Can Facts and Feelings Co-exist?

We are in a war. A war that has encompasses every aspect of our lives. It has been called an Emotional War, Psychological War, Spiritual War, and an Ideological War.


This war transcends gender, race, religion, age, region where you live, socio-economic status and political views. It has plotted family member against family member, friends against each other and divided us like we could not have imagined one year ago. Unnervingly though, is the knowing that one demographic is fully united right across Canada and that is our elected leaders. That last observation, that all politicians agree 100%, except for the few that were thrown out of their caucuses, packs a lot of weight and cannot be ignored.


If we dive into this unprecedented time, we must understand that this division is just an extension of the way society has drifted with the safety of social media and lack of face-to-face discussion. People say things on emails and messages, many even cloaked behind a meme and false handle, they would never have the guts to say face to face. Emotions are a big player in this division and this experience we are living through triggers loads of emotions. People are quite different, and the ingrained values and beliefs are the cause for a misunderstanding between people and have been for centuries, it is just more amplified through social media and even more amped up when it comes to a topic as controversial as the current one.


One of the biggest differences we encounter is that people that tend to be in one camp or another. They are either in the Factual, or logic-based crowd, or the Feelings crowd which hold intense emotions. Neither is right or wrong, its just a fact. No pun intended.

The Factual crowd tend to defend their arguments with data and details that they base their opinions on. Many rely heavily on something called intuition, which is well described in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink. Whether the person in the Factual crowd actually realizes they are accessing their intuition (gut feeling/spidey-senses) is not important. The fact that something has told them to look deeper is evidence they have a feeling. They have internally taught themselves to be discerning about narratives causing them to dive into studying the topic. These people would make good policy advisors, especially now, with the current circumstances.


Feelings people consider themselves more empathetic than the above crowd and get drawn into arguments with passionate posts that tug at heart strings. You cannot access that intuitive part of you if you are overwhelmed with emotion. These folks generally count on what they’ve been told and read in the mainstream media or by their government, having learned along life's path that authority should be trusted and to rarely question. Cognitive dissonance makes one unable to even consider that a person in a position of power night not be telling them, the entire truth. Examples might be: “well I know someone that died…”, or they drop a meme about smallpox or polio, as if to assume that the factual group is ignorant of the past or what is going on.


Thus, the divide and frustration between the two sides, yet both sides, in the existing situation want the same outcome. That outcome is a healthy population and to get back to a normal society. Where they differ, is on how to go about getting back too normal. With such divergent approaches to the argument, it appears almost impossible to move them together.


Two examples that come to mind, a McGill University Prof and Saskatchewan’s greatest political debate. The McGill prof is someone I stumbled across on Twitter and couldn’t help wondering how anyone that is teaching young adults could be so full of anger. He admonishes front line physicians with higher education levels than himself about their mission to save lives, while providing zero factual evidence to debunk them.(Ref#1)


Facts over feelings won the contested debate in Mossbank, Sask on May 20, 1957 when a politician named Ross Thatcher accepted a debate challenge from the charismatic and ever successful Premier of the Province, Tommy Douglas. While the debate was entertaining and no one proved a clear knockout, from all the clippings and articles I have read, Thatcher defeated the witty Premier by deploying and defending facts on the state of Douglas’s newly minted Crown Corporations. Douglas was much more experienced in speaking and effectively used emotions to bring people to his cause. But on this night, he met his match, a time when his charm alone wasn’t enough. This picture of the two combatants taken before the debate began says “a thousand words” of the distinct difference in the way the two of them approached the debate.




How do we do to bridge the gap between the two camps that both want the same outcome? I always attempt at providing a solution, but I don’t have an answer. I do not think that the two sides can come to a consensus unless there is rationale, moderated and restrained debate.


The news media and the governments constant stream of fear do nothing to help the cause. I would say that the weekly briefings have been used to feed that fear, create division by calling out people and so you can’t blame people for being frightened and even angry, they are subtly told they should be. This is what the greatest television commercials accomplish, they arouse emotion, in this case, fear, and then establish a solution to follow, in this case, wash your hands, stay away from others and wear a mask.


It circles back to the most disturbing part of all of this entire past 12 month and that is that all the politicians are still all singing from the same choir book. That should scare you! Even during the wars of the past there was debate. But nothing, just complete agreement. This never happens. And it does not matter if you have an NDP Leader or a Conservative Leader as Premier, they all follow pretty much the same script set out by the Liberal Federal government and their top doctor who appears to take her orders from the World Health Organization.


So, we have a common adversary and that is the governments, the 1,100 plus elected MLAs and MPs across Canada. They need to be challenged, asked the hard questions because the media doesn’t. They are all in this together and we are the ones left out. Remember, we are the ones paying all the bills for their decisions. We must be skeptical; we must put our critical thinking hats on and do some research ourselves. We must go into the curiosity of why?


Philosopher and psychologist William James (1899) called curiosity “the impulse towards better cognition,” meaning that it is the desire to understand what you know that you do not. He noted that, in children, it drives them towards objects of novel, sensational qualities—that which is “bright, vivid, startling”. This early definition of curiosity, he said, later gives way to a “higher, more intellectual form”—an impulse towards more complete scientific and philosophic knowledge. (Ref#2) “The impulse towards better cognition.” YES! Thank you, William James.


Get curious folks and email me if you wish to have a rationale discussion. I do this blog for the children, the elderly and the small business owner and everyone that desires truth and freedom. We deserve to end this war, for the betterment of all people of our province and for all of Canada while we still have a functioning country and society left.

Have a great weekend.




Yours in love of this Great Province we call Saskatchewan,



Daryl



References:

1. https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/covid-19-critical-thinking-pseudoscience/back-away-americas-frontline-doctors

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4635443/