SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1936. Volume 7. Number 17.
Free Discussions Club
Free Discussions Club.
At the end of last term Dr. I. L. G. Sutherland gave a lecture to this Club on "Straight and Crooked Thinking." His treatment of the subject was very able, and the examples and illustrations well chosen, and calculated to instil into the minds of the audience the practical applications of straight thinking. He said man was a thinking animal. Words were used to convey thought, and also, they aided thought, But the use of words is twofold. The words can be used as a plain statement of fact, or they can be used to sir up the emotions. This latter use is quite justifiable in its place, but out of its place it leads to crooked thinking. Passion and prejudice lead the flow of reason from its appointed path, and this deviation is very noticeable in social issues, things which of their very importance require unprejudiced thinking.
Yet the emotions of the people are aroused by thoughts clothed in words which carry a strong emotional flavour, and the same thing is condemned or praised by the words it is expressed in. Take for example war propaganda—perhaps the greatest emotion-arouser known. See how the same thing is differently described, and therefore judged differently, according as to whether we are dealing with ourselevs or the enemy: the spirit of the Tommies—the mentality of the Hun. The heroism of our troops-the ponderous foolhardiness of the enemy.
Dr. Sutherland then demonstrated in a variety of ways how by emotionally toned words our thinking can be distorted.