82. Is being more rational better?

I just googled, “How to be more rational.” There are plenty of articles and videos and advice about how to become more reasonable and logical and make better decisions.

You can imagine (or you have experienced) an argument where one person is getting highly emotional and the other person says, “Calm down and be rational for a moment!”

I remember being in a political argument with someone on the internet and she was very angry. It was a very righteous anger. She encouraged other people to be angry with her. (It was about wealth distribution, back a few years ago when it was trending for whatever reason.)

Anger can help foster change. Being angry make people protest and fight for a different world.

But when the anger isn’t founded on anything rational, it can be very frustrating and not effective. In my short political argument with this person, I was trying to bring some calm rationality about how the subject wasn’t so clear-cut. She didn’t want to hear it.

And honestly, when the subject wasn’t trending, and people weren’t angry anymore, nothing had changed because no one had bothered to fight for a rational solution.

So we often need to be rational. But we can’t discount emotions either.

The two things aren’t always in opposition to each other. There is no real dichotomy between logic or emotions. Emotions don’t necessitate that we are irrational, and when emotions are accompanied by rational or reasonable belief, that’s the basic motivation for everything good that we do.

I do need to be more rational. Sometimes I am yelling and it makes no sense. Sometimes I don’t think things through. But sometimes I am too rational, and I think about things way too much and don’t make the quick decisions that I need.

So yes, being more rational is better quite a lot of times. But that doesn’t mean we need to be less emotional. And sometimes, just doing the quick and easy (not quite rational) thing is perfectly fine.

2 comments

  1. I don’t know if I’ve ever been very rational. I decide quick and do it. Sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn’t. But if you get too rational you can end up just stuck.

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