General Question

Samurai's avatar

Would you rather live your life by belief, emotion, or reason and why?

Asked by Samurai (1189points) November 7th, 2009 from IM
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

41 Answers

dalepetrie's avatar

Reason, because faith and emotions are fallible, logic is not.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

This is the type of question that I refuse to answer, in a way. I would never for a second choose one over the other. The best way to get through life, in my opinion, is to realize that all of them matter and are each equally important. Moderation and balance are key.

mammal's avatar

good question, i like to let all three fight it out,
what ever comes out on top is fine by me.
i never understood this one dimensional approach.

Sarcasm's avatar

Because emotion and belief start wars.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Sarcasm Emotion and belief also stop wars.

NewZen's avatar

I can’t imagine living by one, without the the other two. Each day, every situation, unique; requiring at times all three.

Samurai's avatar

@DrasticDreamer, @NewZen: Whichever you’d rely on most would be?

Thammuz's avatar

Reason, any day any time. That’s what i try to do anyway.

@DrasticDreamer what belief has stopped a war so far?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Thammuz None, so far. But the belief that war is wrong can be a passion driving someone in the direction to stop a war. I might point out that reason hasn’t stopped a war, either. Reason and belief can start wars, just as much as they can stop them.

LostInParadise's avatar

Living a life based on reason alone is not much of a life. Beyond satisfying needs for food, sex and avoidance of pain, what would motivate you? Wanting to succeed or to experience beauty are emotional responses.

jrpowell's avatar

I like going for a walk and examining plants and flowers. </doesn’t answer question>

Thammuz's avatar

@DrasticDreamer: Pretty much all the wars in the middle east, the crusades, the war in the kashmir region is “incidentally” between muslims and hindus, WW2 was based on hitler’s “theories” which, being substantiated with about nothing, were beliefs, and particualrly irrational ones at that. Many wars have been started out of fear, too Like the vietnam war. Or out of greed, like the latest iraq war.

While one ofthe most staunch supporters of rationalism, Bertrand Russel, has been opposing wars for his whole life. To the point of publicly accusing the US of several war crimes during the vietnam war.

Find me a war started by reason so far.

Thammuz's avatar

@LostInParadise Reason takes in account reality, emotions are part of reality. The difference is that living a life based on reason allows you to ignore them when you want to.

rangerr's avatar

I’m currently living by emotion.
What I want.. I have no idea.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Thammuz Reason is nothing but the conclusion of a belief or beliefs.

Find you a war started by reason? Everything is subjective. I’m sure Hitler believed he was implementing reason. I’m sure most people believe they are implementing reason when deciding to start a war.

I’m not saying it’s bad to look to reason in life, because it most definitely isn’t. Just as it’s not bad to look to emotion or belief. You can not have one without the other, which most people fail to realize.

Thammuz's avatar

@DrasticDreamer What they believe they were doing is really not a problem. There is one logic, one truth and hence one possible “best” course of action. The whole problem with hitler, for instance, is that he put in play what he wanted and what he believed along as the facts he knew to be true.

There is a piece in the skeptical essays by Russel which is related to this: Hegel used to say that the universe was organized like the prussian kingdom. He claimed this conclusion was perfectly rational and based on flawless reasoning and assumptions. Problem is they weren’t flawless and that’s where it all went bananas. Was his conclusion rational? No, because his irrational desires and beliefs (such as the prussian kingdom being the best on earth) got in the way.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Thammuz One logic, one truth; Reason.

What does reason say about war? Wouldn’t it, logically, have to be indifferent?

You don’t need to answer, because the answer is “yes, it would have to be indifferent”. Reason, logically, would not favor or look down upon war. And this is where, like my original response implied, that relying on one (reason, emotion, belief) more than the others – can be a bad thing. Again – it is my belief that moderation is key…

Thammuz's avatar

Well, yes. But how ca the best course of action endangering one’s own species? Or even one’s own life? Without beliefs pushing people to think that there is something worth more than life i really doubt anybody would begin wars.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Thammuz Yes, you’re 100% correct – I will not argue that whatsoever. However, without beliefs and the emotions that rise from those beliefs – what is life worth living in the first place?

Your beliefs have given you passion that reason is the best course to follow. One without the other would mean absolutely nothing. That’s the only point I’m trying to make.

Thammuz's avatar

@DrasticDreamer i will have to give you that. I chose reason because i was pushed by my contempt for the effect of irrational and destructive behaviour.

So yeah, emotion is necessary to a point, in fact i already said that: “Reason takes in account reality, emotions are part of reality. The difference is that living a life based on reason allows you to ignore them when you want to.” And reason not applied to some goal (which is necessary an emotional investment) is kinda pointless…

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Thammuz :) Exactly. They all go hand in hand. Which is why I refused to choose one above the other in my original answer.

And thanks, by the way, for staying civil. Sometimes stuff gets out of hand on here, but it was nice to actually be able to talk to someone with somewhat differing views.

