Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 343–352 | Cite as

Two observations about human reason

  • Manfred O. Meitzen


The first observation is that existential reason has two principal strata. While the function of lower reason is primarily reasoning or logic, upper reason ponders emotions, the meaning of existence, the transcendent. Those whose understanding of reason is confined to lower reason are handicapped in coping with emotional and spiritual suffering. Upper reason is a necessary intellectual facility in the resolution of such suffering. The second observation is of thedialectical nature of reason, with which clinicians and theologians trade when pondering reality and in dealing with those they counsel. Yet, many people, especially Americans, are oblivious to the “both-and” reality of existence. Consequently they are not realistic about life nor are they skillful in dealing with their resulting existential conflicts. They are lost when psychological problems cannot be satisfactorily resolved by lower reason; for only upper reason can perceive and creatively integrate the dialectical tensions of existential problems.


Psychological Problem Human Reason Existential Problem Dialectical Tension Principal Stratum 
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Copyright information

© Institutes of Religion and Health 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manfred O. Meitzen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Program for Religious Studies, Medical SchoolWest Virginia UniversityMorgantown
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, Medical SchoolWest Virginia UniversityMorgantown

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