Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spreading the Poison of the Ivy League - Reasons of Reason pt.4

Is vs Ought Hmm. If I get some time together, ought I to spend it on a blog? Perhaps a question for another time. Ahem (what time I've been able to get, I've tossed at this, bear with me, we'll get there). Allotetraploid posted a reply to my last post, and it is on the surface a very sensible post; at first glance I could only quibble with two points in it, "Scientific reason can deliver man from this calamity by refuting the false reasoning of the godly." And "There is a fundamental difference between “is” and “ought”. “ But the trouble with Quibbles, is that they grow and multiply.

These two points are right in line with the thought which is the core of the Ivy League… and it has passed throughout the culture like contact thoughtitis. Are they such a big deal?

(Un)Fortunately current events have offered up a prime example of what results from holding these two points as foundational to your philosophy, and they can be held in no other way, just as bad money drives out the good. Here’s an example of how these two points have played out in a recent article from TIME magazine, 'My Dinner With Ahminimejihad':

"The invitation was on creamy stationery with fancy calligraphy: The Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran "requests the pleasure" of my company to dine with H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The dinner is at the Intercontinental Hotel — with names carefully written out at all the place settings around a rectangular table. There are about 50 of us, academics and journalists mostly. There's Brian Williams across the room, and Christiane Amanpour a few seats down. And at a little after 8pm, on a day when he has already addressed the U.N., the evening after his confrontation at Columbia, a bowing and smiling Mahmoud Admadinejad glides into the room."

This article displays explicitly and implicitly, the kind of thought, behavior and stupidity that can only come from those who may be very smart - but whose intelligence is focused in upon only a very narrow range.

This is the inevitable result of someone educated in the thin slivered lens of faux science – let’s call that scientifismic for short. Someone who feels quite certain that he is able to ‘refute the false reasoning of the godly’, is just the sort I’d expect to see sitting down in the eager anticipation (‘glides into the room’) of dining with a theocratic tyrant.

There should also have been a chair pulled up to that table for the professors and administrators of Columbia Uniperversity, an institution supposedly devoted to intellectual freedom, who invited the cute anti-Bush tyrant to speak to students seeking an education. That IS educational, but… not in the way it Ought to be.

Bon appetite.

The decision to invite a tyrant to a university, or to dine with him, is typical of the poison spread by the Ivy League and those who aspire to them, who’ve been taught that pragmatic, logical focused attention, little ‘r’ ‘reason’, can refute the ‘false reasoning of the godly’, and that there IS no proper action you OUGHT to take in response to a given situation. It is a conclusion that can only be reached through a narrow ed view of the world, one that holds ‘speaking’ and ‘free speech’, to be separate instances, cut off from all tradition and principle. Such a narrowed view is bereft of not only what informs you as to what is proper and what is not, but also what gives depth of meaning to the concepts of speech and political free speech.

If this is what you pass off as reason, something that tells you that it is not only sensible, but exciting to dine with a man whose personal actions in recent years, and his countries over the past 30 years, have been hatefully focused upon hurting and killing Americans, the brutal oppression of his own people, exporting terrorism to the world at large and quashing those who seek political and religious freedom in his own country, then there is no reason to regard that pitiful excuse for reason as being worthy of anything but contempt and disgust.

What the Religionists and the scientifismic’s don’t realize, is that they are both under the same crippling influence. The narrowed view itself is the problem, whether it narrows in upon science or religion, is irrelevant.

Narrowing the view - Scientifismic’s
It is just this, “refuting the false reasoning of the godly” that is precisely what real Science would not attempt, and would in fact be unable to do, if it did try it, ‘proving’ the whole, from the position of being within the whole, and of which there is no without, can’t be done – it can be loosely inferred, but not proven. Proof, the result of focused and guided attention, proper logic, by its nature, can only prove particular subsets, never the encompassing whole, because it needs supporting and opposing data to perform its operations – something which is excluded when considering that which is everything. Proof requires at least two, to operate, but the whole is ONE, and there is no other complementary to compare it with or even attempt the operations of proof upon.

What is far more likely to happen through such refutations of the godly or of the scientifismic, is… well, that they will lead to precisely what has happened with ahminimejihad and the reporters in the article referenced above, both opposing practitioners eagerly agreeing to having dinner parties together; elite reporters sitting down with blood drenched Tyrants, and both boasting about it afterwards(BTW in such a match up, the more primitive will triumph, as history has proven out for millennia of brief flashes of civilization swamped by great swathes of barbaric darkness – but that too is for the following posts).

When you out and out dispense with tradition, myth and religion – which I’ll refer to from here out as the Poetic, you are set adrift in the moment, with no reference to wider and deeper Wisdom. Without concern for an issues wider premises being rooted in generations of experience in the real world, you are then easily focused in upon the narrow sensibilities of the moment. In such a case what may seem ‘Smart’ in the isolated logic of a syllogism’s ‘valid structure’, may rest upon premises which are entirely unknown or potentially corrupt.

The reason why may be found expressed in the second item I quibbled with, the famous is-ought question, which Allotetraploid states as: " There is a fundamental difference between “is” and “ought”. " Now, Allotetraploid’s hasn’t quite come out and said that there is no relation between the Is and the Ought, but casting it as a weak connection, implies the same. In either case the idea is that what IS can in someway be disconnected from or even opposed to, what OUGHT to be done in response to it – which is a method for disassembling the Human. These two points, that “…reason can refute the false reasoning of the godly”, and that an Is doesn’t imply an Ought, finger not only the source of the decay of Liberalism from the heights of Edmund Burke into the lows of Nancy Pelosi, but also the method of disintegration used to accomplish it. We can see a prime example of how Reason has unraveled by looking at Allotetraploid’s full paragraph:

Man has evolved to become a sociable beast, and with that followed an unselfish selfishness. Left to his own accord he will try to establish a society that doesn’t affront his moral sentiments. But some falsities, religion in particular, can severely cripple his ability to do the good things that he in his heart of heart’s desire. By blocking his empathy and supplant it with tribalism and strife the scoop of his goodness will narrow. By implanting false assumptions about the order of nature and cosmos he can be misled to mistake evil for good. Scientific reason can deliver man from this calamity by refuting the false reasoning of the godly.

Couple parts here should be looked at veeerrryyy closely – not because Allotetraploid intended them, but because they are inherent in the scientifismic outlook:

Left to his own accord he will try to establish a society that doesn’t affront his moral sentiments.

Based upon what? Why, what he, in his observations of the moment, sees as being effective, as being for the greater good, etc. Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro… they all said the same, and millions upon millions have died in trying to force reality to fit their moral sentiments about how reality should look.
By blocking his empathy and supplant it with tribalism and strife the scope of his goodness will narrow..

