10/30/05

Do you have Pleromaphobia?

I have come to lament the fact that so many of us seem so often to do our thinking with our hearts (or our guts) rather than our brains. We want to know if something 'feels' right much more than if it is coherent, consistent, or logically sound. I really think that part of the problem is our cultural education (not to mention our formal education). We want it now, and we want to experience it and be moved by it. Like the AT&T commercial that moves us to tears (or tries to). We want everything to be pre-fabricated, microwaveable, and available in a 30 second clip. Real, deep, and exhaustive logical thinking is so quaint, even suspect: surely it is some kind of manipulation? And we are too busy for that sort of intellectual investment anyways.

I ran across a blog (I haven't read enough of it to say whether or not I recommend it) apparently run by a Presbyterian activist that gives a nice word to the problem that I have been sensing:

Pleromaphobia: The Fear of Fullness
I’d like to introduce another word into our English vocabulary: pleromaphobia (play-row-ma-foe-bee-uh). It comes from the Greek words for fullness or completeness, and fear. Pleromaphobia is the unusual distaste for anything fully argued or completely stated.


We live in an age of sound bites and little snippets of ideas. Today, bumper stickers have to suffice for exposition, and emoting has nearly replaced thinking in all too many spheres—including Presbyterian governing bodies. These days, a brief opinion may be tentatively offered, but presenting a solid, well-conceived case is considered arrogant or presumptuous.We inhabit an era of pleromaphobia. People just don’t seem inclined to stick around long enough for a solidly stated, well-explained, thoroughly documented, masterfully argued, logically impeccable, fully orbed idea to be presented. They roll their eyes. They sigh and fidget. They lose interest. And finally they become suspicious, or even a little hostile, spouting things like “Methinks thou protesteth too much.”

taken from: http://jimberkley.blogspot.com/

So, what can we do to reverse this trend? I have a couple of suggestions:
1) Pay attention, that is, listen attentively and analytically (or 'critically' as they like to say around here) to what we and others (and the commercials!) are saying
2) Take a logic class 0r at least read a logic textbook
3) Read Plato's "Republic" (or at least in it) before you dare to advance any political opinions
4) Be patient, do your homework, only speak when you know something of what you are talking about
5) Teach your children how to think (i.e. make them take a logic class)

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4 Comments:

Blogger blaze said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:24 AM, November 08, 2005  
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3:21 AM, November 18, 2005  
Blogger Michael Davis said...

Don't write off "feeling" all together. You yourself appeal to it in another one of your posts:

"Discovery Health tells us some facts that any Biblically-formed Christian should have already known in his gut (or better yet, his spirit)"

6:17 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

You are quite right, Michael Davis; in fact I have great faith in 'intuition.' However, I think feeling must bow before logic in many instances, especially in terms of doctrinal discussions, which is what this Presbyterian fellow was originally talking about.

9:46 AM, January 04, 2006  

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