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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Star Wars is Wrong

The rise of the emotional snowflake is part and parcel of the destruction of our old culture and the creation of a new one. This transformation affects everything, even the law.  Today, Matt Lauer tells us there is an "emotional definition of obstruction of justice". Which is true, in a certain sense.

"Your eyes can deceive you. Stretch out with your feelings!"
You see, for people raised on images, my FEELINGS form reality.
"Trust your FEELINGS, Luke!
FEEL the Force!"
Here is the problem. The snowflakes are attempting to apply the following Aristotelian logic:
What I feel is a fact (which is true - it is).
Facts are infallibly correct. (also true - facts, by definition, cannot be controverted)
Therefore, feelings are infallible.
Unfortunately, what seems to be unassailable logic is corrupted by a confusion of terms. What goes unnoticed by most people is that the subjects have been swapped out. We confuse the existence of facts with the content of facts.

Catholic faith distinguishes between the fides quae creditur ("fides kway") and the fides qua creditur ("fides kwa"). The fides qua is the power by which we believe, it is an individual person's ability to believe, it is subjective. The fides quae is the content of what is believed, it is objective. If we were to use an analogy, the fides qua is the shipping pier that holds piles of cargo, the fides quae is the content of the boxes on the pier. The syllogism above confuses the two and treats them as one.

As already indicated, emotions are, indeed, facts. If we consider the facts of any situation, we have to consider the emotional response those facts engender, because it is a fact that people feel emotions, and those emotions can color how they perceive the facts. However, while it is a fact THAT I feel something, the CONTENT of what I feel can definitely be wrong, my emotions can wrongly summarize the situation at hand.

So, while facts are infallibly correct, feelings are not.

Einstein famously said, "Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed."

Emotions constitute a type of theory. If I encounter a beggar or leper and feel disgust or distaste, I may allow my emotional "theory" to influence my reaction to the leprous beggar. I may throw up, run away, scream at him in order to force him away from me, etc.

My emotions have summarized the situation, but have they done so correctly? Are my feelings infallible? Are my feelings always right? Obviously, I know they are not always right. First impressions say a lot, but first impressions can be, and often are, wrong.

If my rational intellect allows me to recognize that my emotional reaction is often wrong, then, even as I feel the emotional tide, my rationality would attempt to overcome it. If my intellect recognizes that my emotions have incorrectly assessed the beggar's worth, I might still throw up. Emotions are still facts, and my body still reacts to them. But, I would attempt to remove my emotional bias, wipe the bile from my lips and then respond by helping the beggar. I might give him alms, embrace him, care for his wounds, discuss his life's difficulties with him, etc.

Christianity's great leap forward was precisely the emphasis it put upon discounting one's feelings. Any emotionally functioning person is going to reject the image of a flagellated, crucified corpse impaled upon crosspieces of rough-hewn timber. Seeing this sight in real life would be living in a horror movie - we would all be screaming at each other to run away.

Christian rationalism tells us to do precisely the opposite. It tells us not to run away, but to gaze all the more closely. It tells us to investigate and, ultimately, to embrace what looks to all the world like a horror (if you ever wanted to know why horror movies work, it is precisely because they are often a shallow re-telling of the Gospel story).

So, the Christian response is quite simply the reverse of George Lucas' advice: "Your feelings can deceive you. Stretch out with your whole being, your personhood. Don't allow your feelings to become your interpretive theory. Instead, allow yourself to recognize and assist a fellow human person who is in distress."

Dispassionate analysis, objective study of the facts of the case, acknowledging emotion while refusing to allow it to rule the analysis, these are Christian values, founded upon the crucifixion. To say that there is an "emotional definition of obstruction of justice" is true, but that does not make the emotion, or the fact of the emotion, relevant to the analysis of whether or not there actually was an obstruction.

Emotions are facts, but emotions are not infallible, nor are emotions always even relevant. While hate is an emotional response, love is not an emotion. Thus, the lesson of Christianity is precisely to stop trusting your feelings, and start trusting rationality.
God is Pure Reason
God is Love
So, the only reasonable thing to do is to Love

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