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Is it possible for Humans to be irrational?

Added: Saturday, February 4th 2023 at 5:47pm by tjdonegan

            Often I have - mistakenly1 - written that that an individual shows themselves to be "irrational" by their having implicitly - or explicitly - rejected the dictates of reason; particularly in rejecting corollary premises. Such individuals - seemingly inveterately - favor those contingent ideas, and actions, which - in some fashion germane to their particular mien's - flattering; irrespective of their oft chosen option/s presenting an/a inherent contradiction/s. Such individuals - imperiously (such is the attendant habit egoism/sentimentality...) - subordinate the objective truth [i.e., knowable relations independent of subjective human will] of objective existence [i.e., the order of existence which - too - is ordered independently of subjective human will] to  their  particular ego's. And such - seems - to present an individual that is not "rational2" because their particular judgments - regarding that which is (i.e., objective existence, with its particular varied objective existents) - demonstrably, do not accord with the way things are. As a matter of inveterate reflex we have labeled such judgments to be irrational, but we have erred!

            1 Mistakes in assessment/judgment may take the form  of mental sloth (wherein one utilizes a particular "old saw" without examining its appropriateness); such mistakes are not prescriptive, rather they are mistakenly descriptive...  

                2 Here we limit the meaning of "rational" to the adjective: "measured" meaning quantifiably and qualitatively measured. The concept of "rational" - as all concepts - presuppose God.


            If one considers human beings - in their specific and uniquely human activity - of assessing each existent of their particular experiences, where in - judgment - the particular human comes to "know3" each particular by - intentionally4 becoming) - the  object of experience, the assessment each individual has regarding objective existents is rational to the degree that the individual effaces his/her particular mien/soul. Any prescriptive act - by the knowing subject ( i.e., human being) - necessarily distorts that  which is  (i.e., objective reality; particularly the existents under immediate judgment of the knowing being i.e., human subject).

                3 In the act of knowing the individual subject (person) intentionally assimilates the objective existent, becoming the object - when the judgment is non-prescriptive5 - as it is albeit intentionally i.e., the form of the object - along with each of the contributing sense datum of the object - are inveterately apprehended by the knowing subject (i.e., human being), wherein the subject (i.e., the particular human)  is animated by the other i.e., intentionally becoming the object of experience in act.

            4 To "intentionally become" means: "to become the object of experience in its act of existing" e.g., when one encounters a dog, one perceives the dog in its act of existing; thus, to know the dog is not merely to statically conceptualize the form/essence of a dog, but rather to apprehend the dynamism of a living, breathing, barking, drooling dog; in so doing, the rational being - whose essence/nature is described by Aristotle as a microcosm of reality (Because rational beings have the capacity to - intentionally - become all that is...).

                5 Such non-prescriptive judgments are rational judgments; if - and when - the knowing subject - ascribe a character to the objective existent, the subject has distorted that which is. This distortion of the objective existent is not - strictly speaking - irrational; rather it is mis-rational.


            We conclude - therefore - that we have been in error to assert that human/s "X" is demonstrably 'irrational'; for beings whose very essence (form/nature/eidos) is rational, it is a mistake to claim such beings as irrational i.e., incapable of inferential reason; rather such individuals - because of their demeanor (viz: arrogant6) - imperiously arrogate to themselves what is (i.e., existents), and whatis/are  its relations (the ordering of the particular existent/s in relation to other existents...); and such judgments are not "irrational" but - rather - are indicative of the mis-rationality attending mis-ordered miens/souls; such miens/souls subordinate objective reality and objective truth to the SELF; such individuals are the god which they inveterately worship! So - in re-iterated peroration - humans as rational beings (even in allowing for possible defect in the pertinent senses) - cannot be irrational; the very act of distorting objective reality - with its attendant plethora of objective existents - demonstrates rational faculties, but also that measured reality has been distorted by the judging faculties encumbered by SELF.

