Please be reasonable!

Please be reasonable!

Please be reasonable! Let us reason together. There was no reason for that. What do we mean by these common expressions?

Ignoring the fact that these are generally just common exclamations by most of us that are meaningful only in their emotional content; what is the source of our indication of reliance on ‘reason’?

Western philosophy emerged in the sixth century BC along the Ionian coast. A small group of scientist-philosophers began writing about their attempts to develop “rational” accounts regarding human experience. These early Pre-Socratic thinkers thought that they were dealing with fundamental elements of nature.

It is natural for humans to seek knowledge. In the “Metaphysics” Aristotle wrote “All men by nature desire to know”.

The attempt to seek knowledge presupposes that the world unfolds in a systematic pattern and that we can gain knowledge of that unfolding. We assume many things because our ‘gut’ tells us that: 1) the world makes systematic sense, and we can gain knowledge of it: 2) every particular thing is a kind of thing; 3) every entity has an “essence” or “nature,” that is, a collection of properties that makes it the kind of thing it is and that is the causal source of its natural behavior.

We may not want our friends to know this fact but we are all metaphysicians. We, in fact, assume that things have a nature thereby we are led by the metaphysical impulse to seek knowledge at various levels of reality.

Now back to ‘confidence in reason’. I guess the Greeks were the first to systematize our belief that reason can be an important factor in making life better; that reason can provide us with a means to convince others that this particular way is the better way of reaching the desired goal; a mutual confidence in reason becomes one of life’s most important goals.

Why a ‘mutual confidence in reason’ becomes one of life’s most important goals? Because of the disaster to all of us that is derived from an intellectual distrust of reason.

I think that one of the important duties we all have is to help others formulate a confidence in reason.

I think that we can find in our self many times that a confidence in reason is displaced by a belief that is not grounded in reason. Examples might be faith in charismatic leaders, faith in ‘authority’, faith in some social group, faith in our ‘gut’, faith in fate, faith in technology, faith in unanalyzed experience, faith in someone because s/he is a successful maker of money, etc.

I picture myself as a member of a small group of riders trying desperately to turn the stampeding herd before that herd reaches the cliffs.

The herd is humanity. My fellow riders are the few who, like me, think they have been enlightened and wish to stop an impending catastrophe. The skeptical reader is, of course, correct that the riders may be idiots and that the herd is just seeking better pastures. The consoling thought for the riders is that if they, the riders, are wrong it is of little consequence because they are so few; while the herd, if wrong, will probably destroy them self.

The riders, like me, think that there is a fundamental issue, that if resolved, will reposition the herd into a more perceptive and reasonable mode and thus the herd will live happily ever after.

The fundamental issue that concerns the riders is that the herd makes very poor decisions. For this reason the riders think that if the herd became Critical Thinkers and self-learners matters would improve.

A rider from a past generation spoke about these matters in:

The Decline of Western Democracy
by Walter Lippmann

“The decay of decency in the modern age, the rebellion against law and good faith, the treatment of human beings as things, as the mere instruments of power and ambition, is without a doubt the consequence of the decay of the belief in man as something more than an animal animated by highly conditioned reflexes and chemical reactions. For, unless man is something more than that, he has no rights that anyone is bound to respect, and there are no limitations upon his conduct which he is bound to obey.”

True true.

But I think the herd will always be at a disadvantage, because where we may be the riders in one instance, we are the herd of another. (rider in science, herd in mathematics or communication).

Examples to dispute your assertions would be things such as the fact that Certain aspects of knowledge are ever-changing these days. One day Galileo tried to tell the world something - they only listened when he died. However he was not 100% correct in his theory. Neither was Einstein, because their theories keep having to be improved to be valid. Our riding instincts may push us further, but we are always bound to the herd because in some cases, we are one of them.

Reason is bound by logic. Logic is bound by factual scenarios. When the facts change, the logic changes also. And the fact is, facts are changing constantly.

I agree that the facts and our knowledge are always changing. But I do not comprehend what conclusion you draw from this fact. You seem to imply something important that is not clear to me.

logic and reason are worthless…

it is all about the passion to use them…

-Imp

reason is faith’s servant.

Oh, I guess i was generally making reference to this point here.

By riders, do you mean the critical thinkers? Leaders in the field etc?

My point was we can be leaders in a certain field, and have riding capability, but we are ignorant to other aspects of life in which we belong to a herd, and people will be riding trying to warn us about these particular things.

The riders need to be individuals who have been self-actualizing self-learners from the time they have finished their schooling. To develope the kind of knowledge and understanding to be a rider requires more than a specialized education that one acquires in school or college.

        ....Right    
        ....The paradigm  of who or what we are is of the mark. And the paradigm in being twicked. 
  ....First it was pure instincts, that aided the survival of humans. We  did not know (could not know) the reason why we did things. 
    ...Thought developed and insured survival of the human(we still carry instinct). Now we endeavor to know why. 
     ...And some persistant dogmas (paradigms)  think they know the reason why. 
     ...The next evolutionary step is coming. Further awareness is on the way. Reason and logic like instincts were good survival tools.

Capslock

The only thing I find fault with is your conclusion that some process, you call evolution, will make things better. I think that the only thing that will make things better is if more people decide quickly to ‘get a life–get an intellectual life’.

Hobbies are ways in which many individuals express their individuality. Those matters that excite an individual interest and curiosity are those very things that allow the individual him or her to self-understanding and also for others to understand them. Interests define individuality and help to provide meaning to life. We all look for some ideology, philosophy or religion to provide meaning to life.

When examining psychosis the psychiatrist advises either the establishment of an interpersonal evolvement or for finding interests and perhaps new patterns of thought. Many of us find that our work provides that means for identity and personal fulfillment.

None of us have discovered our full potentialities or have fully explored in depth those we have discovered. Self-development and self-expression are relatively new ideas in human history. The arts are one means for this self-expression. The artist may find drawing or constructing sculptures as a means for self-discovery. The self-learner may find essay writing of equal importance. Consciousness of individuality was first become a possibility in the middle Ages. The Renaissance and further the Reformation enhanced the development of individual identification.

The word “individual” moved from the indivisible and collective to the divisible and distinctive. In this we see the development of an understanding of self-consciousness thus illustrating the dramatic change taking place in our developing understanding of the self as a distinct subject not just a cipher in a community. This was part of the Renaissance.

I recommend that each of us develop the hobby of an intellectual life. We could add to our regular routine the development of an invigorating intellectual life wherein we sought disinterested knowledge; knowledge that is not for the purpose of some immediate need but something that stirs our curiosity, which we seek to understand for the simple reason that we feel a need to understand a particular domain of knowledge.