Are we logical? Do we act in a rational way, globally?

In this post I will talk about rationalization, logic and the scientific approach. We will see how these approaches are important and I will take this opportunity to introduce the concept of logism.

 

 

For a start, what is rationalization?

Rationalization is the action of making something more rational, more consistent with reason. Rationalization, in a broad sense, seeks to organize things in a more efficient way by suppressing what is useless and based on logic and science (Tourev, 2018).

I strongly believe that rationalization has a great potential and that it is important or even primordial to put it forward in our thoughts, our choices and our approaches.

 

Before going any further, it seems important to me to present the functioning of our system of thought, belief, value and action. Because of the limits of our knowledge and the complexity of this function of the brain, this is a simplified presentation.

 

What is a thought?

A thought is the set of psychic and psychophysiological functions whose object is knowledge, the formation of ideas and judgments, as well as all the phenomena by which these functions are manifested (Juillet, 2000).

More simply, a thought is a mental representation. For example: I think of “a frog.”

 

What is a belief?

A belief is a thought or proposition that is believed to be true, in a way that one accepts.

For example: I have the belief that “all frogs are green”

 

What is a value?

A value is a concept resulting from a set of beliefs that define our way of being and acting.

For example: I have the belief that it’s important to tell the truth, I have the belief that you have to be honest with your friends, I have the belief that it’s important to be transparent with people that surround me. So I have the value of “honesty.”

 

How do our thoughts appear?

Permanent internal and external stimuli generate thoughts influenced by our belief system. The more dominant and present thoughts are, the more they build our beliefs.

As a result, each of our experiences creates thoughts and plays a role in affirming or invalidating our already existing beliefs.

Finally, all of our beliefs play a vital role in helping to decide our actions.

diagram of the functioning of thoughts, beliefs and behaviors

 

To sum up, our thoughts are influenced by our beliefs and also participate in the creation of new beliefs as well as the modification of existing ones. Finally, our thoughts determine our actions and our behaviors.

As a result, our non-rational beliefs generate irrational thoughts, themselves creating new irrational beliefs and making our behavior irrational.

diagram of the functioning of thoughts, beliefs and irrational behaviors

 

For example: I have a set of strong beliefs, not rational, expressing the fact that the plane is very dangerous, causing me a disproportionate fear of the plane. I generate new thoughts based on these beliefs, also irrational, such as: “I saw in the news that there was still a plane crash”, “There are very rarely survivors during a plane crash “, etc. These new thoughts reinforce my beliefs that the plane is very dangerous and lead me to avoid the plane and prefer other means of transport seeming safer, thus strongly influencing my behavior irrationally.

In short, the more we have irrational beliefs, the more irrational our thoughts are and the more we reinforce our irrational beliefs and behaviors.

Conversely, the more rational beliefs we have, the more rational our thoughts are and the more we reinforce our rational beliefs and behaviors.

Knowing all this, we can think that it is not possible to act on this permanent process. However, our pre-frontal cortex, the most active brain zone in the mechanism of thoughts, offers us the possibility to control and manipulate our thoughts to more advanced degrees of abstraction (Loumé, 2018). This ability allows us to decide, in a way, thoughts that we validate or reject and thus influence the creation of our beliefs and our way of acting.

 

We can now wonder how having irrational beliefs is a problem?

To answer this question, I would like to draw your attention to the notions of well-being and happiness.

For the sake of simplification, although well-being and happiness are not considered to be exactly the same notions in the scientific field of philosophy, we will consider them as such in this demonstration.

All beings with the capacity to experience well-being seek it naturally as the ultimate goal.

This proposal is very responsible and very important. It puts forward that from the moment we have the ability to experience happiness, we naturally seek to experience it permanently, either unconsciously or consciously.

This proposal is unanimously accepted today in the scientific field.

 

If this proposition is true, a more complex question would be to know what is well-being?

Numerous current studies seek to answer this existential question. These include the advanced research of psychologist Edward F. Diener and psychologist Carol Ryff D. on this topic (Ed Diener, Eunkook M. Suh, Richard E. Lucas, and Heidi L. Smith, 1999; Ryff, C. D., Keyes, C. L. M., 1995 ; Ryff C. D.,1989).

