On Reason

I don’t know why people have a inherent distrust of Reason. Or a tendency to take it in conflict with emotions, feelings and experiences. Reason is what? A mental exercise or tool, or a certain way of dealing with anything that registers in our brain be it emotions, feelings, thoughts or anything else. And what it does? Tries to make sense or build a coherent reality. Yeah it has limitations. Limitations coming from the fact that it acts on facts, thoughts, emotions, feelings and experiences and these things in any case have too many a variables, and too many interrelations among those variables. And our mental faculties cannot register them all, and even whatever that may get registered may not be comprehensible, or comprehensible but conflicting to earlier perceptions. So in all reason may assist us but can never give us something compete in all sense.

Also reasoning about anything comes after these thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Yeah but prior reasoning may influence these processes. It was Kant who opposed Humes assertion that reason doesn’t influences experience. It does. A human life builds using reason, consciously as well as subconsciously, on these sensory experiences. Thats how a child, who’s blank while coming to life, grows. Had there been no subconscious process of reasoning( i.e judging, predicting, inferring, generalizing, comparing) a child would not have grown to be what we are now 25 years down the line.

An emotion or a feeling will always be more truer than any articulation of it, yeah but it may be then conflicting, confusing,  or frightening. A prior reason may influence this emotion or feeling in a positive or negative way and reason may again come into play after that emotion or feeling but in doesn’t rob you of it. Now this prior reason that influences people is what creates this distrust, but isn’t it our own fears and inhibitions at work here. And isn’t that a subconscious process. A child also shows that but he ain’t reasoning(consciously) anywhere anytime. So why blame conscious reasoning when its the subconscious way of human mind at work here.

We human are made in such a way that we keep on adding anything that comes our way. We keep on storing emotions, feelings, thoughts, experiences, views etc all along our life. Or simply put only two things, sensory perception and ideas of mind as Kant would have liked to put. Its a baggage  and it needs to present a coherent reality, things need to be in sync and reason’s just a tool.

One could say that we can still function effectively with a certain level of rationality. Yeah we can but isn’t that subjective now that you want to trust your leap of faith, am not denying it nor am leaving it just that am not leaving reason also and am not scared of it. Lets take homosexuality as an example. A century ago the concept of it was non existent. But what is it? Ain’t it bound by emotions and feelings? And these emotions and feelings are not felt the same way by all. So would you also see it with distrust as its something alien to your sensory percept? Doesn’t reason here save us all? Isn’t it by an act of reasoning that we understand and approve of it?

Its human tendency to simplify things. Our language is full of these simplifications. What is pain? What is love? Can these tiny four letter words do justice to everything that these words may try to mean? Can these words mean the same to any two persons? No. But we still use these words, fully aware of their limitations. Isn’t reason far better than that? Actually it looks, but it’s on the same level ground as language. A simple act of 2+2 looks so pure and amazing. Point two birds to a child and then another one joins then and you say 2+1 equals three and the child accepts it so very convincingly. Why? Because it’s simple. It’s reason but very simple. A human emotion or feeling is not that simple, so reason may not do justice to it all but then its not its fault, it’s just human condition. How simple and beautiful were Newtons laws, but then along came Einstein and they became complex. So can’t one say that Newton’s laws were actually approximations? And don’t they still stand useful to the same extent in our day to day lives.

Man is social being and as Language is medium of communication, reason can be viewed as a medium of aggrement. This thing called subjectivity at once makes it immensely difficult for any two beings to understand what the other means by anything. Language provides a medium of exchnage of thoughts but to still agree and understand one needs to bind these things with reason as every emotion or feeling by every second individual is different.

Some say reason is just a mean to an end. We use reason to justify what we anyways will do. But isn’t that touching a blind spot now? Attributing our decisions to subconcious mind and then saying reasoning is just an after thought. Can’t it be said that prior experiences and reasoning based on them influences our current decisions. Yes, it does. So what’s the point?

I guess biggest fault of ours is to say that reason interfears with our emotions, experiences and feelings. It doesn’t.  It acts on them and may have something to say before one engages in similar sensory perceptual acts again. So what’s the fuss? I’ll watch a Wong Kar Wai movie the same way even if I tried dissecting the last movie after watching it. Would it make me enjoy the colors less the next time I watch a Wong Kar Wai movie, if I know now that Christopher Doyle uses vanguard color grading techniques. No! I guess not.

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2 comments

  1. Thanks for dropping by put in a comment for “Hard boiled wonderland” by Murakami. Wanted to finish up some of his great books, Wind-up bird chronicles and Norwegian Wood. I heard the Norwegian Wood is quite depressing, is it true?

    I like this article. Where are you based?

  2. Yeah, Norwegian Woods does have some melancholic hues but it’s a great piece of work, and the only Murakami work with all its links grounded in reality, i mean there arn’t any fantasy elements there. Do read it, u’ll love it.
    And base..hmm..well, am from India, the land of The White Tiger.

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