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The WMail Newsletter Essays
Volume V - Issue #45: July 2004

"What Is Reason?"

        Much of the foundation of the Working Minds philosophy matches Ayn Rand's writings & speeches defining Objectivism (along with concepts of existentialism, Transactional Analysis, and other philosophical systems). Ayn Rand [1905-1982] states clearly and repeatedly that "Reason, the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses, is man's basic tool of survival." She also said that "A rational man is guided by his thinking – by a process of Reason – not by his feelings and desires."
        For Ayn Rand, Reason is an absolute, by which she means that one cannot value Reason part of the time – you either hold Reason as a Value or you do not. You cannot be honorable six days a week and a miscreant on the seventh, as you cannot be married or 'in a committed relationship' part time, nor ethical when it suits you. To believe that Reason is subject to anything other than material reality it abject fallacy.

        Webster's simplest definition of Reason is "the intellectual faculty", plus it gives "the process of drawing conclusions or inferences from facts or premises".
        But the operative definition of Reason is not so simple as it might be because of the dis-education spread by the Culture-Structure to replace Reason with anti-Reason.

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        Reason is NOT 'received information', such as the bigot's premise that the dark races are inferior to his own, nor any such dogma. Bigotry is not based on Reason, but on deep psycho- logical fear. Quoting the Official Party Line in any matter is a too-common substitute for Reason.

        Reason is NOT 'reasons', which are instead essentially justifications or excuses. Dubya spoke many 'reasons' for invading the sovereign country of Iraq. As is now well-known & well-documented, those 'reasons' had no basis in material reality.

        Reason is NOT 'faith': the two cannot occupy the same space. Since religionists cannot tolerate the physical evidences of geological history, they must armor themselves with anti-Reason tactics such as the invention of the oxymoron 'creation science', which is not based in Reason because it is disproven by literally tons of evidence – "material provided by the senses".
        Reason is neither religion nor belief. Ayn Rand hammered away on the subject for years; the Working Minds position on the matter was covered in WMail Issue #26. The recent attempts by the 'Baptist Taliban' of the U.S. South to re-install religion in public schools is another case without merit in Reason.

        Reason is NOT 'reasonable', as this idea is the weapon of the Looter – as vilified by Ayn Rand time & again: a bunch of looters talk a bunch of unconscious sheep into believing that the sheep deserve the same benefits as productive workers, and the sheep loudly propose the 'reasonableness' of their demand for survival without effort.
        Such demands are 'reasonable' merely because the leaders of the rabble have established agreement that wanting is equal to deserving, and that this establishes their rights to unearned value. (And the looter-leaders survive from the efforts of the rabble.)
        Thus the failure of the Wobblies, who barely exist today, as well as the failures of the Soviet Union and other socialist regimes – and soon the bursting of the Oligarchy's greed-pumped bubble.

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        Reason is never want or desire or deserving. As Ayn Rand says, "Reason is man's basic means of survival." If an action promotes non-survival – the use of force, for example – then Reason is not its source. Mankind – both individually and as a species – must develop nearly-lost skills for survival, and then expand the effort & intention to lift existence from mere survival toward taking on what is necessary for prosperity.
        Survival is a necessity, but it is not guaranteed.
        Prosperity is an option, but neither is it guaranteed.

        R. Buckminster Fuller [1895-1983] said in 1980: "For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. Only ten years ago the 'more with less' technology reached the point where this could be done. All humanity now has the option of becoming enduringly successful."
        And yet here at the cusp of the XXIst Century, one-third of Americans live in poverty, the Third World is starving and-or at war, and not even the U.S.A. can predict its own continued existence.
        It is possible that the game of survival is already lost.

        The U.S. middle class has lost 40% of its equity in the last twenty years – the true legacy of Ronald Reagan. The planet's eco-systems are dying in every hemisphere, at all latitudes, and at all elevations, even under the sea. No nation on Earth is aligned with any other, all is fierce competition (for markets, for resources, for political dominance), and religious and ethnic factionalism moves international relations.
        This crisis of survival – survival of Mankind as a species and survival of our once-lovely home, the planet Terra – is caused by the boundless unconsciousness of the populace of every country, and by their worship of anti-Reason.

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        Reason IS based on awareness; consciousness is a prerequisite. The unconscious individual or community or society cannot 'identify and integrate' the world, and thus is self-condemned to non-survival. The resistance of those who still deny global warming – proven again & again by photographic and statistical evidence – damages the chances for survival of the rest of us. Deniers of the looming economic holocaust hold onto their beliefs at the expense of awareness, and thus deny survival to you and to me. Ignorance is bliss – and deadly in the extreme.

        Reason IS based on volitional attention. Ayn Rand said that "Reason is a faculty that man has to exercise by choice. {italics hers}" The incessant desire for hedonistic 'fun', for recreational oblivion, and for ignorance has an absolute cost: non-awareness eliminates Reason, which cancels all chance of survival.

        Reason IS based on rigorous use of intellectual skills. A cannot be B – ever; A cannot sometimes be A and sometimes B or C; A can only be A, and each such intellectual distinction or definition only has power if that distinction is (a) accurate, and (b) rigorously defended.
        The principle of separation of church and state [in the U.S. at least] means precisely that: separation!; it does not allow for partisan religious tenets carved in stone inside public buildings, nor for 'faith-based' war profiteering.

        That U.S. currency contains the phrase 'In God We Trust' is a weakness that permits all sorts of mischief. While this may seem to be innocuous, this and other breaches of the Consti- tution are akin to a worm-hole or rust-spot on the Ship of State: the leak [loss of integrity] is very real, and left uncorrected will send the Ship of State to the bottom of the sea. Whether Constitu- tional rule expires sooner or later is moot: the terrible results are predictable and preventable and yet unavoidable – unless countered with Reason.

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        Reason does not promote ignorance – that is anti-Reason's job. Reason does not create pollution – that is the job of anti-survival looters. Reason does not tolerate dishonesty, theft, violence, or subjugation. Reason does not foment factionalism, the winner-take-all goal of the Priests of War.
        Reason does not honor greed as a value over pride in productivity: greed requires no Reason, while productivity – creation of value – is the defining result of Reason.

        Inside Reason, Mankind exists and therefore has the right to existence. Each individual is born with an intact sense of Self-hood, which is traded for sheephood at great peril. Rights exist because they are required for survival, and only anti-Reason looters offer the false bargain of trading individual rights for the non-reality of 'safety' or 'security' as obedient & mindless sheep.
        How safe do you feel today?
        Reason is necessary for survival, and anti-Reason has led Mankind to the brink of extinction.

[copyright 2004 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

        See also WMail Issue #26 "The No-God Universe"

        For the full contents of this issue of the free 'WMail' exine, click here.

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