This discussion is generally useful in any area of life.
Rational means to think in a reasonable way. Rational people make statements, decisions, or judgments using reasoned thinking, based on facts, and applying rules.
(See the essay titled "Wisdom," for a discussion on what it takes to make wise decisions. Also read the pages dealing with Personhood; life-goals and life-rules.)
Sometimes we hear a comment like Thats not logical. Or "she is irrational" (not rational). We make these statements because when we apply our own reasoning to the question, we come up with very different results.
But most nearly everyone is rational and logical in their own mind, even if we think otherwise. They may come up with results of their thinking that are different than ours. How does this come about? There are three main types of causes.
The first cause is the information they are using is not correct. It is like the old computer term, GIGO (Garbage In = Garbage Out). People can have incorrect information because of several reasons.
- Sometimes they imagine things; a mental illness.
- Sometimes they don't hear well. (Hard of hearing.)
- Sometimes noise covered up an important word.
- Sometimes they do not listen carefully.
- They have been given incorrect information.
- They have made assumptions which are incorrect. This is very common.
- Sometimes it is because of ignorance on the subject - they simply do not have enough good information upon which to make a good judgment. Children often have this problem. It is up to the teachers in their life to help them collect enough good information that they can make sound judgments.
The second cause is sometimes people come to decisions which are "not logical" to us because they have a goal different than the one we think they have. They have a different agenda!
The third cause is that the other person IS completely rational, and is correct, and it is YOU who wrong! You are human. By definition it is possible for you to be wrong.
If we can keep these ideas in mind when we are dealing with someone who seems illogical, we can ask 4 kinds of questions:
Once we understand these things, we are more likely able to work well with that person.
We can also monitor our own thinking, trying to avoid these mistakes ourselves! Ask those questions of ourselves!