The first post tells why. It may be too little, but hopefully not too late.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Facebook logic and emotions

My on-occasion adversary on FB, a leftist by ideology but a good statistician by occupation, asked me in a heated discussion, "Do you think your views on the Middle East are logical and not emotional?" By which rhetorical device he, of course, meant, "Your views on the Middle East are illogical and emotional," and that logic and emotions are incompatible and mutually exclusive. A clear conclusion here is that my views are wrong for both of the named reasons, and both reasons inevitably result in error. 

I agree in part. The lack of logic would not do. My interlocutor, however, did not present any evidence that I suffer from that, and I'll simply disagree that my views are not logical. My word against his - but read on. I do agree with his other "accusation", but, again, not entirely. I agree that the Middle East events do not leave me unemotional. Having an emotional reaction, however, does not necessarily invalidate one's views. In fact, it is illogical and counterfactual to think otherwise. Emotions are usually engaged when one hears about injustice, violence, and murder. The inability to experience emotions in such cases suggests callousness and amorality - symptoms of psychopathy, but with no charm of a "classic" psychopath. It is hardly necessary to point out how injustice, violence and murder have been the inalienable part of the Middle East history, particularly that through which Israel has lived throughout its existence. From the Roman destruction and expulsion that was only the beginning of destructions and expulsions, to the genocide in Europe and Arab pogroms throughout Middle East and North Africa that preceded Israel's rebirth prepared by the millennia of the Jewish prayers of return, to the invariable Arab denial of the legitimacy of any Jewish state, to the incessant Arab terror targeting babies, kindergartens, women - anybody whose murder would produce a maximal possible horror - one has to have the cold blood of a frog, or simply be on the side of the murderers, to experience no emotion and be unaffected by it in one's views. 

It would be even more pathological if I did not experience emotions when thinking of the Middle East, being Jewish and having family in Israel. As my interlocutor was aware of that, his question was rhetorical, part of his mighty war arsenal. Nevertheless, some relevant possible meaning can be gleaned from it - that he himself is not emotionally involved. Not when the ongoing Olympics can't fail to remind him of the Munich massacre, not when his favorite news sources, however seldom they react to anti-Jewish terror, report of a family with little children slaughtered in their beds, not when Israel's "peace partners" celebrate that and name squares and schools after the murderers. Am I holding wrong views if I think, quite emotionally, that you cannot make peace with somebody whose goal is your death? Were Golda Meir's views wrong when she emotionally said that "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us”? Do emotions cloud my thinking when I recognize that the Arabs are driven by an emotion, hate, not by reason, and those who are driven by hate must be treated differently than those driven by reason? Should I then, in my FB friend's illogical inversion, be ascribed hate to Arabs - just because many of them have shown that they hate me?  

The discussion I started with had had nothing to do with the Middle East, and my opponent's asking about the latter was a red herring, illogical and combative. I think that my mentioning his leftism is relevant, however, because leftists are wont to neglect logic, as they are driven by an ideology rather than facts and logic, and this ideology does not allow dissent. As I wrote to him, like his ideological brethren everywhere, he perceives any disagreement with him as an "attack", an opponent as an enemy, and views opposing his as "ideological extremism" and "BS" (quotations from his customarily rude and very emotional messages), which makes him incapable of a civilized discussion. He naturally would like to destroy the enemy - if not physically then figuratively. His language in these inconsequential FB disputes is hardly different from that of Vyshinsky, the prosecutor at the Moscow show trials, when the triumphant Party line was drawn in blood.

No comments:

Post a Comment