In attempts to avoid tribalism, to expand and draw out empathy, and widen the scope of peoples goodness, we’ve adopted measures to enforce Welfare, enforce bussing, enforce Affirmative Action, enforce Political Correctness Speech and measures… etc, etc, etc – all of which have produced the exact opposite of the intended affect, and have contributed to create many hyphenated Americans where there was once assumed to be One.

By implanting false assumptions about the order of nature and cosmos he can be misled to mistake evil for good.

Hmm… what would constitute Evil here? What is their standard? Not life per se, if their positions on abortion and euthanasia and the death penalty are a clue, neither is a well lived life, if their positions on celebrity, hedonism, criminals and depravity are any clue. If you look at their historical track record which is a mile long, with a little casual digging into eugenics, socialism, fascism, communism, you’ll see that what their standard Is, stands out clearly. Their basis for what could be called ‘evil’, is that which thwarts their utopian policy and political goals, their ‘good’ are focused conclusions spun out of approved ‘philosophic systems’, Cause Celebre issues, environmentalism... these are decisions that are made not for what they will accomplish to help humanity, or even the environment, but what will advance their position on the issues as steps towards their Utopia. For the leftist, the Ends very definitely justify the means, excuse the means, and grant praise for their means; essentially to ‘mistake evil for good’ is practically the leftist mission statement.

Again, a little digging into the silly claims of Recycling – what they claim to seek, and the actual wider results that are produced by them – (‘consumed’ might be better since there is no recycling program that doesn’t consume more natural resources and human time and effort than they produce), should be enough to convince you… if not, some more examples can easily be found.

Silent Spring - Banning DDT – allegedly to save bird eggs (more truthfully to kill business, but that’s another argument) has killed millions of people world wide. Anyone who believes popular propaganda views of these and other green propaganda hasn’t done any wide research on the matter, for and against. Anyone who believes that Science alone can save them from such hoodwinking, or that this is the work only of religion, is living in a dream world – soon to turn nightmarish on them. Man made Global Warming anybody?

Narrowing the View – Religionista’s
From the religionists side, as Science is not equipped to refute Religion – within its poetic domain - Religion “refuting the Reasoning of the Scientists”(again assuming that Science is operating within its proper bounds) is precisely what real Religion should not attempt, and cannot do. Proof requires well defined, verifiable evidence which can be shared and passed from one person to another to examine and verify, whereas the nature of the poetic is either completely internal or inferred, there is no material proof to pass around. As a trivial example, you can say you prefer the taste of Honey or Chocolate. You can refer to publicly accessible measures, themselves inexact at best which others can use at a distance removed – sweetness, bitterness, etc, and you can objectively verify that you prefer one to the other – to yourself – but you cannot share that proof to others, you cannot pass your personal taste experience around for others to verify, and they cannot evaluate your evaluation. It is objective, internally, but unable to be verified externally. That in no way invalidates your evaluation, but it does remove it from the realm of scientific proof.

The Poetic merely acknowledges the whole, touches it, harmonizes with some aspect of it, brings the moment into contact with the eternal in order for you to experience and work out the implications of it for yourself and then continues on. It cannot refute particulars against the actions of those properly using Scientific methods to do so - and it is unable to refute the findings of those who properly do so. Any refutation will be no more than an assertion, and as such it would be folly and criminal (see Galileo, Bruno, etc), the three legged stool of Reason would be just as unbalanced no matter which leg is missing.

The Puritans came to the New World not to have Religious freedom, but to have the freedom to impose their view of religion upon people as they saw fit to impose it. It didn’t work. Because they did still believe in Right and Wrong, they couldn’t long escape the fact that what they were trying to do, was failing and was wrong. That recognition is what enables Western Cultures self correcting, virus killing anti-body of Reason to rise and save us from ourselves. Still, anybody believing that true believers in religion will preserve humanity from harm by being trusted with power, needs to do a little fact checking of their own into the usual suspects such as the inquisition, the catholic protestant schism wars, what led to them, the witch burnings, etc, etc, etc, you should also keep in mind those who have stagnantly perished in the pre-Scientific worlds of the Buddhists and the American Indians as well (it’s not really important, but you might want to keep in mind that the numbers slaughtered in the name of religion, pale in comparison to those who’ve perished at the hands of scientifismists).

When Voltaire began speaking out against organized religion (he was not an atheist, but a deist), he was attacking the cheap party-machine type peddling of clerical offices, Political meat hooking such as Richelieu had practiced, the burning of those who dared to speak out against it, and the use of doctrines as unquestionable dogma enforceable upon the public on pain of death and torture.

He anticipated Orwell by two centuries, stating that holding contradictory views in mind (such as Immaculate Conception, etc) destroyed thought and made all manner of reasoning impossible. Now, he is correct… within a context, if religious dogma is used as if it were descriptive of the world of particulars – that noworkee - it is being improperly used and applied. Similarly, if I told you I was all wound up at the moment, and it was your job to torque the engine bolts to the same tension – there’s no correlation there, behaving as if there were is going to cause damage to you or the engine or both. He was incorrect in thinking that Religion as such was the problem, but the practitioners are themselves susceptible to the same failings as the scientifismic’s are, namely narrowing their focus of what is visible and ‘thinkable’, and what is unthinkable, and equivocating between them in order to extend their authority to where they have no jurisdiction.

It is the process of attempting to define how one or another leg of Reason’s stool should operate, independently of the individual thinking their thoughts – that or out and out kicking the leg off and attempting to force the person to balance upon only its view alone.

The chief mistake of focused reason is to think that it can reach and teach the deep integrations as if they were graspable, isolated, particulars – ‘if this, then do that’. But most of all, is its tempting to think it is being ‘sensible’ for either side. ‘Kill ‘em all, let God sort them’, is an attitude just as potential for the narrowed outlook of the religionists, as for the the scientifismics – just as probable a failing of Calvinists as Castro’s. The second mistake is to forget that the particulars it focuses on are but artificial meridians drawn upon a complete whole – and that that whole extends in and out to the universe as a whole.

The saving grace of Religion, has been that it does assert a Right and a Wrong, and will eventually allow correction in the face of Reason. The ‘Theocracies’ of the West (much of mideval slurs of dark ages resulting from religion are unfair, but the point holds) were long ago shot through with humanistic knowledge, and Religion was made to concentrate on what is its proper realm – the soul. Because they did still believe in Right and Wrong, they couldn’t long escape the fact that what they were saying and trying to do, was failing, and that is what enables the Western Cultures self correcting, virus killing anti-body, of Reason to rise and save us.

