We Are Logically Emotional

(October 9th, 2011)

Time and time again I have heard people blame logical responses as a fault and praise emotional responses as a virtue, as if they occupy opposite, discreet sides of a spectrum, and I have struggled to understand where this distinction comes from and why. And so I am going to attempt to address the issues as I see them, and hopefully make some sort of argument which might invoke some insightful thoughts from the people who otherwise tend to entirely separate the two when in reality (I think) they merely constitute alternate functions which each serve their own purposes, constructively, together, in promoting the success and uniqueness of humankind.

I came across a very interesting website when looking into this subject, at http://cnx.org/content/m14347/latest/ and I found a quote, presumably by Mark Pettinelli (listed as the page’s editor), which really struck me and helped to stir many thoughts:

It could be viewed that emotion is entirely driven by intellect, that everything that you feel you feel because you are who you are, and who you are is determined by your thoughts and your own intelligence. Or it could be rephrased the opposite way, that intelligence is entirely driven by emotion for the same reasons, those viewpoints are obvious when you take emotional highs where it seems like you are acting out of control - because then you realize why it is you are having those emotions, and you are having them because of something you did (which was driven by your intellect) or something you were feeling (which is driven by your emotions). Your intellect determined how you felt the emotion, because you are your intellect, and that (you) would then determine how you feel about something that happens. Someone’s emotional template (who they are, how they respond to the world) could be viewed as being an intellectual template because intellect is understanding real things, and your emotions determine what it is that you process and how you process them.

Of course they are very different realms of the mind, these emotions and logic, but the point is, they coincide in many meaningful ways and I think that a more open-minded and all-encompassing viewpoint would be very beneficial to all—most importantly, perhaps, in understanding why somebody does or doesn’t do something or feel something when one would otherwise apply a lame judgment to this person to account for their seeming lack of one or the other as one thinks they should be exhibiting.

The general idea seems to be that an “abundance” of logic (I’m curious where the line is drawn) simply leads to an absence of emotions, and vice versa, as if they are polar opposites of each other—as if neither can be established to any powerful degree without diminishing the other, as if you cannot be abundantly logical in your thought processes without in turn equivalently losing touch with your emotions, and vice versa.

Logic, to put simply, is a pattern of thinking and reasoning with the goal of distinguishing truth, in which the main focus is the set of principles governing the validity of arguments, in which certain assumptions generally follow from a certain set of given assumptions—which has, arguably, on the surface, not much to do with emotions. But it goes much deeper than “the surface.” Again, this is a very basic description of all that logic is put to use for. Ultra-simplified statements such as “if it is raining, then it is raining” are used as examples of logical deductions, and I wonder if this argument I am trying to make would be refuted by any professional logician as soon as I incorporate it into the realm of emotions, but I think that in the day-to-day lives of any “typical” person this argument holds much relevance and potential for a better overall understanding, at the very least more consideration of peoples’ thoughts. I’m not necessarily arguing each (logic and emotion) in their purely scientific definitions, but in a more broad sense, how they seem to be considered in these day-to-day lives. Put another way, when I hear people separate the two ideas and degrade one of them, I can only imagine that they are, themselves, considering the ideas in such a more generalized way, and so I am making this case in a similarly generalized way. This is, of course, my interpretation, and I hope that at least the context will be understood to its usefulness.

So there is more to each of them, logic and emotion, than what is clearly defined “on the surface”—there is an entire ocean underneath what is visible at a glance from above. The way I see it, a person's (effective) use of logic will encompass all of their thinking, because truth and understanding should always be the deepest pursuits of ANY endeavor, which does relate to a person’s feelings, which does relate to their emotions. Undeniably, the two do originate from the same mind. This much is irrefutable and, no less so in my belief, the depths of one’s mind does spawn both “logical” and “emotional” responses, each in their own contexts. But I do not believe that they deserve such extremely opposing distinctions. They each work to make sense of, and interact with, the world, by their own characteristics, as seen from each individual. But I believe that logic is the more all-encompassing of the two, because of its nature and its usefulness in systematically evaluating each and every aspect of this crazy world, forever working to distinguish truth from nonsense, and so I argue that the best relationship between logic and emotion is how logic is used to govern emotion.

