There are so many "wrong-on-the-internet" folks who believe they're being rational, but in fact are merely cherry-picking whatever bits of reality (they use the word "facts") they understand, formulating their response only on that basis and ignoring everything else that isn't easy to observe, measure or reason about.
Being rational or objective is a very tall order. We are never _actually_ prepared to do that in real-life scenarios. It is only remotely feasible in the most stripped-down, simplified set-ups.
I once read 3 pages of a self help book I received as a present.
It said, essentially, emotions happen for a reason. When you have a difficult emotion, go back to the root thought or observation that caused the emotion, and you’ll learn something important about yourself or your world.
Stopped reading because I wanted internalize that first. Never finished the book...
Typical way to attempt rationality is to follow a well defined algorithm to make a decision, with well defined inputs.
Even if it is a simple as "sum these assigned numbers and pick highest option" it is more rational than the alternative.
You can quantify and tune your "gut" or estimation skills the same way as with any other. Remember and learn from both successes and mistakes, exercise the skill.
Most people learn only from representative instances which is actually irrational and a known human logic hole - representativeness heuristic.
This means their gut feeling is relatively mistuned this making for bad decisions.
Asking just one simple question - how meaningful was it - is very effective to avoid the pitfall...
Emotions have more context than one would wish and not all of it obvious. This is what makes using this as decision input hard.
In your simple example "sum these assigned numbers and pick the highest option," how did you assign those numbers? In most real life scenarios, qualities are difficult to quantify. If you start from questionable quantifications, as the saying goes, "garbage in, garbage out."
Often the rational thing to do is to acknowledge the nigh-impossibility of quantification (let alone combining those quantifications; what if the qualities interact in nonlinear ways?).
First off, not every capability is positive value to have. If you can irreversibly give someone a million dollars from your phone, people have a pretty big incentive to stick a gun in your face and make you do that. "It's physically impossible to do that" is an extremely useful negotiation stance; the winning strategy in a game of chicken is to make sure your opponent knows you threw the steering wheel out the car window.
Your emotional system is a really powerful decision-making engine that is almost completely immune to reason. It's extraordinarily hard to use logical reasoning to convince someone to not be sad that their dog died. This is a feature, not a bug. Anger is a much more relevant emotion for this - someone with a hair trigger on their temper has figured out that wielding that implicit threat serves their interest.
The detterance from simply being shot is that theres nothing to gain, and doing so increases your risk substantially.
Now, if there was little risk, such as you're in a shithole that the cops have gave up on anyways, or you're a known and hated gang member that no one will particularly miss, then its another story. But this why an eye-for-an-eye is an almost necessary strategy in lawless areas: the threat of your kin means that killing just you doesn't end the story. In lawful lands, the police play that role.
Of course, some will just ignore the risk and shoot you anyways, but thats just how it goes. After they take your money, they could shoot you too. Hell, if they're really stupid they might even shoot you before.
If they're going to ignore the risk associated with the act, regardless of how risky it is, then there's not much you can do about it. Except shoot them first, I guess.
It's probably not a bad idea to have like $40 in your wallet.
Unless your opponent also knows "the winning strategy."
I specifically look for this sort of thing when I meditate.
I don't agree with this universally. Case in point: road rage. A person could get cut off 100x and still feel anger. That's because emotions arent just a predictive system about an event. They are also about related ideas. In this case perhaps our driver feels like people take advantage of him. As long as that belief is there he may get angry every time he is cut off.
In my experience, emotions generate discursive thought. Meditation is a process of dropping that discursive thought and feeling the emotions directly. This leads to clear insights on your world.
> On the other hand, given that our emotional system—that gives us information points through a sense or a judgment—has been refined by the battery of evolution for much, much longer than the thinking mind, we know that it absorbs more of the nuances of reality before it comes to a conclusion.
