Aug 4, 2007

Rationality and Irrationality

When you begin to dig deep in the worldview and perception of rationals and irrationals, you find two very different worlds.

Irrational types

The irrational worldview is accepting of wild, untamed nature. Irrational types perceive themselves to be part of this wild nature which exists outside of any laws, descriptions, ethics, and other bounds on what should or should not be. Irrational types are open to unexpected, spontaneous displays of this reality and feel that they cannot even know what to expect from themselves, as their own nature is wild and untamable just like the rest of reality.

Irrationals are always somewhat skeptical of norms, rules, exact formulations, and conventions, considering them to be an approximation of "wild reality" rather than a form of Truth. They expect that in some circumstances rules and conventions may be superceded or completely replaced, depending on factors that cannot be foreseen.

This worldview is expressed in many different ways in day-to-day behavior:

  • placing less importance on completing tasks (since nothing really begins or ends in wild nature)
  • less emphasis on making final decisions (since unknown circumstances may affect any situation)
  • periods of high activity followed by listlessness and a lack of direction (since changing circumstances may suddenly create ideal conditions for certain activities, and the irrational's psyche is prepared to jump in and exploit these circumstances and "rest up" afterwards)
  • more allowance for unforeseen moods and circumstances that may affect interaction and communication; irrationals do not jump into communication without scanning the situation first (since they are not thinking about norms and purposes relating to the situation, but rather their immediate impressions)

Rational types

The rational worldview is skeptical and often fearful of wild, untamed nature. Rational types perceive themselves as being apart from wild nature and trying to introduce order and culture to reality so that people can use it and live in it. Rational types feel that unexpected, spontaneous displays of reality need to be kept in check and altered to suit society's purposes. This includes elements of "wild nature" within people as well. In order to allow for order and effective activity and societal interaction, people need to submit their wild, unpredictable impulses to reason and ethics.

Rationals take norms, rules, formulations, and conventions quite seriously. They do not feel that people should be able to ignore these things on a whim just because they feel like it, since such behavior can potentially lead to a complete breakdown of effective cooperation.

This worldview is expressed in different ways in day-to-day behavior:

  • placing importance on completing what has been begun (since this is an expression of man's rational, purposeful nature and creates more order in the universe)
  • placing emphasis on the decision making process (another expression of the primacy of reason over wild nature)
  • steady, purposeful activity that cannot be interrupted and broken off easily (since the rational makes less provision for the unexpected and does not let himself be easily swayed by unforeseen circumstances)
  • less allowance for unforeseen moods and circumstances that may affect interaction and communication; rationals tend to jump into communication without scanning the situation first (since they are basing their initial behavior on norms and purposes relating to the situation rather their immediate impressions)

1 comment:

thehotelambush said...

This conception of rationality is very similar to the Enlightenment-age meaning of it. In fact, part of that view is that the world too is rational, following rules and order of its own), and that the purpose of mankind (purpose--a good rational word) is to describe that order.

From the rational POV, spontaneity is not bad, per se, but it has its place, like everything else, and people who try to create it at the expense of whatever purpose has been decided on are seen as disruptive and pointless. But not only that, there is *always* an implicit norm or reason behind a person's actions, even if it is not obvious to the person himself. This is something irrationals sometimes naively deny ("I just felt like it--I can't explain why"), in the same way that rationals believe that the norms are usually simple and universal.