When Dealing With People, Let Us Remember We Are Not Dealing With Creatures Of Logic. We Are Dealing With Creatures Of Emotion, Creatures Bustling With Prejudices And Motivated By Pride And Vanity.
— Dale Carnegie
Are human beings rational?
In listening to humans engage in argumentation / debates, or take a position when under the strong influence of emotions (thick bias, tribal /religious / political affiliations, hate, faith, love etc), it seems safe to say that (most) humans are beings of emotions and not rationality / logic.
This may be why we have the saying that Love Is Blind (since love entails strong emotions that interfere with clear thinking).
Apparently, even HATE itself is blind.
Ability to reason at a higher level is supposed to be one of the distinguishing characteristics of humans over the lower animals, but listening to humans analyze religious or political views demonstrates that we don’t always reason at a higher level when under the influence. It is not only alcohol that impairs (reasoning proficiency)
Our thinking accuracy is often impeded when it is something that affects us directly. So, it is tough to be completely dispassionate and analyze critically.
The way to influence humans is by appealing to their emotions.
While cold logic will win their minds, emotions win their hearts / money, This is the principle of TV commerciaLs, with even banks trying to sell you on how they make you feel, not just on cold facts like interest rates or other empiricisms
How else does one explain hearing people who ordinarily display a high level of intelligence degenerate into crass stupidity once one of these contentious emotional topics are on the front burner – failing to apply logic, attempting to upend logic, applying subtle lies, pushing logical fallacies / argumentum ad hominem, employing deliberately selective blindness – all to come to a premeditated conclusion.
The human being, by virtues of ability to reason is supposed to be at a higher level in the evolution of life, situated at the top of the genealogical tree of living beings, but do we always demonstrate this?.
Maya Angelou said,
People Will Forget What You Said, People Will Forget What You Did, But People Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel.
The implication is that, humans do not necessarily receive JUST what you said/did, but would internalize it based on perception. And perception is reality!
Meaning, two people can say exactly the same thing, and a single individual receive that same message differently. Clearly, it is not just the message, but the messenger that colors how the message is received.
To motivate a child to keep his room tidy, there are different approaches. (The ones that appeal to emotion work better and more permanently). You could employ fear (punishment), restrict some activities (no games until so so..), bribery (you get this if you do that), appeal to their sense of worth (clean-up and your room will smell better).
Yes, emotion always wins..
This is the era of politics where emotions run wild, foolishness get showcased and high intelligence gets displayed. People are canvassing their candidates with passion using all persuasive and argumentative logic to de-market opponents and burnish the favorites.
In less than a year, we would be making our choices as to who would be piloting the ship of state at the highest level. It is vitally important that we resist the natural human propensity to mistake perception for reality. We need to try and evaluate facts based on facts alone, and not emotions.
We need to, like that great physician, look beyond symptoms and focus on causes to arrive at how / why things appear the way they are. Ending our analyses at how things are, is not far reaching enough.
In something as serious as deciding who would determine (predominantly) how well or badly the country would do in the next four years, we can’t quite allow our hearts (emotions) do the thinking for us!