We live in a society where irrational logic holds a lot of power, though this is denied. A lot of what we do is governed by the irrational. Most people are governed by the likes of xenophobia, speculation, sexual urges, addiction and fashion, even if they claim to know better, such as those who claim to be Marxist and dialectical. We like to think we are rational and logical, but this is not so as we are about to find out.
The term irrational logic seems like a contradiction of terms and ideas, but it is an expression of what is often encountered in the day to day life of the conflict of opposites and in the dialectical process. In fact, the irrational is more often expressed than the rational and logical in decision making. Self interest is often the motivating factor in irrational logic that overrides the more global objective reasoning. Irrational logic is often ruled by personal emotion. Irrational logic operates on the subjective side of life as opposed to the objective logic that functions using rigorous deductive and inductive reasoning and proofs. The subjective side of life is often rooted in individual drives, interests and emotion. The objective side is cool, based on the facts without prejudice, scientific and considers the larger context of all things. Sometimes we are forced to make snap decisions with insufficient information and have to rely on nothing more than a gambling guess or a gut feeling. This is where the logical and irrational merge. This guess could be based on emotional foundations or personal likes and dislikes and each person can answer this differently, but interestingly based on similar drives. Even those who claim to be cool and logical can often colour their decisions based on the irrational.
Why do people behave the way that they do? Why is it so seemingly easy for us to switch instantaneously between rational logic and emotion/irrational logic, practically at the snap of fingers? We see this expressed in sports venues where people will side with different teams and in the arena of electoral politics. In particular, we see the irrational emerge in various expressions of xenophobia; fear of the different. Nature is all about difference and change, but the irrational clings to the illusion of the static and unchanging. The irrational has a strong presence in religion. When the irrational merges with politics, we see the emergence of expressions like Nazism, fascism, genocide and rationalize away peoples lives via expressions of demonizing target minorities. As an example we can see the Iraq and Afghanistan wars waged on the pretext of “democracy” but it is really a grab for resources. In the past, Nazis clung to the idea of Aryan supremacy and the liquidation of many minorities as inferior and sub-human. If we are to overcome this tendency and establish a truly egalitarian society where economic democracy is the norm, we will have to come to terms with irrational logic. We can't do it by mere denial and expressions that it is not a decisive factor. Unfortunately, irrational logic is the way most of us decide and thus collectively, decisive in the field of politics. History is written in the exploits of irrational logic. The irrational is behind what we call patriotism and the ultimate expression of it is in nationalistic and patriotic wars. Irrational logic has lead to a tremendous amount of suffering within humanity. This suffering is unfortunately, completely preventable, but due to ignorance and the irrational, it continues. Certainly ignorance is a large factor that figures in decisions made via irrational logic. That ignorance is found in the motivator and the subject.
So much of irrational logic is conditioned into us by the mere fact of the community that we are born into. We are for the most part if not entirely, born stone ignorant and have to learn absolutely everything. Though born with some predisposed talents, even there we have to develop these where opportunity permits. All of us ourselves peer pressured into activities that a completely rational and aware person would reject out of hand. Yet, out of a sense of belonging, we become subject to all kinds of foolishness based on decisions born out of the irrational and whimsy.
In the summer of 1994, Vancouver, BC experienced a mass riot due to the failure of the BC Lions football team to win the Grey Cup. The riot went on for several hours and the police had to use battle field quantities of pepper spray to tame up to 70,000 rioters who did extensive damage merely due to the outcome of a football game. The gas drifted well away with the prevailing winds from the battle scene and interfered with operations in a hospital several blocks away. Effects of the mas gassing were felt more than a kilometre in all directions, especially downwind, which flowed off the northern mountains and to the south toward English Bay. The police, like the rioters, responded in an irrational way, though logical in their operations point of view, creating more danger than was necessary, influencing innocent people well away from the battle. In the hospital, people with respiratory problems suffered the most, a few with near fatal consequences. These people did not even figure in the minds of the rioters and the police. Irrational logic figured strongly to influence event politics for years after.
Police and other officials experience irrational logic via profiling. Profiling is even declared as illegal under various constitutions and charters, but it is done regardless and harms innocent people because “they look like a bum” or ”they look queer” or “they are commies”. A lot of innocent people have also been harmed when the police riot on the people when a group demonstrates for or against some cause. Innocent people walking by who have nothing to do with it can get killed or assaulted with gas or tasered in the heat of the irrational moment where they are profiled as a “commie”, a “bum”, a “queer” or worse, someone who “loves” any of the foregoing. In the case of illegal profiling, construction workers are often profiled as bums. With the new anti-homeless policies that are emerging, especially when a major event is planned, construction workers can be needlessly hassled by the police, just for dressing for their job and “looking like a bum or a drug abuser”. There are cases where the workers so harassed repeatedly, have successfully sued the police on grounds of illegal and criminal harassment. Given the variety of people out there, we can find effeminate men and butch women, who may or may not be gay, but they face profiling by the community at large as well as the police. They are often criminally harassed by both and subject to hate crimes. The heyday of profiling emerged in the McCarthy era of the anti-communist hysteria that was fuelled on hear-say, speculation, profiling and irrational logic. In the witch hunting days, we can add, spectral evidence. Many innocent people were effectively cut out of the social fabric and economy just because a few individuals suspected them of being communist in a country that alleges freedom of though, speech, religion and association; a classic case of political irrational logic at work. Another case in point is the harassment of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians for practising their charter right of freedom of religion that lead to dozens of deaths at the hands of the state because of suspicion of child abuse among other reasons. Among the dead were dozens of children when the compound was set ablaze after months of a siege and standoff; another tribute to irrational logic. Those who know better politically, often get caught up in profiling one another that ends up splitting people who, and parties that should be held together in a united front against a common enemy. Left or right, politics is fraught with irrational logic that can destroy an otherwise effective group.
