Unless There’s A Reason Not To  

 Individuals and organizations need ways of doing things for which they have no good reason. Not always. Not usually. But sometimes, James March.

One reason for not being rational when deciding is because you probably can’t be. To make a totally rational decision you need to consider all the possible options and all the possible and probable outcomes before deciding. In today’s world of information glut and post truth, this is unlikely.

By now you know that my decision making theory has gone from rational, by the book, to Positive Uncertainty. And by now it is well known that rational decision making is usually not possible. What you do to decide what to do is called a decision rule. These rules are like Mark Twain’s custom. Have a place for everything and put the thing someplace else. That’s not advice, It’s merely custom. So have a decision rule and use something else. This is decision custom. The point is that most people don’t follow their own decision rules. They follow their own custom, their habit. Do you know your decision making habit?

Normal standard theories of intelligent choice suggest reason and purpose should come before action. But sometimes individuals don’t have a good reason or a well-established purpose for a particular choice. Or sometimes they don’t have the time to contemplate. So if we can’t always be rational then we need some strategies for being something else.

The something else is, of course, best explained by James March’s Technology of Foolishness. He recommended that we supplement the technology of reason with the technology of foolishness, which he called sensible foolishness. This is to overcome one of the theories of decision making: The pre existence of purpose.

I have often promoted the technology of foolishness as a possibility because it is a strategy of playfulness. Playfulness is childlike behavior. And I have been promoting childlike, creative, imaginative decision making behavior since 1989. Creativity and intuition were not part of the accepted decision making rules at the time.  March changes that: Playfulness is a deliberate, temporary relaxation of rules in order to explore the possibilities of alternative rules. 

Creative intuition comes to the rescue. Intuition is defined as: the act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes. Creative is defined as: characterized as by originality and expressiveness; imaginative. To overcome the technology of reason we need to be able to employ playfulness, intuition and creativity. Playfulness, intuition and creativity allow experimentation, not to be constrained by consistency, logic, purpose and reason. Not always; but sometimes; maybe often.

My present intent is to propose play as an instrument of intelligence, not a substitute.  James March


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2 Responses to BE RATIONAL

  1. Marianne says:

    I laughed at Mark Twain’s advice of making a place to put things and then put them some place. Right now I am being frustrated because I can’t find something I just “found” yesterday and now they are lost again. Sigh.
    Creative play is surely a method to discover a new way to make a decision. I can see how it helps lessen stress of trying to make rational decisions when there is nothing rational that I want. It is fitting into our trying to make decisions about what to do with this house in California as well as the decision to move into an independent living place in Connecticut. Neither do we want, but age says we must make some other accommodations.

  2. EUGENE UNGER says:

    Yes. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Carol will make it awesome!! Be a. Happy old friend. Rose getting better, so we will have a small celebration ❤️❤️

    Sent from my iPhone


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