The Narrows
The Reason why the virus killing anti-body of Reason isn’t rising from the scientifismics little ‘r’ reason? The Problem of Science, is that if it doesn’t recognize that it is 2nd tier, contained within a metaphysical structure, it tries to pretend that it is able to pretend it is, and we get the scientifismics. This takes us back to the so called conundrum of the Is-Ought question. Ought can only, of course, be determined within the context of the nature of Man, the shared common traits and experiences of the Polis, and the reality of the moment and the response of free human choice to it. Here is where the IS and OUGHT really come into play, a human is a person of free will, and ought to make decisions based upon what they can see to be true within their own mind, not propping it up through the conclusions or proofs of others, or attempting to push their own upon others. They are for themselves. An OUGHT IS a very Moral consideration. Allo unintentionally nails the issue with this comment:

I think it would be a great mistake to call a moral value an act of reason. None of us have ever come to a moral value as the end product of investigation or reasoning. While a moral discussion ought to be guided by reason, a primary value in itself can’t. Moral philosophy would have been a much simpler task if there existed something that were objectively good. Then all we had to do would be to set out and discover it and then show it to anyone who
were in any doubt about what they ought to feel. No, morality is not at all like
that. There is a fundamental difference between “is” and “ought”.

This is so wrong on so many levels. First of all, it treats a moral value if it were a given existent, a polished and cut gem found under a stone, but a moral value is not like an emotional response (there’s the wishful ‘thinking’ of the determinists), it is something that is of value in relation to an entire hierarchy of beliefs and values and can be arrived at ONLY by human reasoning. The ‘values’ that a wild boy of the forest might have will be very unlikely to qualify as values, let alone morals, to any civilized human being. I especially take exception to “None of us have ever come to a moral value as the end product of investigation or reasoning”, since that is just what I have done, and continue to do. But here’s the kicker:

“Moral philosophy would have been a much simpler task if there existed something that were objectively good.”

Could someone please tell me, without an objective Good, what IS of any value? Of what value is the word value at all, without the existence of an objective good to measure it against? This is the source of the problem, denying that an Is, IS, is something you very definitely Ought not to do.

The very job of the Poetic - Tradition, Myth, Religion, is to illuminate what is objectively good – to each individual. This is not the same as Subjective, the subjective deals with what is being communicated between people, what we are talking about here is this persons objective apprehension of metaphysical reality, via the Poetic, to themselves – not communicating one persons assessment of it to another. Poetry can do this with ease, because it uses YOUR measures, and your Experience of Reality, casting the conceptual hierarchies – and that which they grasp - into a two dimensional form easily grasped and conveyed, while at the same time leaving several grammatical transportation depots into the hierarchy beyond, for those ready, willing and able to travel.

Philosophy, the scientific reflection of the poetic, can establish the foundations of what is the Good in the externally objective realm, Poetics does so for the internal realm by reference to the broadest outer reaches. Denying one or both, leaves you hopelessly adrift, and I choose those words carefully.

To say that
“Moral philosophy would have been a much simpler task if there existed something that were objectively good”
is to admit ignorance of what is obvious to those who haven’t blinded themselves with narrow logic chopping. There is a Good – your Life. Your realization of life is deepened more conceptually integrated, intricate – not just complex, or the faux complexity of contradiction – the higher the Good, the deeper the integrations, and you ought to do those actions that are proper to a well lived life (expanded on below), to act to preserve it.

To exist is to have identity, existence exists and what exists exists as something! To exist is to exist as That thing, and That that, is the sum of its Identity. Reality IS.

Strictly as a factual matter, the IS very much determines what OUGHT to be done. The nature of a thing, its properties, determines how it ought to be dealt with or employed. Take something as simple as a hammer. What it is, itself directs how it ought to be used, it ought to be held by the handle and swung down upon a the head of a nail, not to be grasped by the head and swung sideways into the nails shank.

A fly, by its properties, its wing design, eyes, etc, determines how it ought to seek its food and avoid the swatter. A Bear, by the properties and characteristics inherent in what it IS, determines that it Ought to hunt as it does, and shouldn’t seek to sustain itself by absorbing sunlight as does the grass it trods upon.

Only people wobbling upon an unbalanced, two, or even one legged stool of reason, think that what IS is separable from what Ought to be. From the hammer to the fly to the Bear, the properties become more and more complex, and their range of options become more and more varied, but at the same time their proper actions become more defined in their context. People, the most complex organism of all, somehow think that they are able to escape this. We think our complexity frees us from the requirements of nature, held by even the humblest of designs.

Wider and Taller
The more complex, the wider the range of options we have for each IS we find ourselves presented with, and the more in depth must be our understanding in order to be guided through them. Our mental range, our ability to grasp many particulars is not that vast, but that very inability may be what led to our greatest ability, what makes us Human. You can test this by trying to imagine 25 animals, say dogs, in your mind. 25 separate dogs. Betcha can’t, but Try it.

Painful, huh? Think you did it? Bet you cheated, bet you imagined something like five rows of five dogs… yeah? Sorry, that’s cheating; to discover what is uniquely Human, you’ve got to try doing what is inhuman, imagine a single row of 25 evenly spaced, identical dogs. Still trying? Here, let me make it impossible, make it 25 different randomly assorted types of animals – camels, aardvarks, dogs… no fair trying to use any mnemonic techniques, just a random assortment of 25 different animals. Smoke coming out of the ears now? Yeah, I thought so.

The way our minds found to deal with this problem of quantity and complexity, was to seek what was simplest to grasp – some common denominator [animal definition], and grasp it into mental units forming concepts. Our minds focused on building up and in, building hierarchies of concepts, instead of mostly out and out as our animal cousins did. With a depth of concepts, I can easily imagine a hundred animals, a Thousand, by first knowing what one animal is, then by understanding the concept of Units, one, two, three, etc, and units of units, 5, 10, 100, which enables our minds to grasp and drill up and down from the particular to the conceptual and back.

You can see this ability to make conscious use of this developing in a person by playing a game of 20 questions with kids as they grow up. First when you ask them to guess what you’re thinking of, they just begin naming off everything they can think of, lose, and then stare at you in exasperation as you ‘guess’ what they had in mind in less than twenty questions. Then they begin to get the hang of it “Animal, vegetable, mineral? Is it bigger than a microwave?(breadboxes are long gone), and then again they begin naming everything they can think of and lose. Eventually they understand, Animal, land dwelling, four footed, omnivorous, canine, tame, lives in our house, not black, so it’s not Fido, must be tan “Lassie”. The deductive and inferential together, are a hierarchical process. It IS how we think, and you OUGHT not to forget it.

