Asteroid 3587 Descartes was discovered on September 8, 1981, by Russian astronomer Lyudmila V. Zhuravleva at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in Nauchny, Ukraine. She named it for the eminent French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes(1596-1650). Descartes has a period of 4 years, 162 days, and a diameter of about 13.9 miles.

René Descartes

René Descartes made important contributions to mathematics(the term "Cartesian coordinates" is derived from the Latin form of his last name, Cartesius), and also wrote books on music and fencing; he was fascinated by all of these, and also made a living as a soldier of fortune, a common pursuit of gentlement in the tumultuous, confused world of 17th-century Europe. Descartes worked hard all his life to keep himself free of entanglements and controversy; all he wanted to do was travel and think. He was considered the foremost philosopher of his era, the so-called Age of Reason; British philosopher Stuart Hampshire says that Descartes may be considered the founder of the modern theory of knowledge, since he made the questions "How do I know?" and "Can I be certain?" the first questions of philosophy. Descartes once made a statement which has become famous, Cogito ergo sum; the English for this Latin is, "I think, therefore I am." He was convinced that God existed, and also that animals did not possess consciousness; one may doubt the former if one so desires, and more and more people doubt the latter on the basis of scientific as well as the anecdotal or empirical evidence presented to them by real life. One may call the notion that animals don't possess consciousness the fountainhead from which the idea that humans are meant to dominate and use the world as they see fit and an inclination to abuse animals spring. At any rate, the idea that you exist if you think implies its converse: that you don't exist if you don't think.

Astrologically, asteroid Descartes signifies living by one's wits, using one's head, being hard-headed and methodical in one's thinking.

Provocative pundit Camille Paglia has Descartes out of bounds, conjunct Uranus, SURF(superficial knowledge), Vicia(viciousness) and Walpurga(the "bitch"); semisextile Terpsichore(agility) and Thalia(humor); septile Pluto; biundecimal the Sun(to shine); binonile the Moon(the public); square Mercury(writings), Mars(aggression, sex), Damocles(provocativeness, crises), Descamisada(hard work), Wil(willfulness); tredecile Pallas(mental perception); trine the Ascendant; quincunx Munchhausen(big lies) and Veteraniya(going through a lot); and contraparallel Hammurabi(harsh judgment).

Former US president Bill Clinton has Descartes conjunct Phaethon(out of control), Pavlov(knee-jerk response), and SURF(shallowness); undecimal Pandora(having an impact) and the MC(career, reputation); sextile Mercury(the media, speeches, writings), Vesta(commitment), Bologna(lies), Konstitutsiya(guiding principles, acting in one's official capacity), TARDIS(something delayed), and Vibilia(travel); square Damocles, Flammario(to burn), Taguacipa(to become disillusioned with someone, friends turning to enemies) and Veteraniya; trine Venus(love, values, indignation), Mars(the military, firearms, aggression, rage), Neptune(illusion, delusion, idealism), the East Point(the world's view of a person), the Ascendant(personal appearance), Quetzalcoatl(teaching, journalism, a flawed hero, sexual misconduct, rehabilitation), and Yeti(strange notions); sesquiquadrate Jupiter(the law, religion, politics); quincunx Descamisada and Melpomene(tragedy); quadnonagon Pallas; opposite Black Moon(wildness) and Wil; parallel Uranus, Bandersnatch(unslain monsters), and Nabokov(guilty pleasures, tainted joy); and parallel/contraparallel the North and South Nodes(putting experience to practical use).

Winston Churchill, one of Britain's greatest prime ministers, credited with leading it through World War II in a successful battle against Hitler and even saving the nation, had Descartes semisquare Chiron(something to learn and/or teach); septile Pallas(defense of civilization); sextile Atahualpa(ruthlessness); quintile Venus; square the Sun, Vesta, Nessus(the predator), and Bosque Alegre; tredecile Part of Fortune(development of potential); trine the Black Moon, Asbolus(awful things), Descamisada, Christabel(letting in something evil), Abanderada(raising a banner), Krok, and SURF; quadundecimal Jupiter; quadnonagon Uranus; opposite the Moon, Don Quixote(tilting at windmills), and Wil; parallel Mercury; and contraparallel Tezcatlipoca(criminality, the black magician, i.e., Hitler).

Top fashion designer Giorgio Armani has Descartes in the first house(physical appearance, personal interests), conjunct the Ascendant and Nietzsche; semisextile the Sun and Descamisada; decile the Moon; semisquare Vesta; sextile Ceres(family, nurturance); quintile Chiron; square Asbolus; trine Hammurabi; tredecile Uranus; opposite Damocles and Cuitlahuac(knowing when to quit); parallel Rhiannon(escape under a cloud) and Taguacipa; and contraparallel Athanasia(immortal name).

Muhammad Ali, a wily and cocky boxer who battled racism, religious prejudice, Parkinson's disease and the Vietnam War-era System out of the ring as well as boxing opponents in the ring, has Descartes conjunct Tezcatlipoca and Vicia(viciousness); semisextile the Midheaven; nonile Saturn(career, hard work, rewards and punishments); semisquare Uranus(liberalism, breaking the mold, rebellion); septile Venus; sextile the Moon, Mercury, Jupiter, Phaethon, and Bandersnatch; square Aquilegia(victimization of the vulnerable) and Summa(consummate manifestation, "the greatest"); trine Chiron, Asbolus, Hidalgo(ambition, machismo, assertion), and Thetis(reminders of mortality or human vulnerability); biquintile the Part of Fortune; and contraparallel Tortali(out in the open).

The glyph for Descartes, my own invention, combines the winged circle, symbol of Thought, with the dot-within-a-circle glyph for the Sun, astrological significator of being: I think, therefore I am.

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