I must one day write a book called The Rationalist. I realise it’s a theme of a bit of my creative writing, and harks back to my very own outlook on most things. I wrote yesterday about how things are changing with #metoo and so on, and while there’s a very strong moral angle on this I come to first from a rational perspective. In that case it’s pretty simple since I am democratic by nature and believe in the essential values of equality and equity. It just makes sense. People might come in different genders and in different colours and might believe in different gods but we all come out the same way and all start out equal. The diversity makes things interesting, but is no cause for one side of that equation to seek to oppress or mistreat an equal on the other side of the equation. Without all the nonsense people conjure up to excuse things there can be no other rational outcome.
I set my mind on things, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel. I have a hard crust of rationality within which is a molten core of feeling. My writing concerns itself often with what happens when rational thought fails, or when there is no rational response, or when – as it must be on occasion – when pure rationality is not enough.
Clearly I know that reason is not everything and have wrestled with the complexities of it on many occasions, but to others who don’t know me well they don’t see that.
Right now I’m at the point where the rational is insufficient for me. I am swayed by desire and hope and unrealistic expectation. It remains a private thing mostly, viewed only obliquely, but I suspect it does me no real favours. I wrote a note to myself before: I’d rather be too much than not enough. When I was younger I wouldn’t exhort myself to be better, I’d tell myself to be more.
Being rational means being reasonable, it means looking after others and doing the right thing. It means that sometimes I sublimate myself to that; the greater good comes before my own need. That’s being rational. It means that sometimes I miss out and I don’t know if I want that any more. And if I were to be truly rational I’d realise that sometimes you must look after yourself first. Maybe this is being expressive?
At the same time I don’t know where it fits in with my heart’s desire. I find myself weighing up different options. On the side are the options I’ve taken mostly where I flirt easily and well and enjoy the superficialities of life and perhaps fall into bed and enjoy my time with someone who ticks off some of the fun things, and why not in the absence of anything else. That feels an easy thing.
On the other side I want to find some kind of truth that contains both spirit and rationality. I feel myself yearning for this. I know myself well enough to understand that what I have I can give deeply, but not widely. My heart is a secret thing, guarded by my rational self. It is kept behind a door until it finds another heart it can speak to. It’s like a hidden garden untended for years that has grown abundant and wild and fertile. That is the other side – I want to unlock that door and let someone into that garden, but there can only be one at a time and even then, only the very select.
Of course it’s not as simple as either/or.
I feel myself restless with convention and rational, reasonable action. I feel in the mood to break the things that don’t work rather than persist with attempting to fix what is broken. I’m weary of being the reasonable man, it narrows you too much, cramps your movement and yes, inhibits your means of expression.
I don’t know. Right now that molten core is bubbling up through the cracks of that rational carapace. I’m about to declare an armistice on myself, absolving myself of any guilt and responsibility for the things that have gone before. If I did wrong I did not intend it, and have no desire to carry the can for it anymore. I want to be free to be myself.
Everything starts again. Slate is cleaned. A friend of mine said the other day I was like (his favourite) Kobe Bryant because I could create my own shot. I wasn’t sure I understood how that applied to my life, but right now feel as if the moral is: take the shot.