X-Message-Number: 10268
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 16:49:05 -0700
From: Peter Merel <>
Subject: Reasonin'

Timur Rozenfeld writes,

>Unless you expect to live on welfare or get hand-outs your whole life, in 
>any society, reason is a fundamental value. 

Regrettably, the world abounds with counter-examples. From the Popes to 
Mullahs, all too many folk base their actions on rituals and boojums, but
still continue to make a buck. 

>Values don't need to be rational, but if you value your life and wish to 
>enhance it, it is in your interest that they be rational. 

I'd suggest, contrariwise, it's in you interests to harmonize with the
folk around you. If they're irrational, it will pay you to be irrational,
or at least make a show of it. Being rational among the irrational can get 
you burned at the stake.

But there's more to this. Many delightful activities - eating, sex, skiing
naked - have no rational basis. If you decline such activities on the basis 
that they have no reason, you miss most of life's savour. Reason is, to me, 
no more than a tool; to be taken in hand when it's useful, and put carefully 
away when it's not.

Peter Merel.

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