has talked about repealing the Clean Air Act and has supported reducing the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency. Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, has spoken against the need for environmental protection regulations and clean air laws — the very things he is mandated to provide.

The current Trump administration has made it easier for businesses to obtain environmental permits by changing the government requirement for impartial analyses. Now they accept the analyses provided by the companies requesting the permits. In addition, the funds to prosecute polluters have been cut and many of the regulations supporting those actions have been removed.

The rest of the world seems to realize how important it is to reduce pollution. Even China  has done a lot of work on it! I would like to leave you with a positive statement, but I cannot find a way to minimize the stupidity of the current pro-pollution policies. The cavalier attitude of the Trump administration and its Republican supporters leaves me breathless — and soon we all may be literally breathless.

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Religion, Morals, and Kindness

Recently at the end of a story on NPR, a woman thanked someone for helping her. In fact, she said, “Thank you for helping me; you’re such a Christian!”

I wanted the helper to say, “I’m not a Christian, but you’re welcome.”

I wanted the radio moderator to come up with an appropriate philosophical comment. I hoped for a follow-up story that would broaden the experience of helping so that everyone could belong to that group.

We have developed the ridiculous mindset that people must have religion to have kindness. Our culture insists that someone must have an organized religious in order to have ethics.

This concept hurts everyone. More importantly, it is a lie.

This fallacy does everyone a disservice. It allows one individual to believe falsely that others who claim the same religion must have the same morality. They might not. More importantly it permits a person to believe that those who do not belong to the same church are not moral. This attitude supports the idea that those who do not label themselves under a certain religion must not have ethics and therefore must not know right from wrong.

These are also preposterous lies.

History proves that the practice of religion does not bring morality. People bring morality — or leave it behind — and people have vastly different ideas of what defines morality.

Lack of religious belief does not mean a particular person is missing compassion.

Kindness does not require a specific religious membership.

Thoughtfulness, humanity, and charity are not limited by religion or the lack of one. Kindness is limited by the individual’s ability to relate to another person, to empathize. Kindness just like morality and ethics are related to an individual’s capacity for caring.





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Lessons of the Trickster: Coyote

Indigenous stories do not have obvious heroes. Beings are not easily divided into “bad guy” or “good guy.” The moral is often obscure. In fact, many of the stories are not for children.  Some of the scenarios deal with the consequences of improper sexual actions or other mature themes. These stories do not have a tag-line ending with “they lived happily ever after.” Mistakes led to uncomfortable results, and the hero does not always survive the story.

Many tales involve the Trickster archetype. Certainly, the Trickster has played an important role in many cultures. This complex character has been portrayed as animal — rabbit, raven, praying mantis, coyote, or spider — or as a divine being like Eleggua, Loki, Puck, and Hoyoka. Yet the active aspects of each are quite different. They range from sacred clown to wise fool, from scoundrel to sage, from conman to consultant, and from jolly companion to judge.

Tricksters have the job of teaching us about our limitations and responsibilities. While they flaunt convention (and gravity), they explain the limits of right action and the double-edged sword of power-hungry moves. One of the most popular tricksters is Coyote.

Coyote is a survivor. He trips through stories from many different traditions. In quite a few legends of North American indigenous peoples, Coyote is very similar to the sacred fool in European culture. He is shrewd and silly and seems oblivious to results of his actions.  Often he falls flat on his face, but he manages to do something wonderful while falling. In some tales, he is the wise animal instrumental in creating the world. Acting as a caring, wise person, he sets the stars in the sky and then leads a daring raid to capture fire to rescue the world from darkness and cold.

Yet, despite his sacredness, he has an ignoble side.  His greed brings him to a bad end. When he can’t control his basest urges, he sabotages himself and loses everything.  Jamie Sams wrote: “As Coyote moves from one disaster to the next, he refines the art of self-sabotage to sheer perfection. … Coyote takes himself so seriously at times that he cannot see the obvious; for example, the steamroller that is about to run over him. That is why, when it hits him, he still cannot believe it. ‘Was that really a steamroller? I better go look,’ he says. And he is run over once more.”[1]

In the oral traditions, Trickster stories allow people to laugh while learning. Ultimately the story teller’s entertaining tales demonstrate valuable lessons about the individual’s role in society. They illuminate the folly of greed, selfishness, and egotistic actions. Indeed, the best storytellers show us our own contrariness: our self-indulgence, avarice, and foolishness are highlighted through Coyote’s actions. As with the best cartoons, we may despise his actions; we may hate his repetitive silliness, but we have all been there.  All of us know people who are learning lessons of the trickster. If we are honest, we can recognize ourselves in those stories.

