Is there a logic behind every observation?

I have been pretty busy working on something that doesn’t really require much of intelligence in Germany these days. The work has pretty much taken over all my time, leaving no time to read and write. Speaking of my way of writing, I am not sure how many of the readers are willing to suffer to finish all those tediously verbose articles I wrote (I did try my best to construct my writings as concise as possible after all). But I do feel excited once someone has the curiosity and the virtue (patience of virtue) to read over my heretic bs and feel like tossing a piece of his/her mind on my face and declare my theses completely bogus.

I am not masochist, and certainly I get very annoyed at people’s hysterical emotional outcry and slogan yelling (examples here and here), but I am always curious to know how people think and respond to new or different ideas. The other day I was walking home from work with a friend mine, I started to intentionally steer the casual discussion into a serious polemic on the pursuit of individual happiness. With my great rhetoric skills (I started training myself in the debate team and public speaking clubs ever since those wild days a.k.a. college period), I managed to lead the conversation to the direction that 1. the western society is almost as fragile as an old hollow tree on the verge of being nibbled out by massive parasitic bugs, and therefore 2. to pursue one’s happiness to the fullest, one should be as selfish as possible to strive for highest level of satisfaction over his/her 50 years of consciousness (provided that he/she lived 70 years perfectly health and sound).

Of course such arguments are far away from being an impeccable contention if the debate were held in the written form. But it was solid enough to overwhelm in that verbal discussion. That friend of mine, a well-informed and concerned westerner who does have a sense of respect for logic and reasoning, was pushed to reiterate his arguments for his idealistic middle class country life mode over and over again and finally did admit the logic of my politically incorrect arguments, though reluctantly.

“What’s the point? How do you explain the happiness from helping others for nothing?” He dropped the defense for his contention and started to seek any cracks from my arguments for an unexpected ambush.

“Point? Everything has a point.” I stammered for a while trying to organize my reasoning defense.

“The world is not only about ‘point’, we are imperfect mortals with deficient emotions. Happiness is not about to reaching a point” He tried to probe further for retaliation. But it was a pretty lame operationalization and immediately inspired me how I should respond, “the point of a thing is that thing’s realistic logic explanation. Everything could be explained by logic. There’s no exception. Emotions are pre-programmed logic that we are not even conscious about most of the time. Say you have the emotional tendency of sympathizing other people, or animal etc. This stems from the fact that you value your own organic life, more precisely your DNA, or your own consciousness. In pre-historical times humans were not physically fit for survival on our own, we need to cooperate with others and sometimes this means to ‘selflessly’ help others to survive in a group. The DNA of your spices thus has a higher possibility to be passed down and also you will have a higher chance to survive with others’ help in return. The evolution in those uncivilized ages have pre-programmed this essential logic, the continuation of DNA, into the existence of human sympathy in our ‘imperfect mortal emotions’. So essentially you feel happy by helping others, like liberal leftists feel happy by helping the inferior breeds and granting them superior rights, is a direct extrapolation of satisfying a point. Figure out what your points are and only focus on satisfying them, then you will get happy. Likewise, exactly because it’s pointless to live happily ever after in the western cultural Marxism bubble, you ought to further review your pre-programmed logic to fit in the current environment for your best existence, that is, to optimize your well-beings for two things: your ‘delusive free will’ and ‘core value of organic life – preservation of your DNA’. You need to always use logic over emotional instinct on things that you don’t understand at first.”

What a bunch of confusing and abstract combination of words. I left two ways out for him at that moment: either he burst into a serious emotional condemnation or stay confused and muted to digest the reasoning logic. Fortunately he chose the latter one (part of the reason why I consider him as a good friend, for he is reasonable and could be convinced by rationality). But the odd thing is that when I almost convinced him “wrong is wrong for there’s nothing wrong” such paradoxical theory, I started to instantaneously doubt about the validity of the contention I just made up. So, is there a logic explanation behind every observation?

