Why Rationality Is WRONG!

By Leo Gura - March 20, 2016 | 58 Comments

A critique of rationalism

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Hari says:

Hey,Leo.I watched your video on rationalisation and I understood what you said.But I have a question.Is rationalisation the reason why we find it difficult to commit ourselves to personal development?Is it because of rationalisation our brains tends to want to take the path of least resistance,that I sometimes feel I could just be happy with my life and not waste it working?For example…exercising,studying hard,stuff like that.

Btw I am a 16 year old from India.I stumbled upon your vids and I started really dedicated to personal development.I just want to know whether its worth it leave all my friends and happiness to work on myself.

Thanks alot,you are doing great.

Leo Gura says:

No, that’s just homeostasis and resistance to new habits.

Hari says:

I know this is a different take on what u said.But you only emphasised the point about scientists and religious views.I want to know if it is tricking us in day to day life.

Leo Gura says:

Yes, it very much is.

Allen says:

Can you do a video that really breaks down awareness vs thought, that will help us know how to separate the two or how we know what is awareness and what is just another thought?

Leo Gura says:

Yes I will. Already in the works.

Mayur Ghule says:

Thank you leo .

Mayur Ghule says:

Is attaining enlightenment reversible , I mean can some one who is enlightened can again fall a slip , and if it happens , what should we do , how to attain permanent enlightenment.

Leo Gura says:

True enlightenment is not reversible any more than learning that Santa Claus does not exist is reversible.

But until that true enlightenment happens, there will may moments of falling back asleep.

Brett Miller says:


Beautiful. Could be your best ever. Wow, all my problems enumerated right here. Very helpful indeed.


Jim says:

Hi Leo,
Was wondering if you are familiar with Dr. Joe Dispenza’s material? If so what do you think?

Leo Gura says:

I read a part of one of his books and wasn’t a fan. Can’t remember exactly why. It was a while ago.

John Cardelli says:

another fantastic video! Thank you Leo

apples says:

Leo, this video was great but I need some more! You left me wondering..where can I get more info about rationalism and moving past it because this one is a big one for me I want to dig deeper into the subject. Do you have any recommendations about where to start?

Leo Gura says:

Check out some of the books in the Consciousness section of my book list. I will be updating the book list in the future with a lot more books about rationalism, epistemology, and the like.

Phil says:

Hey Leo,

It’s funny I published a post on my blog that talks about the things you discuss in the video right before you released your video! Talk about perfect timing. Thanks for releasing such amazing content!

Kesara Goonawardena says:

You have a long way to go. Are you a former theist? Sadly, most of your thinking tools are garbage. However, many ex-theists could like it.

“The universe may not be rational”

It is possible I could help you overcome the garbage.

Leo Gura says:

No, I am a former atheist. But it’s not like am I theist now. Both theism and atheism are delusional.

Sourabh says:

Hi leo,All your videos deal with the core of problems thats what’s the best and exceptional about them.I came to you to ask about the problems in our dreamworld. I am trying to see and engineer a dream as i want it to be but its difficult to do so.Whatever i am visualizing isn’t coming up in my dreams except some bullshit.So is there something you can do to resoresolve this problem or can we be more conscious in our dreams and direct them as we want irrespective of the outside circumstances?..

uzjel says:

Hi Leo,
I think you should stop to smoke what you are smoking . Really, you started to talk like the fundamentalist. Are you really believe you are so wise to claim and judge contemporary science? Are you really believe your ‘philosophy’ is the real and only true? Are you really think you are so enlightened? For me, your ‘teaching’ looks like religious.

Leo Gura says:

Just the opposite. I am ready to let go of all my beliefs. Nothing I say is absolutely true.

Zen says:

This is to reply on
Is enlightenment reversible!!!!

No one is enlightened for more than a glimpse!!


Joe e says:

Leo even your beautiful mind has its limits i think you would love God and i know He loves you

Tony says:

Hey Leo,

Perhaps I’m being overly rational, but did you imply that you have achieved enlightenment in this? Not bashing you. Just curious if you have realized all of reality. You said that when you’re done with this video you’re going to hop back outside the matrix. And a few minutes later said that escaping the matrix is enlightenment. Then you also later said you still have lots of work to do but then again even enlightened people can still raise their awareness even more I’ve heard.


Rajavanya says:

I used to have this question in my mind as well.

Leo made a video especially for this. It was his most vulnerable and open video, where he said he is also a work in progress and just learning, but wants to record his journey.And when he changes too much he won’t remember how he was. I agree 100% with that as I have done some work and have changed a lot myself as well and I’m struggling to help others who were once in my place.

He isn’t perfect like everyone else and will make mistakes. The video kinda outlined why he does what he does. Forget enlightened, he doesn’t claim to be so much better than everyone else even.

