Monday, April 28, 2014

Logic Redux

To the same degree that I hate and reject reality, I embrace and treasure logic. Not the extreme Spock-the-Vulcan logic, necessarily, where there is absolutely no wiggle-room, but good old common sense logic. Logic gives the world—well, me at least—a sense of order and meaning. Yet I am eternally dumbfounded by the apparently overwhelming lack of it on display every minute of every day. 

One doesn't have to be particularly intelligent to be logical—only smart enough to realize when something does not make sense. And logic is anathema to politicians, pundits, and religious zealots whose entire purpose in life is to mislead others for their own purposes. I’m sure many of these loathsome nominal human beings who either ignore or pervert logic for their own gain do quite well on standard intelligence tests.

The concept of logic is accepted, however casually, by most people: the problem is that so many simply choose not to employ it. If something doesn't sound right, we're more frequently than not aware of it. But if what doesn't sound quite right involves something we want, we'll go along with it eight times out of ten simply because we want it to be right. And then, inevitably, after we've been whapped across the forehead with a coal shovel, we too often express astonishment that what we sensed wasn’t true from the outset, wasn’t. To point out that we wouldn't have had to blame ourselves if we'd only applied a little common sense logic before going in is like talking to a tree stump.

Those Ponzi artists, get-rich schemers, politicians, religious leaders, spammers, and a host of others mentioned above reap fantastic harvests of money and power on the rock-solid and accurate assumption that the people they victimize are too stupid or too lazy to employ even the most rudimentary logic. And the sheer number of them speaks to their success. It literally makes me light-headed to think that otherwise good,  otherwise intelligent people can believe that some African dignitary has chosen them out of the world's 5 billion people to ask for "help". Yet they do. They DO!

Not that I haven't occasionally overlooked—-and inevitably regretted—logic’s caution that something  might be just a tad odd. But I hope it happens far less to me than to those millions of people who pump billions upon billions of dollars into the wallets and bank accounts of despicable cretins who delight in taking advantage of others' lack of logic. 

Corporations routinely rely on the fact that you accept without question their every-thirty-second claim, while you sit on hold for 45 minutes, that "your call is very important to us." Making vague claims which, if not downright lies, are deliberately and patently misleading ("which emerging science suggests might help reduce the appearance”—six logic traps in that one phrase alone) is their stock in trade. And it works!

The emergence of the utterly negative Tea Party has sent the American political system into a downward spiral of lack-of-logic-fest. How can anyone possibly, possibly believe the destructive, self-serving rhetoric of people like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, and their minions? Even the most rudimentary logic is ground underfoot by such excrement. Yet it works. 

I credit my being an agnostic totally to the fact that it is the only belief which logic can't blow out of the water. The mere fact that there are countless religions in the world, each one claiming to be the only true religion, should indicate that logic is missing here, somewhere. But of course it doesn't. Organized religions, on matters of dogma, have sidestepped logic's 800 pound gorilla in the room by devising the concept of "faith." Absolutely brilliant because there is no objection which can be made which cannot be countered by that one word. It's almost as good an answer as "because." Faith can indeed be a great comfort but it is based on the flimsiest of reasoning. "There are things Man is not meant to know" is all well and good, but behind even the most profound of questions there has to lie some expectation of logic.

Does that make sense to you?

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1), which is also available as an audiobook (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00DJAJYCS&qid=1372629062&sr=1-1).


1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

Reminds me a bit of stories people will post that sound absolutely outlandish, yet they accept as fact. A simple check on a site like Snopes would tell them if it's true or false along with documentation. Does it happen? Nope. And what galls me is that they'll get upset with me if I post on their post (with a link) politely letting them know the story is false. Huh...