Can Reason Save Us?
Posted: 28 February 2011 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Two of my colleagues woke up one day a few years back and went to work as per normal. Their mood and spirits were ‘normal’. Nothing seemed untoward. By the end of the day they were both dead. They and I were in our mid twenties. Devastating it was. The emotional impact brought feelings and questions to my mind that I had not asked since childhood. This loss was the first of many over the past 20 years.

In reaching into my deepest rationale I finally concluded the immutable laws of physics and some as yet unknown laws of mental processing simply work away toward these outcomes with objective indifference. These processes just beaver away without regard for morals, good, evil, right, wrong. They assured that no matter what my friends ‘reasoned’ that this particular day would bring, they would not survive it to see another dawn. They were destined to hit the ground at 500kts in the dark of the night in a jet aircraft because some ‘laws’, both known and unknown, ordained it. Back to oblivion in an instant and neither knew it was coming. These laws conspired to take them regardless of what plans they had ‘in mind’ for the rest of their lives. What they had ‘in mind’ did not matter.

I figured if their best rationale could not lead them to predict the actual truth of this single tragic event; then what makes any of us so certain that anything we predict ‘with reason’ is somehow representative of the objective truth?

For my buddies it seemed that reason could only lead them to their personal predictions of truth. On this prediction they proceeded, yet they were wrong, deadly wrong. 

I decided that all of my own reason and logic must also carry this fundamental flaw in its predictive powers. I concluded that the average person doesn’t experience tragedy often enough to see this flaw in his/her logical predictions for the day. Little errors and mistakes throughout the day don’t add up to traumas that threaten most people’s entire personal logic system. Therefore the average person gets to think he is ‘right’ even though he cannot ever be.

For me though, a slide into solipsism has been unavoidable. I am not ‘down’ about it, it has simply been the only rational way to proceed. I couldn’t help but wonder though, is this biblical ‘false prophet’ that takes a position of power to lead all men, a metaphor for the logical judgments of the mind itself?

I’m interested in any thoughts on this.

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Posted: 28 February 2011 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Can reason save us from what exactly? Death? Reason can reason ABOUT death. In a sense, therefore, it could “save us” from silly thoughts ABOUT death…....while we live (which may help us live fulfilled “well being”-ed lives, while we live).

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Posted: 28 February 2011 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Can reason save us from anything? If our own reason cannot tell us the absolute truth about what today holds for us (eg. guaranteed death after lunch), then our sense of emotional stability at any moment leading up to this event must be derived from past events. If we ‘knew’ the objective truth surely we could not function. ‘Future seeking’ by way of using personal logic would cease because there would be no point in it. Tomorrows share price would no longer matter. Since our personal expectations have been met every day so far (we have survived beyond lunch) it seems we come to progressively bond emotionally to the validity of our own rational expectations. This progressive emotional bonding guides our comfortable conscious future projection and the future seems to ‘expand’ ahead of us. This works fantastically for human evolutionary or survival purposes (invention) but emotion would be nonetheless a flawed foundation for our determination of the objective ‘future truth’. So our emotional stability at this very instant stems from the ratio based expectation of what will occur after lunch, not from knowing the ‘truth’ about it. Does that make sense? I’m guessing that this emotional foundation to personal reason is layed throughout the emotional tides childhood and submerges until our reason later catastrophically fails. It is not exposed as fallacious until we find we are say, completely wrong, or culturally challenged or lose someone we love suddenly. So the emotions we call ‘anger’ or ‘grief’ are merely triggered by events such as a loss of life. The loss of life itself is simply indifferent objective reality unfolding. Why grieve? Could our emotional outpourings actually be a return of submerged ‘expectation failures’ forged during the high seas of childhood? This way, the rational mind could be viewed as a ‘product’ an echo, not master.