This scientific craze on this question can be explained in particular by the economic and political stakes that it arouses (Ahmed, 2010 ; Nettle, 2005).

To sum up, individuals who are able to experience well-being, among others us, human beings, are in a permanent search for it.

There is still no clear consensus on the recipe for well-being. However, one can observe some solid bases of answers.

You may have heard of the “Maslow Pyramid” also known as the “Pyramid of Needs”. It is a hierarchy of the needs of the human species, developed by the psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1950s.

 

What is a need?

A need is what is most similar to a necessity of vital, functional, pragmatic order and belongs to the domain of the physiological and the psychological.

In his work, Abraham Maslow established a pyramid hierarchy of physiological and psychological needs for human well-being. It has established a hierarchical scale of five levels where the transition from a lower level to a higher level depends on the satisfaction of needs.

Maslow’s pyramid

 

This theory explains in a clear and relatively complete way the human needs. It still received criticism of its limitations. I invite you to take a look at Christophe Peiffer’s “Human Relations Blog” on human needs (Peiffer 2012):

Indeed, according to this model, the transition from a lower level to a higher level can be achieved only if the needs of the first are met. For example, it is quite possible for a person to find meaning in their life with the presence of a physical or mental handicap or a difficult socio-economic situation.

[…]

It is not uncommon for people in precarious situations to help others whose situation is as or more difficult. This sense of being useful to something, being recognized for their charitable actions satisfies their needs of esteem, despite unmet or partial security needs.

It would therefore be more appropriate to consider these needs as interconnected to each other with a rather circular dynamic, rather than a hierarchical and priority model. What would look like this type of schema:

Interconnected human needs

 

Maslow’s needs have the merit of existing and clearly explaining human needs. This being the case, the model does not take into account other factors which, in my opinion, are decisive for the satisfaction of human needs, the first of which is the environment in which an individual evolves.

Although this theory has received some criticism, there seems to be a consensus that in our ultimate goal of experiencing happiness we have basic needs that are necessary to satisfy.

 

Now I would like to draw your attention to the notion of freedom.

Freedom is the possibility of being able to act according to one’s own will. It is the state of an individual or a people who does not suffer from constraints, submission, servitude exercised by another individual, by a tyrannical power or by a foreign power (Tourev, 2018).

Many recent studies agree that freedom is a vital need for access to the well-being of all individuals who can experience it (Schmidt et Andreas, 2015 ; Hadley, 2013). For this reason, the notion of freedom is essential and should not be neglected in the search for the well-being of all individuals who can experience it.

Moreover, this quest for happiness and most of the needs that it implies, especially freedom, necessary for the individuals of our species, are also necessary for all the other individuals of the infra-order of the apes, the other individuals of the order of primates, other mammalians, other vertebrates, and much of the rest of the animal kingdom (Ian, 2006 ; Chandroo K.P., Duncan I.J.H. et Moccia R.D. 2004).

 

Scientific classification of Homo sapiens species

 

Now that we have demonstrated the importance of our physiological and psychological needs for ourselves in our quest for well-being, another question seems to me crucial:

Is it rational to show solidarity with others and pay attention to the well-being and needs of others?

To answer this question a little history is needed.

In the face of danger, living organisms tend to form groups. Indeed Darwin’s natural selection has shown that individuals, facing a danger, are more likely to survive together than only their own. Typically our Neanderthal ancestors were more likely to survive by hunting a mammoth at 10 than alone. In the same way, when an individual in the group died, the personal chances of survival of each individual in the group decreased.

Faced with a risk of instability of one or more of our needs, it seems rational to be in solidarity with the individuals with whom we have a personal interest in this or these needs, starting with the needs related to survival.

Although survival needs are a little less under threat today for humans, it still seems rational to be in solidarity with individuals with whom we believe to have a personal interest in one or more of the needs that are necessary for our well-being. be. These include the person or persons with whom one lives, the friends or the close family for personal emotional, emotional, administrative or economic stability.

