Paper Two Final
1 February 2012
Humans will never be fully rational. Of course some are more irrational than others, but we all have a weakness in something that leads us to making decisions based on emotion. If you look closely, in today’s world being rational usually leads to more financial success and can sometimes be interpreted for cold hearted. After reading Mary Roach and Joan Didion’s article, Roach would be labeled as harsh, the rational one, and Didion would be labeled as sympathetic and relatable, the irrational one. Many readers are more capable to putting themselves in Didion’s shoes, many of us ...view middle of the document...
When we see another person going through a tough condition, our advice to them is almost always rational thinking, but if we were in their place, our clarification wouldn’t be so easily determined or obvious. Humans are not capable of overlooking their feelings, no matter how hard we try; it’s just not possible. However, you have to experience a situation to be able to understand why being rational isn’t as easy as it sounds. An example of this is love, humanity means “being human”, but I also think the word "humanity" has a positive spin, implying our ability to empathize and feel compassion for one another, and then acting in such a way to improve another human's life.
An individual who is supposedly “in love” can have a completely different perspective on life than someone who isn’t in love. Many of us have been in places where our friend needs relationship advice, if we were to be single, our advice to them would be more harsh and demanding, “Break up with the loser!” however, if we were to be experiencing the same issue, the conversation wouldn’t really go any where because we would both be building our thoughts centered on our feelings. Joan Didion describes this type of condition perfectly in her article when relating it to her grief, “Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it” (Didion 100). Grief doesn’t necessarily have to be for the dead, but for lost relationships with a certain someone, the pain that you feel when you first become familiar with it; is almost explosive, you would never have imagined it to be so severe. Humans don’t seem to put much effort towards things that seem complicated, we give up and ignore them, but when it comes to the simplest things, we seem to over rationalize them resulting in irrationalizing them, which tell us that we are basically weak minded when it comes to dealing with emotions.
My stepfather has always taught me to not waste time on other people’s problems, nor to waste time on feeling sorry for myself. The message I got from his was, “What’s the point of crying? Will it help?” Humanity is defined many times as to pay attention, to be generous and have curiosity and interest for other human beings, to see the wounds and the needs. So when we wonder if it were humane to care for the dead, many of us would say yes, but if it’s rational, no. During Didion’s grief, she went through a stage where she could not accept the fact that she must now act on the disappearance of her husband. “After that first night I would not be alone for weeks (Nick would come back to town…our assistant Sharon would come back from skiing, there would never not be people in the house), but I need that first night to be alone. I needed to be alone so that he could come back” (Didion 100). She irrationalized the place where she was, the fact that she strongly believed on just waiting for her dead husband to come back alive shows how human we are, how unreasonable we are.