Friday, May 04, 2007

Revolt Against Reason

Revolting against Reason doesn't mean being non-rational.....

There's a concept out there, which I'm cheerfully echoing, that says that what's taught in schools and accepted to a certain extent by society as a whole as reason or rational thought really doesn't have much to do with the basic meaning of rationality, which is that something is logical and intelligable. Instead, what's taught as reason, which is expressed in ways like organizing how classes are taught, what are considered ideals that people should strive for, really is like pulling a punch: claiming to be universal it's really biased, partisan, meant to inculcate obedience and respect for the dominant institutions of society.

People who revolt against it are called unreasonable, irrational, dumb, anti-social, troubled. But the truth is that there isn't one universal Reason out there, with a capital R; instead, there are many Reasons, dictated by culture and by the position you're in in society. Not only that, but people can invent new Reasons, new ways of thinking about the world, new worldviews, and propagate them. Counter-cultural activities present one version of a reason, various subcultures have particular ways of viewing the world, that are versions of Reason. Why accept the dominant definition of Reason?

Why not stick to Reason as meaning a logical system of thought, delete the cultural baggage attached to mainstream 'Reason' which tries to get you to nice and respectful and mainstream, and instead insert in the vacuum whatever you want?

A world where people self-determine their own Reasons is surely a better world than the dominant one, which is constantly trying to assert itself over the whole of society. Trying. The dominant system of belief is never completely in control over the whole society, there are always exceptions and ways around it that it doesn't like, so asserting itself over society is a constant struggle. This is called the mainstream ideology trying to impose a cultural hegemony on the rest of society, and mainstream in this case is really a shill for the owners' side of capitalism. The ideology that has cultural hegemony serves the interests of non-workers by exporting itself as the 'neutral' ideology to the rest of society. In this way people who have less resources, who aren't favored by the system by being born on the other side of the labor-management divide, face a really hard time fighting back because it's not a class based ideology that they're interpreted as fighting but reason itself.

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