René Descartes was serving as a mercenary in 1619 when one night, he shut himself in a room to escape the cold. He had 3 visions which he believed to be a new divine philosophy. He likely had an episode of exploding head syndrome. Upon exiting, he had formulated analytical geometry.

René Descartes

According to Adrien Baillet, on the night of 10–11 November 1619 (St. Martin’s Day), while stationed in Neuburg an der Donau, Descartes shut himself in a room with an “oven” (probably a cocklestove) to escape the cold. While within, he had three dreams and believed that a divine spirit revealed to him a new philosophy. Upon exiting, he had formulated analytical geometry and the idea of applying the mathematical method to philosophy. He concluded from these visions that the pursuit of science would prove to be, for him, the pursuit of true wisdom and a central part of his life’s work. Descartes also saw very clearly that all truths were linked with one another, so that finding a fundamental truth and proceeding with logic would open the… Continue Reading (26 minute read)

11 thoughts on “René Descartes was serving as a mercenary in 1619 when one night, he shut himself in a room to escape the cold. He had 3 visions which he believed to be a new divine philosophy. He likely had an episode of exploding head syndrome. Upon exiting, he had formulated analytical geometry.”

  1. Thedrunner2

    “I think therefore my head explodes”

  2. keeper420

    Exploding head snydrome is when you hear a loud bang when falling asleep, which causes you to wake up. Usually causes you anxiety, but doesn’t help with the formulation of mathematical theorems.

  3. kimya_d

    The researcher who named “exploding head syndrome” must have been quite the drama queen.

  4. Josephdirte

    I’ve had a handful of sleep related issues, including exploding head syndrome on a handful of occasions. The most profound experience I had was sleeping in a tent and hearing the loudest fart (impossibly loud x 1000) right next to my ear at 2am. I was alone…

  5. i_am_not_a_raptor

    A horse walks in a bar and the bartender says, you drink a lot, are you an alcoholic?

    The horses says I don’t think so and then he disappears.

    Now this may not seem like much of a punchline, but explaining it beforehand would be putting Descartes before the horse.

  6. Cagey898

    >Descartes also saw very clearly that all truths were linked with one another, so that finding a fundamental truth and proceeding with logic would open the way to all science. Descartes discovered this basic truth quite soon: his famous “I think, therefore I am.”

  7. Dangerjayne

    Just one of those nights, right?

  8. thexar

    Cogito ergo spud.

    I think, therefore I yamm.

  9. GeminiGambit

    That’s how I learned geology

  10. DecadentEx

    I used to suffer from Exploding Head Syndrome (one year really bad, and three where it decreased slowly). I can list off a dozen symptoms, but -sadly for me- visions were not one of them.

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