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Principe of rationality in 21st century: some methodological and ontological problems

The 21st century is rapidly gaining momentum, and it seems to us, people, that it is time to make some adjustments to our existence before it is too late. The first thing we suggest to think about is whether it is time to consider rationality, as well as any logic, as a method of perceiving reality, and not make it a law of existence for a person. There is more and more evidence that rationality is most likely just a tool in the hands of man and not the goal of existence.

Reasons why this view might exist:

1.      Many theories of "alternative" intelligence have already been proven and analyzed: emotional, social, and intuitive;

2.      When substantiating irrational theories, a person still uses rationality and logic to prove their validity;

3.      The project of the "rational man", which was started by the thinkers of the Enlightenment era, has failed: what only the authoritarian regimes of the 20th and 21st centuries are worth. They proved that if a person was truly a rational thinking creature and did not rely on his other cognitive abilities, then this would not have happened.

For example, when choosing "whom to vote for in the next elections", it is easier for a person to choose the option "which of the politicians I like as a person". This method of choice – emotional intuition – is justified rationally. And if it also to "correct" the choice a little (for instance, fake news) or create the illusion of a "lying ally" (an example is "everyone does it"), then it seems to the voter that his choice of candidate is logical and has a rational basis.


Asymmetric rationality

In the modern sense, rational is a type of feedback detection from cause-and-effect interaction. This type is scientifically acceptable and justified, therefore it is accepted as a sample of factual evidence.

This type of scientific perception of the world can have somewhat unexpected consequences. Even the thinkers of the ancient world knew about this and warned us against hasty conclusions. Let’s take Ancient Greece as an example. What are Zeno's aporias? This is proven by logical (and rational) methods of the impossibility of movement. Although, of course, physically and empirically (and even theoretically), motion exists let's not doubt that Zeno himself knew it. Schematically, Zeno's aporias correspond to the scheme of asymmetric influence on the object. A person, a fact, or an event can be such an object. More precisely, the asymmetric way of influencing the object is based on the scheme of inferences of Zeno's aporia. Of course, Zeno's aporias are semantically based on logical paradoxes. But this does not mean that its absurdity(?) leads to the absurdity of its consequences.

If we take the methodological basis of Zeno's aporias as a basic principle it turns out that the asymmetric method of influence (propaganda?) exists just like that. That is, we are confident when using such a method that, despite the lack of feedback, our further actions will be correct. That is why in the aporia about movement, the tortoise does not stop, even realizing that the hare is theoretically and practically faster than it. And the hare, in turn, on the contrary, checks every part of the movement on its way. Therefore, based on the logic of the paradox, the hare is actually immobilized, or moves in space, very slowly, while the tortoise, on the contrary, moves faster. The turtle does not work on mistakes - it affects the course of the event asymmetrically - just continues to move forward. Its theoretical basis - "I do everything correctly and it brings results" - is more productive, and even has a logical basis as we see with the help of Zeno.

A simplified scheme looks like this:

If A point exists, then B point definitely or almost definitely will exist.

So, after obtaining B, our influence leads (or almost leads) to C, etc.

The asymmetric method of influence is a multifaceted and cheap way to influence an object. Somewhat it reminds alchemy - an attempt to quickly and cheaply create a "philosopher's stone" for the mass production of gold and eternal life. And this happens during the time of the church’s dominance.

But the asymmetric method has its weaknesses:

Influence on objects that are not homogeneous systems;

It does not take into account the time in the system of measuring the results of its interaction. This is where the error lies. After all, the dynamics of modern processes are too fast and comprehensive, so it makes no sense to spend time checking sociological data using statistics.

It seems that the time when the primacy of theory over facts begins to dominate again has returned.


Human and rationality: an ontological aspect

The primacy of rationality and logic confuses a person. Hence the underestimation, albeit statistically improbable, but a case that affects the course of events. This is the so-called "Müller-Lyer illusion". For example, the conclusion that the Earth is flat. This is a cognitive illusion, which is confirmed by observations of the physical world that a person receives without using additional devices.

