Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Rationality : The Gift of the Gods to Solve Problems

The degree of life's rationality is the degree of luck that you have. I'm defining rationality here in a more basic way than it is ordinarily understood. I define rationality as the human capacity to solve problems (and more particularly, by figuring out the nature of things and then flowing with them rather than against them), and more generally, a state of rationality in life is a state where problems are at least conceivably solvable, if people put their minds together to try to solve those problems, and then act on those solutions. (Acting on the solutions is a necessary part of rationality. It's irrational to simply think them and not implement them!) Such is a very lucky situation indeed, because a situation of unluck is one where problems seem unsolvable and overwhelming and multiple.

If we can think of luck in terms of rationality, then luck is something that can be augmented and multiplied through education and through the encouragement of rational problem-solving techniques. Now lest the intuitive and mystic types amongst us get cold shivers at the sounds of spreading and utilizing rationality, once again, it is a problem-solving orientation, in which we can use our whole minds, our analytical and our intuitive sides, to solve problems ; so when I discuss rationality in this sense, I am not opposing it to intuitive methods that can work hand in hand with analytical methods. Irrationality would simply be not addressing problems at all, nor trying to solve them ; avoiding, and thinking that avoiding will solve them.

When I look around, I think the level of irrationality is increasing, and I think that this is a rational problem, not an irrational one. In other words, it's potentially solvable, and it is not out of our hands, or is inevitable, or just naturally happens that way. I think there's something that can be done about it.

The function of leaders, when there are true leaders, is to try to ensure that life stays as rational as possible, and there are a number of different mechanisms for doing this, the largest of which is law, which is supposed to provide remedies when rights are violated, and is supposed to adjucate conflicts in a way that is both fair and prevents open warfare. But it is plain to just about anyone who opens their eyes that the legal system has become completely irrational. Most people don't turn to it for any kind of solving of their problems, and most people have an understandably cynical attitude towards it, taking the attitude that law is something that is utilized as an aggressive weapon by the powerful to bind the powerless, and such cynical attitude is in fact largely how it is used, which is a complete reversal of how things are supposed to be. When leaders are not ensuring that life is essentially rational, that problems are solvable, it's time to replace them with true leaders. Now, no one can guarantee that life will be without problems, because life is full of problems, and there will always be a margin of problems that just can't be dealt with , but when things get to a point where good, competent people who have passion, who have dedication, who work hard, who have good spirit just begin to feel overwhelmed and that there's not much that can be done about tremendous problems, then something is very wrong. One of the ways that would have been expressed in the old days is talking about luck and unluck, and proclaiming that leaders had not been warding luck. It is useful to look at luck through this lens. Not solely through this lens, but at least through this lens. One thing they were talking about was solvability of problems.

The problem is, irrationality breeds irrationality, because the more unsolvable things seem, the less willing people are to tackle, and the more they are going to want distractions such as entertainment, television, and so forth, which is completely understandable. In the face of problems that seem unsolvable, why confront them at all? One might as well distract oneself and do what one can to enjoy oneself. But of course, the more that people are not focusing on solving the problems, the more the problems are proliferating.

People have become so detached cynically through disappointment from the macro systems that affect us the most, that it's become a real problem. We've left law and economics, which affect us more than just about any other arena, in the hands of experts, who very clearly do not have our best interests at heart, and it's very clear that the official systems of law and economics are being utilized by myopic individuals focused solely on their own interests. Now some of this actually is evil, but some of it is the result of our culture. We have to remember that culture is a cultivation. Culture is a kind of agriculture of the mind, a gardening of values, and for a long time we've been breeding this idea of self-interest, very narrow self-interest and self-concern, and with those who are fortunate, it's quite understandable that they run with this. The end effect is that there are some very wealthy people who are milking the existing mechanisms which are supposed to be in place to protect the weak from the predatory, such that that system is being used to prey upon people. That's very clear.

