Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Concept Of "Reason"

In this article I wish to explore the idea of "Reason" of an event ,what do people mean by it and its interpretations.We first delve into the origin of "reason".

The concept of reason arises ,as the people search for a question "Why?". Its like this :- The stone man observed a set of events happening regularly in front of him.These events were the ones which we now call ,"normal","regular" or "day-to-day" events, - like falling of a tree, flowing of a river, flowing of wind, light coming from fire etc.

As the humans progressed ,they became more and more watchful.So they observed more complex events.Each time they faced such an event, they were puzzled and it was natural for human nature to break-down these events into some simpler events which they had experienced in past.This helped them to connect simpler events to get an idea of the complex event.Here lied the birth of the concept - "Reason".

Let us take a simple example.Suppose somebody has a flask containing some water in it ,which has a small fish.He keeps this flask under hot sun.After some time he observes that the water inside has dried and the fish has died.He is puzzled,and in his thoughts he tries to connect this experience to the events he has seen happening a million times.He connects this to his past experiences that,
1.a fish dies without water , and
2.the water dries out in hot conditions.
So he says ,"ohh ,ok,as the water dried "due" to heat ,there was no water,and "hence",the fish died..." Thus ,the "reason" is nothing but just a connection between the events that are commonly observed by all and never questioned by anyone.Another example - I release a stone from a height.It falls. WHY ? What is the REASON ? Then people say its because of gravity.But "gravity " is just a name given to collective experiences of all bodies being pulled towards each other.So,in real sense ,its just a connection with events that are taken for granted.
So,in a way,this whole analysis of ours banks upon our assumption that nature behaves "normally".By this , I mean ,there are no abrupt changes in the way things work in nature.(For eg. we neglect the cases like: getting up one fine morning and seeing all things floating in the air without so-called "gravity" -we ASSUME its not possible.)

But ,this assumption of ours is practically very important.The whole field of science and technology has this assumption as its starting point.So ,this assumption should not be looked down upon,in real sense.But ,we should ofcourse be aware of such an assumption being existent.And I am stressing this point as I see many people around me ,having this confusion.This creates many problems and wrong ideas.Thus,it was not the purpose of this article to criticise this assumption in any way,but ,as I said ,make people aware about this truth. This reduces confusion in our mind about the concept of reason.And thats what was the whole point of this article.