December 28th, 2006 at 09:04am
It is said that common sense isn’t very common, that might be true, but I think the real problem lies in a lack of logic from an awful lot of people. We are all guilty of it, some more so than others, and that in itself poses a problem.
Every day we hear stories which defy either common sense or logic, a good example might be a motorcyclist getting caught travelling at 220 kilometres per hour, we hear the story and consider the person in question a goose, somebody without logic, we wonder what was going through their mind, and we convince ourselves that we would never be silly enough to do something like that, and yet somehow, the stories keep cropping up.
Admittedly, most of us would never do anything as silly as that, but we also have our own logic issues. For example, suppose you have a pile of dishes on the sink and you want to add a spoon to the pile, you are in a hurry and just plonk the spoon down wherever you can find a space, the spoon falls from on top of whatever slanted object you placed it on, and crashes to the floor. You then pick it up and place it on a flat surface.
That was a momentary lack of logic, caused by not having your mind on the job, and as a result, not thinking through the consequences of placing the spoon on a slanted surface. Such momentary lapses in logic and concentration are human nature, we are not truly designed to multi-task, and we can only actively apply logic to one problem at a time.
The trouble is that we har about these massive logic failings, like the motorcyclist getting caught travelling at 220 kilometres per hour, and we think that, as we would never do anything that silly, that we don’t have logic issues, we delude ourselves, and the more we do that, the less we notice these small logic issues, and the bigger they can become as we simply brush them off as “one of those things” or “silly me”. Stamping on, or at least recognising, these small logic issues, helps to make us more aware of our thought process, and the reality of the world around us, and can help prevent the big logic failings.
I’m not suggesting that dropping a spoon one day means that you will attempt to jump from a plane without a parachute the next day on the assumption that you can alter the force of gravity, as you would need other contributing factors to make you think something as far-fetched as that, but understanding your own thought process can help you to prevent smaller problems from occurring.
Large logic failings such as the aforementioned motorcyclist are almost certainly a willful abandonment of logic, but other cases really do just leave you scratching your head.
Suppose just for a moment that you want to die for one reason or another. You have in your posession a loaded rifle, and 30 rounds of ammunition, what is the logical course of action here? Obviously it is shoot yourself. However logic is not always on hand, and according to a Sydney teenager who had allegedly just been caught travelling at 182 km/h (logic failure), the obvious way to be killed was to allegedly open fire on the police and a bus so that the police could shoot him dead.
Whilst most of us will never get quite that far into not having logic on our side, and if we do then we need professional psychiatric help, it’s the little logical things like making sure that the power switch is turned on when we want to use an electrical appliance, that can help us avoid getting to that stage.
Entry Filed under: Samuel's Editorials