There is this idea that I’ve obsessed over for as long as I can remember, always trying to come up with the one exception that would prove it wrong. But I’ve never managed to, in all of the countless times that I’ve spent pondering over it. This idea is that, reduced to a basic consideration of desires, every single decision you ever make is the result of something you wanted. This might sound trivial to some, but I think it has very profound considerations. It means, for one thing, that no act is truly selfless, if only because there is something in your actions that you want for yourself. The most basic of which, I think, is the desire to feel proud, to feel that warmth in your soul when you’ve done something generous. One of the closest things to a selfless act that I have ever been able to come up with is any of a number of acts in which nobody is made aware of your act. This includes, for instance, an anonymous donation, or… well, “anonymous” and “donation” really cover just about anything I can think of, if you consider things such as giving to charity, or gifts, or tips, or work, etc. as “donations.” The key is the anonymous part. Because when absolutely nobody has been made aware of some effort you’ve made, this could be argued as the closest thing you can come to a selfless act. But there was undoubtedly something that you gained for yourself out of it, even if this something was merely the satisfaction of having done it. And even if nobody was made aware that it truly was you that made the donation, someone still was made aware that somebody made the donation. You know it was you, and so you feel the resulting pride (or whatever positive gain) of having made it.

Perhaps one of the most striking examples is one in which (made personal and dramatic to give specific emphasis) a mother sacrifices herself for the benefit of her child. Maybe even to save the child’s life. To push the idea to its limits, let’s say that the decision had to be made spontaneously, without any time to consider alternatives or make the “best” overall decision. If a child is about to be hit by a bus, and the mother must immediately react to push the child out of harm’s way, but in turn is hit by the bus herself, this goes a long way in suggesting a selfless act without regard for her own well-being. But I think there is a complicated mesh of ideals and desires playing their role even when something is done spontaneously, such as the ingrained desires of the mother to be seen as heroic, or caring, or simply valuing the life of her child over that of her own, because the child has, in all likelihood, “more life” ahead of them at any moment than she does. She may act at a moment’s notice, and sacrifice herself for the benefit of another, but even done spontaneously this is going to be the result of a lifelong successive buildup of what she values and wishes to give to the world—her child’s life most likely being among the highest values of all.

I’m simply arguing that, even in the most extreme of all possible scenarios, there is some shred of selfishness (not necessarily to say that selfishness is bad, which seems to be the clich√© assumption) in the act. But selfishness has its place in the world, indulged within reason, and there really is no escaping it. So embrace it, because on the whole I believe most people tend to do the “right thing” even when selfishness is the underlying motivation.

So there seems to me to be a deep connection between what a person desires to do, based on the sum of their emotions and aspirations, and what they believe they should do, based on the sum of their logic and reasoning and considerations of as many things as they are capable of considering. Every single last thing a person does is in some way related to a decision based on things they want to gain from the act, forming at some level a complicated combination of emotions and logical reasoning suited to bring them something they desire. And the people who are most in tune with this combination, who have learned to effectively combine their emotional drives with what their logical reasoning can bring to shape them into usefulness are, I believe, the people who possess the deepest potentials to pursue the truly great and beneficial things in life, both for themselves and for others to reap the benefits from. To make the world as beautiful and glory-filled as it can possibly be!

Perhaps the most well-known and most-referenced example of this extreme difference in mindsets is in the TV series Star Trek, where the character Spock is idealized as a being (along with the rest of his race) who has mastered the art of separating all emotions from his pursuits, and instead imposes absolutely nothing but logic on his surroundings. I should point out that I’m not very familiar with the Star Trek universe. I only understand so much of what is actually the case, in this case. But this is the impression I’ve gotten, with what I have seen. Perhaps there are episodes in the series which aim to glorify the separation of logic and emotions in the Vulcans’ psychology (favoring logic), and perhaps there are also episodes which seek to emphasize the value of the emotions that happen to slip through their “training” in certain instances. I just don’t know, but it seems obvious that the iconic figure of the Vulcan is an attempt at a prime example of what can be achieved with an entirely secluded logical mindset. In any case, it should be easy to allow this to be the case, even if the typical Vulcan was ultimately shown to be just about as much a slave to emotional responses as any human (even if only in the more extreme cases). I think we can imagine, for a moment, a truly all-logical being, even if an “average” Vulcan is only a vague approximation. The idea is simple enough.

