Being Too Logical

Written on September 29, 2008. Written by .

Romance and logic don’t mix well.
Photo courtesy of shutupyourface

I love being logical and analyzing everything. I have an intense passion for understanding everything and that is something that is never going to change. Unfortunately this passion sometimes has the tendency to leak into places where it wasn’t meant to be. I want to remain as philosophical as possible, but I don’t want to let it prevent me from living in the moment.

Being overly analytical can make it hard to relate to others. People generally don’t want their actions to be judged according to a standard of complete logical rigor because emotions, the basis of many of our actions, are not logical to begin with. Even if you never have the intention of judging others, by routinely breaking down everything into a rational explanation, you will make others think that you will perform the same analysis on them and likely judge them as a result. Furthermore, by merely talking in a logical manner, you and the person you are talking to will begin to switch into a rational left-brained thinking mode that suppresses emotions and diminishes feelings of connection. Logic and emotions mix about as well as oil and water. In addition to the social implications, being highly analytical can cause problems with making decisions. In a book called The Happiness Hypothesis, I read that people who have damage to their orbitofrontal cortex, which is partially responsible for emotion, have a hard time deciding what they should do next because there are two many options to weigh logically. Apparently our thought process is made more effective by utilizing emotional filters that cut down the options to a few that can be compared rationally.

These problems arise as a result of allowing yourself to not live in the moment as much as you should. If you are living in the moment, then your mind will be focused on your experiences rather than abstract thoughts. So how can this problem be averted? One option is to dumb yourself down and supress philosophical and logical thinking. I would not advocate that at all. It would solve the present issue, but it would create many others and cause unnecessary sacrifice. I think the ideal solution is achieved by following these two rules: 1. Restrict highly analytical conversations to written form and specially designated meetings; 2. Establish a lifestyle that includes plenty of non-analytical activities to balance out your thought modes. Notice that there is no rule here that prevents you from freely pondering anything that occurs to you, and I think that is a crucial thing to keep. I see our logical abilities as an amazing gift that humans have and I think it would be terrible to waste it.

The first rule is intended to train you to stop thinking of other people as a place to dump all your thoughts. The truth is that most people don’t care enough to put in the effort to think hard about what you are saying. There will be some people who enjoy such conversations, but it is still dangerous to get in the habit of talking to them logically all the time for the reasons mentioned above. The second rule is intended to prevent you from getting stuck in an analytical mode. If too much of your lifestyle is focused around analytical activities, you might lose touch with your right brain and have a hard time following the first rule.

In addition to these rules, you can try some exercises that will help you live in the moment. You can listen to music and try to develop the emotions that it induces. You can expose yourself to humor and practice making others laugh. And when you are walking around or eating and you find yourself thinking too hard, you can ask yourself “What does this feel like right now?” By being more mindful and living in the moment, it should be possible to avoid all the problems that might arise from being highly analytical.

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