Equivocating on the Narrow Edge
Every highfalutin idea and fifty cent word you’ve ever heard of is located somewhere along in a similar hierarchical chain, and no matter how far removed it seems to be, it can be traced back down to a physical concrete. If you can’t do this, then you don’t KNOW what it is you think you know. Allotetraploid also asserted that “…None of us have ever come to a moral value as the end product of investigation or reasoning” That is just astoundingly wrong – many have done so, though most have also been flawed – two ranges of the spectrum would be Comte whose system of altruism is exceptionally foul and particularly suited to leftism, and Ayn Rand, who rather successfully defined an objective philosophical system of thought, virtue and morals, excellent for verifiable objective law, political interaction, etc – a far better definition of Capitalism, than Adam Smith was equipped to give it when he first described the invisible hand of the market (BTW, the word ‘Capitalism’ came from Marx), but which leaves the spiritual door unopened…not boarded over, but unopened.

There is in ignoring this hierarchical structure, an inherent danger, a seductive danger (a favorite of professors and politicians), that of grasping 50 cent words and concepts around the waist only; the lure of this is that it lets you mix and match terms by vague associations that may or may not have any basis in reality… though they might… and few are going to be able to say otherwise. They are also comforted by the thought that having no root (acknowledged) in Reality, this gives them the Plausible Deniability which the various Deconstructionists, Linguistic Analyst’s and Educationists so adore. Makes me so mad at the start of the school year, when one of my kids comes back from ‘Science’ class trying to memorize Newton’s 3 Laws – How in the hell can you START teaching science with that!? As if Newton had no intellectual shoulders to stand upon…argh… next post, next post.

Another necessity of this scheme is to ignore, even hostily refute, that there is such a thing as hierarchy – ESPECIALLY in morality, here is a hallmark of what marks a leftie as being a real Leftie – most people innocently pick up leftist thought from pop culture or teachers (equally deep) as the way things work (I’d put Allo & Christopher Hitchens, maybe even Sam Harris, in this group), but there are the true believers, those who truly hate reality and who they are to their very core, these are the died in the wool Lefties, such as Chomsky, Rousseau, Skinner, etc. The benefit to them in rejecting hierarchy is the free ability to equivocate based on words having only flat meanings, their depths discarded, then you can associate ‘kill’ and ‘murder’ as being equivalent, and declare the USA evil for dropping bombs on Nazis, Tojo’s or islambies – with no further or deeper meaning or context considered or acknowledged - as far as they’re concerned ‘America is no different than the terrorists’, and the case is closed.


The favored way of wiping out hierarchy, is to ignore it via determinism. To pretend one thing leads another thing to happen, not through principle (nasty hierarchical word, that one) but because of scientifically determined environmental reactions, which caus…(oops, bad word) trigger another action, and so on. If there’s poverty & crime, we just need the state to tweak the social structures and nudge people to react better… oops, better is another bad word with hierarchical implications, ‘desirable outcome’ is much bett… appropriate. A sure sign of this in practice is that Language becomes a tool for Outcome based results and hiding meanings… and some words are banned or no longer mentioned - Political Correctness anybody? With this …(argh… next post, next post).

I suspect that what lefties really mean when they say that an Is doesn’t imply an Ought, is that they haven’t been able to figure out a deterministic way to say what precisely a person will do (and they are infuriated by it), or must do under a given inducement, and so lacking their holy quantified exactitude, they say it doesn’t exist at all, we just react in random disconnected emotion driven actions. Creatures who primarily exist as the result of emotion driven outbursts do not create the U.S. Constitution.

But again, they miss the point, the nature of something is the very thing that does imply what ought to be done. The more relevant a value, and the more important and even critical the value and its safety is to your life, the more important it is that you consider what actions you ought to take - that you Reason the situation out, that you take into consideration not only the parameters of the moment, but in combination with your wider context and goals, as well as the particular task you find yourself involved in (the Poetic AND the Particular) – that is what you Ought to do, but being human beings having a conceptual nature with free will, the situation is rare in deed when you can say what precisely OUGHT to be done – it is not in our nature for something so flat as a perceptual action, to be what can be stated that we Ought to do. But make no mistake, for every IS there is an OUGHT – an Ought proper to a Human Being.

A human being is not a hammer, or a fly, or even a Bear, we are too complex, too deep, and the possible parameters of day to day life are so nearly infinite that you can’t say that one Thing Ought to be done in response to a particular Is – but to even consider such a thing is to completely drop the context of what a Human Being is – we are not Hammers, we are not Flies, and we are infinitely different from even a Bear – that is not the nature of the Ought’s that we Ought to do!

An IS doesn’t determine an Ought? That Kant Be!
We can say what particular thing should NOT be done, and we can approve of some particular choices that have been made, but no Thing can be said to be THE proper particular thing that Ought to be done in and of itself – because that would obviate the Human faculty of determining what Ought to be done. That would demoralize morality – morality would be meaningless if dictated or followed without Free Will and Reason. The only thing you can say a Human Ought to do, is to consider and act in a Reasonable manner – one with the widest perspective possible, without losing hold of the particulars at hand, and using due diligence.

Trying to define just precisely what a person Ought to do in response to an Is, is the anti-human realm of Kant, and Hume. Kant who said there were things, categorical imperatives, that you ought to do in any situation, or from the other end of the same spectrum, with the narrowly brainy types like David Hume who say nothing whatsoever can be said Ought to be done. This is the same Hume, mind you, who, balancing upon his one peg legged stool of focused attention, couldn’t even say for sure that the sound of a door closing behind him was somehow connected to a door closing behind him! Ah, the stupidity of the narrowly intelligent.

Hume, with his face focused and pressed up against what and only what he was looking at, found himself unable to see ‘Causation’ neatly stamped upon realities surface, so he assumed that there was no such thing as cause and effect, he didn’t bother to examine the unity of properties or identity. Hume said that Reason was a slave to the passions… in other words, there Is no Ought. He saw the world as isolated particulars thrown together into a fashion which we just happen to be able to MAKE (Kant would take that idea and run with it) sense of… so far. Because of his focused attention, he could only see that billiard balls mysteriously acquired the habit of simulating causation and bouncing off of other billiard balls; without a conception of the whole, he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) see that the nature of the billiard ball, the totality of its properties interacting with the nature/properties of other billiard balls, and the billiard table, and the cue and the person thrusting the cue at a particular force, in a hall, on planet earth, in this solar system, etc, etc, etc, all of the properties of all of the ‘particulars’ within the entire whole, contribute to produce the behavior of the billiard ball bouncing off of another. In short, the IS defines the Ought.

We, we living sentient, conscious self aware creatures , are – within our context, set free from that deterministic system by free will(that feature that in a very real sense sets us free of the moment, should we dare to let go), and the resulting nature of our hierarchical conceptual consciousness.

