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Pathologies of reason Print E-mail
By Benedict XVI   
Thursday, 05 September 2013

God or the divine can make for the absolutizing of one’s own power, one’s own interests. But there are pathologies of reason totally disconnected from God.  One would probably denominate Hitler as irrational. But the great explicators and executors of Marxism understood themselves very much as construction engineers, redesigning the world in accordance with reason. Perhaps the most dramatic expression of this pathology of reason is Pol Pot, where the barbarity of such a reconstruction of the world makes its most direct appearance.  But the evolution of intellect in the West, also, inclines ever more toward the destructive pathologies of reason.  Was not the atom bomb already an overstepping of the frontier, where reason instead of being a constructive power, sought its potency in its capacity to destroy?

When reason, now with the investigation into the genetic code, snatches at the roots of life, ever more does it tend to see human being, not any longer as the gift of God (or of Nature), but as a product to be made.  Man is “made,” and what man can make, he can also destroy.  In all this is the concept of reason made ever flatter.  Only what is verifiable, or to be more exact, falsifiable, counts as rational; reason reduces itself to what can be confirmed by an experiment.  The entire domain of the moral and the religious, belongs then to the realm of the “subjective” - it falls outside of common reason altogether. One no longer sees that as tragic for religion - each one finds his own - which means that religion is seen as a kind of subjective ornament, providing a possibly useful kind of motivation.  But in the domain of the moral, one seeks to be better.

 

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