The brain and hence, the mind is divided into two regions; one side the rational, reason, linguistic, ordered and calculating and the other devoted to the creative, intuitive, chaotic, the passions, emotions and irrational. Thus is seems that we can no more escape the irrational as we can ultimately escape the unconscious. It is written into the fabric of life in this cosmos. To acknowledge this reality is the first step in being able to use this instead of being used by it from external influences. As the source of creation and intuitive flashes, it can be beneficial, but usually, it is the source of interpersonal and societal chaos. When a person becomes flustered or anxious due to pressure or is in a state of psychic shock after an accident or an intensely negative situation, the irrational takes over and the person reverts to more primordial forms of consciousness. This can be characterized, but always in disorientation and an inability to concentrate on even simple tasks. Even highly trained people can freeze, panic and fail to reason and revert to the irrational if the event is severe enough. In a war situation, people panic and often rely on the command structure and this often sends them straight to death or injury because they are conditioned not to reason, but obey and rely on the irrationality of another. Under fire, the irrational comes to the fore and even comrades in arms on the same side can fire on one another in a “friendly fire” incident. It can even manifest across populations, such as after a major disaster. Velikovsky was ahead of his time when he recognized this factor and detailed in in “Mankind in Amnesia”.
Chaos factors strongly in irrational logic and since the 1980's a lot has been discovered and written on the subject of chaos. Chaos figures strongly in every field of knowledge that exists and accounts for the unpredictable element of irrational logic. And yet, there is a predictable element to irrational logic, just as there is to the exact moment a lightning bolt will flash and where it will strike. We don't know exactly where and when, but we do know that it will occur. What we do know is that the strike is called a catastrophe in the science of chaos, because when it occurs, it's all at once instead of gradually. Such is the case for irrational logic. It has been stated that chaos is a higher degree of order and that things that look chaotic to us appear that way because we lack the deeper understanding of complexity, which is an integral part of chaos. Chaos factors in every region of physics, life, the world and the cosmos. It also figures strongly in our minds and has its strongest manifestation in irrational logic.
Irrational logic comes to the forefront during the manifestation of strong desires, such as that of youth who seek recognition and desire to have a relationship and/or sex. Coupled with this is the emergence of the ego and the establishment of the “pecking order” of the group. Expressions like fighting can erupt suddenly seemingly out of nowhere. In changing times and situations where people come and go constantly, means that this development never reaches a stable conclusion. Constant new challenges to ego and desire creates a huge and ongoing potential for the emergence of irrational logic. The result is the struggle of ego to manifest desires that often are brought out via irrational logic. Irrational logic also manifests in the desire of women to have and raise children. They become very self centred on family instead of humanity in the larger context. Even in dire circumstances that would logically council against it, the urge predominates. Personal offspring become important to the exclusion of all else. The desire to have children is also a strong drive motivated more by emotion than reason. When reason states that there is a need for population control, this becomes something for other people instead of one's self. The desire to reproduce is rooted deep in nature that extends to the dawn of life. It is strong, primordial and not easily “reasoned with”. It is rooted deep in the unconscious; the realm of the irrational. This is not, therefore a realty that is easily overcome and emotions run deep.
The irrational also manifests in dialectics. Whenever a thesis emerges, there is also an anti-thesis and the two engage in struggle to emerge as a synthesis; a merger of the thesis and anti-thesis. With each new emergence of a synthesized thesis comes an anti-thesis and a new synthesis ad infinitum This is the dialectic unfolds in the world, society and the cosmos. We can find the irrational in every field of endeavour including that purest and most sacrosanct of all concepts; mathematics, where it is acknowledged that there is a set of numbers called irrational numbers interwoven amongst rational, real, integer, fractional, imaginary and other number sets. Is it possible that this is something akin to the conundrum of a person dreaming of themselves as a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming themselves as a human? It is possible that our irrationality shapes all that we construct by way of ideas? It is certainly true of the creative arts! It is even true when Einstein tells us that many of his equations have to be intuited because they are unsolvable. Perhaps one of the most interesting fields of the counter intuitive and the irrational emerges from the quantum. The quantum world holds many surprises and these can manifest in the everyday world of our direct contact, such as experiments involving the double slit experiment and those involving the concept of non-locality or entanglement theory that exists in apparent contradiction to relativity.
We can work with the irrational, or it can work us. The irrational emerges when we have flashes of insight, intuition or an “awakening”. Many of the great discoveries of science come as a result of a sudden flash of insight. Often this can only arise from a lifetime of study and research in a field of interest. The aspirant to scientific progress may struggle for many years and not realize their goal. Then, suddenly, when they have put down the project out of frustration, they have a dream or a sudden insight that “hits like a bolt out of the blue” that provides the full answer. People like Tesla, Einstein, Oppenheimer and others credit insights that seemed more like intuitive flashes than results of a carefully reasoned approach.