My father used to say, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." It was years before I understood that. And even more years until I learned to apply it to myself.
I have been very thorough (and forthcoming) in this blog concerning my thoughts, ideas, and feelings on a great many topics. Up to and including which ones changed through growth, understanding or experience, and why. I have opened myself up for all to see, warts and all. I am well aware of my strengths and more importantly, my weaknesses. In doing so, I know very well what I understand, what I don't understand, and what I struggle to understand. I reveal all these things publicly. I do suppose its possible that I may have said something that runs contrary to what I meant, but those of us who use language as a solid communication tool, this is very easily rectified. I allow feedback, criticism, and discussion. I do not become defensive when someone disagrees with me. I lend all opinions the same weight as my own throughout the debate process. I look for holes in my own logic before I look for holes in the logic of others.
Sadly, not everyone behaves in this manner.
Given my recent modus operadni in bursting both paradigms and how we define ourselves, during a conversation on the subject several months back I willingly admit I made either the statement, "I do not want to label myself," or even, "I don't define who I am by my role, be it a husband or a father." Because emotions color much of what we hear (and given the inherent failure in comprehension by those who do not think critically), that statement recently came back to me as, "I do not want to be a father."
How could something like this even happen?
Enter the logical fallacy affirming the consequent:
"Father" is a label. You don't want to be labeled, therefore you don't want to be a father.
We ALL make incorrect arguments from time to time. I make them often, especially when I am emotionally vested in the discussion. But this is where it gets tricky, and falls well outside the realm of the rational:
I pointed out the logical error, restated my premise, and clarified my stance.
The rebuttal to which was my old nemesis, "Nuh-uh."
Ergo, despite my immediate enthusiastic reiteration that I very much do strive to be a magnificent father, everyone who has ever known me or reads this blog knows intimately my behavior and interaction with my kids, and a crystal clear illumination and explanation of the error...my statement was not believed. I was told I said, "I do not want to be a father."
Knowing myself as well as I do, that alleged statement has never entered my conscious. But even dismissing the absurd argument that I said it, the fact that my clarification was rejected? This is exactly the type of behavior I work so hard to avoid, the consequences of which could be staggering. Can you imagine if my children heard this from a source they trusted?
The mind boggles.