Finding X Reasons For Why

This weekend will be one not remembered for the joyous times we all should be having with family and loved ones, but for a senseless mindless tragedy that will bring many of us to question everything. As it should.

The problem with such heinous acts of evil is we want to lash out at anyone, and everything. We want answers, and we want them now. Sometimes there are no easy available answers which will enrage some of us even more.

Some will focus on the easiest of targets as the reason, some will draw conclusions where they shouldn’t. Both sides charged with emotion defending their sides rightly, but maybe for the wrong reasons.

Sometimes there just isn’t a correct answer, an easy fix, just do this and this won’t happen. Which escalates the anger even more. To paraphrase an old axiom: “These are the times that try one’s soul.”

We quest for answers now. We want to know how could someone do such a thing, and why. Vagueness will not suffice we believe. We want answers and we want them now. And if we can’t get answers then we’ll make broad accusations and assumptions because we feel the need we must do something – anything.

Though that can be true, it can also be dangerous. However a pure emotional based discussion can leave any issue unsolved, just as trying to fix something using only logic. The two go hand in hand. One without the other usually results in unintended repercussions that make the original problem worse.

I once listened to one of the F.B.I.’s top criminal profiler’s speak about the mind of individuals he had to try to anticipate as to apprehend them. For me it was both insightful and sobering at the time.

In a shorthanded response to the question of why these people do the things they do he said: (I’m paraphrasing) “You don’t. You can estimate and work out reasons, but the actual why you can’t. And you don’t want to get that deep into it either, because to get to the point of truly knowing the real why you have to psychologically become them – literally. And normal people can’t get there. Which we shouldn’t, because that’s why they’re them, and we aren’t.”

So as we reflect on our own lives this weekend we’ll be bombarded in every form of media blaming people, places, or things in some form or another. The debates will be highly charged. Some will make sense, some will be moronic. However just remember to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Because in the end no one can protect us from everything. Even ourselves.

I wrote the article below for Upmarket Magazine back in June of this year. I offer here only because we forget far too quickly why we’re arguing. Or what for.

Emotion vs Logic Is The Wrong Debate

Many times we hear arguments based on pure logic, or pure emotion. When this happens — more often than not — one side is absolutely convinced the other side is wrong, and usually there is no reconciliation between the two. The same drama that unfolds in a parent vs. teenager debate also unfolds across the spectrum of business, regardless of age or stature. One side defends their position based purely on logic, while the other is wrought with emotion. Neither side will be able to persuade the other, and this confrontation usually ends in deadlock (or worse).

Sometimes, we hear the term “passionate” used to describe a fiery debate. Although this word conjures up an image of pure emotion, a passionate debate is also laced with logical reasoning as to why the participant cares so deeply. In order to find a workable conclusion or middle ground, both sides must include logic and emotion in their arguments. If either side focuses only on logic or emotion, there’s no reason to continue the debate; nothing but frustration will result. If you are aware of this in your challenging debates, you will know when you can end an argument politely — because there are some cases where nobody will be happy and no progress will be made.

Think of emotions as the sails on a ship, and logic as the ropes that bind them. Without the strength of the ropes and points of restraint to hold the sails in place, the sheets will whip to-and-fro aimlessly. The sail won’t have any power to move the ship, and will become tattered and torn as it flails, untethered. It won’t be long before it wears itself out, and frays beyond repair.

In relation to the size and scope of sails, ropes are fractional — yet they are what give the sails their power and strength. The ropes allow the force of the wind to be captured and to move the ship forward. And ropes, as important as they are to this equation, are meaningless if all they do is stay coiled in some container. It’s the combination of ropes and sails that give both their ability to harness the wind with astonishing results.

When you’re in a debate, discussion, or argument you must be the one who is on the lookout for signs that the emotional and logical sides of the argument are present in both sides of the debate. Once you’re able to do this in real-time (or watching from afar), you’ll be able to spot the brewing storm clouds, and adjust your course of action so as to avoid being swept into more turbulent weather.

A passionate — successful — debate has both sides pleading their case with emotion tied down with logical reasoning. When a debate is structured in this way, the murky waters of business become as exciting as being at the helm, navigating a ship at the Americas Cup. But one without the other, and you’ll never get further than the dock.

© 2012 Mark St.Cyr