How do we know that we reason without reasoning about reason?

The text below is a comment I posted in response to Hope for the Future: Balancing Scientific Temper and Spiritual Wisdom:

Many of the scientists and mathematicians that established the foundations of our modern world also contemplated the nature of consciousness and the Absolute. This is a fact worth emphasizing to those with and without faith.

The scientific community’s conscious decision to solely consider the observable, measurable and reasonable has led to significant advances, but for what purpose?

Human reasoning has limits, especially when the major premise of such reasoning is restricted to a self-conception based upon observable phenomena. But what is the nature of the observer (consciousness) apart from the observed phenomena? In other words, how do we know that we reason without reasoning about reason?

Science will have to address such questions through synthesis, as you have suggested. Thankfully, there is a developing trend entitled “contemplative science” which draws upon the introspective methods long established by monastic traditions, including Hinduism and Buddhism.

If the contemplative method of inquiry is pursued sincerely, science may finally consider an alternate premise: Absolute truth does not concede to our limited experience—it is at least as conscious as we are. Being so conscious the Divine must have will and must will to joy. If the Divine wills to joy, then all purpose must be centered upon participating. Therefore, knowledge of how to participate must necessarily descend from the Divine himself. And above all, permission to participate in the joyful play of the Divine must be granted, never assumed.

At the end of reasoning lies a humble petition to the very knowledge we seek to grasp: an appeal to be possessed by that knowledge itself.

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