Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reasoning and Philosophy; An alternative definition

Psychologists are now liking to claim that Aha, finally we have a breakthrough in knowing what has reasoning evolved for? It is not evolved to find the truth as popularly believed so far but instead, it is evolved to rationalize what we believe in and it is dominantly used to confirm or reaffirm our positions. Let me elaborate it a little bit,

The main tool used for dominance is communication. Communication is not just used to transfer information but more vitally it is used to set social orders or struggle in the social order and reasoning is the most effective and penetrative tool for this purpose. So we see social groups are using reasoning to dominate other social groups. As social groups are recognized by their beliefs or cultures so they use the reasoning to justify or prove superiority of their cultures (Our Values VS others’ values) to dominate other groups and it is all done through different mediums of communication. The social groups with most advanced communication skills, diverse and advanced communication mediums are also successful in using reasoning effectively for their dominance. Well, though all these are true at large as we not only can easily find a lot of historical evidences for it but we are also witnessing it’s functioning every day as part of our normal experiences. Reasoning is used as convincingly and effectively by extremists to produce suicide bombers to terrify and subjugate people as it is used by the democratic forces to give people more choices and control over their lives.

But is the only usage of reasoning, to dominate others? Fortunately we can all agree that the answer is “NO”. We can see a lot of revolt of honest minds against the usage of reasoning for dominance. It would be somewhat unjust to talk about reasoning and not to mention Ancient Greece for its everlasting impacts in putting the usage of reasoning in the right direction. Ancient Athens had a participative democracy where all could share their opinions and propose solutions and it had created a high demand for reasoning as it was determining factor for the social status of individuals in society. So a group of individuals appeared who were offering their services to train the citizen of Athens in effective usage of reasoning. These individuals were known as Sophists. Though social groups have always used reasoning for their dominance but Sophists were the first ones to make it available on the commercial basis. Though their teachings weren’t unlawful but certainly it wasn’t matching with conscious of high spirited men so we see some honest spirits who had revolted against these traditions and had not only changed the course of human history but also the fat of humanity. We all aware at least with the names of few of these rebels and if you still like the repetition of some names then I would like to name Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes….., etc.

In our age we see the very clear division that I mentioned in previous paragraphs in the usage of reasoning. It doesn’t require any skill to distinguish individuals who represent some group of people and use the reasoning for their dominance (though we also can find individuals who use reasoning for social justice of oppressed people rather than dominance) and people who use reasoning to find the truth or reality like Researchers, Scientists and Philosophers.

I didn’t have to go through all these and just translating the word “Philosophy” as “Love of wisdom” was enough to say that reasoning is not just evolved to be used for dominance but humankind have found other usages of it also. But then I thought it is necessary to have some introduction before I could present an alternative definition of Philosophy in the perspective of usage of reasoning. I think, the literal meaning does not define the Philosophy as majority of people love wisdom but they do not use reasoning in finding truth. Philosophers not only love wisdom but they are actually “in love” with wisdom. Loving something is very different than being in love with something. When one is “in love” he/she can’t think of other things. So a true Philosopher is “in love” with wisdom and he/she can’t think of using it for dominance. Those who use it for other purposes are the victims of their instincts and haven’t got the chance or didn’t try to liberate themselves and become higher than their basic instinctual urges.

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