Presupposing for just a moment that everyone in the world I may ever interact with breathes air, is beholden to the laws of physics, and can articulate why they hold a belief, "That's just how I feel" is woefully inadequate. Inadequate because it leaves no room for discussion or compromise. Woefully because there will never be a possibility for understanding or compassion between us. Relationships, be them friends or lovers or coworkers in order to be successful demand these four things beyond the fleeting interests of feelings or activities.
- Discussion - A spontaneous, interactive relatively equal exchange of information.
- "That's just how I feel" imparts very little usable information.
- Compromise - To make a deal between different parties where each party gives up part of their demand - a concept of finding agreement through communication and a mutual acceptance of terms.
- "That's just how I feel" has zero demands and zero terms therefore zero room for compromise. All of a sudden its "my way or the highway!" Very poor relationship material.
- Understanding - A psychological process whereby one is able to think and use concepts to deal adequately with that object with respect to knowledge sufficient to support intelligent behavior.
- "That's just how I feel" is the opposite of sufficient knowledge and does not support intelligent behavior.
- Compassion - There is an aspect of compassion which regards a quantitative dimension.
- "That's just how I feel" is void of quantification - there's nothing in which to measure. For those of use who lack empathy, compassion is our guiding star. But compassion demands we know why the feelings are there - not what the feelings are.
The proclamation of, "That's just how I feel" speaks volumes to me. None of them complimentary.
Sadly, my presupposition is fantasy for most, because while our bodies instinctively process oxygen and physics cannot be ignored, people do hold beliefs without knowing why. Unlike physics where incomprehension behind the science does not negate being subject to them, I'm not asking that they understand the complexity of their beliefs - only that they know why they hold them as such. "Why believe in x?"
"That's just how I feel."
Interestingly enough, feelings, like ideas concluded from logic, are also subject to change. But because feelings are psychophysiological in nature and subject to biochemical and environmental influences, they're much less stable. What I think about something is not dependent upon my mood - and that's downright frightening knowing that those who have no logical basis behind their beliefs can be swayed by a emotional state.
When I'm considering changing my viewpoint on an issue or idea, I don't change the logic I used to get there - I review the information, and if applicable, apply new data to the logic to see if it fits. People who don't know why they believe something cannot assimilate new data into their construct because that's not how they arrived at their conclusion - it was something they felt. And because they have no arguable basis for their ideas, they're disallowed from even recognizing the new data as applicable to their conclusion. In other words, there is nothing in which to apply new data even if they were to recognize it as such.
This brings me to two ultimatums which invariably follow - both of which are falsehoods; lies. I have personally heard both myself. The first ultimatum is:
"Why won't you just trust me?"
Pretending that the above four items necessary for a relationship are not really necessary, let's define how I perceive use of the word trust, and why that's the wrong word to use. First of all, questioning a belief is not an accusation - and seeing it as such is indicative of much deeper problems, of which asking for trust is not going to solve nor fix. Furthermore, questioning that belief is not an attack on honesty, fairness, or benevolence - things in which trust are built upon. I'm questioning their origin. I trust that before it was embraced as an idea it was given due course. What I want to know is the confidence of the data used in its acceptance. Its that I don't inherently "trust."
Certainly I should be expected to trust the source if I trust the person who trusts the source, right? Wrong. Ever since unearthing the Govering Dynamics of lessons learned, I've been very wary of statements of absolutes - for those reek of misapplication of concepts. Every time I hear, "I do" or "I do not" I cringe at the possibility that the knowledge that it comes from may be a long line of recent decisions built upon incorrect assumptions based upon the mishandling of past errors. Simply put, I would not be doing my due diligence by not asking, thus potentially perpetuating the cycle of endless fail. In short, I'm showing my honor of the belief by asking how it came to be without relying upon the supernatural. [I wrote this prior to dentin's comments on Within Reason which should certainly be considered.]
The second ultimatum:
"I'm entitled to my feelings."
Nope! And this is why - entitlement itself is nothing more than another feeling. In asking for reasonable evidence behind a belief, I instead get "I feel that I have the right to feel." Yes! And I would never deny that! Only - it means almost nothing, and certainly cannot be expected to suffice as reasonable evidence. Entitlement is the belief that one is deserving of some particular reward or benefit. Which simply means, whomever is unable to explain why they believe something to me, is also unable to articulate why they're entitled to feel that entitlement. "Double Fail."
I ask because I thirst for knowledge and want to either enrich, or deprive our relationship based upon the depth of our discussion, compromise, understanding and compassion. Guess which one "That's just the way I feel" engenders within me?
I'm not asking for everyone to be a genius. Only that they have a very basic comprehension of themselves.
Sometimes, that's asking too much.