Among our basic attributes, the polar opposite of feelings or emotions, is Reason. I don’t want to go out of my way to define reason (that would take too much reason,) other than that it is the thinking out of things. My use of Reason is not so much in the sense of any analytical process that is precise such as calculus or the scientific method. The Reason that I mean is the reasoning that plays into our behavior, and accompanies values. The kind of reasoning I employ to do what I do. The Reason that philosophy uses to try and clarify the difference between good and bad, or what drives me to seek out what will help me or hurt me, or hurt others. The kind of reason that tries to establish what is best or worst.
Reason sometimes evolves to Understanding, but it is never total understanding. That’s why philosophical reasoning constantly moves in a haphazard evolution that will never totally satisfy. All well-reasoned philosophies result in distinct values and behaviors that typically don’t agree. Philosophies tend to move in and out of fashion. Philosophy usually has the understanding of truth, values, and reality as and end game, but it has never arrived at that end game with any force.
Reason as a means to establish values will always limited – we never arrive at perfect values, because there is always more to be reasoned out. Our reasoning is imperfect at best and deceptive at worst. I try to figure something out, but then get frustrated, or distracted, and give up and move on to something else. I try to understand why I acted a certain way, but then smell brownies and go into the kitchen after them.
You’ll probably find fault with this post because it employs Reason, and will ultimately fall short and not satisfy.
Reason is boring. Emotions are exciting and entertaining. That’s why hardly anyone likes philosophy, especially women. It’s dry and complicated.
Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Sartre all tried a reasoned approach in the pursuit of a value system that serves as a foundation for how we behave. But despite comprehensive attempts, our values have never reached a consistency because any system falls short of its goals because of inherent flaws, exclusion of certain segments of society, or societal culture change.
We usually incorporate Reason into our actions, whether good or bad. When our reasoning is sound, we often act toward a constructive end. But when we have a choice between good and bad and our reasoning is unsound usually our feelings creep in and take over the process. More often than not, it ends badly and outside of the Will of God.
Next, I’ll take a shot at moving away from Feelings and Reason toward the Will of God.