Emotion Versus Logic
In our (western?) society we tend to see emotion and logic as opposing forces. Often times the dichotomy is present in terms of gender characteristics, ie women are emotional and irrational, while men are logical and rational. Personally, I find that to be a bunch of hogwash. I am a woman and an emotional person but I'm not a raving, irrational lunatic. And I've known some pretty irrational men...
I like to think that emotions and logic should work cooperatively and that those of us on opposite ends of the continuum can learn to respect and understand each other. Sometimes, though, when I am trying to relate to people who are unemotional and hyperlogical, I get frustrated, misperceive their statements and feel upset that they don't understand where I'm coming from. Or feel that they're looking down on me because I am not as "logical."
What experiences have you had relating to people who occupy a different spot on the continuum than you? Do you identify as being one or the other? Do you find yourself in the middle? Has anyone else found this to be a frustrating bridge to build? Do you tend to be attracted to people that are opposite to you in this?
I'm not sure they can work alongside each other that easily. often the logical choice is not the same as the emotional one.
I tend to approach life very logically, seeing things very distinctly as black and white.
some times its helpful: recognising someones worth/use even if i dislike them
sometimes not so much: chosing/dismissing someone for a perfectly sound logical reason when it's not polite/right to do so. i'm particularly bad at doing this with friends when the 'emotional' choice is to chose either a close friend or someone who really wants it but the most logical choice is someone else entirely.
it's problematic, it upsets people when you decide things based entirely on logic without any kind of emotion at all.
i remember my mom getting upset when i said that yes if stranded on a desert island with no food etc and she were dead i would eat her as a last resort. (xmas drinking leads to weird places...) the point is in this oddly specific hypothetical situation most peoples emotional response is to shy away from what you know to be logically sound reasoning.
of course everyday living doesn't tend to be life and death survival but the same is applicable.
it's frustrating to a logical person when others let their emotions guide them down what (to us) is clearly a stupid path.
and emotional people get upset and annoyed with us for having little to no regard for the emotions of others.
obviously thats more in the extremes, the majority of people though they tend to lean more to one side than the other have a healthy dose of both emotional and logical reasoning....
Good post that may get some activity :)
Because it's a lot bigger issue than most want to get into and try to deal with.
Your statement " dichotomy is present in terms of gender characteristics, ie women are emotional and irrational, while men are logical and rational. " summarizes the stereotype pretty well.
As much as we all are on guard against (unjustified) stereotypes, still we can't be quick to throw them away when they have solid scientific or statistical support. (that's logic - right ? :) )
There's some biology in there and although we can find exceptions to any rule - a pattern that holds up holds up. It is what it is as we say. So I'd say be careful about discarding solid pattern logic because of a discovered exception.
But like so many things, knowledge and balance seem to be the bright path forward. Logical types need to be aware that logic alone can strip us of our humanity. And vic versa for the emotional types. As long as we all know that we have both those elements in us and strive for a proper balance, it seems we're doing the best we can. And knowing this (hopefully) allows others to call us to the carpet when it's not so obvious to ourselves that we're tipping the scale too far in one direction. We need that 3rd eye sometimes.
You ask if it's frustrating trying to deal with someone tipped in an opposite direction ? Of course it is. But when in that situation I always try to determine whether that person has this basic understanding (of need for balance). Because if they don't even have that and believe the right path lies only in one direction, you have a real educational task on your hands. BIG project. One most of us don't really have time for. We may try to toss out the Cliff Notes version, hope for the best, and move on.
That's only my experience.....
I don't find logic gendered. I know women (one rather well) who are logical. I know exceptionally emotional men. Men tend to hide it better, but when it comes out, holy crap. I think the genders just HANDLE logic and emotion differently.
I ... don't find any patterns at all in my attraction. Not a single girl I have been with has very many similarities to other girls. Beyond intellect that is. Thats a requirement.
Haha, Ari, you crack me up.
Maca is seen as "logical" at work. But the truth is he's a very emotional decision maker.
I'm seen often as emotional "loving", "caring", "devoted", "bitchy", "hormonal"... and yet, I tend to be a logical decision maker.
I was reading something recently (can't recall where I apologize) that was talking about how boys (they were discussing children) brains tended to use the one side (I think left) more and the girls tended to be more equally split between the two (not more thinking, just more evenly split between right and left brain). They were discussing the potential impact this would have on learning..
I'm wondering if I it may have something to do with how we "mature"... if we don't push ourselves (children whoever) to use both sides and look at things from both the logical and emotional perspective... how are they going to progress into that? How will they strengthen those abilities?
I think its important to realize who you are dealing with while trying to communicate with people that are different than you... check the Myer's Briggs thread (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=689). We are crazy different sometimes.
