“I Know What You’re Doing…You’re Trying to Use LOGIC on Me!”
by David Kennedy Bird
I have a friend from college days — let’s call him ‘Grog’ — who once shared with me (back in college days) the following highly amusing story.
‘Grog’ [not his real name] had apparently had a conversation with a freshman about… oh, who knows what. Knowing ‘Grog,’ it may have been politics, social theory, or theology. And apparently ‘Grog’ was having difficulty getting his argument to land home. He tried one approach, then another, but she just wasn’t connecting. At long last, however, after a frustrating and apparently fruitless series of attempts to put his reasoning across to the hapless lass, a look of recognition finally appeared upon the young lady’s features, as if she had awakened from a fearful slumber and was for the first time fully tuned in to the conversation. And she said:
“I know what you’re trying to do! You’re trying to use LOGIC on me!”
In Grog’s [not his real name] later recounting of the incident to me, he appended the following observation. “What was she wanting me to do?” he queried. “Go like this?”
And right there, in front of me, he plunged into a series of horrific full-body spasms that successfully communicated the idea of whatever it is that’s the clean OPPOSITE of logic.
I got it.
Personally, i would have much preferred logic. But there’s no accounting for tastes.
During the years since ‘Grog’ shared the story with me, i have often turned that incident over in my mind. There are people in this world… i know this sounds terrible, and i hate even to have to raise the subject, but sometimes unpleasant things must be talked about… there are people in this world who have somehow landed the impression that logic is a bad thing. Have you run into people like this? Their view of human life is as follows:
Over here, in this corner, you’ve got the people who are cool, caring, creative, intuitive, interesting, connect easily with others, dance with unicorns, know how to have a good time, and, in short, are fully human.
And in that other corner way over there, there are the people whose terrifyingly blackened innards are gummed up with LOGIC, and who are, as a result, really stuffy, cold, irritating, and, let’s just come right out and say it, evil.
One can hardly point out to them that such a setup is not logical. It simply wouldn’t have the intended effect. Yes? You can see the dilemma.
Here’s an example of the sort of thing i’m talking about. In 1979, the rock band Supertramp released a song (kind of a cool song, actually) called “The Logical Song.” The lyrics to that song are guilty of virtually every possible fallacious representation of what logic is really all about.
Here, you wanna listen? It sounds kind of like this:
Man, did you catch that? What a series of poorly-conceived pot shots! On the one hand you’ve got innocence, youth, freedom, wonder, and birdies singing. On the other hand, you’ve got intellect, responsibility, practicality, logic. You know: the BAD things.
Here’s the thing. The idea that “being a logical, analytical person” is somehow the opposite of “being a creative, imaginative, intuitive person” is pure baloney.
And not even real baloney. No. The kind of baloney that’s made out of chicken scraps.
See, it’s possible to be BOTH logical / analytical AND imaginative / intuitive. My main man C.S. Lewis is a prime example (well, not anymore; he’s dead) of that sort of person.
It’s possible, on the other hand, to be NEITHER logical / analytical NOR imaginative / intuitive. Some people are just kind of dull and stupid and have very little going on down inside, in that place there where most of us have something going on.
And then of course, it’s possible to be logical / analytical WITHOUT being imaginative / intuitive, and vice-versa. But the point is, you can be any combination of them. It’s not as if those things are opposites. You can be both, or neither.
The same principle extends far beyond the accounting staff and the left-bank artistes.
You can be both tall and redheaded. You can be both funny and mechanically inclined. You can have blue eyes and drive a Toyota. You can live in Nebraska and play video games.You can eat your sandwiches with the crust trimmed off and enjoy the music of Bonnie Raitt. You can include the word ‘magnanimously’ in every sentence and have an Atlanta Braves baseball cap hanging from the wall of your bedroom.
Not every pair of attributes has to involve opposition.
Here, let me show you.
Human #1: Just one moment, pal! Are you left-handed?
Human #2: I…am. Yes. Is there a problem?
Human #1: But i can plainly see that you’re wearing K-Swiss athletic shoes.
Human #2: Ye-e-ess.
Human #1: Well then!
Human #2: Um.
Human #1: Explain yourself, mister!
Human #2: Whatever you’re trying to say is just flying right past me.
Human #1: You can’t be left-handed AND be a wearer of K-Swiss shoes!
Human #2:: Uh. I sure can. Looky.
Human #1: You, my friend, are an anomaly. A crime against nature. A freak.
Human #2: I am not! What in the world.
Human #1: The left-handed people are the opposite of the people who wear K-Swiss!
Human #2: What!?
Human #1: You can’t be both!
Human #2: That’s ridiculous. A certain clothing style can’t be the ‘opposite’ of favoring one hand over the other. That’s like saying that salmon are the opposite of adjectives.
Human #1: Salmon? Adjectives? I don’t understand your point. I think you’re just saying random stuff to fill in space because you’re embarrassed over being exposed.
Human #2: Oh my word. Look. Look here. Is light the opposite of darkness?
Human #1: Sure! Sure it is. Everyone knows that.
Human #2: And is cold the opposite of heat?
Human #1: Yup. Sure is.
Human #2: So far, so good. Now, is “being grumpy” the opposite of “having a Facebook account”…?
Human #1: There is no opposite to having a Facebook account. Everybody in the solar system has a Facebook account.
Human #2: My mom doesn’t.
Human #1: Seriously?
Human #2: Mm-hmm. She stays in touch with people using traditional mail.
Human #1: You’re kidding! Wow.
Human #2: Anyway, i think my point is getting buried. How about this: Is “being grumpy” the opposite of “having an REI sticker on your rear windshield”…?
Human #1: Um, no. I don’t think so.
Human #2: And is “having a mole on your upper lip” the opposite of “living in an 1800 square foot bungalow in the northwest suburbs of Chicago”…?
Human #1: Uh… i’m going with ‘no’.
Human #2: See, unless two attributes somehow involve the negation of each other at the level of essence, you can’t say that they’re opposites. Most attributes aren’t opposites. They’re just differences: things that happen to be true in different ways.
Human #1: Just one minute… i can see what you’re doing!
Human #2:: What. What am i doing.
Human #1: YOU’RE TRYING TO USE LOGIC ON ME!