I Feel That

People should stop using the phrase “I feel that”/”I feel like” to mean “I think that”.

This is something I’ve noticed more and more over the last few months; people seem to think that making assertions about their beliefs and opinions is somehow offensive, but making assertions about their emotions is not. The idea being, I suppose, that we have control over our beliefs, and so if we think something that runs contrary to someone else’s beliefs, we are intentionally contradicting them, while we don’t have control over our emotions to nearly the same degree, so if we feel something differently from someone else, it’s not your fault and you’re not casting judgement on the other person anyway, you just feel differently.

In other words, it’s a kind of sickly relativism. And it really bugs me, because it signifies a larger shift away from rational debate. As soon as we start taking differences of opinion as personal insults, we lose the ability to reason with the opposition, and it all turns into a question of who’s more emotionally persuasive.

Ah well.

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