To genuinely, fully comprehend something, a person allows herself to experience that thing in a significant and intentionally invested manner. True comprehension is an act of personal discovery which leads to internalized understanding. How ever unique to the person the experience may be, the sensations of that experience cannot be denied. And thus, the person’s comprehension cannot be argued or denied.
To reason is to apply explanations, justification, inference and intellectual analysis to a thing. Most often, these tools of reason are obtained from sources other than the reasoner’s personal experience. Reasoning is not so much an act of experience as it is one of observation and judgment formulated from various external sources and “authorities”. By its nature, reason is limited to the scope of theoretical speculation and accumulated data available from outside the reasoner. That is to say, unlike comprehension, which is founded in sensory-confirming experience, reasoning is bounded within a circle of second-hand information beyond which is ignorance.
Superstition is a belief resulting from ignorance. When a person chooses to speculate on the world beyond her own experiential comprehension of it, she immediately enters the realms of reason and superstition. As much as we are seemingly awash in a sea of reason — of evidence and proof and science and authorities — much of that seemingly irrefutable reason is frequently and rapidly disproven, revealing a basis in superstition. And yet, we quote these reasoning sources, we vote for them and we turn over the care of our bank accounts and our bodies to them. And when they fail us, we are again faced with the knowledge that without the confirmation of our own personal experience, we stood on thin ice that could not hold us.
There is much temptation to speak as though we comprehend something about the thousands of topics swirling around us in conversation and media. However, it’s probable that what we repeat from external sources will prove, in time, to be no more well-reasoned than simple short-lived superstition. In either case, the one who contributes this second-hand information only echoes someone else’s speculation.
Yet, the person who offers her own irrefutable insight from personal experience actually adds to the body of human understanding, or comprehension, in a vastly more useful and applicable way. It’s on the shoulders of such persons that those who continue to develop the evolution of mankind stand and grow.