Although I often laugh at the notion of Western Culture, the notion that a few hundred years of history in Europe are what seperates us from Hominids, I do have to give credit for Descartes for coming up with this coordinate system. Whenever, for reasons both practical and speculative, I need a concept of an unchanging system of reference, the first thing I envision is Descartes simple two axis system. Thinking of everything around me as being underlined by graph paper is how I try to begin my logical thought.
When I am driving around the streets of Portland, and I make a wrong turn, and then a few more wrong turns, where do I go back to find my bearings? Imagining that the city around me is laid out on the perfect right angles of Descartes. It is one of the most practical conceptual tools that I actually inherited from the grandest culture ever.
That being said, it should also be said, IIRC, that Descartes himself didn't believe in Cartesian space. He didn't belive that there was an absolute space underlying everything around us. Because, of course, only things with substance, or material, can have extension. This extension creates the illusion that there is a space underlying everything, but since space is not material, it can therefore not have extension. Thus, no absolute space or perfect vacuums can exist.
I won't even get into the Preexisting harmony of all monads