Sunday, 8 September 2013

A balanced view of events leads to a different conclusion. The crucial role played by rationality. Making better decisions. Accelerating personal growth

The question whether you should behave rationally is not a trivial one. In fact, many people do not even ask the question at all. For them, the issue has been settled long ago in favour of shallowness and randomness. Reason is not important, they say, because human beings are not rational.

A balanced view of events leads to a different conclusion

If questioned further, they will point out that history is just a compilation of mistakes, hostility, ignorance, hatred, and prejudice. Is there any place in the world where you can find reason and logic? What is the point of looking for the right answers if nobody seems to care? Should we not rather live for the moment without giving much thought to the future? Why is it better to guide ourselves by logic than by whim?

It would be foolish to deny that many people have little regard for reason. History provides a disquieting record of human irrationality and shows us the dark side of the facts, but if we want to learn the truth, we must look at the whole picture.

A balanced view of events is going to lead us to a different conclusion. In all periods of history, despite much irrationality, millions of people have pursued progress and truth. For every mistake, a hundred steps have been taken in the right direction; and for every failure, a hundred successes have been attained.

You only need to look around to see the results of human ingenuity. From electricity to computers, from cars to aeroplanes, from cell phones to the internet, the proofs of man's achievements are all around us. It is through reason that man has been able to survive, expand his reach, and attain a high standard of living.

The amenities and the good health that millions of people enjoy nowadays are the result of logical thinking. No one can produce a refrigerator by assembling parts at random, nor write a novel by typing senseless words. In every case, man's mind needs to select a goal, establish a plan, and implement it.

The crucial role played by rationality

The crucial role played by rationality becomes crystal-clear when we look at our own lives. The assessment of history can be difficult due to the incompleteness of data, but we cannot say the same of our personal experience: when we attain our goals, we feel happy; when we overcome sickness or poverty, we feel proud of our achievement; and in all cases, rationality plays a key role in making good things happen.

Living rationally is not going to guarantee that you will attain success and happiness, but it will increase dramatically your possibilities to do so. If you apply logic to your decisions, you will make better ones, and if you make mistakes, they are going to be less serious. Your actions will become more effective, your labours less trying, and your rewards more plentiful.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living


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