That being said, I just want to say that I do not see how this is possible in reality. Emotions play their role in everything, from the most trivial, mundane decisions to the most significant, life-altering ones. Both emotions AND logic apply to pretty much (if not absolutely) everything. (I hope the Vulcans ultimately portrayed this.) Of course you can devote more of your efforts toward one or the other, in individual cases, to the benefits of each, but both logic and emotions are certainly always playing a role in your day-to-day activities and decisions. This is one of the qualities that make our race so unique, and so powerful, this cooperation of extremes. This cooperation should be embraced, and cherished, and developed to its full potential—not played out to some lopsided ratio, in which the more demonstrably “logical” people are shunned off to the side as if they have little if any capacity to indulge their emotional desires. Alternately, the more demonstrably “emotional” people should not be shunned off to the side as if they have little if any capacity to make and pursue informed, logical decisions. Every single person on the planet has every reason to exhibit the best of both traits, if they are wise and perceptive enough to realize them, and every single person on the planet has every reason to appreciate and embrace these traits in others, together, again, if they are also wise and perceptive enough to realize them.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and reduce the two as far as seems possible, and suggest that logic is a more hard-wired trait, intrinsic in our minds’ capacities to evaluate and analyze and make sense of the world around us, which of course takes some amount of time to consider, while our emotions are more chemically induced, also intrinsic in our minds’ capacities, but put to use in reacting to more spontaneous, individually-oriented reactions. My argument still centers on them being complementary, but it is of course worth noting the fundamental differences between them—the most powerful of which, perhaps, is the time required to devote biological resources to their usefulness.

If logic exists so that we can take our time (not necessarily to suggest leisurely basking around a campfire for days on end in making any single decision) in evaluating and analyzing our surroundings, making sense of the best pursuits among all that are laid before us, then this is beneficial because such time and consideration is often necessary for certain extra-significant, not-time-pressing decisions—such as (to name a few in no particular order) inventing fire, or the wheel, or the telescope, or calculus, or the steam engine, or electricity, or the theory of relativity, or the automobile, or transistors, or computers, or cell phones, or the Internet, or the Large Hadron Collider, or pretty much any significant invention throughout history. All of these took time, consideration, learning, and logic (and perhaps some “luck” as well). Careful logic is just more reliable when there is ample time, and collective efforts, to spare for analysis. I’m sure that Albert Einstein enjoyed (maybe?) numerous lengthy “sit-down” periods while he was considering the many thought experiments that helped him to develop his many theories that revolutionized the world in his day, and which are still being proven by more and more refined experiments. But even the more time-critical, immediately-pressing decisions will make use of some logical deductions when called for. Sometimes—actually, almost always, it will be beneficial to utilize the ability to make informed decisions based on the factors of past, present, and (projected) future events, desires, and the ways in which they make sense of each other. Logic is always useful, even if we do not always have the time to devote to its full potential. It only falls short when we don’t have time to carefully consider.

On the other hand, if emotions exist (as seems to be the case, generally) so that we can exhibit a “fight-or-flight” response to an external stimulus on a whim, then this is beneficial because we do not always have enough time to sit and consider all alternative opportunities, nor do we always have a collective effort of mindsets to pursue an idea. This is most evident in a lifestyle in which, to dramatize an example, a saber-toothed tiger may unexpectedly pounce upon your freshly-prepared supper, or simply emerge out of the bushes you were walking toward. To stand and consider the possibilities that exist in whether or not you should simply turn and run, stand your ground, play dead, throw a rock, growl, dance erratically, or any other such response, will most likely spell your untimely demise. Emotional responses, in such cases, effectively compel you to act spontaneously, because there are situations in which even the most intellectually-evolved human mind does not have time to come up with a safe, intelligent, all-things-considered diplomatic solution. Sometimes you simply need to flee, or fight, or grovel, or cry, or barter, or otherwise react at a moment’s notice. But even so, some shred of a logical conclusion can be made almost instantaneously in such cases, fueled by the emotional desire to react immediately, as they coincide in your decision-making process. In such cases the emotional response to react right then and there triggers the logical response of how to deal with whatever the stimulus happens to be—to fear a saber-toothed tiger is the application of the logic which contains the idea that such a creature should be feared. It’s just that the emotional response triggers this much more quickly than careful consideration of all variables would have.

