Monday, 16 November 2015

Post Rationalisation

We are living in an age defined by the post-rationalisatic tendencies of the left-brain. This “mode” of thinking is so embedded in our culture that it’s hard to notice. I’ll try and explain, as much for myself rather than out of a need to foist my views on you. 
The left-brain is the area that focuses specifically and enables us to grab or get. It is what allows us to categorize and process data. This relies on objective separation, something that empathy does not. If you look at current news all of it is processed through the left-brain. This is because social media has spread journalistic thinking over the world like a binary skin. Now the post-rationalisation process is apparent when Cameron says the Paris murders are an attack on Our Way of life. Sounds very convincing. It’s also retaliation for Western involvement in Syria. Again sounds convincing but the left-brain has been scientifically proven to justify actions it had no part in deciding to implement or understand. The left-brain likes to make sense on its own terms. It likes to be certain and in control and will make up reasons even if they contradict experience. This is all scientific fact and ironic because what we call rationalism is clearly totally subjective. If we were to be truly rational we could step back and see the whole picture.

What we are really seeing is human beings acting out evolutionary theory and giving rational shape to it as if there were logical reasons behind it. Since the first sapiens evolved we have had a tendency to kill off the Other. When Bertrand Russell stated that Love is wisdom and Hate is foolishness he meant we need to evolve. What concerns me is that left-brain culture prevents us from changing the situation. If the world were a family we’d be in crisis talks but instead we have lots of male (scientifically proven to be predominantly left-brained) career politicians deciding what we should do. We could evolve and say this is far too important to leave to such limited thinkers. Even in books on creativity the right brain is often seen as subservient and Nietzsche’s idea of the left brain being the Emissary who forgot he was helping a Master is what we see played out in this digital age. An idea Iain McGilchrist explores in his dazzling book the Master and his Emissary. 
Since the end of WWII alienation has gradually overtaken empathy on the graph of human culture. Bureaucracy enables us to operate on a large scale but it also divorces us from tangible experience. Everyone has stories of how systems fail us. just following orders. So now in the age of separation perfected we have poverty and inequality propping up gross self indulgence and greed and this is justified by post rationalisation of the global economy. But it is a culture of separation creating the perfect hot-bed to breed dysfunctionality on a psychotic level. This, by the way is not an excuse. It's an observation. We all know how focusing on blame never changed anything on a personal level so why should it on a global level? Change requires acceptance of responsibility not telling ourselves stories to justify the irrational.

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