Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Kind of Resolve

What is the ideal price one should pay for rationality?

This is a rather discomforting thought, why do we choose to be rational or make rational choices? Is there a pattern to rationality or is it just another form of thinking?

Love has raised rather interesting questions for me, on the lines of morality, making the right & rational choices & also working my way to avoid hurting others along the way. But this brings me back to my original logic, which has been wedged into my forehead since a long time, the role of selfishness in love. People say love is self-less, I beg to differ. I dont think anything we do is self-less, not even charity. I have my own reasons to believe, one of them is that self gratification is the only way we can understand what will satisfy other people. Although not with the same things or same circumstances, but the idea of gratification, satisfaction remain universal.

My selfishness or inability to avoid being selfish, has put me in a situation where I occasionally sit down & resolve things for myself. I try to figure out what I want & what I need from the world around me; emotionally, materially, personally & socially. Not always do I conform to these wants & needs since not everything we plan can be achieved. But the agenda exists. My non-conformity allows ample of space for non-linear & random events to take place in my personal life. The trend, for lack of a better word, has been that I allow these events to take place which more than usually define a new course of thought & action for me. Indulging in this moment of clarity I happen to resolve my deep seated anxieties with it. For me the last word is that everything is uncertain, but to acknowledge the uncertainty & use it for decision-making is something I always seek.

A lot of uncertain consequences for my actions lie ahead. I dont know how these things will turn out. But going back to my concern about rationality & morality, I have to pause for a while to think if all my actions which lead to uncertain outcomes are right or wrong. From a biased bird's eye view, some might believe my actions to be morally wrong & irrational; for some they might be morally neutral but irrational & the last but not the very least would be being morally right & irrational. How do we deal with this irrationality which love & life offers to us? I have come to believe that love is a largely irrational feeling, especially romantic love, since there is no tangible reason to fall in love but we just glide into the situation even without being aware of it. It is something early morning jogger's experience when that first wiff of fresh, unadulterated air gushes down their lungs & makes them believe in the certainty that this is what they wanted & this is going to be everything they will ever want.

Why is love irrational then? (opinions are extremely personal)
The notion of informed choice is what I think makes it irrational. One of the most important aspects of rationality is to make informed choices. We fall in love with another person without knowing much about them. As we fall in love we yearn to explore our feelings & the person itself. So we plunge into the idea of love without adequate information, only to be backed by some invisible, undefinable intuition. We learn more & more about this person as we grow. Even when new information keeps pouring in, about this person, we seldom end up comparing this new information with the original feeling which we had when we fell in love. In any rational scenario, it is deemed necessary to discount new information, but in love we rarely do so. We accomodate. For our selfish desire to be with the person, we accomodate with the new information & create room for imperfections & outliers. We want to endure with this person which we so deeply love & also want such a mutual reciprocation hoping that the other person might also accomodate our imperfections. In a way, love is the reason The Beatles sang "All you need is love." Is this behavior moral? Is the inability to discount new information into our decisions right or wrong?

But life is seldom this simple & ideal. Rationality, being the epicentre of human thought (or not), always tries to interfere with that selfish sense of love. We try to rationalize the situations depending on our social obligations & prevalent beliefs. We want everything to be normal with the least amount of friction along with the freedom of choice.

Paolo Coelho says in The Alchemist , "Because when we love, we always strive to be better than we are." Another look into the irrational perhaps. Why would something or some feeling engage us in being better than before? Isn't growth a natural part of life! As we grow older & experience different aspects of life, we inevitably become better than what we are. Some people who become worse, on the other hand have external circumstances to blame for. Being better has been a natural tendency of life. So why does love become an extraneous factor to make us become better than what we are?

Another disturbing moral hazard of love which has deep seated implications to the argument of love being rational or not is the sense of trust. We trust the person we love, implicitly. So great is this trust that we occasionally end up giving the person we love, the power to completely destroy us & trust them not to. Why?, even though it is the right thing to do!!!

So to ask the impossible question, is love the price to pay for rationality or is rationality a price to pay for love?

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