Emotion “Trump”(s) Logic and Reason
By Bryan Hayes
Evoking an emotional response is the basis for headlines, plots and story lines. Logic and reason do not equate to increased sales, more votes, or better ratings. On the contrary, the more emotionally captivated the audience the less a need for logic and reason.
Today, emotions are running high about sustainability. Is climate change real, or not? Are scientific reports fake, or not?
In an age where fear is a catalyst, it can be difficult ascertaining fact from fiction. The headlines may read one thing but the story may be something different. Plus, the sponsor of said story might be influencing the agenda they are promoting.
If one only looks only at the total body of work that is the news media, one might ascertain that every category of violence and crime has increased dramatically. Even if that is categorically false, and can be proven false, we see a never ending visual barrage of rape, ravage and pillage 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Logic and reason, while not necessarily the catalyst for change or the popular framework whereby information is distributed, is an integral part of choice. Fear is a trendy emotional trigger. It is everywhere. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
It was not that long ago, though, when the newspaper and the 5:00 a clock news were main sources of information. The newspaper was delivered daily, and sometimes weekly. The news segments lasted a mere hour (coupled with late night news and the morning news). That is a stark contrast to today’s world. Are there more news worthy events? Or, are there more time slots to fill? Is that why less than news worthy material ends up making the headlines?
Has life really changed that much, or rather has the coverage of life changed?
Looking back, life is much clearer. Part of that is disassociating from the emotion of the moment. Getting caught up in the emotion is also a part of living.
When emotions run high, logic and reason can be thrown out the window. Political debates are a prime example. The content of the message matters less. What’s important is the sound bite. Providing a plan of action is not as pivotal as saying what someone wants to hear.
With such an atmosphere of fear there is inherently a lot of distrust of everything. What gets lost is some very good, responsible reporting. But, there are reputable sources that disseminate information responsibly.
Stepping away from it – all of it – can be refreshing. Pushing the reset button can be instrumental in changing the reaction to current events. Taking away the emotion can bring a new clarity to the equation.