See a reason

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The conversation started with electoral choices and then turned to how to make somebody with strong feelings in any direction in order to see a reason. Is there a rational path to it? Can you argue with emotions? The straight answer is no, but…

There is a beautiful quote by Friedrich Nietzsche “Here the ways of men divide. If you wish to strive for peace of soul and happiness, then believe; if you wish to be a disciple of truth, then inquire.”. The question is how these two types communicate. And I don’t mean how to get to the bank. Even then, one could direct you to pass thru a wonderful garden on your way and the other — the shortest way thru a highly polluted part of the city. There is no right and wrong here, it depends on the context, if you need money to save somebody’s life would be different if you need just to deposit a small check. I’m mostly an inquirer and I’ve been called a robot by an ex-partner of mine. I was not offended because that was simply her inability to create a rational argument, so her frustration had to go somewhere. I understand the anger of powerlessness, it’s like you try to do something physical and you feel that it’s not impossible, but after so many failed attempts you quit, left with rage due to the adrenaline rush. The systematic rational approach gives you more predictability which feels safe and more things seem achievable. At the same time robs you of the joy of impulsiveness and improvisation — follow your guts/heart way. Probably there is a middle ground somewhere, which would take a lifetime to find and after that it’s pointless.

When somebody has a strong emotional connection to an idea to a degree that they consider this to be part of their identity, any attempt to even discuss that idea is considered an intrusion to their core self. The fact that you cannot attack from a rational standpoint somebody’s core beliefs does not mean all communications upon the matter are doomed. Your approach needs to be much more sublime, under the radar.

The first thing to do is to understand their feeling and attempt to speak the language of said feelings. Ideas born from feelings are always controversial, once you are inside the terminology and have some knowledge of the controversies, you can create an argument within the other person’s intuition. It is not the easiest thing to do but at least that is a communication starter.

Second, try to understand the origin of these beliefs (parents, teachers, peers, etc) most probably there is some love/hate relationship somewhere. Talk about that …

Third, create an illusion of a middle ground. You certainly have had similar feelings or experiences at some point in your life. Talk about these experiences, dive into them, but most importantly show that you are vulnerable (broken even) and count on their empathy.

You cannot argue with someone with a position driven by emotions, to make him/her see a reason. The only feasible thing to do is to establish some communication and keep that communication channel open long enough to share some experiences, thoughts, and maybe morals.

Categories human condition


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