So there is at least one logic explanation for everything that was happening and not happening? Does that imply that everything in this world could be explained by rationality and reasoning? What about those seemingly irrational decisions made by “imperfect” people? Well, now that even emotion could be rationally explained as the process of pre-programmed rational choice, it should be possible to look for a logic explanation for lots of un-logic things that simply don’t make sense. Is that contradictory? Let’s see. I have always thought that leftism is largely established on the denial of objective facts and logic speculation. To deny the natural differences among different groups of people certainly does not follow the logic of objective facts and of course this would bring a lot of avoidable serious social problems for the western society. But ss there a rational logic behind the leftists’ explicit irrational preference and blunt denial of objectivity? One could argue that those who were significantly pushing this ideology into the mainstream modern society must be extremely intelligent and know exactly what they were doing (unlikely most of their blindly following pupils). Why did they fail to detect the evident contradictions in their beliefs and objective facts? For the time being I would emphasize on the role of emotion in clouding their judgments. Perhaps exactly because they felt too proud to get down to the ground for practical ideologies all the time. Instead, they feel naturally superior to the rest, especially to the inferior types all over the world (e.g. Africans, aborigines, Muslims etc.). One of the most predictable consequence of such admittance of superiority over those people is to naturally pity them. As I mentioned above the feeling of sympathy does make sense somehow, 10,000 years ago probably. And it has been unconditionally amplified or shall I say abused with the luxury to afford doing so in the modern civilization. It is not easy to think deep enough to look for a logic speculation on pre-defined irrational items such as emotions (I wouldn’t even remotely touch such speculations if not stimulated by that spontaneous debate). Hence it is indeed logic to conjecture that leftist ideologists concluded that human kindness is pure and divine (without probing further why emotion) and therefore the ultimate justification for every action that goes against cold-blooded objective facts (leftism). It’s a much upgraded version of “helping others to feel better for yourself”. So we shall say the key to those smart leftists’ stubbornness (stupid ones are not worth discussing here) in denying objective facts and logic is their failing to see the rationality behind human emotions and taking sympathy as a universal virtue for granted. In this way it explains the reason why they would create a whole new thesis that is heavily built on sentimental values, which could be easily absorbed and recognized as resonating ethics with quasi-religious worship by the majority people who live in luxurious society of excessive productivity (most people don’t even bother thinking this far, so they would just take whichever makes best sense with their pre-programmed logic). Then the next thing you know there are people shouting these slogans as the undisputable divinity to infidels…

Does that logically interpret why the mainstream modern civilization adapts such blatant fallacy as THE brainwashing belief in the education and mass media nowadays? If so, then there’s still a hope to revert such actions: one could certainly hope that when the ugly bitterness finally comes back to those affluent beings from their denial and devastation to the foundation of modern civilization, more people would be able to see the realistic calculation out of their emotional cloud and act accordingly…

Anyhow, once again I have written so much already for one article. I’d like to stop the explorative discussion right here. Just one last question, how do I even know my logic is closer to the reality than others? Everyone has his/her own cognitive bias. What logic makes the most sense? One could argue from the theory of Occam’s razor. It is always more feasible to explain logic from the viewpoint of pragmatism than the pursuit of the “truth”. I tend to add two more criteria in judging the precision of one’s logic: your logic is most likely to be more practical to the real situation if 1. you are more well-informed than others (both the range of information and the depth of information), and 2. you are more open-minded to use reasoning to subjects you are not familiar with (favor objective facts over subjective emotional response).

7 comments

  1. Psychologists often say that we have beliefs first and then we go looking for “reasons” that support the beliefs. Which is why logical debate is nearly impossible.

    1. To bob:
      “Psychologists often say that we have beliefs first and then we go looking for “reasons” that support the beliefs”

      True, this has been sort of confirmed. Check this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/arts/people-argue-just-to-win-scholars-assert.html?_r=1

      “Which is why logical debate is nearly impossible.”

      yeah, in general not many people could even achieve such levels. The reality is most debates are preuly based on emotion. Whoever’s story is the most touching wins. we see a lot of that cases in contemporary politics. But, Well, I think there is still a slight chance, that is, a logical debate based on mutual recognition of some objective common grounds, such as respect for objective facts over subjective emotional responses, and admitting that the logic which could best explain the observation with the least hypothetical assertion is the more accuarte than others (Occam’s Razor). After all that’s the kind of discussion I want to cater here in my blog.

  2. “Psychologists often say that we have beliefs first and then we go looking for “reasons” that support the beliefs”

    Good old confirmation bias.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

    A couple of things that you should probably think about:

    1. Is there a strong evolutionary basis for altruism, as opposed to *reciprocal* altruism?

    2. People are weird. There’s an evolutionary reason for acting in a self-interested fashion. You see this in the way rich White parents behave when sending their kids to non-NAM school. The very same people may then, paradoxically, act against their self-interest when voting for higher taxes for, well, rich White people. What does one conclude from such paradoxical behavior?