I feel fortunate that I am on the edge of emotional and logical. I fall one way or the other on issues usually, but can at least recognize which approach the person I am talking to is taking and relate it to my own way of being within that. Personally I make an attempt to really listen and observe those that are coming at something from a different way of being than me. I usually recognize there is a difference when I begin to get confused and frustrated. That is a red flag for me to take note of what they are saying and how they are acting. If I can put myself in their shoes on and issue (empathize) then I sometimes can see it from their way of being and meet them where they are at. If I know them well or think they care to understand me better I might tell them how I saw it after. It's important first, I have noticed, to clarify, actively listen (repeat back to them what they have said, so they know that I heard and understood) and then respond in that way of communciating.
RP, people are crazy different. I followed the Myers Briggs thread for awhile. And I am an INFP, so the hyperlogical, cold approach is particularly grating on me. And I'm sure I can seem rather incomprehensible myself. I learned the repeating back technique while I worked at an elementary school and have found it helpful. Sometimes, I've found with the super logical types, that it feels like I'm trying to meet them halfway and understand their perspective/methods but they're not doing the same because they don't see my way as legitimate. Maybe this is just me, but I've always felt immense pressure from the logical/nonemotional types in my life to be more like them but they seemed to make little effort or see little value in trying to be more like me.
LR, I like your point that we tend to get 'tracked' into one or the other. I think that children and adolescents would benefit a lot from learning how to utilize both and when it's appropriate to pull out each one. Because both are so valuable. Sometimes, you need to look at something and analyze it with logic but sometimes when you're doing something like comforting a friend who's hurting, you need to empathize with them using your emotional skills.
Ari, I'm curious to hear how you see the genders as handling logic and emotion. As GS pointed out, the stereotypes do have some truth to them and I do find that my issues with logical folks are mainly men. The women I've known who are more logical were still more empathetic and tended to work cooperatively with me to establish common ground and understanding.
GS, the whole logic stripping us of humanity. That's what freaks me out about the overlogic stuff. It makes me feel cold, like I'm trying to relate to a robot. And even Hurrican, what you said about telling your mom about a desert island. I can logically comprehend that it does make sense but I would have had an emotional reaction to that for sure. I suppose it's not that logic doesn't matter but sometimes some one can know something but still feel another thing. And you have to deal with it and acknowledge it rather than just saying oh, its just your emotions.
What is an emotional response to something? Is it effectively knowing when to lie? The island scenario by hurricane for instance. If you want to survive you know what you need to do. However, at least for me, I know what others want to hear most of the time and could tell them "no I wouldn't eat you, of course not!" if I chose to. I feel like being "emotional" is more about coddling people, to make them "feel" better. I think people that don't understand this too well are usually those suffering mental illnesses like anti-social-personality-disorder or aspergers.
And there's nothing wrong with making someone feel better in my mind. However ray, I think the problems you get with logical people is simply because they do see emotional responses as below logical ones, and you'll never change that. Especially on the internet, when text is so cold, and prefers logic over emotion.
If most communication was emotional in nature there would be utter chaos. Even the people you think are emotional ray are still 90% logical, it's just 10% emotion vs those with say 1%. If someone was say, even 20%-30% emotional in nature, no one would be able to handle them. They'd yoyo from relationship to relationship, be alone, or likely have been killed in some weird accident due to failure in logic (I see a red car, red makes me angry, I run towards it, bam).
The balance has to be achieved independent of gender predisposition. And that can only happen through education, training and practice. And cooperatively.
Unfortunately, especially in western society, the old plan is still adopted. You most often see the result of this in arenas such as sports, politics, corporate (male dominated) business etc. I think LR was making some reference to that. Male children are taught/encouraged to follow the logical path at the expense of the emotional connection and the reverse for females. So by the time you are old enough to start having independent interactions with other people the mold is already partially formed. And of course reinforced from there.
This void simply isn't discussed enough to overcome the conditioning in a majority of people.
It's not really THAT difficult to approach situations saying something like......
"My 'heart' (whatever that is) tells me to proceed/react this way but my common sense, experience and logic tell me that will lead to bad results - or disaster !"
How can I merge the two to get the best result !
A simple conversation with ourself. But it takes practice - AND reprogramming.
for me an emotional response is an impulsive one, something i do without thinking-kissing someone without considering the consequences.
a logical desicion is more detached, considering only the facts not the emotional side effects.
it's interesting you mention ASPD/aspergers. the spectrum for aspergers is vast, the majority of people exhibit symptons on some level. however a vareity of mental illnesses affect your ability to experience, perceive and react correctly to emotional situations. Psychopathy for instance.
but having a personality disorder doesnt mean you have a mental illness or that there is actually anything wrong with you, and reacting in a more logical way or a more emotional way doesnt neccesarily indicate an mental illness.
As someone said above, men and women use their brains differently, a lot of typical sterotypes are down to this. a womans apparently inabilty to parallel park for instance :P men are better as spatial awareness because of the way their brains work. the same can be said of emotion/logical reasoning. men have a tendancy to over think and rationalise things, women tend to be more impulsive and emotional.
you say emotional is more about coddling people, im not sure thats emotional, i think thats even more detached and cold than be truthful. after all you're fully aware of your truthful answer, how it will affect them and how to lie to avoid the inevitable upset/confrontation. surely that's far more logical than the initial 'obvious' response of 'surival'??
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