There is a tendency, considered highly rational, to reason from a narrow set of interests, say survival and procreation, which are supposed to govern our lives, and then to treat everything that does not fit this model as anomalous clutter, extraneous to what we are and probably best done without. But all we really know about what we are is what we do. There is a tendency to fit a tight and awkward carapace of definition over humankind, and to try to trim the living creature to fit the dead shell. The advice I give my students is the same advice I give myself—forget definition, forget assumption, watch. We inhabit, we are part of, a reality for which explanation is much too poor and small. No physicist would dispute this, though he or she might be less ready than I am to have recourse to the old language and call reality miraculous
I do think reducing a human being, in whatever way, takes us into acting at a subhuman level. It’s this reduction of the miraculous, amazing, special individual to a data set of measurable parameters which lies at the core of a lot of our problems these days. (This is why I argue for a SEA CHANGE in our values).
Robert Solomon’s book is subtitled “Thinking Thin versus the Passionate Life” and in that, he nails it.
A data led, reduced, materialism is a poor, thin, inadequate way to live. What I argue for is a rich, passionate life of wonder and amazement – a miraculous life.