Common sense versus RationalityMarch 23, 2009 at 8:34 am | Posted in filsafat | 23 Comments
Tags: commonsense, rationalism
This is what I have in mind now.
Everybody has his own perception, if not prescription, of what life (everything we have and haven’t come to know) should and shouldn’t be. You may believe that you are progressive, that you are against the mainstreams, that you view things from different perspectives, but still you can’t escape the so-called common sense. Nihilism, whoever invented this term, is never appealing to many people not because it is empirically and logically unsound but simply because it defies common sense. You cannot defy common sense however senseless that common sense is. Is private ownership rational? It is probably not, it just happens to be common-sensical today. How do you define “ownership”? It’s actually a very vague idea. We invented that concept – before everything has a name, nobody owned anybody. One day the idea of private ownership will probably become obsolete and communism will actually win, just like Zizek jokingly says. Nihilism says right and wrong are mere illusions and it’s probably true: if you say homosexuality should never be suppressed and discriminated against, why do you condemn incestuous or minor marriages? If you think genocide is a crime, why didn’t you try to stop the US and Israel from killing the Arabs? If you think colonialism is wrong, why do you let Exxon and Freeport extract our natural resources? Why? Simply because having sex with your sisters or brothers is not common-sensical. Nor is stopping the US and Israel. Nor is asking Freeport to get their asses out of Papua. We’re not being rational, we’re just being common-sensical. The only reason why we don’t commit suicide is that we don’t want people to read our story in daily newspapers and say: “This guy is an idiot. What a shame!”
Deep inside, we just want to be like other people; to live normally; to have a decent job, a decent pay, a decent reputation, a decent spouse, a decent love life and, to sum everything that we voluntarily and collectively want, a decent life.
I suddenly recall what my guru ngaji said about philosophy: what’s the use of learning and practicing philosophy? In the end you’ll go back to zero. And when you reach that point, if I have to rephrase what he says, you’ll feel no different from those who never know Plato or Derrida. We are living a certain life that we agreed to be as we want it to be, not a life as it is, empirically or rationally.