Diaries Magazine

Preemptive Illogic?

Posted on the 09 December 2019 by C. Suresh
"You will never really be a success, you know that? You believe anything you hear. Like, for example, you believe logic works." By now, you know that there is a friend of mine doing a free psychiatric evaluation of me. Though he was not exactly doing a miraculous act of prescience, a la Nostradamus, in predicting my future success, considering that I am already in my mid-fifties and have shown no sign, yet, of setting the Ganges on fire. (Bellandur Lake? NO! THAT was not my doing!) Yet...I mean, you'd still have that curiosity about why, don't you, if it had been about you? I did, too. "Well, what is wrong with that? Logic, after all, should work." "Logic in discussions? Arguments? Come now, are you mad? Those people who swoop down on you, blaming you for logical fallacies - ad hominem, straw man etc. Tell me one who never uses it?" I cast my mind back. Nope, could not find one in the near future. Way back. Way way back. Way way way... "Not one, huh? You'll not find a single one. In fact, check it out and you will find that the guys who jump on you for it are the ones who are the first to use it on you." Huh! Not so, not really. I mean, there were some who did, of course. But there were those who have never called me an idiot or a moron or whatever. In fact, these so-called friends of mine do it a hundred times a day and twice on Sundays but... I said as much. "So, they do not use ad hominem, huh? As in, they do not say 'You are a fool if you believe that nonsense.' But have they ever said things like, 'Beliefs like that have always swayed those who neither had the ability nor the inclination to assess the truth'?" Hmmm! I suppose they had. But so what? It was not ad hominem, was it? Saying that to him unleashed a furious assault. "It isn't? You bloody nincompoop. What he was saying is essentially 'You are a stupid, lazy idiot, too blind to see the truth, if you believed that.' And you think THAT is not ad hominem? Is that an argument about why that belief is wrong or about what sort of person you are?" Put that way, of course... "Discussions and arguments are always won by the person who is the first to be nasty, the first to apply illogic. Especially since most arguments are about things where both sides are partly right and partly wrong. YOU, with your logic fixation, will always be on the losing end, appearing an ineffectual victim to everyone. How then can you succeed, when people will be reluctant to side or support a loser...in anything?" For a moment, I was carried away by a righteous indignation. "THEN it is about time I started changing." "Too late for you. Unless you are nasty by nature, wanting to win even if you deeply hurt or insult an inoffensive person, you cannot do it at the right time, or in the right way, or for long enough to win arguments. So, forget it." I'd have been forlorn but for the fact that I recollected that I was in my mid-fifties anyway and there was no real point in pursuing what people would call success. I loved my leisure more than the opinions of other people, as witness the fact that these are my friends, always full of 'friendly' advice, and I am still what I started out being. "Besides..." he said and stopped. That dratted thing which killed the cat reared its head. (Curiosity, in case you were wondering.) "Besides?" "Well, go down that road and, in time, all you will have around you are other nasty people. You are better off without it." Yeah, Right! Like I did not have them around me already, even without the benefit applying preemptive illogic!

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