Chapter Twenty Eight
“Being moved by emotion isn’t always extraneous. Sometimes, it’s the whole point.”
-Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
How many times have we been told that we’re acting emotionally and that they are getting the best of us? Plenty, right? Oh, don’t worry. I’ve been told that plenty of times myself. But, acting emotionally extends far beyond acting out of fear, happiness, anger, or whatever other emotion we can conjure up to describe our psychological state.
Whenever we act rashly, impulsively, on a gut instinct, or for any other purpose that says we can, we act on our emotions. We most commonly justify it as, “Oh, I felt like doing it.” Sure, there are times when I’d agree with that but usually there’s more to it. Whatever that justification is, it surpasses “just feeling like it.” It’s okay.
However, there are times when logic fails and we are left with no reason other than just to let our emotions take over. We get told all of our lives that cooler heads prevail and that we need to take a minute to think things through. While I think that logic and reasoning has a place within our rationale, I don’t think that logic is the only way that we should act. After all, if we were supposed to act with reason and purpose, we wouldn’t have emotions. They derail the proverbial “train” more than they keep it on the track. So, why use logic in matters that are clearly influenced or completely based off of emotion? Well…
You shouldn’t. There’s a difference between acting irrationally and acting illogically. Acting out of emotion when you are clearly supposed to be is a logical conclusion. It makes sense. As an adult, we understand the circumstances that illicit that type of response. If something we love dies, we grieve for our loss. We will feel sad. It is normal. We celebrate when we are happy and express gratitude for the opportunity to do so. That’s normal as well. Responding in a manner that we understand to be appropriate is logical. Where we get mixed up is acting inappropriately when we don’t understand how to properly respond.
A real issue in doing so is the problem itself: How do we respond appropriately to something we haven’t faced before? Sure, it’s a challenge but it isn’t difficult to do. As a matter of human history, it is the tendency to attack what we don’t understand. We don’t always understand why someone would want to pursue something that doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have to make sense to us individually. Others do not require our permission or intelligence to do whatever they want to do. They aren’t necessarily accountable to us in that respect. It’s irrational and illogical to behave in such a way. It’s hard for us to understand something if we don’t see the reasoning in it. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t a reason. Even more to the point, it doesn’t mean that we have to agree with that reason. It just means that we have to react in a way that is conducive to resolving the issue instead of winning an argument or that renders their personal feelings or opinion inert and worthless.
As much as I’ve been on both sides of that issue, I’ve found that there isn’t a particularly good way to approach the unknown. The unknown is truly that. However, it’s tried and true that we investigate in such a way that allows our own prejudice and preconceptions to misconstrue its true and honest intention into what our point of view allows it to be. Having an open mind can be difficult, to be sure. It isn’t easy to embrace new ideas. As a matter of fact, challenging the perception of a topic can be very difficult and can create a lot more problems than it solves.
For most people, the idea of using emotion as a sole method of decision making or a rationale for their behavior is unnerving. It even seems like it doesn’t make sense to only use your feelings. Maybe, it doesn’t make sense. Maybe it isn’t supposed to make sense. But, maybe there is a reason to do so. Maybe the purpose in doing so is to offer insight into something that you normally wouldn’t get to see if you didn’t use your feelings.
I’ve heard people say that it isn’t wise or logical to ignore your own good sense. Some people can group their conscience along with it. Very few would include their gut instincts or feelings. I know from personal experience that it if you have to ignore these things, it usually is a good sign that the situation should be avoided. However, as someone who doesn’t pay attention to my own intuition as much as I honestly really need to, I’ve also learned that there is a method to the madness and it has a logic all its own.
Sometimes, what we are really looking for is a reason. It doesn’t have to be a good reason; but, a reason to do something.
“Sometimes, the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer.”
-Wallace Shawn as Grand Nagus Zek