This post is the latter half of a two-part post. I recommending read it before reading part 2. For part 1, click here.
All of this talk of being logical and emotional so far has been discussed as concepts in tandem, not separately as society seems to see fit. And as we are placed in this environment called civilization, like animals, we play the game called “Survival of the Fittest,” appearing to say as stoic as we can, unmoved by anything. We see this appearance of emotionless logic as strength and society laughs in our faces because she knows this is all an illusion, one that so many of us have fallen for. Yes, there is a game, but we are not the ones playing it; we’re the ones being played by society.
We are weaklings with this duality, loving the logical appeal that is Dr. Jekyll while fearing was we perceive to be the ferocious beast of emotion that is Mr. Hyde. We know that emotion is powerful beyond measure, even capable of destruction. And many of us have bought into the idea that is also capable of destroying our ability to reason and make sound decisions.
I wanted to probe further, to see if perhaps science had something say in relevance to intersection of emotion and logic. It turns out that a neurologist by the name of Antonio Damasio had recently studied emotion greatly and discovered that emotion is an incredibly important component to our life regulating processes. It also happens to be that way for almost every other living creature in existence. In humans, Damasio studied people with damage to their prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for emotions. One of the people he studied had his injury happen at work and it was clear to his colleagues that him post-injury was very different from the efficient model employee that everyone knew. To the patient’s colleagues, he was now “fitful, irreverent, and profane” and terrible at managing his emotions. Impatience was his virtue and he oscillated between stubbornness and his lack of ability to make decisions.While this patient had his prefrontal cortex damaged, another patient his prefrontal cortex completely surgically removed because of a brain tumor. Unlike the former patient, this patient seemed like his normal self after the operation while having his prefrontal cortex completely removed instead of just damaged. Although this patient had his former personality, he lacked the ability to make everyday decisions that most of us make without thinking about it.
After studying these subjects and putting proposed hypothesis to the test, Damasio’s results came to this conclusion: “emotion and feeling are necessary not just for art
and the humanities, but also for rationality.”
In other words, there is no such thing as a logical decision according to science. The idea of a logical decision is an illusion that many of us, geniuses and average people alike, have fallen for.
The judge that was mentioned in part one who said his court was not a court of emotion was contradicting himself; he had to make a verdict that day, a decision, an act that requires emotion. He also had to plan to come to court, had to eat, choose to wear his judge’s robe–endless everyday decisions that he has made for many, many years.
Like the judge, without emotions being a part of me, I wouldn’t be able to make decisions like making plans for my day, wearing the outfit I currently have on, and writing this post. Not going to lie; I’m happy with all of my emotional decisions I took to research, pen this post, and hit that publish button. And I am grateful for the emotional decision you made to read through this entire post. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the next time someone tells me to “take emotion out of it” and purposefully say “I don’t know” when they ask for my conclusion concerning the subject we’re deliberating about. It will confuse them, maybe even drive them nuts. Either way, I won’t regret it. 😉
What are your thoughts on decisions being an emotional thing?