It’s sheer shock. Me talking about the veracity of an argument from a republican writer, is like Ron Jeremy talking about celibacy. It’s like a kiss – something that serves no evolutionary purpose but it feels good. It simulates a conversation that doesn’t go longer than a hallway “how are you”.
An old Greek’s saying suggests that we suffer our way to wisdom. And I am suffering my way through realizing that David Brooks is incredibly wise about how he frames the role of emotions in our interpenetrated life (his twisted politics aside).
I live in a city that’s famous for its scenery, blithe lifestyle, and liberal mindset. Here, everyone sounds like an accountant. In San Francisco, people are really good at reason, but really bad at talking about emotions. They are really good at talking about technology, skills, safety, and health and really bad at talking about character.
In San Francisco, you can decode people’s entire decision framework in the way they raise their kids. The kids leave school at 3pm with 50-pound backpacks and get picked up by yoga moms who are highly successful career women. These moms have usually taken time off from their high-jobs to make sure their kids go to Stanford. And you can usually tell the yoga moms because they weigh less than their own kids. They’re elegant and slender. They don’t really have thighs, curves, or boobs. They just have one elegant calve on top of another.
What’s missing in this world of high life is that emotions are at the center of our thinking. Science and reason don’t make us super smart. In fact, people with those tools are quite helpless and alone. Emotions are not separate from reasons. Emotions are the foundation of reasons because they tell us what to value.
French enlightenment royally fucked us. They shoved it down our throats that reason is the highest of the faculties. David Hume research proved who we are, however. He proved that reason is often weak, and our sentiments are strong and trustworthy and we should let go of the dehumanizing bias of reason.
In San Francisco, we hunger for success and prestige. The true self however, granted it’s not lost, hungers for transcendence and those moments of human connection. IQ does not measure the greatness of a human being. Greatness is determined by how well we communicate, and how often we take turns in conversations.