Attempting To Rationalize Life

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  1. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 11 years ago

    I just had an odd thought. We spend a lot of time in our lives reflecting on our actions, attempting to put things into perspective and wondering how to be better people. We also probably spend a similar amount of time attempting to understand the actions of others and put them into perspective.

    It occurred to me that there is a direct correlation between attempting to rationalize and trivializing. Maybe everyone else already knows this, but I wonder how is it possible to not have one result from the other. I don't see how thoughts with even the best of intentions could have a different outcome.

    So, it seems to me the only way to rise above is to find a way to simply be. Without thinking, justifying or rationalizing. Do you think it  is possible to identify the perfect balance and then simply function within that perfect balance? To not have to think, but simply do?

    I've probably mucked the whole question up, but hopefully someone can figure out the gist of the thought process and share some enlightenment.

    1. Disappearinghead profile image61
      Disappearingheadposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You make sense to me.

      I for one spent enough time in my past mulling over things I've done or said, wondering and self criticising for not living up to expectations, either those of others or what I perceived God would want me to be. This only leads to a sense of inadequacy, guilt, worrying about sin, and removing the joy of life.

      No more. Now I just want to be, and not think.

      1. profile image0
        Emile Rposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I do worry a lot. But, just doing doesn't seem to work for me either. I went to lunch with co workers yesterday and felt horrible that they excluded another worker. What do you do? Not go? That would have been perceived as an insult to the parties going. Insist they be inclusive? That would have caused stress for others. Apologized to the one left out? Was it my place to offer apology? I know how much she wants to be included, but she doesn't really want to be included by me. She desperately wants the others to accept her.

        Every option open to me would have been the wrong one, trivializing someone else's thoughts and perceived emotional needs on some level. A seemingly pointless moment in time, but one of an infinite number of moments where no decision is the right one.

    2. jacharless profile image77
      jacharlessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      amuck, amuck, amuck big_smile

      In answer: Most Definitely!
      This is probably the bare bones of many of my lucid ramblings.
      One does not have to "think" to be or do.
      There is no need to "ration" or divide thought from thought to understand. That action is what I reference as the Inception, the Need To Know, what is already known to the person. That inception, amnesia keeps them locked in the cage, splicing and dicing the framework of their minds.

      What you, Kevin, Penny, Cecilia and others here -myself included- seem to agree upon is this. Could this be that Great Awaking promised, the completion of the Restoration; is our amnesia almost cured? I will go out on the limb and say yes.


      1. pennyofheaven profile image79
        pennyofheavenposted 11 years agoin reply to this


        1. Disappearinghead profile image61
          Disappearingheadposted 11 years agoin reply to this


      2. profile image0
        Emile Rposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I always enjoy reading your thoughts, they tend to lull me into a sense of security on cosmic questions. I'm not sure I'm on board with the Great Awakening idea, although that would be nice.  I think we, as a species, have a long way to go before we can 'awaken'. Me more than the next person, for sure.

    3. pennyofheaven profile image79
      pennyofheavenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Do and be I agree! Brings to mind yoda...No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try. Brings to mind the Tao;

      High virtue takes no contrived action
      And acts without agenda
      Low virtue takes contrived action
      And acts with agenda

    4. Cagsil profile image72
      Cagsilposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I would say your thought is definitely interesting, to say the least.
      You know more people spend time on reflection than they do on introspection on self. Which is a problem.
      Agreed. Each person reviews actions taken by others, seeing the action from the perspective they presently live with and by. They most likely compare the actions to what they think they are capable of and try to derive truth about the person who has taken the action. Unfortunately, many make conclusions long before all the acts are weighed, which skews truth. Thus, becomes a lie disguised as judgment.
      There are some things which have been rationalized as vital and then made by trivializing it, and those things are not actually vital, but meaningless more so than trivial.
      Yeah, there's a correlation. What it means is that your eyes are open to your surroundings and you're actually seeing truth, not the lie being sold to the general public via media and other influential sources.
      Attempting to rationalize is the part that is wrong. Anyone can rationalize any action and apply justification to it, and still feel comfortable with themselves. Good or best intentions still require good(honesty) in action to support the intention.
      The balance needed is peace of mind. Everyone is so well connected today, it's not even funny. So much junk information, political side-stepping bs, lobbyists advocating rights restrictions, government wanting full tyrannical control, domestic violence(all sorts of crimes) and war as a foreign threat always, makes it very difficult to find peace of mind.
      If you're not thinking, then you are only instinctively reacting to your world. That is no way to survive. Justifying is ego over conscience. Taking rational actions are more saner than irrational actions, and knowing the difference is extremely important. Especially, while we live.
      Perfect balance of self isn't going to happen. It will be momentary at best, because we always have ups and downs, and how we handle each situation/circumstance through our own understanding of ourselves and the world around us is what matters.
      It's not about not having to think, it's about spending less energy doing it by doing it more effectively.
      I think I understood you. smile

