Irrational Thought

Much of the difficulty in communicating the experience of schizophrenia stems from the inherent difficulty of communicating irrational thought.

Now, we tend to think of irrational as incomprehensible or without content or meaning. So we tend to dismiss it or turn our minds off to it, like white background noise, as if it were cognitively meaningless.

But let us imagine for a moment that we could construct 2 complete minds. One, wholly irrational, and the other wholly rational.

Now, it would make sense to include rational thought with the irrational mind, but not so to include irrational thought with the rational mind.

Why? Because it is not less irrational, but more perfectly irrational to include rational thought with the irrational mind, for it would make it even more irrational. But we cannot say the same for the opposite, that it is more rational to include irrational thought with the rational mind, for doing so would make it less rational.

To give an example of what I mean consider the following statements.

  • 2+2=2
  • 2+2=3
  • 2+2=4
  • 2+2=5

Now, it’s easy to spot the rational statement on the list, 2+2=4.

But it also has something in common with the other 3 statements.

It too is irrational, even more so than the other 3, but in a strange way. Consider what it reduces to.

4=4

What does it mean to say 4=4? What if we tried it in words. If someone said to me something like, “Johnny is Johnny”, I might think something like “Well who else would Johnny be?”

4=4 is an identity. All the other statements, 4=2,4=3, 4=5, are all irrational in the same boring way. they say something is something other than itself. But the statement of identity is even more irrational, so much so that it’s peculiar. It says something is itself.

To say something is something other than itself doesn’t raise much attention. People hear it all the time, we listen and move on. But to say something is itself, tilts your head on its side. After all what else could it be? How could 4 be anything but 4? How could 2 be anything but 2? How could 3 be anything but 3?

Statements of identity are so irrational and of such a peculiar character that we call them something different altogether. We call them rational.

The Rational Mind:

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