Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Making stupid

Professor Owen Williamson of the University of Texas at El Paso has compiled a Master List of Logical Fallacies. He defines the affective fallacy as the idea that “one's emotions, urges or ‘feelings’ are innate and in every case self-validating, autonomous, and above any human intent or act of will (one's own or others'), and are thus immune to challenge or criticism.”

Williamson continues, “One argues, ‘I feel it, so it must be true. My feelings are valid, so you have no right to criticize what I say or do, or how I say or do it.’" ....

In The Magician’s Nephew (a volume in C.S Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia), Uncle Andrew can only hear roaring when Aslan the lion is singing. C.S. Lewis explains Uncle Andrew’s failure to see things as they are: “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

Lewis continued:
“And the longer and more beautiful the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring.

Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did. He soon did hear nothing but roaring in Aslan’s song. Soon he couldn’t have heard anything else even if he had wanted to.”
When we elevate our feelings as if they are the truth, we are indeed trying to make ourselves stupider. And indeed, we will often succeed in making life miserable for ourselves and others.

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