The Shallowness Of Logic

We live in a world that honors logic.

If your argument is logical, if your reasoning is sound, and the evidence is there to back you up, then you win.  Makes sense.

Our legal system, our school system, and just about everything else is built on the supremacy of logic.

And it’s no wonder. Our country was built as an extension of Greece. As an outgrowth of their way of looking at the world. We still learn their literature, their philosophy, and their logic systems.

To become president, our politicians need to debate. To decide between atheism and religion, atheists and rabbis debate. Debates are supposed to be a battle of logic, and the truest logic wins out in the end.

There’s a problem with this, though. The Soviets also used logic. Marx and all those ilk. The Nazis claimed to be logical, scientific folks.

So many conflicting logical systems. How is that possible? Why don’t we all just arrive at the same logical conclusion in the end?

The problem begins when we only focus on logic. When we think that logic is the be all and end all.

Remember those Greeks? They were also obsessed with the physical. With their bodies, and sports, and fulfilling their base desires. Their worshipping logic was just an extension of a life centered around the shallow.

At the end of the day, logic is just a tool that helps us sift through what’s in front of our faces.

But we all need something more. A connection to something deeper.

Have you ever debated someone only to have them call you out on a fallacy? “Non-sequitor”, “no true Scottsman”, “red herring”? All those little bastards that people love to throw around.

Does it ever infuriate you? Not because you think what you said was necessarily logical or even completely correct?

The reason it drives us all crazy isn’t because we’re losing the argument, but because as soon as someone tries to just dismantle our agument, it becomes evident that they aren’t listening to us. They aren’t trying to look past our fallacies and our stupidity and our foolishness to the deeper truth we’re trying to communicate.

The problem, in essence, is that people would rather debate logic than arrive at truth.

Because at the end of the day, we’re not machines. We’re not completely logical and we’re ruled by emotions and foolishness and compulsions.

But we’re also ruled by our souls. And underneath every stupid, illogical, ridiculous argument we make, there is something deeper we’re trying to convey. A person who only cares about logic, only cares about being “right” will never discover the truth that the people around them are communicating.

For the most part, the amount of time most of us expend on trying to discover if our beliefs and thoughts are logical is wasted. Trying to prove our points to others is an even bigger waste of time. Because logic is just one part of the bigger puzzle of life.

At the end of the day, I would rather learn from a mature person than a logical person.

I would rather learn from a wise person than a smart person.

I would rather learn from an experienced person than an educated person.

Because those people have at least tapped into the deeper parts of themselves, the parts that guide them to make wise choices. Choices based off of their own flawed humanity than on an imagined ideal of logical truth.





102 responses to “The Shallowness Of Logic”

  1. MochinRechavim Avatar

    Logic isn’t stupid, its blinding. Logic is a method that arrives at truth. Your article is an accurate assessment of the flaws of using a completely logic based system but it isn’t stupid. The word stupid, is a very immature response and does not reflect the content of your article. I would recommend changing it.

    Logic is something that is apart of Torah, but it is not the ikkar as you have explained. The difference between the Sages of the Gemara arguing and some of the above examples is that the Truth the Sages are in search of can be arrived together. This is how Hillel and Shammai can disagree about 95% of Halacha but still marry off their children and share their pots and pans.

    If the Emes is the Ikkar and not your triumph over the other person, then you will be truly successful.

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      I hear you. Changed the title.

  2. Levi Keller Avatar

    the soviets and nazis used logic, therefore logic is bad…

    great going there, we can see that you don’t care much for logic.

    You don’t seem to think much of your audience either, if you think that is going to turn them.

    Yechi Hamelech!!

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      Classy, Levi.

      Anyway, I didn’t say logic is bad. I said it’s one tool we use to connect to truth, and if we only rely on it… well, that’s illogical.

      The point about Soviets and Nazis wasn’t meant to imply that this makes logic evil or something. Just that it can be misused.

      And since we’re quoting my piece, I’d like to direct you to another line: “The reason it drives us all crazy isn’t because we’re losing the argument, but because as soon as someone tries to just dismantle our agument, it becomes evident that they aren’t listening to us. They aren’t trying to look past our fallacies and our stupidity and our foolishness to the deeper truth we’re trying to communicate.”

      Seems relevant.

  3. AllanL6 Avatar

    Excellent. You’ve said this better than I ever have. Logic is a good tool, but reaching the truth with it requires making the right premises. It’s not a be-all and end-all. And those who try to use logic to shoot down the arguments of others are misusing the tool. Humans are both logical AND emotional. Pretending that logic can answer all questions ignores half of the equation.

  4. Rivki Silver Avatar

    “The problem, in essence, is that people would rather debate logic than arrive at truth.”

    Exactly. Most of the time, we’re just spouting our views at each other but are too resistant (scared, maybe?) to open ourselves to the possibility that the other side may have a valid point. And I’m talking about myself, here, too.

  5. rgy Avatar


  6. Tuvia Avatar

    Logic bothers some people a lot. But it is a fine tool much of the time.

    The Nazis I don’t think really had logic – though I am not at all an expert on how logic works. I think the Nazis had a system of thinking, and they had some premises: don’t mix blood with others, we are a superior race, we are descended from the divine.

    It worked well up until WWII. It gave Aryans purpose and made them feel special. They had nice kids who went to nice schools and everyone knew what they were about and how to live.

    I find logic bothers people who actually want to convince others of their arguments merits – but find it frustrating that their logic is pretty flawed. It is like they want to convince you, logically, but they get burned by the fact that they don’t really have a strong claim, and that the logic is not really there! So they start hating on logic.


  7. Mikhal-Sarah Gordon Avatar
    Mikhal-Sarah Gordon

    Logic isn’t even a method used to arrive at truth, it’s more often what we use to justify the conclusions we already came to and the biases we already hold. Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind takes a good look at that.

  8. celesul Avatar

    Logic is naturally very important, however, it obviously doesn’t work everywhere.

    In high school, I was a member of the debate team, and did Lincoln-Douglas style debate. The first thing we did in the round was explain what our value system was. Our logic could only be judged against that.

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