This I Believe

Evan - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 1, 2008

A Reasonable Belief

“There are two doors: the door to your right leads to the Source and to the salvation of Zion. The door to your left leads back and to the Matrix; to [Trinity] and to the end of your species. As you adequately put it, the problem is choice.”

In the Matrix Reloaded, Neo is confronted with two choices: to save his lover, or to save mankind. The Architect, representing reason, expects him to make the logical decision (saving the greater number of people). Neo surprises him by choosing the “wrong” door, which, given the end of the movie, really turns out to be the “right” door. By trusting his heart and soul, Neo is able to save everyone instead of trusting his logic.

The gift of man is reason, but like anything entrusted to humans, it can be misused. For instance, two people arguing opposing sides will inevitably appeal to reason to get their point across. You are trying to buy a new car and you have the choice of getting a 4-wheel drive or not: the car with all-wheel drive is more expensive and carries other benefits like 5-star safety ratings; the other car is much less expensive. In this problem, you would take into account how much money you want to spend versus the benefits of extra safety and 4-wheel drive, even the color and make of the car, and come to a decision based on your reasoning. In many situations, one side will become more attractive than the other and this manifests itself through the debaters’ arguments (here, the advertising), but what happens when both sides are equally appealing… or not appealing as in Neo’s dilemma? For those of us who are not able to apply logic as skillfully as Socrates, and therefore determine the better argument easily, listening and reacting to the arguments and beliefs of others is inevitable.

I firmly believe that logic can be manipulated to go against the things that the soul knows instinctively and is therefore dangerous if misapplied. Your mind is particularly weak in that a superior argument will easily appeal to it through reason. This is where your soul comes in: to act as a safeguard. Once an argument has been taken in, it must then appeal to the soul, which I believe to be the essence of self. If the soul concurs with logic, one deems the point as being “accepted.”

Of course, the soul has weaknesses too, and trusting your soul (intuition) too much is a bad idea. As a human being, it is essential to embrace both the soul and the mind to decide on a matter. When it comes to making a difficult decision, allow yourself the luxury of irrationality: you might save the rest of the rational world.