The Rationality of Being Irrational


Since the moment we are born our environment expects us to live inside our heads, that we make rational assumptions about everything around us, that we do nothing considered too crazy or unpredictable. Our social environment doesn’t like variations, it doesn’t like people who are inconstant or who try to defy the balanced status quo. It is no surprise that it also likes people who are a total bore, or even worse, dorks.

This is the result of our educational system and of over protective parents: the years of teachers looking behind our shoulders, parents that worry that their kids will throw themselves of the 9th floor balcony, because they see a tv show that “is the worst”.

As the late Bill Hicks said: “… if he did that, then I am happy that he did it. I never saw ducks getting in an elevator, getting to the 9th floor and taking off from a balcony. They do it off the ground, stupid! Oh well… one less moron to deal with.”

So we think that being rational is the juxtaposition of reality with the consequent interpretation of the same. We see the human body as having the only function of moving our head from one place to the other, with the usual annoyance of getting sick and alleviate physiological needs. Another efect of having a “big head” is that our jokes are mental and so is the way we connect to each other. The way we behave is never fully present, it is a bit out of focus and always thinking about stuff.

Even the jokes are scripted and rehearsed over and over again, there is nothing new and even less spontaneous.

And what a surprise it is when we see ourselves as ultimately bored, so bored that even our half-paralyzed cat prefers to play with the round aquarium without a red fish in it. When we tell jokes the others laugh, but just like the joke itself… it is all rehearsed, a big show that everybody heard ad nausea. Their reaction is not a surprise, neither is yours.

To live inside our heads is a modern times curse. The funniest thing in all of this is that people who are seen as “very rational” don’t have anything rational going on for them. These are the people more prone to depressions, paranoia, dementia and unhappy lives.

And I wonder why…

Because what makes us happy and fulfilled on this planet it isn’t the rational understanding of life, — whatever that is, — but being more spontaneous, unpredictable and natural.

This is so easy to understand if we get back to our childhood:

Why do you pick shells at the beach?
Why do you stare at the clouds?
Why do you skim rocks on the shallow river near your home?
Why do you follow imaginary patterns on sidewalks?
Why do you grab a stick and put it in between the fence only to hear the tak tak tak that it does as you walk?

Because it makes you feel good.

When you reach that playful state of mind is when you are a perfectly rational human being, able to experience life in all its glory. When you do all those goofy and purposeless things you can breath in relief. Ufff… that feels good, doesn’t it?

But what happens when you try to breath in relief? Your stomach is tight, you feel that you can’t do it in a natural way, right?

And that is a warning, that maybe, only maybe you should spend more time playing with your kids, or walking your dog or just walking for the sake of walking. Maybe it is time to sit under a tree and stay there, listening to nature taking its own course: to hear the birds singing, the wind greeting the leaves, the small ant army that marches on formation.,

Why do birds sing? You can say that they do it in order to mate, but is it really? On every dawn and sunset they sing in perfect harmony the most beautiful songs that nature has to offer, do they place each beep in perfect tune just to survive? To continue the species? Since when did we transformed the world in such an A follows B place, in such a mechanistic clock?

It’s hard to believe, I remain with the view that they sing because they enjoy it.

When you do something out of the social rethoric, when you do something that isn’t rational per se but totally human nature, then is when you discover the glory of being a human being.

Written at Haad Yao Beach, Koh Phagnan, Thailand

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João Fernandes is a Portuguese writer, professional traveler and marketing strategist. He has been featured on, ThoughtCatalog and EliteDaily. You can find out more about his writing and ineptitude to ride bikes on: