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Rationality Quotes September 2013

That's close to my understanding of the quote. I suppose, "autonomy" means not just financial independence, but the sense of inner self, something beyond social roles.

Rationality Quotes September 2013

Satisfy the need to belong in balance with two other human needs—to feel autonomy and competence—and the typical result is a deep sense of well-being.

Myers, D. G. (2012). Exploring social psychology (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, P.334.

Rationality Quotes August 2013

I think you are right that it is difficult to find the exact source. I came upon this quotation in the book Up where the author quoted Bernard Shaw. Google gave me, but no article or play was indicated as a source of this quote.

Rationality Quotes August 2013

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story

What if they discover another force some day?

Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story

Once my mom told me that when I was three years old, I suddenly asked her a philosophical question, “Mom, who gave birth to all the people on Earth?” Surprised, she answered, “Well, I gave birth to you, your granny gave birth to me, your great-granny gave birth to your granny...” Her explanation didn’t satisfy me, “No, Mom. I mean who gave birth to all-all-all people?” Now I am thirty-four and still curious about he answer. Darwin’s evolution theory seems to provide the most reasonable explanation available, but still is not conclusive enough to be accepted by all human beings.

Definitely, many highly-intellectual people believe in some super-natural force. My father, a University professor, vigorously follows Orthodox Christianity rituals, including fasts, church services and regular conversations with priests. A good friend of mine, a bright woman in her mid-thirties, became a Buddhist. Now she lives in Nepal and India and does her religious practices at least three hours daily in order to be reborn human in her “next life”.

I found it a bit hard to accept reincarnations belief wholeheartedly. What if they don’t exist? At the moment of death, say, forty years later, a Buddhist would simply find out that they lost about 40x365x3 = 43 800 hours of their life for something that didn’t yield the expected result. Feeling a bit upset that I could not find common ground with my parents and some friends, all of whom had certain religious, mystic or esoteric beliefs, I couldn’t understand why I had no faith or, at least, a theory to rely upon. Then I came across Harry Potter and Methods of Rationality.

After reading the fanfic, I started browsing the Internet for numerous articles on cognitive biases and rationalism as life philosophy. I felt fascinated. I saw the light. I was on top of the world. No longer did I feel guilty that I can’t trust in something supernatural without experimental evidence. A cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett told an anecdote about this issue in his speech, "Once I gave an interview for the Christian radio station. The interviewer was beside himself talking with me. He said, “Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Are you telling me that you don’t believe there’s some force that governs the whole universe and protects our lives and all the rest?” I said, “Oh, I do, I really do. I call it gravity.”

My exploration of cognitive biases has helped me not only to understand my own shortcomings and irrational decisions, but also to improve considerably. I do not waste money on lotteries and I try to avoid Bandwagon effect, Just-world Hypothesis, Gambler’s fallacy and Impact bias. I am still learning how to become a true rationalist but rational approach became an integral part of my personal philosophy.

Now I know what I will answer my kid if he asks me who gave birth to all the people on Earth, “Why don’t you find it out yourself, using your own Reason?”