That being said, it seems to me finally that the question that really matters is:

Is it rational to show solidarity with individuals with whom we have no known personal interest in our well-being?

A typical example would be: Is it rational to pay attention to a stranger, involving paying attention to their well-being and basic needs?

Well, there is no universal rational answer to this question. Indeed, several logical propositions are necessary to answer them that can not be based on the science then implying non-universal personal beliefs.

In other words, the answer to this question belongs to everyone and is a personal choice.

It’s up to everyone to question their beliefs and ask themselves:

Do I want to worry about the well-being of others?

 

To return to the question asked previously, namely, how is having irrational beliefs is a problem?

Well, it turns out that our irrational beliefs have an unfortunate tendency to go against our well-being, the well-being of others and important values ​​such as freedom. Indeed, throughout this blog / this channel I will be led to question irrational beliefs pushing us to act contrary to our well-being and that of others, I will talk in particular about discrimination between people (sexism, racism, speciesism, etc.), the impacts of our consumption, advertising and media on overall happiness.

Through these different topics we will see that we all have irrational beliefs and that they can push us to generate a lot of suffering at home or in others, and this against our will.

 

To go further in understanding this psychological and social phenomenon, it seems appropriate to introduce the notion of conditioning.

A conditioning is nothing but an imposed belief, not questioned by oneself. Without much astonishment, the vast majority of our conditioning appears during our childhood.

 

Again, one wonders what is the problem with conditioning?

Well it turns out that imposed conditionings or beliefs are a great source of irrational beliefs.

Some examples of conditioning are irrational: women are not very good at mathematics, that radio waves are bad for health, you have to drink milk to have strong bones, you have to give presents at Christmas, the smoke emanating from the chimneys nuclear power plants pollute the environment, etc.

To summarize a little, we have seen that our conditioning includes irrational beliefs and that these are at the origin of new irrational beliefs and push us to think and act irrationally. Moreover, these irrational beliefs, thoughts, and actions prevent us from acting freely and incite us to do things against our will such as to harm the happiness and well-being of ourselves and others.

 

I would like to propose a solution in response to this problem that seems to me to be of the greatest importance.

Our thought system is controlled by our pre-frontal cortex allowing us advanced manipulation of our thoughts. And it is at this moment that the concept of logism comes into play.

So, what is logism?

Logism is a tool, a method inviting us to make the effort to examine our thoughts and thus filter those irrational to keep rational ones. I logically take the personal step of integrating rationalization into one’s way of living and thinking.

Schematic summary of the interests of a rational approach

Before finishing, let’s take a look at the advantages of a rational approach:

  • A rational approach allows positive selection of rational thoughts and beliefs.
  • It invites us to question our conditioning, giving us greater freedom. Indeed, the less we are conditioned, the freer we are to think freely.
  • In addition, leaving our conditioning behind allows us to increase our knowledge by all the steps of reflection and scientific research that implies allowing a better understanding of the world around us.
  • These three elements together provide access to greater control over who we want to be, our thoughts, our beliefs and our behaviors giving us access to greater freedom.
  • Finally, this freedom gives us the opportunity to choose more freely our goal of life.

 

 

 

Liberate yourself of your conditioning and change the world.

 

 

References:

Ahmed Sara (2010, April). The Promise of Happiness. Duke University Press, Durham and London

Chandroo K.P., Duncan I.J.H. et Moccia R.D. (2004). Can fish suffer?: perspectives on sentience, pain, fear and stress. Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, University of Guelph

Christophe Peiffer (2012). Les besoins humains. Retrieved from the site: http://www.leblogdesrapportshumains.fr/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Les-besoins-humains.pdf

Daniel Nettle (2005, 12 of May). Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile. OUP Oxford

Ed Diener, Eunkook M. Suh, Richard E. Lucas et Heidi L. Smith (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Hadley John (2013). Liberty and valuing sentient life. Ethics and the Environment 18 (1):87-103

Ian J.H. Duncan (2006, Octobre). The changing concept of animal sentience. Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., Canada N1G 2W1

Juillet Pierre (2000). Pensée. Retrieved from Dictionnaire de psychiatrie. CILF, Paris

Loumé Lise (2018). VIDEO. Des chercheurs parviennent à suivre le cheminement d’une pensée dans le cerveau. Dans Sciences Et Avenir. Retrieved from the site: https://www.sciencesetavenir.fr/sante/cerveau-et-psy/des-chercheurs-parviennent-a-suivre-le-cheminement-d-une-pensee-dans-le-cerveau_120085

Ryff C. D. et Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(4), 719-727.

