Saturday, August 22, 2015

Rationalizing and how to catch yourself doing it

This is a reply to an FI post:

On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 11:00 PM, Erin Minter <> wrote:

> On Aug 17, 2015, at 6:13 PM, Rami Rustom [fallible-ideas] <> wrote:


> other similar rationalizations could be:
> “i do romance sort of differently, so those romance flaws don’t apply to my approach.” (yet they don’t explain how that’s possible and expose their ideas to crit)

one reason they might not expose those ideas to crit is that they believe that doing so means saying some private stuff which they don't want to do cause that violates privacy. and this could be a rationalization because it's like saying "i'm justified to not expose these ideas to crit because i'm protecting my privacy".

now a person in this situation could have learned from FI that people should develop the skill of depersonalizing the ideas so that they can talk about them without breaking privacy (making hypotheticals). but then they go months or years without ever really trying to learn how to do this. what rationalizations might someone in this situation come up with for why it was ok for him to do this?

> “FI ppl don’t know the full story about romance.  so i can ignore some of their ideas about this stuff.”

wow that one is pretty vague. its such a big gaping hole. it lets the person ignore ANY/ALL ideas being said here on FI, or anywhere.

i mean, you could replace romance with literally anything, and that idea would "justify" it.

- FI ppl don't know the full story about liberalism (TRUE). so i can ignore some of their ideas about liberalism (MORALLY WRONG).

- FI ppl don't know the full story about parenting (TRUE). so i can ignore some of their ideas about parenting (MORALLY WRONG).

- FI ppl don't know the full story about how to play games (TRUE). so i can ignore some of their ideas about how to play games (MORALLY WRONG).

It's wrong to ignore ideas that you are engaging with. The correct approach is to judge an idea that you are considering and wholeheartedly accept or reject it after the judging process is finished.

> so these rationalizations make them feel better about the conflict.  while at the same time (and mb without even knowing it), they are giving up on learning.
> they are creating a piece of anti-reason (the rationalization) and placing it in their minds.  then as time passes, the implications of this idea get more and more worked out.  and interconnected to other stuff.  and entrenched.  and harder to change.

Yea the one that I referred to as leaving a big gaping hole above is especially bad. It's like justifying not doing X because X *could* be wrong.

I've seen this kind of tactic used with the following situation: somebody says "it's just a mistake so it's ok" right before he decides to do the mistake.

No that's not ok.

"X is just a mistake" isn't a criticism of not doing X. It's a criticism of feeling bad over having done X. So it's irrelevant to the question of whether or not he should do X.

This kind of thinking is trying to justify doing X (support of theories, which ignores criticism), rather than trying to find out whether X shouldn't be done (ruling out of theories, which doesn't ignore criticism).


>> Say somebody has romance preferences, and he has preferences for
>> reason/FI too. And he has learned that FI says romance is bad/harmful.
>> So he has a conflict between his ideas.
> if he has preferences for reason, then has he learned that romance is bad?  That’s sort of how I tried to set mine up:  part of the person wants romance, while part wants no romance cuz they can sorta see how it’s bad.

well let's say that the person agrees with FI that there are some flaws with romance. so that means that part of the person wants no romance (of that kind that he thinks is flawed). but as you said, maybe the person believes that he can do better than traditional romance knowledge stuff. so this person who partly doesn't want romance of X-type is fine with wanting romance of NOT-X type. So this person thinks he has a way of doing romance better than the others.

And if this person doesn't expose his ideas to FI, then he can easily fool himself about it. Maybe this is just a justification/rationalization/excuse, rather than an actual good explanation (that survives crit) that he can do romance better than others.

oh i just thought of another issue. let's say somebody wants romance and thinks he has a better version of it than others. and he wants FI/reason. and then he exposes his ideas about romance to FI crit. and then an FI veteran explains some ideas criticizing this guys version of romance. And then this guys comes up with this idea, "Maybe this FI veteran is justifying/rationalizing/excusing/lying about this. He says to himself, "Maybe this FI veteran is trying to reject my version of romance by falsely lumping it in with traditional romance knowledge stuff." And maybe he thinks to himself that it's also possible that this FI veteran doesn't even know that he's lying. And then let's say that this person doesn't know what to do about this. he doesn't know how to tell the FI veteran that he thinks he's lying and that he might not even know it. He thinks that he'll "lose" the debate to the FI veteran not because the FI veteran is on the correct side of the truth, but instead because the FI veteran is better at arguing than himself. So he thinks 'there's no point' in even trying to argue the point.

Thoughts on that?


>> And then let's say this person comes up with this idea:
>> "I currently want a gf/bf, and I also want reason/FI. And i know that
>> FI says romance is bad. So, maybe FI is wrong that romance is bad, or
>> maybe I'm wrong that romance is good, or maybe we're both wrong about
>> it. So, my current plan is to continue pursuing both. That means also
>> trying to resolve the conflict. Address FI's criticisms of romance.
>> Refute them, or concede and stop wanting romance. Now this might take
>> a while. Maybe months or years.
> if you are doing romance for years while at the same time thinking you are being rational and trying to “resolve the conflict”, then i think you are lying to yourself.
> and this sort of rationalization is what i’m talking about.
> like as you start out doing romance, you start to SEE the flaws (if you’ve read and understood some FI).  if you are rational, you will see them, criticize them, refute them, and be done.

i think a huge indication that somebody is lying to himself about that is whether or not he is exposing his ideas about it to crit. Like, if you've been doing romance and FI for years, and you think you're not rationalization/excusing/lying/justifying, then at some point you would have learned from FI that you could be wrong about that. Maybe you are lying to yourself. You should expose your ideas to crit to CHECK IF THEY ARE LIES/EXCUSES/RATIONALIZATIONS/JUSTIFICATIONS.

so like if you've been doing romance and FI for years, and you haven't talked about romance at all on FI, then that's a huge sign. Why aren't you talking about romance? Why aren't you dealing with this big conflict? Why aren't you trying to explain to FI that FI is wrong about your version of romance?[1]  Why aren't you trying to find out if you're wrong by exposing your ideas about this to FI crit?

[1] Here's an idea someone could come up with. "It's not my responsibility to teach stuff to FI people. What do I gain by teaching them? Nothing. So I won't waste my time teaching stuff to FI."

What should be said about this?

> but if you are irrational, then you will try to accept them.  fit them in your life.  make excuses for them.  and lie to yourself about what you are doing.
> you either have to do one or the other (rational or irrational) once you start noticing these contradictions.  and if it’s a year later and you are still trying to make progress on romance, then best guess you chose the irrational path.  and all of those rationalizations are going to be *harder* to fix.

i want to consider some examples of "trying to make progress on romance".

Let's say somebody doesn't have any romance in his life right now. No gf/bf/spouse/etc currently. Let's say he chooses to spend some time going to social engagements as a means of FINDING somebody to romance with. If this person exposes this idea to FI crit, I imagine FIers would ask *why prioritize spending time and energy finding someone to do romance with over learning FI?*

What other things would FI say to this person? How would such a person reply? What are some irrational ways of replying, and some rational ways of replying?

Or let's say somebody currently has a many-years-running romance relationship. And let's say he has also been on FI for a year reading emails but not posting at all. And he fails to convince his partner to join FI. So the only FI learning the partner is doing is directly via discussion with this FI lurker.

So let's say this person decides to ask on FI *how do I decide how to spend my time? I want to spend some time doing FI but my romance partner feels sad when I'm busy doing FI while  I could be spending time with him/her. How should I think about this?*

-- Rami

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