Is always the rational decision the best decision?

From Quora answer to "Is always the rational decision the best decision?"

Thank you for the A2A.

The research of Antonio Damasio and others has shown that what we believe to be "rational" is a complex synthesis that involves many elements - including emotion. In fact, he has found that people who are emotionally impaired (the emotional centers of their brain are damaged, for example) have a much more difficult time making decisions - if they are able to make them at all. So "rational" is not quite as pure in its execution as the Western traditions of philosophy and science have proposed that it is. We also find that human beings are excellent "rationalizers," in that we tend to post-justify purely emotional, instinctive, intuitive or impulsive decisions with what we believe to be "sound reasoning." And, once we've made a decision, we will tend to defend it and incorporate it into an ongoing bias, often in fairly irrational ways. With this in mind, for many years now I have been advocating a more multidimensional approach to decision-making. Here are some highlights of that approach:

1. Developing awareness around our personal values and how to best reflect those values in our responses, choices and our governing intentions.

2. Learning how to recognize and incorporate the many different areas of intelligence and wisdom available to us in a balanced way: our rational faculties, our emotional intelligence, our intuitive capacities, our spiritual perception-cognition, our social (participatory) resources, our knowledge from experience, and so on.

3. Suspending complex ideas or decisions in a "neutral holding field" that allows us to keep gathering and integrating information about a given subject without coming to a decision.

4. Learning how to look inward for answers through introspection and meditation, rather than depending on external sources of information, insight or discernment.

These are discussed in more depth in my various writings, but with respect to your question you can see that a decision that is "rational" is only part of the mix, and certainly a decision that is only rationally based is probably not the best decision if it doesn't include these many other avenues of insight and discernment.

My 2 cents.


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