People ascribe to the mind different identities, different definitions, different natures, and different abilities. Therefore, when they consider the issues of human life, they neglect this basic difference, and immediately go to discuss social, economic, politics, science, technology and art. However, wisdom requires that one explain the reasons for the difference in the major intellectual perceptions that are active in human civilizations. Why do people differ in understanding the principles of human life, realizing the purposes of historical existence, and managing the faltering conditions of society in the contemporary human city?
Therefore, it is necessary to reconsider the status of reason before people discuss their dangerous differences in the meanings of human life. This is because every definition of reason entails a certain conception of existence, life, and history. It is useful to recall the basic definitions used by human thought in determining the identity of the mind. Some philosophical doctrines are satisfied with defining the mind as a neutral machine, a research tool, or an investigative cognitive means that allows us to approach the world that surrounds us and contemplate its things, beings, assets and events. Others add to this instrumental definition the characteristic of a discriminatory reference that allows us to judge things in a judgment based on basic rational principles. However, this judgment is not valid unless one assumes that the mind contains a collection of original principles, essential ideas, guiding values, basic knowledge, and organizing contents. As for the fourth and final definition, it suffices to say that the mind is a creative exploratory vitality that includes the ability to self-motivate and the energy of leaping and renewing.
It is clear that the second and third definitions generate the original difference between civilizations in understanding the issues of human existence. That is because when we declare that the mind contains, at the very beginning of its formation, principles, ideas, values, knowledge, and contents that qualify it to judge matters in a decisive and discriminatory manner, we realize that we are confronted with different assumptions adopted by every human civilization claiming that the contents of the mental mind are drawn in this way or that. Those who say that the human mind, by merely implementing critical analytical thought on the facts of life, forbids euthanasia, for example, are not content to verify the hidden postulates they suppose to be active in the very structure of the mind. Those who say that this mind also condemns Western liberalism, and tends spontaneously to either communism, or to socialism, or to the ecological system, do not accept that they review the original assumptions that inhabit their consciousness, making them ascribe to the human mind this or that definition.
It is useful to recall what the French philosopher Descartes (1596 – 1650) said in this regard, when he declared that the human mind contains innate ideas or original facts embedded in the core of its structure. Among these facts is self-reflection (cogito), that is, the act of contemplation, which is absolutely not permissible to question. Including also the idea of God, which ensures the credibility of the process of self-reflection. It also includes the universal mathematical principles. Accordingly, the mind contains, in the view of Descartes, a set of original and subjective ideas that cannot be denied. On the basis of such a definition, those who do not believe in the reality of self-awareness, or do not believe in God, or do not believe in mathematical principles, rules and conclusions, become like those who oppose the realities of reason, i.e. in a situation that contradicts mental integrity.
Hence, the most serious epistemological issue is that some people claim that they are able to define the mind in a way that suits the feelings, tastes, and approvals that inhabit their consciousness without permission, and which they inherit from their parents and are comfortable with in their heritage. Undoubtedly, the most serious intellectual problem is reflected in this question: Do ideological perceptions force the mind to define itself in a way that fits the facts that these tribal perceptions adopt? Or does the mind generate ideologies according to its critical self-reflection vitality? What is the relationship between reason and ideology? Which one comes first to initiate and subjugate the other, people and societies?
In this context, I must also evoke the German philosopher Gadamer (1900-2002), who drew the conclusion that the entire language used by a people is the same as the mind. This is beautiful, even if it is dangerous. This is because the mind becomes identifiable with the words, vocabulary, conventions, and phrases that the language stores. If every language has a mind that matches it, then every civilization has a mind that expresses its identity and subjectivity.
Therefore, we can formulate this eloquent equation: Tell me how you define the mind and what you embellish it, and I will tell you what the broadest intellectual conception you relied on and adopted! However, people do not like to go too far in investigating the processes of the mind. I do not see them prefer to strip their minds of the cognitive clothes and the affiliational alliances and ideological pledges that guarantee them the graceful order in the confusing paths of existence. It is certain, in this case, that unanimity in defining reason establishes civilizational unity, consolidates national cohesion, and enhances social harmony. Above all, such unanimity relieves man from the confusions of anxiety that squeeze his consciousness, shake his perceptions, and weaken his integrity.
To sum up, human societies, before entering the field of civilized intellectual dialogue, should take a bold and objective look at the identity they attach to the mind, the nature they attribute to it, the abilities they bestow on it, and the immutable facts they assume in it. Only such frank critical work absolves the dialogue of civilizations from the hardships of confusion, confusion, and the ordeals of puns, camouflage, equivocation, deception, and hypocrisy. In addition to all this, it is necessary to critically consider the ideological exploitation of the mind that enslaves it and cuffs it with chains of interests and benefits. Reason must remain the title of freedom in the human being, which he uses in order to enhance his comprehensive emotional harmony, and document the human community based on the recognition of the universal human rights law and the recognition of difference as a way to coexistence, cross-fertilization and self-development, and control the path of openness to the world and its facts, requirements and challenges.
Can we, in the end, agree on what the mind should contain in the minimum necessary postulates useful in safeguarding human dignity, fostering existential equality, and promoting brotherhood, justice and universal solidarity? The truth is that all human civilizations have endeavored to extract the contents of the human meaning and entrust them in their literary, philosophical and artistic heritage. However, the specificity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights allows us to extract the minimum of the highest human contents that should be unanimously agreed upon so that the human mind may be freed from tendentious additions, ambiguous references, and utilitarian additions. Let us put at the heart of the mind the principles of these universal law, and strive to support them, without wasting our energy and our lives in order to subject others to facts that we claim are from the core of the mental structure, while the wise know that they are the manufacture of the dominant ideological passion.
– Lebanese writer and thinker