Intelligence, Information, Thinking by Edward De Bono

By Edward De Bono

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Yet no one can deny that, through our emotions ("out of anger," "out of love for you, I . . "), we perform some remarkably stupid and destructive acts. And so, despite the rationality of the emotions as judgments, complete with strategies and logic, we should have to say that, at least in a great many cases, the emotions are irrational as well. Thus, there are two different claims involved here. First, I claim that the emotions in general are rational in the sense of intelligent and conceptual, and a purely descriptive sense.

We often criticize our emotions for their stupidity, their lack of justification, their foolishness, but correspondingly we often acknowledge their right and justification, their astuteness and their effectiveness. Such criticism and praise already presuppose a rational structure, a game of intelligence with strategy and logic, which can go well or badly. It is significant that we make no such attempts at evaluation of our headaches and feelings in general. We simply suffer them, or on occasion, feel lucky that one came along at precisely the right time (in order that we might miss a dull party or meeting).

What follows in every discussion is the usual catechism of examples. "You can't be angry without being angry about something," "You can't be in love without being in love with someone," "You can't assert without asserting something," and so on. But what does this "aboutness" amount to? Can it be analyzed as a casual relationship, a simple association of ideas, as Hume believed? Or is it instead, as Husserl, for example, has argued, some essential relation, a matter of necessity? Given the problems that have arisen in even the most superficial attempts to spell out the Humean insistence on the intentionality of emotions, several recent authors have attempted to reject this 6 entirely, reducing the object in every case to the cause of emotion.

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