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05 August 2010 @ 10:09 am
feelings vs. reason  

How closely aligned would you say your feelings and reason agree with each other most of the time? (1 = not at all, 10 = completely)

Mean: 6.30 Median: 7 Std. Dev 1.89

Does the degree to which they're not aligned bother you?


Which would you rather:

that you feelings conform to reason
that reason conform to your feelings
I'm feeling: curiouscurious
David Policardpolicar on August 5th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
Replying to this one was tricky.

In some sense, my feelings and my reason agree with each other pretty much all the time: a situation arises, I have feelings about it, I perceive those feelings, I reason about them. This is precisely the same sense in which that my reason agrees with my eyesight and my hearing: my reason takes my feelings as input.

In that sense, I'd say 10, no, and that reason "conform" to my feelings.

But that's probably not what you meant.

I am understanding the question to mean something more like how often do my feelings seem reasonable to me; how often are they the feelings I would choose to have if I had the choice?

If I understand the 1-10 scale to mean something like 10%-100% of the time, probably around a 6. Maybe even a 7. And, yes, it bothers me when they aren't; it challenges my sense of being in control of the bus. At least, to the degree that I identify with my ability to reason, which is less than it was before the stroke but still significant.

That said, in that sense I wouldn't have it any other way. That is, I would not rather either conform to the other; I would rather they continue to lead to different conclusions and that I not be bothered by it.
ruthless compassion: thinkyaroraborealis on August 5th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's not what I meant. For me, I pretty frequently have the experience of, for example, thinking that a given approach or situation is reasonable and right, but still having bad feelings about it (less frequently does it happen that I think [or notice when] a situation isn't reasonable and yet I feel unreasonably good about it), and I would be much happier if my feelings would conform to my intellectual understanding of the situation.

That said, in that sense I wouldn't have it any other way. That is, I would not rather either conform to the other; I would rather they continue to lead to different conclusions and that I not be bothered by it.

Yeah, I think this is the key. And, ironically, my problem here is a recapitulation of the overall problem: Feelings and reason are different, and they're good at different things, and they're both important. Intellectually, I know this. Emotionally, it makes me feel badly flawed that it bothers me.
David Policardpolicar on August 5th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, exactly.
I am often astonished by how thoroughly and well feelings respond to being listened to, though.
Spikespike on August 5th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
This last question.
Are you asking this?
Woud you rather
(A) have the feelings that well up inside you of their own accord always be founded on carefully considered reasoning, and thus never be 'at odds' with your own rational thought [aka "have only cold, rational 'feelings'"]
(B) have your reasoned thought always be twisted around inside your own head so that it appears to you that your irrational feelings are perfectly well supported by apparently (to you) solid arguments? [aka "lose ability to think rationally"]

If this is NOT what you're asking, then I find myself wondering what else it means to have 'reason "conform" to feelings'?
ruthless compassion: martini handsaroraborealis on August 5th, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
Re: This last question.
Yes, that's what I'm asking.
Spikespike on August 5th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Re: This last question.
I think that if I lost what little remaining ability to think rationally that I have left, that'd lead to things being even worse. So: if those are my choices, I choose the former, mostly out of fear of the nonstop train wrecks that the latter would bring.
ruthless compassion: martini handsaroraborealis on August 5th, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
Re: This last question.
What's missing is option (c) as described by dpolicar above, which is, I think, the actual right choice, insofar as there's a right choice here.
DancingWolfGrrldancingwolfgrrl on August 5th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
Re: This last question.
!! I totally and completely misunderstood you. I thought the last question meant something like this:

Given that being human involves having feelings and reasoning that don't always get along, would you prefer to strive to bring your feelings in line with your reason or the other way around?

(Also, my personal assumption is that feelings and thoughts act in important ways as checks and balances, and that that equation isn't going to fall apart regardless. I think it's harder to imagine a workable way of privileging feelings, but that's part of why I care about it: there's so much cultural strength behind privileging reason that I want to tip a bit in the other direction.)
ruthless compassion: martini handsaroraborealis on August 5th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
Re: This last question.
But ... how do you bring your reason around to your feelings if they don't align without making your reason less rational?
DancingWolfGrrldancingwolfgrrl on August 5th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
Re: This last question.
Hm. I think we might be having a clash of worldviews!

