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General Epistemology        Chapter II-6       

 

II-6 RATIONALITY AND RATIONALISM

 

(Permalink)(Was chapter 16 in version 1)

 

The whole Aristotelian world and the scientists developed the concepts of rationality and objectivity: to make reasoning (and to concretely apply the decisions which results from them) which truly describe reality, and not personal a priori, preferences, attachments or aversion, ideological or cultural, which all arise from the psychological bias. We cannot dispute the basement of such an intention, otherwise it is useless to speak about logic, reasoning and even not of truth. This objective was roughly achieved in the fields of the physical sciences or similar (chemistry...), despite some small examples of conflicts or prejudices we can find there.

However as soon as we get into fields where the human being is concerned (ways of life, motivations, political decisions...) words such as rationality and objectivity are frequently used to justify humanly unacceptable behaviours, such as suffering, exploitation of people and destruction of nature. If we believe such speeches, we have the objective and exact rational material scientific/economy knowledge on a side, which is opposed to the subjective and illusory ecological/spiritual beliefs on the other side. Often things go up to a ridiculous and caricature way: scientists, economists and politicians would be all serious and objective men in suit and tie leading the world to the progress, while ecologists would be barmy hippies in flowery shirts wanting to destroy the western way of life! This duality is so deeply impregnated into people's minds that those who question «rationalism» just revert the problem, and endorse the second view, while keeping the same composition for the two terms.

(What precedes was written in 1999, soon after the Heidelberg Appeal, which was a clear endorsement by science of the anti-environment policies. Since, scientists denounced this manipulation, and others manipulations like the false studies on passive smoking, and of course the climate deniers organized lobbying with false data. In more, science also recognized the reality of most parapsychological phenomena. So we can see that at last, scientists were able of self-criticism to get out of this rut. However these dangerous «rationalist» views are still over represented in business, administrations and politics, left or right. For evidence, the ridiculous failures of the Copenhagen and Cancun conferences to start a rational action against climate change, such as developing thermochemical plants (solar oil) or heliothermic plants).

 

Unfolding

(Permalink) Right. Let us bring all this on the kitchen table, and sort. Objective is opposed to subjective, OK, rational with irrational, OK, illusion and belief are opposed to knowledge, OK, material is opposed to spiritual, OK. But why to have thus inseparably linked these four oppositions? Oh, what a beautiful semantic (note 17) faggot, typical of all the simplistic and dualistic speeches:

Confuse dualistic speech opposing science and spirituality

This muddle strangely looks like these ignominiously crushed quadripolar diagrams which we saw in chapter I-5 and which introduce appalling confusions between terms which should never be mixed, and even not associated. Let us follow the track. The opposition knowledge/belief (or knowledge/illusion) is obviously of the good/bad type, or at least adequate/non-adequated: nobody can deliberately wish to deceive himself. Therefore it is a vertical axis, with the illusion in bottom, and knowledge in top. At first approximation rational/irrational also, since irrational is not adapted to our purpose, whereas rational is. Material and spiritual are two places of reality. There is no reason to oppose them, and even less to claim to eliminate one of them. Therefore they are on the same level, on an horizontal axis. Objective and subjective are also two places of the human life experience: Certain experiences and perceptions are shareable or collective, others belong to the individual experience. Here again we cannot reject neither one nor the other of these two terms without giving up essential human attributes. Same level there too.

Thus let us unfold the faggot; indeed if we cut the arbitrary link it unfolds with relief in a beautiful quadripolar diagram (see chapter I-4 for the meaning of the technical terms).

More exactly it is an hexapolar diagram, as we have two horizontal Yin-Yang axis (one right- left, and a front-back one). But we can simplify with showing two quadripolar diagrams: at left, the mindset of the observer, and at right (in italic) the reality that he observes.

Quadripolar diagram harmonizing science and spirituality

Oooh but we already saw the left one in chapter I-8, about logic, where we already had to demystify a similar problem, about the meaning of the word «rational». So, it is not astonishing if the same clarification is also profitable to epistemology. So, with the two diagrams, it is easy to comment each of these points, this time from the point of view of epistemology.

