Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

The Art of Removing Fallacies

“Let it be resolved, then, that what is disgraceful is never useful, not even when you can obtain what you think is useful; for the very act of thinking that something disgraceful is useful is disastrous.” – Cicero, On Duties, Book III.49

Whether by precept, action or thought, tragedy follows disgrace. Thankfully what we say, do and think is within our power, including erroneous tendencies that are embedded into our way of being. Often we overlook these routinized thinking patterns as though they are not even there. Yet they show their slimy heads while under pressure.

Ideally it would be better to pull the weed before it chokes out the wholesomeness of the garden. However this can be difficult if we fail to detect them. It’s not until after a night of rain that worms come up onto the surface that they are plainly visible. Now seeing this is the way of nature we too can learn something of value from this process.

For instance, let us say that you get into a heated argument with your partner and things are getting ugly. Common sense tells you that while under the rush of such passion there’s no way to resolve the issue. Turbulent emotions, no stranger to the danger of whitewater rafting, wrests the rudder from your hand. Ears are closed but the mouth wide opened, spewing words of obscenity.

You tell your friend that s/he is a jackass and other such demeaning remarks. None of which are remotely plausible; for if your partner was an actual donkey, then safe to say you are up to your neck in shit. These terms are meant to be hurtful and are no different from one who brawls with wide open hooks.

So you are familiar with this ground but that ought not prevent you from moving into greener pasture. You take a walk along the countryside but instead of making yourself more frustrated by focusing on the darts of the other, you reflect on your behaviour and take responsibility for your wellbeing by unearthing the thinking errors that protruded from your own cognitive dissonance.

While reviewing your squabble you recall telling your partner that they ‘never’ show affection or they are ‘always’ disparaging you. Such assertions, even if they were true, would be very difficult to consistently perform even if one were bent on doing evil all the time. Overgeneralizing not only takes us out of the circle of coherency but it can also place unrealistic expectations upon another, thus exasperating relationships.

“Many of our problems stem from the fact that we live conforming to other people’s standards, following fashion instead of taking reason as our guide.” – Seneca

There are a number of other thinking errors that put a strain on our better judgement. Discovering which ones you are most susceptible to will require a great deal of prudent reflection in the beginning but eventually that hard work will pay off through thoughtful action; i.e., an appropriate response by which we can avoid unnecessary scuffles. Better to become accustomed to serenity than agitation of the mind.

About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.

Source link

Add Comment