For instance, making an important decision can be intimidating. We analyze and fantasize about outcomes while worrying that we might choose wrongly or we might fail. Because we fear the potential consequences of our actions, we might put off choosing until someone else decides for us or we are forced into actions we don’t want. Through our fear of failure, indecisiveness, or sheer laziness, we make life worse for ourselves.

On the other hand, we can egotistically assume we have all of the answers. Consequently, we don’t even consider the possibility of being wrong. On the other hand, we might see the potential costs but choose to follow our personal desires despite them. We can ignore how our actions will impact others and do not see the steamroller coming towards us.

In all of these situations we are confronted by our own personal trickster energy. If we had listened to the message of the stories, we could have realized that Coyote did all of that before us. If we are smart, we learn from watching Coyote; if we are not, we become him.

Perhaps the most hopeful aspect of Coyote is that he persists. Coyote remains running through the countryside despite centuries of hunters; sometimes coyote finds himself lost on city streets.  This is the happy ending; although it is not the one we desire, it is the one that life teaches us.  We make mistakes, fall down, and despite the embarrassment, we rise again perhaps a bit wiser.



—- Footnote —-

[1] Jamie Sams and David Carson.  Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals (St. Martin’s Press, 1999).

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The Path and the Deer

I set out to climb the hill. I should be able to reach my goal easily.

At first it’s comfortable following the path. The grass is waving in the breeze and the trees spread branches overhead casting enough shade that I don’t notice the heat of the day.  I began this walk through choice:  my reasons were numbered and organized.  The walk is uneventful; I begin to focus on my feet. I’m no longer aware of anything around me.  Once in a while I hear a shrill bird call, but I see only the tiny puffs of dust my feet stir up as I walk.

Time passes and I realize it seems darker.  I look up in surprise.  Where did the time go?  When did it get so late?  I look around – a sharp intake of breath – where am I?  Nothing looks familiar.  How is this possible?  I’ve walked this path so many times.  I don’t recognize any of this.

My rational mind insists I can find my way again:  I’ve simply taken a turn unto a path that I haven’t been on in a while.  I turn around and walk back down the path a bit.  I still don’t recognize anything.  A branching trail appears and I follow it only to find myself back at the clearing.  Back the same clearing.   How did this happen?  That clearing was farther up the hill.  I’ve gotten turned around.  Where am I?

A sense of frustration floods through me.  I collapse onto a large rock, one of several in this clearing, and I am angry with myself.  I should have been watching where I was going. Here I am: exactly in the middle of nowhere. How could I do this to myself? Reason argues that it is not possible to be lost.  Denial of facts as  thoughts vie with emotions.  Rationalism looses. Panic. I walk endlessly back and forth searching for a familiar scene.  Hopelessness. Exasperation.  Tiredness.

After a time I’m too tired to cast blame, too tired to be frightened.  I stop fuming.  Think about the path.  I could go further up the hill; I could go on back down the path.  It seems too much effort to move.  So I stop thinking.  I stop moving. I just sit.

I become aware of the rock sturdy underneath me.  Cool and smooth, it has been here through time.  I wonder how long it has been here.  I look at it, at the glitter of the sun on the planes and dips of the rock.  My shadow, warped by the rock’s shape,  flows to the ground.  I notice the plants growing at the base of the rock.  A sound of bird.  A buzz.  Something chitters in the trees.  Leaves shadowing each other dance with the sun and breeze, circling the branches, changing color as I watch.  Mutable colors turn back to the green with which they began.

The world stops and, for a moment, there is silence.

Then I hear something underneath my awareness, underneath my analysis.  Something twitches.  I dart a look out of the corner of my eye.  Ah. . . I turn unthinking, drawn to look at what is there, realizing too late that the movement might send it running.  I hold my breathe as, instead of leaping away, it walks forward.

The luminous eyes gaze at me seeing past the civilized veneer.  My vision is swallowed up by the dark eyes, attention wholly focused on the deer.   We see each other eye to eye.  No thoughts, no impulses, no body awareness.  The world is inside those eyes.  The fur surrounding the eyes is simply a velvet field encompassing the void.   Therein rests the wisdom of the ages.

One of us blinks.  Which one?  And it is gone.  Sound returns to the world.  I look around me blinking in the light of the world with fresh sight.  My foot is asleep.  I stand, stretch and take the path between the trees following the whisper of the deer.