That’s how it seems to me, at least, although it is, most likely, not a purely logical response to flee from a saber-toothed tiger, simply because any prior experience with a saber-toothed tiger very likely means that you have no more responses left to indulge—because you would probably be long since dead. But then again, in this case, which is which? If you find yourself face-to-face with a deadly predator, with no prior experience of how to deal with such a situation, is it an emotional response or a logical response to just turn and run (or play dead, or act tough)? Any intuitive response is, it seems to me, more emotional (like simply running), while another response (such as acting tough) seems to be more logical, in that you are deducing that such behavior might hopefully deter the creature’s desire to pounce on you. At this level I end up confusing myself. It seems like some reactions are passed along on an evolutionary basis, such as the fear of certain dangerous predators, and we will fear them even in the complete absence of any knowledge whatsoever of their dangerous nature. These seem like more of an emotional response. However, with the inclusion of any knowledge of a situation’s pros and cons, the decisions become more logical. An argument could also be made that logical evaluations are made based on ideas about what sorts of creatures, and other external stimuli, are likely to be dangerous, based on observations such as the creature’s size, or other appearances such as pointy teeth or razor-sharp claws, or its body language, etc.

Even in today’s world with all of what the Internet has to offer a curious mind, and knowing full well how dangerous the situation is, coming face-to-face with a saber-toothed tiger is likely still going to push the emotional response to the forefront of your thoughts, i.e., to get the ^*(%*&*^ out of there, and all other thoughts will surface only when your life is no longer in danger. Fleeing from a saber-toothed tiger is the result of the emotional trigger to act rationally.

Because of this nature, emotional responses evaluated only by their own merits suggest a weakness when imposed on the sorts of situations in which time is actually abundant. And so my argument, in this case, takes a turn toward emphasis on logic, because today, in most cases, we actually have such abundant time to dwell on most decisions. Saber-toothed tigers (for most of us—almost certainly for anybody capable of reading this writing) no longer pounce upon our freshly-cooked meals, or hide in the bushes while we wander toward some distant destination. For most of our daily decisions in life, we genuinely have the time required to actually consider as many variables as may exist, and evaluate them in relation to each other, and choose the most appropriate. Emotions will always play a role, of course, because what you feel is important, and should be considered, but what you feel is not always (and arguably not even usually) what makes for the best decision. Emotions can very easily lead you astray, because the feelings invoked most likely do not consider factors that a rational mind will desire to make sense of. The emotions should not be simply discounted, but should be weighed against other variables which should help to make sense of the pros and cons of an impending decision. I’m trying to say that, despite whatever advantages a more emotionally-driven mindset might have had in the past, this reality is much less relevant in today’s world.

But perhaps I am dwelling too much on the situations of the distant past. If saber-toothed tigers no longer wait out our approach from the bushes, then there is not so much emphasis on the need to react to such a situation, yes? But there are other situations, relative to today’s society, which push against the boundaries between logical and emotional responses in their own ways, and so the distinction does remain relevant.

To give a simple example, say someone has gone through a bad breakup and is now faced with a choice of moving on or trying to make things work again. If proper reasoning has suggested that the same problems will persist and the relationship is simply bound to fail (because this has happened numerous times already or because you see that there is a fundamental clash of ideals), then logically it should not be pursued. This poor person is not necessarily an unemotional jerk for moving on... I would argue that a relationship bound by all demonstrable traits to fail is, no matter how hurt or desperate someone is or how much they think they need to be in a relationship (which seems all-too commonplace), not worth the trouble and the pain of pursuing. Each person has better things to do and pursue, because there must be more suitable endeavors out there. The casting aside of an emotional response because of the demonstrable destructiveness that this response will most likely bring is not something to be harshly judged upon. It just is the most reasonable solution, considering all sides, and all likely futures. This person is not devoid of emotions… they are just effectively pursuing them. There is more at stake than the rapid beating of your heart when your eyes meet those of another. There is much more emotional pain waiting to be felt and suffered through when a person blindly pursues their emotional desires for a person, regardless of all rational, demonstrable traits which would otherwise suggest a more constructive path.