That doesn't follow at all; if anything the opposite is true, our emotional system is quicker to discard nuance (because in the ancestral environment it was more important to make an approximate decision quickly, whereas in the modern world the opposite is true).
> In fact, Barrett’s model even suggests that cognition and emotion are not distinct at all.
> the seeming irrationality of a well-tuned emotional system, within the right context, can fill in gaps that reason misses.
It's not about irrationality being an advantage or "filling in gaps". It's about the speed of our emotional system making it useful despite the irrationality. It's well worth making the best possible use of the cognitive tools we have, including our emotional system, but that doesn't mean the flaws of those tools cease to be flaws.
He says that, if you account for certain biases, the much higher capacity emotional system can be a useful input feature for the final decision.
In summary, don't trust the input of your instincts blindly, it is biased. However, flawed as it may be, it is probably based on much more information than your logical decision, so you should not discard it completely either. Try to account for biases, better yet, train your emotional system for less biased decisions.
But this fails to acknowledge that very often the reason our emotional system seems irrational is because it is irrational.
> He says that, if you account for certain biases, the much higher capacity emotional system can be a useful input feature for the final decision.
> In summary, don't trust the input of your instincts blindly, it is biased. However, flawed as it may be, it is probably based on much more information than your logical decision, so you should not discard it completely either. Try to account for biases, better yet, train your emotional system for less biased decisions.
That's a very generous reading of the article, and a much better takeaway than anything I got from the article itself. There is value in our emotional systems, but the biases of that system are very real and warrant more attention and caution than the article pays them.
Maybe this is obvious but I think equally important is the emotional interplay between people, and the dynamics of that larger emotional system. Emotions are like a protocol that humans use to communicate their mental states to each other. If emotions were just about understanding the world, there would be no reason for humans to express them visibly & audibly.
A little bit of occasional anger can effectively communicate that someone has crossed a line. Laughter is positive feedback. etc. etc.
As I see it, people mostly use "rationality" to refer to a set of theories, such as mathematics, which are useful tools that can help people make decisions in the real world. However, people still have to decide when and how to use those tools. Deciding which tools to use and how is another thing that theories, such as mathematics, might help people with, but, again, people have to decide when and how to use those tools in deciding which tools to use. To avoid an infinite regression, most decisions need to be made unconsciously: at some point people just do what feels right.
If you've discovered some theory that seems really useful and not as well known as it deserves to be, tell us about it: that sounds interesting. If you've got some vague waffle about the usefulness of theory/rationality in general, then I'm not so interested because I don't even see any entertainment in that, let alone practical use.
This often is unpredictable, circular, and can cause people to develop belief systems that are contradictory to their character, as well as make choices that otherwise go against intuition, feelings - all the things that make us human and individual - the things that we choose to pursue because those are the things we know make life worth living.
Making a choice that opposes your base nature because you've developed a belief system that tells you 'this is the way things are now, so work with this, not that' - that can be very chaotic, effectively shoving you in a bind where you must both rediscover/reinvent knowledge from scratch, while accumulating information you paradoxically accept as truthish garbage.
We go with what we know because having some stability and structure, even if it's not perfect, is better than having none in perpetuity.
I will now explain how to make a more accurate analysis in social situations utilizing this knowledge.
You need emotion, but you also need to understand the emotion. Problem is that your limbic system can't talk. Therefore, we resort to rationalizations. But most of the time, the rationalization is highly inaccurate. Why? Because our unconscious side has a lot of information about negative things about us and we try to avoid it because it doesn't help us feel good (this emotion exists solely so that mental health can be preserved and cognitive dissonance gets reduced).
You are angry that your husband is late. Possible explanation: You are angry because he's always acting selfish and doesn't respect you.
Other explanation that is probably more accurate but contains negative aspects that the consciousness hides (drive attention away from) to reduce cognitive dissonance: There is a deep fear to get rejected. Maybe there are experiences in the past where trusted people just left you. This deeply rooted fear triggers anger as a reaction because your unconscious side sees a threat (indirect increase of likelihood of death through social rejection).
