8 Ways to Be a Rational Woman

I could have started this new blog by trying to tell you who I am. I figure, though, that you’re here because you’re curious about what “a rational woman” might have to say. Besides, what better way to get acquainted than for me to delve immediately into what matters?

If you share my supernatural-free attitudes, you may be wondering how you can spread your beliefs and put them into action. It’s not that hard. You can begin at home with readily available people, objects, and resources. Join me here (clicking on the RSS feed is a good way to keep up with my posts) as we explore how to facilitate a better and more rational world.

[A NOTE that shouldn’t have to be added: rational WOMEN behaviors are pretty much indistinguishable from rational MEN behaviors, so whatever your gender, feel free to read, share, and participate.]

8 Ways to be a Rational Woman (or Man)

1. Watch your language. Use non-sexist terms whenever possible, such as mail carrier and fire fighter. (See, for example, this site.)

2. Don’t stereotype or over-generalize. When you lump people into groups, you miss the individual quirkiness that makes us human. Avoid saying, “Men are . . . ” unless you finish that with “. . .  the sex that manufactures sperm.”

3. Use cognition, not emotion, when deciding the fates of others. When you’re on a jury, when you vote, when you comment on a blog post, realize that your initial responses may be the more elemental emotional ones, such as anger or fear or pity. Look into those first feelings and then, perhaps, go beyond them.

4. Think hard about whether to have a kid, or how many to have. Their and your entire lives hinge on such decisions, and ought never to be “accidental.” Be aware that “only children” don’t fit the many myths they’ve accumulated. (See Susan Newman’s blog Singletons.)

5. Always assume goodwill in your intimate relationships, if not in your interactions with strangers. Your mate or lover typically means well. If you don’t believe that, you’re setting yourself up to be miserable. I can vouch for the efficacy of this stance in my own nearly three-decade-long second marriage. (See this article.)

6. Enrich your children’s environment by talking to them and answering their questions as fully as makes sense for their ages. Adding to their toy collections is not a substitute for this. (See this excerpt from Playing Smart, partially based on activities I used to do with my own two now-grown sons.)

7. Stretch your mind by reading other points of view. Look into current and controversial philosophical views that are backed up by science and research, such as Peter Singer’s anti-meat-eating and other stands. (Read this post of his called Affluence Today.)

8. Find your own way to be creative. Creativity and imagination are not at all inimical to rationality. (See my other blog, Creating in Flow).

  • And now a question for you: What’s the most controversial stand you’ve taken (even if it’s been in your own head up to now) as a self-identified Bright (or atheist, secular humanist, or other non-mainstream thinker)?

Copyright (c) 2012 by Susan K. Perry

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