The Failure of Logic

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I have never been a big fan of arithmetic but I never doubted my teachers when they insisted that 2+2 = 4. In my elementary Geography class, I was taught that the higher you go, the cooler it becomes. Also, general knowledge has it that if you dip your hand into a pot of boiling water, you would end up with blisters. There seems to be a system that guides ‘cause-and-effect’ – meaning that the quantity and quality of your input should somehow be reflected in your output. That system is called logic.

But what if someday someone proves that 2+2 is not equal to 4? What if Russia and Canada become as hot as sub-Saharan Africa in January or if snow falls in Nigeria? What if a boiling pot of water gives you chills on a hot summer afternoon? I bet you’ll agree with me that something must be wrong somewhere. At that point, logic doesn’t hold up anymore.

Whenever I discover a phenomenon that contradicts common knowledge, I refer to it as the Failure of Logic and that can be seen in contemporary families, in education, in career, in politics and in health care.

Firstly, in the family – common knowledge has it that parents will do whatever is necessary to help their children lead successful lives and if they know anything that could distort that plan, they would guide their children away from it. That is logic! But the failure of logic is seen when ‘rich hardworking’ parents indulge their kids more than is necessary – pampering them so much in a bid to protect them from the suffering that they experienced. I think it’s ok to meet your children’s needs, but more often than not, wealthy parents fail to transmit to their children that wealth is a product of hard work. Raising children with an entitlement mentality and encouraging them to spend recklessly, especially on a credit card I think is a failure of logic, and I have seen many examples of that in America. Young people should be made to understand that if they don’t earn, they don’t spend! That’s the reality of life and the failure of many parents.

Secondly, we can talk about the education system. For all intents and purposes, schools are supposed to be places where people go to in order to equip themselves to meet the challenges of the wider society. But when young people come to the conclusion that school is not worth their time, something is wrong! The average American student graduates from college about $30,000 in debt. Facing society with such huge deficit, while not having learned much over four years is a failure of logic! Schools are failing us, yet we are paying so much for it!

Again, let’s consider politics. If we think about it, elected officials are supposed to be public servants – chosen by the people to represent their interests. How logical then is it that in the course of public service, politicians get much richer than they would have if they were in private business? In Nigeria, the most lucrative venture is politics. People kill and are killed daily because of their political aspirations. Definitely, people should get paid for their services but in opting to serve the people, an individual has supposedly given up the privilege of self-aggrandizement. But how can that be, when the strength of a political campaign is measured by the amount of money raised per quarter rather than the number of creative solutions to society’s problems? Reports show that Barack Obama’s campaign raised $70million from over 600, 000 people in the third quarter of 2011. Isn’t somebody concerned that an aspirant takes so much money from so many people in a bid to serve the people? That doesn’t sound like logic to me!

Fourthly, there’s failure of logic in career. Ideally, the more you work, the more you should earn, right? Wrong! The 80/20 principle is still in operation today. 80% (and I’m sure it’s tilting towards 90%) of the world’s income is concentrated within 20% of the workforce. Just how many millionaires are there in America and how many people sweat 24 hours of a day in America? The US Census Bureau reveals that there are 312 million people in America and the Wall Street Journal states that there are 3.1 millionaires in America. What about the other 309 million who work twice as hard? There is a failure of logic there too!

In health care, there is a failure of logic too. People say that the more you know, the better off you are, but they also say that what you don’t know will not harm you. So which should we believe? None! It has been proven, rather unscientifically that the diagnosis of cancer kills patients faster than the cancer itself. So the more they know, the worse they are, and not knowing that they have cancer will not stop the cancer from killing them! It’s just a reality of life! Logic fails all the time!

Conclusively, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet said “Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money, then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present, the result being that he does not live in the present or in the future; he lives as if he is never going to die and then dies having never really lived”. 

Aren’t we all just really complex beings? 

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