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Charlottsville and What is a Law-Abiding Citizen?

In my last blog, I asked what Charlottesville means to you. Today I want to ask you to think about what it means to be a law-abiding citizen. The violent rally in Charlottsville showed that there are multiple issues festering in our society.  Sadly, most of the news is focused on simplifications. If we are going to stick to simplifications, the first question we must ask is:  what is a law-abiding citizen?

When Christopher Cantwell, one of the leaders of the Unite the Right rally, was asked about the tragic death and the many injured people caused by the automobile attack, he said, “a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here.”[1]  Cantwell is an alt-right talk show shock DJ.  During an interview following Charlottesville, he stated he wants “to normalize racism.”[2]  Why would anyone think that is okay?

More importantly: why does he have that much hate? As a country, we need to figure that out. Then we need to find a way to heal that hate or reject it.

Cantwell’s actions rose out of that hate.  According to several sources, he has been charged with illegally pepper-spraying individuals and groups of counter-protestors. When asked about these situations, he stated “I don’t think I did anything wrong, and I’m looking forward to my day in court.”[3]

There are the key words: “I don’t think I did anything wrong.” He believes he acted as a law-abiding citizen; in fact, he made a personal judgment that he had done nothing wrong.

When asked to explain his conduct, Cantwell stated that he believed he was in danger. Under US law, people have the right to protect themselves, but the statutes are very complicated. As one attorney explained it to me, in most cases, a person cannot use more force than necessary to stop an assault. With the addition of “stand your ground” laws, things have gotten even more complex.  I don’t know Virginia laws, and I am not an attorney, but I can review events and determine if they seemed to have been reasonable. In fact, pepper spraying an attacking individual would be an acceptable method of protection. However, spraying an entire group of bystanders would not be self-defense.

Yet, we are faced with Cantwell’s beliefs: he thinks racism is okay. Not only that, he believes it is fine to act violently towards people you hate or individuals who disagree with you. And he does not think his behavior was wrong.

Do you think Cantwell’s statements are those of a law-abiding citizen?

What is a law-abiding citizen? Is it someone that always follows the laws?  What about people who live in an area controlled by terrorists or a despotic dictator?

During WWII, all of the atrocities committed by Nazis were considered legal. Should people have risen up against the Nazi racist euthenics or should they have followed the laws?

We don’t have to like everyone in our country. We don’t have to understand everyone in our country. But as law-abiding citizens, however we define that, we must allow each other the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” As citizens of the US and the world, we need to consider these questions and decide what we should do — and what we will do.


— footnotes —

[1].  Matt Stevens “Christopher Cantwell, White Nationalist in Vice Video, Braces for Charges” The New York Times (Aug. 21, 2017) online at (8/21/17).

[2]. Southern Poverty Law Center “Christopher Cantwell” online at (8/21/17).

[3]. Under US law, people have the right to protect themselves, but the statutes are very complicated. As one attorney explained it to me, in most cases, a person cannot use more force than necessary to stop an assault. With the addition of “stand your ground” laws, things have gotten even more complex.  I don’t know Virginia laws, and I am not an attorney. Pepper spraying an attacking individual might be an acceptable method of protection; however, spraying an entire group of bystanders would not be self-defense.


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What Does Charlottesville Mean?

With the horrid events of the rally in Charlottesville, VA and the mystifying and disturbing comments made by the president, I cannot keep silent.  There are many things I could say (and  I won’t get to them all at this time), but some things need to be mentioned.

On August 15, President Trump stated that there were very fine people on both sides of the rally.  Are there two sides in this event?  Racism versus acceptance: are those the sides?

Don’t tell me that the people who marched in the parade at the Unite the Right rally didn’t know they were marching with white supremacists. Really? Do you think I am that dumb?  No one could have missed the flags, shirts, and shields obviously covered with fascist, racist, white supremacist, and white nationalist symbols. They were everywhere. Just supposing they didn’t know what those symbols meant, can we assume they should have asked before joining the parade?

What does Charlottesville mean to you? It should mean a lot. It should represent the need to think about the future. Look past the platitudes offered by those reading the news on your local stations. Consider the real ramifications of the anger shown on August 12.  Do not discount the violence of the protests.  Protests are permitted in the constitution. Do not reject that privilege or allow others to take it away. Realize that hate erupted on that day: hate that fueled the violence.

