There have been a couple of occasions this week that I’ve taken a step back from what I’ve been reading and thought ‘wow, talk about emotional check-mate’. Once was when I read the comments section (always a bad idea) of a widely shared Facebook post about the correct way to position your child’s car seat (rear facing until age 4 is best apparently. Never mind the fact that by then most children will have a substantial length of leg to tuck up, cross or stick-in-the-air) and the other was a conversation about diets. My tip is to never talk diets with a vegan unless you are one and even then it may leave you feeling like you are all that is wrong with the world…..
The common thread in both conversations was the emotional death-blow that came out early in the piece:
“Oh go on then, you ignore the science and have your child forward facing. You should be ashamed of yourself, I feel sorry for your children. It’s child abuse’.
‘It’s disgusting what they do to chickens, turns my stomach. I really don’t know how you can do it and feel OK. Their blood is on your hands’.
and maybe they are right.
I’ll never know because what I tend to do in situations like the above is mentally check out while vowing to continue my life as before while trying to block out all memory of the discussion ever happening.
My rationale for taking such a drastic course of action – i.e: no further research to find out if I am indeed supporting chicken cruelty or abusing my children?
It is simple, people who conduct such emotionally projective arguments are not usually thinking fully and deeply enough about the issue. Their information is tainted by their bias.
N.B: That is what goes through my head in that situation, it may not be the ‘truth’ but that doesn’t matter.
The fact that I discount emotionally charged or emotive arguments so readily has had me pondering though. Is this a personality trait peculiar to me? Am I really that cold-hearted and calculated? Is it my scientific thinking or is it just an ineffective way to make friends and influence people?
Anyway, to cut a long story short today I was listening to veteran singer-songwriter Jackson Browne on the radio talking about his political activism. He writes protest songs and has been involved in campaigns against nuclear power and US backed wars, has campaigned for Artists for the arts (to keep music in schools) and to reduce plastic water bottle waste amongst others. Browne said something that resonated deeply with me and I paraphrase:
‘When people really need information they need to emote themselves, you don’t need to do it for them. On occasion when I’ve written songs that are very pointed they have to be written with a great deal of restraint. What happens in a song is that the listener has got to feel, the listener has got to hear it, it has to resonate inside the listener. You want to engage the listeners emotions and not provide them, wrapped up and complete. When it comes to music, the real feeling is going to take place in the heart and mind of the listener’.
And I couldn’t agree more.