To speak in details, the unfolding of a semantic faggot is quite risky, with dirty things falling on the table, and even sometime poisonous fangs jumping at our faces. For instance we find another diagram about clothing style, opposing the serious scientist in suit and tie, to the hippie dreamer with flowery shirt. But only deep cretins will think that there could be any relation between clothing style and competence in science. Anyway we saw well in Second Life that Elves are the bests in science.

Another interesting remark is that, from the fact these two diagrams are arbitrarily linked, a given person will always be in the same height in each of them. This explains that mistakes in the first diagram are nearby always linked to a matching blindness in the second. For instance a rationalist (3) is nearby always materialist (3'), or a person without analysis capacity (1) will generally be religious dogmatic (4'). Exceptions to this rule are less common, but more wicked, for instance, the analytic mind applied to the justification of religious dogmas (4').

 

 

We of course find the Yang Sephirah (1) and ¥in Qliphah (4), the two places of the usual pseudo-dichotomy science/belief:

(1) is obviously the field of the physical science dealing with the physical reality (1'). From the epistemological point of view, it is an exact approach, objective, rational, which circumvents psychological bias by confrontation with the objective material experience, and is turned towards the outside of the human, towards the matter, and which relies on the material proof.

(4') is the domain of beliefs and arbitrary a priori, based on social conformism, attachment and aversion, lack of method, psychological bias. Many religious peoples have the mindset (4), and also some ecologists and some New Age followers. Booh! Get out of there, folks!

A mistake here would be to superpose and merge the two diagrams above, and consider that, for instance, the analytic mind (1) would fit to the material facts (1'), while the intuition (2) would fit to the inner facts (2'). This is often true, but not always. Analyse (1) is often useful in (2') spirituality, psychology, art, morals, etc. Intuition (2) is not used to describe physics, but it is used in teaching it, and it was often indispensable to make discoveries in this field.

Similarly we cannot hastily conclude that people in (3)(false analysis) accept only stuff in (3'), and people in (4)(false intuition) get only beliefs in (4'). However cross-mistaking is also perfectly possible, and common, such as rationalization of religious beliefs, or a false intuition in a pseudoscience. Anyway, (3) and (4) being dualistic reciprocal situations, this is enough to make us wary of anybody in this part of the diagram, without need to know if he is on «our» side or not.

 

 

But now, the diagram shows its predictive force and its utility, as it foresees the existence of two other places, a second Yin Sephirah (2) and a second ¥ang Qliphah (3). These places must match with real human behaviours, which we can thus expect to meet in daily life.

Analytic mind (1) applied to (2'), the human experience, can lodge an economic, social and politic science taking in account the whole fundamental needs of the human being, without to imposing arbitrary limitation on his inner life, his spiritual, cultural or emotional life. (See sixth part on society)

So, (2) is the place of an exact science of the human mind. If you are unaware of the existence of this place, or if you never looked at there, you undoubtedly will think that there is nobody. Peek-a-boo: there are already plenty of people. And not sad ones. One speaks Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Hebrew, and some other languages vehicles of other authentic spiritual searches. From the epistemological point of view, (2) is an exact approach, objective, rational, which must pass by the suppression of the psychological bias of the experiencer. It is looking towards the interior of human, towards the mind, and relying on the spiritual proof, like mathematics rely on the logical proof. It is not me who invented General Epistemology, it already exists since 2000 years. It is just waiting for its Lavoisier, to get definitively rid off any arbitrarian belief, whatever religious, political or moral.

(2) also offers a culture without a priori, a «scientific» harmony and poetry, and undoubtedly many other things.

We may also find here some speculations on the limits of physics: the absolute reality would not be attainable, we would obtain of it only a vision which would depend on our means of perception or measurement. I myself do not like too much this view, therefore I let speculate while waiting for the results.

(3) is the place for scientific mistakes or frauds, resulting of personnal considerations (clan mind, financial interests, ideologies, vexation to be found in error).

But (3) is above all the place of all the anti-human ideologies (3') claiming to be science or rationality: scientistism, rationalism, reductionism, technocracy, inhuman administration methods... Hep you there! Show us what you are doing!

The process is always the same, since science (1) replaced religion as the most credible reference for our societies: the intuitive mindset (2) and the human facts (2') are always resurfacing (simply because we are human beings), each time they are threatened by egocentric interests, inhuman administrative decisions, dictatorship, violence, or destruction of nature. So, pseudo-rational ideologies (3') are created, to justify the anti-human behaviours in giving them the appearance of science, reason and rational management, against «subjective» feelings.

