The Phoenix and the Firebird
There are two virtues — rationality, and arationality — and they are equal and opposite, each defining the other by its existence. What is rational is that which is true and known with awareness; what is arational is that which is true but not known with the awareness. We tend to glorify the rational and ignore the arational, but we couldn’t manifest even a brief rationality if not for the many levels of arationality creating and sustaining our awareness.
Each has a degenerate form — irrationality and superstition, respectively — that the virtue degrades into if not properly maintained by its opposite. Irrationality is that which is not rational, but pretends to be; superstition is that which is believed without reason, but falsely.
No virtue can stand against its lesser, degenerate form — if confronted with its vice, the virtue is converted into it. Only the opposite virtue, by making it possible to distinguish between the virtue and its lesser form, can defeat the vice.
Rationality defeats superstition handily, but is helpless against irrationality; arationality dispenses with irrationality, but is helpless against mysticism.
I have found it instructive to review the history of the Enlightenment with this model in mind.