Blog entry by Alan Chapman
Rational - it's not what it seems...
Rational thinking is generally far less reliable than thinking based on experience.
In other words, we more reliably understand and manage anything by practical experience - what we can see and touch and experience for ourselves - than by rational thinking.
It's basically practical versus theoretical.
Practical is real. Theoretical is merely hypothesis - it's not real.
Forecasting and projecting is not reliable. Seeing and touching and experiencing is reliable.
Rational thinking is very limited
Rational means: "based on reason or logic' - from Latin 'ratio' = reckoning or reason.
In some situations 'rational' is sensible.
It's rational and sensible not to drink boiling water. We can use rational thought and logic to predict that drinking boiling water would harm us.
In more complex matters, such as national government and education, the rational thinking of a leadership is not a sensible way to make decisions, because rational thinking and logic - especially based on ideaologies and dogmas - cannot predict outcomes.
In complex matters, experience and practical application are much more reliable ways to achieve successful outcomes, i.e., outcomes that do not create more harm than good.
In short, globally, in 'developed' nations, humans have become too clever for our own good.
We apply rational thinking to complex situations, and we make mistakes.
Leaderships, and the masses that unquestioningly follow leaderships, believe in rational thinking - and a top-down' theoretical approach - by which to manage economics, education, ecosystems and societies. But this approach ignores what is happening in a real practical experiential sense, and which varies enormously between communities and regions and cultures, etc.
We think we know how to live and 'control' life and the world, but we do not.
I suggest that being 'rational' - in the sense that most people understand the word - reasoned and logical - is not helpful for human systems, or in most cases for humans individually, because:
- Humans actually cannot reason and use 'logic' very well.
- We see everything according to how we are, not how everything is.
- And if this approach is trusted and concentrated in the control of s small number of leaders and their systems, then huge mistakes are made.
In modern times humans have created an almost totally connected and interdependent world.
It's optimized and fragile, like anything that's held together by lots of complex things that behave extremely unpredictably, involving countless variables. The human world has become a complex single system that relies on no tiny element failing, or the entire system is at risk.
This is just like a motor car, or other complex machine. If one of its crucial interdependent elements fails, such as the electrics, or drive, or steering, or fuelling, then the whole thing fails, and if it's moving at any speed, or in a precarious situation, then it crashes.
The work of Nick Duffell (https://woundedleaders.co.uk/) explains how the rational approach to government and economics, established as a global effect by the British Empire and slavery, etc., and sustained in the UK today, has become so dangerous for the health of the UK's society and economics, and internationally too.
Certainty, predictability and control
I'm suggesting that nothing in human living is predictable.
We can predict that the sun will shine or that the rain will fall sometime, and that each of us will die, and that gravity causes a rock to fall when dropped, but we cannot predict most of what human life is.
Nor we can 'model' (forecast, project, etc) anything complex reliably, especially using computers.
I'm also suggesting that - based on 'rational' beliefs - human systems behave in ridiculously silly ways, because:
- the vast majority of people,
- especially political and economic leaders,
- simply do not understand life, world, universe and everything as it all actually is,
- they instead understand life, world, universe and everything according to how they feel and think about themselves.
- humans, communities, societies, organisations and human systems,
- from the smallest and most personal, such as friendships and families,
- to the largest, such as global organisations and global politics and economics and religions,
- behave according to individual and collective biases,
- rather than what is actually real.
And so humanity:
- while over thousands of years, in many ways is becoming more 'civilized' and less obviously and violently barbaric,
- is also becoming more destructive, to itself and other life on Earth,
- evidenced by the numbers of people globally who die prematurely and preventably.
The modern very precarious state of human existence, is based on and caused by:
- our collective incorrect beliefs,
- becoming actions,
- formed to satisfy personal needs,
- to optimize what we believe we want,
- and especially to minimize fears (ultimately of death and dying),
- to create personal illusions of certainty and control,
- and a 'life balance' of choices for this purpose.
In other words:
Most people are highly sensitive to uncertainty and seek to 'control' it, and highly driven to maximize what we believe (usually wrongly) is 'good for us, and so collectively the majority of humanity:
- sustains structures and ways of life - and especially sustains leadership of politics and economics,
- for all people,
- that are unhealthy and unnatural (i.e., for which we are not evolved or designed),
- and also which are unsustainable,
- as to planet Earth's ecosystems being able to support humanity,
- in the way we constantly collectively choose,
- especially by unquestioning acceptance and default,
- we conspire in sustaining,
- (including significantly our brainwashing and conditioning through every generation),
- the unsustainable 'progress' of humanity and the 'human planet' (Anthropocene),
- i.e., modern humanity and its ways of life.
Rational theories are interesting to explore, in the sense that they explain human decision-making, based on subjective preferences, rather than what is actually real and true.
There are very good reasons - practical, experiential - for questioning the ways that we are governed so centrally and autocratically and remotely, by rationality and opinion, rather than by devolved empowerment and education.
Ask questions. Think independently for yourself.
Challenge the conditioning and brainwashing that has persisted for decades and centuries, through the generations.
Governments do not know the answers for communities.
Governments at best know only how to stay in power and to operate systems of government.
Governments do not understand education, health, and economics, except in ways that protect government power, and enrich the leaders of governments.
In this blog section there are many other references to explore, so that you can think more and deeper about these matters.