In addition to those mentioned in my previous post, there are other compelling reasons for us to add a dose of spirit to our logical mental processes. One reason becomes evident every four years, when our odd, American form of democracy (if that’s what it is) suffers through its candidate selection process, aka primary season. During my lifetime, I’ve seen more than one reasonable, intellectual candidate fail because voters claimed “he doesn’t excite me” or “she seems to lack energy.” Like it or not, voters in our democracy seem unwilling to vote for a perfectly acceptable candidate whose campaign is based on the exercise of common sense and logic. They want to be moved–as in emotionally touched. They want to feel enthusiastic about the candidate(s) they support.
So while it might make sense for us to choose candidates based solely on their ability to present a policy agenda built upon solid research and logical reasoning, the sad reality is that most voters seem more apt to vote for an exciting demagogue.
I am not suggesting that we water down our research or our logic with mindless emotion; instead, I am suggesting that we look for ways to make our common sense approach to life (and politics) exciting and fun. That is, we need to make our reasoning spirited if we expect anyone to buy it.
And that, in essence, is why I chose to write this blog. I wanted to simplify, as much as possible, the character traits I believe most voters have been seeking. It seems as though each election cycle presents us with the false choice between mindless emotion and spiritless reasoning. Is it too much to ask for a candidate who sees the virtue in both thoughtful reflection and childlike enthusiasm? Yes, there have been a few such candidates over the course of my lifetime. (John F. Kennedy comes to mind.) And to read the political writings of Mark Twain, it seems as though his generation suffered from much the same paucity of talent as ours does. Surely there are candidates willing to offer a thoughtful policy agenda with enough enthusiasm that we can actually see the election of a Spirited Reasoner.