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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

Mental clutter

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I take in too many inputs and give myself no time for reflection and creative outlets of my thoughts.

I am beginning to feel as if my mind is overwhelmed with all of this.

It is more difficult to form clear, coherent expressions of what I am thinking.

I tend to ramble and jump from one idea to another.

One sentence or paragraph is just a reaction to something I wrote in the previous one.

It is like my thought process is beginning to function like a comment string.

So I need to take a mental vacation from all the inputs, news articles, social networking feeds and other sources of mental inputs.

I need time to process and digest and sort through all the clutter that has been accumulating in my mind.

I almost find myself in a trap where the only things that come to mind for me to write about are a reaction to something else I’ve read.

Current events, debates, controversies, conversations, articles.

Instead I want thoughtful reflective expression to dominate what I write and publish.

No one will probably care to read it because everyone just wants fast food information.

If it supports their predefined views of things, all the better.

What is forbidden is long, wordy expressions of thought.

The world doesn’t have time for this.

We need McInformation.  

140 characters or less preferred.

Can the important things be expressed in 140 characters or less?

Can carefully distilled and refined thought be summarized in this way and still be meaningful and relevant and edgy enough to catch anyone’s attention?

Am I a failure as a human being if I fail to remain relevant to a world that has such a short attention span?

What truly important universal human truths have been Tweeted lately?

Has anything grasped the attention of our collective good will and spurned us to compassionate action?

Have we witnessed any sustained initiative on the part of humankind to collectively solve any single global issue?

Has shallow thought become the norm or has it just always been this way?

Are we more content to distract ourselves with that which is entertaining rather than face the hard realities of the injustices of this world and our own complacency in failing to act?

One thing that I think is important is to not avoid the controversial but to thread between the polarities between which the controversy is defined.

This doesn’t mean to make mushy concessions.

It means to acknowledge the hard truth that these polarities exist and that they will be a persistent part of society.

It means to abandon the warm, fuzzy notion that everybody will someday agree.

It means also to abandon the cold, callous notion that eventually those who disagree will need to be silenced, if they can’t be convinced to see things “the right way”.

I’ve become a man who is overcome with worry for what the future holds for my children.

Is it because I’ve given in to the paranoid hysteria and doom and gloom?

Or is it because I can see the writing on the wall?

I have to return to embracing the polarities of optimism for the future and the gloomy view that history can only repeat itself and that war and famine and despair will only spread like wildfire.

I must embrace the view that while there is nothing I can do to stop that which I can not control, if I fail to act to prevent it I too am culpable.

Take poverty, for example.

I recognize that unless many take action, poverty can not be eradicated.

Yet if I fail to take action, I am culpable for the fact that poverty persists even though I individually can not possible end poverty.

One response to this is to simply say “I am not responsible for poverty”.

“The existence of poverty, and even of any single instance of poverty is not my fault.  I did not cause it and therefore am not responsible for it and have no obligation or duty to attempt to alleviate it.  There are people more able than I who could help end it, and they do nothing so why should I feel compelled.  Poverty is mostly the fault of the poor who are too lazy to take charge for their own situation and make it better.  And charities can’t be trusted so I would be wasting my time, energy and money worrying about it.”

Elements containing truth all stitched together to create own big patchwork doll of a lie.

Written by mindopenwhy

August 4, 2012 at 6:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Welcome to MindOpenWhy!

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It’s the first day of my first real blog.      

Things may be a bit clumsy and akward as I start out.

Not unlike birth I suppose.

Like this picture of my son the day he was born.

Bring it on world!

In fact they took this within the first hour of his life outside his mother’s womb.

He looks a bit mad, and with the typical clenched fist as if to say to the doctor who just delivered him:

“If I could talk and walk I’d curse you out and punch you in the nose for what you just did!  What is this place?  I was comfy, warm, happy and then WHOA!  That was not fun!  But I’m here now and I’m fightin’ mad so you better watch out!”

But all that comes out is a sorrowful cry and the shock of a strange, new environment.

But not without a touch of victory in that raised fist and determined look that says:

“Well, I made it through that!  What else you got?  Bring it on!”

It’s like stepping out of the comfort zone where my thoughts exist in the relatively safety of my own mind and bringing them out into a place where things are less predictable, less in my control, more open to conflict and challenge.

A place where our minds can either be open to a collective process of creation that dares to question and freely accepts that “conflict is in the nature of existence” or a place where we try to hide our anxiety behind a facade of certainty and confidence.

Written by mindopenwhy

April 29, 2011 at 6:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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