RATIONAL vs. RATIONALIZATION- A strange and unusual topic eh? Maybe so, but I suspect most people get caught in the trap of either not understanding the difference , or not honoring that difference. Rational refers to objective truth whereas rationalization refers to using objective truth in an illegitimate or unrelated context in order to justify a position of some kind, either attitude or action.
In his famous Gettysburg address, Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “We hold these Truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. The objective truths of which he spoke were to be found in the Declaration of Independence. Reasoning and reasonable men, after observing and enduring centuries of oppression by tyrannical governments of one kind or another, were able to glean those basic truths. Furthermore, they had the stalwart courage to express and promote those basic truths with their lives, if necessary.
So, rational or rationality refers to the intellectual ability to discern truth, and the willful mandate to accept, choose, love that truth.
One might ask how it is possible to know the truth. Truth is established in various ways and by using various techniques. In the world of science, truth is established by the ‘scientific process’—postulation, experimentation, observation. If the same identical result is obtained with each identical experiment, then that result becomes a scientific truth (fact-law). A similar formula may be applied in the field of philosophy—however it may be a bit more ‘tricky’ and always involves subjectivity. As in Lincoln’s proclamation, ‘We hold these truths to be self evident’ , meaning, of course, that after centuries of observation and experimentation with human beings lives, the basic truth of human dignity became obvious.
Another form of ‘truth establishment’ is Logic, which deals with premises leading to a conclusion. In its simplest form one, might use the following example: Premise 1—all houses are white Premise 2—that building is a house Conclusion—that building is white. Nothing more, nor less can be added to that proposal because no other factual information is available, However, in the ‘real world of speculation and rationalization, the average ‘Jack or Jill’ may be caught expounding endlessly about the additional qualities of that structure. So, in such a case, one rationalization leads to a pseudo-truth which may be expounded upon and expanded to the point that, in very short order, that basic house could not be recognized using verbal communication.
Here we are, at this very moment, embroiled in a national revolt because the ‘truth’ of Lincoln’s observation has been ignored—likely by rationalizing individuals. At the same time, decent, respectable, citizens are attempting to stage ‘peaceful objection’ to such rationalized activity. Their voices, however, have been drowned out for the most part by ‘insurgents’ who have a different agenda—that seems to be overthrow of our government which was founded on a precious concept of equality of all and prospects of happiness for all. Their subversive agenda no doubt sprang from hatred and deceit and is justified in their minds by the ‘rationalization process’.
Now, lets turn to our Creator which President Lincoln recognized. Just who is that Creator? How do we know that there is such an entity and if there is, what is it like?
Simple observation of world history will demonstrate rather clearly that our Creator has been denoted with at least a thousand different titles, understandings, qualities, abilities, attitudes, demeanors, locations and intentions. How is that possible when literally each person speaks rather authoritatively about ‘his/her Creator’? The answer to that question lies in a very simple framework called ‘Rationalization’.
Throughout the eons, each king, society and person, aided by the process of rationalization, has created an ‘image’ of their Creator. Their god/ being, of course, was fashioned nearly always for self-serving purposes. In more ‘modern times (6,000 years), those Gods served a wonderful purpose—-to keep the troops in line.
Of course, most of those ‘gods’ were fashioned with human qualities—selfishness, ire, revenge, mercy—a little bit of occasional love—but don’t get too snuggly—you’ll get burned.
Quite obviously, that god had to be appeased, and, usually, with sacrifice—RELIGION WAS BORN.
That form of rationalization possibly began with concepts of god/s and , of course has pervaded the human ‘thought process’ ever since—rather dramatically negatively, I might add. Just look at our streets this very minute.
How did all this confusion about God come about? Remarkably, everyone, including ‘Honest Abe’, talked/talks about god, but not a single one knows God—none were able to define the essence of their god.
With God’s help, I did.
Without an essential definition, absolutely nothing nor any one, especially God, has any meaning at all.
My definition: God is a Perfect Rational Being. That Perfect Rationality means that with its Perfect Intellect, it perceived ‘all’, and with its Perfect Will, it loves (accepts, chooses, wills ) ‘all’. Furthermore and most importantly, there is not the slightest possibility of ‘any rationalization’ coming from that Perfect Intellect’.
If you choose rationality over Rationalization, please read my two little books, Wilderness Cry, and Peace in Spirituality.