By Mudasir Sheikh
The literal meaning of the word rational is to think logically. So, rational thinking is a capacity to strictly follow the principles of validity. This makes some sense in case of scientific disciplines like physics, chemistry and mathematics. While in the case of non-scientific aspects of our life, the concept of rationality is actually “relative” with respect to the frame of the reference. The same argument can be rational for someone and biased for another. Being honest is considered to be a rational thought, but why should one remain honest in a business deal when it may result in decreased profits. As far as the physical laws governing gravity, time and space, the speed of light, the behavior of subatomic particles is concerned; they are thought to be strictly following the laws of physics that can be completely described by mathematical equations. But, a deep and comprehensive understanding of these subjects reveals a disturbing story. Actually, it contradicts with the rational understanding of some greatest scientists that humanity has ever produced.
It is very difficult to follow the rules of validity that are considered to be rational, but actually they are vague and inefficient to explain reality, as in the case of Black holes. Black holes are most extreme places in the whole universe where mathematics and our understanding of physics is thrown out of the window. A super massive black hole is found at the center of every galaxy and there are millions of smaller ones spread all across every galaxy. Einstein’s equations of general relativity completely break down in case of a black hole. The equations of generally relativity state that “the Ricci curvature tensor minus one half the metric tensor times the contracted curvature tensor is proportional to stress-energy tensor” which simply means that the curvature in space around any object like a star, black hole or universe is proportional to the concentration of matter and energy contained within the object. These equations conclude that gravity is infinite at the center of a black hole, so time and space makes no sense there. According to Einstein, all the matter in a black hole is contained within infinitely small point that takes no space at all. This impossible object of infinite density and infinite gravity is referred to as the “singularity”. The laws of physics as we know them completely break down and equations make no sense at all. Einstein denied the existence of Black hole as he thought that Mother Nature cannot allow them to exist. But, as t science progressed we know the existence of black holes is real. So, it is easy to conclude that the rationality and thought experiments of Einstein that changed the course of history , at some point, are actually incomplete for understanding the whole picture. It is impossible to understand the whole stuff with rationality alone. There must be a supernatural entity that is governing the universe which is beyond the scope of the current rational laws of physics and mathematics.
In addition to science, there are other various aspects of our daily life that are influenced by social science disciplines like economics. Our international monetary system is composed of the international banking system, private capitalism, and fiat currency. Those who are benefiting from the monetary system like western countries justify it as a rational model of an economy based on logical economic principles. But, on the other hand various other countries like Russia, China and Iran considered the system as a form of exploitation, thus portraying it as a vague and illogical system which only benefits a few at the cost of rest of the humanity. It is difficult to decide which side is right. Whether personal gains or mass prosperity is a right indicator of rationality is a difficult question to answer.
Western economists considered it a rational model as it has tremendously benefitted them and they are now framing the curriculum and textbooks that are portraying g the system as a blessing for the human race. On the other hand, the critiques of the system have put forth some claims regarding wealth inequality, fractional reserve banking and limitations of fiat currency for proving the system as a fraud and illogical one. Who will decide whether personal gain or mass prosperity is a fundamental principle of rationality? Our common sense will guide us to select mass prosperity as a real pillar for rationality. But, without the backing of a strong entity which has command over all our aspects of our life that too with some strong justification, it is extremely difficult to formulate the principles of ethics, morality, and rationality. Humans are not bound to follow some particular dogma but we must obey a system that will put forth some extraordinary justification for leading our scientific and non-scientific aspects of our lives.
The dilemma of rationality can’t be solved without involving the nature itself. Nature is guiding the multiverse since the origin of everything at the time of big-bang. Nature is the best place to find the principles of rationality, ethics, and morality. If we considered religion as a source of knowledge for natural laws then there are hundreds of religions all across our planet. How to choose a right one, again poses a dilemma. Actually, all religions are comprised of three things; Faith, Worship, and Rituals. But these three things do not explain the dilemma of rationality related to the international monetary system. There is only one religion in the world that has three additional components namely social system, economic and political system, which makes it a Deen (way of life). No religion in the world is explaining the structure of the economic, social and political institution of the society. If we bring Islam into the game for discussing the concept of rationality, the puzzle can be easily solved. But without the support of Islam, it is impossible to frame the universal principles of rationality, morality, and ethics. Without Islam, everything can be explained with a particular frame of reference so there isn’t anything that can be universally accepted as a standard for Rationality.
The importance of religion cannot be ruled out as there are hundreds of occasions in our daily lives that can’t be understood without strictly following the tenets of a true religion. From cultural aspects like woman’s modesty to some complex scientific problems like the understanding the laws that are preventing the formation of a working time machine, the puzzle of double slit experiment and the development of a fairer economic system. These things have been framed and governed by nature, so it is wise to bend ourselves towards the ultimate reality of universal existence. It is a proven fact that in-depth knowledge of science makes you a believer in God and a little knowledge of science makes you an atheist.
—The author is an Independent Researcher. He can be reached at: [email protected]