"What we do when we encounter these outcomes probably determines whether we drive ourselves crazy or sane."

I think, therefore I feel confused. Descartes apparently presumed much when proposing his now nearly infamous "I think, therefore I am" notion, for 'am-ing' seems to include much more than what might be properly represented in the Predicate Calculus. More people now deeply understand and employ logic than at any time in the history of the world so far, and what has that wash of Reasoning bought us? It does not seem to have brought us anything like the much-touted heaven on Earth early logicians might have presumed it might, for we seem to have neglected to purchase the Absurd Syllogism Insurance Rider which might have better protected us from ridiculous constructions leading to absurd conclusions. They say that we're all about data now and we increasingly seek computationally verifiable paths which seem to just about as reliably as prior methods, lead us into genuine Old Testament-quality temptation, even evil. Much of what I witness seems determined to defy any and all Reasoning, including but not exclusively those philosophies most firmly rooted in Reasoning. Our computers might be on the fritz.

While we might properly deduce much about our situations, much more remains beyond Reasoning.
So much seems to not logically follow from a given premise. Further, we seem to enjoy twisting the Reasoning tools we do possess (or which possess us) by proposing misleading premises. We ask demeaning questions which fail to inform us. The man who's never once even thought of, let along actually beaten his dog, cannot tell you when he stopping beating his pet, nor can any non-wife beater testify as to when he ceased torturing his spouse, yet we persist in begging such questions by initiating the inquiry around some fundamentally unprovable presumption. Ask the only barber who lives in the town where no-one shaves himself, who shaves him. Ask when peace might be restored to a world that has never once experienced peace. Ask any living person which one of them has demonstrated the patriotism to die for his country. Ask me to tell you when a half hour before mealtime will be.

I've been tangling with my nurse practitioner over just such an absurd presumption. She prescribed a medication which directs me to take it a half hour before breakfast and supper. I most often manage to swallow one of these pills about a half hour
after these meals, even though I've taken to carrying around a pill in my shirt pocket in anxious anticipation of this golden moment. You see, suppertime, for instance, does not yet exist and predicting it seems, based upon my experience so far, routinely impossible. I can only reliably predict it after the fact. I often recognize the exact moment when suppertime arrives, an instant that occurs precisely a half hour after I should have taken my medication, but since I cannot rewind the clock, I'm in that moment stuck with a dilemma which simply swallowing the pill won't resolve. I could delay suppertime by a half hour which will very likely result in either an overcooked filet or a cold one. I'm not alone in suffering the consequences, though. The Muse would have to consent to delaying her supper, too, or agree to just go on ahead without me. Truth told, though, so far, thinking about swallowing that pill completely vacates my consciousness in the flurry of final supper preparation. A perfectly reasonable injunction proves perfectly unreasonable in practice.

My nurse practitioner counsels me to become more diligent, but it seems to me that no amount of diligence could possibly resolve this class of dilemma, the root cause of which seems to reside in a silly proposition that one should be reliably able to predict when a half hour before suppertime comes. Even when I'm all by myself for supper, I almost always fail to accurately foresee, for preparing supper belongs to that class of experience which defies (or seems to defy) logical exposition. I'll know it after I've passed it, never just before, so Reasoning fails to properly inform me. Just yesterday, recharged by a fresh nurse practitioner injunction, I decided to really take charge. I carried one of those pills around for most of the morning, finally deciding at a quarter to ten that I would most likely be ready for breakfast (I was already starving then!) by ten fifteen. I startled out of my writing coma back into consciousness just before eleven, and managed to plate my breakfast closer to eleven thirty. Whatever goody that pill was supposed to impart had probably already washed out of my system.

My triglycerides managed to reduce themselves by a third anyway, but no Reasoning could possibly project how much lower they might have registered had I managed to perform as proposed. I suspect that nobody will ever know. I'm not resigned to failing at this exercise in futility, just acknowledging that this seemingly reasonable prescription could not possibly produce the desired results, and accepting that I inhabit a world situated somewhere beyond and slightly off to the side of Reasoning. Perhaps the best that I can produce in this situation amounts to an appearance of inadequate diligence, as perfectly reasonable a conclusion as I can imagine. And doesn't this world seem so situated? My experience seems little different from our shared experience. Reasoning often fails to produce desired results. What we do when we encounter these outcomes probably determines whether we drive ourselves crazy or sane.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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