Tidings of reason

It appears that we know more about reason as a cause than as an effect.  Reason is neither recognisable nor explicable as a physical fact in the world until we locate it there through our thoughts, deeds and explanations.  Thereafter, we see a world filled with the relics of reasoned activity; and it is by those representations that we are able to discern its effectiveness in changing the face of reality, even to determine whether it exists anywhere else in the universe.

Before this exchange between reason and reality, the physical world is pictured as subsisting alone, albeit charged with potentials, prospects and possibilities for the future.  Nevertheless, the template for rationality is hardly explicable in terms of the nature of something else, wherein it is absent.  And without a natural cause, we are left to wonder about the origins of something seen as mapping onto the reality, even as it changes the map of reality; for it is one thing to observe nature changing, but it is quite another to observe it changing itself in the acquisition reason for no reason.

Furthermore, just as reason can be depicted within the reality of physical, so the physical can also be depicted within the reality of reason, bearing in mind there is now a mindfulness in the midst of the universe’s physicality whereby nature now incorporates features of rational activity quite unlike the properties of nature as it was.  So we find ourselves returning to the thinking of the ancients to ask: is there reason in the universe because nature establishes it, or is it established in nature because of a higher power of reason?

Mike Laidler

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