In the spirit of rational thinking

Rational professionals will come up with different rational explanations.

In the culture I grew up in much emphasis has been and is being laid on rational thinking. As such the importance of being able to think rationally is imperative. It is fascinating to observe how we rationalize our behaviour, our decisions that we make, in fact our whole way of living.

Why do we place so much faith into rational thinking? One possible answer may be that we believe that it is only the ratio that is able to convey a true picture of reality. In other words: if an event cannot be explained by the ratio then it is either ignored as false or placed in the realms of the unexplainable and therefore at best regarded as a one-off event.

It is in so far also fascinating to observe this phenomena, as quite often we actually make decisions solely based on our beliefs or our ego. Sometimes we make decisions also based on fear, attachment, aversion or sheer ignorance but most certainly not based on a rational mind, free from other underlying motives.

After having taken a decision – be it in terms of a future event, an opinion based on belief or whatever – we then legitimize our thinking by rationalizing the decision and giving it the appearance of objectivity.

We can observe this phenomenon in many instances. For instance take the discussion that two or more economists have on any current economic situation. Economists regard themselves as highly rational people. Why then can you have two economists and at least two totally different ‘rational’ opinions on any given economic situation? And both being totally convinced that they are right?  Furthermore, it doesn’t matter whether you are trying to explain the past, the present or the future.

Rational professionals will come up with different rational explanations! You can replace the economist with lawyer, doctor, engineer or any other professional. You will find the same (ir)rational situation on any topic.

So, what does this say about rationality? Is it therefore to be ignored? – By no means. Having a rational mind is one of the greatest gifts a human being is endowed with. However, it is often tainted with subjective factors, such as ego, fear, attachment, etc.

From a yogic point of view it can be said, that the less tainted a rational thought is the higher its true import. Therefore, if rational thinking is not clouded by wishful thinking, ego, personal aversions and fear or by ignorance the higher the probability that that thinking will correspond with true reality.

Therefore, the next time you are faced with a so-called rational analysis by a professional person: the analysis may or may not be correct and it may or may not reflect reality.  OM.