Allen Grossman Descartes' Loneliness Aleph

(Meditation Three)

Toward evening, the natural light becomes
Intelligent and answers, without demur:
“Be assured!  You are not alone. . . .”
But in fact, toward evening, I am not
Convinced there is any other except myself
To whom existence necessarily pertains.
I also interrogate myself to discover
Whether I myself possess any power
By which I can bring it about that I,
Who now am, shall exist another moment.

Because I am mostly a thinking thing
And because this precise question is
Only from that thoughtful part of myself,
If such a power did reside within me
I should, I am sure, be conscious of it. . . .
But I am conscious of no such power.
And yet, if I myself cannot be
The cause of that assurance, surely
It is necessary to conclude that
I am not alone in the world.  There is

some other who is the cause of that idea.
But if, at last, no such other can be
found toward evening, do I really have
sufficient assurance of the existence
or of any other being at all?  For,
after a most careful search, I have been
unable to discover the ground of that
conviction – unless it be imagined a lonely
workman on a dizzy scaffold unfolds
a sign at evening and puts his mark to it.