Kant, for all of his protestations and claims of being ‘woken from my dogmatic slumbers’ to do battle with Hume, to the contrary, he in fact Bought Humes assertions – lock stock and barrel, and having so little faith in either his faith, humanity or the universe, set out to ‘defend’ his fears against Humes revelations, by forging an elaborate philosophical system to cover for his precious, he deliberately set out to ‘Prove’ ( by which I mean assert) through the sleight of hand machinations of noumena, categories & categorical imperatives and various other misconceptual contraptions - a preconceived conclusion at the trifling cost of destroying the basis of knowledge ,“I saw fit to destroy knowledge in order to save faith”, and in the process destroyed both – and over the following two centuries hundreds of millions of people have lost their lives to it.

This is the modern source of the is ought question which Hume posed and Kant perfected. It is the result of pressing your mental face so far into one particular tree in the forest of knowledge, that not only can you not see the forest for it, but that the bark is lodged in between your teeth and your vision so limited that you can’t even see its leaves or its roots, this is this psychically self contracted state of those of focused attention, one which is worthy of emulation?

Take another look at those ‘Just two points’, why are they a big deal?

If you reject the ‘reasoning of the godly’, i.e. tradition, myth, religion – the metaphysical, then your own perspective is thrust fully centered in the NOW, and if you also see little relation between what Is and what Ought to be done in response to it, then you are adrift in a shallow see. All of Western Tradition and culture is shunted aside in favor of what you are able to conclude from what you’ve heard about how things seem to be.

The problem is, that these two points subvert all of what is seemingly sensible on the surface of the rest of Allotetraploid’s post, and they attack at their core, what it means to be Human.

Quibbles indeed.

The IS of us, determines the OUGHT of us I can’t go through all the inferences needed to establish the principles of human nature, without extending this post to unsupportable size, so will instead hit just the barest of a deductive trail, a mini twenty questions Q&A, or A&Q in this case, to illuminate an essential path – you can hew it open on your own after. Here we go:

· Mans tool of survival is his mind, with Reason its multipurpose tool (stranded in the mountains alone, how will you eat and shelter?)
· Man must exercise his free will to choose to think, and to act upon his thought (You’ll have to choose to fish or find a cave, and then do it)
· You cannot think in this world without words which dependably mean one thing, and not something else at the same time(something which IS and at the same time and in the same way is not – isn’t something you ought to try to consider).
· Man is by nature political, societal (as noted in previous post, without the education of being raised in community, if you live, you’ll never rise above clever monkey)
· What you spend your life’s time and effort creating, is yours [context, lefties, context] (without having right to such, could you be said to have right to your life?)
· People are better motivated when pursuing their own interests (Would you create more as a slave for your master, or for the benefit of your family?)
· The more people respect law, mores and reality and perceive the consequences of failing to, the more healthy and prosperous they will be (New York circa the murder & crime capital of the 1970’s - 1980’s or the relative law and order of the late 1990’s?)
· The more a people’s grasp of morality provides direction that does not conflict with reality & human nature, the more it supports rather than hampers their actions (headhunters in new guinea, The Founding Fathers or Orwell’s 1984?)

All of these points are supported and fueled through contemplation of The Good, The Beautiful and The True (Examine the lives of those who contemplate the Sistine Chapel vs the piss Christ, or even those at a Frisco gay pride parade, and an old fashioned 4th of July parade), shared reflections upon these themes are what unite a people into a common culture.

Left out of the Lifeboat
With these conclusions (essentially the beliefs of Western Culture) in mind, and without resorting to the corrupt folly of typical leftist lifeboat ethics(“Ten people in a 8 person lifeboat, how do you decide who to throw to the sharks!!?”), let’s put a dire situation into the context of a regular life, and see what Ought to be done given an IS such as stumbling across an unconscious naked woman (well… gotta keep it interesting), with an open purse overflowing with money and grasped in her hand; this will not only imply an ought, but a series of Ought’s and in a self forming hierarchical structure too.

· First you ought to attend to the most important IS, what the state of her health is, is there evidence of an injury, or does she smell of alcohol (each of which will imply an additional series of oughts)
· Respect for her presumed self respect and shared customs, imply that you should provide her with some manner of garments
· Her purse should be secured, assuming her health hadn’t already prompted you to contact help, or look for a cell phone for her numbers or some other authority.

Additional context such as Weather, presence of animal or human dangers, etc, might change the order of the above priorities, but whatever the IS is, a principle Ought is most definitely implied. Unless you’re so focused in your attentive logic chopping, that you are cut off from a wider context of Truth and Mythos, and floundering about, wobbling upon one leg, adrift, in an Ivy league sea; the further from the norms of Western Culture you stray, the more imperiled you and our hapless lady will be.

The thread of truth in the Is/Ought opposition, is that it lies rooted in the differences between Conceptual analysis, vs perceptual analysis, what is unknown or ignored is that the conceptual is derived from, inferred from, numerous perceptual facts in order to form the conceptual. However, because it is elevated above does not mean it is disconnected or unrelated, to what IS. The corruption of Hume and Kants Necessary vs Contingent Truths, or the Fact Value dichotomy lies at the root of leftist thought – and is also why no political party has a monopoly on leftist thought.

An action one Ought to take, is not a THING, an isolated item such as a perceptual fact. An action is the result of scaling from horizontal perceptions, vertically upwards many layers of conceptual abstractions to a decision, and then forwards and down into perceptual movement once again. To speak of an Ought as being on the same par as an IS is to mix apples and oranges, but then again to suggest that they are unrelated, is even more of an error, as if declaring apples and oranges were not both fruit from trees, an error which is egregiously destructive.

What Is is what we Ought to consider
Science tell us what specifically to do as with how to build a light bulb, the Poetic does not. Poetry touches upon intertwined principles, & evocations – grasping Poetry means grappling with principles and positions to which you attempt to isolate THE core principle and apply them to your life and situation, the poetic tells you that it is best not to hide your light under a bushel. To turn to the poetic properly, IS to think, to Reason, to interact with life in a Human Way.

IS very definitely implies an Ought – in context. The Context of the object or event, and the context of it’s placement in life and in the Persons life as a Human Being. This means a rational response by a thinking person taking a contextual view of his life. The more level headed, reflective, aware a man IS, the more he will be able to make a wise decision about what he OUGHT to do.

Human beings and Human Life are NOT mechanistic, deterministic (or determinimystic) creatures. We are creatures of Free Will – (that feature that in a very real sense sets us free of the moment, should we dare to let go, to create life by choice, the moment of free will in choice is to indulge in the eternal), of conceptual thought, occurring over the course of deep time, not just the moment, and the Poetic provides a framework for deep consideration, for intertwining higher Truths into a narrative that can provide reflection for life.

