Greek philosophers, Nietzsche, Star Trek and Stephen Fry: Logic is useful but not the end all

You can never be fully satisfied by using logic alone. Nor – despite television’s assertions – can you be completely satisfied by living an indulgent, impulsive life. This argument has been made by Greek philosophers, Nietzsche, Star Trek and Stephen Fry.

I have a real life example below, but first a clip with Stephen Fry (interviewed by Jennifer Byrne) explaining the above in a more endearing way.

Now, imagine you have a goal in life – a desire. Now just say, whatever it is, everyone tells you that it is stupid or pointless or that there is no money in it. Your desire is illogical.

We listen to the advice of family, friends and colleagues because it helps us make an intelligent, informed decision. The problem is desire does not always subside. If it was to disappear then it could be identified as an impulse – as by nature desire often is.

So what happens if this desire sticks with us, is harboured, and never shaken loose. We become unhappy. We have this constant wish that, like yelling at sport on the telly, the only way to satisfy is to fulfill the need. To get the emotion “off your chest”.

Therefore to be happy, and despite recommendations, you have to do the illogical thing. This might be to climb Everest, live in Paris, change career, etc.

Remember, while some might consider it a wacky idea, personalities are greatly different. What seems illogical to some is normal to others (some people like eating jam and peanut butter in the same sandwich. How odd.). Unfortunately personality profiling is currently something we mainly do to identify murders, rather than help us become happier.

And therefore, the “bottling up” of desires becomes the best way to identify the kind of person we are. When something becomes a lasting need, not just an impulsive want, it’s because our very happiness depends on achieving that. To satisfy your personality you have to do what is discovered to be desire most. Otherwise it is a life burdened with regret.

Logic is good, to stop us running head long off a cliff, but fulfilment of real desires is needed for happiness.


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