Wednesday, July 13, 2022

(Cut Chapter) Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationalization

A friend of mine recently suggested that I check out a piece of online fanfic called “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.” It is written by someone who has rationalized away any concern for non-human animals. He (and you knew it was a he, didn’t you?) pretty much just dismisses them out of hand.

This is just another example of how very smart people can be very stupid about certain things – usually something they personally want. To quote Cleveland Amory, we have an infinite capacity to rationalize, especially when it comes to something we want to eat. (And Cleveland ate fish, so he knew of what he spoke.)

Or as I've said here before: we've been rationalizing animals way before we were (supposedly) rational animals.

Eliezer (Mr. “Methods of Rationality”) is a very smart person who considers himself even smarter than he actually is. From everything I've read from him, he pretty much considers almost everyone else beneath him. We are all in need of his tutelage – probably about being able to ignore the brutality of the system of industrial animal ag that feeds him.

This has led me to think a lot about rationality lately. I have read the dictionary definitions and the online definitions. But I think that they may be missing a certain important essence: to be rational, you mush always, always realize that you might be wrong.

I have been wrong about the majority of things in my life. I was wrong about religion, I was wrong about eating meat, I was wrong about veganism, I was wrong about vegans, I was wrong about love (several times), I was wrong about marriage (believing “It is hard work”). And I was devastatingly wrong about friendship, twice. 

Oh, I have been consistently wrong about philosophy, so much so that I don’t even know what I believe, even though I’m in my mid fifties and have been thinking about this for the vast majority of my life. [More on that here, even more in the book.]

I got ONE thing right!

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