Rationality and His Evil Twin

by Haider on February 13, 2010 · 8 comments

in Logic

Rationality is a celebrity, adored and respected by many. Known for his wise counsel, sound arguments and fair judgment.

But not everyone knows the dark family secret of Rationality, which many dare not think about, let alone mention.

Since I know the secret, I find it necessary to reveal it to my readers, so that they are no longer fooled by this ongoing deception.

Rationality has a twin brother. An evil twin brother.

What’s more, the evil one often pretends to be his good-natured brother, and takes advantage of his brother’s prestige for his own wicked plans.

The evil twin is known as Rationalization.

The twins are identical. They look the same and sound the same.

They are both logical. They are both consistent in their arguments.

But while Rationality upholds truth, Rationalization finds consistency in falsehood.

Rationality ensures that every statement is factual, whereas Rationalization often relies on assumptions.

Rationality respects evidence, but Rationalization values opinions.

Rationality uses reality as his guide, but Rationalization selects from reality that which serves his purposes.

Rationality judges ideas according to Reality, whereas Rationalization judges Reality according to his beliefs.

The twins sound the same, but their arguments are worlds apart.

Rationality equips Man with the right understanding of Reality to ensure his happiness, but Rationalization makes Man’s ignorance sound reasonable. What made this possible is the trust Rationality has built for himself, and the many accomplishments he helped Man achieve.

When Rationalization spoke, people thought it was Rationality, the brother they were fond of. Not knowing that Rationality had an evil twin that was sabotaging the good he worked tirelessly to establish.

And now, when Rationalization is to be condemned for the false arguments he has presented, his brother is taking the blame and losing his credibility and hard-earned reputation.

Which is why it’s important to know that the evil twin exists, and that we must not judge Rationality for the crimes Rationalization has committed in his name.

What conforms to reality is the work of Rationality. What doesn’t is the work of Rationalization.

What’s based on facts – and only facts – and never uses fallacious reasoning is the argument of Rationality. What mixes fact and fiction and fallacy is the concoction of Rationalization.

Whenever you use any logical argument, ask yourself:

Whose work is it: Rationality or Rationalization?

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Did you enjoy the post? If you'd like to get new posts fresh out the oven and learn more about holistic growth, you can subscribe to this blog by RSS or Email. You can also connect with me on Twitter. Don't forget to say hi. :)

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mick Morris`
Twitter: theMickMorris
February 13, 2010 at 9:49 am

I was having a discussion today with someone involved in debating policy. I wish I had read this post before that discussion, it could really have added a layer of depth…… I’ll raise it during our next chat!
Mick Morris`´s last blog ..Get out of your F****N BOX! My ComLuv Profile

2 Haider February 13, 2010 at 11:55 am

When I was at university I wrote an article on the ethics of discussion. It seems that many debates end up being completely fruitless because there are dimensions to debate that we’re unaware of, or at least unaware of how important they are to the debate.

I hope this article will be a good contribution to your debates. :)

3 Crystal February 14, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Welcome Back!!!!! As always great article….thank you.

4 Haider February 14, 2010 at 7:29 pm

You don’t know how great it feels to get back to writing! :D

Thank you for passing by. :)

5 eiman February 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm

First thanks for sharing your great secret :P
It could been more clearer if you linked it to an example :/
I couldnt understand it entirely

6 Haider February 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Hi Eiman,

Thanks for stopping by.

Today I was thinking that I don’t use examples enough, and you just offered me a confirmation.

In all honesty I wrote this article so I can reference it in other articles, because it explains a basic distinction we need to be aware of. But as a simple example of the difference between reason and rationalization:

Have you ever heard someone say: “You shouldn’t be wearing that. It’s traditionally unacceptable”?

It sounds like a reasonable argument. There is a judgment (it’s wrong to wear that) and a reason (traditionally unacceptable). But tradition doesn’t define what’s right or wrong. It’s not a reliable or accurate moral gauge. Therefore, this argument is a rationalization.

Religious debates are riddled with rationalizations. People take out a single verse from their holy book and base their entire worldview on that. But if the verse is taken out of context, then it doesn’t truly reflect what the book is saying.

The idea that money is the root of all evil, and the arguments in support of this idea are rationalizations, because money doesn’t inherently corrupt. It amplifies the corruption of those already corrupt.

A rational argument is always based on facts. A rationalization isn’t. If you’ve heard someone argue and you didn’t agree with him. You thought his argument doesn’t make sense, then it’s likely that he was simply rationalizing. Making an argument that’s not consistent with reality.

The examples are endless, so look out for them in future posts! :D

7 nada July 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

Great work!

I like the distinction except rationality itself becomes rationalization because there are no absolute Truths in the world, only relative, arbitrary, and sometimes misinformed interpretations. So in a post-structuralist sense, they aren’t twin brothers per se, but hyperreal reflections of one another.

I am looking forward to reading those other articles that will reference this one. And glad to have you writing again.

8 Haider July 25, 2011 at 11:17 am

Hi Nada,

Nice seeing you hear, and sorry it took me a couple of days to approve and respond to your post.

“There are no absolute Truths in the world”

A dagger through my heart! :P

I strongly believe in an objective reality, though we get to experience it subjectively. Rationality helps to distinguish the objective from the subjective. Rationalization projects the subjective onto the objective and equates the two (”what I believe is the truth, because I believe it”).

We can only have “misinformed interpretations” if there’s something to interpret.

We definitely need to discuss this. Over coffee, perhaps. ;)

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv Enabled

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree

Previous post: 7 Ideas That Are Probably Ruining Your Life

Next post: Reformations & Transformations