I think therefore I am Descartes most famous postulation. Perhaps the only valid argument pointing towards something more than what we can study, observe and measure in science and it rarely gets the attention it truly deserves (especially here in the RI forum of GT). In an abstract metaphysical sense, I can not be sure of reality. I can't be sure that the world exists as I observe it. I can't be sure that the other people I interact with are real and not figments of my own imagination (although, I have no idea why I might subconsciously dream up Paul7 ). I can't be sure that I am actually sitting at a desk, typing on a computer and posting on GT. I can't even be sure that I exist in the form that I perceive myself. It could all be an invention of my own mind. A world I have created for myself to keep me occupied. This, I can not rule out. But I can be sure I exist, cogito ego sum proves that. I must exist in some form in order for me to be able to dream it all up (even if nothing else is real). It tells me nothing with certainty about what form that existence takes, but it must be. I am, this is all I can know for certain. Which brings me to my core point for this thread. There is one more thing we can derive from this first principle. The human body (as I perceive it) is made up of a variety of chemical compounds reacting in a liquid medium (water). Its construction can be understood as a bio-mechanical machine controlled by an analog electrochemical computer (albeit a very advanced one). And no matter how advanced a computer gets, it should not be capable of the self-awareness that can be derived from this simple statement. I should be a mindless automaton. There would be no discernible outward difference if this were true. We would still argue, bicker, build things and organize ourselves into societies and whatnot, but we would be thoughtless inside. Just machines working through their programming. So why is that not the case for me? There must be something more that gives me the ability to be self-aware. Now, many theologies have labeled this element the "soul". Some have envisioned a cosmic battle between good and evil over the control of our "souls". Others believe that the "soul" is immortal and continually re-inhabits new corporal vessels using the mechanism of reincarnation. None of the traditional explanations are particularly compelling to me. Mostly because they depart from the chain of logic of what can and can not be known and venture off into the realm of conjecture, speculation and even superstition. What I would like to know is if there are any others here that have pondered this chain of thought and were you able to get any further with it? So, any amateur philosophers here that have any additional thoughts on this? I am most interested in hearing the take of other atheists. Theists are, of course, welcome to comment as well. It is an open forum after all. But understand that I do not see this elemental conclusion as supporting any particular belief system. Certainly not in any sense greater than a minor inductive point.