Emotional Logic – The Logic of Emotions
Two of the most misunderstood things in life are emotions, and their reasoning process, which we
call logic. To make it worse, people refer to the expressions, or reasoning patterns, of emotions as
“emotional logic”. Besides being a bad description, it also increases and perpetuates the confusion.
Emotional Rationality would be a much better title and description.
Another part of this problem in understanding is the words we use to describe it: logic, rational,
reason, emotion, feeling, intuition etc. They mean different things, but are often used interchangeably
as synonyms. That makes more and more difficult to get a clear picture or understanding of it all.
It is largely this confusion and misunderstanding that is at the root of a lot of male/female dialogue.
Often it feels like people are comparing apples and oranges (the smaller, restricted picture) when they
should be thinking “fruit” (the larger picture). To help sort it out, there’s a list of descriptive
definitions at the end of this article.
Emotions do have a rationality, a reasoning pattern (or logic). The key to understanding it is to
decode it to see how it works – so that we can be comfortable with it. Its logic is not random,
chaotic, arbitrary or erratic. There are clear and highly predictable patterns that are the driving force
behind the emergence of these emotions/feelings. This is true even if the feelings themselves make
us feel chaotic and out of control.
Getting a handle on logic that uses “emotions” and those that use “rationality”.
Male / Female Communication: are there really “two logics”?
No, there aren’t. One way it is often described is that men think and speak along rational lines, and
women’s as doing it along emotional ones: kind of “rational logic” versus – kind of a different style
of the same thing. So what is this thing called “logic” anyway?
Logic as a set of principles for getting from Point A (something we already knew), to Point B
(something we didn’t) is too restrictive a concept (it is a specialized academic one). In the
communication process between a man and a woman, while using the step-by-step method, one of
them simply includes more “things” in the process than the other: the woman. What men call
“rational” to them simply means “stripped of feeling/emotion”, sticking only to “the facts”.
The following is still a work in process . . . .
Women include feelings/emotions. And anytime anyone does this in dialogue many others get
nervous or uncomfortable and tend to say, “s/he’s too emotional – s/he’s not making any sense.” It is
often said, erroneously, that "rational" logic takes a "wider" view, whereas "emotional" logic is based
on criteria from the moment, which may not apply a few days, weeks or months later. Instead, what
is really going on is that those who believe they are being logical do so from an either stated or
unstated position that basically say “all things considered, feelings excluded, here’s . . . .” And it’s
that “feelings excluded part that creates the problem.
Those who use what they call the “rational” approach claim to take that “wider view”, meaning they
have looked ahead and considered various possibilities and compared outcomes and consequences
and have come up with what they call the most “practical” idea or position. They claim that those
who include emotions don’t take that wider view – that they restrict themselves to the moment, the
In reality, most often those who include emotions also take the wider view and examine and weigh
options and possible consequences – but always by acknowledging and accommodating feelings and
emotions. After all, many of the discussions are about life, and lives, and feelings and emotions are
an integral part of it, whether they are the powerful ones (anger, fear, super joy) or the less powerful
So it makes sense to include those, because their effects will affect whatever choices and decisions
are made anyway. The “rational” approach is therefore at a disadvantage in this respect, because in
the long ran it is the narrower approach and more likely to come up with satisfactory results. The
one which takes feelings, intuition etc into account is most often the more “practical” and successful
one in the long run.
When we stop and think about it, it isn’t so much a male/female thing as it is an approach between
two people who include, or exclude certain things. While this is not always immediately clear to
people, it is an important fact that the more inclusive approach is the most effective one.
Actually, many people use it (they have done so for years) and it enhances the quality of their lives.
The single most important key element in that, next to being committed to making things work, is
that they see and treat each other not as a “man” or a “woman” but as a person.
Thus both speak out of their personhood with a deep inner knowledge that the other will resonate,
because they too are a person – and as persons, they have that personhood – with the same needs
and orientation to life – in common.
Once that is “seen”, differences based on gender lines simply disappear. If you haven’t done so yet,
try it. You’ll be amazed at the transformation. It’s time to ditch the useless polarization and pejorative
metaphors that separate us distort our thinking.
Emotion: a mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often
accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling; it is associated with mood, temperament,
personality, and disposition.
Emotion is an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is
experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.
Emotional: determined or actuated by emotion rather than reason; "it was an emotional
judgment"; a mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort, and is
often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling: the emotions of joy, sorrow, reverence,
hate, and love.
Feeling: an affective state of consciousness, such as that resulting from emotions, sentiments, or
desires; an awareness or impression
Gut Feeling: instinctive feeling, intuition; also called gut reaction; gut feelings are generally
regarded as not modulated by conscious thought, and as a reflection of intuition rather than
Innate: unconditioned: not established by conditioning or learning; present at birth but not
Instinct: arising from impulse; spontaneous and unthinking; inborn pattern of behaviour often
responsive to specific stimuli
Intuition: the act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes;
immediate cognition; direct perception of truth, fact, etc, independent of any reasoning process;
Logic: (from ancient Greek word), meaning reason) is the study of arguments (and their “proper”
Logical: capable of or reflecting the capability for correct and valid reasoning; legitimate: based on
known statements or events or conditions; in agreement with the principles of logic; reasonable;
pertaining to logic
Reason - verb: to form conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts or premises; to think or
explain, or assert in a logical manner.
Reason - noun: the basis or motive for an action, decision, or conviction.
Rational: having or exercising the ability to reason; consistent with or based on reason; logical;
agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible: a rational plan for [something]; having or exercising
reason, sound judgment, or good sense
Rationalize: to interpret from a rational standpoint; to devise self-satisfying but incorrect reasons
for (one's behavior) - this is connected to "denial and enabling"
A Priori: knowledge or justification is independent of experience; existing in the mind prior to and
independent of experience, as a faculty or character trait.
You may also find our page on Communication and Dialogue of interest.
Also see Gender Equality.
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Deerfield, NS, Canada
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