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Evonet

Cambridge
CB24 8TX, UK.

Disillusioned Rationalism

28/08/2000

There is a situation that highly convergent thinkers can get into, where they expect their reasoning to be respected and accepted by others.  However, human beings are not all rational, and may not agree with the reasoning, even when the reasoning is faultless.  This may be because the reasoning is based on premises that are not accepted, or it may be because the recipient does not reason in the same way, or it may be because the recipient has no interest in exploring that line of reasoning.

 

This last is the most difficult for the rationalist to accept. 

 

I have found myself in this position, when trying to market myself or my ideas.  Marketing is about understanding the interests and priorities of the recipient, even when they appear irrational, and presenting ones ideas so that they make sense, even when viewed from this alternative viewpoint.  It is not about moving others to ones own viewpoint  (which is probably impossible).  I may know this in an intellectual sense, but I find it difficult to live by.

 

One can take a certain path of thought, building on a set of premises that are widely accepted, and taking one small new step, and it may be possible to persuade others to follow.  However, starting from an unconventional standpoint may easily make it impossible for one to take others with one.

 

The natural response of the rationalist to his ideas falling on stony ground is to whinge about the irrationality of others.  This makes him as unattractive as a person as his thoughts are unattractive as ideas, and can, in those of low self-confidence, start a downward spiral of introspection.

 

An invention is an unconventional application of technology that is familiar to many, but poorly understood, to achieve an objective that many people have for some time wanted to do.  If the second condition is not met, it doesn’t matter how imaginative or clever the insight is!


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