Chorus of Voices

Logic vs. Emotional Reasoning

Tracey Columns

Dear Tracey,

I am 81 and in pretty good health. I take a couple of pills each day but my doctor says my health “is great, considering” how old I am. (Why do they say things like that?)

Anyhow, everyone is telling me that I should be using a cane, my kids, my doctor, even some lady in the grocery store the other day said I should. (Can you believe it? A perfect stranger had the gall to tell me how to live my life.)

Here’s where you come in. To be honest, I know I need a cane. But the part I don’t get, is I just don’t want to use one. Why is that?

I’m not stupid. I know my balance is going. I can tell how weak my legs are when I get out of a chair.  I wobble into the kitchen in the morning to get my coffee and wonder how I got to be this old. I hear all of the time about people falling and if it doesn’t kill them, it leaves them disabled.  When it comes to me using a cane, everyone I know seems to be playing the same old broken record, “you need a cane!” And, like I said, I’m even fair game for complete strangers.

I’d like to do the right thing. Ideas?


Dear Reader,

If I had an award for  “Most Honest Reader of the Month” you would be the winner! Your honesty is courageous.

How many times has each of us known what we should  do but we don’t? Think about it. People eat that second piece of cake when they know they shouldn’t. Or they know down to their toes they should admit they are wrong but they can’t. The examples of this conflict are endless. The war between logic and emotions is one we all participate in throughout our lives.

Let’s take a look at what happens to us when our logic spells out an answer we don’t like. Using the cane issue as our topic, here is a peek at the Battle of the Ages, “Logic vs. Emotional Reasoning.”

Imagine this little scene:

All of your brain cells are firing away, day and sometimes, night. The Committee of Logic, wearing their stylish, blinder-free uniform, approaches the cane question by evaluating knowledge: 1) Wobbly and weak? Check. 2) Balance compromised? Check. 3) Understanding that millions of elderly fall each year and are either disabled or, worse, killed? Check. 4) At 81, we’re old? Check.

Once this rational information is all complied, the esteemed “Director of Logic” makes a well-informed, brutally honest decision: Yes, we should be using a cane. This decision is sent immediately to the “Action Committee” for implementation.

But what’s the first thing that happens? This very logical edict slams headlong into the “Committee on Emotional Reasoning,” and the cane decision sets them on fire! Why? Because, believing they are the smartest little whipper snappers around, they saw this one coming. They’ve been very quietly evaluating this ridiculous cane suggestion for a long time, maybe even years.

They quickly whip up a long list of reasons why the Director has it all wrong: 1) Canes are for OLD people, not us; 2) If we walk around with a cane, people will THINK we’re old; 3) Don’t you know that people who use canes are losing their independence? 4) Since when do all of these people, even perfect strangers, think they can tell US what to do? We’ve been around. We know more than they have in their little fingers. Our life experience counts. 6) Besides, telling people what to do is disrespectful.

Their vote takes no more than the blink of an eye. Full of self righteousness, they shoot their decision back to the Director of Logic: “We override your decision. No cane! Besides, we won’t fall, you ninny! We’re very careful.”

Okay, admittedly I’ve had some fun with this but my goal has been to acknowledge why it is that we all struggle between logic and emotional reasoning. It is human nature.

I just hope you don’t let your “Committee on Emotional Reasoning” win this one!

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