People have been saying it for years but I’ve been reluctant (refusing?) to believe it. I am an irrational creature. And so are you. And that guy over there. And that woman… well it’s possible she’s a robot. But us flesh and blood humans are off the deep end.
I had this hammered home to me in a dash of insight while I was playing video games. That’s when all the best insights happen. I realized that as I was trying to turn a tight corner I found myself leaning to the right. Like the balance of my weight was going to be that one crucial factor that put me over the top to victory.
I am not new to video games. I’ve been playing them since 1982. This was not a wii or a PS4 with gyroscopic controls or motion detectors. No Kinect with a camera mapping my every move. I was playing a PlayStation 2 game and leaning as hard as I ever yanked on an Atari 2600 controller trying to make things go faster. Remember how bad your hand hurt using a 2600 joystick? How you were afraid you would snap the stick right off? No? Then you weren’t gaming in the 80s.
So what’s the point, you ask? You’re irrational. Big deal. The big deal is that I realized I was functionally irrational. That that is a constant human state of being. That no amount of knowledge or education can counter my most tightly held beliefs. It used to be that we would all employ rationalism as best we could to come up with a common consensus of what is real and what is not and make that the world in which we live. That was before King Rhetoric came to town. FDR once famously said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself and we believed him. Because we are dumb. And irrational.
There are plenty of things to fear besides fear. I won’t list any because I’m trying not to be overly a bummer and I’m sure you can think of 40 or 50 on your own. What I will say is it might be helpful if we redeployed our common rationality to separate the irrational fears (say, the boogeyman) from the rational (spiders- it’s true, you know it, shut up). If we can see reality, we can fix reality.
p.s. Sometimes Admiral Ackbar is right and it’s a trap. Sometimes it’s just a house. Or a cigar. <.<