A reference case of such manipulations is the racist theories of the 19th Century, invented to justify colonization against claims for freedom and equality: the Blacks were «scientifically» described as inferior, and thus deemed to be ruled by Whites. This one is very stale today, but we still have many administrative methods and «rational» talks invented against fair economy or nature preservation. Let us quote the scientific frauds of the tobacco industry (Ragnar Rylander case), or the pseudo-scientific theory of the nuclear lobby as what weak doses of radioactivity would be harmless. The most elaborated is the pseudoscience of behaviourism, invented to cover the cruel vivisection experiments on animals (when not on Humans, as it happened several times after WWII in western countries). The climate deniers lobby was happily unable to compromise science. This would ensure the survival of the later... if the politicians had not decided to lead mankind to suicide, in the Copenhagen and Cancun conferences.

 

The purpose of this book is to foster a mind science (2'), using the both necessary rational methods (1) and intuitive methods (2), while denouncing the rationalist pseudosciences and manipulations (3').

This books also joins classical science (1) against the religious dogmas (4'). But for this, it uses the correct method: to foster (2), the spiritual science, instead of (3'), rationalism.

 

Glossary of Science (1)

(Permalink) Now that we clearly defined what we are speaking about, we can try a small glossary, which indicates the exact and unique meaning I used all these words in all this book (and in any other books and speeches). This is also the honest meaning of these words, which must appear in dictionaries.

Let us see for science (1):

Science Method to discover reality. Results of this discovery.

Scientific what proceeds from science. Scientific discovery, scientific method, a scientific person (a scientist).

Perverted meaning: materialist, rationalist.

The words science or scientist or scientific can be understood on several levels: methods, results, persons, institutions, the social group... All these meanings are valid and discernible according to context, provided that we do not confuse them with the perverted meaning, nor place on it any hypostasis (note 5) of clan, power, exclusiveness in knowledge...

Rational Which goes clearly towards a goal, by using an effective method. In order to avoid confusions, let us use the words rationality for the attitude, and rational for the person, in place of the usual rationalism or rationalist.

Perverted meaning: materialist, pro-nuclear, capitalist, who refuses any emotion or ethics.

The word «rational» literally means «using reasoning», this meanings logic. This calls for two remarks:

-As seen in the first part, especially chapter I-8, these reasoning can be Aristotelian, but they can be otherwise. To be rational then means to use the appropriate type of logic, including intuition when necessary.

-No reasoning can demonstrate anything in an absolute way, only in relations with already known facts. This is especially true in domains such as morals or meaning of life (chapter V-5 and following), which are based on intrinsic consciousness facts.

Objective Which relates to a collective and shareable experience, without elements which depend on the individual (taste, culture...). This of course refers to visible material facts; but also, we can validly include here many consciousness facts, like need for justice, love of nature, the need for social recognition, etc. which are basic human facts shared by everybody, and part of the definition of humanity.

This word is often used in another meaning: not to lie nor to deform intentionally (according to financial, ideological interests...) An objective newspaper. For a journalist, a judge, a deputy, etc... subjectivity becomes a serious fault.

Perverted meaning: material, which makes abstraction of any feeling and ethics, who sees only finance and technique.

We present in chapter V-7 a more realistic and more ultimate definition of objectivity.

Subjective Which arises from the individual experience. Dreams, tastes, individual perception, culture, are subjective.

Perverted meaning: Which cannot be reduced to something material, inexistent, not serious. The need for poetry is regarded as subjective, even if it is shared by all. Which cannot be shown materially: As an emotion cannot be put on the work surface in the laboratory, it is deduced that it does not exist, that it is «subjective».

We need to be careful, because certain experiences can show together characteristics of both objectivity and subjectivity: dream, virtual reality, and sleep paralysis (the so called «alien abductions», chapter VII-2). Also note that the statute of the artistic taste is not quite simple, chapter VI-9.

Cartesian This word is often employed for «Aristotelian». Not without reasons, considering Descartes's significant contribution to the clarification of logic, scientific epistemology and mathematics. But the finder of Aristotelian logic is however Aristotle, with an hardly questionable anteriority of 2000 years and cultural roots still much older. So it is better to keep with his name.

