Today in Slate‘s “The State of the Universe,” Jess Zimmerman writes,
It’s time to give up on facts, or at least to temporarily lay them down in favor of a more useful weapon: emotions. . . . Truth is not enough. It never has been.
In the terminology of The Science of Speaking, it’s a pitch for the utility of Heart over Head. Or, at the very least, in addition to it.
The whole article is worth a read, but here’s a tl;dr version:
When the argument is an emotional one, fighting with facts is unlikely to work. Instead, it may be more effective to directly engage with the emotions at play (in an empathetic way).
For example, as Zimmerman writes,
If someone says that the Muslim ban is OK because all terrorists are Muslim, it might be more worth it to ask about their fear of terrorism than to rail against the falsehood about terrorists. That can yield a more useful conversation. What’s really going to make them safer? How much safety is really possible, and what are we willing to trade for it?