RE: Extract from paper: The Paradox of Rationality vs. Integration

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sat Aug 04 2001 - 13:23:34 MDT

Eric writes

> Note: This paper may contain inaccuracies, omissions or other defects
> because I had not completed, revised and consolidated it.

That's entirely true, it *may* contain such defects for the reason
that you give. But it is also always *possible*, I'm sure that you
will agree, that it contains inaccuracies, omissions, and other
defects that you are simply unaware of. :-)

> -----------
> Concept 3: The Paradox of Rationality vs. Integration
> We can sum up one of the core ideas with this theory with this paradox. Imagine
> that you live in a society with only three members, yourself and two neighbors
> called "A" and "B". Let us say that A likes to kill animals brutally and
> worships the Satan, B preaches strong religion and compassion for all, and C,
> yourself, a free thinker and skeptic.
> Now, as you can see, all of you have ideas that conflict with each other.

Yes. Note that these are *ideas* which conflict. As yet, there is no mention
of harmful conflict.

> What if all of you think irrationally (yes, even skeptics can think irrationally
> skeptical), refusing to accept each other's perspective? You will have three
> options: Shut up about your ideas, start a conflict with your neighbors or live
> away from them.

Wrong, if by "conflict" you mean a development of unhealthy relationships.
An exchange of ideas is good, and even critical disapproval and disdainfulness
is often productive.

> In our society, this happens too often and we find bloodbaths, brutal violence,
> and warfare occurring around the world when conflicts spiral out of control.

But often conflicts *need not* spiral out of control. Most of Earth's people
actually live in peaceful societies where these bloodbaths, brutal violence,
and warfare do not occur. It turns out that anthropological studies have
discovered that humankind is the most peaceful of all primates. If you
carefully and scientifically observe, as students have now done, then per
thousand hours of observation, human beings are vastly less prone to violence
than any of the other primates. This is a point that cannot (almost) be
repeated too often. (It is also true that among large mammals, humans
are comparitively very non-violent.)

> We can also find censorship, pretensions of a harmonious society and ambiguous
> doubletalk statements like "everything has the correct point in accordance to
> their perspective" when people attempt to minimize conflict

Yes! Those statements are to be denounced and challenged at every turn!

> and impose their way.

Doesn't follow at all! In fact, it's those very people who refuse to admit
(more or less) that conflict among ideas exists, who are often the least
likely to attempt to impose their way on others.
> You may wonder what if we all think rationally even when starting with
> irrational beliefs. In such a case, we will actively seek viewpoints contrary
> to our own to minimize guilt (of learning about the truth too late) and in our
> quest for a more accurate personal theory about the universe.

Very well said. I had never suspected that guilt (or embarrassment)
was a factor, but yes, that's true too. And long live our quests
for not only a more accurate personal theory about the universe, but
for theories whose truth appeals to all people and intelligent entities.

> Eventually, through the free exchange of incompatible views and from
> our seeking of more knowledge, we will come across a theory that
> satisfies all the logical prerequisites.

Well, that should be rephrased. I totally agree with the idea
behind it, but literally it is not at all true that a theory
that satisfied *all* the logical prerequisites---I would say
requirements---will necessarily ever be found. We must strive
only (and always) towards *better* explanations. A completely
satisfactory explanation may always elude us, and worse, may
not in some cases even exist.

> Since this theory and our other theories will mutually exclude
> each other, so we can only believe in this theory and only this theory.

> Hence, in a society with even one irrational member, we have to exercise
> censorship to prevent conflicts from occurring, or we will have to live outside
> each other's influence.

I haven't read your ideas about new colonies or whatever, but
I myself in a different thread posted what may be a similar
idea, namely, that *distance* is a proven safeguard against
overwhelming force, radical technology, or dangerous physical

> However, in a society with only rational members, we
> will eventually come to a common consensus while enjoying
> free speech. Hence, the paradox shows itself.

I see no paradox so far.

By the way, it is asking a whole lot for a large society to
consist entirely of rational members. By that, I mean that
there will always be people, unfortunately, who reason extremely
poorly or never engage in it, or who are mentally unstable,
or who stick to peculiar and aberrant dogmas.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:02 MDT