Logic is what makes the difference
Have you ever considered the possible value of studying logic? Logic involves a specific kind of attention to language.
We’ll explore exactly what logic is in a moment. First, why would we explore logic? What benefit could it have?
The logical advantage
Logic is what makes the difference between people understanding each other or people arguing and fighting. It is very helpful for clear, concise, efficient communication.
Logic is also what makes the difference between investors who consistently make far above average profits and investors who are surprised by huge losses (occasionally or frequently). Surprised investors may get embarrassed about their losses, then even panic and start blaming others for their own choices (to gamble without a full comprehension of the actual risks). In other words, if they previously recognized and expected certain possible risks, then they would not be surprised if that outcome develops. So, therefore their surprise is an indication of their prior lack of attention to that potential result.
For instance, people may say, ”but I have a piece of paper right here guaranteeing that the insurance company will pay me in a case like this!” Shapes of ink on paper do not guarantee that the insurance company will be in business or will have the funds to keep every single promise (within a huge pile of unfunded promises) that it has made.
Legal guarantees are just legal guarantees. They are not actual restrictions on future developments, right?
Someone attentive to logic will recognize what a legal guarantee is and what it is not. They will also recognize (without emotional distress) that an insurance company is a business that is accumulating a huge collection of legal liabilities and then gambling on the possibility that the company will have enough new revenues (like from monthly premiums) to cover whatever legal obligations they have at any particular time.
Or, people may say, “but the government regulates this kind of investment, so it must be safe because the government would never support anything that was not beneficial to all of the participants involved.” With that hysterical “logic,” the people who buy state lottery tickets will brag about how they “know” that they have better odds than the people who play bingo at church or who play slot machines at the casino. “We know that our lottery tickets are good investments because we bought them directly from the government!”
Logic vs. mainstream hysterias
We can generally contrast logic with hysteria (as in distress or panic). Let’s consider now how presumptions and frustrations can be experienced in two totally distinct ways.
Someone attentive to logic will recognize frustration as a signal that there is a presumption that differs from reality. They may be curious or even committed to identifying the various presumptions (which are often unstated) and then assessing each presumption relative to the higher standard of reality. Imprecise presumptions can be refined. Irrelevant presumptions can be discarded.
They can calmly look for the unfulfilled interest behind the frustration, then discard or refine methods that are ineffective (disappointing). The frustration and disappointment are welcomed as opportunities to identify potential sources of huge improvements in efficiency and satisfaction. All of this contrasts sharply with hysterical reactions.
In a panic of distressed hysteria, the logical functions of the brain can get buried under the stress hormones designed for physical activity (for fleeing and for fighting). When there is a contrast between presumptions and reality, terror floods through the organism. Instead of favoring the actual reality as the higher standard over the presumption, some aspect(s) of reality may be neglected or even condemned as “wrong” or “something that should not be.”
The presumption (though clearly inconsistent with reality) may be worshiped, then defended, justified, and glorified. Reality is devalued or even totally sacrificed while the presumption is elevated to the status of divine.
Contrary evidence (or even a skeptical curiosity) can be targeted as threatening. Displays of aggression (arrogance) may arise in an effort to distract attention away from obsolete presumptions (and the faulty logic that depends on them).
Agonizing may develop because the rejection of reality requires an anxious intellectual activity (in regard to how to fix reality to make it conform to the favored presumption). Also, there can be agonizing about any future reality that is contrary to an important presumption: how can that embarrassing “evil” be prevented? The result can be political campaigns and even the mass programming of curriculum to promote one perception over any perception that threatens the recognition of the presumption as just a presumption.
The hysterical will anxiously ask “how can we make the world from how it should not be in to how it should be (according to whatever presumptions)?” They will collect in to groups of fundamentalists and fanatics and then fight all of the other hysterical idealists who agree with them that the world should not be how it is, but who only agree on a portion of the presumptions about how the world should be.
“Those people are crazy hysterical idealists who only agree with me about 86% of how reality should be (or certainly no more than 97%). How can they be so foolish? What is it with people these days?!?! Let me think of all of the irrelevant reasons that I can use to justify dismissing the very frightening display of skepticism and alternate interpretations!”
