The Irrationality of Rationality…or is it the other way around?

Published December 17, 2011 by jrm17

Back in the day Max Weber basically said that as bureaucracy became more rational in its attempts to be predictable, calculable, efficient, and dehumanized, it would inevitably become more irrational.  So pretty much what he was saying is that rationality breeds irrationality.  Well, since he was institutionalized for insanity, I’m not so sure on this one.  In my experience–or maybe it’s just my messed up head–irrationality breeds through mitosis. 

I think that irrational thoughts start with one and then that one splits into two and those two spilt, creating four and so on and so on just like an amoeba.  Ok in this case, a disease ridden amoeba that’s purpose is to drive you crazy and destroy your life. I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy on this one so I’ll jump right into my case and point.

Yesterday, I was checking my grades and saw that in my Methods of Social Research class I got an A-.  Sweet, right?  Sure…if that were mathematically possible.  The week before finals I was doing some math to see what I needed to get on my tests to get As or maintain my grades.  I had an 85 in that class and needed 207 points to bring my grade up to an A.  There were only 200 more points possible.  I’m not a math major but I’m pretty sure you that’s impossible…not that I could have pulled off a 100% on my last test anyway.

My initial thought was “OMG!  She typed in the wrong grade and she’s going figure it out and go back and change it and I’ll end up failing.”  Then my head went to if I fail, then my GPA will drop massively and I will get kicked out of the Honors Program.  If I get kicked out of the Honors Program, I lose part of my scholarship and will, therefore, have more debt when I graduate.  And since I am I sociology major, I will end up spending my life working in a coffee shop, never able to pay off what I owe, living a lonely existence in my parents house.  Yes, I know–crazy–but my head spun that all out in roughly 30 seconds.  I must have checked my grade to see if she made a mistake 20 times yesterday.  She hasn’t changed it yet and I’m still not sure how an 86 has turned into an A- but I’m not going to complain.  I’ll keep my scholarship and just end up working in a coffee shop without as much debt.

For more examples, we will turn our attention to the one thing that never steers us wrong: television.

Ok, Vampire Diaries.  Damon loves Elena (We’ll base this on love being irrational thought #1 as seriously, why would he love dull as dishwater Elena over Katherine?).  Elena loves Stefan so Damon thinks he should do what’s in her best interest and compel her to forget when he tells her his feelings (Point #2 for irrationality.  Umm hello, Damon.  Yeah, Elena loves you, too).  So when Stefan gets kidnapped and turned into a ripper by Klaus, what does Damon do?  Maybe comfort Elena and make his move since his brother is now evil and, well, not there?  Nope.  He helps Elena in her pathetic attempt to get Stefan back when the hotter, funnier, all around better Salvatore is right there, in love with her. 

Sticking with my CW shows, I’ll point out a few other irrationalities that will or have already led to either chaos or at least me going WTF!  Lemon Breeland cheated on George Tucker in Hart of Dixie (#1).  Her and Lavan Hayes continue their affiar and fall in love (#2).  She breaks it off with Lavan to marry George Tucker (#3).  She still loves Lavan Hayes (#4).

In 90210, Annie goes to court to fight to get Marla’s inheritance but then decides to become a hooker when she doesn’t get it (#1).  She decides being a hooker isn’t for her despite the good pay (#2 because well money makes the world go around and if you don’t have money in 90210, well, you bum it off of Naomi).  Annie decides to get the necklace of Marla’s she pawned in order to prove she deserves the inheritance and then breaks into Marla’s grandson’s home to steal the necklace back when she finds out he stole it (#3 and 4).  Speaking of Naomi…yeah, she’s just a walking billboard for my theory.  First she makes Max leave her and then she gets with Austin, who she loves but pushes into the arms of his ex-girlfriend.  But she’s far too complex to write a breif summary about as far as her crazy.

Ok so maybe CW shows and my head aren’t the best way to prove something but think about it:  how often does one irrational thought lead to a whole slew of other ones that make you nuts as they progressively get exponentially worse as they go on?  Weber’s idea of rationality becoming irrational as it progresses is seen everywhere from self-check out lines to ATMs.  However, he was also the theorist that believed in verstehen and pretty much said that sociology is the one science where we can understand the world from the point of view of the subjects we study because they are humans.  He’s being utterly contradictory in his conflicting ideas since we do study humans…and humans are very irrational creatures.

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One comment on “The Irrationality of Rationality…or is it the other way around?

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