                6 Arrogance is - generally - intuitively ascribed - more correctly "mis-ascribed" - by a person, or persons, that hold another to be "full of themselves" i.e., one having too high of an opinion of their own opinion, regarding a matter of some controversy (i.e., a point of disagreement); such ascription is assigned by another - or group of others. Such ascription may, or may not, be valid; the determining factor is objective reality and its attendant objective relatedness. Often, the ascriptive "arrogance" is assigned incorrectly, and this because the ascriber takes offence at the - seeming - temerity of the individual with which the ascriber disagrees, orbecause  of  a  presupposed objective validity of the 'convention'' to which the ostensibly arrogant individual does not defer... Arrogance - in fact - is the conscious, and/or habitual i.e., inveterate, act of prescribing to objective reality an/or to an objective existent - a subjective character or ordering of character; ultimately - such actions - reduce that which is (a.k.a. objective reality) to the particular psychological  ordering (i.e., mien) of the particular individual subject/person. 

Thomas J. Donegan



User Comments

mind games with yourself again?

Hi, FedUp!

The point of the essay above is that when we assert another is "irrational" we - on varying levels - excuse their conduct; moreover, we may - as consequence - write them off as implacably set in their manner/way and view. If - and when - we accurately assert them as "mis-rational" we identify - to them and to all - that they have mis-judged "X" and assist them to see their error i.e., "If you brother sins, rebuke him; if he repents, forgive him. Luke 17: 3. If 'my brother' is irrational (i.e., lacks the capacity for correct judgment), 'my brother' is incapable of "sin"...

Cordially, tjd

a 'fine' point


I think this is asking way too much for the average living Human.

Perhaps with direct AI/Human Brain interface - but seems AI will likely be Luciferian at best (Unless there's "The Intervention" (Second Coming?))

Hi, 1derlander!

Do you mean it is too much to expect humans to be conscious when their actions do not accord with reality and dispassionate reason? If so, Jesus - seems - to have the view that humans possess the capacity to 'choose the narrow gate' and he - seems - to provide a regimen to choose that gate, viz: 'deny oneself daily, pick up one's cross, and follow him' (We take it that what it is we are to deny is our will if it does not accord with God's...) ...

Cordially, tjd

Hi again, 1derlander!

Saw a note from you this morning - didn't have time to address - but it is not here now? Think you asked about the Holy Spirit aiding in the individual's salvation. To believe that one can "save" oneself - you likely know - is the heresy Pelagianism... The Holy Spirit - and God's grace washes over us all, and is efficacious to our salvation in commensuration with our individual soul's/will's accord with God. As for 'expecting too much from us humans' it strikes that the Master is forgiving, of those that "strive but fall" ('The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak'), but no so merciful to the insouciant ("Lord when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger...and not attend to your needs?"). With all of the leisure available to us, and all of our material abundance, with what do we occupy our time? 'Where your treasure is, there your heart is also...' Jesus was, and is, a hard-case! A book you may enjoy - by Doug Giles - is: If masculinity is Toxic, call Jesus Radioactive.

Take care 1derlander!

Cordially, tjd


1der. Favor to ask if u would oblige. c/p the following to ZoeyMae's current post. 

It's not that I wasn't accepting of your apology, it's that I didn't read the post. I explained on the prior post where you could have offered that but you removed my comment so I thought that was that. I had nothing else to say. Just asking that you do understand I sign my comments, and whatever arguments I have with another Blogster is with that Blogster alone. 

If an Anon is posting on your page it was NOT me. I spoke once and I signed my name. No need to change your settings or delete your posts. I'm not a problem for you. You're not on my radar, but dogpiling in support of a person I vehemently dislike is. I was trying to prevent a problem, not create one.


Unfortunately Zoey cranked her page down to Friends only.

And I'm not on her list. Oversight on my part. :/

Oh, no worries then. Thanks anyway.


Zoey has since opened her page.  Sent your message to "will this never end" at 11:16am Blogster-time.   Best wishes & Be well :)

Thanks & thanks. 


What an odd question. Of course people can be irrational. In fact they're mainly irrational. 

Hi, Amala!

Generally, a presupposition of "rationality" is: a discursive intellect and a free-will (i.e., a will that may/can choose contrary to its desire...); when one asserts another irrational they assert they haven't those capacities; this is something different than asserting that their capacities are encumbered; the former is a ground for dismissing ill-conduct, the latter does not. Our behavioral-scientists have seduced us into acccepting unacceptable conduct because the "bad-actors" cannot help but do the wicked things they do...

Cordially, tjd 

Oh, I get what you're saying. If it's nature for a kid to throw a tantrum in a grocery store, these people want us to accept it and condone it because it's being done by a child. 

