Rationality and Reality

Tags: life-lessons

The thoughts that we have can be divided into two schools. I have what I’d call real thoughts and rational thoughts. Both of them are obviously real, but rationality has more touch to life and has its practicality: it contains the thoughts which directly affect the life I’m living. Reality on the other hand has thoughts which are always present behind the scenes, such thoughts are naked, hide nothing and while they continue to exist they don’t really come into view frequently.

In order to define the difference, let me take a clichéd example, one where a person finds that he has terminal illness and will die in few months. The difference that comes to the mind when we think about the way he lives his life before and after finding about the illness is the difference between what I call the rational and real thoughts. Usually, severing his connections with his job is the first thing that person does (maybe punch his boss on his way out, kiss the lovely secretary etc.), then he comes to realise that what an asshole he has been all these years: running after money and fame and not doing what he loved all his life, he tries now to devote time to his family, love his kids more, maybe pick up a hobby that he left many years ago; his career, something that was the most important part of his life, now takes a back seat. We have seen and heard about this happening to a lot of people, people who had their priorities changed after finding out that they have a limited time here.

Wasn’t such a person’s loved ones there before he got sick? Weren’t his interests present in his heart before he came to realise about his mortality? They were and they were. But before coming in terms with life, before coming to realise that life is sometimes as fragile as the house of cards, he was thinking in rational terms. And now coming face to face with reality of life, he’s in a totally different ballgame.

It would appear that I suggest it’s wrong to be rational; it’s absolutely not. The idea is to be rational all the while being in touch with the reality of life as well. The reality of life isn’t about mortality, it isn’t only about the fact that most of the people will and do die without making mark in the sands of time, it’s about living life all the while being in touch with these facts.

Rationality is needed. It’s the rational thoughts that we have about so many things that give us the money to buy food and clothes for our bodies, a house to live in and to live an overall comfortable life. But till what limit does one has to go for this comfort, till when should a person run after things he doesn’t require? For this calculation, one needs to be thinking in terms of reality. Where will the money go once he’s dead? It’s of no use to him then. But before he dies, he requires, with all his heart, the love of his family and friends, and in this situation he’s asking for some more time to be added to his life.

I think one way of having a balance between the rationality and reality is to find a difference between the needs and the wants, and once that is done, it’s all about sticking with the former most of the time. I say find because different people have different needs and one man’s need is another man’s want (and vice versa). While someone might want a superbike, he might need only a vehicle to get from one point to another. While someonemight want a 1,600 m2 room house, what he might need is a trailer home. It’s finally comes down to simplifying the life.

And once a person starts simplifying life, not only does he have more time to go after things which really matter on the time scale of life, he also has the boon of being away from things which come at the cost of what matters most.