    5. a49eracct profile image61
      a49eracctposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      This certainly interesting. Rationalization can get us into trouble. As humans we can rationalize anything to make us feel better about a decision. Trivializing is where I'm feeling a little stuck...when I think of this it brings to mind "don't cry over spilled milk ". When we worry about small things it creates bigger problems (that usually aren't there) . When I read the anecdote about the girl at work I felt sad for her. However, she is not your problem. It is her job to figure out how to fit in. The only thing you need to do is just be kind. There is nothing that says she has to be your bff, bit as people kindness and respect go a long way.

      1. profile image0
        Emile Rposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I'm not one to cry over spilled milk. To be honest, I'm lactose intolerant so milk rarely spills around me. But, I think you did a good job showcasing what I'm talking about.  What is a kindness when it comes to human interaction? Is it possible to be kind if you withhold the possibility to interact? What is respect, if not thinking of the needs of others? I don't think it is possible to exclude and be kind and respectful all at the same time. Suggesting that it isn't anyone's responsibility to be another person's bff  is making excuses for not finding ways to be kind and respectful.

        It isn't as simple as the example of the lunch. Yes, someone went uninvited. Big deal. But, in the process of accepting that I don't see it as a big deal it was necessary to trivialize whatever thoughts someone else had on the subject. And we do that at every juncture, with every choice we make. 

        I was simply wondering out loud if it was possible to minimize that.

        1. a49eracct profile image61
          a49eracctposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Kindness and respect are brothers, from my perspective anyway. You cant really have one without the other. To be kind you don't even have to speak. A smile when you catch someones glance is kindness, a wave to the guy who let you merge onto the highway, etc. Our body language can speak volumes as do our gestures. I think it is important to give everyone the 5 minute chance - it's long enough to get the basics about a person to see if your personalities are compatible. Exclusion isn't kind -but honesty is. As with anything though, it gets easier with practice. We have to train our brains not to run wild. I find that keeping a journal helps. If my mind is going a mile a minute, as soon as I write it down it usually is never longer than a paragraph. Once I see that I just sort of go " silly I am " and that usually silences my brain.

          1. profile image0
            Emile Rposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            I get the impression you aren't following. Which makes sense, since I knew from the outset this question was odd.

            So, you are advocating that, if personalities don't mesh in a five minute 'look see' it is acceptable to ostracize individuals from inane group activities....if you smile at them when you hand them some work? You do realize that you are arguing in defense of being superficial? Although that is the nature of office interaction, is it who we want to be?

            The primary reason my mind went on this tangent was because I'm trying to get a handle on how we, as a society, bear a great deal of responsibility for the fact that people find themselves isolated and alone even when surrounded by others. Why people reach the point where they feel so disconnected that they embark on paths that seem alien to us. I'm not saying our receptionist will end up buying an arsenal and assaulting a theater...but I sometimes wonder if our casual disregard of humanity isn't contributing to the growing violence.

            1. a49eracct profile image61
              a49eracctposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Society definitely doesn't foster peace, however I don't think it's society's fault that people are isolated. People usually do that to themselves (introverts) and even though they may want to be included it is very difficult for them to figure out how to fit in. The violence comes from the media- people are murdered every day but most of that doesn't make the national news. The fact that it was the premiere of batman is the only reason we can't get away from that tragedy. Most people who commit crimes of that nature are sick (mentally, that is).
              I just take people the same way Jesus did. There were plenty people he chose not to associate with. Jesus loved everyone- but he approached people with a "discerning heart". Just because we may not want to be friends with someone does not mean that we have to be fake. I don't want to be friends with many people I come in contact with but I am still civil with them and am willing to speak to them.

