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What is Irrational?

  1. Jun 22, 2003 #1
    Does anyone on this forum believe reality should not be answered on an individual by individual basis? For indeed, we were all brought up under a diversity of circumstances, the very diversity which allows life to exist, and makes each one of us individuals.

    So who's to say one person is rational, versus another who is irrational? There's no doubt society has its standards, but should we all be made to conform to the same "fixed mode" of thinking? And how would we determine what that mode of thinking should be?

    And what would be deemed so "rational" about getting everybody to think the same way?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2003 #2
    I think you are oversimplifying. There is huge diversity of rational ideas that might be conflicting. And then there is even larger diversity of ideas that are not rational. Difference is important.

    If you want to think on large scale, consider, most of the mental energy spent by people is to object someones opinion, no matter if its rational or not. Irrational 'noise' only adds to overload. This results in necessity to 'filter out' noise, and together with it alot of bright ideas might go out. If people somehow learned to focus their mental energy in such a way that it would avoid needless 'friction' between individuals and would turn that into resonant focus, then instead of cancelling out each other people could produce more results, even if quality of individuals is lower than science standards. With some clever methodology there could be way to compensate for quality with quantity.

    You want to know what is irrational? Check out this: www.timecube.com lovely cubarian
  4. Jun 22, 2003 #3
    But who is the judge of that?

    But what if somebody had an idea that was completely off the wall, like the earth is round or something? How do you make allowances for that?

    Actually I looked at it briefly and checked it out and I'm not sure? It obviously has it's elements, but how would you determine if someone is irrational? By what they believe or, by their motivation? Hmm ... I think that might be the key. Whereas somebody could rationally believe the world was flat (probably not today), and yet that still does not make them "irrational" per se'.

    And why is the irrational mind such a bad thing? Isn't this where so many of our ideas are hatched? In fact, wouldn't it be fair to say that the irrational mind gives birth to the rational mind? -- i.e., out of chaos comes order. So why should we forsake the creative side to ourselves then?
  5. Jun 22, 2003 #4
    Irrationality has lots to do with the way you come up with your ideas, not just the ideas themselves. Claiming that the Earth is round because of observation and computation is one thing; claiming that it is round because you saw it in a dream is a whole other matter.
  6. Jun 22, 2003 #5
    And yet a lot of useful things can come out of our dreams "if," we know how to interpret them. While I also understand, if I'm not mistaken, the theory of relativity came to Einstein in a dream. Which goes to show that the birth of our modern world was merely a by-product of "somebody's dream." I would have to look it up to verify it though.

    Even if it wasn't true, people have still been known to come up with useful ideas in their dreams.
  7. Jun 22, 2003 #6
    Iacchus32: But who is the judge of that?
    don't you trust in scientific method at all? Irrational is whats not consistent with its own logic, or claims about reality without supporting evidence. Good sci-fi can be damn crazy without actually being irrational.

    Allowance isn't issue. We have freedom of speech. Problem is to provide it with ground avoiding witchhunt or religion. It needs some methodology. Scientific method and society is strong. But it isn't accessible to many. Web imo has capacity to offer means for engaging crackpots into something useful instead of ballinflation sports. I'm not sure how, but I belive its possible upto a point.

    I imagine some sort of forum, where there are few simple rules, like don't ever argue with anyone, instead follow a tree-like path of reasoning along branches that you agree with upto a point where your opinion departs and no other branches exist, and if you are so good, create a new branch, anywhere you want. If other people find your point sane, they'll follow, if not, your branch would die out like by darwian selection. Tree of crazy ideas would develop, where somewhere there are very reasonable ideas. To make such web live, alot needs to be set in place, like voting for agreeable points or voting against some points without actually falling into hot debates.

    It should be system that selforganises, and reduces friction of minds to minimum, instead letting them flow along least resistence path to where they belong, and let them contribute to the tree exactly there. Biggest issue is how to reduce amount of garbage, how to make internal consistency checks, how to detect multiple copies of same ideas, etc.

    Briefly??? oh man, take few sixpacks of beer, 2kilos of chocolate and dayoff, and read every single word of it. THEN come back and say if you still aren't sure.

    You wouldn't believe? http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/fe-scidi.htm

    I don't disagree. Crazy ideas have value. But from chaos you don't get order easily, it needs effort, or selfregulating system. Big issue is to get the crazy ideas to a form usable by others, understandable, and shape into consistent theories.
  8. Jun 22, 2003 #7
    Sure I do. But what puts Science into the position by which it's allowed to judge everything which is rational? -- or, perhaps a better way to put it -- to dismiss everything which is irrational? This is where I come into a problem with Science, because it is possible to know something without having to go through the scientific method. In which case it becomes more a matter of waiting for Science to play "catch up" before we can accept it for ourselves.

    Which would be the better path to take? To go along with the crowd? Or, go with what one "knows," and risk the label of irrationality? Of course it might be very difficult to sell your ideas then?

    Hmm ... I guess that's the sort of purpose the Physics Forums tends to serve, up to a point anyway.

    That doesn't sound like a bad approach. But what about a revolutionary idea? Would it indeed take a revolution -- i.e., "born out of chaos" -- before it gets implemented? Or, what if it was more of a "spiritual inclination?" Would there be room for that too? Or, would it necessarily be deemed irrational? According to Science I think it would or, by its more "vocal advocates" anyway.

