I’ve thought of myself at varying periods of my life as either a logical person or an emotional one. My teenage years were the coldest and most rigid with logic, I thought, and I’d pride myself in reasoning out everything I could, finding flaws in other’s thinking and work like a treasure hunter. But then I’d correct their mistakes proudly and loudly, finding pleasure in refutation and meticulous mincing of other’s arguments and beliefs. Facts and facts only were the final truth, with logic being the only rational tool to find that truth.
Around that time I started watching Star Trek, a show well known for a race of aliens called Vulcans who value logic over anything else. The entire species decried emotion, actively suppressing any expression of it in their daily lives. They followed the pure logical ways of their ancestor Surak, an ancient Vulcan who taught the originally emotional and violent race the “gospel” of logical reasoning to the exclusion of any emotions, which things were destructive, base, and primitive.
But something about this didn’t sit right with me back then. It still doesn’t.
Now this Vulcan view of logic is what many of my peers ascribed to, even I did. That is, the view that emotions and feelings are incompatible with the use of logic to find truth. To go even further, many of my peers confused logic itself with truth, conflating the tool for the found treasure. The TV Vulcans prided themselves (though they wouldn’t admit the pride) in being so much more logical than mere humans. My peers did the same.
I see this attitude in a modern motto: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” At first it sounded true, logical, and almost transcendental in its simplicity. But the more I think about it, and about Vulcans, and about Vulcan wannabes—the more I feel it’s a wrong way to look at life. I will go as far as to say it’s unChristian, if you’ll humor me for a moment. Let’s explore in this series the nature of logic and emotion when searching for truth.