|Image from HERE|
While it causes many people heartburn, there are many shortcomings to "reason", or in the words of my friend Tom, shortcomings to "things that make logical sense."
Just because it makes "logical sense" does not make it true
At one time it was thought that the proper way to heat treat a steel sword blade was to heat it to bright cherry red at high noon and to plunge it through the heart of the strongest slave you could afford at the local Slave Exchange and Emporium.
Empirical evidence suggested that the larger and stronger the slave the better and stronger the blade.
That makes "logical sense", right? The strength of the slave transfers to the blade.
Everybody was happy.
The proprietor of the local Slave Exchange and Emporium was happy because he had a lot of repeat customers. The slaves were only good for a one-time use.
The blade smith was happy, he had a way to justify the expense of his blades and the limited supply of quality slaves created a "natural" shortage of quality blades which served to simultaneously keep prices high and competition down. (Incidentally, the inflation adjusted cost of a prime slave is $200,000-to-$250,000. That is a considerable sum of money.)
The users of the blades were happy. It actually provided an effective heat treat of the blade. The tip was hard and kept a good edge. The base of the blade was a little softer and less brittle, therefore less likely to snap in battle. A rich user could afford a "better" blade than a commoner which gave him confidence. The proper amount of confidence is another way to say "lucky".
The used slaves were not available to offer an opinion.
Directives that do not make "logical sense" are not optionalMy current understanding of parenting is that kids will remember direction better if I tell them some of the reasons for my direction.
The over-arching objective is that I am trying to transplant my value-map (my culture) into their heads.
Adding a few reasons makes the directions easier to remember.
Adding a few reasons increases the odds of the child being able to logically arrive at the correct action when circumstances vary at some time in the future.
The problems occur when the child infers that your direction is contingent upon your reasons. He decides that your directions are not valid if:
- You did not include reasons this time
- They do not understand your reasons
- You did not give them enough reasons
- They can think of any reason that is more compelling (to them) to do it a different way
Most kids test this. Most kids see the light with just a little bit of discussion.
"Well, Junior, I could tell you all of the reasons why you have a 10:30 curfew but we would still be standing here with me talking at you when 10:30 rolled around. Now, we can either have that long discussion or you can agree to do as I told you and you can have the use of the car."
Unfortunately, the people with the greatest faith in central planning are the ones who spend half of their lives in an educational setting. Educational methods use "reasons" for all of the same motives that parents use reasons. People who spent half of their lives in an educational setting are subject to all of the failings listed above. Further, they are oblivious to the fact that "reasons" are heavily edited to provide a smooth, compelling narrative. History is far messier when you are living it than it will appear on the pages of the text book. Perhaps it is because the used slaves are not available to offer our opinion.
Some things remain a mystery
A mystery is anything that is beyond human understanding.
The critical point is that no hurricane will stop and ask each victim, "Do you properly understand what is about to happen?" before it continues onward and kills them. Chaos does not need our approval or understanding before it messes with our lives.
It is difficult to find many compelling examples of how this works because mysteries tend to remain a nearly transparent fog. I will give it a shot, though, and oddly enough both examples involve fish.
If you read the Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder you might notice that "Pa" goes to great troubles and expense to buy the ingredients of their traditional holiday meal, Salt Cod. That seems odd given that the Ingalls family was several generations removed from New England.
Ma and Pa's ancestors were able to work longer, work harder and be more fertile than those families in the goiter belt who did not eat ocean fish.
Sometimes the best example is a failure
According to Jared Diamond one of the reasons the Norse colony on Greenland failed is that the inhabitants did not eat fish. It is a huge mystery. Here was a colony situated in the middle of one of the world's greatest fisheries and it starved to death. Big, fatty, high-calorie, easy to catch fish. The mystery deepens because Norse, in general, is a culture that enjoys eating vast quantities of fish.
Anthropologists have sifted through a couple of centuries worth of middens and have not been able to find so much as a single fish bone.
My pet theory is that the entire founding community became violently ill after eating fish that went blinky on them. It gets warm in the summer. Starting a colony is endless work. They may have caught a school of fish and just left them on the beach...went to work as long as the light held out. Near the Arctic circle that is almost twenty hours. Then they went down to the boats and feasted on partially cooked, spoiled fish.
Logical-sense told them that the fish swimming in the ocean around Greenland were poisonous.
We will never know the reasons. They are all dead now and they left now written record of why they did not eat fish. For one thing, they were not the kind of people who wrote down much more than family trees, date-of-birth and date-of-death. For another thing, they probably thought it was self evident. Eat one of those fish and puke your guts out for the next 48 hours.