The Death of Reason has Consequences

Some people find it easy to lie. We have all known at least one person like that. It’s not just that they lie, or even lie a lot. It’s that it comes so easily to them; that’s what horrifies us.

On a behavioral level, lying easily means you’re a good actor. Acting is a skill. When performed with great talent or skill in a movie or play, we understandably applaud it. When performed with great talent or skill in the act of fraud or deception, we experience horror and revulsion.

Lying well is deeper than a skill. It involves your relationship with reality. Some people have a good relationship with reality. This means: They accept that facts exist; they care that facts exist; and they look to facts (their absence or presence) to inform their views and opinions about events in daily life, or the bigger picture (morality, ethics, world events, society, etc.)

In normal times, we learn about the relationship friends, family and associates have (or don’t have) with reality. When you know someone well, you have the opportunity to see how much they let facts come into the equation when making decisions or developing attitudes about business, family or other aspects of daily life. Generally, we admire and trust people who are rational; and we mistrust and are turned off by people who evade and defy reality, usually to their own detriment.

In less normal times, like we’re living in now, we learn about the relationship millions of other people –most of them strangers, whom we’ll never meet — have (or don’t have) with reality and facts.

When I see someone wearing a mask alone in a car, that tells me something about his concern with facts and logic.

When I see someone smoking a cigarette, lifting her mask to take a puff, looking around to see if others are looking, and then putting the mask back on in between puffs (outdoors, where a mask was never required), that behavior tells you something about the person’s relationship (or lack thereof) with logic, facts and reality.

When I learn of someone who’s obese, and clearly negligent about his health in this regard, while self-righteously getting vaccinated against a virus with a 1 percent death rate, and expecting you to admire him for his attention to health, I already know what I need to know about that person’s relationship with objective reality.

When someone injects a largely untested and (if we’re honest) still highly experimental vaccine into his body, on the premise that it will prevent him from getting a particular virus, and then panics and becomes morally outraged that someone standing next to him did not take the same vaccine (or might not have), it tells you something about the level of rationality the person experiencing the outrage is in the habit of experiencing and practicing.

We live in astonishing times. Reason is on the decline when millions upon millions of people (perhaps a majority, or at least a plurality) so easily abandon intellectual self-honesty and simple non-contradictory objectivity required to cope in a complicated and sometimes dangerous world.

We are told daily: You may not question the science. Science is, by definition and in 100 percent of its practice, the act of questioning WITHOUT AN END TO THE QUESTIONING. In real science, questioning is always permitted and thoroughly encouraged.

When someone grabs full ownership of the facts you may or may not consider, and may or may not discuss, you can be 100 percent certain that whatever his motives may be, those motives have nothing whatsoever to do with science.

Rationality, reason, and a concern for facts refer to one’s relationship with reality. If you’re intellectually honest, these things matter to you. If you’re not intellectually honest, then you’ll succumb to some other standard apart from objective reality — either a standard that some bossy, pushy person (we call her “Karen”) imposes on you, or simply a subconscious, pre-cognitive absorption of the thing that everyone else seems to be doing. This latter translates into a vague sense that “everyone else is doing it — so it must be OK” … What results is the absurd spectacle of millions of people following what other people are doing, simply because other people are doing it and for no other reason. In saner times, we called this: the blind leading the blind. Today it’s called “the science.”

These are the times that try men’s souls, said Thomas Paine at a more psychologically and intellectually uplifting time in human history.

Actually, reason and intellectual honesty are required of ALL of us — even in the most normal and happy of times. Without critical and objective thought, we become lazy, complacent and ultimately dependent on fools and tyrants.

When we dispense with reason, intellectual honesty and common sense in happy times, then those happy times will soon turn into chaotic and miserable ones. And that’s exactly what happened in America.

A lack of thinking got us into this mess. Only honest thinking will get us out of it.

Some people find it easy to lie. We have all known at least one person like that. It’s not just that they lie, or even lie a lot. It’s that it comes so easily to them; that’s what horrifies us.

On a behavioral level, lying easily means you’re a good actor. Acting is a skill. When performed with great talent or skill in a movie or play, we understandably applaud it. When performed with great talent or skill in the act of fraud or deception, we experience horror and revulsion.

Lying well is deeper than a skill. It involves your relationship with reality. Some people have a good relationship with reality. This means: They accept that facts exist; they care that facts exist; and they look to facts (their absence or presence) to inform their views and opinions about events in daily life, or the bigger picture (morality, ethics, world events, society, etc.)

In normal times, we learn about the relationship friends, family and associates have (or don’t have) with reality. When you know someone well, you have the opportunity to see how much they let facts come into the equation when making decisions or developing attitudes about business, family or other aspects of daily life. Generally, we admire and trust people who are rational; and we mistrust and are turned off by people who evade and defy reality, usually to their own detriment.

In less normal times, like we’re living in now, we learn about the relationship millions of other people –most of them strangers, whom we’ll never meet — have (or don’t have) with reality and facts.

When I see someone wearing a mask alone in a car, that tells me something about his concern with facts and logic.

When I see someone smoking a cigarette, lifting her mask to take a puff, looking around to see if others are looking, and then putting the mask back on in between puffs (outdoors, where a mask was never required), that behavior tells you something about the person’s relationship (or lack thereof) with logic, facts and reality.

When I learn of someone who’s obese, and clearly negligent about his health in this regard, while self-righteously getting vaccinated against a virus with a 1 percent death rate, and expecting you to admire him for his attention to health, I already know what I need to know about that person’s relationship with objective reality.

When someone injects a largely untested and (if we’re honest) still highly experimental vaccine into his body, on the premise that it will prevent him from getting a particular virus, and then panics and becomes morally outraged that someone standing next to him did not take the same vaccine (or might not have), it tells you something about the level of rationality the person experiencing the outrage is in the habit of experiencing and practicing.

We live in astonishing times. Reason is on the decline when millions upon millions of people (perhaps a majority, or at least a plurality) so easily abandon intellectual self-honesty and simple non-contradictory objectivity required to cope in a complicated and sometimes dangerous world.

We are told daily: You may not question the science. Science is, by definition and in 100 percent of its practice, the act of questioning WITHOUT AN END TO THE QUESTIONING. In real science, questioning is always permitted and thoroughly encouraged.

When someone grabs full ownership of the facts you may or may not consider, and may or may not discuss, you can be 100 percent certain that whatever his motives may be, those motives have nothing whatsoever to do with science.

Rationality, reason, and a concern for facts refer to one’s relationship with reality. If you’re intellectually honest, these things matter to you. If you’re not intellectually honest, then you’ll succumb to some other standard apart from objective reality — either a standard that some bossy, pushy person (we call her “Karen”) imposes on you, or simply a subconscious, pre-cognitive absorption of the thing that everyone else seems to be doing. This latter translates into a vague sense that “everyone else is doing it — so it must be OK” … What results is the absurd spectacle of millions of people following what other people are doing, simply because other people are doing it and for no other reason. In saner times, we called this: the blind leading the blind. Today it’s called “the science.”

These are the times that try men’s souls, said Thomas Paine at a more psychologically and intellectually uplifting time in human history.

Actually, reason and intellectual honesty are required of ALL of us — even in the most normal and happy of times. Without critical and objective thought, we become lazy, complacent and ultimately dependent on fools and tyrants.

When we dispense with reason, intellectual honesty and common sense in happy times, then those happy times will soon turn into chaotic and miserable ones. And that’s exactly what happened in America.

A lack of thinking got us into this mess. Only honest thinking will get us out of it.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s