Re: Plea (was ExI: Cognitive Extropians)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Fri, 17 Jan 1997 17:54:23 -0800 (PST)

> I don't believe you, Daniel. I agree that emotion does not necessarily cloud
> reason. The old Star Trek style opposition of reason and emotion is a poor
> picture of reality. However, emotional responses *can* make it extremely
> difficult to think rationally, while under their influence. When "wallowing"
> in an emotion, I think for humans it's hard not to let it interfere with
> reason. In some situations, the best thing is to realize that your ability
> to think clearly and from various perspectives is currently impaired, and to
> put off making decisions and judgments if possible. I think this is more
> rational than convincing yourself that you can completely set aside
> currently raging feelings to think perfectly rationally.

Perhaps "postponing judgment" is one useful technique for dealing with
emotional interference upon reason. I must agree that if nothing else,
emotions can occupy the mind's time, or encourage thoughtless action, and
so interfere with reason in that sense. But wouldn't it be good, perhaps
even better, to develop techniques that eliminate the interference in the
first place? Isn't it just as easy to learn "Don't let it bother you"
as to learn "Don't do that while you're upset."?

> While I agree with some of the other points you make, and sympathize with
> your general approach, I think you've missed QueenMUSE's point. She did not
> say that emotions are *reliable* guides to action, only that there are
> valuable guides. She's right. Emotions involve subsconsious judgments.
> *Sometimes* these can tell us things that we have not consciously realized.
> Denying this in favor of a view that only fully conscious reasoning provides
> useful information flies in the face of evolution and psychology.

Point taken. I am concerned, though, when I reflect that the loved ones
of a sick man in the 1700's let their compassion for the sick, and their
respect for a venerable doctor, allow the latter to bleed the former to
the point of death. Certainly, that same compassion will lead someone
today to give real help, but there is a fine line between _using_ one's
emotions and _relying_ upon them, and I want to make sure I stay clear
from that line.

> Nathaniel Branden explores these ideas in detail in his books. He started
> with the simpler Randian model that you seem to advocate, but developed a
> view that grants emotions more of a role, while still strongly advocating
> conscious reason as the final arbiter.

Yeah, he's gotten a little touchy-feely in his old age. :) Though I must
admit I still like him a lot more than that idiot Rand dumped him for.