# Take on Rationality

So what is the probability of, anywhere during a billion years, finding a snow cone inside the Sun where every combination of energy has been given “opportunity” to express itself within the “crowd”?

Ok, so you want to anthropomorphise energy - I can probably work with that for now.

Personally I’ve never looked around the sun, nor do I know anyone who could - perhaps even in the next billion years, but perhaps that’s just my bad imagination.

But even that aside, exploration of the whole area (e.g. the sun in your proposed case) doesn’t mean finding every single possible existing thing in the universe. It just means that if you’re an irrational sun-dwelling being (such as a combination of energy?) and you have some way of detecting what other combinations of energy have been up to, that you might want to do, then the most efficient lowest common denominator paths are going to end up showing themselves to you over time…

In short, your reply doesn’t really seem to have anything much to do with my thread. Please do explain its relevance.

The “snow cone” is a rational construction (metaphorically).
The “Sun” is the Chaos of the irrational crowd.

What’s the probability of finding a rational construction inside the chaos of the irrational crowd, within which every combination of energy has had at least a billion years to “express itself”?

Er… so you’re asking what’s the probability of pathways emerging from chaos given a really really long time? Well as long as we’re sticking to irrational beings who can detect and be influenced by the findings of others (e.g. bees and other swarms). Pretty much 1, I guess. Why?

Why would any physicist disagree that there would ever have been a snow cone in the center of the Sun?

So we’re talking about the centre of the sun now? If we’re still speaking metaphorically then sure, why would a physicist disagree that rational constructions would ever occur in the middle of sun-like chaos?

Center, surface, take your pick, but yeah…

Your stated theory was that rationality arises from irrationality, “naturally”, right? A Nietzschean concept; “Order from Chaos”.
I am asking why in certain cases, it clearly doesn’t.
And since there are cases where it doesn’t - ever, there must be more than chaos/irrationality in the mix when order/rationality actually does arise so as to distinguish it from the situations where it will never arise.

Rationality arises from irrationality? - yes in situations where irrational beings can detect and be influenced by the findings of others, as I keep saying and explained in the opening post.

In general though? - like where beings can’t detect and be influenced by the findings of others, or where “beings” aren’t living but particles/waves/whatever?
Well there’s certainly the second law of thermodynamics to say that these kinda things eventually reach equilibrium (might take longer than 1 billion years in some cases, like the sun) - but this isn’t even what I’m talking about.

I think it’s time to head back away from personifying “combinations of energy” in general, and get back to my thread.

As far as I know it’s got nothing to do with Nietzsche, but none of his books that I’ve read came before The Gay Science so I don’t really know about the whole Apollo/Dionysus dialectic where things like “order from chaos” might have come up.

Interesting take, including what I have not quoted. This spot I found exciting/confusing. Why? Well - it would seem to me that if rationality starts by considering a limited number of variables, then intuition must be part of rationality. Otherwise some process of consciously eliminating - and justifying the elimination of - variables would precede/be this process of elimination. And I do think that rationality must include intuition - as one simple problem: in its absence there would always be infinite regresses.

Then turning to irrationality: I’m interested in what you see as some concrete examples. It seems to me irrational people can rule out variables from the beginning - either via poor intuition or on poorly thought out grounds. I see very few people actually open to all possibilities. It seems to me people narrow the field from the getgo regardless of their epistemology. So I wonder what you mean here.

Would you say, then, that evolution is irrational?

Is being inhibited rational? If it isn’t then is rationality rational?

Doesn’t that bolded part make them inherently rational rather than irrational?

As Moreno is pointing out, there is a problem concerning the definition of “irrational”.

You mean that reason must originate in intuition, otherwise there would be an infinite chain of reasons to precede every reason? If so, then I agree.
And whilst intuition can seem reasonable in hindsight, it “originates” without reason. It is irrational, though it can be rationalised - reason must fundamentally originate in unreason lest it claim infinite regress (if looked at in terms of reason/causal origins).
All irrationality can be rationalised to a limited extent when looked at differently (e.g. look more closely at seemingly chaotic objects and their component parts might seem to show more rational consistency).

It’s not that rationality “eliminates” variables, though it does eliminate possibilities and courses of action that are deemed unreasonable.
It’s more that rationality deals in small numbers of currently ascertained variables, whereas irrationality leaves all possible variables free to interact with one another without distinction or selective concentration. Rationality would rather deal with what it knows so far and build upon that. Irrationality starts from the completed picture that rationality attempts to map.

A bee that goes out “searching for food” is not self-conscious and pre-meditated. It is just found to be simply flying and responding to its environment rather than participating in some task-oriented plan. Its behaviour can be rationalised as searching for food, though in fact its compulsions are irrational. So is its dance upon its return and its response to other bee dances: its subsequent seemingly less random explorations.

I think it might be ants that leave behind attractive trails that are reinforced when intersected by the paths of other ants, forming networks of trails that reinforce most along routes that most commonly taken. Swarms are great examples of all this, and the great thing about it all is that it actually applies to large numbers of humans too - pretty much negating the need for rationality, and resulting in “better” (though flawed, as in my OP) outcomes.

I would say that evolution can be rationalised, though the actual process is in most species just irrational compulsion - with only incidental effects of emergent direction, and without intent on any such direction along the way.

