I was mulling over life just the other day, and the thought occurred to me as to what exactly is the relation between presence of a contradiction, and demonstration of rationality.
Turns out there is not any simple answer.
A contradiction can be entirely consistent with demonstration of rationality, but yet can embed actions that cannot be deemed rational.
Suppose the product development division of a company comes up with a new product. Upon manufacture of a Prototype, turns out there was a huge problem not addressed in context of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that initially had gotten everyone excited. So then, the excitement dies down, the company scraps the launch of a new product, and moves on to other ideas.
Fast track 15 months, and some newly hired whiz kid in the product development division figures out a solution to the problem that plagued the Prototype. All of a sudden, all of the excitement is back, plans are placed in motion for launching of a new product, and there is hum of anticipation of profit bonuses all up in the air.
So then, first, there was the decision not to launch, then there was arrival at the decision to launch, meaning with focus only on the extent to which decisions are dichotomous, equivalently, ‘opposing’, there is arrival at a contradiction. Yet, the contradiction is rooted in new developments, as such is rational.
In presence of a contradiction that is rooted in evolution of time, arrival at a contradiction can be evidence for demonstration of rationality.
The condition for consistency of a contradiction that is rooted in evolution of time with demonstration of rationality?
Arrival of new information.
Suppose, however, that a company touts meritocracy as important, yet the evidence shows promotions that transpire within the company always are premised on political affiliations.
Well then, we arrive at a contradiction that is rooted in dichotomy of words and actions.
But is this contradiction rational?
Well, if the company in question sees itself as a breeding ground for new talent, with outcome it is willing to lose great talent, and continuously refill with other new talent, the decision to promote on basis of political affiliations, as opposed to merit cannot be deemed to be irrational. There exists, however, an important condition, equivalently, caveat, which is, the company always must be willing to tout merits of departing highly qualified persons to companies willing to hire away such talent. So then, all the company can be accused of is some subterfuge of words in it’s relations with employees, but yet, when it comes down to brass tacks, conditional on touting of departing employees to companies willing to hire them away, the company cannot be accused of being unethical, in fact, under certain conditions, can be considered one of the best companies for young talent.
Clearly, a company that declares respect for merit, but promotes on basis of political affiliations, but which yet gets upset when great talent leave, cannot be deemed to act rationally.
Why then the subterfuge, and how does the subterfuge turn out for benefit of young talent?
Well, if a company engaged in sophisticated technology declares it’s intentions to potential hires, it may not be able to attract great talent. In the declaration that it respects merit, however, it gets great talent through the door. If the company hires the best talent that it encounters, and opportunities for rapid development within the company are ranked by merit, clearly, this is evidence of respect for merit. If the promotion decisions serve as signals to the best talent that it is time that they move on, and if the company actively assists with such objectives, regardless of the subterfuge, there indeed does exist a meritocracy within the company. So then, the subterfuge is evident only in extrapolation of merit considerations to promotion decisions, an extrapolation that is natural in mind of every potential hire, but yet is not intended by the firm. Refer to this company as the ‘subterfuge’ company.
How this benefits young talent? Well, if young talent go to a firm where, because they are young, and inexperienced, they mostly push paper, two or three years down the road, their resume does not record much of achievements. So then, the opportunity for leveraging of their career is not maximized. Refer to this company as the ‘paper pusher’ company.
Consider, however, young hires at the subterfuge company. Two or three years down the road, their resumes are filled with evidence for completion of sophisticated and challenging projects, and they are able to leverage their time at the subterfuge company into great placements at other firms looking to hire established talent.
So then, if it was you that was highly talented, and you had offers from the paper pusher company, and the subterfuge company, which exactly would you prefer?
We arrive then at an important inference, namely:
Existence of a contradiction between words and actions cannot, in of itself, be construed to embed some irrationality, can be no more than some subterfuge that is assumed to be beneficial to the source of the contradiction, but yet not harmful, and perhaps even beneficial to those who come directly in contact with the contradiction.
Having explored contradictions that are rooted in evolution of time, and contradictions that subsist between words and actions, and arrived at the inference that presence of a contradiction does not imply absence of demonstration of rationality, we conclude that a contradiction is not a good litmus test for demonstration of rationality.
So then, perhaps, in presence of satisfaction of some important conditions, contradiction is the new rationality.