I confess that I enjoy science fiction. To me, Dr Spok is the essence of logical thinking in Sci- Fi. At least when I was growing up. When I think of logic, I often think of him as a prime example. His people do not allow emotion to dictate their choices. Now we can’t ignore emotions and how they affect us but we can be easily manipulated by them.
How does something visually stunning make us feel? Or a pleasant sound or just plain great music (whatever that is to you) Associated emotions often stir something within us that can bypasses logic. An example of that comes to my mind is traditional advertising.
That is why marketing companies use this well-crafted art form to promote products they want us to feel drawn towards. Inanimate objects that arguably add no value to us, become something we desire because of how owning them make us feel or how we perceive it will when we have them.
Think about Coke. What does Coke add to your life that water could not? The human body needs water but does it need Coke and all the chemicals contained within it? Probably not. Coke would argue taste and that is a valid argument because humans have been making variations of Coke since the beginning of history but we only need good quality water to live healthily. What is in Coke that can make life better? Is our perception based on the emotion of holding it in our hand and how it will somehow fulfil us?
That is the power of advertising. It can influence the very fabric of our society. The overwhelming saturation of social media affects our thinking and emotions more than ever in human history. So why am I saying this? Because like Spok I think we need to rely a little less on pure emotion and feeling and think a little bit more about the single question of why? We need to analyse why we think the way we do. Human beings possess the ability to think about what they think about. Do other species of creatures think? Yes, they can think and reason, but cannot analyse what they are thinking about. In science fiction they call this sentience. A being that can think about what it is thinking about is called a sentient being. It is the ability to watch your thoughts go past like a movie and make judgement about those thoughts based on logic.
The problem is where does our logic come from in the first place? Is that logical process of watching our own thoughts based on some other input that is tainted or is the source of the logic pure? Perhaps there is no way of ever coming to a certain conclusion, but we need to try at the very least. Where does our stream of thoughts originate? Is it based on emotion alone or the perceptions we have been taught to think are true?
If my family liked to drink and watch football on Sunday is this thought process good or not? What if another family always went on picnics on a Sunday? Which way of thinking is better? How can we determine if what we are thinking is correct?
Perhaps one way is to observe the outcome of that logical thought and how it affects us, others and the world we live in.
We can look at logical thinking as completely subjective to background, culture, experience, social media and ultimately emotions. Think of it this way. See your stream of thoughts through an external window like what you might find on a typical house. What are the images of your thoughts that appear in that portal? What is it you see? Are your thoughts chaotic and negative or are they serene and peaceful? Do they display wishes of harm to others? Or are you seeing a desire to do good in the world around you? You can see where I am going. Incidentally, what is your definition of doing good and where did that concept originate from? Is it religion, school, politics or perhaps your parents? Could it be the same for negative thinking? Is your concept of negative thinking designed by culture, social media or your peers because it challenges the status quo? Is it negative because it asks questions and enquires on why things are the way they are? Or is it influencing you to hurt others? You can see this thread will continue until it finds its origin.
We as human beings can come to many different conclusions as we trace our own threads of thinking. My question for us today is why do we think the way we do? If we can start there, we can perhaps unravel and discard the many threads that lead us to be driven purely by emotions and not logic. We can confront concepts that ultimately harm us others and the world we live in.