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What was this old fantasy book based on the lost meditation of Rene Descartes? This book played around with the supposedly lost last meditation of Rene Descartes. A secret society was involved, I think? Dark-green-ish cover

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    Do you remember what fantasy aspects showed up? Was there magic? Monsters? Psychic powers?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented May 20 at 14:42
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    My first thought is Foucault's Pendulum, but of course, it's not actually SF&F (fictional, yes. Fantasy, no).
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented May 20 at 14:49
  • +1 @FuzzyBoots Weren't there moments of ectoplasmic good flowing from mouth in the Candomblé-related scenes in Brazil? Could we in good faith include Foucault's Pendulum as fantasy by way of magical realism?
    – Lexible
    Commented May 20 at 17:56
  • @Lexible: Debatable, I suppose.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented May 20 at 18:13
  • @FuzzyBoots I bet Eco would have agreed with you... there's a quote from him on the FQ Wikipedia page entry where he says "My answer is that Dan Brown is one of the characters in my novel Foucault's Pendulum, which is about people who start believing in occult stuff." And this jibes with very similar conspiracy theory belief themes in his The Prague Cemetery.
    – Lexible
    Commented May 20 at 18:15

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This isn't really "old", or at least now I'm a sexagenarian it doesn't seem old, but your description matches Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon. It has been released with two covers and both are predominantly green:

Dead Beautifulenter image description here

The description on Wikipedia does not mention Descartes at all, but his lost seventh meditation does play a key part in the story. The secret society is called the Undead. The seventh meditation describes how:

The matter of Children is one that is particularly troubling to adults. All adults follow the rules stipulated in Part I of this Meditation. However, there is one exception. When a child dies, his Soul leaves his body. Yet, in opposition to our customary education of the biological processes of Life and Death, the child does not die. Instead of “dying,” as adult bodies do, the child’s body lies dormant for nine days. On the tenth day it rises again without a soul. The child then wanders the world, searching for it. It is my supposition that this is nature’s way of giving youth a second chance at life. They are what we call Non Mortuus, or the Undead.

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  • Wait, do all children become undead if they die in that series? And this was general knowledge in the time of Descartes, but I guess not in the present day?
    – Adamant
    Commented May 21 at 9:16
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    @Adamant I guess children die a lot less these days Commented May 21 at 11:05

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