On the eve of the new day, a thought occurred to me. Why is our thinking different now?
"Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the order of meaning." ~ C.S. Lewis
Think about the past, as it is chronicled. Historians have packaged the past in tidy volumes of words that show meaning and offer a vision of what was. Reading different versions you get the nuances of the different state of man and his society. Historical references are peppered with the author’s opinions, some groundless, others axiomatic and others still enriched with fluent facts. The fuse that lit the thought in the early centuries were confined to wonder. Wonder as Aristotle had aptly said, "is the beginning of philosophy." As time passed, William James’s thought progressed into deconstructing “wonder” through the lens of empiricism and leaving no “dust cloud of exceptional observation” hanging at the doorstep of wonder. So there exists a veritable library of what life and thought has been all about. If one were to reduce that to one word, no word would fit better in describing our current understanding than, “Reason.” We have arrived, I hope, at the age of reason.
Men have long since tried to figure out “the meaning of life.” And from that there followed the birth of a morally rich society. The reasoning being, that if there was no meaning to life and all was a random chance, then plunder, pillage and maximize power over others would be of consequence. Some “monsters” of society like Genghis Khan, Hitler did just that. From there the “Consequentialists’ were born, deriving reason. These few stalwarts who ventured into this state of quiet “grace” gave philosophical constructs to “the meaning of life.” Not only were they defining the statutes that should govern a human behavior but associated rewards and punishments were predicated on good and bad actions. Men like, Hobbes, Locke, Mills, Kant and Rawls explored the territory of human behavior and reasoning, to reason their construct. They did not have any empirical information, no streams of warehoused data, nor did they have predictive analytics to come to a cohesive ideation that still stands today, favored by society through enactment of laws.
But today we are seduced by the canard of “Big Data,” “Bayesian Probability,” “Significance” and such to drive the author’s purposed intent. Mathematics, which remains the language of life is being ordered to find the relativism between what is and what should be? The defining principle is to use numbers to ascertain the value of “x.” What is measured in the recipe maybe from A to M and nothing beyond. The answer that is derived from such a limited cluster of variable mathematical intuition is posited as the “truth.” As C.S Lewis states, "An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason."
The fundamental offspring of this curious but persistent thinking and articulation is an abomination of the real merger between science, philosophy and reason. Science alone cannot withstand the attacks from reason, unless reason is embedded in that science and neither can philosophy stand on its own without the “radical empiricism” of William James or the validity and repeatability of experimentation. All three disciplines require the unvarnished truths in their own respective disciplines for connectivity. Humans have an innate sense of right and wrong. We may not know why, or what for that matter, but internally we know when something is fundamentally flawed.
Intelligence is not the sin here when pure mathematics is applied to life, it is but the isolation of such an action that conjures up the word, “wrong.” We can be seduced by the many illusions, fallacies and time-honored false beliefs compiled and condensed through false education, propaganda and idealized versions of reality. These false prophets plague our minds on a momentary basis against the hard constructs of mathematics. Unless braced by the philosophical spine of reason, which give us the propellant for progress, we would be confined to the “caves of ignorance.”
Once we begin to examine the premise of the argument with the clear lens, the unraveling begins to take place. The light emerges from the crevices and the cracks where once the dictum was enclosed in the darkness of it’s confining chamber.
One can think of the ‘greats” like Galleleo, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Heisenberg, and the likes who made it their life to understand nature through reason and experimentation.
"The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." ~ Albert Einstein
Their view of reality was a composite of philosophy, science and reason. Absent any from the equation and the entire fundamental scaffolding of the world falls apart and causes confusion.
There are many distractions in this coupled world and more and more are being added daily. As one digests the distortions and distractions and reality, incorporating the latter in an aggregate form, the whole image is blurred.
Then there is the “pseudo-scientific” patina in use to vilify and demonize the opponents for personal gains. Many cases of ad-hominem attacks against a person or companies abound the literature of sociology today. This form furthers our motives away from reason and continues to add ignorance in our understanding of human nature and his environs. Our tendency when leading the notion of implied reality is to continue and not realize that negative returns are just ahead. Force of thought absent reason is unjustified under any social philosophy.
The daily retractions and reversals in the scientific literature is also a testament to some who view the world through the lens of reason. A review of the neuro-scientific studies written in journals finds that only 20% are accurate. And this is not some met-analytic view either, but hard and soft evidence of bias and intent that permeated through these “scientific articles.”
The lesson we learn is quite simple, even under the most arcane of all scientific literature that has been assembled with the largest of data and aggregated with the embellishment of graphs and tables for its “genuine-ness,” the objectivity of reason must follow in creating and considering it. Remember Einstein Theory of Relativity was a single page. A theory or hypothesis needs a simplified clarity of concept. The proof requires a similar display. The repeatability of the night following the day is the proof of the solar system and the shortest distance from point A to B is a straight line. Go ahead, prove those wrong.
It is or it isn’t, period.
Our operating impulses in deciphering such claims have been assuaged with the needs of complexity. There must be this and that before people will buy it. But then, if you have to sell it hard, maybe it is not worth buying. Consumers demand a product with inherent value, until a better product comes along. You can and will win some with good promotional marketing in the short term, but the long-term value proposition in the minds of the consumer will make them stray and yearn for what they need. Scientist, artists are no different. We are all consumers in the end.
A forced intent is as bad and is one filled with bias. Both have a lit fuse of a Boolean logic, devoid of “radical empiricism,” repeatability of results and reason.
Let me then get to two short but telling specifics in medicine. Medicare just cut $227 million from hospital reimbursement for readmissions. What potential ramification would this policy have? It does not take a large set of Betz cells to figure this one out. Hospitals will engage in policing the patient admissions and denials for admissions will soar amongst the weak, infirm and the elderly, because they have multiple co-morbid states where different organs are constantly taxed and fail at different hour. Similarly Pay for Performance, another concept was met with a change in physician behavior of not undertaking care for the weak, the infirm and the most vulnerable, who were turf-ed to tertiary institutions. Consequently these institutions suffered the high readmission symptom-complex. The arm of mandates in the social order of things is counterfactual to the orderly discipline in society. The society by and large lives with principles. Creating a system of principles and monitoring is the fundamental freedom that every philosopher has ever dreamed of. Even in their most utilitarian ideation the objectivity of fundamental freedom and liberty of each individual was the Rosetta Stone at its core. Orderly discipline is a reasoned discipline.
Reasoning beyond the now and the obvious is a gift of a stable future, failing, which the entire complex of society disintegrates. Reason is the steel beam inside the skyscraper that gives strength to it, just as single spar does for the airfoil in an aircraft.