On Rationality and Delusions

This post started as a reply to M Cuffe’s comment on my post on The God Delusion. M Cuffe suggested that I’m merely asserting an individual’s right to be irrational, or ignorant. 是的, I am indeed saying that one has the right to be irrational. But that statement stems from something that I believe is deeper. It stems from what we mean by rationality, 以及为什么我们认为理性是件好事,,en,我知道这听起来,,en,不合理的,,en,但是我正在谈论的是佩西格在其中谈到的理性,,en,稍微退一步,,en,理性是典型的世界观,,en,通过理性,,en,我们指的是与我们的常识相似的事情,,en,因此,核弹移动或消除山峰的概念是合理的,,en,尽管我们从未见过它,,en,你相信它是因为它符合你的世界观,,en,我也相信,,en,不久前我还是一名核物理学家,,en,还有一位上帝,,en,或信仰,,en,移山对我们的理性显然是很可笑的,,en,我并不是要求人们对信仰给予同等合理的重视,并且要轰炸山脉,,en,我只是鼓励他们研究为什么他们相信一个而不是另一个,,en. I know it sounds “irrational,” but I’m talking about rationality as Persig talked about it in 禅与摩托车维修艺术.

Stepping back a bit, rationality is quintessentially a worldview. By rational, we mean things that seem normal to our commonsense. So the notion of a nuclear bomb moving or obliterating a mountain is rational, although we have never seen it. You believe it because it is consistent with your worldview. I believe it too, 相信我. I was a nuclear physicist not too long ago. 🙂

And a god (or faith) moving mountains is clearly ludicrous to our rationality. I’m not asking people to give equal rational weight to faith and bomb moving mountains. I’m merely encouraging them to examine why they believe in one and not the other. 多称理性只是另一种说法,即你选择相信另一种,,en,按照这些思路思考,,en,我得出的结论是,这只是世界观或信仰体系的问题,,en,我个人也基于理性来订阅你的世界观,,en,这就是为什么我认为自己也是无神论者,,en,尽管我的一位读者认为我只是感到困惑,,en,作为一个隐藏在云层后面的老人,神与我们的世界观不符,,en,但它可能是其他事物的隐喻,,en,我们有这些抽象的幸福概念,,en,完美,,en,悲伤等,,en,这些东西是真的吗?,,en,我们应该相信它们存在吗?,,en,这些问题没有太大意义,因为这些概念都在我们的脑海中,,en,什么不是,,en,让我们采取完美,,en. 为什么?

Thinking along those lines, I come to the conclusion that it is only a question of worldviews or belief systems. I personally subscribe to your worldview based on rationality as well, which is why I consider myself also an atheist (although one of my readers thought I was merely confused :-))

A god as an old man hiding behind the clouds is not consistent with our worldview. But it may have been a metaphor for something else. Let me explain. We have these abstract concepts of happiness, perfection, grief etc. Are these things real? Should we believe they exist? Such questions don’t make too much sense because these concepts are all in our minds. 但随后, what isn’t?

Let’s take perfection, 例如. 比方说,我们给它分配了一些人的形式,,en,所以我们可以把它解释给孩子或其他东西,,en,然后我们称之为,,en,完美的女神或什么,,en,几代人,,en,无论出于何种原因,,en,完美的概念从我们的意识中消失,,en,但女神的隐喻依然存在,,en,对相信现实完美的人,,en,因此女神的存在,,en,这不是一个妄想,,en,在那个信仰体系中,,en,在这方面和世界观,,en,它非常有意义,,en,但是缺乏完美的抽象概念,,en,女神变成了妄想,,en,我相信我们集体智慧的很大一部分是以这种比喻的形式传下去的,,en,而不是因为背景消失而将他们视为妄想,,en,我们或许应该更努力地重新发现丢失的概念,,en, so that we could explain it to a child or something. We then call it, 说, the goddess of perfection or whatever. Over generations, for whatever reason, the notion of perfection disappears from our awareness, but the metaphor of the goddess remains. 现在, to somebody who believes in the reality perfection, and therefore the existence of the goddess, it is not a delusion. In that belief system, in that context and worldview, it makes perfect sense. But in the absence of the abstract concept of perfection, the goddess becomes a delusion.

I believe that a large part of our collective wisdom is handed down in the form of such metaphors. Instead of dismissing them as delusions because their context is gone, we should perhaps try harder to rediscover the lost concepts. 我也相信这样的隐喻存在于似乎运作良好的其他领域,,en,中医的气概念,,en,五要素,,en,或三种身体类型,,en,在阿育吠陀等,,en,传统中医和阿育吠陀的工作,,en,这些实践中必须有一些知识,,en,如果我们仅仅因为他们的隐喻与我们的理性不一致而撇下他们的基础,,en,我们可能会注销一些新的或被遗忘的知识的潜在来源,,en,我相信我们的一些聪明的天才确实会在我们认为的事情上看到妄想的隐喻,,en,超级真实,,en,道金斯,,en,理查德道金斯,,en,上帝的妄想,,en,在我的帖子上,,en,一个合理的上帝,,en,我将盲视视为感知不能导致有意识感知的例子,,en. Take, 例如, the Qi concept in traditional Chinese medicine, the five elements (or three body types) in Ayurveda and so on. To the extent that traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda work, there has to be some knowledge buried in those practices. If we write off their basis merely because their metaphors are not consistent with our rationality, we may be writing off some potential sources of new or forgotten knowledge.

此外, I believe that some of our smarter geniuses indeed see delusional metaphors in what we take to be supremely real.

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