Rene Descartes

Most are aware of Rene Descartes the Philosopher. He was even a respected scientist during his lifetime which was from 1596 to 1650. Descartes was going to have his career in gambling according to his biography. He was going to start out as a gambler as soon as he was finished with law school and his military service in France. Gambling as a career did not last long since he was not very successful in it. Rather he would gamble as a pastime for the rest of his life. It allowed Descartes to go on and become something more than just a lout. He was the father of “modern” philosophy.

Descartes was born in La Haye, France where his father was a judge. His mother did not live past his first year, so he was taken care of by a nanny and his grandmother. By the time he was eight he was sent off to the Royal College. He studied just about everything at the college from languages to astronomy. It was said that due to his frail health he would lie in bed till late morning, which is thought to be when he would reflect and meditate on life thus becoming a philosopher.

The information he learned often left him with questions since things seemed to contradict each other. This is why he decided that maths and astronomy were probably the only two subjects worth any value. As he travelled to try and answer many of his questions he ended up in Paris. It was here that he lived quite the raucous life. He would party, gamble, and enjoy many love affairs. Despite the fun he seemed to have, he didn’t stay long and headed into the military career.

In 1619 Descartes believed he had been born to unlock algebra and apply it to geometry. This is how Analytic Geometry was founded. Nine years later he left the military and Paris behind for Holland where he wrote four works on philosophy.

It is not known what games he enjoyed during gambling, but it is well known that he applied maths to the concept of gambling and with little luck unlike some of the other famous gamblers of the same time period. Descartes moved to Stockholm in 1649 upon a request from Christina, the Queen of Sweden. Unfortunately, his frail health that had plagued him from childhood affected his ability to take the cold weather climate. He died of pneumonia before a full year was out in Holland.

Descartes was a modern thinker by all standards. He pushed the world into thinking about things differently like the algebra application to geometry that he came up with. The fact that he was going to be a gambler and then decided to become a philosopher is just a part of his history where he spent his free time enjoying the games, but most of his time was spent on figuring out the puzzles of the world.

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