I was recently procrastinating by looking through my old Word documents and found one titled “tomisms.” It was essentially a collection of fifty or so philosophical musings that I felt I had come up with (pretentious, hmm?). Most of them were vapid and only deep enough to appeal to a big-headed adolescent, but there was one I chewed on for quite a while, and it was this: “People do not act logically. People first make gut decisions based on emotion and then use ‘logic’ to justify those decisions.” Notice the use of quotes around “logic.”
WHAT I MEANT AND MEAN BY THIS
I think this tomism explains so much about how we act in this world. It’s difficult to be rational, and we react and decide emotionally before we have time to think.
People like labels. And they like to reject anything that threatens these labels. Ever notice how people will critique every single argument associated with a certain viewpoint rather than, say, agree with two pro-viewpoint arguments and disagree with three of them?
Our gut instincts can’t be trusted. Have you heard of the Pepsi Challenge, where people in a blind taste test preferred the taste of Pepsi to Coca Cola? But when the Coca Cola people performed this challenge, participants preferred Coke. And when Coca Cola was put in both cups, people preferred one of the identical substances over the other. And when cups of differing soda were marked with an M or Q as the sole identifiers, people usually preferred whatever was in the M cup, because most people like the letter M more than Q. And don’t even get me started on when they put Pepsi in Coke cans and Coke in Pepsi cans. People might have thought they were being logical, but they weren’t paying attention to what they tasted.
I often wonder, did I rationally decide to move from Oklahoma to New York? I don’t know.
When someone asks why I moved, I say something along the lines of, “I wanted to further my writing career and also get a job with a nice salary.” True, but if my gut had told me not to move to New York, I could have reasonably said, “I will miss my family, I hate cold weather, and the cost of living is too high. I’m not moving there.”
I tend to have a “message” with these posts, but I don’t like it when people get pushy, and I don’t like being lectured. All I can really do is suggest, anyway. Examine some of your beliefs or big decisions and see if they are rooted in emotion, logic, or both. If you want. If you feel like it. Or why not think about your big decisions instead of following your heart?
And yet I feel like a fool telling you not to follow your heart. I still want you to be human.
What do you think? What do you feel? Lecture me.