This would explain why young children do not grieve when family deaths occur since they have not yet experienced the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ that produces we ‘rational’ adults. Could our reasoning mind be masked from knowing our emotions are actually about losses in our past as opposed losses in our future due to an evolutionary ‘non-return’ mechanism? ‘Self blindness’.  If so this would explain why reason cannot shut down grief emotions. If so, all conflicts over what is ‘morally right’ can be rendered to be driven by personal fears and aversions at having to re-write personal emotionally bonded principles. They would not be about what is ‘morally right’ it would just appear that way to the arguer.

I have racked my brain but can’t find a way to conclude anything other than that objective reality is unknowable to the reasoning part of consciousness and that unconscious fears hide deep until we see how wrong we can be when sudden ‘losses’ occur. And when this happens we sense the snake pit from which we have emerged, but we reason that it is ‘reasonable’ to grieve.

Help me out if you have a view that dispels these postulations. I’d appreciate it.

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Posted: 28 February 2011 07:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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“If we ‘knew’ the objective truth surely we could not function.”

“Tomorrows share price would no longer matter.”

The “objective truth” cannot be known. It is feeling (singular). It is therefore felt. It is a felt dis-position and not a position. Positions are known (geographical, hierarchical) and knowledge is merely of the brain. The brain is a knowledge gathering tool that may lead to a whole felt disposition of “objective truth” when the brain itself (brain function) is understood OBJECTIVELY.

Therefore, in the experience of this “felt disposition of objective truth” nothing matters. The share price does not matter, emotions or feelings (plural) does not matter, death does not matter, life itself does not matter. “we” as individuals will not matter, BUT, there still maybe function. But in the “felt disposition of objective truth” it is not “we” that functions. Function functions for its own means and ends (for its own sake). The Real We (Us, as consciousness without a sense of individual separateness) may merely observe function from a now “true objective” state, at least, until, observation itself is no longer necessary. The self (ego-personality) appears to have many onion layers. The “observer” layer may well be the last one to shed.

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Posted: 01 March 2011 04:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Yep, thanks, that sounds about ‘right’. So the singularity, the ‘observer’, is quintessential in forming everything, is biased toward nothing and ceases to exist when all else ceases to exist. This would suggest that all time happens at once when the portion of the singular observer (presence) in us is not ‘present’. By ‘feel’, all time passed in an instant before birth and will do so after death. So there’s nothing to fear. Brings to mind my favourite words from Spock when shrugging off a warning that he would die during a dangerous mission… “I’ve been dead before.” smile

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Posted: 07 March 2011 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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“I decided that all of my own reason and logic must also carry this fundamental flaw in its predictive powers.” ~ Sinusoid

There’s your problem; if you think reason can predict the future, you’ve already abandoned reason.  The best you can do, since reason really is only a tool of the present, is extrapolate from the past and recognize how truly opaque the ‘future’ is until the next moment in time.  If reason tells you anything, it should be constantly revealing your own ignorance, not fostering confidence in your predictive abilities.  Contrast this with faith or any other comparable mental exercise (which generally operate from a conclusion and work backwards) and you quickly recognize, as socrates did, that you must start from ignorance and begin with a question.

I don’t think reason will save anything, in and of itself, as it is nothing but a tool.  Reasonable people will save nothing if they do not reason from ignorance, and start with a question.  Practically, given the rising numbers of the faithful and willfully irrational, I think reason and a snowball may as well be racing to annihilation in the crucible of human nature and the pit of a volcano, respectively.

But hey, I’m an optimist, I’m certain one of the previous posters has offered a more balanced response to your question.

“This would suggest that all time happens at once when the portion of the singular observer (presence) in us is not ‘present’.” ~ sinusoid

Not really.

“By ‘feel’, all time passed in an instant before birth and will do so after death” ~ sinusoid

No, ‘time’ and ‘you’ are unrelated before your life and after your death.  Time doesn’t pass, in an instant, infinitely, or anywhere in between; unless you believe you’re ego/identity is eternal, to speak of it and time as at all relative to one another is to speak gibberish.  There’s still nothing to fear, of course, but for a different reason.

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