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Being Reasonable

December 29, 2017

Thinking and reassessing is an often long and arduous process. But the benefit of it is that when you get to a conclusion you have something new to bring to the table, you are not just following a predictable, habitual, mindless pattern. I have been thinking a lot this past month since my last post, for I think it very well summed up my current view on things. But of course there are, as always, areas of these ideas I need to work further on. It all seems to come back to the fundamental philosophical questions that Plato grappled with all those millennia ago. How can I provide reasonable grounds for my opinions? How in general can we be reasonable? How can we have accurate knowledge of the reality surrounding us? What kind of knowledge is it? And is it limited in certain ways?

I think it is not stretch to say that we have currently hit upon a crisis in answering these questions. And have largely given up on answering, or even trying, to answer them. We have pretty much handed our faculty of reason away, given it to technology and scientific experts to tell us what is best. After numerous failed Utopian visions, numerous short-lived fascist and totalitarian dictatorships, and numerous devastating world wars, we have come to question our own ability to be reasonable. It seems to always terminate either in an unrealistic airy Utopia that loses touch with reality or in a blind servility to an authoritative form of instrumental reason.

Is this where the story of Western culture terminates? Has it reached its logical conclusion? I like to hope not. I like to feel we can find some new firm ground to base our reasoning upon. I like to think I have been working towards such a basis ever since I discovered philosophy. Needless to say I have come a cropper on many dangers along the way. Many emotional preoccupations. Many crises in my outlook. Many times I have doubted our prospects to get out of this hole. But I feel there is a way through it now. I feel recent political upheavals have exposed a new reality to view. They have shown me that unless I am real in my own life and interactions with others then nothing else is worth anything. You can be a logically perfect reasoning being. But if your own emotional life is in turmoil, if you forget to keep these other aspects of your life in balance, then it counts for nothing. An ideal of peace, altruism, cosmopolitanism is not a reasonable ideal. It’s not that the idea itself is unreasonable, the problem is that it is unreasonable to expect yourself to be able to live up to that ideal. You, I, we, are not perfect beings. We need ideas that we can practice and embody in our lives.

A new form of practical reason is what is needed. A new appreciation of what are reasonable expectations on us in our lives. Not unrealistic ideals that we always fall short of, and chase, like a mirage. Like a snake trying to eat its own tail. The seductive power of our abstracting and generalising faculties are dangerous, as they can delude us that we have influence over a wider range of things than we actually do. Just because you can conceptualise or imagine something, doesn’t mean you can embody it or own it in your way of life and being. An ideal you can never reach is only going to lead you down a road of self hatred, despair and depression. It’s the classic trick of Christianity for controlling people, which has actually been honed to an even more extreme and sadistic degree now by atheism and humanism and cosmopolitanism. These are the new source of original sin, for they set us an ideal of action we can never reach and so we are always scurrying around full of guilt, trying to appease ourselves for this, that and the other mistake we make. They tell us to be neutral, objective, placeless. Through trying we don’t succeed, we just come to hate our opinions and emotions as they are not neutral, we come to hate our perspective and reasoning, as it is not objective and we come to hate our self’s, families, homes and communities, because they are not placeless.

I see it now for what it is, and so I defeat it. I undermine its power and grip over me. Intuition tells me we must find a new path of reasonableness, and not an impossible god-like path of objectivity, but a human path of trial and error, learning from mistakes and developing better judgement along the way. We can be reasonable, we just have to keep in touch with our personal reality. The real situation we are heavily intricated within. Forget the moralising temptation of simplistic ideals. Cast aside that emotionally convenient veneer, that short-term fix to an unending long-term problem. Focus on what is reasonable for you, not on what is ideal. We are not gods, but men, women, and children. If you try to be a god, you will only end up becoming a monster.


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