Ryff C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 1069-1081.

Schmidt et Andreas T. (2015). Why Animals have an Interest in Freedom. Historical Social Research 40, 4, 92-109

Tourev Pierre (2018). Liberté. Retrieved from the site: http://www.toupie.org/Dictionnaire/Liberte.htm

Tourev Pierre (2018). Rationalisation. Retrieved from the site: http://www.toupie.org/Dictionnaire/Rationalisation.htm

Let’s talk a bit about racism. Today almost everyone can agree that it is not a good thing. But could we explain why?

In this post we are going to present what racism is and see if it can be justified in a rational manner.

Let’s start by defining what racism is. We can find a multitude of definitions on the internet, except most of them don’t appear to be completely clear.

The first thing that one can say concerning racism is that it’s a form of discrimination.

What is discrimination?

The etymology of discrimination comes from the Latin “discriminatio,” meaning “separation.” Discriminating is the act of establishing a differentiation between objects and individuals. The term “discrimination” has progressively acquired a negative connotation.

Today, “discrimination” designates the action by which we consider inferior or even non-existent the rights, the liberties, the possibilities and the personal interests accorded to one or multiple individuals based on one or more criterion. To this effect, a discrimination engenders a differential treatment and suffering for the individuals discriminated against.

Furthermore, for there to be discrimination, it is necessary to have discriminating individuals and individuals discriminated against. Also, an act of discrimination inescapably implies suffering endured on the side of the individuals discriminated against.

What is the habitual racism definition?

The root of the word racism being “race”, we can think that racism, applied to human beings, possesses a link with the notion of human race and can be defined as being a discrimination acted on the criteria of the race.

This definition is completely incorrect. In effect, there exists no race within the species Homo Sapiens.

 

Who designates the term “race”?

To respond to this question it is necessary to be interested in the notion of species.

The species is a theoretical notion and a vague concept of which there are a multitude of definitions in scientific literature. The definition most commonly used today is the “biological concept of species” as enounced by Ernst Mayr:

Species are groups of interbreeding natural populations that are reproductively isolated from other such groups (Mayr, 1999).

As such, the species is the largest unity of population in which a genetic flux is possible.

In the classification of living beings, species is the last subdivision unanimously submitted. Under that, we use the terms “sub-species” or “population” for the wild animal species and “race” for domestic animal species.

For this reason, the only animal races that exist are subject to animal exploitation by the human species necessarily implying a total control of the genome of individuals constituting the race.

Thus, there exist the races of canine, porcine, bovine, feline, equine, goats, chickens, bees etc.

On the other hand, we can talk about the “sub-species” of bears, of lizards, of sharks etc., but never the “race” of bears, lizards, sharks etc.

Photo of a member of the canine species of the poodle race

To return to the definition of the term race:

A race is a subdivision of an animal species domesticated by the human species designating an ensemble of individuals having the genotypic and phenotypic characteristics common distinguishing them from other individuals of the species.

The inter-racial mixing is fertile, while the inter-species mixing is most often sterile (Aquaportail, 2009).

The human species, or more scientifically the species Homo Sapiens, has developed the means of transport to all corners of the earth permitting a permanent genetic intermingling of our species thus preventing the apparition of a human sub-species. Also, the human species not currently being controlled by any species (human or otherwise), there exists no such thing as a human race.

To recap, “to discriminate” designates the action by which we consider inferior or non-existent the rights, liberties, the possibilites or the interests given to one or multiple individuals based on one or more criterion. To this effect, discrimination engenders a differential treatment and suffering on behalf of the discriminated individuals.

To return to the definition of racism, from my point of view, a rational definition would be:

Racism is a form of discrimination based on the criterion of the colour of skin, of culture, of names and surnames, of origins, of nationality and of religious orientation.