I consider it irrational not to acknowledge that 'God' has an infinity of names.

Hi, Robert!



Thank you, Robert!


A person not understanding what is rational (measured) in God's eyes, is being "mis-rational" as in mistaken, and therefore not irrational?

I'm not sure I'm understanding you correctly but maybe you can help me with this? When something horrible happens like a killer quake, or full jetliner crashing, or a war ... and Christians say "all part of God's plan", would I be correct in considering that to be irrational thinking? Would I be irrational or mis-rational in suggesting that's an odd God and that no sensible person could conclude horrific events, whether accident or on purpose, to be the work of a rational God?


Hi, Scott!

Great question; was going to write a post addressing: "Why bad things happen to "good" people, and still intend to do so, but Christ himself answers the question: "No one is good but God alone" Mark 10: 18. Christ - obviously - has a different view of what constitutes "good" than most of us mere mortals...

Many Catholics - and many denominational Christians - tend to reduce - God to a big-fuzzy bear (Jesus Christ is made into Mr. Rodgers), and humans that they find pleasing to themselves to paragons of virtue. The late Father Benedict Groeschel wrote - in lamentation - of funeral Masses wherein the deceased is celebrated as a "saint" already dwelling in Heaven; the good padre thought it would be better if the attendees heard the truth about the tenuousness of salvation... Those that argue "it is all part of God's plan" - my guess - argue God can bring 'good' out of 'evil', but evil still occurs... We end this strain of though here because I do intend to opine on the question posited above.

The point of the essay above - which FedUp asserts is a mind game that I'm playing with myself - is that when we assert another is "irrational" we - on varying levels - excuse their conduct; moreover, we may - as consequence - write them off as implacably set in their manner/way and view. If another is like a brute animal - truly irrational beings - one may train them - if the animal is amenable, and one has the patience and wherewithal to accomplish the pertinent training - but one has not significantly altered the beast e.g., a tiger may jump through a hoop for you, and devour you as his/her reward. Humans - possessing the capacity to know & judge possessing the faculties of a discursive intellect and free-will - may choose to deny 2 + 2 = 4, but the denial is not because they are lacking in the necessary faculties; it is - for some reason, perhaps arcane - they are opposed to acknowledging what is, as it is... Those that "see" this to be the case should refrain from the usual coddling that attends those that may be "fragile". What response would be appropriate would be determined by the particulars of the situation, but certainly the individual should be apprised that their view is wrong e.g., John has decided he will identify as Cynthia; his fantasy should not be entertained...!

Cordially, tjd

Well, I don't even use the word irrational because that doesn't suffice for what I'm usually trying to say, and there isn't a person on this site who has been more intolerant of those who deny 2+2=4. You're arriving way late to the fight if John identifying as Cynthia is the problem. We're losing btw...

Not really what I'm saying tho. I spent 20 years in Church and covered the whole why bad things happen to good people angle with my Pastor and was satisfied with his answers. I'm asking if it's logical or reasonable to suggest God is in control when something like 9/11 happens for instance? Should I reject the assertion that God was in control (in some way), or should I entertain that fantasy?


Hi again, Scott!

If one accepts Aquinas's metaphysics - and I do - God, because all of Creation, and each existent enveloped by objective reality is reducible to 2 metaphysical principles viz: essence (that which determines what a thing/entity is) and esse (the act-of-being i.e., the "to-be", that by which an essence is made to exist). It follows from this - although Saint Thomas does not draw this inference (There are many corollaries - of his thought - which he never had time to address...) - as logical implications that God is the "medium" by which each of us act i.e., if I draw a knife and seek to drive it through your chest - successful, or otherwise - I do so with God's assent (NOT HIS APPROVAL!!!! Free-willed beings are not stopped from choosing to reject God; to do evil is to choose to reject what we ought to choose...); moreover, this is why God knows what it is we seek to do (successful and/or otherwise) and our intentions; we "think" through God! Esse i.e., the act-of-being i.e., God's creative act, is continuous, and also limited by the subject's (entity/thing) essence. The natural - and man-made disasters are a consequence of living in a fallen-world (For believers - it is the world human-kind chose long ago i.e., in Eden...) As consequence, it is rational to hold God is "in control" in a 911 event; he allows free-willed beings to do not only 911, but the death camps of Auschwitz, Dachau et al.

