Wednesday, March 23, 2011


An article about reality of rationality, posted by my good friend pushed me into further depths to see bit more clearly what rationality is. There are people like Bertrand Russell and Friedrich Nietzsche who promoted rational thinking vigorously. But were they wholly rational in their thoughts? If they were, were they rational in their deeds?  Russell married a number of times in his long life of almost a hundred years, and I think all his five marriages failed. Could he not, - a genius, rational thinker - be rational regarding his own expectations from a marriage, having written with so amazing logic and clarity, the effects and influences of religious, cultural and social beliefs on a marital relationship, in his controversial book "Marriage and Morals" making it seldom easy for any intellectual person to question his views and reason? Or, was he experimenting with marriages to find out the truth? And Nietzsche makes me think that he was a woman hater. Look at his famous quote - "Ah, women! they make your highs higher and lows frequent". There is also a story inside his famous story "Thus Spake Zarathushtra", the protagonist in an argument with an old woman, in which he condemns women in every possible way, though finally the woman wins the argument. What is rational in hating women? What is rational in hate itself? After all the relationship between man and woman is natural, (sic) rational and complimentary to life on earth.

I am a rationalist. Rather it would be more correct if I say, I wish to be called a rationalist. Know why? It is seldom possible for a conditioned mind to be unconditioned. Yes, the mind, ie., me, has to be irrational. But is it possible for a mind to be rational when its very birth takes place in irrationality? There is no (thinking) mind when a child is born. Mind takes birth after the child is born, when the child uses the genetic inputs in the cell programmed to react in a particular way to the prevailing environment, to record the event in the form of memory. From this point on, mind or the person takes shape with all the external influences stored in the form of memory for future use. The most of the influence is from nearest people around. And 100% of the people around, that matter most for a child to develop 'thinking', belong to one or other faith, tradition and culture, all of which are full of irrational beliefs. So for a mind that is irrational right from its base, is it really possible to be wholly rational?

What is rationality, rational thinking? Bertrand Russell defines it something like,- to believe something which stands all tests, primarily scientific, as real is rational and that which does not stand test of time and circumstances is just a belief, irrational which may or may not be real. For me even science is irrational. For this statement of mine, you are very well at your liberty to declare that my thinking is flawed or skewed; it is your privilege. You are welcome even if you think I am a fit case to be in a mental asylum! But science goes on discovering a new theory displacing the previous one to fall wayside. Till then they have all relied on the previous one. Is that rational? For almost a century, it is believed that atom consists of a static nucleus and revolving electrons. This concept of protons and electron has fallen wayside about a decade back. To put it vaguely, scientists are now miffed by the truth of the same particle existing simultaneously at two places inside an atom, pushing Einstein into side wings! Almost entire modern science had relied heavily on Einstein's E= MC squared  theorem. Now this theorem is under serious threat of extinction! What then is rational about science? The new is discovered on the belief of the old, is that rational?

To be in a lighter vein, I remember of a friend who boasted that she was practicing meditation since the age of fourteen  every morning at three, nonstop. She was in her early fifties at that time when she became my friend through Internet. We used to discuss a lot of spirituality through mails and messenger chat. When the friendship became closer, she revealed her scorn against the alcoholism of her husband, who used to tell her why crack your head in spirituality when life is there simply to enjoy! This man's thinking is very rational, is it not? Live in this moment! And when this friend of mine became highly disturbed because her son declared his intentions to marry his Muslim girlfriend (both lived in the US), it was irrational side of her so called spiritual mind; at least I look at it that way, because she had not seen in her long years of meditation that nothing in this world belongs to her, being possessive is irrational, right?

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