a. If you told a person from Western Uganda, that people from the west dominate senior government positions, it is easier for them to find a reasonable justification than a person from another region and in their most likely defense, they are likely to tell you to be objective and stop looking at things with tribalististic lenses because that is backward.
b. What do you think about a rapist and what do you think should be done to them? Should they be killed, imprisoned for years or? Good!What if he is your brother, son, spouse or father? (Do I hear you say we all make mistakes? Or that he has been framed?)
The core argument I’m making in this write up is that: Human beings, let them deny are more emotional than rational.
We feel pain, we feel happy, we feel scared, we feel loved, we feel dejected, we feel secure, we feel disgusted and all these feelings more than what we think, determine the direction of our attitudes, the behavior we exhude and the choices we make. That however is not the basis of my conclusion. Observation of how humans, pretending to be rational, make emotional decisions, and then attempt to rationalise them is what does, as we shall see.
For along time, since the advent of the age of reason, emotions cum feelings have been berated against, discouraged, suppressed at the expense of being rational. The higher you go in enlightenment, some times confused with levels of education, the less emotional you are expected to be. Being objective they call it.
Statements like, “Let us not be emotional on this issue.” “Please be objective” “Be a man.” have become common place in our day to day interactions.
Leaders for example are expected to be rational, not to, for instance cry in public, not to favor groups to which they belong among others for emotions are associated with weakness, with ignorance, and the absence of wisdom.
Thanks to the disadvantaged position many societies have accorded women that thankfully we are slowly ditching, being emotional is also considered female, and childish.
In Politics, a game I have had a little interaction with, contrary to what we want to believe or amuse ourselves with, people’s choices are made at an emotional level, and the failure to understand this leads many of us to failure. It is a contact game where your touch with the electorate is more important than your credentials or plans that appeal to reason. It is the core reason people will elect a seemingly ignorant, less educated drunkard over a highly schooled or experienced person withwhom however they do not have an emotional attachment of understanding.
This by the way does not matter however elitist a society is. People will vote according to how they feel, not what they think. Many people for example, have argued that the rise of President Trump and the exit of Britain from the EU is due the threat of immigrants. These populations FEEL threatened by immigrants in various ways and the two choices above appeared like they can protect them.
If you tooked back in time and examined what is called propaganda in politics, or what we monikered” chemical” in student politics, you will find that the messages always take advantage of people’s emotions, either by making the other candidate seem immoral, heartless, or taking advantage of the fears of the electorates. “This candidate raped a woman while at university.” ” This candidate will ally with land grabbers to take your land.” “This candidate is a homosexual and is funded by gay groups.” All those messages analysed, target certain long held fears and emotions yet these lead to decisive victories and losses.
Its for this reason that I think Democracy, so called rule of the majority is flawed, and many times gives results we wonder about. This is because people, in masses do not reason, they feel. So if their level of consciousness is low, it’s even worse for it is easy to arouse their feelings of fear, anxiety, uncertainty and thus manipulate their choices. Even in the absence of such manipulation, they will instinctively make choices based on sectarianism i.e. based on religion, race, tribe, association among others. You may not succeed in convincing Anne not to support Patricia withwhom they studied in the same school on the rational argument that Jane, who is in the race is a better candidate. Get serious!!! Unless, Anne has emotional issues with Patricia.
One time, one of the students who succeeded us at the university approached me wondering why, it seemed easier for us, in my regime as students President to access funds, yet for them it had become a nightmare. I first asked how they were going about the processes and I realised that our successors had forgotten that they were dealing with human beings in these offices where they wanted to. They assumed that formality, of law, right and entitlement was enough for you to have your way. No it’s not. We some how managed to pull many activities off because we understood the politics and psychology of the administors and took advantage of it to make a difference. Governments, organisations and individuals make most decisions through/by informal structures and relationships.
What we do, is determined more by what we feel than what we know. Its the reason why we know its better to go to a technical institution now rather than a university but because we feel it’s more prestigious to go to a university, that is what we often do. Its why we know that it’s good to follow a time table, to feed on a good diet by avoiding junk, to exercise everyday, its good to pray but we all know what we end up doing thanks to how we feel about these things. Some body one time asked me why it is easier for one to stand for 90 minutes watching a football game but hard for them to stand for five minutes and pray? Well the difference is not in what they know or not, it’s about how the two activities make them feel. Trust me the 90 minutes can pass without even you noticing but you may feel every minute of prayer. You may say that is the devil that causes that but the point is, these are not rational choices.
If you woke up in the morning and heard over the radio that 1000 Syrians have been killed in a bomb attack, then as you move towards your work place. You hear a baby crying, a motorcycle having fallen on them and they are still under it. Which of the two scenarios, without you having to do anything about it, is more likely to draw more attention and arouse more passion from you and why? We are more likely to respond with vigour to what is more vivid, colorful to us, related to us than what seems like a distant statistic. This is not very reasonable is it?
So all said and done, Just like the Eastern concept of Yin and yang, I think both reason and emotion are important and just like nature operates in twos, you need to find a way of moderating and balancing them. Attempting to suppress all your emotions will turn you into a heartless robot, and not reasoning at all will make you an instinctive animal short of wisdom of a human being. But do not be one to ignore, or insult emotions when dealing with human beings because you will be shocked. Whether it’s a relationship, a business, politics, management, negotiations name it. …understanding the emotional underpinnings will give you an edge.