Quora Question: Do Millennials Ignore Facts in Favor of Feelings?

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Graduating students pose for a group selfie before commencement at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 26. Brian Snyder/reuters

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Answer from Nicole Gravagna, PhD neuroscientist and author of MindSET Your Manners:

Feelings are valued more highly now than they have been since the invention of professionalism, which frankly hasn't been around that long.

When we started working in offices (and when I say 'we' I mean men), we created a manufactured environment. People wore suits that masked the true shape of the body. People came up with things to say that allowed them to speak in short hand and code. Professionals were able to keep their real life at home and their work life in the office.

With the invention of social media we started mixing our real life and our professional life. Employers can Google you, look on your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds to see what you've been doing with your time. Your feelings about things are out there in a way that they had never been before.

So, what can we do? Can we go into the office pretending that we don't know what our coworker had for dinner, where, and with whom? Can we pretend we don't know who they voted for? Can we pretend that we don't know they have a weakness for Asian art? Forget it. All that pretending just got too hard.

We all have feelings. Some of us are disconnected from feelings and others are acutely aware of feelings. Either way, everyone is having them. We've become, as a community, more willing to admit that we have feelings and to discuss them. This new focus on feelings is likely connected to the increased transparency of internet life.

Millennials weren't taught to exalt feelings, they just grew up in the age where we all started paying mind to our feelings. If you haven't started learning about your feelings, then you might be behind the curve. Remember when kids were the only ones good at computers and grown-ups only knew how to use computers for specific work purposes? Exchange feelings into the place of computers in that sentence and you see my point. Millennials grew up in the dawning of the age of transparency.

What happened to facts? Well, what is a fact? It's a logical thing. Not an emotional thing. A fact is logic. Logic is funny because it can be either true or false. Frankly, facts are slippery things that can switch between true and false just by changing the order of two words in a sentence. This is what they teach people to manipulate in law school.

If I say, "That ball is purple." Is that a fact? What if I'm wearing red glasses? What if I'm color blind. Am I capable of telling you the true color of the ball?

If I say, "That ball looks purple to me," that is a fact. It doesn't matter what glasses I'm wearing. It doesn't matter if I have colorblindness. It doesn't matter if it's too dark to see color. It looks purple to me. End of story.

Feelings, however, are always true, as long as you stick to feelings. "I feel angry." You can't argue with me about it. It's true. "I feel sad." What's there to argue about?

Now, people try to take feelings to far. They say, "I feel angry because you didn't pay your half." That's a hybrid logic/feelings sentence. You didn't pay your half is logic. I feel angry is emotion. These types of sentences are neither fact nor feelings.

Feelings have finally been exalted to a place where they are on equally footing with facts, but most people aren't skilled about using facts as facts and feelings as feelings. Perhaps as time goes on, we will become more capable of understanding the positive elements of facts and the positive elements of feelings, and we'll be able to use them with skill. We aren't there yet.

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Quora Question: Do Millennials Ignore Facts in Favor of Feelings? | Opinion