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Rational thought Wed, Jan 21, 2009
I was driving on the illustrious Route 80 with Wendy the other day, going off on one of my typical rants about how people are stupid because they insist on driving in the right lane during rush hour and get annoyed when people try to merge into their lane from the on-ramp, meanwhile ignoring the three other perfectly good (though equally crowded) lanes to drive in, when Wendy simply noted, "Not everyone thinks rationally." 

I laughed.  Not think rationally.  That's funny. 

And then I thought rationally about what she said.  And I realized she's right. 

And I laughed again, not because I think all thoughts are rational, but because I never thought of the idea that some people's minds don't think rationally by default.  To me, the term "rational thought" is synonymous with "thought".  This is why I don't think much about thinking rationally.  It just happens.  I don't say this to brag.  I say this like a person might say they have a limp from a hip injury.  It's there, the end.  For me to differentiate between a rational thought and an irrational thought, I would have to say, "The statement that is about to exit my mouth is an irrational thought." 

Not all thoughts start out rationally.  Feelings and emotions don't usually follow reason or logic, and thoughts are often the nonverbal expression of these irrational ephemera (cool word, eh?).  But that's why we don't just spew our thoughts out into the wild without passing them through a filter.  And it's also why we don't act based on impulses and instincts (most times, anyway).  To do something without thinking rationally is kind of scary, when you think about it rationally. 

In the end, this experience left me feeling like an alien visiting a foreign planet, with Wendy as my interpreter. #psychology


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