Of Rationality and Reason

 

“The test of rationality is not a loyalty oath containing a clause stating how much of what is important on life proceeds on the conscious level.  It consists in following the evidence where it leads.  If things that are important go on beneath the level of consciousness, it is no credit to intelligence to blink this fact.  The ideal of reason is to increase the proportion of rationality in life, not to deny or ignore portions that currently lie in the twilight zone.  Admittedly there are aspects of existential meaning that are awkward for philosophy, but philosophers who decline for this reason to consider such meanings will become epigones, for one of the marks of the great philosophers was their refusal to write off any really persisting human problem.”

-- Huston Smith, Condemned to Meaning, 1965

 

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Comments (7)

  1. rallen2

    What is an “epigone” A mediocre disciple, a mediocre imitator of somebody else, especially of an important artist or philosopher.

    March 21, 2017
  2. magnocrat

    That’s me most of the time its due to my limited brain power. I ask myself as I look at the world has reason increased the proportion of rationality in life?

    March 22, 2017
    1. rallen2

      And what do you conclude? I believe knowledge has clearly increased, but reason and rationality have not kept up. We have more knowledge and yet we do not have enough wisdom. Modern capitalism encourages more knowledge, more science, because knowledge is power, and capital desires power. But capitalism does not promote more wisdom, because the more people have wisdom the less they will be good consumers.

      March 22, 2017
  3. magnocrat

    I agree and we need to limit growth and consumerism. Just as a man often needs a catastrophe in his life to see what really matters so the world may need a catastrophe to come to its senses.

    March 22, 2017
    1. rallen2

      But most of the scientific community and most of the public are already aware of the problem and of how to solve the problem before it becomes an irreversible or irremediable disaster.

      March 23, 2017
      1. rallen2

        Human beings are not so stupid. It’s the minority of profiteering owners and managers of energy producing industries who are interested in employing propaganda for the purpose of keeping legislation to regulate energy production and consumption from being enacted.

        March 23, 2017
  4. magnocrat

    No they are not stupid but they are always tempted. Why not fly and step out in the hot sun, why not buy a faster computer, why not change your clothes long before they are worn out? why not drive to the local shops when you could walk. We all have to share the blame.

    March 23, 2017