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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I think / I feel

" I think that the rich should pay their fair share." 

We like to use "I think" and "I feel" to describe our perspective and how we want the world to work. We cater to and strengthen our cognitive biases. We become attached to our own questionable and sometimes fallacious ideologies. What good does this do for other people? What good does it do in advancing human communication?

It is important to look at the way we feel and think. We can see emotions as teachers and have them inform us for the decisions we need to make. Understanding emotions without letting them take control of you is emotional intelligence. When we are able to be emotionally intelligent, we can learn how to effectively communicate with other human beings. We can trim the fat so to speak and speak directly with intention. 

Instead of directly going to an " I think/ feel" perspective, we can minimize and detach ourself from our emotions and biased judgments. Here is an example. 

" I think that cops are bad." 

This statement is pretty general and does not provide any logic, reason and evidence. It doesn't really tell why He or she is mad at cops. How can we eliminate the "I think" and the ambiguity of this statement. 

First we can strip away the words that are arbitrary and general in nature. The word "bad" can mean lots of things. It usually means the opposite of good. It acts as a label and does not go into more detail to prove itself. I will come back to this.

The first thing to do is to strip yourself from a certain statement that is based on emotion and biased perspective. You could say," cops are bad ", but that doesn't do any good and is an empty statement. Why would cops be bad? Why would someone think that cops are bad? 

( I want to be clear and say that my opinions of cops are irrelevant to this writing. I am merely using this example out of intuition and on hypothetical terms. ) 

How can we use logic, reason and evidence to convey the perspective that cops are inherently bad? First off, if we are trying to prove a point, we must also take into consideration our intentions and agenda. Obviously this is all based around context. If someone just randomly says, " cops are bad", you might want to distance yourself from them since they will not be able to be reasoned with. 

The real problem lies in the opinionated bias of this statement. It actually provides nothing thought provoking or intelligent to the conversation. It could even be classified as ad hominem. This whole statement of "cops are bad" is counter intuitive, biased and fallacious in nature. 

Well, can we use another example? 

I could pick a different example of an I think or I feel statement, but as we can see above, it simply does not does us well in proving a point, inner growth, and widening a conversation. 

One thing to consider in getting away from I think/feel statements, is to keep asking questions. When hearing someone's point we might unconsciously try to label their perspective from the limited and biased information we have received. When we stop being inquisitive, we start to form fallacious opinions of other people's perspectives and label them with false identifiers. 

Just keep being curious. 
Just keep asking questions. 

Asking who, what, where and why are the first step in expanding into the realm of truth and reason. It not only revolves around asking others, but it requires that  constantly asking yourself uncomfortable questions. It requires constant challenging of ideas that come in and out of your consciousness. This is how growth happens. 

When we get wrapped up in how we feel or think, we trap ourselves in a feedback loop. We put ourselves as the center of attention. We go from a curious state to a state of self importance and internal conflict. We have the opportunity to step back and actually feel our emotions and analyse our thoughts without getting attached to them. 

What is the value in having an I think/ I feel statement? 

Is our opinion necessary in advancing the understanding of the situation and the other people involved? 

Are you merely being self centered by only expressions your opinions and not moving the conversation towards truth? 

It is important to express feelings with honesty. It is more important to understand where those feelings are coming from. When we are angry, we are angry with ourselves. When we feel irritated or jealous, there is an inward disturbance. Why do we feel the way we feel? There lies the real problem. Before expressing, take a look inside yourself and question the value of an I think and I feel statement. 


Why do you think that?
Why do you feel that? 

How will expressing what I think and feel enrich my and the other person's life? 


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