In spite of more or less relevant criticisms I heard about the Method of Descartes, in spite of my disagreement with some metaphysical conclusions of this philosopher, we are obliged to recognise his dramatic and unavoidable contribution to the emergence of the rational thought. I used, all along this book, the Cartesian systematic doubt (this is particularly apparent in chapter V-5 on ethics), to start only from logic and observation, except some provocations (chapter VI-8 on economy) where I pose as obvious an elementary base which precisely «was not noticed» by all the greatest specialists of the question...

The word «Cartesian» is sometimes used in newspeak for meaning rationalist, materialist, atheist... by peoples who did not even read what the dictionary says about Descartes: It also passed most of his life to try to prove the existence of God.

The denunciation of pseudosciences (Added January 12, 2018) Pseudosciences are theories or affirmations which imitate a scientific speech, without being one. Ether they are based on false or untestable facts, or erroneous reasoning, or the use of a scientific vocabulary, used inappropriately or with a wrong meaning.

The denonciation of pseudosciences is an «hygienical» need for science, but also for society, ecology, public health, etc. This fight is all the more important that pseudosciences are very active and a dangerous threat against society.

 

It is important for the understanding of this book to remember that I used all these words not only in the context of physical science (1'), as it is the custom, but also in the context of the spiritual science (2'). This is new, but perfectly correct from the point of view of the General Epistemology.

 

Glossary of official pseudosciences (3)

(Permalink) Let us go down in (3), garbage can of science:

(This alinea was added in January 12, 2018) I introduce here the terms of «parascience©», «pararationality©» or else «pseudorationality©», which in short are all synonyms of «official pseudoscience©» (my prefered): true pseudosciences, but which are accepted by the majority of the scientists, their medias and their institutions. For long we saw here the denial of quantum mechanics, the denial of extraterrestrial life, the denial of ecology (and we know the cost of this) and we still see there materialism and denial of consciousness. (The main purpose of this book being precisely to introduce a genuine science study of consciousness, without taboo, see chapter V-2)

Scientistist, Scientistical which arises from the deviated meaning of scientist.

Scientism Ideology which claims that all can be explained by materialist and rationalist science, and reduced to what it can apprehend materially, which denies all what materialist science cannot explain.

Atheism Without any spiritual epistemology, we cannot deny the existence of God, no more than to affirm it. Therefore atheism is a religious belief among the others. It is legitimate not to believe a priori, but not to a priori state the inexistence. Not to confuse a legitimate Cartesian doubt with anti-God or satanism. Serves you right.

Secularity, laicity Normal meaning: respect of the religious freedom of everyone. Perverted meaning: atheism, persecutions against religions.

Rationalistist, rationalistic This word is used to nab the methods, the ideologies or the persons who arise from the perverted meaning of rational. I always use this word with this meaning, in my texts, and «rational» for the correct mind attitude.

We must however be aware that there is no unanimous agreement about this vocabulary, and some authors still use «rationalist» to mean the correct attitude. This could bring confusions when reading some texts, but I followed the majority trend nowadays to distinguish the two attitudes.

To clearly understand the fundamental difference between rationalism and rationality, let us imagine an example: At one end of an island stands a power station, and at the other end of this island there is the only city which uses the electricity of this power station. Between the two, pristine nature is so beautiful and poetic that the citizens of the city adore to walk there, to enjoy this beauty or to recollect in silence. How to convey electricity through this zone? A rationalist technician or technocrat will think «rational» to build a beautiful power line at lower cost all along through the zone, by disregarding any consideration of beauty and poetry which does not have any technical or financial significance. A truly rational person will seek a solution to cross the zone without destroying it. Indeed if we destroy poetry, the life does not have any more taste or significance, and then it is completely useless to have electricity! It is like selling a spring against a bottle to carry its water. A rationalist economist will reply that to preserve poetry will be more expensive. But again, but this is still a deep illusion. It is true that for example to bury a power line requires extra work, and thus an added cost; but to destroy poetry withdraws happiness and significance to life. This is certainly not calculable, but infinitely more expensive, as it is of a far higher level. Destroying any meaning of life is an infinitely higher cost than spending some work time! It is in the domain of the purposes, when electricity is only in the domain of the means. Approximately the error of the rationalists is to consider the human being only under a material and utility view, by disregarding his mind and feelings, whereas it is precisely these feelings and this mind which give its significance and value to the human existence, inevitably subjecting all the technical and economic concerns to their law. This will be fully justified in sixth part on society, after the chapter V-5. To be noted that the rationalist will do his mess even if everybody opposes him, as, would you have guessed, democracy is no more his main concern either.