Frustration: a threat or an ally?
So, those in hysterical panics have no real appreciation for their frustration as a signal to slow down and invest in logic. They just go back and forth from one level of frustration and anxiety to another: moderate, extreme, a brief relief through exhaustion, then another round of escalating frustration, resentment, and animosity.
“Those horrible other people are getting in the way of me fixing reality so that it conforms to how I wish it would be! In fact, I think some of them may be to blame for reality being how it is (and for my very important presumptions being inconsistent with the inconvenient and frustrating details of reality). Actually, it is not reality that is frustrated me, but those unreal people over there- yes, so unreal- who are the ones who are frustrating me. I need to do something about them. This frustration should not be how it is. I deserve better. I should not be in this hell. Once those people stop ruining everything, then I am going to fix reality (to make it from how it actually is in to how it should be) so that I can earn my way in to an eternal heaven eventually, but just not yet.”
Recall the teaching of the Ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah: “Note that some worship without effect, teaching human presumptions as if they are the highest standards of reality.”
(In the Gospels of Mark and of Matthew, Jesus Christ directly quotes that teaching of Isaiah. Comprehension of these teachings in modern Judaism and Christianity are evidently quite rare.)
What if we respected frustration instead of condemning it, avoiding it, fearing it? What if we recognized what presumptions are? What if we respected how they can be useful, but also can lead to confusing one thing for something else? What if we were alert to the dangers of presumptive idealism and making our preferences in to full-scale hysterical idolatry?
Presumptions do not need to be avoided (which would be an extreme of delusional perfectionism). Presumptions can be respected without worshiping them in hysteria or defending them in a panic. Presumptions can be recognized, then evaluated objectively by measuring reality, and then updated or discarded.
So what exactly is logic?
Logic is a specific kind of attentiveness to language (a certain kind of mindfulness). Studying logic, we can explore how certain initial presumptions or speculations can be connected to a later assertion or claim. We can even notice how certain pre-existing conclusions can be justified or rationalized through constructing certain premises or seeking out certain information as evidence, then presenting it in order to bias others toward our pre-existing conclusion. In mild hysteria, unsound logic is also used to resist reality and learning, and then that process can be ironically labeled by the hysterical one as “skepticism.”
The presenting of particular information as evidence (even as justifying a conclusion deemed favorable) may be done in a few different ways. We could call some presentations logical and some presumptive or even hysterical.
Here are some examples:
Cholesterol levels are high around tissues that are damaged, therefore cholesterol is the sole possible cause of the damage to the tissue.
Fire trucks are frequently present near burning buildings, therefore fire trucks are the sole possible cause of the fires that burn the buildings.
Once a particular presumption is worshiped as sacred, then all forms of skepticism about it are considered threats. Curiosity becomes the most disturbing of all possibilities (as George Orwell would have said, “in a time of universal deceit and denial”).
But the idea that mass hysteria and delusion are especially new is also presumptive. Sure, modern systems of indoctrination (such as cable television and public schools with their common core curriculums) are unusually efficient. With advanced technology, tiny groups can promote a historic extreme in consensus groupthink among immense masses of people. However, what if logic has never been especially popular?
Why are people so easily deceived when a perceived authority announces a new cause for hysteria and paranoia? When the high priest of the ministry of health presents a correlation about high levels of cholesterol as a cause, why are people so naïve? Why do they then defend their presumption to avoid being revealed as naïve?
It is simple enough. The ancient reptilian brain takes over the neurological functioning of the masses. The elite recognize this and create programming systems to install propaganda.
The logic of programming hysterias
A group of naïve people herded together in to a kindergarten class can be fed information like “cholesterol is a substance that your liver makes to poison you.” Then, they can be manipulated in to repeating back the propaganda slogans to receive social validation from the teacher in front of the whole class. They are given report cards and, if their blind conformity is sufficient, then they get promoted to higher grade levels and eventually receive a diploma or even a PhD.
The same basic methods are used in churches as well. In other settings, like plantations, the use of propaganda is less emphasized in favor of physical coercion, torture, and threat of human sacrifice.