A person's tendency to causally and rationally justify the environment does not really say anything about the environment. This mechanism (a mechanism of rational reasoning) exists only as an evolutionary possibility for the survival of humans as mammals. It has been proven that rationality and our innate causality have often helped people survive throughout history. But this same causality does not explain the randomness of incredible events. This mechanism does not always work. It is the same in traditional science: the scientist calculates how the experiment will proceed either by trial and error or by applying his own intuition. It is in such cases it’s said "scientist's talent". This is a person who was able to conclude where others did not see a further way to work. Of course, intuition and experience are gained mostly through rational experiments, but not seeing an anomaly in time and correctly interpreting it within the framework of a hypothesis is already a «talent».

A person uses the whole body during the cognitive process. Therefore, thinking and the means of its implementation rationality are prone to errors. Any object that is emotionally colored or that has a particular set of associations for a specific individual automatically triggers a wave of mental processes. Such processes and their results can be common to all people or radically different from them. That is why two different people, looking at the same object, quite often see different things. Rationality in this case is a way of the mental process functioning, but it is not a guarantee of its correctness. Next to the paradoxes of logic (the paradox of the liar or the judgment "All swans are white"), rationality can very confidently act as a tool of untested theories and views.

The trial and error method is not an outdated way of cooking borscht when the latter should be constantly tasted during cooking. This is, most likely, a method of cooking borscht that guarantees that we will not end up with a fruit cake.

We must accept that rationality is not a chain system where one element is precisely connected to two other system elements, in front of it and behind it, respectively. Even not all existing types of logic work like this, but all of them are theoretically proven. The Enlightenment project called "rational man" is exactly this type of system. When it becomes clear that a person is not always rational, then the existence of the concept itself must be questioned.

The research of modern science, based on experience and experiments, proves: rationality is only a part of the human cognitive apparatus. It fully exists alongside other mental capabilities – emotions, intuition, and social intelligence. Positivism (like theoretical communism) followed the path of institutionalization of rationality following the example of the European medieval church. Rationality thus became the center of the theory of knowledge. Without such a center, the whole project of the positivists turned out to be unstable.

So, having made their theory of knowledge a centric system, positivists tried to give it the characteristics of a system with mediation and stability. Hence rationality became the purpose of this system’s existence and, at the same time, its structure. The legitimacy of the system was checked again with the help of rationality. Such a theory of knowledge, based on the scientific achievements of some natural sciences, somewhat dehumanized a person. Because in such a situation, a person was considered separately from his other, no less important, qualities emotions, psyche, intuition, personal experience, and social environment.

The propaganda machine of some totalitarian regimes in the past adopted this type of rationality: the average person endowed with "common sense" was at the center of the propaganda. It was an overly artificial view of man, which can be found in art and literature rather than in real life.

But this very project of the positivists, actively used by such regimes in the past, turned out to be fruitless today. Present-day propaganda is a classic example of a simultaneous combination of pros and cons for everyone without exception. Medieval scholastics, reflecting on God's actions, did not even dream of such success. The old religious thinking was based on an erstwhile but simple maxim: in a polemic, accepting one side means one automatically has to deny the other one. Modern propaganda has eliminated the polemic of two opposing points of view as a possibility. The classic ideal of positivists was replaced by a theoretical construction where a person is assigned a role only for the passive perception of the environment and information.

In this case, any argument carries an emotional weight or causes any other associations. Rationality, and logic at the same time, are no longer tools for checking (verifying) knowledge. Here, the source of information has more weight than the content itself. In the world of informational anarchy and nihilism, the very source of information and the associative connection with it turned out to be the most significant.


Let Hegel continue to argue with Solomon, but the options for the Ordinary Man are not so many: to remain superficial, but quick and relevant, or to analyze the facts of the surrounding world, but «lag behind the train».

Until these words are written, translated, and read, do not worry, nothing catastrophic will happen to the Universe. Of course, another totalitarian regime based on control and asymmetry will fall, a new Supernova will explode, several dozen biological species will die and another technogenic catastrophe will occur. But this will not affect the direction of human civilization.


But it turns out that it is time to get rid of the primacy of rationality for people as a biological species. This is almost the only reason for our accelerated extinction, but it is also completely impossible to forget about the brain. The dualism of human nature is only in the hands of a human, not theoretical models of propaganda and ideology. The "time machine" of Herbert Wells has been speeding up its movement for a long time, and it depends only on us at which point it will stop. So let's not allow the old (but not always wrong) theories and the newest (but always wrong) dictators in love with the past to press the "Stop" button at the point where we face extinction due to our own Stupidity and Rationality.

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