This trail of thoughts is quite different from the previous one and it has to do with the way we treat logic and reason.
I can’t help myself in blaming religion again – but I do think that Christianity has affected people in reacting to reason in a way that I could compare to fear (I’m talking about the west. Of course other religions are to blame in other parts of the world :p ). And so we have a situation that I find a bit ironic:
On one hand almost everyone will get offended if you tell them they are irrational and will of course recognise the importance of logic. «Being rational» is a «label» that most people want for themselves and they take pride in «wearing» – even if it does not really fit them at all.
They will however accept irrational behaviour from themselves and from others if they name it «sentimental». Most people totally separate logic and sentiment in their minds, thinking these two are in an eternal battle and of course sentiments must win. It’s ok if you act like a crazy sociopath or a total jerk, as long as it is a «sentimental» reaction. Then it is humane, even welcomed by some people as a proof that you have feelings and you are not a robot.
Hearing things like that made me realise that people treat logic and sentiments as two mutually exclusive things. Like if there is only so much space in your brain for these two and you have to determine a percentage for each one, let’s say to find a balance with 50% logic and 50% sentiment. That means that 50% of the times you can act like a cold, calculating machine and the rest of the times you can act like a crazy person. Thankfully, it doesn’t work like that.
The last couple of years, I started praising logic in every chance and trying to show people the fallacy in the aforementioned way of thinking. In the many talks I had on the subject, I often get replies such as: «Of course you have to be rational BUT you also need sentiments», «you need a balance», «logic is ok but we are nothing without feelings»*.
Why? Why do people have to bring up sentiments every time I talk about logic? Why do they think that logic tries to kick feelings out of our lives? Being rational doesn’t mean you’re incapable of feeling things, it just means you are examining those feelings, you analyse them and know what you experience and why. Many people will tell you that then the «magic is gone», because apparently there is some kind of magical attractiveness in not knowing yourself, not understanding what you feel, in acting impulsively and probably ending up hurting people in the process. Yes, this is what happens when you don’t stop and think about your feelings.
Well, if you do work with yourself and you do analyse your thoughts and feelings you might not get excited with every little stupid thing. That does not mean you’ll never get excited. You will, but with people and situations that are better suited for you. You will even make mistakes and impulsive decisions – but at least you will expect the consequences and learn from them. Most importantly, you have less chances of hurting people around you and yourself, because you will know what you want and why.
I really can’t understand how some people appreciate more the irrational – almost paranoid – behaviour that can be a result of someone being a mindless, blind sentimental being than the stability and maturity that come with thinking, analysing and understanding your feelings. How is it possible for people not wanting to get to know themselves better? How can they be satisfied with claiming «that’s how I feel». Yes you do, but WHY?
*I stumble upon that way of thinking in more issues lately. Marriage and the seriousness of relationships, left and right in politics (especially in Greece), wanting to have free time and laziness, playing computer games and being social etc.
I feel it’s getting harder and harder expressing an opinion without having someone replying with a «yes but what-I-consider-to-be-the-oposite-of-what-you’re-saying is not a better option».
Oh boy, do I have news for you? I am not obliged to choose between 2 mutually exclusive situations in every issue in my life. Rejecting (or preferring) something doesn’t mean I automatically embrace (or never do) what (you consider to be) the opposite! The spectrum of choices we get is usually much wider and we can have a multifaceted personality instead of a two-dimensional, black-and-white one.