The Primacy of Ideas

As human beings we have all been blessed with a higher consciousness. We have the ability not just to feel, but to reason as well. This also leads us to one of our greatest burdens however because it then becomes necessary to distinguish between these two concepts.While they exist simultaneously within us they can not be coequal rules in our decision making processes. This is reasonable, it is easy to understand after all that the right decision won’t always feel right. This feeling is a result of these two phenomena vying for the right to guide our decisions.

This conflict is one we should not even be having though. It is an error, a mistake of our modern world, that feelings should ever be allowed to govern our choices and decisions. There is a natural order and ordering that we as conscious creatures must respect and observe. Other animals do not have this same conscious that we have been blessed with. It is this ability to reason that separates and elevates us above the animal kingdom and this uniqueness needs to be recognized. This ability to reason is what has led to and created human greatness. For this reason, reason itself needs to be elevated and allowed to lead our decisions over our emotions.

Emotions are not useless. They in fact have an equally important but still subservient role to play. Emotions are meant to fuel and power and motivate us to make these reason based decisions. The fight or flight mechanism that leads us to make all survival based choices is a perfect example of such. The fear of flight tells us we must find a way to escape and survive where as fight tells us we must summon courage and to gird ourselves and survive. It should seem obvious though that these feelings have no plan besides telling you what you need, what is necessary. This is precisely where reason and more specifically ideas come in to play.

Ideas are the children of reason and conscious thought. Ideas and thought are what allow us to process these emotions into actions. Ideas are by there very nature concrete solutions they are responses to real situations and instances that require a tailored reaction beyond whatever feeling chooses to well up within us. This is why people revere intelligence and patience. It is why Stoicism has historically been so well regarded as a philosophy. These things are all symptomatic of reason ruling over our base impulsive but ultimately lacking emotions.

This conclusion as with all things has political applications. When we realize that the intent of our emotions are correct, but that they are incomplete this is when we reach the enlightenment that allows us to lead our nation forward. This enlightenment is what lets us craft policy that allows us to answer the emotions and fulfill their intent. Unease abroad or on our streets at home might provoke fear and anxiety. How do you answer these feelings though? Not by blindly rushing to fight or persecute, but by evaluating your options and acting upon them in a sensible and well thought out manner. During the height of the cold war, the entire world trembled with fear as US and the USSR amassed weapons of world ending power. Instead of trying to directly attacking each other to try and rid the world of these weapons or each other informal rules were developed and observed. Instead of letting fear lead us to destruction we allowed it to lead us to reason and sensible choices, these choices became rules of engagement which further bought us time to think of and develop the SALT treaties which curbed the immediate threats of nuclear annihilation and contributed to the end of the cold war.

So in true conclusion, emotion is the perfect visceral animal motivator. Only reason and the ideas that result from it however can ever provide lasting solutions and emotionally satisfying answers.


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