Less Randomly Ordered Opinions

(Words, I pray, of reason in response, in my opinion, to these contentious and, also in my opinion, unreasonable times…)

On Reason

First, what reason is not…

Reason is not a body or compendium of my opinions (irony compels me to write, in my opinion!) drawn from my experience and observations of life.

Rather reason, whilst, by necessity, employing my experience and observations of life, is my capacity, indeed, our human capacity to make sense of reality (be it in regard to  persons, places, or things, including ideas) and to communicate, most often via words, that sense to others in a way that is receivable, that is, intelligible, understandable, or reasonable.

On Reason and Truth

Reason, by virtue of what it is and what it does, is related to the human quest for truth, that is, the human search to answer the questions about the being and nature of universally perceived and understood realities.

On Reason’s Methods

Reason uses varying methods or processes depending on the nature of the question of reality being addressed. To wit, reason’s approach is different when seeking to establish the truth of a mathematical formula, a scientific (e.g., a medical) hypothesis, an account of a historical event, or an ethical judgment about one’s or another’s public and private behaviors.

Thus, no one method of reason is the reasonable method to be applied in all cases.

Moreover, no one method of reason, again, depending on the area or issue of inquiry, is more or less reasonable or rational than another.

On Reason and Civility

(Not my opinion, but rather my observation of my personal practice…)

When I have been most reasonable(1) and when I encounter and engage others, especially “the other,” those with whom I disagree in the arena of our seeking to communicate our senses of things, I have discovered that I can speak with clarity and, equally (perhaps more) importantly, listen with charity.

In a word, to be reasonable is to cultivate the ground in which the seed of civility can be planted and from which it can sprout and bear mutually beneficial fruit.



(1) By “reasonable,” I mean reason-able, that is, employing reason to the best of my ability. For honesty compels my confession that though I am always reason-able, that is, able to reason, I, when allowing my emotions to rule my behavior, what I do and say and how I do and say it, am not always reasonable!

2 thoughts on “Less Randomly Ordered Opinions

  1. Paul,
    What I appreciate most about this is that it starts with what reason is NOT. It’s refreshing actually to be reminded that reason isn’t our own experiences and opinions because these days, that’s what we get. I get the connection between reason and truth… I guess I hadn’t really thought about applying different methods of reason to different situations. I think it just “happens”. My takeaway from this post is applying reason and civility when I communicate, AND when I listen… because if not I’m just focusing on my own thoughts and feelings and not those of others. One of the main reasons I chose to listen to an opera as part of my 60 new things in January is because I had no experience with the art form and wanted to understand it more. I went in with no preconceived notions and had to really focus on each word and note so I could try to make sense of what was happening in the story. I found I was a much better listener and was just open to the experience. I can try to apply that to other forms of communication in life.

    Much love!


  2. Loretta, I love, I simply love the idea that you’ve taken up listening to opera. I think…I believe that when any of us tries something new, something so new that it’s foreign to our experience, we expand our horizons of appreciation and understanding of this always bigger world around us. Brava!

    As for me, when I’ve learned (and re-learned!) to listen, for I’m not always of the temperament to do that very necessary aspect of communication(!), invariably I learn something new from the other person or persons that I did not and could not have known for s/he or they, by virtue of her/his/their individuality, think and feel differently than I.

    And in these contentious times, I’ll aver that more of us (all of us!) need to listen more than we desire to talk.

    Blessings on you and your, what I’ll call, “60 news things toward a new you at 60!” endeavor! Wonderful! Wonder-full!

    Love you


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