- - -
How to utilize this? Analyze your emotions and try to ask: "What useful information does it contain?" and "What are the root causes for this emotion, what is the incentive system behind it?". The hardest part is that you have to know about your deepest insecurities, deficits, negative experiences and fears ("I'm objectively not very attractive", "My mother never showed me her love in unconditional ways", ...) and regulate your emotions (instead of acting out that anger, you analyze it on a meta-level and extract information from it for a more accurate analysis). This requires extreme self-reflection and years of struggling. When one finally masters this, he's considered enlightened which basically means that he's able to not only analyze his own behavior and emotions, but can also use this knowledge to act accordingly.
- What is my story?
- What am I pretending not to know about my role in the problem?
- Why would a reasonable, rational and decent person do this?
- What should I do right now to move toward what I really want?
Crucial Conversations genuinely changed my life, and I'm the kind of person that was praised for my communication skills.
edit: to give something back. Please see . A psychologist tries to build a coherent mental framework that contains most of the current knowledge in psychology. There are some theories (like BIT) which are not particularly controversial, but very helpful to understand the human mind.
For example, someone who is in the mindset you describe (we've all been there at some point in our lives), but yet rejects the message (explicit or implicit) that his reasoning framework carries inbuilt assumptions, is actually very irrational.
There are many problems with that definition of rationality, hence "behavioral economics". The surprise is that behavioral economics took so long to develop.
So many people argue that mathematicians sometimes go nuts because of a failure of rationality, but to me it seems to be exactly a failure of this unconscious-intuition, which undergirds rationality.
Not everything is a formal discussion, even when the topic is rationality.
> "people mostly use "rationality" to refer to a set of theories, such as mathematics"
Your thinking is flawed, probably by having wrong ideas about what mathematics is. Mathematics is logic, a fact obscured by the math we end up learning all the way up to high school, which does not capture the essence of math. Speaking of which, add the Curry–Howard correspondence in the mix and the plot thickens ;-)
Those systems are derived from reasoning, using reasoning, in accordance with reason, but they are not reasoning itself, unless you want to claim that the process of inventing or refining formal logics is itself unreasonable.
It's impossible to fully define a foundational concept like rationality. This concept has been used as an example of an "essentially contested concept" whose "proper use… inevitably involves endless disputes."
Honestly I wonder sometimes...
The plot is already quite thick, in my extremely humble opinion.
One big issue I see with people acting "rationally" is they don't take into account all factors, like the time it takes to analyse your options vs just going with your gut.
You talk about eschewing "just the logical reasons", and then describe a perfectly logical decision making process. I'm confused.
Do you believe that logical decisions can only involve quantitative factors?
I've worked with electricity, I understand that, if I feel something, a force is involved in the sense of Physics. I wasn't hallucinating, nor was there a Van de Graff generator concealed behind a screen. I'm more-or-less a Rational Materialist, so I immediately began to try to find the physics behind the "Chi" or "Ki" phenomenon. Fortunately, there was a well-stocked metaphysical library in my neighborhood at the time, (a physical library of books on all metaphysical subjects.) I began to spend hours a day there, poring over the books trying to find a rail on which to lodge my foot.
I discovered that "Chi" has been discovered and re-discovered several times in the West by many people, beginning with Mesmer, and including a Baron Carl von Reichenbach (who called it "the Odic force"), one William Walker Atkinson (who called it "Vril"), he was contemporaneous with the founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui, and Wilhelm Reich (who called it "Orgone").
That's not a complete list. Some investigators were more scientific than others, to put it mildly. But it's fair to say that this phenomenon has been known to and investigated by Westerners continuously for about three centuries, yet it has somehow never fully broken into consensus reality despite having been granted the benefit of the Scientific Method in at least a few cases.
