20091122

rational

The word rational keeps coming up in my studies. We're assuming that X are rational actors, where X is something which is at least one living, breathing human who knows what it feels like to have their hearts pounding in their chests, to love and be loved, to be afraid that they will never know that feeling again. Rational means self-interested, is ultimately what it comes down to. A rational actor is one who acts according to its own best interests--define that however you want. There is no room for sentiment here. A serious scholar has no room for the whispered promises that this moment will last forever. The scientist does not believe in moonlit kisses or escaping by sunrise.

According to academics, every action can be explained wholly rationally. I started that fight with my best friend because I thought I stood to gain from it. I ran away when he tried to apologize because I thought I stood to gain from it. It had nothing to do with the burning emotions of the moment, how much I hated him and every single word he used, how terrified I was that I'd destroyed something I loved.

Any scholar will tell you that merely because an actor is rational does not mean they will always win--that a twenty percent chance of success is better than zero percent. Any rational actor would have done the same. They do not believe in regret. They do not believe in the cold isolation of the early morning hours when your blood is no longer boiling and your cooler head prevails and you are alone with your mistakes.

3 comments:

Jace said...

I stumbled across your blog doing a google search of the quote "Dreamers often lie, in bed asleep while they do dream things true." I wanted to make sure I had it right because I had posted it on Facebook in response to a friend whose status read "Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don't."

Maybe the true beauty of reading your blog is that I know absolutely nothing about you, and in some strange way I know what your words mean. I know what happened between you and that best friend. I know what happened between you and that girlfriend. And yet, I know absolutely nothing of what happened.

I like the way you talk about ideas. I think my point is that it doesn't take a clear context to understand the ideas you are talking about, and this is refreshing to my mind, in fact inspiring.

If you don't mind, I'm going to keep up with your blog, and while you're living out ideas for new posts, I'm going to keep digging backwards through your archives till I've had my fill.

I really like the way you think.

Jace said...

I am now wondering if I missed something. Is this blog of your own accounts or is this a fictional story you are writing?

In a way, I don't want to know the answer, because until I had this sudden curiosity, I took every detail as real, and it all made an unreal amount of sense.

Rob said...

Please continue to read, feel free to comment. Always glad someone is reading.

Tim O'Brien wrote a chapter called "How To Tell A True War Story." It is here: http://us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/pdocs/obrien_story.pdf

I consider it an open debate whether life counts as a war. I hope you're enjoying it regardless.