September 29, 2008
Using Reason as Idolatry
So little that is rationalized has a rational basis. Perhaps nothing at
all can be defended as rational if you dare to look far enough down the
rabbit hole. Whence does rationality originate? Trace any claim of
rational decision and you will find a feat of spontaneous creativity
invented after an event and rhetoricalized into a first cause, barely
different from how clever politicians and priests ascribe blame to
irrelevant actions and take credit for natural events. The formal
reasoning and claim of intent is only constructed after the actual event
is already in motion.
When it comes to the action of instinct, an entire world exists that
rational facilities can at best observe the unknown from a distance.
Why do you prefer one thing to something else, find a motivation
to perform an action, or form any decision? Claims of knowledge of
consciousness are only guesses and well crafted self-deception. One
can speculate to derive rules from superficial commonalities observed
from a limited survey of previous events, but no matter what they are
called, they are never more than speculation measured afterward.
Our attraction to another is likewise intricate animal instinct with its
own internal language. While intelligent conversation with the rare
creature capable of thinking and communicating is delightful, attraction
is an organic dance both participants perform most innocently when
uninterrupted by attempts to provide commentary on what was already
sensed and effortlessly acted upon. A natural wisdom has been stored and
accumulated over generations, needing no justifying exegesis for what
was already unconsciously decided.
Here too, reason can only look around cluelessly after attraction is detected,
consider what it has in common with other attractions we have previously
experienced, and then contort the awareness of attraction into words, at
which point those words are already reduced to irrelevant trivia. Just as there
is a physical intelligence that removes a hand from a hot stove without a
detailed study of the physical and moral considerations, so too does
attraction reach a quick and sensible action without ponderous
The insistence on applying fraudulent overintellectualized explanations
keeps alive the ignorant misunderstanding that a singular dictatorship of
deliberate thinking is the source of all action, when more correctly
such reasoning is a boasting, speculative, gossiping afterthought that at
no point has contact with or direct knowledge of the actual motivating
force. Reason, when extended far beyond its domain, is a busybody and
tabloid journalist, making wild and entertaining presumptions and guesses
because it lacks substantial information to convey.
You do best to honor life by leaving it unburdened with the needless
addition of popular fiction.
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I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.
-Rainer Maria Rilke