This list is not exhaustive but should cover one great majority of the causes of racism.


Now that we have seen what racism is, it appears capital to me to see if it can be justified in a rational manner.

An other way to pose the question would be:

Can the rights, the liberties, the possibilities or the interests accorded to an individuals be considered inferior or superior based on the sole criterion of the colour of the skin, on the culture, the names and surnames, the origins, the nationality or the religious orientation from a rational point of view?

And well, the response is no.

It is impossible to rationally demonstrate that these criterion could justify any form of discrimination. Racism is an ideology irrational carried by irrational conditioning originating generally of our education or of generalisation of our personal experiences.

For example: people of black skin colour should not have the right to public spaces. This proposition doesn’t rely on any logic, any scientific study and cannot justify itself in a rational manner.

Racism being an irrational discrimination, a more complete definition would be:

Racism is an arbitrary discrimination based on the criterion of the colour of the skin, of the culture, of the names and surnames, the origins, of the nationality and religious orientation.

The term “arbitrary” qualifying that which is left to the sole will, to the free choice of an individual who does not rely on reason.

Example: an arbitrary choice.

To continue, racism is an arbitrary discrimination based on unfounded irrational beliefs. Still, we can ask ourselves how that is a problem?

As we have seen in the post/video presenting the concept of logism, all the beings being of the capacity of have the experience of well-being search it in a natural fashion as an ultimate objective. Human beings have the capacity of have the experience of happiness and search it consciously or unconsciously in a permanent fashion.

And racism, by the discrimination that is represents, will directly go against the well-being and the fundamental needs of the individuals that are victims, necessarily provoking suffering.

It is there the true problem of racism. This ideology, irrational and unfounded, and the behaviours that accompany it strongly harm the well-being of the individuals searching to experience it.

In sum, if we consider the well being of all individuals capable of experiencing it important, it is completely irrational to entertain any form of racism.

To return to the notion of race in the human species – even if there existed races or sub-species in our species, implying major differences between these different populations such that the physical force or even the intelligence, these differences, well existing, wouldn’t be able to rationally justify any discrimination. In effect, certain populations would be able to globally be stronger or even more intelligent than others. And so?

The only rational interpretation that one could make our of this situation would be that there exist these differences between these populations but that it is not in any way a question to start discriminating based on these criterions. Typically, it is not at all rational to act considering inferior the rights , liberties or the proper interests of children who are not gifted as compared to gifted children.

In the course of history, racism has taken forms:

We have seen slavery in the 19th century, followed by apartheid, people responding to the sole criteria of black skin colour with a restriction of fundamental needs such as access to food, to healthcare, and liberty.

In the 20th century we saw the holocaust, having consisted of an extermination of a million individuals based on the sole criterion of being of Jewish background.

Still today in the 21st century hundreds of millions of people are victims of racism simply because of irrational beliefs held by our societies.

In effect, the only common point with all these forms of discrimination is the irrational conditioning and discriminating individuals. These discriminations and all the suffering that they engender would not have any place without irrational beliefs.

Yet again, I repeat, it is completely irrational to discriminate based on arbitrary criterion such as:

  • Black colour of skin
  • Judaic religious backgrounds
  • African cultural roots
  • And even the first name of a person is Chang, David or Mohammad

Racism not existing but through our conditioning and causing a very large quantity of suffering, why not take conscience of our conditioning linked to racism, put them to question and simply make them dissapear?

Colour of skin, culture, name, origines, nationality, religious orientation… the sole criteria that is important would not be the the ability to experience well-being?

Martin Luther King photo

To finish, I invite you to imagine one of the more beautiful speeches by Martin Luther King, profound defender of human rights. To me it’s a historically determining moment in the evolution of the ensemble of beliefs of our species.

 

 

 

Liberate yourself of your conditioning and change the world.

References :

Mayr E. (1999), Systematics and the origin of species, from the viewpoint of a zoologist. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press. p. xxi

Aquaportail (2009, 11 of April update the 2015, 16 of December), race. In aquaportail. Retrieved from https://www.aquaportail.com/definition-4640-race.html