All of this stemmed from me pointing out that a rational person would think life affirming things like: life is good, man should be happy, use common sense (reason), question everything.
These all seem so obviously true and require little thought to accept them.
I asked why a person would ever think otherwise.
Yes, you are right, I need to define an irrational person.
An irrational person is a person that is not rational. A person that doesn’t follow Objectivism. Which means, of course, a person that does not act according to Objectivism. It’s all black and white. (Wouldn’t you agree that all people are either good or bad by the way?)
When you talk about mistakes/evasions, I would consider that general. The (philosophical) mistake may be believing in Objectivism in everyway except for seeing how exactly art is totally essential to man, or believing that god exists or altruism is moral. The latter two are mistakes that shouldn’t be ‘forgiven’. Remember, time is also an issue here. If a child thinks god exists, it may be an “honest” mistake, because the child may not be able to fully reason (simply doesn’t know what he/she is doing) or just hasn’t taken enough time to think about the issue, yet the child is still irrational. If an old man believes in god after years upon years of being able to use his active mind, then he is also irrational and should never be ‘forgiven’, he wouldn’t change his ways.
What I mean with the ‘forgiven’ thing is that if that mistake was corrected, there would still be a lot of problems. A person builds their entire lives on that view. If it is taken away, the chaos build on top of it will collapse into even more chaos.
The latter two are so irrational, so grave a mistake/evasion, that the people that believe them would rather cling to them than accept their falseness most of the time. The people that believe them wouldn’t accept the truth, even if you hit them in the face with it, most of the time. (Actually, my experiences with this are mostly with teenagers I guess, and teenagers can be very stubborn/stupid compared to other people. Perhaps my experience with this is not large enough. What are your experiences with persuading others?)
An irrational person that would accept the truth after being told about it really isn’t an irrational person. They are, but a different kind. They are more temporarily irrational, I’d say. A person that isn’t aware of the truth in non-metaphysical-epistemological issues. They think, but not as much as they should.
I would agree that when a person is given the truth, but still chooses to evade, they are truly irrational.
Fixity itself isn’t bad. Objectivists have fixed views (which they choose because they are proven). It is when a person evades the truth and stays fixed to a bad philosophy, the fixation is bad.
After some thought, I would say that emotions are the only things that motivate irrationality. Everyone experiences emotions naturally and continuously, and they always confuse us at some time or another. Without a good understanding of the world, emotions can very easily throw someone into irrationality.
But what do irrational emotions rely on? Irrational values (beliefs). They believe irrational things because they don’t know better for some reason or another. It all boils down to ignorance. I guess they would try to become enlightened, but their emotions distract and confuse them. If they ever come close to finding the truth, they will be too scared to take the responsibilities of living a moral life, or will just be buried in doubt after years of chaos.
I wish I could communicate better, this is sort of hard to discuss. I try not to describe things in degrees (such as degrees of irrationality), because I try to lay things out black and white. I try to describe things objectively, not by what degree I feel something is.