Reason and Emotions II
|Rajesh Kasturirangan||Aug 14, 2006|
Lets continue this line of inquiry into the separation of reason and emotion. Intuitively speaking, whats the difference between rational inquiry and inquiry tainted by emotion? Most people would say something like “If you take a statement like 2+2 = 4, the truth of that statement does not depend on your current state of mind, on whether you believe in God or not etc. “
Furthermore, even the process of verification of a statement like 2+2=4 does not depend on your emotional state. Therefore, a rabid racist is willing to trust the arithmetic of a black store owner, even if he thinks that black men shouldn’t be owning stores in the first case. Surely this is a good thing, right?
Actually, I am not sure. The previous example reminds us that calculative forms of reasoning are like the other great equalizer — you guessed it right- money. The same racist person is also willing to take money from black people, for money is money is money. I would argue that money is an externalization of reason. So what? Well, for one, it becomes as hard to protest against unequal distributions of reasoning power as it does to protest unequal distributions of wealth. Didnt you know that all poor people are lazy? Why should I give any of my hard earned money to such lazy buggers?
Replace poor by stupid and you get the basic objection to reservations (affirmative action to those of you who dont know the Indian lingo) in higher education. Why should beings who are superior at rational thought (and accidentally of higher caste backgrounds) have to give way to stupid people of lower castes?
I think we have to take the idea that reason has an emotive shadow (and the same goes for money) in order to address these issues of reservation, caste, merit etc in a fair and just manner. And, I believe that the fair observer will agree that the emotional shadow, far from being the background, is actually part of the very thing itself. In other words, emotion is constitutive of reason.