June 1, 2000
I believe rationality is incorrectly dictated by society. Generally when one is irrational he or she is contradicting the “normal” or what everyone is programmed to do. Kant says “Can you also will that your maxim should become a universal law.”1 In part I agree to the theory of universal law where “rational” is judged by universality or what everyone should do. In fact we know that primitive societies were not built on rationality. I believe that we are intrinsically rational and irrational. In my opinion , taking the daouist view, having the ability to be rational and irrational, a hybrid of both, gives an individual the ability to be rational. Kant says “These, so far from hiding a good will or disguising it, rather bring it out by contrast and make it shine forth more brightly.”2 I like what Kant thinks here but I think the good will should be substituted with irrationality. For example in order to maintain the title rational while conforming to society’s dictated rationality, one must do the following. Allow our irrational thoughts and ideas to manifest themselves in private and then refine and hide them for public display. When an individual is accepted or titled as rational they are universally accepted (universal law). Irrationality must be well disguised at first to gain universal acceptance along with the sister word “credibility.” Once credibility has been established, undress the irrational. This first step to rationality is what, I believe makes us our each and own individuals. Society has affinities for these types of individuals, they are in simple, the people who are successfully “different”.
Kant says that “To assure one’s own happiness is a duty”3 Here I like what Kant says but with different meaning. I believe duty is freedom and happiness is indicative of irrationality. In fact I will go to the extent of saying that happiness is freedom. Freedom is a duty, so we need irrationality and must just simply do it by any means. Everyone needs different degrees of freedom, hence different degrees of irrationality. Our duty is to free ourselves from the jails of rational society. I also believe this is the root of many who compulsively watch television or those who tend to drink. It is safe to say that the majority of Americans adopt both as the leading “past-time hobbies.” In my interpretation, both are an attempt for irrationality without disturbing the universality law factor so they maintain the title rational. Furthermore, many tend to love the particular actors who “question authority”, authority being the mass, hence the actor or actress is labeled irrational. When one follows a particular “movie star/s” or feels the need to watch fictional movies they are living through someones irrationality. In addition, when one is intoxicated he or she can become irrational, its accepted by the mass, so it is titled rational. All driven by duties.
On the other hand many individuals day dream, which in my belief is another attempt for the private break of dictated rational ways of society. Kant says “But here also, apart from regard to duty, all men have already of themselves the strongest and deepest inclination towards happiness, because precisely in this idea of happiness all inclinations are combined into a sum total.”4 Kant believes that inclination is behind the contradictions that many of us often make. The contradictions are on the behalf of our self-interest in order for us to be happy. We need these contradictions which Kant says is irrational, but they make us happy and deliver freedom. Being that I believe that its our duty to achieve freedom through irrationality, we must make these contradictions in order to achieve some degree of freedom. Kant says “For there it is easy to decide whether the action which accords with duty has been done from duty or from some purpose of self-interest.”5 I believe that it is our duty to reach some degree of freedom through irrationality driven by our self-interest. In other words duty requires self-interest. I like the concept of doing whats right because its right and not doing whats wrong because its wrong. It is a wonderful concept, but not humanly possible. But by all means, we simply do the contradictions to taste the private irrationality and achieve freedom all propelled by duty.
We are animals that are built of desire with a innate need for irrationality often done by contradiction. Rationality develops the idea of control, so it is this control that we try escape from. I believe that it is the irrationality that gives us freedom, and freedom is our duty. I must disagree with Kant where he says we are in control of our thoughts and innately rational. I believe for the most part, that we are not in control of our thinking and require irrationality for our mantel health. Kant says ” When a wretched man, strong in soul and more angered at his fate then fainthearted or cast down, longs for death and still preserves life without loving it-not from inclination or fear but from duty.”6 Adopting a Buddhist point of view, why would this not apply to our mental health? Is it not our duty to keep our Soul alive as it is our body? Our body is the vehicle that our soul resides. Therefore it is our duty to keep the Soul happy with irrationality. We must dismiss denial, where we play games with ourselves which allows us to do something wrong. Accept the concept that we are irrational and need irrationality. You may say that what you have read is irrational: PERHAPS.
Incorporates Western & Eastern view. Kant quotes…
Largly an opinion paper