From where comes this myth of rationality?

by Suw on May 15, 2005

We are not rational beings. None of us. We like to think that we are, we like to point to logic and reason as our cornerstones, but still, we are not rational. We are emotional, passionate, illogical beings, and the sooner we realise it the better.
The assumption that we are rational beings leads to all sorts of pain. It leads us to believe that if only we acted in just such a way, people would respond just as we want them to, and all would be well with the world. It makes us think that when things go wrong, there must be a reason: it must be something we did or something we said that made the person we love turn away from us. It makes us work over again and again past experiences and failure, worrying away at them, trying to figure out what we did wrong, what they did wrong, what went wrong.
But really, that's all bollocks. We are not rational beings. We do not behave in a rational manner. Our decisions do not submit to dissection by logic. Half the time, we do not even understand why we do what we do. Certainly we rarely understand why other people do what they do, or how our actions have influenced them and how their actions influence us.
When I was about 20 I was introduced to Daoism, and I've claimed to be a (bad) Daoist ever since. But in my shade of Daoism – and every Daoist has their own shade of the colour, no two the same – logic and reason are rejected as insufficient. Instinct, gut feeling, honesty with one's self, the recognition and rejection of wishful thinking, the low way (the way of water), seeing through constructs, they are the only way of really making sense of the world, because logic cannot ever cut the mustard.
The last few months I've been trying to apply logic to a situation that could never submit to logical analysis and which, in its recent conclusion, proved that logic doesn't work. If you hadn't figured it out yet, crw and I are no longer an item. What began in public ends in public, I suppose. But no amount of trying to figure out what went wrong will ever work. I can't understand it. I doubt I will ever understand it. The best I can do is learn to accept it and move on. I need to go back to my Daoist roots and stop trying to think about this in the terms logic and reason and start just reacting emotionally, instinctively and with honesty.
And I suppose this is step one.

Anonymous May 16, 2005 at 7:19 am

Once upon a time, a very young girl was trying to get to sleep when a spider dropped down on her face and started scurrying around. She had an appropriately hysterical reaction. As an adult, she suffers the same reaction when faced with even the smallest spider trapped in her bath.
Is that an irrational fear of spiders?

Anonymous May 16, 2005 at 1:10 pm

yes it is irrational if the spider in question is a daddy long legs.
I've spent 20 years thinking about “free will” and I'm convinced without a shadow of a doubt that it is an illusion. Thoughts appear in our consciousness due to a complex combination of neural architecture and biochemistry. Actions are thoughts that are executed (or subconsciously executed in which case they don't count either).
Anyway, enough philosophy. My commiserations Suw, the end of a relationship is painful enough, and I'm wondering if ending one in public is less or more painful? I hope it had nothing to do with the huge amount of flirting you did with Nick Frost. 🙂
take care

Anonymous May 16, 2005 at 1:42 pm

No, the whole thing had collapsed long before I had the delight of talking to Mr Frost. Blogging it really is just about letting people know. When the relationship started, I blogged it, because that sort of made it 'official', and I guess that's why I felt the need to say it was over on the blog too. People knew we were dating, and somehow it seemed right to let everyone know what the deal is. Plus it stops people from asking me how crw is. But I suppose it also adds a strange dimension to the whole getting over it process. On the one hand, admitting your failure in public is hard, but on the other hand, some people have been really supportive and right now, I appreciate and need that more than I can explain.

Anonymous May 16, 2005 at 2:51 pm

Suw, you have a lot of support.
Many of your supporters know your voice, and therefore you, via your blog. And wish great good for you. Yet you know not but a fraction of them because they (rarely) comment to express their support of who you are and what you stand for and what you are doing.
A blog is like sending thousands of notes in thousands of bottles addressed to whom it may concern. Doing it every day you begin to accumulate readers on distant shores. They look forward to the next bottle and feel a connection with the sender. Yet you hear back from only a few.
But rest assured, they are there, they are many, and many care a lot. For who you are and what you wish to do.

Anonymous May 16, 2005 at 3:00 pm

Sorry to hear about the breakup, though like most of your readers (I guess) I'd worked it out. Bad stuff happens, and there's often no reason and nothing we can do about it… Like you, I'm also a bad Daoist, though I'm also (and mainly) a Buddhist, and the Buddhist approach is best in your situation: observe the pain, but be detached from it; move on without involvement or attachment…

Anonymous May 16, 2005 at 3:09 pm

As “The Carp” says, I think we'd all worked it out from the signals.
My advice? I don't have any, apart from take off the Pink Floyd (in my case it was Nick Drake) and put on something suitably cheery and stop punishing yourself.
There's always a tomorrow.

Anonymous May 16, 2005 at 4:16 pm

Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to comment, and for your empathy. And thank you to anyone who's even reading this far. I appreciate it, and it helps.
Steve, I have taken your advice, and I've taken the Floyd off the playlist. And Elliott Smith. And Turin Brakes. I have replaced it, instead, with really early Madness. I mean, who can feel bad listening to Chipmunks Are Go!?

Anonymous May 16, 2005 at 6:47 pm

(Loo) Suw, I'll let you borrow the Junior Senior album if you ask nicely 😉 It's officially the happiest, most annoying album ever. It will make your head explode with temporary maniacal joy, even if you don't feel like it..
I'll add another 'sorry to read 'bout the split' to the replies. Take care of yourself, Suw honey. Sending some manic positive vibes your way…xx

Anonymous May 17, 2005 at 6:42 am

Good point. I think I'll break out the Madness CDs tonight as well.

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