Val is an out-of-the-box writer often questioning the validity of many popular tenets of cultural paradigm..
Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
What Do We Call "Logic"?
Logic has been defined as "a proper or reasonable way of thinking and understanding something". In slightly more fancy words than that -- for those who don't mind fancy -- I see it as a default mental technology of processing reality which is specie-specific only for us humans.
It is popularly referred to as a "common sense", which is based on agreements existing in our collective consciousness about the nature of reality, as perceived by our five senses, limited as they may be, and reliable as they may be.
The general sense of what is logical and real has been changing from one cultural epoch to another, each one with its claims generated by intellectual arrogance, which tends to disallow new generations to come up with some more plausible and accurate answers.
So, here we talk about dogma, whether in religion or in science, which carries the charge of a blind belief that contaminates logicalness. There was that time when it was "logically" accepted that the Earth was flat, and red-headed women were witches to be burnt at stake, with a bouquet of all other nonsensical illusions parading as facts.
Now, is that only a flaw of intellect to be ascribed to the past, less "knowledgeable" generations -- who should be forgiven for not knowing any better?
Not really. As a matter of fact, as we are about to see, it is still quite popular way of being "logical" these days as well, while the condition of our global coexistence is the testimony of it.
In its extremes, our reasoning may either make some sense or it is a nonsense; however, there is something in-between, something that appears as a well organized thought -- except that it isn't.
And that's what I am calling "sub-logic", this perverted use of cause-and-effect organization.
In a moment, when you see some examples for sub-logical reasoning, you'll immediately understand what I am talking about. You may also recognize how much of it is being used in everyday life, in politics, religion, as well as in some dogmatic positions of science -- always spelling an intellectual favoritism.
Life is a journey between perception and reality.
-- Ramana Pemmaraju
Sub-logic -- the Very Fabric of Our Cultural Paradigm
Take for instance the following humorous anecdote where sub-logic shows in its extreme. By the way, humor is based on sub-logic, where reasoning is twisted enough to be funny.
In order to demonstrate the harmful effect of alcohol, an Alcoholic Anonymous presenter picks a wiggling worm by tweezers and drops it into a glass container filled with alcohol. The worm instantly stops wiggling -- evidently dead.
Now the lecturer asks the audience what that experiment is showing about the effect of alcohol on the living tissue. Someone from the last row -- with a bottle sticking out of his coat pocket -- volunteers with this answer:
"What I saw there...hick...is that if you drink...hick.. you won't have intestinal worms."
This little joke, as silly as it appears, clearly shows how we tend to arrange concepts into an order that suits us best.
To get more examples of this sub-logical reasoning, all we have to do is listen to speeches of presidential candidates at election time. Now, favoritism aside, doesn't each of them sound perfectly logical in their presentation of those burning issues that the nation is facing -- and reasons why the voters should elect him/her as a solution to those problems of political and economic significance?
And yet, we are bound to turn our blind eye and deaf ear to one of them in favor of our champ who is "speaking the only logic" worthy of trust. Why is that? For, there is no way that any candidate would take a risk of coming up with some nonsensical agenda. Which is proven by the fact that some other voters actually pick that other careerist as a more promising president.
So, both candidates in the presidential race must sound logical enough -- and yet we are not "buying all that crap" of one of them.
How can two opposite views be both logical? How can two nutritionists of same credentials both tell "truth" about human ideal diet -- while saying something opposite?
Well, that's where sub-logical organization of reasoning comes to play. Namely, we can arrange concepts in many different ways to make the result sound logical.
How strange when illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child.
-- Judy Garland
Sounding Smart -- Must Be Smart
Whether we are talking about a renowned thinker of a world class, or an armchair philosopher, their delicacy seems to be asking -- and unfortunately also answering -- certain questions that logically cannot be answered.
Sometimes they remind me of medical scientists who had to label their diagnoses and pharmaceuticals with those ridiculously long and tongue-twisting names. Who knows why. Perhaps to mystify their profession with that fancy terminology to a simple Joe, to whom "brain" sounds familiar enough, with no need for something like "encephalon"; or specialist for ear-throat-nose didn't really need a title of an "otorinolaringologist".
