[extropy-chat] examples of rational irrationalism

Ben Goertzel ben at goertzel.org
Wed Dec 6 03:16:01 UTC 2006

It can certainly be rational to think "irrational thoughts", in the
sense of thinking thoughts that one believes are very unlikely to be
correct -- and are in fact probably nonsensical, based on the
knowledge one has.

This can be rational to do if you are thinking about something and get
"stuck", and want to "loosen up" your thought processes and push your
mind in new directions --- even if these directions might seem
nonsensical **at first**

-- Ben G

On 12/5/06, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 12/5/06, Al Brooks <kerry_prez at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > harming each other. If a guy wasn't watching football
> > and drinking he might very well be involved in
> > fisticuffs in bars, driving DUI, engaging in acts of
> > vandalism.
> What would he be doing in bars if not drinking?  Does being in bars while
> sober lead to fisticuffs?  That's not how you usually hear about bar fights
> starting.  ...And if a guy is not drinking, how is he going to be DUI?
> Isn't drinking a prerequisite for DUI?  I'm not sure why vandalism is
> mitigated by drinking or watching football.  I think a research grant should
> be secured to give this relationship further study.
> > Working on dairy farms I saw men busting their humps
> > 10- 15 hours a day, then drinking themselves into a
> > coma at night. Didn't make any sense... or did it?
> dairy cows have humps?  I thought that was camels.  No, you were right:
> makes no sense.
> > The farmers had large broods of children, and they
> > would invariably say, "you can't live forever-- except
> > through your kids". The work would give then plenty of
> > exercise, they would drink themselves into oblivion,
> > the children would inherit the farms after they passed
> > away, there was a great deal of rationality to the
> > irrationalism.
> > Even geniuses can be rationally irrational, I know a
> > free spirited professor who didn't want to get
> > married, it was the last thing he wanted, but his
> > libido overrode his better judgement, he ended up
> > married with children. He's not happy-- or not
> > particularly so-- but studies indicate marrieds live
> > longer, so being married with children makes
> > irrational sense to him.
> Does he drink like a farmer?  (I know, but in what other context will I
> _ever_ be able to ask if someone drinks like a farmer?)
> > Even this war makes sense, in an irrational way.
> > America is violent, the other side is violent; so
> > though war is irrational, this war is rational in  the
> > context of an irrational world. What can Bush say?
> > Could he appear on TV to say, "we're sadistic killers,
> > the enemy are sadistic killers, in a nationalistic
> > world headed by bumbling chief executives such as
> > myself we will know war. Yes I screwed it up, but I'm
> > such a vicious, resolute SOB you may do as well to
> > keep me on as president rather than take a chance with
> > someone else".
> >
> If you have separate audio programming (SAP) on your TV, you can actually
> select that dialog during presidential speeches.  Or maybe you need to read
> between the lines to get that.  I'm not sure, but it's there.
> Was this intentionally a subtle meta-example of rational irrationality
> (self-referentially giving meaning to an almost nonsensical oxymoron?)  If
> so, bravo.  If not, 'hope I didn't offend - but I thought it was very funny.
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