Ruled by reason

​Two emperors, both tyrannical. The first claims reason as his mantle and makes decisions with the primary metric of rationality in mind; utility. The second claims illusions as his modus operandi and makes decisions according to intangible emotional factors. Which would you rather be ruled by? Of course, it’s a null question because it’s a false dichotomy. Despite how it looks, reason is not opposed to illusion. In fact, they are inextricably linked. Reason rationalises the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world we live in, and the illusions we cling to and choose to live by inform our reasoning in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

Naturally, a sensible person would opt for the emphasis on reason and rationality, as opposed to illusion and narrative. But it is just that, an emphasis. There is no ridding ourselves of illusion, of emotional distortion. It will exist and persist as long as the faculties of our mind are built atop our more animalistic instincts. 

With that in mind, it’s worth remembering that to be ruled by reason it is not necessary to be bereft of illusion. It is only necessary to maintain a healthy distrust of the stories we tell ourselves and the meanings we attach to our interpretation of reality.