Even though I have written copious amounts on this subject some readers stump me with their questions. They want me to concede there is room for irrationality, and when I don’t, they think I am trying to impose my ideas onto them. I am NOT imposing my ideas onto you. I am only asking us to question first, and then accept later, instead of accepting things just because someone told us long ago codified in a book. In short, I am asking you to grow up. Be mature. Use your brain. Be rational.
How do you know if you are rational? Is Rationality another ideology that can be imposed onto others? Which is better? A state run on the basis of blind belief, superstition and irrationality or a state run on the basis of rationality, logic and reason?
What is rationality?
It is the ability of a human to think, ask questions, get answers, debate, discuss, and reason to arrive at a standpoint using a set of generally agreed logical rules. It is the opposite of the ability of human not to think, not to reason, to suppress debate, and then come to an obstinate standpoint by citing a certain idea which is considered unassailable, unchallenged or unquestioned.
According to Wiki:
A simple philosophical definition of rationality refers to one's use of a "practical syllogism". For example,
I am cold.
If I close the window I will not be cold.
Therefore, I closed the window.
The irrational way of looking at it is:
I am cold.
If I close the window I will not be cold.
But I will not close the window because my God Vayu will be offended according to this book written thousands of years before man was born.
Therefore, I will open all the windows including those of other people’s homes, even if it means others will get cold. And if someone stops me, I will bash him up because I am carrying the message of God which is the ultimate truth.
Is Rationality an ideology?
Many people consider rationality to be an ideology. They think it is another set of belief systems, just like religion. The way we say, 'You have Islam, I have Hinduism'. These people want to say, 'You have rationality and I have blind belief'. They think it is a choice we make between different ideologies, like choosing one between CPM and BJP, Republicans and Democrats, Communism and Democracy, Capitalism and Socialism, vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism, Abortionism and Anti-abortionism, etc.
Rationality is not an ideology, but is a method to deal with conflict between different ideologies. We will always have different opinions, different stance, and different positions on various issues of human affairs. And sometimes those positions come into conflict.
Earlier in history, one of the ways to resolve conflicts was to impose one ideology onto others suppressing other’s opinions, voice and freedoms. If one disagreed with the other, they killed the other. If you were different you were tortured, and then incarcerated. Sometimes, like in the times of Inquisition, various innovative ways were developed to torture people, just because these others had a different set of belief systems.
The ideology that reigned over a land was one which the autocrat embraced. If he quickly changed his ideology, the people who earlier enjoyed the privileges were now targeted like their erstwhile enemies. Those were the times when irrationality prevailed. They had different set of tools to end conflicts- by suppression of voice suppression of dissent, suppression of freedoms and that of choice, by curtailing all discussion, debate or questioning, and acting unilaterally based on assumptions coming from blind belief and superstition and on certain illogical set of rules.
(Not very long ago, in Communist Russia, one could be sent to Siberia to be tortured and killed just because you had a different set of beliefs. In the modern days, we still have some regimes which continue to have this practice in place. And now, Indians are doing their best to join the elite club of such irrational regimes.)
Rationality gives man a different set of tools- and those are- reason, debate, discussion, using certain agreed steps called logic. Using these simple tools which almost any thinking person can come up with on his own, a reasonable discussion can be brought about to resolve conflicts between ideologies. Some of the modern nations have been able to guarantee rights to its citizens, resolve issues through discussions and debates through participation of people's representatives accountable to the people, tolerate different kinds of cultures, ethnicities, religions, languages, give equal rights to women and minorities, give equal opportunity and access to fair justice, all because they had embraced tools of rationality.
Rationality is not the truth. It is not a doctrine. It is not an ideology.
It is not about choosing Abortionism as against Anti-Abortionism, but it is the method you employ to resolve that conflict. You have a choice between irrationality and rationality to use as a method to resolve that conflict. Either you can debate the pros and cons of each stance, bring in evidences, results of sociological and medical experiments, and then come to a decision on what suits the best for those who are victimized because of each stance, OR you can decree that a certain book written thousands of years ago is good enough to decide all conflicts for all time and therefore no questioning or debate is allowed since the decision is already made long ago.
Tools for resolving Ram Sethu Controversy
A rational way to deal with Ram Sethu is to debate about it, study what we have as evidences, question what we know as humans, and accept what is known as known and what is unknown as unknown. Discuss the pros and cons of such a project in terms of its effect on environment, the fishing population, the national security implications, etc.
An irrational way to deal with Ram Sethu is to come up with stories, fables, mythology, fantasy and mix it with history, science, a