I believe this is why so many people end up heartbroken so often. They get stuck on pursuits which hold no reasonable justifications, because they lose sight of the factors which should be opening their eyes and leading them towards the paths which actually hold promise. Not to say one should just drop all possibilities because of one bad experience and for this reason alone—but only to say that one should carefully evaluate the sum of all experiences relating to a given pursuit (in this case, a relationship) and, based on this, determine, as closely as possible, the likelihood that either continued effort or cancellation of effort will bring a more desired outcome. If a romantic interest has stood you up time and time again, nine times out of ten, repeatedly, then the floods of emotions rushing through your head are not the true fairy-tale feelings that you wish them to be—you need to let them go. You need to realize that the emotions are not mutual, and this requires much-needed logical input. Otherwise you will remain stuck on somebody who will not ever reciprocate and you will remain forever plagued by disappointment and heartache.

I understand that this is controversial, because, as it seems to me, people have been fed this emotion vs. logic argument (favoring emotion) pretty much everywhere and pertaining to everything. We are bombarded with various media forms depicting “true love” spawning from spontaneous encounters and senseless pursuits. (Most Disney movies come to mind.) And while even in reality some of these do work out remarkably well in the end, that isn’t to say that they worked out because of blind devotion and unquestioned emotional drives. Some examples will seem to work out as beautifully as anyone could have imagined them, because some pursuits simply mesh together in the ways that make this happen, and blindly pursued emotions may very well end up showering its recipients with untold treasures. But such a case was bound to happen, as closely as anything can truly be said to be bound to happen, because by the “luck of the draw” the people involved actually did mesh together in this way. Some, such as these, may have been pure “luck”. But most others very likely made effective use of logical reasoning in choosing whether or not to pursue, and how to pursue, the resulting drives. But consider the countless love stories of heartbreak—these did not work out for the best hopeful dreams of both parties, and in many cases this was probably a consequence of unjustified devotions based on nothing but powerful emotional responses.

Any two people have every reason and every opportunity to make this deep connection a reality. It is going to take a healthy mix, from both sides, of both logical and emotional considerations. The key is to understand each other, know what each is looking for in terms of the romance, and pursue mutually those emotional drives which are understood to be shared interests. And this, of course, requires both parties to communicate with each other, so that each knows and understands what the other desires. Then the partnership has the best chances of actually establishing these things as being shared. Otherwise, every act is a stab in the dark, and every time one acts on a whim that the other does not approve of, tensions rise and heartbreak becomes that much more likely. So communicate!! Provide the information that the other needs in order to be rational with their emotional pursuits, and you’ll be that much closer to beating the odds and enjoying, together, one of those touching, heartwarming, beautiful “true love” romances that pretty much every single person in the world is envious of.

But, as things are today, this mindful cooperation seems to be in large part still a fantasy of the sorts of people like me who see this beauty-filled, entirely possible co-existence as the ideal reality. And so people who “like numbers” and enjoy evaluating situations in such ways are lumped into a category of unemotional logic-pursuers, which, by this lame definition, seems to deem them unsuitable to meaningfully pursue any emotional drives they may “feel.” But this is silly, and degrading, for even the most ideologically “logical” person must have depths of emotions that any other person can only guess at. If a person acts, in most cases (especially where numbers and variables really are the prime factors) in a “logical” fashion, that does NOT condemn them to in turn respond to romance in a similar fashion—a person can appreciate all of the numbers and variables and constants inherent in mathematics and physics and astronomy and most other physical problems of the world without any consequences applied to the way they view and react to a romantic pursuit. Any other assumption is just this—an assumption, based upon vague leaps of the mind which most likely do not actually correlate and in reality only set apart, from you, a person who has every possibility of sharing with you the very things you most deeply desire. Let their actions tell you whether or not they have the emotional capacity you are seeking, by giving them every chance they deserve.

Forget the movies. They are idealized fictions. There will always be the extremely extreme cases, which seem to fit the most glorious fairy-tale based stories, but there will always be extreme cases. It is UNREASONABLE to expect them and accept nothing less. You will, in all likelihood, be perpetually disappointed while doing so. The key is deeply-rooted sharing and understanding and appreciation. Seek these virtues, not the silly Hollywood-induced reality-shunning dreams. Only the most “lucky” people will have this fall into their lap. But they are not the realistic examples all others should weigh their own fortunes against.

