Rationality

I’d like to address a scenario:

“Jody is walking to the bus stop.  The bus stop nearest to where Jody lives is only three blocks away.  Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Jody gets on the 8:15 bus to get to work.  However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jody is always passed by the 8:00 bus, which is constantly running late, as Jody walks to the bus stop.  While Jody still gets on the 8:15 bus (which generally runs on time), Jody is often upset by “just missing” a bus, and often considers leaving home five minutes early to catch the 8:00 bus instead.”

I wrote this exercise to demonstrate one point: humans are not always rational.  For anyone who takes the bus, or just misses an obligation by several minutes (or even less), the idea of being frustrated or angry isn’t that far-fetched. However, if Jody had never been made aware of the 8:00 bus, there would be no basis to feel angry.

As Dan Ariely noted, our behaviors as humans are not always rational.  Given a set of choices, though, our instinct is to act in a manner in which we decide to be rational.  Once an anomaly is introduced, the foundation for which we made rational decisions from could potentially be changed – leading to, perhaps, anger or frustration.

Why is this important?  Well, philosophically, one might argue that it’s only important insofar as to be conscious of the reality that we might make changes to put behavior with a sort of “flexible rationality.” Or, to put it another way, we can accept the fact that we cannot have all the information at all times.  Rather, we must make judgment calls to make informed decisions.  But, another might ask: isn’t such leaps of faiths opposed to the nature of rationality?

Frustrating, isn’t it?

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