The Non-Rational, Beyond the Limits of “Unaided Rationality”


“Unaided rationality,” a concept of Gregory Bateson in his “Steps to an Ecology of Mind,” became fundamental to seeing the limits of  rational perception.  What is amenable to rationality is  small.   West Churchman estimated that the world susceptible to the limits of reason is about 10%.  The non-rational domains of religion, politics, aesthetics, etc.  make up the other 90%.  Bateson suggested that those relying on the limits of rationality needed assistance.  Those comfortable in making decisions based on seeing only 10%  were said to suffer from unaided rationality.

The faces of small children illustrates that which comes from and returns to the human mind in all its complexities and mythologies. there are three different ways of thinking about human thoughts. Clearly the non-rationality is part of it all. The rational is standard for relating to normal social realities, even with its significant limits. The non rational is clearly required to link to the cosmos.