Saturday, May 28, 2016

I Think Therefore I Feel

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child,
and reasoned like a child. When I became a man,
I gave up my childish ways.
~St. Paul

Last week, I observed that anti-intellectual education inevitably results in a feelings-oriented (emotional) rather than a thoughts-oriented (rational) populace.

But why do I contend this result is inevitable?

I believe it’s inevitable because feelings arise naturally but rationality is learned and developed. That is, most humans need not be taught to emote but do need taught to reason.

Isn’t this why whenever we see a grown person throwing a tantrum we think he or she is behaving as a child?

Thus I reiterate from my previous article:

We allow feelings to replace thought processes altogether, so that what looks outwardly like a reasoned discussion is actually an exchange of unreasoned emotions . . . reasoned discourse is abandoned in favor of the politics of the playground. . . . Without reasons, all we are left with is emotional blackmail . . . the implied juvenile threat of having a tantrum unless everyone else gives in.1

We must be taught to think and reason and then to feel properly.

Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought. . . . Plato before him had said the same. The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting, and hateful. . . . The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and it should, obey it.2

Aristotle and Plato were great philosophers but I am I am fully persuaded that Jesus Christ is the greatest moral philosopher, in both His belief and behavior, who has ever lived. I believe His person and teaching—His Way—is the foundation for proper thinking, feeling, and acting.

Would you be His student, His disciple? Would you daily give your heart (like a child) and your mind (like an adult) to Him?

If you will, I assure you, He will cause you to think and feel differently.

____________________
1N.T. Wright, "After You Believe," p.p. 155,156 

2C.S. Lewis, “The Abolition of Man,” p.p. 29, 31-32

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