People say that in order to make wise decisions ones should always consider their rationality, their ability to reason. But in what is reasoning dependent? To reason does not mean to suddenly emerge into a field of pure knowledge and consciousness, alienating one’s self from their own existence. According to the article “Is reason always right?”, by Richard Harries, reason is affected by all our being, including our feelings, our values and our life experiences. In fact, every human being reasons individually, with their own biases and their own aspirations embedded together with their personal rational grounds. For example, imagine how religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds have been the keynote for antithetical opinions and rationalizations throughout history. In the year 1946, the most common feminine bathing suit, the bikini, was created. To the western world the creation of this two-piece bathing suit was highly welcomed, as women believed that they represented an important step in their sexual emancipation. However, to the Islamic nations the creation of such clothing could not be logically evaluated as beneficial for their society’s welfare, as their religion opposes the public exposition of female bodies. As a consequence of such eminent link between the heart and head, or sentiments and conscience, reasoning cannot be accounted as exact. Still, people should not give up their ability to use logic in forming judgments, instead they should not only use their rational skills to define if whether something is right or wrong, but also to determine the factors that influence their evaluations.
I do agree with this author to an extent. I really do feel that sometimes we must forget the judgments we make through the use of the body and allow the mind to make the decision. Many times during my life, people have judged me to be too small or short to do something without rationally thinking on how my size may actually affect that activity. A lot of prejudice comes out of it where we generalize people over the looks without rationally thinking of how their looks affect the situation. The problem is that reason is not always right as it is sometimes and most often tainted with pre-judgment. Even if you feel the need to rationalize, you will take outside factors of the situation into your reasoning. I feel that in the racial world even if people try to think rationally they never end up giving justice. During the Civil Rights movement, many non-blacks were trying to think of ways to antagonize the black or aid them. A lot of awful things ended up happening such as bombing, hangings, and outright murders. Most of these probably had people who really had to think rationally behind what they were doing, but it had become a part of life for them and drilled into their brain that they were unable to act as we might in today’s world. To think rationally about a situation is based on perspective and has a lot of factors that affect it as well. Thus it is better to think with the mind before making a decision with the body.
The first time I read, I could not agree with the article “Is reason always right?” by Richard Harries, mainly due to what is implied in its 3rd paragraph, when he defends the idea that the body is as good judge as the mind and supports this by saying that “the body, with its instinctual response, can orientate the mind in a particular direction or nudge it in another one if it feels it is going wrong, but in the end the mind must decide, using rational criteria”, in relation to the action of meeting someone. I strongly disagreed with his usage of rationality to exemplify the situation of meeting someone, initially, because in the process of falling in love, and even being in love with somebody, as a counter example, rather than using rationality, actions are filtered by feelings because love is not a matter of reason, but of emotion. Therefore, people refer to lovers as “blind and deaf”, for when we fall in love, rationality is kept aside to such an extent that we can’t see our beloved one’s flaws. However, as I got through the article, I understood that the author’s point is actually to redefine reason as something that is affected by all our being, including our feelings, our values and our life experiences, not only by a series of pure knowledge and consciousness as I previously thought of as being the meaning of the term. For this reason, I could ultimately agree with what is brought up by Harries, mainly in what he says is his belief- that reason is not always right, for history has shown us, as the author itself points out, that men have historically committed the cruelest crimes against humanity using their rationality, such as Adolf Hitler and his Holocaust, whose rational line of thought excused the worst atrocities against Jews and other ethnic minorities as an attempt to purify the Arian race.
Lastly, I point out that the author does a brilliant job in backing his point with arguments. For each point brought up in the article, he includes, besides his own opinion, a similar thought of another author or thinker. In fact, all paragraphs start with the citation of a thinker and their beliefs, as in the third one, when he writes, “Albert Camus said that the body is as good a judge as the mind”, and only after citing the thinker, he emits his own similar opinion. Thank you Richard Harries for such an insightful reflection on the basis of reasoning!
It is very common for people to believe that reason is always right. However, what really is reason? It is known that reason is the capability of rationalizing something. In the article, "Is reason always right?' by Richard Harries, the idea presented is that reason is not rationalization alone. Reason also takes into account the body and the person as a whole. The mind, responsible for reasoning, is not the sole factor to determine ones actions. Even though the mind does the final decision of what is to be done, the other person and instincts have an impact on what the minds final decision will be. In every decision we make there is also the impact of the values that were taught to us when we were younger. The values we have learned through experience in life and through mistakes. Feelings towards the object or person also dictate what our final decision will be regarding them. Taking into account that many factors impact on a rational decision one can say that reason may not always be correct. And that even after rationalizing one might be able to commit mistakes. The text also points out that many mistakes in history have been made by men that though they were making rational decisions based on rational grounds. The fact is that reason is not always correct and that one must try to rely on other things to make sure that their actions are correct and not on reason alone.
Think about the question, is reason always right? The first point that I thought of when trying to answer this question is that the word 'always' is a strong word to use in an argument. The word 'always' rules out all other possibilities. Although the author, Richard Harries, argues that thinking rationally or with reason is always the right way to act, I think that his argument was made without rationality. To be honest, some of the best decisions that I have made have been without reason but instead spontaneous. A spontaneous decision lacks reasoning because it is made on the spot and doesn't allow the opportunity to think. The environment you are in and the people you are with can lead you to making a decision you didn't even know you were agreeing to. Sometimes thinking without reason or rationality can be a bad thing and lead you into bad situations. For example, peer pressure can cause you to make a spontaneous decision without reason. However, not all decisions made without reason are bad. One concept that embraces this idea is the idea of living life to the fullest. Sometimes we think with rationality that causes us to miss out on an opportunity that we may regret later. The author says, " In the end we must try to think as rationally as possible." I disagree and say that sometimes living life spontaneously can be the best way to take full advantage of every opportunity we are given. The author also makes an argument about conscience and states, "In short it is the considered judgment we make when we weigh up all the pros and cons in the light of our values and overall perspective on life." I also disagree with this statement because I feel as though our gut feeling is more of our conscience than is our rational brain. By going with our gut feeling we often don't weigh up all the pros and cons of a situation but instead think on the spot. However, I feel as though my gut feeling is more right than my reasoning. I disagree with the author's statements about reasoning and feel as though his conclusions and arguments were unsupported by evidence and easily disputable.
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