And as for the crazy act of killing people by driving purposefully into a crowd, that is a conscious performance of violence. It is assault. It is insanity. The horrid brutal act happened as a consequence of dehumanization of other people.  All of us need to look at what that means regardless of personal political views.

Wake up, people! This is your country! Act like it matters. Are you going to allow fanatical intolerant behavior to become common? Please consider the outcome of that. Stop rationalizing intolerance.



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Happy Fourth of July!

Our republic is a contentious child of brilliant men who debated endlessly by mail and in person. It is not a yet “a more perfect union” since it falls short when dealing with many issues. Racism and sexism continue to be contemporary problems. News reports highlight serious issues with interactions between police and minorities. Native American rights continue to be contested by state and federal governments especially when minerals or petroleum are located nearby.

But we will continue to struggle, to debate, to strive and persevere towards that more perfect union. Maybe we will manage to continue to evolve until all the inhabitants of the US have equality and the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” regardless of race, creed, origin or gender.

We must not use apathy or cynicism as an excuse to ignore what is wrong with our country, but rather to use them as warning signs.  We need to realize we have a duty under the constitution to be active in our personal education.  It is not enough to accept new stories blindly or ignore horrid events. We cannot fall back on believing something because we want to believe it.  As US citizens, we are asked to be educated and to participate so that, as Lincoln said, “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Happy July 4th!

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Dualism as a Force of Separation

Dualism as a Force of Separation Based on a Comparison of the Philosophies of Descartes and Heidegger

Early in the Twentieth Century, Martin Heidegger[1] analyzed the concepts of previous Western philosophers and rejected their prevailing dualistic worldview. Based on Descartes[2] and similar philosophers, Western civilization had divided the world into the dualistic view that everything was either mind or body. In other words, for centuries, they believed that knowledge had two bases: either thoughts or physicality.[3] This philosophy was called Cartesian Dualism.

Since Cartesian Dualism divided the world into mental things and physical things, [4] it separated mind from body, soul from matter, and spirit from flesh as if they functioned totally separately from each other.[5]  It permitted our society to develop concepts based on simplistic assumptions such as all or none, good or evil, and us or them. In addition, that dualism led to a situation where people could be separated from their experiences in the world.

Incidentally, don’t confuse the dualism of Western civilization with the apparent dualism of Taoism that is commonly expressed by the yin yang symbol. The yin yang of Taoism incorporates an interdependent and independent existence of opposites. The counterparts may be divided into dark and light, male and female, hot and cold, or moon and sun. However, just as the moon and the sun exist in relationship to each other, yin and yang interact. They seem to stand alone but there is that little dot in each that symbolizes  interaction and mutual support. Together they make a complete balanced whole. The yin yang concept does not completely separate the opposites; even though they are independent, the Taoist symbol, and the philosophy behind it, does not detach the mind from the body or yin from yang.

Working from a purely Western European perspective, Heidegger rejected the dualistic worldview. He believed that philosophy must focus on human experiences in the world, and so, he developed some complex and novel explanations to try to explain events.  Heidegger said that people could not be separated from their experiences. In fact, he viewed experience as an important part of existence, but he recognized that there is no analysis of event or things while experiencing them.

For instance, individuals using a hammer do not think about the hammer unless it breaks. That is, to use the hammer, they do not need to think about how many nails it has pounded into wood in the past, and they do not need to know how or where the hammer was manufactured. They are focused on utilizing the hammer, perhaps to build a bookcase. Explanations about how the hammer works are not an important part of the experience. The company that manufactured it is not important unless the hammer breaks and must be replaced.

In the same way, Heidegger considered Being-in-the-world to be an experience. To him, a mental analysis of any object was not considered important; only the usefulness of the object was important. Yet, Being-in-the-world was imperative. That is, the essential thing about life would be actually living our experiences.

It is important that we don’t separate mind from body or spirit from flesh.  But the key is: actually living our lives is of utmost significance. I think we all can agree with that.


— Footnotes —

[1] Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) was a German philosopher; his most famous work is Being and Time.

[2] René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French philosopher, scientist and mathematician; he was (and still is) extremely influential in western philosophy and analytical geometry.

[3] These explanations of Heidegger’s views are mine; any misinterpretations cannot be blamed on the reference material.

[4] I am grateful to Professor John Searle, University of California at Berkley for his succinct online lecture explaining Cartesian Dualism.

[5] Searle, John. Philosophy of Mind, lecture 1. UC-Berkeley Philosophy 132, Spring 2011. (accessed October 15, 2012).


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