Beyond Reason, But Not Irrational

Poem 5

Through science and reason, we have made great progress in our attempt to understand the human condition and its underlying spirit. But reason alone cannot provide us with all the answers and all the knowledge and wisdom to fully explain and understand the human condition, much less manage and control it.

Science and technology has made it possible to increase our harvest a hundredfold, even a thousand fold; but hunger in the world persists. Reason and technology has enabled the creation of wealth like the world has never seen before; yet poverty remains in many places around the globe. Science and medicine have found cures for many diseases that were once considered incurable and terminal in the past; but illness and diseases still plague mankind, with new ones cropping up regularly. Science and technology has enabled access to knowledge and information for billions of people; yet many people are still illiterate and uninformed.

Men have other processes and techniques to learn and attain wisdom. We can acquire knowledge and wisdom through other means aside from the intellect and cognition. Scientists have identified at least eight kinds of intelligences through which we learn.

For example, the heart has its reasons that reason itself does not understand. There are lessons which only the heart and emotions can teach us. There are self-evident truths that our gut tells us exist or are true. One does not need to prove that what comes up must come down; of that what goes around comes around. Human imagination, which can dream of possibilities that science can explore and study, is totally impervious to study by human reason. Science helps us discover some truths about the world and universe around us. But so do literature and poetry. And so do philosophy and theology.

Leonardo Boff, a great theologian, once wrote “The mystical exists: the mystical does not reside in how the world is, but in the fact that it exists. The limitation of reason and of the scientific spirit lie in the fact that there is nothing about which they must remain silent. The religious and mystical always end up in noble silence, because in no dictionary is there a word that can define it.”

 

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