Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Monday, May 14


Meriam Webster: To provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct.

I have always considered rationalization to be dishonest. You have real reasons for things, but you hide them and present alternate reasons as though they were real. So when that same friend who psychoanalyzed me over dinner gave me a personality test last night and told me I rationalize, I was very unhappy about it. I called my Mom for a second opinion:

Me: Mom, do I rationalize?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Really?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Have I always done that?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Are you sure?
Mom: Yes.

I would have sought more opinions, but with my husband AND my mother AND my friend all in agreement, I couldn't exactly drag up some second cousin who was on my side and call it even. So I was stuck trying to reconcile my opinion of myself as an honest person to the opinion everyone else had of me. I decided the easiest way was to change my definition of rationalization. That way I could agree with everyone else without actually changing my opinion of myself.

Wikipedia: The process of constructing a logical
justification for a decision, action or lack thereof that was originally arrived at through a different mental process.

Ah, now this is much better. I can claim my reasons were really the same, just my mental process was different. Plus, this has the advantage of being consistent with how I do Topology. I have some feeling about what an answer ought to be and then I work out a logical justification for an answer I already chose. Of course, I am sometimes wrong. Which is why mathematicians have to come up with logical justifications instead of using the ever-popular "proof-by-intuition". So rationalization is really a skill I need to build in order to succeed in my career and not a sneaky way for me to be dishonest. Really. It is.

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