Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Pure Rationality

Originally posted on June 14, 2015

The assumption that rationality in itself is sufficient and will gratify the soul is misleading. Indeed if just rationality alone is employed, and traced out rigorously, it will lead to existential despair. It is necessary and wise to shift to the trans-rational criteria of aesthetics: Things are justified by being beautiful, interesting, and in total pleasurable in other ways. (Many tastes have a bit of the negative, the bitter, the tragic.)

The goal: Yummy! That’s good! Indeed, valuing itself is aesthetic. Something may be measurably bigger or smaller relative to something—that is truly dispassionately scientific, but that I claim is not the ultimate in philosophy. Bigger, smaller, faster, slower, more or less noticeably complex—this says nothing about better or worse. Those latter are aesthetic judgments. Fun must have meaning. Without the aesthetic, the equation is insufficient and mistaken. 

So the proper response is to surrender, offer back, and personally, sense that one returns to the mysterious, multi-dimensional origins. Allee says, “It’s important that I use my consciousness, which has gone into despair over the existential view of things. I’ve thought about—worked on—this problem sedulously. Now I can say I will return this mystery and acknowledge something else is going on. The feeling in my body as I die will be letting go, and it will feel like returning. For me philosophy has been trying to use rationality, but in the 21st century this attempt has played out. What has released me (Adam writes) is realizing that there are other non-rational domains of myth, play, humor, and other points. So thinking it into the other domain has released me.  That 18th – 20th century mind set (i.e., that it can be figured out by rationality and human mind) just doesn’t work any longer.

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