Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Truth Is Reason" - We All Rationalize Some Things in the Eyes of Others

To "rationalize" means to make something "rational" - and, at the most practical level, "rational" means nothing more than "understandable (and acceptable) to the mind". What is completely rational to one person can be completely irrational to someone else - like those who call something "mental gymnastics" that is totally understandable and acceptable to the mind of person who believes it.

We all rationalize, generally to the same extent. We just reach different conclusions than others do - and, because we can't understand and accept others' decisions, we label others' decisions negatively as "rationalizations" while not doing so to our own. (Those who are more intellectual in nature tend to love the word "rational" but not the word "rationalize" - which is deliciously ironic to me.) We also tend to make this criticism about conclusions that are the most removed from our own - which is why prophets / visionaries / charismatics / etc. tend to be loved or hated, accepted or rejected, praised or reviled and have very few indifferent reactions. They usually inspire intense admiration or just as intense revulsion - and that is both good and bad.

I personally am wherever I am on each and every issue and topic, which has caused some people to complain that I am wishy-washy or too hard to characterize. They want me to be consistently on the same side of a line on everything, and I simply am not that way. I attempt to find a view that is rational to me in each and every case - which means I am conservative, moderate and liberal depending on the specific issue. If there is a consistent standard I try to recognize, it is the line between charity and judgmentalism - but even that isn't always a bright line, since, ultimately, it is based on my own reasoning and rationalization. 

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