The momentary, the factual, is the proper province of Science, What is this, and the three dimensional mechanics of it, but it must operate within the framework of the Poetic Why, that realm of consciousness that encompasses time, past, present and future, and Choice, which necessitates hierarchy, values – a Wider Whole, a Truth, a One Cosmos, within which they all operate, and are integrated into. The Poetic does interplay with the Scientific, and the Scientific should prompt deeper reflections within the Poetic, but always within the context of the Poetic, and what is proper to it, not the myopic, narrow idiocy of the narrow eyed logic choppers such as David Hume.

The most central IS of our lives, is that we are beings of self made soul. We can become virtuous well rounded people living for a chosen purpose and set of values – or a decadent, desiccated wastrel in an ever swinging rebound between thrill and despair. For the former, an objective good is Life, and enhanced by living in line with the goal of Happiness. For the later, his conception of an Objective Good is limited to some concrete instance of their moment’s desire for pleasure in food, water or wine. What separates the two, is the narrow focus of the scientific and the poetic, or effectiveness vs The Good, The Beautiful and The True. Use them in opposition to each other, and doom will find you – mainly because you’ll be shouting for it to seek you out. Use them together as complementary modes of thought, and you just might make it through, under the guidance of the One.

Just as hierarchical units enable us to grasp ‘millions’ and allows us to vaunt from one group to another while staying far removed from the particular ‘what’ you have millions of, Poetics allows you to vaunt rapidly from one group to another, huge, massively deep hierarchical structures, vaunting from what is, to what should be, and why they should be through poetic sketches which comprehend the whole, the outer surfaces of The Good, The Beautiful and The True, through which we can then work down from their heights, to any proper bottom there might be, by means of contemplation and deep reflection.

As Twenty questions starts out with the same first question ‘Animal, Vegetable or Mineral’, and no matter the responses, can work its way down to literally any particular item you might be able to conceive, in just such a way Poetics – Literature, Myth, Religion – describes for us what is The Good, The Beautiful and The True, and from there you can work your way down to the particulars of your life, and how you Ought to live it, by using the full Capital ‘R’ Reason that IS your distinctive method for living – particularly, and poetically speaking – your Life.

Ask the leftist scientifismic “Is there such thing as consciousness?” and their answer is laughably stupid, “There is no ‘You’ that exists, the illusion of ‘you’ is just the accumulated sensation of numerous biological processes”. Asking them either WHO is the “accumulated sensation” apparent to? or who it was that came to that conclusion, is pointless.

Now, it should be noted that belief in consciousness and even a soul, in no way commits you to being a theist. A sensible atheist could speculate that consciousness is perhaps something of a field which arises naturally from the combined ‘heat’ generated by a sufficiently intricate and intense arrangement of neurons, suffusing and overriding them into a unified operation, and which ends with their decay – something like how Light arises from an electrified filament secured in ceramic and encased in glass – the light is something wholly different and separate from it’s material seat, yet dependent upon them and perishes with them – which by the way illustrates at least one objective Good – that of preserving the material and processes necessary to its proper functioning.

A logic chopper will reply that the idea of such a ‘field’ is a completely arbitrary postulation, but that is because they operate only from within their blinkered band of focused attention. The way that such a ‘field’ might operate and how may be supposition, but not that the ‘field’ by whatever name, IS; they are akin to someone who wakes up in an unfamiliar room, and not knowing how they got there declares that in fact they are not there! Where you are may be unknown, and how you got there a complete mystery, but YOU are inarguably THERE! The materialist’s position however, is that there is no There there, that there is no You within you, and therefore no source for any objective Good, which is just as willfully stupid as it sounds, they’ve banished the observed whole in favor of unseen particulars, the idea of a Unity is lost to them, they’ve banished the poetic from their minds and souls – and it shows.

It is the Poetic that conveys a sense of the Most High, and by enabling it to flow through your thoughts and actions, inspires them and integrates them in emulation of those ideals. Not surprisingly, where the poetic most profoundly resonates with people, is with the questions of what you should revere; when faced with a situation, what should you do? In short, given an IS what Ought to be done, and why? Such a question can only be asked, if there is an answer to the Why. Without the existence of an ultimate answer, there can be no unity, no One in the many – and without that, all truly would be at war with all. The purpose of the poetic is to enable us to grasp the entirety of life, and solidify a whole normative outlook within a people, not with the careful orderly brickwork of facts and figures, but the scaffolding of broad conceptual structures and evocations of them through stories, tradition, Religion – Poetry – the expressions of the Metaphysical.

Here’s another way to look at it. Imagine the Poetic as the night sky, with the Good as the North Star. That North Star gives you an orientation from which to travel wherever you need to go, even if that happens to be southwards. But as important as that is to your travels, it can tell you little or nothing about what path you should take around a lake or mountain, how to scale a canyon or peak, or where to place even one foot or the other. Conversely, a thorough knowledge and skill in scaling obstacles, reading paths & weather, are not in themselves enough to get you to the distant goal you seek.

Discovering and developing technology such as a Compass may help you to further refine and divine true north, but it has no real effect upon True North itself. Neither does that grasp of North contribute to plotting your step by step path towards it. Even attaining GPS navigational knowledge of all paths and directions, still requires you to choose a path upon which to trod, and a direction selected through reference to True North to reach your destination.

Blindly following North, will lead you over a cliff. Following one path into another will take you in random circles. Without either, you go nowhere. With just one, or one in opposition to another, you will be either lost or ruined. They are but two legs, YOU must be that which synthesizes the third leg from your reasoning of the two, through you and your choices. There is a separation of powers among Reason, just as there is in the U.S. Constitution – they can and must work together, but cannot overstep their authority – and where they do, disaster results.

Your choice being key to the process. This of course, still leaves much untouched, how the Poetics are formed, how to know that they are true, how they should be used with the scientific, and what that third leg of the stool is… next time, when I will finally get to get to the Greeks.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

That seems reasonable…or what Reason is not - Reasons of Reason pt. 3

So where are we at so far?

Let me recap a couple points and then begin to put some legs under them – prior to knocking them out from under us (yes, it’s a trap of sorts, and yes, Brevity is hanging by its fingertips out the window).

Reason is more a method, than a faculty – it is the name we give to the process of satisfying our curiosity and wonder. To rise above the level of animal cleverness, it must be learned in order to be gained. Our distinctive human attribute, the ability to associate deep conceptual structures of both memory and forethought, are strengthened and deepened through our use of Reasoning.

However, the human tendency in repetitive thought and action, is always to reduce, to simplify, to shortcut - to seek lazziness. Have you noticed that? We always seem to try to skip over any step that isn’t absolutely required, everything from not painting behind the baseboards, to reducing “Thank you, I appreciate it” to “Cool, thanks”. There are evolutionary advantages to this, but dangers as well. It also leads to a tendency to assign our choices and actions over to remembered processes, faculties, natures – rules, a seductive attribute of explanation – the red headed step child of Reason. We get the sense that we are describing ‘things’ occurring out there through cause and effect operations – lightening strikes and thunder follows, a stem separates and the apple falls down, drought comes and people migrate… but is that thinking or just repeating observed associations, and does it really need to work that way?

