Emotion precedes logic

(Repost from an old forum thread.)

The human mind is not logical in its primitive state. As children we are capable of logic if we need it to get something we want, but we are otherwise disinclined to it, preferring emotion and superstition. Logic and reason are difficult and require heavy exercises of scarce willpower (unless you’re Koanic). Society teaches us to suppress our emotions and exercise our reason to get what we want from an early age. For example, we use our minds to do schoolwork, to get the approval of parents and teachers, and avoid punishment. This ingrains the use of reason to satiate our desires as a matter of habit. I think this is a good thing, overall.

However, there is an opportunity cost to this. It does not teach us to use reason as a way of getting at the truth, but rather as a way of producing goodfeelz. The unfortunate side effects of this are obvious: we now live in a society built upon a vast edifice of feelgood lies, each lie supported by justifications that only go one or two steps deep. This is because few who have undergone this brainwashing are inclined to go any deeper than that- after all, reason is for making more goodfeelz, not ruining goodfeelz, remember? Those who have somehow been deprogrammed (e.g. depression or atomization) and try to ruin the goodthink are doubleplus ungood people, and therefore shunned as crazies.

Now, there is only one way to practice something habitually even if it ostracizes you and makes your life harder, and that’s if you like it for its own sake, or something about it. Habitual practice is how logic becomes a virtuous part of someone’s character, rather than a tool used opportunistically to satiate some immediate desire. People use reason all the time for pedestrian ends- for example, to compare prices at the grocery store- but we wouldn’t describe them as having a “logical” character for doing this.

And that’s why I say “in order to be logical, you have to love logic”.

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About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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6 Responses to Emotion precedes logic

  1. Koanic says:

    I feel sure I’m a logical person.

  2. It’s possible to love logic and loathe common sense and practicality – this is how we get weird geniuses.

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