How is that for fancy? Likewise, philosophers will -- possibly unknowingly -- tackle some sub-logical questions making themselves sound ultra-smart, and all that by arranging concepts in a mismatching order. Let me give you some clear examples.
Here is one of those "smart" puzzles tackled by those smart asses.
What's the purpose of life?
How many of you are finding nothing unusual in that question? But it's sub-logical, and let me give you an example where a similar mismatch of concepts exists. I am perfectly capable to imagine a man-horse -- known as centaur in Greek mythology. Now, yes, there is a "man", and there is a "horse", but not a "man-horse". Just the fact that I can imagine one, doesn't make it real.
Likewise, there is "life" and there is "purpose", but there is no "purpose of life", just because our mind can put these two concepts together, while according to our brain's algorithm "everything has to have a purpose".
In the next example of this mismatching of the concepts, we have a question like:
Where is the end of space?
Even physicists are burning their brains' fuses over this one -- some coming to agreement that space and time don't even exist except in the realm of Newtonian physics. Now, right or wrong -- who cares -- but once when you acknowledge that there IS something like space, you are asking that wrong question.
Namely, yes, there is "end", and there is "space" -- but there isn't anything like end of space, just because our linear thinking assumes that there has to be an end to anything.
Those non-sequiturs in everyday life even make our logicalness more embarrassing. Thinking about it, I can almost hear a wife telling her husband:
"If you really love me, you will buy me that fur coat." -- one part not logically followed by the other in that demand.
Or, what we may here more these days:
"Anybody loving their country can't side with the Democrats / Republicans".
Everything visible came from the invisible world.
-- Sunday Adelaja
More of Those Sub-logically Mismatched Concepts
We similarly fall in that sub-logical trap when we assume that the world had to be "created". Our brains simply can't fathom that anything in existence didn't have to be first created -- by something or somebody.
Just like we are having hard time dividing reality between Newtonian and quantum physics -- one dealing with material objects and energy, and another with a field of infinite possibilities, where everything eternally is, in form of waves, which, when collapsed by an observer get manifested as material forms.
We can't get it that we are merely a bundle of energy vibrating in a soup of frequencies, which gives us material attributes detectable by our five senses. Which means that we are constantly dealing with sub-logical, convenient reality shared by collective consciousness of our species.
So much we take for granted as "logically sound", while everything is merely a product of our brains what we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. That's what neuro-scientists are telling us -- that we don't do our seeing with eyes, but with brains, while eyes are only providing an upside down visual input
With all this in place, our cultural paradigm will forever be merely an orchestration of some collective agreements -- with our reasoning remaining a subject to our intellectual appetites.
To step out of that trap, we have to de-hypnotize ourselves from the herd's logicalness. We have to challenge our own beliefs, attitudes, our emotional repertoire, and everything else that makes us act like biological robots playing out some programs.
Now, for my last words in this post I saved a brilliant example of application of true logical reasoning, and it comes from a Sufi story. Sufi stories regularly had a wise message in them.
So, here goes the story.
A poor man with a gorgeous daughter owed a lot of money to a rich merchant, who at one point told him he would forgive his debt if his daughter would marry him.
Of course, daughter didn't want to hear about it, but to save her father from prison, she finally agreed to a suggestion made by the crooked man.
So they came to this beach with the ground full of black and white pebbles, and the crook quickly picked two, put them in a small sack, and told the girl to reach into the sack and pick one of the pebbles.
If she would pick the white one, she would go free of his marriage proposal, with her father going free of his debt; and if she would pick the black one, she would have to marry him.
Smart girl knew that the crook had put two black pebbles into the sack, and as soon as she had one squeezed in her hand, she quickly let it drop, where it instantly got unrecognizable among all other black and white pebbles. Then she said:
"Oh, what a clumsy - me! But it's easy to tell which one I picked, by the one that's still in the sack."
And so she went free, and her father was free of having to pay his debt.
And with this Sufi story I am ending my own -- not trying to match it's wisdom with the Sufis' -- and yet, maybe making someone wonder a little, how reliable is our own reasoning after all.
Just a little demonstration of how unreliable is our common sense guided by perception
© 2020 Val Karas