The Importance of Irrationality
Fear is a powerful emotion. … fear made us run from the rustling bush that may or may not have concealed a predator, made us build high walls and develop great machines of war and industry to surpass our enemies and keep them at bay. It fuelled conquest that brought great wealth and prosperity, and justified the resultant suffering.
But fear and paranoia are merely the visible symptoms that surface from a deeper irrationality.
Your premises above are flawed. There are two types of fear, rational and irrational. A lunatic with a gun in front of you will cause rational fear, a mouse may cause irrational fear.
Fear is an emotion over which we have little control; it arises from the autonomic nervous system. Of itseslf, it probably is neither rational nor irrational but can be viewed subjectively or objectively to that end.
What reason is there for life, for any life, not just our own? No rational one. For what reason do we eat, breathe and propagate?
This assumes that eating, breathing and procreating are also irrational and that they are independent – they are not. Our purpose here, like every other living creature from sequoias to viruses, is to procreate – to do that you eat and breathe. You don’t have much of a chance to procreate if you have no sense of danger, expressed through fear.
If it were not for our irrationality we would be extinct.
If we would be extinct then not being extinct would seem to be rational. It must therefore be rational to experience fear in the face of mortal danger.
No purely rational being has any interest in prolonging its own existence.
This is wrong. I like to think I am rational… most of the time, I have no great desire for my life to end.
Despite being irrational, superstitious fools,
Speak for yourself : )
our capable nature allowed something very interesting to occur. Fear had driven us to create security for ourselves and our offspring.
Fear becomes rational… We see that sort of fear in all sentient beings – animals, birds, insects, etc.
This safety afforded us the ability to remain children for longer and grow larger brains.
I think the size of our brain has other origins – Mole rats, ferrets and viruses are pretty safe but are not noted for their intellect.
Inside these evolving brains lay a new mind, the protected mind, one which was governed not by fear but reason and gave birth to rationalism and science.
Observe animals; the main difference between homo sapiens and the rest is that we have an ability to believe that the past was real and the future is going to be real. We are able to, as you say, postulate various circumstances and readily do so. However, the advantage of this for pure survival is still open to debate. That it allows us to survive better is not open for debate.
We still require our irrational mind to this day, in order to survive,
Just a minute! In your last sentence you were saying that the mind is rational… What’s happening?
so we should not discard irrationality entirely but use both minds in tandem.
I think you have confused what “mind” is. It is the combination of the autonomic and conscious.
And so our rationality is forever restricted by our mortality. Human logic and reasoning will forever be the artist's tools. But is that such a terrible thing?
That is comprised of bald statements, devoid of any evidence – were I immortal, I still would not pick a hot coal from the fire nor provoke a rattlesnake.