RE: virus: Rationality

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 09:32:49 -0800 (PST)

On Tue, 25 Feb 1997, Richard Brodie wrote:

> Irrational behavior shows up, both in the animal kingdom and in human
> culture, where scenarios exist that there hasn't yet been time for
> genetic evolution to adapt to. For instance, a deer freezing in the
> headlights of a car is irrational because the deer could instead run to
> safety. An employee freezing in fear instead of asking the boss for a
> raise is the same kind of thing. Our irrationality stems from the fact
> that our modern culture is so far removed from the world we adapted to
> genetically in prehistoric times.

I think we should make a distinction between irrational and non-rational
thinking. I'll go with your assertion that "irrationality" is the
rationality of yesterday in the changing world of today. That seems like
an okay starting point. I'd add that "non-rationality" is actively
working counter to rational modes of thinking. Usually for a purpose. In
this sense "non-rationality" is a form of rational thinking, albeit a
convoluted and imprecise form. The irrational/non-rational distinction
may, I hope, help avoid confusion in future discussions of human modes of
thinking (ya, good luck on that one, Tim!).

Prof. Tim