The American editor and craftsman Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) was a very wise and successful man. One of his editorials that appeared in his magazine "The Philistine" titled, "A message to Garcia" sold over 40 million copies. Based on the population back then, this would have been more like 100 million today. One day last week while doing research on the word "reason" I ran across another one of his quotations that really fired my imagination. He said, "Reason is the arithmetic of the emotions." In other words, when we are confronted with making a decision, the facts are weighed, our emotions are taken into account, and the decision is based on those aspects that are considered to be the most reasonable.
For example how many times have we heard someone say, "be reasonable" or "that does not make a lick of sense." It is within this context that the natural "law of reason" has a great impact on our daily lives. If you recall from previous columns, a natural law is "a series of events in nature that have been observed to occur with unvarying uniformity." To say it more simply, given the exact same circumstances the results or outcome will always be the same. What makes us successful as human beings is that we understand the various "natural laws" and apply and use them to our advantage.
From a practical and common sense standpoint, I believe you will agree that life is made up of good days and bad days. When the game of life deals us a bad hand, instead of sitting down and feeling sorry for ourselves, we should take stock of what we do have, then set about in an orderly fashion to make the most of it. A good example would be a baby boy that is born with only one leg. He may not have the same prospects for being a champion football quarterback as another born with two legs, yet that handicap may be special for him in some other direction.
Now, may I pose this question to you? Do you feel that what I have just shared is reasonable? If you do then you have some insight into the "law of reason." When life hands us a lemon or deals us a bad hand, we should avoid becoming bitter, but rather make the most of our situation. A successful person sees his or her opportunities in spite of their problems, but a failure only sees their problems. Either way, we do not become a success or failure overnight, rather it is the slow input of positive or negative thoughts over an extended period of time that will make it become a reality.
This is why one person who suffers a severe loss or setback is able to get back up, while another person may be completely defeated. Here is the central idea that I hope to make clear to you. The definition of the word reason means "that quality of sense and understanding which is the guiding and directing faculty of the mind." When reason is used properly it results in something we call judgment. Having good judgment literally means the difference between success and failure.
When God created each of us He placed within us the unique abilities to think, to reason, to plan and to make choices. When we do not develop and use these unique abilities, we must by necessity rely on our instincts, our emotions and our hunches. If you know people who are more or less controlled by omens, signs and superstitions, then you know they are usually very unstable in their day-by-day lives. The good news is that God has given us the capacity to understand the "law of reason" and as a result of developing this unique ability we can make sound judgments. Apart from life itself, what could be more important?