Absolute reason is a bad strategy for decision-making. It is inefficient and costly. Any creatures that, as Mr. Spock, were cursed by an absolute reason wouldn’t have many chances of passing their genes to the next generation.
Since the 1960’s, Mr. Spock, the pointing-ears ET from Star Trek, is the pop icon of the absolute reason, the idea that an evolved being would be free from emotions and passions, and thus could make the most logical and proper decisions under any circumstances.
But Mr. Spock is an ideal that neither can nor is worth reaching for. Not because of intrinsic human limitations or some idealistic nobility of our emotions, but simply because his perfect reason makes him by far the most idiotic being in the Galaxy.
Answer this simple question: how are you going to work (or home, whatever) today? If you don’t live in some critical place, this is just trivial. You will not think much to answer “I’ll take the tram” or “I’ll drive”. Maybe you will hesitate between few reasonable possibilities, “But if it’s sunny, I’ll walk to work”.
Now, imagine Mr. Spock answering the same question. Being perfectly rational, he would first consider all possibilities, from the most obvious – tram, walking, teletransport – to the most ridiculous – jumping on a single leg, stealing a car. Mr. Spock would then assess the pros and cons of each of these options. Then, he would attribute statistical weights to each one and short-list the two or three most efficient ways of going to work. Finally, Mr. Spock would roll dice to choose between those few statistically equivalent options.
Obviously, this process would take so long that when he had finally made his mind, Enterprise would have already departed for its 5-years mission and he would find himself jobless waiting in a long queue at the Vulcan unemployment office.
The absolute reason of Mr. Spock is as much paralyzing as it was the absolute memory of Funes, the memorable character of Borges. Humans and many other animals, on the other hand, have an entire machinery of emotions to aid them with decision-making. We feel lazy to walk home, we fell right to take a tram, we feel embarrassed of jumping on a single leg, we feel afraid of stealing a car. And all these feelings come much faster and before any reasoning.
From the natural-selection point of view, absolute reason would be a disaster. A hypothetical proto-human with particularly strong instincts to be a science officer would become a prey much before leaving any offspring on Earth. From that, we can only conclude that absolute reason is a lethal trait.
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