Being inhibited is the result of rationality: the more conscious rationing of limited numbers of ascertained variables resulting in particular direction over others. Irrationality would emerge as much more random, coming to cover all directions in time.

“Irrational people” who aren’t random, but “rule out variables from the beginning”, are actually being rational to a limited degree. Their rationality isn’t as refined as, say, a qualified scientist, so they are comparatively more likely to find themselves open to more possibilities. The rationality of scientists does not limit them to only one possibility, however the process by which they select possibilities to explore is very limited. It is scientific method that is continually refined to a narrower, more precise version.

No.

It means that we’ve rationalised an irrational behaviour. As with bees in my above response to Moreno, they’re not thinking/rationing anything. They’re just wildly following their compulsions. It is humans who measure/ration/rationalise all things.

I think you are working with a different definition of “rational”.

Yes, that’s what I meant by the last part.

I tend to call it a non-rational component of rationality. Irrational is pejorative. But given that we cannot function without it even when being rational it seems a neutral term of description is better.

I agree. Though often there are black box elements. And certainly there is often nothing at all like the lining up of verbal assertions into some mental paragraph that purports to be logical.

I think a concrete example would help me here, with humans in the center.

Is a bee open to all possibilities?

Couldn’t that be a good analogy for the ‘laying down’ or neuronal patterns in the brain and thus a map for both rationality and irrationality?

is more of this being more rational? If so more rational can be irrational. though I would be likely to say that the person in question has made the poor choice of using rational, verbal processes where intuition and non-verbal choice processes would be better. In fact I see this as endemic to the educated classes. I do not think this is being rational at all. It is making the irrational decision, based on unacknowledged (often) fear, that it is better to shift decisions as a rule towards mental thinking word stuff, when this is simply not a good prioritization.

I don’t see irrational people acting more randomly. Though perhaps you mean the statistical spread of all individuals is more dispersed. the rational individuals tending to hit the same points. I am not sure I agree, but I don’t immediately disagree if this is the case.

yeah, I really gotta have some concrete examples of

1. an irrational person
2. an irrational person who rule out some variables from the beginning
3. a rational person

perhaps all in the same situation.

To me people who I would call irrational can often be utterly rigid - so can people who I would call rational. I can’t plot these two qualities on the same graph.

Let’s toss out the fundamentalist christian - and even though it may sound redundant let’s call him dogmatic. To me this person is irrational AND not open to more possibilities, necessarily at all, than the qualified scientists. (and I am a theist so it is not the belief in God I have a problem with)

Which I think is irrational.

Not so wildly - except in the sense that they are ‘in the wild’. In fact there are a good example of how effective non-rational processes can be and how necessary they are.

Anyone who believes that they arrive at their beliefs via rational thinking - and see this as not containing intuitive elements - is likely unaware of the role of their own intuition and thus have less experience of it and any problems there may be with it. I would say they are in denial. As an aside: in various discussions in various philosophy forums on the internet, I notice how utterly reluctant the rational team is to admit that intuition is a necessary part of rationality. They don’t seem to notice they use it and this, to me, explains a lot about where certain problems may be coming from. Their religious (often opponents) counterparts get projected on.
And, it should go without saying, that projections can be put onto people who also fit the projection.

Sam Harris is a wonderful example of a completely irrational person who can, however, string together rational arguments with a virtuosity his fundamentalist enemies do not have.

I think you’re going to have to explain why you think this is the case. Definition 1 is really no help at all. In context neither is 2. 3 does introduce the term logical, but the rest of it is tautological. 4) is not applicable here.

So 3 gives us a little. But rationality cannot simply be logic. Logic alone is fairly useless. And we have this larger set pulled into the word rationality. So how does these definitions show that S is not using this definition. It seems a little apples and oranges. S is talking about what having a certain approach does to one’s relationship with possibilities, rather than what that approach is, per se.

I am not sure at all I agree with S, but I think it would help if you could connect the dots on this definition issue from your side.

“Reason is always a region cut out of the irrational – not sheltered from the irrational at all, but a region traversed by the irrational and defined only by a certain type of relation between irrational factors. Underneath all reason lies delirium, drift.”
[Gilles Deleuze, Capitalism: A Very Special Delirium].

This is terrible thinking.

But why? Surely, you don’t think that existence is preceded by logic. Even Wittgenstein abandoned that silly notion.

Are we talking about the existence of reason or the existence of everything? Are you just going to ask why to every reason? Not even with that will you always get back to the existence of the world.

I don’t see how it is even relevant to discuss this here, in this context. Reason is not born from delirium.

The existence of reason. Surely you don’t believe the principles of reason preceded the existence of reason itself. As far as the existence of everything, only those misguided systematizers could possibly believe such idealistic nonsense.

You said: “this is terrible thinking.” I asked: “but why?” In such a context, I think my question was perfectly reasonable. You provided no argument as to why Deleuze should be guilty of terrible thinking.

I’m not sure I know what you’re getting at here.

This thread is on the irrationality of reason. What could be more relevant than Deleuze’s statement?

Well, again: if your counter is merely that reason is not born from delirium, you haven’t done much more than reiterate yourself (“this is terrible thinking”). Again, I ask: But why?

Your quote didn’t provide much to break down in terms of it either. Reasons are rational by definition, by the identity of the concept of reason itself. There is nothing else to refute because your quote just distorted reason to mean something it is not, but provided no reason as to why it is such.