From the Horse's Mouth

About Rationality: they say it better than I do

Communication breakdown is one of those situations that can help put a community and interactions into perspective. Each individual may approach the situation in a different manner (since we ARE distinct and potentially ‘unique’ individuals). No one way of approach is any ‘better’ than another some may argue, but, when regarding the lifespan and healing of the community, there may be, in fact, a couple approaches that will prove to be most efficient and well-suited for the community’s goal. (What that goal actually is, is another discussion.)

One of the methods I’ve seen exercised to attempt to corral cohesion among individuals of a community is to define common terms. Language can be a tricky, slippery or sticky bugger when one tries to nail it down and keep it in one place. Much of language is in constant evolution, both within the individual and within the community and culture. Additionally, upon reaching adulthood, it is difficult to slough off our previously-made contexts we have carried with us for so long. Alas, the act of defining may do more damage than good. Or perhaps it just highlights the disparity of reality tunnels between the individuals… and then what? Do individuals GTFO when they realize that eyes of others were not really seeing as their own were? Do they stay and work it all out? Do they reside continually in dysfunction? Perhaps it all depends on the community, the members, the goals and how it formed. One thing about entering into an establishment is that the structure is somewhat stable; there are rules or guidelines, usually a known hierarchy of power or authority, and lines that can be followed. Creation of a new community must establish the stability before it can be fully functional; to attempt to go out-of-order (jumping right into the ‘activities’ without establishing guidelines, hierarchy, infrastructure or stability) can have very dire consequences.

Once again, I digress. This excerpt from Less Wrong explains what they mean by “rationality.” The text touches on a bit of what I have mentioned above: word definitions, agreements within communities and the importance of effective (and detailed/specific) communication. Sure ambiguity has its uses and flowery language can be grand, but we want discussion, debate and discourse, no? When we do, specific language and clarity is key. Keep your head about you.

Rationality

The futility of arguing by definition: 1 and 2

To have a thoughtful, intelligent, purposeful discussion that is designed to share perspectives of reality and truth, everyone involved must pony-up, bringing their wits, opinions, research and references to the table. Evasiveness, ambiguity, silence and secretiveness should be checked at the door; you can have them back when you leave, although why would you ever want them after some real, open discussion?

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