Here’s an important backdrop for pretty much anything I can imagine posting here: I am undoubtedly an emotional person. I get choked up watching movies all the time, and sometimes I get so frustrated that I want to scream. My hope is always to put this aside when I discuss an issue. I think this has been a problem on FaceBook in the past, because people see my arguments as emotional, and place emotion that they imagine on them, when the intent is to be an emotional void. It’s not that I don’t like emotions, it’s not that I think they’re bad. It’s simply that I think our decision-making process is not always the best when we throw emotions into the picture. Some might say that it’s impossible to remove them, because we are, indeed, emotional beings, but I try hard to separate them nevertheless. I tried to explain this to my lovely wife last night, and her first response was to laugh out loud and call me crazy, but after a bit of explaining, I think I won her over, and convinced her that even though I get emotional, I try to keep that out of these decisions/discussions/debates.
Take the death penalty as an example. If somebody hurt my loved one, I would want them to suffer terribly. Death may be too easy, but a slow excruciating death might be exactly what the doctor ordered. But that’s not the rational side of me, it’s the irrational side. The rational side might consider if the punishment helps or hurts our society. If the punishment will deter somebody from committing the same crime in the future. If the punishment will help society by making others feel a better sense of justice. The rational approach assigns some weight to each of these considerations, and determines an answer that is logical and well thought through. That is precisely what I strive for when discussing policy or the direction I think our leaders should take us (odd that the leader isn’t the one leading, but that’s another story all together).
So, in the future, when you read what I write, try to imagine it said by Mr. Spock, and not by Captain Kirk. Imagine it without emotion, but with an attempt toward emotion-free logic…then smile and be happy.
And I leave you with this….