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Debates, logic and the value of emotional response

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Too often in discussions (online and elsewhere) involving a hotly debated topic, some of the participants bail on the conversation just as things are starting to get interesting, just as we start to see the heart of the matter right in the midst of all the polarity, and tension, and the downright ugliness of it all – right at the point where we begin to see things a bit more clearly, the tension is too much and the conversation dies.

A lot of this boils down to dissecting what it is that people fear and what it is that drives someone to hold to a seemingly illogical position.

And I think it is fair to say that on both sides, the parties fail to connect, and fail to truly see the other sides position very clearly – in each person’s mind they may have thought so, but as a human being did we really get to the point where we understood where that other person was coming from?  Was the other party just being belligerent in sticking to their guns?  Or is there a real human, emotional reason that they are coming at this with such vim and vigor and what may be perceived (by someone with a different view) as total and complete irrationality?

I tend to try to argue with logic but also recognize that the emotionally charged component of why we act and speak and believe the way we do, is an integral part of the human experience – so much so that often trying to gain a complete understanding of another persons viewpoint, is more than just trying to nail down the logic.

I accept that the emotional component can sometimes get in the way of reaching a purely logical, rational conclusion – but it is no less valid as a part of the human experience of “taking a stance on an issue”.

As Spock would say ““Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”

As messy as that makes debate, it’s just plain a part of reality, but it means that we need to strive to manage that emotional response – not necessarily try to avoid it but embrace it as a valid part of the process, all the while still attempting to engage in debate using the tools of logic and rational thought.


Written by mindopenwhy

April 2, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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