In the arena of complex problems, I think that there's often not one "most rational" answer. If there are several, then I think feelings are a valid and important way to discriminate between them, and for me this way of working through things is one that often produces a solution my head and heart can agree on.
David Policardpolicar on August 5th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: This last question.
Wow, that sure is an emotionally loaded way of asking the question.
Spikespike on August 5th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
Re: This last question.
Spikespike on August 5th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
Q2: Does it bother me?
There are two possible interpretations of this question, too, and I have different answers to them.

Interpretation 1 (the one I answered No to) : Does it seem odd or surprising or broken that "feelings" and "reason" are different? that they are different things? that they produce different results given the same situation? No, none of that seems odd or surprising or broken; it does not 'bother me' in that sense.

Interpretation 2 (I would have to say Yes to this one) : Does it create unpleasant tension inside you when "feelings" and "reason" pull me in different directions, when they are not well aligned with each other inside me? Yes. Yes, that's pretty damn unpleasant sometimes, and when it happens, I am bothered.
veek on August 5th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Q2: Does it bother me?
Ah, yes, that's the distinction that was nebulously nagging me when comparing how I answered that question to how others did. (That's one of the most rewarding features of these polls, for me: perspective brought by putting together other people's responses and what I know of them as people.)

Thank you. :)
funner'n a sack a weaselsmoominmolly on August 5th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Q2: Does it bother me?
Oh, ha - I read a third interpretation, based on the word "degree": Does the proportion of your feelings that seem unreasonable bother you? I.e., do you think that too many (or too few!) of your feelings do not conform to reason?
Mizarchivist: Calvin- Well adjustedmizarchivist on August 5th, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC)
I feel lots of things, but I try not to let my Id overrun me.
I don't wanna! But I'm an adult, so I'm doing this thing.
T Streich: Joke's on You.sweetbaboo on August 5th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
I, for one, am grateful that the rare passing bout of homicidal mania is not matched to my intellect giving me the green light.

Edited at 2010-08-05 03:17 pm (UTC)
Roy Battyroy_batty on August 5th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
It's a much bigger subject than I'm able to address here, but I'm not going to answer the poll as-is because my "feeling center" and my "thinking center" being in agreement, and being in alignment, speak to two very different things for me.

In alignment, my "feeler" feels, my "thinker" thinks, and while they both have very different agendas by their very natures they can communicate both with each other and with my "higher self"/"authentic self"/what-have-you. The don't need to agree, they just need to be functioning clearly and informing my system as a whole properly.

Not in alignment, they borrow funtioality from each other: I make logical decisions with my heart, get too analytical about how my feelings are supposed to make sense, and might let either of these two confused drivers behind the wheel of the car that is my self (when, ideally, I'd like that aforementioned "higher self" to be doing that steering while getting well informed information from the other two).
Boring Nerdsignsoflife on August 5th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
Given that I'm about 2 chapters into "How We Decide" right now, I find this utterly impossible to respond to.

(The central thesis of HWD appears at this point to be that every? decision we make has an emotional component, to the point that people with specific brain damage inhibiting their emotional responses are pathologically incapable of making decisions about anything at all. Feeling vs. reason is as false a binary as false binaries come. But I'm only two chapters in, and have not brought my own critical analysis to the argument yet, and thus the "impossible to answer the poll" business.)
Kcatkcatalyst on August 5th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, this.
jordanwillow: philippe petit and the twin towersjordanwillow on August 5th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
the extremity of my response is mainly because of my work. i could say more about that but won't here -- maybe in person someday. and i couldn't vote in the last one, because i'm completely content with the two not conforming.
Vinnie Teslavinnie_tesla on August 5th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
This old essay of mine seems kind of relevant.
blkblk on August 6th, 2010 12:39 am (UTC)
I have found that my feelings and my reason are in tune a significantly greater proportion of the time after years in therapy studying my feelings, learning to recognize them and find sources for them, and finding that they are reasonable most of the time. What I choose to do with them is not necessarily my first instinct, but I would not say that I "disagree" with them, just that I don't always follow them.