Thursday, September 8, 2016

Indirect rationality

Humans are strange. They have the darnedest ways of absorbing new information, and the way it is presented to them more often than not matters more than the information in and of itself.

For instance: simply stating something in the most literal straightforward way possible is usually the least efficient method of getting the information across. One would think that it'd be a straightforward proposition, but it isn't. Even if the thing stated is both true and self-evident.

To be sure, if it was sufficient to say something once, a lot of problems would have been solved moments after the Sermon on the Mount.

On the other hand, indirect and circuitous methods of presenting information have a tendency to be far more effective than intuition would suggest. If the information is embedded in, say, a narrative framework with complex storytelling conventions and mechanisms acting out over a large number of pages, this very same information is absorbed with alacrity. Despite the massive overhead.

It might be tempting to attribute this to a failure of rational thinking, but that would be a failure of rational thinking. Rational thinking takes the situation as it is and uses it as a basis for further action, and the situation is that human beings think in terms of contexts and relations rather than singular statements presented in isolation. A rational approach to human beings would take this into account, and present information in need of presenting with an appropriate measure of indirectness, so as to give the contextual and associative thinking time to occur.

Thus, I present to you this following information, in the most straightforward manner possible:

Homeopathy doesn't work.

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