"The Enlightenment view of mankind is a complete myth. It leads us into thinking we're sane and rational creatures most of the time, and we're not." J. G. Ballard
Stumbled across this today.
Ballard is there talking about the Age of Enlightenment, the intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries that advocated reason, scientific method, challenged the irrationality of religion etc etc... which informed modern thought and worldviews so much.
But I think the point can be taken on-board in the Buddhist/practice sense. I wouldn't wholly agree that the Enlightenment view of humankind is a 'complete myth', but maybe it is incomplete or imbalanced as it does underemphasise our 'irrational'/unthinking side which contributes so much to a lot of what we do, particularly imaginatively and creatively (a hard rationalist might denounce me as a Romantic, as in the Romantic era... ha ha, made you hard!)
There is a distinct difference between me acknowledging, using, celebrating the 'irrational' aspects of myself and me irresistibly acting them all out like an automaton however.
And, however much I can understand it as being 'irrational', there is an underlying, seemingly intrinsic yearning for resolution that runs very deep and which recognition and naming alone can't resolve; a subtle form of underlying dukkha that is a 'characteristic of existence' (in more Buddhisty terms), besides all the other normal stuff that we have to filter. The rational mind might like to think that the solution is to just make it go away, to negate it, and to feel it can get a handle on it in those terms... but I'm not at all sure that that approach is consistent with it's nature.
There are certain things about the human condition that diehard rationalists don't seem to address in a way that is consistent with the nature of their existence, as much as I admire aspects of the Enlightenment and much that flowed from it. And as much as I'm not a fan of organised religion, it seems that denouncing it as hogwash (which I'm inclined to do) dishonours a very deep rooted aspect of our humanity that is trying to resolve itself in so many convoluted and precarious ways.