Reasoning is an important tool in our Life. We use it to arrive at important decisions and conclusions in our life. We should be going through these topics with earnestness, by simply refusing to think about difficult topics, we may drift through life like robots, living on borrowed opinions and decisions. In this part we will see basics of the reasoning process, how it is used in our daily life and what value it has in our inner life.
Definition of reasoning is;
Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, for establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information.
Good reasoning is based on evidence, and not on wishful thinking or rash appeals to emotion. The context or situation in which we think about things strongly influences the ways in which we think about them. Our reasoning is sometimes faulty because we underestimate the importance of context.
We use reasoning to predict what will happen. But reasoning, like so much else, involves trial and error, and unless you know what the errors are, you won’t do any better the next time around.
Rationalization; is what we would like to be true and not based on what actually is true.
Quick fix;- We want a fast and easy solution to a complex problem. The human tendency to wishful thinking is one reason why claims by those who offer a quick fix are often accepted, even when there is little evidence in their favor.
Biases, fallacies are other things which lead to faulty reasoning.
Dogmatist is not open minded; he wouldn’t let anything count as evidence against his beliefs.
Relativism - Live and let live: we have our views, other groups have theirs. Relativism may sound like a nice, tolerant view, but it really isn’t. Worse, the consistent relativist must grant that intolerant societies (like Nazi Germany) are no more wrong about things than any other society.
Habits; Many of our actions result from habit, and our habits of relying on past views and acting without really thinking are chief causes of defective reasoning.
Now what we have seen above is about reasoning and how it applies to our outer life but when we come the inner life or the spiritual side there is limitations.
Let us see what J. Krishnamurti tells about limitations of reasoning.
“……… All reasoning has its own conditioning. One must reason, one must think clearly, definitely, positively; but thinking, however wide, however deep, however expansive, is still limited. All thinking begins with knowledge, or the accumulation of knowledge; it arises from the background of knowledge; and knowledge, surely, is very limited. ………….. But do not be swept away by any reasoning; because today you may have a good reason for not killing and tomorrow you may have a much stronger reason for killing. …… To me there is only perception - which is to see something as false or true immediately. This immediate perception of what is false and what is true is the essential factor - not the intellect, with its reasoning based upon its cunning, its knowledge, its commitments. ……………. “
A Sufi story.
There is a story told about Moses who was passing with Khidr through a country. Khidr was the Murshid of Moses when Moses was being prepared for prophetship. Moses's first lesson of discipline was to keep quiet under all circumstances. While they were walking through the beauty of nature both teacher and pupil were quiet. The teacher was exalted in seeing the beauty of nature, and the pupil also felt it. So they arrived on the bank of a fiver, where Moses saw a little child drowning, and the mother crying aloud for she could not help. Here Moses could not keep his lips closed. He had to break that discipline and say: "Master, save him! The child is drowning!" Khidr said: "Quiet!", and Moses was quiet. But the heart of Moses was restless, he did not know what to think: "Can the Master be so thoughtless, so inconsiderate, so cruel, or is the Master powerless?" He could not understand which was which. He did not dare to think such a thought, and yet it made him feel very uncomfortable.
As they went further they saw a boat sinking. Moses said: "Master, that boat is sinking, it is going down!" The Master again ordered him to be quiet; so then Moses was quiet, but he was still more uncomfortable. When they arrived home he said: "Master, I thought that you would have saved that little innocent child from drowning, and that you would have saved the boat which was going down in the water - but you did nothing. I cannot understand, but I should like to have an explanation." The Master said: "What you saw, I also saw. We both saw. So there was no use in your telling me, because I saw. You did not need to tell me what was happening, for I knew. If I had thought that it was better to interfere, I could have done it. Why did you take the trouble to tell me, and spoil your vow of silence?'
He continued: "The child who was drowning was meant to bring about a conflict between two nations, and thousands and thousands of lives were going to be destroyed in that conflict. When he was drowned this averted the other danger which was to come." Moses looked at him with great surprise. Then Khidr said: "The boat that was sinking was the boat of pirates. It was sailing in order to wreck a large ship full of pilgrims, and then to take what was left in the ship and bring it home. Do you think that you and I can be judge of it? The Judge is behind. He knows what He is doing, He knows his work. When you were told to be quiet, your work was to keep your lips closed and to see everything, as I was doing, silently, in reverence."
3. Critical Reasoning: A User’s Manual by Chris Swoyer