Logical Thinking

It would be a great temptation for a person who is logical minded to say that there is never a time when we should not think logically. Likewise, someone who doesn’t think logically might have an impulse to say “never”. Can either of these be right, though? Let’s examine both.

Logical thinking is absolutely necessary for problem solving. Many people who don’t think they ever think logically, actually do; sometimes far more often than they think. Think about many of the mundane tasks many of us do every day. Do you plan meals and cook? Wash dishes, sweep, mop, vacuum, or clean? Balance the checkbook, drive to the store or to work, dress yourself, or do any sort of crafts in your spare time? All of these require logical thinking. Let’s look at just the first one listed to see why this is so.

Planning meals: This may seem simple, and it often is, but it requires logic. We must figure out what the dishes are going to be, what ingredients we have on hand and which we need, we need to consider any dietary constraints anyone in the household may have, we need to consider when to cook, how to cook, and when it will be done, we have to figure out how much is going to need to be prepared to feed everyone, and much more. If we used illogical thought, which is the opposite of logical thought and the absence of logic, everything would be done impulsively and without ration. We could end up cooking a hamburger with grape jelly and syrup, with apple pie and spinach on the side, at 4 in the morning.

Okay, so we need logical thought in order to survive. When would it be better NOT to think logically? Most people know the answer to that question without asking; when we are dealing mostly or completely with emotions. Any time our emotions are governing our thoughts, we have difficulty thinking logically, and to do so is counterproductive. A good example I can give about this is when I proposed to my wife, 39 years ago. There was logic involved very early, figuring out if I could support her, where we would live, where we would get married, and hundreds of other details. But once the logic part was satisfied, there was the proposal. I did NOT think logically when I proposed. There was no need, since that had already been taken care of. Instead, I spoke from the viewpoint of love, and I’m not at all sorry for that, almost four decades later, and to this day, I feel joy that the answer was yes. (I still feel the emotional basis for my thinking, after all of these years.)

Just in this one example, it can be seen that logical and illogical thought can and often do work together. It is what makes us human. When and when not to think logically can be summed up neatly by simply saying that when to is when an unemotional task must be done or problem solved, when not to is when we need to think emotionally.