Thammuz's avatar

@DrasticDreamer yeah, i wanted to try and make up for pissing you off so much in the age of consent debate a while back, it really wasn’t my intention to piss you off and i feel our discussion has been cut short for some reason. It really bugged me that i struck you as a “bad” person back then…

buster's avatar

You can’t live by just one. If I were to pick I would say belief that way you will know the outcome since the belief is always the same. You never second guess when you go with the belief. Acting on emotions can work well like in couples interacting lovingly doing things to show they care. Making decisions based on emotions like hurt, jealousy, and anger are often the wrong choice and can make things worse. It can be hard but try and not say things that are emotionally charged until you have calmed down and can think then try and resolve the issue without raising voices and anger.
Reason is not something I would live by on its own. Doing things by reason and belief make for a very boring robotic person. Being able to reason and figure things out is what makes some people very good at certain professions. A mechanic has to eliminate what isn’t wrong when he tries to fix a car. Through his reasoning skills and tools he can eliminate the fuel filter, fuel injectors, spark plugs, distributor cap, and wire The mechanic has reasoned so far it is something in the catalytic converter. Emotion couldn’t of solved the catalytic converter. You might have an idea whats wrong with a car but you have to reason and figure out how to get to the defect and then how to take the car apart to get the broke part then remember how it goes back together. Living by belief can be dangerous . Some beliefs are good. Be a good person. Help others. Some beliefs hold you back like racism, fear of gays, believing you need a car to drive 4 blocks to get a loaf of bread.

My consensus is there is no way to live just one of those traits. You would either be like my dad who has his right wing beliefs and I can count on him like clockwork to do the same thing from the moment he gets up til he goes to bed. My beliefs are always open to change

Living by emotion alone will make you crazy. Feeling what you feel is fine. Having the wits to know your mad or upset will help you. It can be hard but leave a confrontation as soon as possible and keep your mouth shut. Cool down and rehearse what you want to say in a calm nonthreatening manner.

Reason is prolly the best one but I believe we need emotion, belief, and reason. Reason is why im typing this on a macbook. Reason is why people have evolved physically and technologically. Reason created super wheat and corn. Reason created nukes and missiles.

You can’t live on one of these. I would try reason though. Emotion will just get you in a fight. Belief will get you in an argument. Hah I changed my view of I preferred reasoning at the first and now im a belief guy. My beliefs are subject to change.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I need them all. By themselves, each mode would have some serious limitations as a life strategy.

Fyrius's avatar

I live my life by reason, by belief based on reason, and by emotion founded on belief.

scamp's avatar

I’m glad I don’t have to choose. There is no right answer or choice to this question.

gailcalled's avatar

There doesn’t seem to be a switch. We are hard-wired for all three; I can’t imagine controlling my brain to that extent, nor would I want to.

Jayne's avatar

My goals are and should be based in emotion, because there is no purely logical way to decide what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’; it all boils down to what you feel you should do. However, the way I go about achieving those goals should be based in reason, although it’s a slim chance indeed that emotion won’t feature in the mix somewhere.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I live my live according to the great philosopher Rufus T. Firefly

gailcalled's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies:Or life your life, if you prefer. Much of Groucho’s humor now seems hoary, simplistic and insulting to tall women.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Groucho also said:

“As long as women insist upon being man’s equal, they will never realize their superiority.”

Christian95's avatar

I’ll just ask this questions:
1 How many useless death,wars and other horrible things were caused by emotions based on religious beliefs?
2 How many useless deaths,wars and other horrible things were caused by ration?(to mention the necessary ones:Americans,English and russians were forced to kill and to do other thing in World War II)

ninjacolin's avatar

false dilemma. :)

we only do things by logic. the logic might be faulty, but it’s still logic.
emotions are just facts which our logical brains use to form conclusions contrasted against other facts.

ninjacolin's avatar

also.. Belief is the closest we can come to Knowledge.

lloydbird's avatar

@Samurai Truth, and my “belief” in what is such.
Of course, I do use “reason” to try and determine this.
Whilst being mindful of any “emotion” that I might experience when doing so.

Samurai's avatar

@everyone: Of course you need all three to survive, and need each to sustain the other, or to at least be considered human. This is indeed out of the box thinking and bound to get you a few GA for noticing. What I was asking is which one of these would you want to live by most.

LostInParadise's avatar

Oh in that case I would have to go along with @Thammuz . Reason has to be the driver. I hasten to add, however, that reason must be able to recognize emotional needs and know when to yield to them.

roundsquare's avatar

Reason is nothing without emotion. Emotion tells you what you want, reason tells you how to get it. People really need to stop thinking of these as opposites. An emotionless being would not do damn thing because it has no desires.

Now, you can point to a conflict between belief and reason, and on that front I’d go with reason.

Val123's avatar

I think all three are necessary for a healthy, good life, including belief, such as believing in another person, trusting another person, or believing in yourself.

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