As a lifelong scientist and relentless achiever, I’ve prided myself on my rationality and have actively worked to execute logically and efficiently. Yet, when my rationality is derailed, I have the most interesting, memorable, and vivid experiences. Operating irrationally makes me more generous, empathetic, creative, and vulnerable, enabling meaningful human connections.
Right when I had locked in my rational existence, Donald entered my life through unlikely circumstances and totally threw me off. I had never met such an emotionally available, value-driven, extroverted quirky man who was unapologetically himself. He demonstrated methods of thinking, doing, and being that had never even occurred to me, and his all-encompassing love, especially for the strange parts of me, allows my busy mind to relax into my humanity. Love displaces me from my comfort zone of rationality into places of greater joy and greater pain. Falling in love has caused me to break all my rules, stay too long and sleep too little, and confess insecurities that I didn’t even realize I had.
Most recently, my love for, from, and with Donald has made it impossible not to live together. Therefore, I’m embracing irrationality and moving; I’m leaving my fun and familiar New Haven community, renting out my condo, and relocating to a house that will require a commute to work – all while ending one job and starting another. I couldn’t be happier that love has driven me so far off of my rational track.
Similarly, my love of science has induced irrationality that has led to some of my most delightful experiences. This love made me turn down lucrative job offers to pursue a PhD, and my love of science grew until I couldn’t hold it in anymore, bursting into The Sociable Scientist and several other unexpectedly science-infused adventures.
In his gently-titled book, The Meaning of Human Existence, Pulitzer-Prize-winning Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson argues that the irrational humanities are more important than data-driven science and technology because humanities are the sole body of work that only humans could create. If aliens have the technology to visit Earth, they would be able to backcalculate all our scientific and engineering achievements in a laughably short amount of time, but they could never backfill or extend our greatest works of art, music, poetry, and literature.
In the same way, while I am proud of my rational nature and the milestones it’s helped me reach, my irrationality makes me amusing and (hopefully) impactful. I mean, how irrational is it to post unattractive first-thing-in-the-morning shower pics or to make tank tops called Science Pants?! My irrationality invites true love, from myself and from others, and that love is a positive feedback mechanism that amplifies my irrationality and sense of self. I hope that exposing my dalliances from reason embolden others to embrace their irrationality, as that is often where the magic happens.