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"First, let us have a definition of terms."
Persons who learn to read at a young age often wind up with huge holes in their vocabularies. Because they understand a great deal without much effort, anything which takes effort gets skipped over as not worth the trouble.
For years, well into my young adulthood, I confused the words "rational" and "rationalization." I think I knew what each meant, when I stopped to think about them, but in my everyday thinking processes I just didn't separate them properly, as the "ize" suffix demands.
For anybody else who might be so distinctionally handicapped:
"Rational" means sensible, logical, following from known facts, and independent (as possible) of personal prejudices. Jury members are asked to be rational, and instructed at length on how do to it, since most of us in our everyday lives don't have much practice.
"Rationalization" is the mental process by which we make everything we encounter fit comfortably within our prejudices.
The "ize" ordinarily means "to make:” as in "popularize," "polarize," "civilize." The implication is that before it was "ized" the whatever or whoever was not popular, polar or civil.
This, I think is where my personal confusion came about. Is an idea not rational before it is "rationalized?"
Upon the contrary. Look at my other three adjectives for the clue. The verbalizing "ize" not only means "to make" or "to render" but "to change;” and the implied change is in each case sociologically or physically profound. Essentially it is altered beyond recognition; even reversed.
So it is with "rational" and "rationalization."
"Rationalization" means that that which would otherwise be rational has been changed to become, presumably, not. Or, at very least, something else.
Rationalization is a lot more common in human thought processes than rationality.