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Let’s have a rational conversation.

By Sherwood MacVeigh

I was recently reading a book, “The Rosie Project.” Yes, it’s fictional, but it made me think.

Don, the lead character, a scientist/professor, just had a great night out with a colleague, Rosie. They were dancing, drinking and enjoying themselves. They share a cab – she asks him to come up. He says NO. Perplexed, Rosie asks Don straight up, “Do you find me attractive?” Don thinks long and hard about this – reviews all the “data” he’s collected about Rosie throughout the night and makes an assessment based on a comment she made earlier in the evening that she wants to be judged by her brain, not her body. So, Don decides to tell Rosie – the most beautiful woman he’s ever met – that he “hadn’t even noticed.”

Don, or should I say his character, is on the spectrum of autism per se. He appreciates logic and rational approaches to situations and decides based on information, that the best approach/response to anything lies within data. This type of rational thinking, void of emotion, is interesting to me. It allows the human mind to progress past the norms of others because we do not restrict the mind to think within emotional parameters. But, without emotion-how do you determine what is rational, what is honest?

As a brand strategist, mom of 4, wife, friend etc., etc., I find this rationale thinking, data driven communication extremely interesting. Minds and data are impacting the way we are communicating and how we connect to each other. We’re relying more heavily on data than ever before: texting, on-line purchasing and email. Companies are collecting data and people are just giving it away. We think data is void of hopes, dreams and desires and we’re not worried. Yet, because data is less than half the conversation, we’re getting used to more conversations being void of nonverbals which makes up 60% of communication. So when are we going to give up on emotion, too?

Don (remember him?), the character from the book; the one on the autism spectrum? He gave a very logical response, based on the data. But it wasn’t an honest response because it was void of emotion. Don ends up getting Rosie, but not because of the data. Because he discovers the logic in emotions to finally connect with Rosie, genuinely, honestly.

So, “let’s have a rational conversation?” No, that won’t work either. However, as our minds evolve and data becomes more influential, we do need to challenge ourselves to find the logic within our emotions – to have more honest, real, human conversations.

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