arguments, discussions, emotions, reason

Rationality Reeking

Lily Chang © 2018

Brief and to the point. That is my goal, here.

I have often heard, in personal conversations and in academic discourse, that rationality — using reason — should be the driving force behind any discussion, whether in written or oral form. It’s paraded and exalted as objective and impartial, unlike emotions, which can be unpredictable and seems to be inconsistent.

I’m not arguing that reason is useless or that it shouldn’t be used.

What I do want to suggest is that rationality, or more accurately, those who use it, are not using it in a pure or impartial way, detached from any personal gain or agenda.

When reason or the use of it isn’t monitored and checked closely, mutually assured destruction is almost inevitable.

I’ve seen evidence and arguments well-crafted and presented in the courtroom, on both sides, to the point where I can’t see straight and I have no way of discerning what really happened. And, I don’t say that lightly. My training and Doctoral coursework were in philosophy, specifically the analytic tradition.

To give another example, I’ve witnessed narcissists and addicts, in the public forum and in my life, use allegedly rational arguments to manipulate and dupe people into buying their stories, even though much concrete evidence pointed to the contrary.

So, hold rationality carefully and gingerly. And, don’t be so eager to dismiss or cast out feelings and emotions as unreliable, insignificant, or invaluable.

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