We do the same with our use and consideration of, Reason. It is a difficult business maintaining the attention to the Now necessary to uniting Reason with wonder, and avoiding the associating of plain old ‘thinking’ with it. But isn’t that how it is commonly used, day in and day out, it is used interchangeably with ‘explanation’, ‘logic’, ‘facts’, ‘thinking’, ‘conclusions’ and so on. Yes, and Love is commonly used in association with soda pop and sunglasses – but I hardly think that type of usage sheds any light upon Love, do you? In fact, to the extent that such usage becomes equated with the term ‘Love’, it actually conveys a debasement of Love, doesn’t it?

And so it is with Reason.

But Reason (not its techniques, more on those later) is properly practiced when we, with our full attention and focused curiosity, examine some item of wonder. Our attention is all consumed by this, we examine this and that, hold it in light and shadow, we not only examine, but speculate in time as we wonder what affect X or Y would have upon it. During this process, we draw upon our stores of information, of remembered steps and rules as tools of our attention (themselves learned through attentive reason), they enable our curiosity and feed our wonder – but they do not dictate, they do not guide us, they are but maps that suggest the lay of the land, but do not overrule the information of our own eyes and feet.

This is the sense we have when we are actively involved in Reasoning, it can be exhilarating, fascinating, interesting. It is also the most dangerous aspect of Reason, in that it is so easy to identify with You, with your judgment, with your living understanding of the world and all that is within it. Reason is open to your direct control and application; you can test your observations and conclusions about some aspect of the world, through it. But while it is in fact You doing all of this, the first caution you need to keep in mind, is that it is not only you, that makes it possible. You carry within you not only the particular steps of scientific method, but also the vast store of ‘facts as you know them’, which contribute to your every thought, and more importantly, to the direction of your every thought, and to the boundaries of your every thought.

This active Reasoning is where the steps and technique of Logic first formalized by Aristotle, serve to test and verify your questions and conclusions. Its tools, the syllogism and fallacies, etc, give one not only a sense of great intellectual power, but the reality of it. The active reason armed with technique can be extremely effective, efficient, and persuasive.

But it is not Reason, not in and of itself. Considering this activity of Reason to be Reason, leads directly to further false assumptions, and deepening errors in identification and association. Here, building from this, I can in just a couple lines, lead into the error and destruction of modern philosophy:

This sense we have when actively involved in Reasoning, is exhilarating, fascinating, interesting. This active Reasoning is where the formalizing of steps of Logic first laid down by Aristotle are open to application. These tools, the syllogism, fallacies, etc, give one a grasp of great intellectual power.

With Reason, you can be extremely effective, efficient, and persuasive, revealing new truths and wider wisdom, by questioning and cross examining all and recording your progress. Record your steps, hold up all conclusions to verification. If it can not be examined and quantified, it can’t be truly examined, it is more stuff of fancy, than of Reason.

When you engage in the more mundane task of thinking something over, then you are a more passive passenger on the ride, and established rules of procedure and order are in charge. This is the state of most children in school, solving the umpteenth math problem, answering what the ‘theme’ of an essay was, writing down the ‘ten causes of the civil war’, etc. This is not Reason or reasoning, this is but secondary thinking and explanation, rather than engaging in critical thinking necessary to Reason.

During these activities, signified by the boredom through which they are endured, there is a noticeable lack of engagement on the part of the doer – there is little of ‘You’ involved in the process. This serves to create a paradigm, a false impression of reality, which can actually blind you to reality, hide it from your ability to even really know pure reality as it is in itself…[screachhhh ... needle dragging across record]

Focused Reason – the one legged stool
One noticed truth can lead to much error, when it is taken to be a whole Truth of its own.
How Reason operates, is without genetic predefinition. How it operates, by default, is outlined by family, community, culture, civilization. If I were to continue on in the fashion above, we would have found that we’d run into deepening confusions, shortcomings and error.

In those short paragraphs above, can be found Descartes (question, quantify, the Cogito), as well as the foundation for Rousseau’s noble savage and the idealization of Natural Man, the innocent Child as superior to the hidebound parent, the unhindered free spirit or savage, as above ossified civilization. Hume and Kant both lurk there in the blind spots, as well as the self centered time provincialism of the Progressives.

This becomes the one legged stool, a very curious leg which labels it’s fellow supporting legs as competitors, and does away with them, if not checked in the attempt. It does this with the line “If it can not be examined and quantified, it can’t be truly examined, it is more stuff of fancy, than of Reason.” This tendency to dismiss what doesn’t fit into the examination template is a grave danger of using Reason without the rest.

One of the reasons for this series of posts, some exchanges I had with Allotetraploid, portrays the above situation as a positive turn, as do the moderns, this way:

"...By only acknowledge those concepts that could be substantiated by direct or indirect observation it became possible to form an understanding of the world whose likeness has never before been seen.

The difference between scientific reason and everyday reason is that there is standards of proof and validity in science, that tends to eliminate non existing entities (like the Manticore), and never add new entities without having them confirmed by experience. The scientific credo became “seeing is believing”, and out went the entire mythology of old, together with the gullible mentality of idly accepting hearsay and mere constellations of words as equal to demonstration."

In ‘the entire mythology of old’ and ‘mere constellations of words’ lurks the horrific mechanism which lays Reason down on a Procrustean Bed, and chops it down to the size of the scientific method, and the source of the troubles we experience around us in the world today. This hacks away all that doesn’t yield to putting its tongue out and saying ‘ahh’, it lops it all off, and leaves a shivering (and perhaps over compensating) You standing there, all alone in the world,

landmarks – gone,
compass - gone,
identity – gone,
purpose – gone,
boundaries of ethical behavior – gone,
trag(edy)ectory? Full speed ahead and destination unknown.

In identifying Reason as being equivalent to that single attribute of it; the attention focused in wonder, you have a child as your chief guide. This one feature of Reason is wonderful for gathering data, just as a child does go about acquiring their culture and methods of thought from family, friends, community and schooling, but having done so, to then jettison all of that data so laboriously acquired just because their vast and deep layers of information don’t yield to a bullet point verification checklist, does nothing so much as put you back to the position of a child – but this time armed and dangerous. In our cases, armed with that most lethal of all weapons, Western Reason. Without those other attributes of Reason which the unguided scientific method amputates from your soul: tradition, culture, religion etc., Reason cannot operate safely, or even dependably, under the single minded direction of attention, to the exclusion of the rest of its nature.