    6. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image85
      HeadlyvonNogginposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I think you are right. The human ego is often described as a kind of mediator between the more primal id and reality. The ego rationalizes ways of getting what the id wants that are acceptable to the reality around us. The ego is what examines the outside world, examines the self, and examines the self's place in that world.

      I'm currently reading a book that suggests the human ego may have emerged around 4000 BC by comparing anthropological evidence of human behavior throughout the thousands of years that came before agriculture and civilization to that of 'civilized' man.

      Many still seem to think that primal hunter-gatherer humans were violent and driven by male-dominated testosterone driven behavior, but that is far from the truth. Until the dawn of civilization, war and violence between humans was practically non-existent, there was no separation of classes or ideas that some were in some way more important than others, individual possessions were never more than what was needed and sharing was the norm, land and territory was never considered to belong to anyone, and men and women were treated equally. And though they've since been affected by interaction with 'civilization', indigenous cultures still in existence today are very much the same in these aspects as the primal humans who came before.

      Personally, I have a slightly different theory on the topic, but the evidence the author draws on is accurate. It's around the dawn of civilization in Sumer and Egypt that these less than desirable human traits began to emerge, and you could make a strong argument that these are directly related to the ego. Everything we aspire to be in these modern times is basically how humans used to exist and interact for thousands of years before we lost our minds and got all selfish and began rationalizing why we need or deserve what we want.

      1. profile image0
        Emile Rposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Ok, but I bet you'd have gotten a club across the head if you tried to belly up to another tribe's Wooly Mammoth.

        Your post is interesting. It's too bad we can't find a happy median between advancement and peaceful coexistence.

  2. DoubleScorpion profile image73
    DoubleScorpionposted 11 years ago

    I have come to accept that we humans are flawed...So I no longer stress over past mistakes...Nor do I dwell on the "mistakes" of others...I now simply live my life to the best of my abilities and accept things as they come...the good or the bad...

    I have to agree with what has been previously stated..."Don't overthink it"...Or to use a saying we have in the Navy... "Don't/Quit Nuke(ing) It"

  3. knolyourself profile image61
    knolyourselfposted 11 years ago

    First out of mind and body as spy on self. Then "do without doing", as it is said in the Tao Te Ching, be without being, believe without believing or think without thinking. Means get outside the duality and make it what you will.

    1. Haunty profile image74
      Hauntyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Interestingly enough, my first thought after reading the OP was what Lao Tzu said 2500 years ago. "Stop thinking, and end your problems."

      How is it possible that all the time in the world went by and we still don't know this?

      1. Shadesbreath profile image77
        Shadesbreathposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Because every new "generation" every new culture, every new "now" feels like the significant one. The residents of every new now--that's us today--always manage to think this now is the now, and so we think we can find a better way, understand a truer truth, find a wiser wisdom. So, we read Lao Tzu, Socrates, Jesus, even Jonathan Swift, and, despite the great and permeating truth that brings their words to us over the ages, we think that our generation will be the one that can improve on what they figured out and transmitted to us so pointedly with their enduring style and eloquent insights.

        At best, we will find a cool new way to say it. Again.

        But, I suppose we can't be blamed or faulted for wanting to try. Maybe we will. We should be allowed to hope for as much, as much as they did in their time, right?

        I think Emerson said it best, at least, his are the words I recall, though surely they echo a hundred other variations unremembered but no less true that were spoken across the span of time before him:

        Set men upon thinking & you have been to them a God. All history is poetry; the globe of facts whereon they trample is bullion to the scientific eye. Meanest life a thread of empyrean light. Scholar converts for them the dishonored facts which they know, into trees of life; their daily routine into a garden of God by suggesting the principle which classifies the facts. We build the sepulchers of our fathers: can we never behold the Universe as new and feel that we have a stake as much as our predecessors?

        1. pennyofheaven profile image79
          pennyofheavenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          That sounds like our I ness wanting dominion over our beingness.

  4. knolyourself profile image61
    knolyourselfposted 11 years ago

    Maybe because everyone is born not knowing. Maybe If we knew - we would have to be. And if we only didn't know - we would have to not be.
    Be a Lilliputian. Be Gulliver. At the same time be neither, and write the story as script and theater.

    1. pennyofheaven profile image79
      pennyofheavenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Lao Tzu advocates losing all learned knowledge. Do without doing points to that which is without thinking or contrivance. A natural flow of life that occurs without the thinking. Wu wei is probably the concept that explains it better.


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