Sophie OShea says:

For me this is the most important vid you’ve ever done, WOWZERS! Amazing, thank you, I finally get it x

Kristin says:

It’s all well and good, and interesting this talk about the difference between awarnes and rationality. But were does love for another human being come in I wonder. It all comes out as instrumental when you are talking about doing more women. Did you ever love a child? You probably never had the feeling of responsibility and love that comes with having your own children. This is why all this strikes me as very oriented to the self, and then also potentially detrimental to others and other people’s feelings. If other people struggle, or are in need of your help (mor than merely superficially). This love for others is also fundamentally human and widely portrayed in art. And it is also what makes life worth living

Leo Gura says:

Real love comes from realization of Truth. When the ego is seen to be an illusion, and all operations of the mind are seen to be an illusion, unconditional love becomes possible. Until then, you haven’t even tasted true love, you’ve only experienced egoic, neurotic attachments which society mislabels as “love”.

Kristin says:

BTW – are you aware that “awarness”/”selfactualization” is a perspective and that it has blindspots? Because you don’t seem to be aware of it…
It can also be considered to be a method

Leo Gura says:

Awareness is not a perspective.

Self-actualization is a perspective, sure.

Robert says:

Leo, you should throw away your camera, PC and not make any other video and inroll yourself to ISIS! Saying that sciense is as dogmatic as fundamental religion is too extreme. Because of science we have an easy life, no witches are burned, there are no religiously persecuted people (at least in Europe and America). Why the sun is shining or the grass is green is scientifically explained.
To see I’m defending Deepak Chopra who is attacked by some quantum physicist. But your point of view is far from a balanced position. I will also unsubscribe from yous site.


Leo Gura says:

You should make a much deeper study of the foundations of science and knowledge if you care to understand what’s really going on.

Adam says:

I just want you to know I was listening to this video with headphones, and I continued to listen to it when i went into the bathroom, I sat down on the toilet and not two seconds later you go “even going and taking a crap is subjective (or similar wording)” and I almost lost it (pooped my pants).

Just thought it was a strange but cool moment. It’s like you were right there instructing me..

Ramona says:

Adam, your comment blows my mind! ))))

Ramona says:

Who would have thought that a smart man like you will end up by talking only to himself?

Rajavanya says:

Does this mean that a person who understands psychology and emotions
– like an expert psychologist and counsellors –
does understand reality for what it is?

Leo Gura says:

Of course they don’t. Counselors are just as neurotic as their patients. They just hide it better

Modern Western psychology is totally inadequate for understanding reality or mastering yourself. You need to study epistemology and non-duality in addition to psychology. And you need to practice, practice, practice like crazy.

Rajavanya says:

But kudos to being blunt about your thoughts and views about the world even though you know you are going to make a lot of people upset.

After all you are running an online business, and yet I can see you are being absolutely honest. My respect!

forMixedMode says:

If rationality is removed from equation, how do you see difference between irrationality and arrationality? Is arrationality even possible without rationality?

Leo Gura says:

Irrationality is doing something that doesn’t make logical or common sense. Or you might call it defective reasoning.

A-rationality is completely independent of reasoning faculties altogether.

Check for yourself. What happens when you silence all thoughts in the mind? Does the world disappear?

If you investigate the matter a bit for yourself, you’ll see that all there really exists is arationality. Everything rational and irrational subsists within a matrix of the a-rational.

David says:

I’d just like to point out that almost every great scientist from the 20th century actually claimed we live in a sort of ‘matrix’. Almost all of them turned to eastern mysticism. To give you some quotes…

Max Planck : I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness. As quoted in The Observer (25 January 1931)

Albert Einstein: Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Niels Bohr:Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.

In classical physics, science started from the belief or should one say, from the illusion? that we could describe the world, or least parts of the world, without any reference to ourselves.
Werner Heisenberg

And these are just a few, there are many, many more. These are from nearly a hundred years ago. This paradigm shift however is so huge that it will take much longer than any other paradigm shift in history to really sink in with the general population.

Leo Gura says:

The genius ones, yeah. Some of them intuited the limits of reason and logic. David Bohm is a great example of a scientist who clearly intuited the reality of enlightenment.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with most academics or run-of-the-mill scientists, and not with most laymen.

And in the end, it’s curious that even though they intuitively suspected such things, they themselves never bothered to actually become enlightened. David Bohm suffered from depression in old age until his death.

That is the strength of the rationalist delusion under which we live. Even people who know, don’t know.

dave says:

Hi, I am enjoying your videos. I found this one to be a little antagonistic towards rationalists. Some of your absolute statements lacked supporting structure. I think it could use some improvement… maybe a little more awareness.

But overall, well done. You are way ahead of me.


Asaiah Powers says:

Do you become enlighted when you die or just die a stimulus junkie?Doesnt the ego die before the body?

Elahe says:

When you get lost in your rational world, it is very hard to get survived and unfortunately most of highly educated people are suffering from that. On the other hand, most of uneducated people lack the necessary reasoning skill required to start the path toward enlightenment. As you well said in one of your videos, it is like a circle and you need to surpass rationalism, but you do not go back to where you started.
One more thing I liked about this video was the part about conflict of labels. It is a great tool and explains a lot of things.
BRAVO, very eye opening video. Thank you.

