The Powerlessness of Reason

Our ability to reason got us to the moon, but it doesn’t do much to effect our moods. When you are in a mood, you can think of all kinds of reasons that you should feel differently, but you will still feel the way that you do. Reasoning about why you should feel better could just prolong your mood because you will get frustrated with your inability to reason your way out of it. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but this is how I feel.

If you have recently ended a relationship and you are feeling sad about the loss, you will be able to experience, fist-hand, the powerlessness of reason to affect your mood.  You can tell yourself a thousand good reasons for why that person was not good for you, about how you were fine before you met them and how you will be fine again, but you still feel anguish.

Although your reason doesn’t help your mood, your reason can influence your behavior, which can influence your mood.  You can decide to go for a walk. You can pay attention to your breath. You can stand on your head. These things can move you into a new context and your mood will adjust.

You cannot use your reason to talk yourself out of a mood. Talking helps if you talk about your mood.  If you are talking about the circumstances that led to you mood, you are likely feeding the mood.

We have a lot of faith in the power of reason, but its greatest power is its ability to help us to see where it is powerless.


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