In the specific case of taxation, the agents of the government intimidate their economic resources, promoting compliance through threats of arrest, incarceration, asset seizure, garnishment, and foreclosure. To minimize rebellion and competition, the government agents criminalize unauthorized acts of extortion. This maintains a near monopoly on extortion within their system of taxation to redistribute wealth from their human resources to the agents of coercion.
Once the masses are sufficiently terrified in to compliance, then the court system can dictate what form of payment of the invented tax liabilities is allowed. A court could allow taxes to be paid in many different ways, like wheat, firewood, or gold. Or, a court may allow only one form of payment.
Whether a court accepts several kinds of payment or just one form of payment, their system of intimidation can create a lasting surge in public demand for that form of payment. In the case of the Confederate States of the Southern U.S. in the 1860s (the Civil War era), certain pieces of paper were accepted as a valid way to pay taxes to the ruling court system. However, as soon as that court system was defeated and the ruling court system was suddenly the United States (not the Confederacy), then public demand for the confederate currency disappeared almost instantly.
What is the basis of power for every government in human history? The rulers have military superiority over the ruled.
Further, lots of propaganda can be publicized to discourage people from recognizing that guns are what give courts power, not incidental things like gold. (Without the guns of the court system, the people would not be interested in gathering gold to pay debts to their well-armed extorters who dictate that only gold can be used in repaying the debt… because the court system has created a monopoly of exclusive access to all the gold mines in the region.)
Governments may say that “Unauthorized killing is a shameful crime.” Then, they may add that military drafts are sacred institutions and that failure to participate in government-approved slaughters and genocides is also an even more shameful crime.
However, there is no objective difference between one slaughter and another. Every government justifies their own slaughters (usually as revenge for other slaughters or as pre-emptive strikes to protect the masses from… unauthorized warfare).
But for those deep in programmed hysterias, these ideas may be disturbing or spark shame or guilt. “Are you saying that the story of Santa Claus was deceptive and not literally true in every detail? But I do not want it to be true that I used to be naïve. I would rather to have never been naïve and certainly not now. Go away, you pesky jerk. You are too analytical. It is infuriating.”
So, they may launch heroic crusades to save the world from deception (and from corrupt governments). What other kind of governments are there? There are many fantasy governments that exist in language, but perhaps have little resemblance to anything evident in actual human history.
So what is the logical advantage?
The logical advantage is to welcome the recognition of hysterias and similar mass delusions. We respect them. We do not deny them or try to hide them or prevent them or even justify them.
We just respect that hysterias exist (or at least might). We do not worship them constantly with sincere condemnations or any other form of attention.
What we do is to welcome our own interests. We do not relate to them with shame (even if we modestly keep them private or secret… or pretend that they are not what they are).
We can respect the Hebrew Commandment of “do not commit perjury” (as we respect the immense power of court systems of extortion and intimidation). We can recognize that “thou shalt not lie” is simply a behavioral manipulation, not a credible translation of an ancient criminalization of perjury. When we are under the physical domination of a regulatory supervisor, then we can respect that reality.
We do not harbor any hang-ups or fixations or attachments. If one shows up, we can recognize it and release it. We do not harbor hysterias.
Instead, we recognize our own interests and pursue them. We do not deny past naivete.
We do not worship sincerity as if good intentions were anything more than good intentions. We do not worship determination as if it would cure for frustration to just keep repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
In other words, we respect this simple philosophical principle:
“If you have sincerity and determination, but not logic, then still you have nothing of real value. You are missing the point.”
(See 1 Corinthians 13 & 14)
What results do we get?
In regard to investing, we get consistent returns far above average. In regard to communication, we are attentive, discerning, selective, and effective. In regard to health, we avoid the massive tangles of confusion produced by mainstream indoctrination about health (i.e. “poisonous cholesterol, demonic possession by a living entity called cancer, etc”) and we simply promote health (using highly efficient methods that we have no particular interest in any government institutions approving or publicizing).
In many other realms, we consistently produce far above average results. Why? It is not that our methods are actually all that radical or complex.
The masses just do things very inefficiently (in accord with their programming) and we avoid the massive pitfalls of complacent “tunnel vision.” By minimizing or entirely avoiding the immense risks of “average” methods, we consistently produce far above average results.