Phillip says:

I disagree with your conclusion. Rationalism is a helpful tool that is quite good at helping humans make sense of the universe. However Rationalism does have limitations, as does every other tool. I would not denounce and reject a screwdriver for being useless at hammering in a nail.

Rationalism is a very powerful method humans use to understand HOW. If you are asking WHY then rationalism will play a much smaller role in finding your answer. To understand why, a question for which the answer is not guaranteed to exist and rarely does, you should turn to a philosophy; be it secular, spiritual, or otherwise.

Getting people to recognize the limits of rationalism is a more appropriate goal than getting people to renounce rationalism all together. After all without rationalism, without the mechanism humans use to make sense of the world around them, people will begin following increasingly absurd ideologies that are not grounded in “reality”. (How you choose to interpret what “reality” is is up to you as many different philosophies view it differently.)

Leo Gura says:

That’s right. Proper use of reason, while acknowledging its limits, is desirable.

The rant was against those who dogmatically insist that the screwdriver is all there is.

Phillip says:

Well then I hate to say it, but I feel your messaging is far off. I totally understand your use of strong rhetoric to hook viewers and get them to visualize your ideas, but most people would walk away from this video with the sentiment that rationalism itself is inherently invaluable.

I know you don’t believe this because some of your other videos strongly, albeit implicitly, support rationalism and rationalistic thinking like “How to Be A Strategic Motherfucker” and others. Maybe you should have done a rant specifically on how people can easily get fixated on one mode of thinking without much the flexibility to look utilize others.

Those who devote everything to rationalism, religion, morality, etc. They all have the same general issue, just with a different mode of thinking. Leading to shortcomings as a fully fulfilled person in one way or another.

Since perfection as a person is difficult, and most people will never attain this, I would say that rationalism is one of the better, if not the best, singular mode of thought to be stuck in if you were to just one to utilize. At least rational individuals can rationally decide that they need to expand their mental toolbox to attain higher goals.

You won’t find a devoutly religious individual doing the same.

After all, most of your videos value rationalism over every other mental tool; railing against rationalism itself in this video really threatens the consistency of your message and thus the philosophy you endorse.

Leo Gura says:

No, it’s not far off at all.

Rationalism is MORE dangerous than religion. Precisely because it takes itself seriously and claims to be superior.

You’re still not fully aware of the vast unconsciousness that rationality breeds.

I could talk about the evils of rationality for hours and hours. In fact I’m writing a whole book on it because it’s the #1 issue that holds most people back in modern society. Because the entire narrative that society feeds us is that rationality is the best, and nothing is better. This narrative is not different from religion.

In my mind, the difference between religion and rationalism is superficial. The deep structures of dogma are the same. Religion is actually easier to escape than rationalism.

sobani says:

hi your video on ‘why rationality is wrong’ takes long to load so I am writing anyway before I lose interest. The oxford dictionary defines ‘rationality’ as 1.the quality of being based on or in accordance with reason or logic. So if you think rationality is wrong, why are you wasting our time by taking the trouble to make these videos and putting them on the web? you are working on the premise that we will watch it eh? in fact dear L, you are being very rational. You are working on a reasonable probability that someone will take the trouble to watch you. because that is what people do these days. So, being a rational person, with your own ends (ahem!) you say rationality is wrong. you are screwed L. Sobani

Mark says:

Hi Leo,
I do a fair bit of self actualization work, but I am also a scientist. I have a PhD and several years of experience in academia and business.
I wonder how you suggest that thinking and ‘awareness’ are different. Are you familiar with Jung’s theories of congnition? Do you know Myers Briggs theory?
Also, I want to ask you to define your concept of a-rationality?
Thanks for your videos, I’ve listened to several of these today with great interest.
Kind regards,

Janko says:

You said very clearly what you mean by rationality. But you may be surprised to hear that there is pretty large “rationalist community” (1) that has outgrown that definition. What do they use instead? Rationality means finding out what is true and reaching your own goals (whatever they are). (2) You can analyze a lot of ideas that are in line with that definition. (3) For example the stuff – The map is not the territory – that you mentioned in the video is already included in the mindset of the community (4).
google lesswrong . com
goole What Do I Mean By Rationality readthesequences
google lesswrong The Sequences
google lesswrong skill the map is not the territory

Karthiksuryavamsiv says:

Hey leo please provide subtitles

Buba says:

If I did not use mind, could I understand what you said in this video? If you did not use your mind could you make this speech, this video? If you convey the path to the truth via mind, then how to not give it a primary status?

Leo Gura says:

Yes, actually you could.

Logical mind is not what’s doing the understanding. There’s a deeper force at work.

If you inspect your rational process carefully, you will notice that it has no control over how understanding happens.

Also notice that when you speak, you are not doing so using the rational mind.

Daniel says:

Hey Leo,

I’m 100% straight but If I could date any men, it’d be you I VOTE LEO FOR PRESIDENT!

You should come to Australia

Jim says:

def one of your most interesting videos pity I skipped over it telling myself I wasn’t a rationalist

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