I have yet
to find the time to sit down and write a thorough response to Dan Corjescu’s
last piece “On the Metaphysics of Revolution”, which was, to my mind, a gross
misinterpretation of Socrates in particular and on the evolution of
revolutionary thought in philosophy in general.
However, on the appearance of this, his second piece, I promised myself
I would make sure I find the time in the near future to do so.
I felt compelled to respond to Corjescu’s latest piece, “On the Persistence of Religion”.
This piece begins with the erroneous assumption that there is some great
disjuncture between the rational mind and the expression of emotions in general
and of anger in particular; that calmness and reason somehow walk hand in
hand. As I shall argue, this is not the
case. This is an invalid first
as we move from his axiom to his exemplification thereof, Richard Dawkins for
example, we find that it does not hold true.
Richard Dawkins can become very emotional when he talks about evolution. (And how Corjescu left Christopher Hutchins
out of his equation I don’t know.). He
has obviously never heard Richard Dawkins turn his fury on irrational religious
he blurs the lines between emotions and emotional appeal; even as he fails to
properly identify completely and properly, the appeal of religion. “After all, I thought emotional appeals are
for religious people?” Religion is to be
sure, based on emotional needs, but it also based on other things. We can say even and particularly of the
religion of Pagans, that there is an element of scientific thought involved as
Pagan religious beliefs, in particular those of the Greeks, were an attempt to
the piece de resistance, “Clearly, for some, personal history and psychological
trauma have a defining role to play in their world-view regarding religion (and
other matters as well).” This statement
clearly puts forth the argument that those who respond to his arguments with
anger and indignation have something wrong with them that is the result of the
way they have been raised or some “psychological trauma”. Therefore, their rage at religion (which in
no way allows that they should be labelled atheists but only, at best, antireligious), is PERSONAL and in no way
social or political in nature. It is the
result of some individual flaw and not a response to objective reality. Thus, Mr. Corjescu has committed the logical
sin of making an Ad Hominem argument
finally, the ultimate question – how does one define Reason? Are we to define
it according to the laws of Aristotle’s logic, predicated on either/or
individuation? In this case, one is
either rational or emotional, but never both?
Or in the logic of Heraclitus, Socrates, Hegel, and Marx, who all assert
that there is a unity between Reason and Feeling and one might add, Action
which is the Unity of both.
all, while there is the demand that scholars should base their arguments purely
on logic and reason and never fall prey to emotions and arguments based on
emotions, this ideal is difficult to achieve.
It is difficult to achieve because the separation between the real and
the rational does not exist. Or so says
Hegel, and I am every bit a Hegelian.
Accordingly, Reason is not a category of mind, nor the product of
logical laws, it is Ontological in nature; which is to say it corresponds to
the structure of reality, which is itself constantly changing. While for Hegel this change is the result of
the Creator realizing himself (I may or may not be a Hegelian in this respect),
it is through the actions of humans that that change occurs. Thus, it is important that human beings feel
that change must occur. Feeling may be
the lowest and poorest level of knowing, yet and still, it is the first and
essential mode. (Followed by Understanding and then by Reason). So too, as Hegel explains in his writings on
religion, Faith is the feeling that a Creator exists, but it is only in Reason
that we fully apprehend its existence.).
Thus, it is
that perfectly rational human beings feel as well as think what is right and
wrong in the world: they understand.
When rationally understands that the world is made up of “masters and
slaves” of one type or another one has two choices, either to accept or reject
that situation. The decision to reject
it is a judgement, and not one that can be separated from emotion. One must rage with righteous indignation
against the capitalist machine, against racial injustice, against the horrific
brutality directed towards women by patriarchy, against hunger, against
poverty, against all those things which prevent each and every human being from
being fully human, from realizing their potentials. And yes, against Religion with a capital R,
which has been responsible for such great human suffering; which has
accompanied and been the handmaiden of repressive regimes, and above all and
before all, which has, because it is based on faith and unfounded beliefs and
arguments, on dogma and mythological characters, is the enemy of Reason itself.
Article: Science Cannot Offer Us Values, Reasons to Live, Only
Religion and Philosophy Can Do That
Mary Metzger is a 74 year old semi retired
teacher. She did her undergraduate work at S.U.N.Y. Old Westbury and her
graduate work In Dialectics under Bertell Ollman at New York University..
Headline: Holier Than Thou: A Response
to Dan Corjescu’s “On the Persistence of Religion”