II – Belief & Conclusion

It has long been my contention that there is a difference between a belief and a conclusion, that rationality is superior to irrationality, that reason alone is a valid pathway to truth, and that a belief is drawn from the domain of emotion while a conclusion is drawn from the domain of reason. For our purposes, irrationality is the language of emotion, and reason is the method of logic.

In any honest inquiry into the nature of truth, belief, and conclusion, it must become evident that one is biased toward the notion of rationality; the emotional belief that reason is superior to emotion leaves one not looking for the truth—perceived though it is—but instead looking for ways to substantiate the emotional belief, to rubberstamp it as reasonable, though it must be irrational.

It was Nietzsche who quipped that “There are no facts—only interpretations,” a statement that must stand as true by the very nature of perception and being. Being is subjectivity, and subjectivity is the presence of perception. We are subjective because we perceive, and we are beings because we perceive. These facts that we perceive—they too are filtered through our perspective, as are all things.

Might it be possible that the “goal” must be to limit the impact of that personal perspective, to attempt to define a scope for emotion? This presumes that there is value in rationality—at least more value in reason than one might find in emotion. According to the Working Man’s values, this must be true—the plane, after all, stays in the sky not because of emotional willing it but because of the reason and rationality that went into its creation. If there is value in the plane maintaining its flight, then reason and rationality, as the propellers that have made it airborne, must be superior.

The Syrian child whose city lies wrecked and devastation by bombs dropped by jets might disagree.

Of what inherent value has it been, the invention of aeronautics and aviation, the invention of the 747, and the invention of the nuclear bombs they have delivered? If the value is the sparing of human life, then the invention of aviation–which itself is a longterm consequence of reason applied as science–then reason is inferior. This is an emotional value, of course: the preference that it is better for people to be alive than for people to be dead is derived wholly from emotions such as love, empathy, and compassion.

It would seem to follow that emotional values inherently prefer emotion as a pathway to action; reasonable values inherently prefer rationality as a pathway to action. Neither the belief nor the conclusion is a real thing; there is only the action, motivated by one leaning or the other and the values which coincide with that leaning. They are never separated, though, for the farmer who prefers the invention of aviation because it helps him to care for his crops–a rational position–in the first place wants to care for his crops to feed people–an emotional motivation.

Could they be, perhaps, one and the same? Belief and conclusion, emotion and rationality?