The primary tool that the Gods have given us is our minds, and so if you want to look at things that are going wrong in the world, you have to look at minds and mindsets. You have to look at the values that are being cultivated. You have to look at the systems that have been created out of mind : law, economics, and so forth. And you have to begin to connect the dots and think systematically. Rationality needs wyrd in order to complete itself. Ecology has been telling us ever since Rachel Carlson that everything is interconnected, and that we must look to this interconnectedness. Wyrd tells us that we must look at nonlinear flows, dynamics, and turbulences in order to understand how things really work. Cause and effect is not just a linear function. Once causes set effects into motion, those effects interact amongst themselves and form flows and streams which take on momentum, and one needs to look at where the momentum is flowing.

The powers that be don't really want people using rationality, because although analysis and intuition must struggle hard to glean genuine insights and separate them from illusion, once that process is rolling, and the insights begin connecting with each other in authentic ways, things often become very simple out of the complexity. It's very easy to see a number of things which are important to notice.

For example, pesticide use is just stupid. There's really little use in debating it. Here bringing in scientists to have scientific battles about this, that, and the other is unnecessary. All we need to know is that pesticides are nerve toxins. They are nerve toxins, and we are spreading poison. There's not a single person from the ancient world who wouldn't have seen that that is just stupid. End of discussion. No need for debate, no need to get into polemics, no need to get pulled into endless argumentation. There's some places where it's useful to argue, and there's other places where you just need to open your eyes and speak what is self-evident before you. Pesticide use is not only stupid ; it's incredibly harmful. Our ancestors would also see that while they had to struggle with pests, the idea of declaring war on all the other creatures of our Beloved Mother Earth, as a way to bring prosperity to ourselves, is essentially a strategy of the giants. That's not a strategy of Vanir-worshippers. That's not a strategy of people who looked to nature, tried to understand her cycles, and work with those cycles. That's an attitude of war on nature, and we're beginning to see, hopefully, that the war on nature is not a war that we will win.

Now when something is both stupid and toxic, you don't argue over the little details. You don't even argue over procedural rules. If people saw how toxic pesticides are, we wouldn't be having discussions on the internet about them, and we wouldn't be having legal battles over them. We'd be engaging in direct action. And it's extraordinarily important that we understand that direct action is the primary engine that gets anything going in life. Direct action. Politicians, legal systems, everything else are not pro-active, at least not in our favor and our direction. They are pro-active for the interests they serve, which for the moment are jotunn interests. No, direct action is the only way to get those systems to respond in the correct way, and whether you think that's radical or not is a matter of how frozen you've become, and how irrational you've become. No, if people saw how incredibly destructive pesticides have become --- and I'm just using one very stupid modern practice amongst many for which it can stand in --- we know where the farms are, we know where the planes are that spread these pesticides and herbicides throughout our air. People would go and block the tractors that pull the pesticides along. They would go and stand in the takeoff lanes at the local airports where the planes are taking off with pesticides. They would surround the factories where these chemicals are made, and they would begin to block and shut down the poison. That's what it will take, and if you trust your heathen ancestors, you'll see that that attitude of action, of direct action, is what it takes. That doesn't mean you need to start with a combative attitude and go to war immediately, although it could take that. Struggles sometimes get to that point, but it doesn't have to start that way. In a rational scenario, people would go out there and put their bodies between their health and the irrationality of people who are driven entirely by profit, by Gullveig.

These symbols are not meant to stay as little fairy-tales. The power of greed, the power of gold, is a real corrupting force in the world. Gullveig does breed wolves, and those wolves are predators. Giants are a way of approaching the world. As Eve put it, the giant corporations are our modern representations of the jotunnish spiritual energies. Direct action, as the implementation of rationality, can help us begin to create a more rational world, a world of luck, a world where the problems don't have to cripple us, and it's time to begin thinking in these terms, because it's irrational to believe that people who don't have your best interests at heart are going to take care of things. It's irrational to believe that having an entirely passive attitude about difficulties is going to solve any problems. It's irrational to believe that sitting in front of your television set is going to do anything. This is not about electoral politics. This is not about writing your congressman. This is about direct action, in the fact of stupidities, and standing up for intelligence.


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