According to Google dictionary, to be rational means, “to act based on or in accordance with reason or logic.” On the other hand, “rationalization is a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable.” It seems that being rational means to be logical and make choices and decisions based on reason, where as rationalization means to justify your decisions based on your own reason, to avoid the true explanation. Rationalization is problematic, because it can be used to avoid truth.
It seems there’s a fine line between being rational and rationalization. How do you know when someone is being rational based in truth, versus when someone is using rationalization to avoid the truth? It’s difficult to know. I think there might be a certain genuine feature of someone who is being rational and telling the truth, versus someone who is avoiding the truth. I think people who are telling the truth don’t need to use persuasive tactics in their voice or physical gestures, because they’re being entirely rational and truthful. On the other hand, people who are constantly rationalizing tend to use persuasive words, tones, and physical gestures, because that means they’re trying to persuade you with their rationalization, to avoid the truth. So these cues can, potentially, be revealing.
Like Gandhi, I believe in Saatyagraha: adherence to the truth and nothing but the truth, no matter what. I don’t believe there is a difference between lying and using rationalization, other than most people see lying as immoral, and rationalization as acceptable. There are people in this world who are constantly using rationalization to get their way and to persuade others to do what they want. It seems the roots of rationalization lie in control, because all of these people demand to have their way. They can be very uncompromising. I see it as a tactic and I consider it manipulative and deceitful. So my thought for you is: Beware of Rationalization.