My use of John and Cynthia was "cutting-to-the-chase". Yes we are losing...!

Cordially, tjd

Saying God's assent and NOT HIS APPROVAL sounds confusing since it means the same thing. 

When I'm speaking of Christians who say things like "God is in control", and "everything happens for a reason", I'm suggesting that THEY do not see it the way you're explaining it. With 9/11 they'll argue that God had his "reasons" while at the same time citing "free will", which is contradictory. When I ask for the "reasons", I'm met with political views about Islam. They'll condone whatever is done against Muslims because they think God has his "reasons" and while I know this is NOT every Christian, I'm asking you if I should entertain thoughts like that? I see it as complete fantasy and quite frankly, deranged... It leads to more war and death...

What EXACTLY are they learning from Christian teachings? Horrible shit is OK if our people do it?

That is NOT 2+2=4. It's Christians more than many others who have a hard time with objective reality. I could name 10 reasons to their 1 for why 9/11 happened and all of mine would make more sense. 

If we just take 9/11 and the aftermath you saw Christians disavow Islam, but remain silent on torture chambers, abu ghraib, $$ rackets etc..  I think God, despite giving his "assent" free will or whatever, would not approve of ANY of these things. But Christians are absolutely condoning it when they either accept or ignore other atrocities. And they do it because they think it's the "good guys". That is dangerous, and I'm asking if I should entertain that fantasy any more than I should entertain John as Cynthia?


Hi again, Scott!

Replace “assent” with acquiescence then.

The thought that you attribute to the Christians with which you have spoken are their views; such views - generally are an expression of what is necessary for them to reconcile their unreflective views regarding God and the bad things which they attempt to render an account.

I think I made it clear that God does not approve of the wicked acts which free-willed beings are allowed to do; but - as it turns out - we are all in the same boat, viz: “Who is to say that "X" born into Adolph Hitler's life would be any more virtuous...?”

There are people in the world that seek to be, and do, good, and many of those that do, have a subjective understanding of what is "good" resulting – often – in confusing good with evil. Because such people reduce reality to self it is doubtful that they ever actually do what is good. Moreover, many individuals act in accordance with those things that they are told, and believe, to be true; you see that among Christians (Of course Catholics are Christians), Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics and people the world over, their actions – optimally - can only be as good as their understanding of reality-as-it-is. I could go on, but Jesus says it all when he says: “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10: 18. Hope I answered your question...?

Cordially, tjd

we are all in the same boat

No one is good except God alone

That is why I stopped going to Church. Makes me feel like I'm part of some sick experiment. If understanding reality as it is is the game, then I gotta be rockin' a top 10 score, despite being a sinner, of course... 

Most Christians are far from grasping reality as-it-is...as they deny objective reality rather frequently.


Hi again, Scott!

I'm not going to write an apology (defense) for those that call themselves Christians; what I would argue is that we are all fallen; Christ accepts the fact that we turn away from what we ought - here and there - witness his response to the apostles in the Garden-of-Gethsemane ('spirit is willing, but flesh weak') and upon his Resurrection. It seems that he is more interested in what we strive to accomplish for 'the least of his brethren'. There is a heresy viz: Pelagianism (It is the view/belief that one can - will - to do God's will under any circumstances i.e., effect one's own Salvation), but when the Christian says - as they do: 'A single sin can bar one from Heaven' they are right, but it is not the fact of the particular sin, that renders one unworthy of Heaven; it is that "sin" may be defined as "turning from God", but it may also be defined as "choosing the self, over the good, the right, the true; thus, even disciplined sinners (e.g., the saint-like individual) under the right circumstances - likely chooses self. This renders us all in the same boat! To leave-the-boat and 'walk-on-water' the sinner must keep his eye-fixed upon the Lord, while forgeting the self. Peter walked on water, until he remembered himself... Sorting out who is "good" and who is "wicked/evil" is God's concern. Being angry at weak and wayward "Christians" is hard to resist, but there are 2 things one ought to acknowledge 1.) Most people are not implacable i.e., they can turn from darkness to light, and from light to darkness 2.) Each of us have a lifelong task of working to remove the log-from-our-eye before we assume God's trhone and decide who is damned and who is "saved".

Cordially, tjd 

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