I failed to find anyone who had developed any sort of mathematics or engineering around it. It's possible that it has something to do with EM. (I did find a lot of magic. There are more and stranger religions in our world than you can possibly imagine. I did discover that there is a sort of formula or algorithm in common to all prayer, magic, ritual, new age magical thinking wish-fulfillment, etc. Every single cult, religion, lodge, mystery school, etc. has the same basic structure to its magic regardless of the trappings or outer organization. But that's a tangent.)
My point is, "chi energy" is real, and it is the medium of emotions. Whatever emotions are they happen in this "chi field." You have experienced this yourself your whole life: the ineffable part of experiencing an emotion, the part that isn't proprioceptive feedback from your muscles and glands, is your subjective experience of a phenomenon that has a real physical existence. Your emotions extend out from your body for a meter or two. (The literature speaks of the "Emotional Body", and "aura".)
My meta-point is, we should do science to this. This is a body of knowledge clogged with nonsense and bullshit, and dogged by skepticism and apathy, "and yet it moves". I did experiments, other people felt it, it's real, whatever it is. (And in the case of Reiki it has the capacity to engender healing, which is pretty important and should also be scientifically investigated. But that's separate from the fact that we should investigate "Chi" in general.) If we want to understand emotions we have to study this "energy".
 1734 – 1815 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Mesmer#Animal_magnetism
 1788 – 1869 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odic_force
 1862 – 1932 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Walker_Atkinson
 1865 – 1926 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikao_Usui
 1897 – 1957 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Reich
I think most would agree that a "good" emotional system can be an aid to reason. The reason many think we shouldn't trust emotions is because most systems are "bad" (as in, it acts counter to capacity to reason).
Personally I disagree with the mutual affinity incompatibility. If rationality is getting in the way it is for a reason - if you both like rowing and musical theater there is nothing to object to but if they are also say a serial killer to give a deliberately extreme example....
If you want to try seeing the other side and start marrying the two sides, you should try acting classes. Words, video, lack the dimension to explain to you how that feels on your body.
Rationality is the way-out of bad times (war, famine, plagues, economic depression), and a party buzzkill during good times (1st world today).
A life lived disconnected from the body results in depression, illness and ultimately, one devoid of humanity and instead enslaved to systems and institutions.
Darth Vader represents the ultimate disconnection of mind from body.
And, our collective and individual trauma makes it difficult to remain in our bodies.
The trick is not to suppress or numb out the emotional information we receive.
Rather, we are being called to feel it fully, heal our bodies and traumas, so that we can be in deep attunement with our body and life itself.
Our bodies keep the higher mind around for some useful forms of complex problem-solving, but for day-to-day life the body simply tricks you into thinking you're in control. It's incredible how much of an hallucinatory experience it is to be human.
1. Depression has many causes and this thing is probably not one. If it is, show evidence.
2. Darth Vader did what he did because of reach emotional decision, after emotional manipulation. Your argument is extremely invalid. Plus he's a fantasy literary character.
3. What does "remain in your body" mean anyway?
4. Is there any evidence that mind - body dualism is real and not just a concept?
5. Emotional responses are still of mind, just a faster less controlled system of it, influenced by internal chemistry too just like the rest of it.
6. How do you define "fully healed" or what the trauma means?
2. I’m really just paraphrasing Joe Campbell here. If you want to see his take on mythology, what it represents, and how Lucas used the Hero’s journey to craft Star Wars, I’d recommend the current Netflix special on Joe Campbell.
3. People tend to dissociate and disconnect from their felt body experience. There is a fairly established body of work on “embodiment” and somatic based therapies.
4. We have our conscious logical brain and we have our emotional brain. Our emotions are mapped to physical sensations in our body. That is what I mean here.
5. I don’t disagree with this.
6. I would say fully healed would be releasing the traumas. One way might say that you demylinate that pathways that trigger the fight or flight response in similar contexts and form new pathways that create a more accurate model of the world as well as increased capacity for self regulation.