Advocate the irrational

"Every culture in history, in every time and every place, has operated from the assumption that it had it 95% correct and that the other 5% would arrive in five years’ time!
All were wrong! All were wrong, and we gaze back at their naivety with a faint sense of our own superiority. But we are all wrong! We don’t have it either! I mean, if this is a culture approaching the truth, who needs the truth?!"
- Terrence McKenna, Culture and Ideology are Not Your Friends

McKenna often advocated the very Discordian idea that beliefs are alike to computer programs, operating systems, for your brain. Most people use more than one computer program in an average week. People who are particularly good with computers are often aware of the limitations of each operating system. This is why software is constantly being updated and improved. Few programmers would argue there's a one size fits all best-of-the-best and never-to-be-bettered operating system.

This is true of human cultural conditioning. We in the UK are conditioned to think of ours as being pretty good, although our country has free speech and so encourages counter narratives and questioning. It's this process which has allowed us to update our ideas and change our minds collectively on things. Although we're technically a Christian country I think the dominant belief, or operating system here is "rationalism".

Dominant belief systems are important to be aware of and rational thought is worth mastering if you live in Britain. It's incredibly useful anywhere in the world. I'm a big fan of it personally. If something is rational, it can be rationed, it is limited and it is measurable. This appears to apply to a good many things in life and that's why rationalism is so useful.

Our previously dominant program was called Christianity. That sits like an old copy of Word or Netscape in the background now. Some people still use it, it's incredibly useful and was an important part of the process which made our country what it is. Again, I was a big fan in the past. I gave it a go when I was a kid, very useful. However, it's limitations are more immediately apparent when surrounded by people who advocate  its antithesis "rationalism". They constantly highlighted the fact 100% belief in Jesus required a bit of faith to fill in the gaps. This lit up the mouth of the cave a little too brightly for me and my Christian period was very short lived.

Rationalism though, there's no need for faith there, I thought. You're dealing with facts, consensus reality. You can see the object you are rationalising, it is limited, you can see where its limits are, no faith involved in solid matter. Everyone can see the truth of rationalism. It's the final one size fits all operating system!

During my strict rationalist period I would have confidently stated in a matter of fact manner that 'a rational explanation for everything exists... and if it doesn't it's only a matter of time until we find it'. Nowadays though, I question that. I started to worry that I'd filled in the gaps of a belief system with faith. Faith alike to that of someone who expects Jesus to return '... it's only a matter of time'.

Nowadays I've started to advocate "the irrational". Chaos, the thing you can't predict and measure. It's not that I am rejecting rational thought, like I say, it's very useful. I am though trying to become aware of its limitations. I think there are some things which cannot be measured, hung, drawn and quartered. There are some things beyond limit, which cannot be spoken, written down, or even understood. There are some things which cannot be controlled by anything, even the rational world of matter and fact.

I've started to think that you are one of those things. You, we, us and everybody. Human beings are the bit that we cannot measure. We're the irrational piece of the puzzle which makes the jigsaw incomprehensible to strictly rational thought.

What's odd about this understanding, which to be fair I am currently unable to convincingly articulate, is that it's not new. It's not my idea. It's something I've had said to me before by other people. I just couldn't hear them. I was too rational, my faith was too strong.

That's what this old episode of The Cult Of Nick concerns.

It's a gudden: CLICK HERE


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