    Sounds logical. But why does it have to be bound to logic? How about intuition for example? And, although it may not seem logical -- perhaps even illogical -- it's still a means by which to know things.

    Well, I'm just not sure I should be the one judging another person's situation.

    Maybe later? :wink:

    And yet nature seems to do a pretty good job of regulating itself, without some "silly humans" coming along and saying, "Now, what seems rational here?" :wink:
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2003
  9. Jun 22, 2003 #8
    Well, people can come up with a notion in a dream, which they can explore in a more rational way when they awaken. They should NOT simply say 'I dreamed it, therefore it is real'...and if Einstein did dream of relativity, it was his subconscious mind working on information he consciously studied first. If he was someone ignorant of math and physics, he wouldn't and couldn't have dreamed of it.
  10. Jun 22, 2003 #9
    I don't doubt that that's the way it happened with Einstein, in fact that's probably the way it happens with most people who have such dreams. And yet, for people who are familiar with "the dreamscape," and work a lot with their dreams, they often discover that the mind becomes like a "huge metaphor," which speaks about the nature of existence, and thereby steps things up to another level ...

    And why shouldn't the mind be the means by which to do this?
  11. Jun 22, 2003 #10


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    I am sorry, but that is complete and utter gibberish.

    The ideas of relativity had circulated for thousands of years before Einstein, and probably appeared in billions of dreams. But together with that, people have dreamed that the earth is flat and borne on turtles, or that Santa Claus exists. The fact that, shock horror, a dream was right in no way makes dreaming a good alternative to rational thought. Einstein would never have taken his dream seriously (if it was a dream) or even had the dream if he didn't learn about the works of Maxwell, Newton, and many others before him. And the idea would never have had any meaning if he did not work so hard at developing a theoretical proof and experimental validation.
    In practice, the "Eureka" moment comes after a lot of dilligent and scientific work.

    EDIT: Though that of course depends a lot on what you define rational as...
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2003
  12. Jun 22, 2003 #11
    This is really a pointless question imo. Along the lines of saying who is to say who should or should not be the tallest or strongest person. Bottom line, society has ways to enforce it's ideas of rationality on people and, in turn, some individuals have a great deal more power than some of us to pursuade society to change its ideas of what is and isn't rational. Nature, of course, always has the last laugh.
  13. Jun 22, 2003 #12
    All I'm saying is that validation comes in many forms, and whose business is it to say what's really rational? Meaning you cannot discount something -- i.e., on the behalf of somebody else -- just because it does not fit in with your "fixed view." But then again that doesn't mean you can't if, you're willing to take on the repercussions, i.e., the possibility of disrupting somebody's livelihood and them taking retaliatory actions. Look at the U.S. Government in its "rational mode" of thinking, and how it dealt with the American Indians who, were by far the "irrational savages." Who couldn't think of nothing more to do than protect what was rightfully theirs.
  14. Jun 22, 2003 #13
    well you can and we do. sometimes one person is just right, and the other is wrong. that's just the way it is, regardless of how vividly the other person saw it in a dream, vision, ect...
  15. Jun 22, 2003 #14
    Christianity is the most irrational and stupid.
  16. Jun 23, 2003 #15
    Sounds like it has very little to do with what's rational then, but rather influence and politics. Pheeew! Did somebody let out a stink?! :wink:
  17. Jun 23, 2003 #16
    I know, doesn't it suck!? :wink:

    And, while it may seem "rational" to follow the crowd, you eventually lose sight of your individuality, and can pretty much be duped into thinking anything. In which case I would say it becomes irrational to follow along "blindly." Whereas the rational thing would be to "know" what's in one's own mind. Although it may not be so wise to stand out like a sore thumb about it -- i.e., depending on who's in power of course.
  18. Jun 23, 2003 #17
    And yet what do the scriptures say, "Many will come in my name, to lead many astray." That pretty much says the same thing doesn't it? And yet it doesn't say that about Jesus ... What do you think? Do you think Jesus Himself was irrational? He certainly would have been by today's standards, so this is the only choice we have then, right?
  19. Jun 23, 2003 #18
    Irrationality and Rationality, as refered to in this thread, are only in their common-usage. In actuality, for someone to be truly irrational is impossible. That one would have to have no ability to distinguish, determine, think, guess, argue, etc. These are all rational functions of a person's mind, even if they are not always logical. There was a discussion of this point (between myself and Manuel_Silvio) on the last few pages of "I think therefore I am", for anyone who's interested.

    Back on-topic: I don't think that someone who refuses to reason on any of the things that they believe, and is not open to any agreement or progression in understanding, is truly irrational.
  20. Jun 23, 2003 #19
    Iacchus, don't you think this would be a little offensive to a religious person (not to mention that discussing Jesus most definitely belongs in the Religion Forum)?
  21. Jun 23, 2003 #20
    From the thread, The Metaphysical and the Physical ...

    From a couple posts within this thread ...

    Can't anybody see it? We are still creatures of faith. So what is the bottom line? ... Don't compromise yourself. It's all you've got. :wink:
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