Reason? I once sat down in a chair, a familiar chair, positioned in a comfortable nook of my home. It was mid autumn, neither too chill nor oppressively humid, I had nowhere to go and so I focused on the rather ludicrous pursuit of ‘reason in Being’. Arrogance precedes both reason and ‘Being’; Swifts may chase insects, but I doubt they squander their hours pondering the ‘reason in Being’. Hedgehogs shuffle gladly in the dark for juicy grubs, but not often are they to be spied reflecting upon the rejection of reason or ‘Being’. Why? I would wager, creatures like the Swift and Hedgehog are not blighted by arrogance, but they can they experience ‘Being’ without arrogance? Then it struck me, people are insane, we’ve always been this way and it might be the single most valid evidence behind our identity of ‘Being’. When we pursue ‘Being’ we are like children in the dark, amazed by everything, surprised by everything. Carl Jung wrote…
“…As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere Being…”
Ontologically speaking, the pursuit of ‘Being’ will invariably make the explorer more acutely aware of their own latent insanity. That is the darkness that resides at the core of ‘mere Being’. Because the kernel of our quest, the pursuit of essence in the minutiae, is madness. Academics are largely shielded from this mania by the material trimmings and idealistic reassurances of pedagogy. Textbooks, frameworks, paradigms, comfort in agreement, are very potent poultices. It is a glaring and painful absurdity to believe, that you can experiment with the very essence of your ‘Being’ and not be in some way disfigured by the exploration. You are not hypothetical, but you might very well be at the whim of your ancestral lunacy. Is it better to be clever and wrong or deranged and right?
Does a Hedgehog suffer insanity, can it have ‘Being’, does a Swift possess reason and if so do they experience the essence of ‘Being’ and the elevation of reason as I do, as we latter day Homo Sapiens do? No I feel they can not, because to explore ‘Being’ in any authentic sense, you must as a base prerequisite be afflicted by the capacity for an elevated mania. It is not the capacity to verbally reflect upon our history that separates Man from Beast, no it would be more accurate to say, it is our inherited insanity. This insanity is a gift from an invisible deity, who dwells in an invisible realm and this being has done so for an unfathomable expanse of eternity.
So I sat there, trying to muster the validity of ‘Being’ that might be experienced by the mercurial Swift or indeed the stoic Hedgehog. I began laughing, not a pleasant laughter, not it was something quite hideous. It was laughter, but a glee marred with a dumb kind of pathetic doubt. Because there was and still is a very real and potent stupidity underlying my question.
Motivation? So, if you require a neat lineage, I’d put it as thus; arrogance, reason/being and finally motivation. You could argue, ‘well without ‘being’ or the delusion there of, how could you acquire arrogance; arrogance being a character trait, surely?’. If we were indeed made in the image of some intangible deity, then we came predisposed with arrogance, not so much .being’. We have constructed a ghoulish mire, in each of us a sublime illusion of cognitive essence. So, motivated by arrogance, drunk on being, aroused by reason I sat in that chair and I stopped laughing because I became acutely self aware and I felt embarrassed, even in isolation as I was. I felt a strange Lovecraftian foreboding with my endeavour. Are the almost shameful notions of ‘reason’ and ‘Being’ synonymous with each other, indeed inseparable? Even in my easy chair, I was a bumbling maniac, and it struck me that our search for ‘Being’ is very much a journey to the mouth of madness. There is a rather poignant quote from the bible, which succinctly sums up Mans exploration of ‘Being’ and so we have as thus…
“… “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. “I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him” Matthew 17:14-18.
We can’t be cured of our madness and we surely will not resolve the horror and tension being our ‘Being’. This kind of peculiar horror is softened by our arrogance. But what would motivate somebody along the pernicious journey into ‘Being’? Only arrogance could possible befuddle our senses so completely that we’d even dare contemplate it. Because if you settle yourself into an easy chair one autumn afternoon, with nothing better to do. If you dig deep and resolve yourself not to be deterred by intellectual shame, then you will be blighted by a succour of terror! In that, you will come to a very abstract and wholly unsatisfactory conclusion, and you will know that we are hypothetical entities. We are surely cursed with an incurable lust for ‘reason’ and ridiculed by a misplaced belief in our own ‘Being’. In truth we are all amateur solipsists trying to kindle a light in the darkness of our own manic idiocy.