I was told, by one of the people I most aggressively tried to pursue not long ago, that one of the reasons she did not reciprocate was because she “never felt that fairy tale feeling.” But what about the possibility that the “fairy tale feeling” does not come until two people have, even at a basic level, committed themselves to each other? Should you really expect to feel such a powerful emotional response while still establishing the fundamentals of what might turn out to be a deep relationship? I don’t see how this can be expected, even in the most exceptionally rare and beautiful cases, and to demand such a thing is to all but guarantee that it is not going to happen. A little bit more rational devotion would go a long way toward developing the relationship which could then actually have the chance to provide this wonderful sensation.

Forget the movies.

And this is where, as I have argued in so many previous writings, efforts put forth towards sharing the deepest thoughts and feelings between any two (or more) people plays such a crucial role in understanding each other—because if base logic really is all that a certain person ever exhibits, never seeming to follow an emotional drive (as can be seen on the outside by others), then people really have no demonstrable reasons to think that there is anything deeper to this person (even though there must be more to them). The burden does fall on each person to actually demonstrate that they are capable of pursuing an effective and reasonable combination of these mindsets, as much as it is anyone’s duty to keep an open mind and see all that there is to see in a person. So it is the duty of each individual person to exhibit the traits that need to be witnessed by others to grasp, in some way, who they really are, by their efforts put to reasons and feelings. When all things are considered, the sum of these two invaluable traits will establish an extremely valuable, deeply-rooted sense of who this person is and what efforts are worth putting forth into your (romantic or friendly) relationship with them.

If Spock really could control his mindset, as could be seen by anyone on the outside, to the point of extinguishing all emotional responses, then of course nobody has any reason to think that he will ever react in any other way. But such a case is unrealistic, I think, because there is not a person alive who can accomplish such a thing. As much as I feel like there is some amount of control that can be placed upon the emotional responses of a person, namely by the implementation of a logical set of reasoning, I do not believe that one can ever entirely replace the other. When faced with a certain situation of adequate stress, sometimes a base emotional response is all that can be expected to be displayed (and will perhaps be the most effective response in dealing with the stress). And when faced with a person who exhibits all of the traits that are most “romantically” desired, even the most logically-tuned person is going to feel his heart race a bit faster and his desires float up to the top of his mind, and a balanced pursuit of these emotions within the set of logic they have at their disposal is going to determine how effectively they can make use of this rush of feelings. Everyone wants to love and be loved, right?

Logical responses are more readily learned, solidified, and shaped to a personality, while emotional responses are more prone to spontaneous reaction and to indulge desires. An effective logic-base should help enable you to react most effectively to a sudden emotional response, because such a response will originate from the depths of your mind where these things have been established and rooted to fundamental beliefs. If you’ve never in your life laid eyes on a saber-toothed tiger then you will have no underlying reason to fear the creature, and to react accordingly. However, if some information or instinct is passed along genetically, or rationalized by comparisons with known similarities, then you will have the necessary momentary reaction necessary to realize that this is a creature to be feared and avoided. The “fight-or-flight” responses must come either from the knowledge that a certain creature is unfriendly or from an instinct that a certain creature is unfriendly. Obviously, in some cases indirect knowledge is necessary because there must be a first time for everything, and if everyone assumed the “best case” scenario upon first coming face-to-face with a saber-toothed tiger then there would not be very many people left (if any) to pass along the knowledge that an unavoided encounter is unwise for survival. Of course, for every person who has been devoured by a saber-toothed tiger, there could have been any number of people who witnessed this unfortunate demise and fled back to civilization to report the dangers. But still.