Irrational Which does not resort from method, reasoning. Perverted meaning: the rationalists themselves use this word, with a very pejorative connotation, to mean the fields of the emotions, spirituality, environment protection, parapsychology, the individual or collective significance of life. Some spiritualists use the same word to name their field, but I think this is an error. The dictionary gives a meaning that I did not found used very much, because inaccurate: which does not arise from the reason. It is however the meaning which looks the more advisable, as long as we do not confuse «reason» with materialist or anti-life ideologies.

Subjectivism, subjectivist This word is employed by the rationalists to despise an approach which they describe as «subjective» i.e. ethic, spiritual, or in relation with significance of life.

Attention, we need to admit that this word has a real significance, to place in (4), when people, claiming to defend moral or spiritual considerations, or in the name of significance of life, dispute the concept of science itself, or of rationality, and even the concept of objective reality, in order to impose (in the name of freedom, or «the heart», nature or ecology) ideologies as much restrictive or inaccurate that those which they criticise. The New Age swarms with this kind of thinking, and some tendencies of ecology are also concerned with this.

Oh, and by the way, this word also fits very well (3).

Technocracy Fascist ideology stating that any technical or administrative consideration has absolutely priority on human or ethics considerations. To belong to this ideology seems to be an essential criterion to be recruited in the high administrations or similar organisations. Attention that (At least in France) this word also passed in newspeak to name... the defenders of nature, when they act in the name of official authorities!

The denunciation of pseudosciences (Added January 12, 2018) is a very good pretext for targeting «heretical» science facts or studies. This was still the case for the study of extraterrestrial life when I started this book in 1999, but this has been corrected since. Of course whoever would accuse this book of pseudoscience would obviously appear as a manipulator, since I proceeded scientifically all along. Of course real pseudosciences will claim to be persecuted, while «official pseudoscience» will attack genuine but «heretical» science facts or studies. This kind of crossfire of manipulations is what happens regularly whenever there are dishonest persons on both sides.

 

 

In action

(Permalink) It should anyway be remembered, when we oppose science against scientism, scientists against scientistists, that in daily reality, things are not so clearly defined. The two tendencies often coexist within a group, and even in one person and his speech. Therefore let us denounce scientism without making a new clan business of this, in a non-violent way, by challenging the scientist to fight the scientistist. This significant point of deontology is implied subsequently, and the scientistist whose face we shall recurrently smash is only an allegory.

A very important point also, which can be deduced from the study of dynamic effects in the quadripolar diagram, in chapter I-4, is that only the true scientist can efficiently fight the scientistist. So we must not confuse the targets. To spread «spiritual» or «ecological» nonsenses «to fight scientistism» is the best help for it, and to think rationally in spiritual, economic or ecological domains is the thing it fears the most. Especially this book is the ultimate anti-scientistist weapon: the epistemological bomb!

 

 

Huuu Huu Huu says the rationalist shepherd, his sheep-words he though they were quietly in their park have escaped, and worse of all they grazed marijuana, and now they run everywhere in spite of the imprecations of the shepherd. But why to chase them afterwards? It is so bucolic to look at them to gambol in freedom, and run wild after the coloured butterflies of new ideas. They are much happier this way. If the rationalist order does not reign any more, it appears another one, more subtle and more rich with significance.

Attention, the meanings I give to the words in this glossary certainly resulted from a thinking effort I carried out alone, in peculiar with the use of the quadripolar logic which gives to these definitions a strong scientific value. But it is also a collective reflection, as many criticisms of sciences and techniques arrived to the same conclusions each in their side, and my own thinking was nourished of many readings of papers in scientific reviews or ecologist reviews, which are themselves at the origin of this vocabulary, that the recent dictionaries tend to confirm into these definitions.

Attention also that I employed all these words in the meaning defined above from the very beginning of this book. It is impossible to avoid this kind of loop in the development of a complex idea. I apologise in front of the reader, and if some ambiguity remains, I invite you to read again the concerned passages with these definitions in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Epistemology        Chapter II-6       

 

 

 

 

 

 

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