Remember that on our own we know nothing, we are but clever primates. We know to think and to know, by way of Culture passed to us through the words and actions of our parents, family & community. These are the current wares selected as bestsellers in the market place of experiences.

Without the direction of these, the disaster of unchaperoned efficiency portends a future fated to be strewn with the decay of Art, the death knell of culture and of civilization.

Reason is the operation of your attention, upon a current concern. It examines and integrates the data of your senses, to arrive at a conclusion – but it must be remembered that the area of your focused attention is as that within a thin crack of light cast into a darkened room – there is far more room than the light illumines, and for all its dark invisibility, that does not make it disappear.

This is not to say either that you shouldn’t examine traditional thought, but only that to give it no more than a Joe Friday interrogation “Just the facts ma’am”, and assume that all of existing tradition had nothing else going for it than what you are willing to read upon its surface, is foolish – and not surprisingly rhymes with childish. It’s as if you assume that your immediate assessment of the moment could not possibly be missing one single thing that an entire culture over the course of decades, centuries even millennia, have examined and concluded as being an effective behavior and or solution to a problem - you assume you have given a complete and correct answer when more than likely in your short consideration of it you probably haven’t even yet fully grasped the question.

Bricks in the support wall of Reason
Below consciousness, we have the wealth of past attentions, integrated by experience, habit, concept, impression… and so much more, related by reference and cross referenced in a vast criss-crossing that would put IBM’s servers into an overheated state; in my digital watchmakers view of our mind, there is a constant query running and popping up alerts and notifications beneath our awareness, sometimes when weighted by a high index of danger, revulsion, pain or pleasure, they grab our otherwise occupied awareness, and we focus upon them. But even in moments of focus, we can not possibly note or retain awareness of what is involved in that query of the darkened room.

I'm reminded of a writer, Robert Kurson in his book “Crashing Through” about Michael May (a remarkable person even apart from this), one of, if not the only, blind men made able to see later in life, who was actually able to come to terms with Vision. One of the ways he was unique, was that he only chose to the surgery to restore the sight lost as an infant, because of his already boundless sense of curiosity.

On regaining his sight, he got color and movement right away; objects, he was eventually able to associate with the words and sense of them which he already knew; but complex things like a face, are still meaningless to him. “Vision is Knowledge” Kurson notes, and there is nothing, nothing, which we see, that is not bound up with extensive amounts of direct data, and intricately related to so much else, all of which is in turn related to… you get the idea.

We forget the years of infancy spent observing our parents faces, up close, far away, touching, rubbing, kissing - the immense amount of 'facts' that the infants focused attention acquires and stores into mind to form knowledge of eye shape, frown lines, smiles, angular tilt, lip shape and tension - immense amounts of facts and mental impressions, concepts, hierarchies of concepts are over the years ordered into the conceptual depths of a human face, from which we can derive knowledge from, and the vast bulk of this knowledge is formed and stored long before the child has words to name them and relate them. Language is incredibly vital to us, it exponentially expands the reach of our minds – but prior to our acquiring it, a foundation will already have been laid deep within our minds, upon which all else is constructed.

When we dismiss the knowledge and effort an infant has put forth prior to uttering its first words, that simple cooing and focusing upon us and upon our faces which we think so cute, we are dismissing an intellectual effort worthy of a Phd. in human psychology.

The complexity of our knowledge only increases and deepens as we grow older. We don’t often consider the incredibly intricate web of knowledge described through the interweaving lines, horizontal, vertical and curved, that is a Beautiful Women, and an even wider web of understanding tied to the muscular twitching of her eyebrow – perhaps portending heaven or hell to the man in her gaze, and how much more still is tied to that which she… well, again, you get the idea.

Without that continuous deepened relation of percept, sensation and concept to unite into further conceptual hierarchies, no knowledge can be forth coming. Most of the blind who are made to see, only see... stuff. Undifferentiated, meaningless stuff. It is only slowly, tediously, that they may – if they are curious enough to know - begin to combine that stuff out there with their already existing thoughts in there, to create recognizable facts and then by relating them within their conceptual hierarchies, Knowledge.

Our focused attention aspect of Reason examines the surface relief’s summations of new and old data, learned processes, current experiences becomes remembered experiences and data as well to be integrated…In short, there is a reason why, we cannot limit Reason to one slender, focused definition, and why it has so many definitions, because it traverses time integrating not only what is, but what was and what (we guess) will be. To try and say that Reason is the scientific method, or that without the scientific method Reason is of no value, is to knock out its sister legs and attempt to balance our minds upon a one legged stool.

For Reason to have a capital ‘R’, it must be more than what it immediately grasps in focused attentions thin ray of light. As a simple human face represents an incredible depth of knowledge and understanding, so too, and to an even deeper extent, do our other familiar experiences such as manners, civility, respect for elders, habits, customs, religion – all those things that are ‘the entire mythology of old’ and ‘mere constellations of words’.

The Marketplace of Experience
One way to look at the contents of a Culture is as it being the marketplace of historical experience. Those historical experiences are the result of the exercise of individuals attentive reason, noted, tested, refined and past on through the experiences of hundreds and thousands of other individual’s experiences. The two must be guided by something else, a higher goal and understanding than that of the moment, or of tradition. I don’t mean in any sense that we should be unquestioning of tradition and culture, but that we should be cautious in considering any action to overturn the ways of tradition. They are the tried and true, they have passed through the fire of day to day experience for a reason.

There is something there, there.

But how do we go about discovering the nature of what that is, and of how it combines with different aspects of Reason, which is after all the subject of this series’ question (and in a blog, no less). Well… we’ll try doing as the Greeks would, examine the question from the ground up. This is where Philosophy will come in to describe the ends of Reason, which as Aristotle pointed out, is Happiness – the goal to which all other acts act towards, and which itself serves no other goal – the one goal that is an end in itself.

But is it? Here we get a stable three legged stool of Reason, with legs of Focused Attention, Philosophy and Culture, but what is it set upon? What is the ground upon which the three can find stability? What precedes the word of understanding? The thing itself. That which IS, and which is All that IS, the I AM THAT I AM.

Here we step into the realm of, in ascending order, the Poetic, the Mythic, the Religious – and likewise, there is the spiral nature of conceptual understanding which always leaves us in the ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ conundrum.

So far, I’ve only barely touched upon a portion of what must be considered to answer the question of ‘What is Reason’ – many points I’ve alluded to and passed on without explanation but explanation is very much needed (and forthcoming), such as the double edged sword of Effectiveness and Efficiency and the decay of Art and Culture, the formation of Concepts; and others I haven’t even mentioned yet. Patience, we’ll get there.

For the next step, I propose going back to the folks who invented Reason as it is known in the west, the Greeks, and see what we can see from there.