Sentio Ergo Sum


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.”


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.

13 thoughts on “Sentio Ergo Sum

  1. I agarre in That balance is preferred when it comes to decisions. I believe it more than I “think” it is best for me. I enjoyed your viewpoints and throwback to earlier musings. My sincerest compliments are due yet again! All the best,


  2. “People” do not like other people speaking for them. As soon as anyone starts telling me about how “we” think or behave, I want to puke. You are not the only one. Read any newspaper column. To be lumped into the “we” category without my permission is an insult.

    This is an emotional as well as a rational response. I invite anyone who cares to work out the math about which ranks higher. And, does it really matter?

    By the way, I think and feel that gut instincts are all we can trust. My gut tells me it wants neither Pepsi nor Coke. I prefer water.


  3. I appreciate your speaking for yourself. By the way, I have always followed my heart (and my gut). It has gotten me in a heap of trouble, but it has been an exciting ride. By playing it this way, I have probably backed into everything I really needed to do in life so far.

    I don’t believe in lecturing people, because I don’t like being lectured, either. Also, I’m afraid that if I am wrong, the other person will blame me. I don’t claim to have answers for anyone, including myself. I just have questions and allow experience to provide answers.


  4. I think one sort of people do more one thing, the other another. You know, those Jung 4-letter types. Each time I take one of those tests, I get another set of letters (INFP most of the time). I feel in between everything, actually, sometimes even genders. In your case, I prefer to follow my instincts and leave logic where it’s at, or I’d be still living in my old country, get my degree and have a high-paying job. Or be unemployed – economic logic points in that direction more and more. So I never try to ground my decisions on logic – there is no logic that could do that. I’ve seen a LOT of raised eyebrows in my life: first at the decision, and then again when it proved fruitful. I’m not changing my MO, as for everyone else: be my guest, I like watching you ride the logic without falling overboard. As rarely as that happens. 🙂


    • Interesting! I’m always INTJ on those tests – I actually fall pretty firmly into each of those categories. I tend to fall toward extremes in life, and I do see the world in black and white, so it’s easy for me to put logicality on a pedestal and scorn emotions. It’s been nice hearing everyone’s perspectives. Several people I know talked to me in person about this post. Many disagreed with me and some said my message behind this post was unclear. Makes me think I should have written with more clarity and more logicality (or perhaps more emotion?). Maybe I will re-write it in the future! Thanks for your comment, always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

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