All of this considered, perhaps there are people who are just simply devoid, biologically, of most emotions and happen to have powerful logic. I don’t know specifics, but I’m sure there are medical conditions similar to such cases. In these cases I can see where the connection is made, that a high degree of logic relates to an inadequate capacity for emotions, although I think it leads more to a dangerous fallacy than it does to any actual relevance. Perhaps people are born occasionally with a lack of genetic material to give them typical emotional capacity, and so perhaps the brain overdevelops their logical capacity to make up for the shortcoming. But this certainly does not prove the standard for everybody that happens to show similar tendencies. Some people may realize the value of good logical reasoning and put it to an extreme practice, some people may have had their emotions damaged and just don't want to follow them, and so also put logic to an extreme practice (the emotions in both cases are still there, even if they simply habitually deny them), and some people may just be reluctant to use their logical reasoning, for whatever reasons, perhaps because they relish the feelings of an emotional drive above all else and maybe even are all but blinded to the benefits of a combined beauty because of today’s media influences. But none of these should condemn a person to a lame judgment, because there are always many, many reasons for a person’s behavior. None of these extreme cases speak for the human race as a whole, just because any numbers of people really do display logic without hardly any hint of emotions (and vice versa). There are always going to be exceptions on the extremities of practically any idea, especially one as large-ranging as this. But exceptions do not prove a negative case, they build a positive case.

I think in general people are too judgmental. People spend too much time trying to decipher other people's emotions and intentions and not enough time just accepting and appreciating. Emotions are definitely powerful, and they are definitely valuable. But emotions will more likely lead you astray. I believe, all other things considered equal, an emotional drive will only better serve to satisfy a more immediate goal—in many cases this “immediate goal” ends up building into a lifelong romantic relationship which, in turn, seems to correlate to nothing but emotional responses all along the way. I am arguing that, in such long-term considerations, the vast majority of your considerations, as emotional as they have been felt along the way, were governed by the logic-base of your mindset. It’s just so easy to be overwhelmed by the strictly emotional, because they provide such a powerful instant feeling of gratification, at each and every step along the way. But despite this, you were, in parallel along with each and every emotional step, applying logic and reasoning (to some degree) to your overall plan. I’d also like to make an argument for the idea that the typical relationship-turned-ugly is because of an over-devotion to purely emotional pursuits, in large part because of the denial of logical reasoning that could otherwise have addressed potential differences, complications, and other such things that ended up tearing two people apart. Emotions, if considered completely on their own terms, will very likely blind you, unless you are ridiculously lucky enough to have found a pursuit which happens to perfectly match you and your partner entirely without any use of logic and reasoning (I’m not sure I believe this ever has, or will, happen).

Ideally, a person will have found an effective balance of logic and emotions so that they complement each other to the highest beauties that each has to offer. But if I somehow had to choose between the two, I would trust my mind to rationalize the way, each and every time. Indulging in emotions comes second to realizing that they are, indeed, a meaningful, rational pursuit.

So, just, please, be rational. Don’t be in a rush to be judgmental. Let people’s actions speak for themselves, because you are always in a prime position to consider them from the outside. Understand that there is a wildly complex mesh of both logical reasoning and emotional drives buried within practically any act, and the people who get themselves into trouble probably just need some useful guidance and constructive criticism. Who knows, they may even have some things to teach you when you find yourself in a similarly unfortunate situation.

I very strongly believe that everything can be rationalized—if nothing else, from the basic idea of free will. And if people have free will, people are going to make terrible decisions. Some people just want to watch the world burn. This concept of free will is completely destroyed as soon as we expect some higher power to intervene whenever something unfortunate is about to happen. The things that seem most irrational, like cruelty, can be explained as the choices of people who, for whatever reason, wanted to make their decision. In an episode of House, M.D., his (House’s) patient asks him to rationalize one of these cruel acts, to which he responds, "We are selfish, base animals, crawling across the earth. But because we have brains, if we try real hard, we can occasionally aspire to something that is less than pure evil." Billions of people are constantly making their own choices. Any number of them has the potential to overlap others and produce unforeseen consequences. Everything makes sense at some level, from some viewpoint. It is unfortunate for the person on the “wrong end,” but reality is reality. Time cannot be reversed, actions cannot be undone, and feelings cannot be unhurt. Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it feels at the time. Time doesn't heal wounds; we just forget how much they hurt. Rational optimism speeds this process nicely. And so does cooperation and understanding with others, and an effective balance of logical reasoning applied to the emotional drives flooding your system. We are logically emotional. Let them work together and, no matter how low you have sunk, you will soon find yourself on the path to more beautifully green-filled pastures than you ever thought could possibly exist in this crazy world. Positive emotions will well up within your soul at last, and you, and those of your careful choosing, will be free to logically pursue them to your flooded heart’s content.

Posted by Eli Stanley | at 12:17 AM


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