140. What is the difference between rational and reasonable?

We are a lot better at being reasonable than we are at being rational.

What is being rational? It’s following logic and doing what the models tell us in our best interests. It’s being able to clearly and deeply explain what we are doing and have that based on facts and reasoning. It’s solving math problems and getting the right answer. It’s having clear goals and working towards those goals.

What is being reasonable? It’s being able use our brain, make assumptions, and make quick decisions that work. It’s using emotions, compassion, and empathy. It’s justifications that work for the moment and that seem to make some sense.

So being reasonable can actually be better than being rational. For one thing, sometimes we don’t have clear goals we are working towards. We want lots of different things all at the same time and our preferences are not always rational, and we don’t often want them to be. We want to make decisions quickly and the best that we can in the moment. And often, we want to help others and do things that don’t have a strong rational explanation behind them.

So be reasonable.

But don’t worry too much about being rational.

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