Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Emotion Verses Rationality

Emotion and rationality are related in that emotion always affects how one rationalizes reality. We receive signals from the world as it exists outside our own body. These signals are received in the form of the senses -- sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell.

Due to differences in our ability to sense stimuli and our conscious awareness of them they are skewed from the reality of how someone else may perceive the exact same signals in the exact same circumstance. It is our perception as well as a chemical reaction to such stimuli that causes emotions. Emotions are nothing more than a conscious value judgment of one's current state. They are the lens through which we perceive reality and hence can and do affect how we behave.

Just because one may or may not have the same reaction to emotion as someone else, however, does not mean he or she acts any more or less rationally. The concept of irrational action is nonsense. Everyone must rationalize in order to act. Rationalization is action of the mind which is taken as a series of lower order actions which results in physical action. This does not mean one who acts in any particular manner is acting correctly or that the actions taken results in the desired effect; it just means that one has made a rational choice to act.

If emotions do affect how we perceive reality then what could be the basis for such judgment of one's actions? Is there a measure for the end result of action?

We can never make assumptions about why people behave they way they do. We cannot assume people are rational or irrational but rather that they act with what they deem to be the best choice for removing some felt uneasiness. To act is to be rational because before one can act one must necessarily rationalize such actions; what one attempts to do by judging such actions is to place a value on individual actions.

This cannot logically be done outside of one's own personal values and hence it holds no relevance to reality outside of the individual doing the action. We cannot place a value judgments on how one acts whether we deem those actions to be clouded by emotion or not because in order to do this we have to understand how those emotions came to be in the first place.

If we can indeed assign value to individual human action then we must necessarily make an assumption that there is such a notion as normative human behavior -- organically speaking, we are too complex to be able to answer such questions definitively and indeed the idea is totally incompatible with subjective value.

If subjective value is not correct then there is no basis for the economic sciences as we know it and this certainly cannot be the case. We know that subjective value is correct because if everyone valued everything the same way under the same circumstances there would be no exchange and no one would participate in the division of labor or knowledge. In other words, society as we know it would not exist.

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