We could use more rational people in the world today. Not long ago being rational was a virtue. Now too often it is seen as a weakness when in reality, it takes someone strong and secure in themselves to be rational… it takes a leader. Indeed, a rational person is a leader. Our society has digressed so far from this trait that I find it is necessary to define it before we can even dive into this one!
Rational- 1. Having or exercising the ability to reason. Logical. 2. Consistent with or based on reason or good judgement, logical or sensible. 3. Of sound mind. Sane.
So, it is fair to say to be rational is simply to be “sane”. OR we could also say someone who is rational can reason independently. A hallmark of a rational person is the ability to admit when they were wrong and easily pivot towards what is actually correct (an example of “reasoning”). Being rational is one of the surest traits of a true leader. When was the last time you heard any so called “leader” admit they were wrong and reiterate what is actually correct? Or a talking head pundit, or a news media organization, or an agency head? When did you last stop and admit “no I got that wrong”?
In opposite world, where we now find ourselves in 2020… not only is rationality rare but it is explicitly discouraged. Earlier in my life the only place this admirable trait was ever NOT encouraged in America was in religious circles. Bringing reason and questioning into the church was not going to win you any friends there, the church wanted a belief and faith beyond questioning. As my life has sped by the importance and prevalence of traditional religions has waned and now this void in our human experience is being replaced by the “Church of the Woke” (you might want to go back and review a previous blog post “Church of the Woke” ).
In the new church of the woke the same applies as in any religion… do not question the tribal thoughts. Do not ever under any circumstances question the dogma. Those who do will be burned at the stake! Twitter is the new town hall, where witches are brought to feel the flames every day! Dare any celebrity or even average Joe to say anything outside the narrative of the woke and just watch what happens. And….never….under any circumstances… question THE SCIENCE!
OK… oops…. Actually this gets a bit complicated in the woke church…There are some circumstances where you should question the science, but others where you definitely don’t. Every religion has its idiosyncrasies and the woke church is no exception. For example, when a biologist proclaims, “I have a male or female specimen’. There is a very good chance the biologist is being non-inclusive. Or if someone says something crazy like “a heartbeat is an indicator of life”. Perhaps someone might say something totally non-woke-sciency like “I have the vaccine so I am protected, therefore I do not feel the need to avoid or shame the unvaccinated”. Or perhaps one might ask about the efficacy of masking young children?
Another faux pas in the woke congregation is to even remotely suggest anything which could be interpreted as “personal responsibility”. A really egregious one would be to suggest something like “perhaps we should push weight loss, exercise and whole foods eating as a way to fight pandemics (present and future)?” Or you might mistakenly say “your emotions are not my responsibility” to someone who is “feeling” not included, accepted, or any myriad of other negative emotions. You might even say something insensitive like “sticks and stones might break my bones but names will never hurt me”!
Tribalism hates rational people. It wants you to accept the narrative and never reason. The right-wing nut job tribe is no better. The RWNJ tribe wants you to hate EVERYTHING about Joe Biden. This should send anyone with any ability to be rational into full alert! I call it “Biden derangement syndrome”. This is a replay of the last 4 years and the 8 years before that and the 8 years before that and the 8 years before that….
I flat out refuse to be a member of either tribe. While I might agree at times with elements of both tribes I will never be a full fledged member of either. For example I can see where in some settings face masks are probably warranted… but in others it is nothing but virtue signaling. I can see where a President faced the military-industrial complex down after no one else has for the past 20 years, even though he totally botched the pull out. I can see where a President showed incredible leadership to kick off the Operation Warp speed vaccine development initiative which likely saved thousands of lives, yet behaves like an egocentric, spoiled 10 year old boy most of the time. I can see where vaccines are crucially vital for some demographics of the population but perhaps not for others. I can empathize why some folks are reticent to believe or trust the federal government after generations of abuse without putting them all in a box of undesirables.
In other words I can see beyond tribalism, beyond the dogma, outside of the narratives. I can rationalize. I can see where existing, extremely safe drugs could be helpful despite the lack of profit such concoctions might yield due to their patent expiration. I can see these things without feeling shamed. I can write what I want on my blog and don’t care if anyone else reads it or not! I was born to write and write is what I will do. Free of censorship. I take full responsibility for what I write, when I am correct and when I am wrong. Oh…. There it is again- that magic word… RESPONSIBILITY.
You cannot be rational without being responsible. To be rational is an exercise in responsibility. To be responsible is to NOT be run by your emotions, but to use self-discipline to control your emotions and look at any subject rationally. To not do so is by definition INSANITY. It is too easy though to not be self disciplined and to just jump on the bandwagon which feeds and justifies our emotions. Ah… that feels so good (key word- FEELS). Too often we encourage others and ourselves to jump on the emotional feels good bandwagon. There is such security on that bandwagon. IT TAKES REAL WORK TO NOT JUMP ON THE FEEL GOOD BANDWAGON. It takes responsibility and self-discipline.
I challenge myself and each of you… start with yourself. Challenge your dogma, beliefs, thoughts and definitely your emotions. Make this your daily practice. Then when you hear others say something like “you hurt his feelings”… before accepting this and climbing onto their emotional shit wagon… ask simply “are his feelings my domain?”--- “Are his feelings my responsibility or his?”. Be wary of emotions, in yourself and others. As humans we are emotional beings… but we must encourage ourselves and our loved ones to use our emotions, to leverage them, to dominate them. We must encourage a paradigm of PRINCIPLES over emotions. PRINCIPLES over feelings. Self-discipline and practice over “its not my fault”. And take nothing personal. Remember most people are simply a mirror projecting their feelings in everything they say and do. Be the opposite… look in the mirror and face your feelings, admit them, rationalize them and then control them! Be the opposite here in opposite land! Practice being RATIONAL.