    3. Political orientation is heritable. How does this square with the notion of certain political ideologies are observably against the perpetuation of the genes of their main adherents?

    1. Very good comment buddy.
      1. I do think that altruism has a very strong evolutionary basis. As I stated in the article above, humans in Paleolithic era need to survive in groups and I do think altruism is a great invention that significantly increase the successful rate of passing down human DNA generation by generation in the wilderness. I try to look at this as an evolution that became the animal instincts for all social species. Humans are no exception to this rule. Thing is with the excessive productivity we achieved with our consciousness we seem to amplify this instinct a bit too much… This topic is definitely worth digging into…

      2. I admit people are indeed very weird. I think the case you mentioned could only be explained that some people are very stubborn with their obviously-ill logic. Someone just couldn’t accept the practical logic over their delusive belief. That’s what I called either really stupid to spot the better alternative or extremely narrow-minded towards unfamiliar and new conceptions. I am really interested in reading more about cognitive bias.

      3. I think the behavior in favor of perpetuation of the genes is pre-programmed and often times we are not aware of it at all. Our subjective self-awareness creates this illusion that we are self-centered and everything serves for ourselves. I guess some people would also believe the world should run on universal benevolence, the ultimate magnification of human sympathy. People are abusing with emotions, those pre-programmed survival instincts from the pre-historical era. But why? well, excessive productivity of the society creates smugness. Go read the article Human culture in a nutshell, human civilizations are propelled only by a small handful of people, but the rest feel like winners as well. People tend to believe they are the ones who made such profound changes in human civilization (or often refer to as “we”), and tend to abuse altruism since they think they are pretty well-off (at least “we” are).

  3. Seems to me logic isn’t a major component of human thought processes, not matter which segment of humanity appears to the origin of a particular segment of the body of recorded human thought. Despite our human reluctance to acknowledge it, every facet of our existence is reactionary and a shockingly miniscule piece of what we call thought doesn’t originate in our own minds. Maybe we’re hardwired in such a way as to avoid examination of the sources of everything we believe and everything we believe we know.

    But if such an examination takes place we discover almost every fragment came through a chain of observations of strangers we, either know nothing about, or if we do know something about, have no reason whatever to trust as infallible. Almost invariably we trust the chains of information derived from anonymous strangers over our own, personal observations when the two are in conflict.

    But tracked even further backward, those strangers we see as the origins were actually in the same situation as ours: They were depending on a chain of strangers before them to define their own realities.

    But that’s only one of the reasons the human mind can be called reactionary. The other involves the relationship between the human phenomenon of time and the speed of light communication between the senses and the brain, followed by whatever time it takes the brain to process the incoming data, formulate something involving ‘thought’ concerning it, and react. That delay imposes an illusion of ‘NOW’ that in reality is not now, but the past. Whatever is going on in the real NOW happened a second ago, or a fraction of a second ago, and our conscious minds have zero control over it. That now is entirely out of our reach, always will be, always has been, and some part of our minds is dealing with it on autopilot.

    1. Of course human consciousness is fundamentally based on our own cognition, either theoretical or empirical. But the ability to sublimate detailed empirical perceptions into abstract conceptual generalizations should be labelled as an upgraded level of mere “reactionary” mind. The urge to seek sensible logic behind every observation, in my opinion, is indeed this type of upgraded reactionary mind. Maybe we don’t have the ability to seek for ultimate truth in the universe. But definitely we are progressing vastly towards the discovery of practical logic that helped us function better as the only spadices with consciousness and intelligence. In the same sense, to look for a better logic refers to look for a logic that is more practical to the situation, with less new assumptions and input. I see that as pretty attainable for my mortals.

      However, it’s true that human mind could be called reactionary biologically. I was reading Arthur Schopenhauer’s essay on the Freedom of the Will days ago. I recommend you to read it as well. One of his main concept is that the freedom of human free will does not exist wholly due to our biological constraint. We are somewhat programmed in the way we behave as the mechanism of consciousness itself is mere biological reactions. But subjectively, human still thinks we do have free will, like the ability to determine what’s right or wrong. This is because we are not really aware of those possibilities popping out in our mind are something that we would never do, as you mentioned, driven on the autopilot. My interpretation is that the understanding of logic and philosophy in general needs a lot of pre-conditions such as personal intelligence and open-minded personality. It’s hard to be trained postnatally to appreciate those things if people don’t reach those criteria.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s