Saturday, October 29, 2011

Implosive Rationality And Politics

In May I came up with the phrase 'implosive rationality'. With that phrase I am talking about the paradoxical use of reason. I think reason is most valuable when it is used to improve non-rational or intuitive behavior. Reason, if used properly, ceases to exist in its own right. Instead, it implodes on itself, destroys itself, and leaves a positive habit in its wake.

I think this conception of rationality has some political implications.

Mainly because civilization and society are non-rational processes that a community engages in. We are all living in relation to the social structures that we know, engaging with them more or less habitually. The business of civilization (going to work, loving people, having relationships of all kinds) is accomplished habitually. This is why Alfred Whited said: "It is a profoundly erroneous truism... that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extended the number of important operations that we can perform without thinking about them." Civilization advances by expanding the unconscious repertoire, by creating new habits for people.

Politics, however, is a rational process. In politics people think, they make decisions, write things, all with the hope of making society better. But civilization is inherently a non-rational process. Politics must therefore be a form of implosive rationality. Ideally, at least.

Is it thus fair to call government and politics the institutionalization of habit? The purposeful creation of institutions that will habituate people in certain ways. About the creation of mediums that will provide a society with a certain set of habits.

Maybe. There is something about society and habit. There is something about implosive rationality and the creation of habits. There is something about politics and reason.

There must be something about politics and implosive rationality. Something about government and the creation of habits.

What I'm talking about is government and the purposeful creation of minds. Trying to create people by creating the institutions they work through.

I really don't know what else to say about this stuff.

Reason is such a strange thing. How to properly use it when most of life is so antithetical to it? Because it must be used. The rationalization of politics might be a good thing. But the rationalization of life and society is impossible and probably not good.

Because I don't think the rational life is possible. Life must be habitual. Life must be intuitive. Life cannot be an endless rational process. It will always be marked by spits of rationality. Rationality has a place in it. But it is not the central thing. Habit is.

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