Friday, October 05, 2012

Misrepresenting the Abolitionist Approach, Part II: On Hugs and Merit Badges

On Calling Not Changing the Subject "Changing the Subject"

In his post offering up the reasons he had changed his mind about participating in a podcast discussion with Gary Francione, James McWilliams had stated that "it [would] accomplish nothing except intensify the polarization that [McWilliams was] trying to minimize". Rather than take the opportunity to substantiate claims made during his recent public criticism of abolitionist advocates, he'd written that his intention was to instead continue developing his own arguments on his blog. The message received, based on his followers' reactions in the comments (reactions to which he did not respond and which he did not correct) was that debating the differences between abolitionist animal rights and welfarism is a waste of time and that he was no longer going to waste his own time doing it. I figured he'd meant that. So I was disappointed to amble over to his site the other day to find that he'd chosen to re-post an article by Melanie Joy in which she dredges up the welfare-abolition debate and takes a few passive-aggressive swipes at abolitionists.

A Reluctant Finger-Wagger

Joy starts off echoing McWilliams' message about how debating the fundamental differences between welfarism and abolitionist animal rights is a waste of time that she's always avoided, but that the apparently horribly traumatic and negative effects of those differences' having recently been aired forced her make an exception and to give up some of her time to weigh in. She starts off assuring us that there's nothing left to be said in the welfare vs. abolition debate -- she says it's "gridlocked". She implies that focusing on it at all is a soul-sucking time-sink. So? She offers up a fix -- a "reframe", she calls it, to make all of our lives "more peaceful" and our activism "more effective".

Critical Discourse and Debate Are "Non-Vegan"?

Joy suggests that we step away from what she calls the "content" of the issue (i.e. the facts and ethical arguments) and focus instead on "the way we communicate" -- the "process". She sets up a false dichotomy, suggesting that advocates can do one of two things. We can be "argumentative" so that
[o]ur consciousness and process can mirror the speciesist [...] culture we are working to transform, thus reinforcing, for instance, ideological rigidity, black-and-white thinking, defensiveness, bullying, self-righteousness, and hostility.
Otherwise, we can be "cooperative" and let our, um, consciousness
reflect the core principles of veganism – principles such as compassion, reciprocity, justice, and humility – the essence of a “liberatory” consciousness (and process), a way of being (and relating) that is fundamentally liberating and that I believe can significantly empower the important strategic conversations we need to continue to engage in.
She goes on to use the term "non-liberatory" to describe the former, which is also what she writes she's observed is brought to the table when differences in goals, strategy and tactics are discussed.

Conflating Diversity Within One with the Differences Between Two

Joy brings up that old familiar notion of the strengthening effect of diversity and extrapolates from it that we should somehow recognize that there is similar strength in our "differences" as advocates. She suggests that we should see the fundamental differences between what I've already mentioned in my previous post have realistically become two altogether different animal advocacy movements -- one welfarist focusing on how other animals are used and the other abolitionist and focusing on whether other animals are ours to use at all -- and that we should see liken these differences to mere diversity within one movement and as "opportunities" to strengthen what Joy calls "our movement". The thing is that likening diversity to those differences goes beyond comparing apples to oranges and makes as much sense as comparing a bowl of nooch gravy to a piece of granite. To insist otherwise merely undermines the seriousness of those differences.

Things get a whole lot more skewed in the article as Joy continues to weave into her text as a given that we're all apparently focused on the same goal -- i.e. that we're one movement with our collective eye on the same prize. She mentions "differences in terms of how effective various strategies are for ending animal exploitation" and that although some of those strategies may be "counterproductive" that "we" (i.e. members of an apparently comprehensive movement bent on ending animal use) need to discuss our different strategies "openly" and without "argu[ing] with each other"... but what exactly does she mean by "arguing"?

Debating = Evil

Surely, you would think that she's dismissing "arguing" in its common sense, when emotions are heated, tables are flipped and fists are shaken in the air? But no, according to Joy, merely having a rational critical discussion where you're expected to defend claims you make is tantamount to falling into this supposed non-vegan and "non-liberatory" mindset. Joy, in effect, decides to attack the entire idea and usefulness of debating, in and of itself. This form of critical engagement -- this rational exchange of information and arguments to clarify and substantiate claims and positions -- is purportedly rigid and extremist, according to Joy. It's just a contest and is all about winning. In fact, not only is it all about winning, but it's about labeling the person with whom you're engaging in critical dialogue a "loser". It apparently leaves the observer or listener to said debate limited to accepting one of two positions (obviously not the so-called loser's) and leaves the observer or listener completely in the dark about possible nuances to whatever topic is being debated. Presumably, this is because Joy thinks that people are incapable of listening and then reflecting upon and processing what they hear?

She contrasts debate with "dialogue" as if they're two completely altogether different things. Dialogue alone, it seems, allows for the sharing and exchange of information. Dialogue alone fosters an awareness of "multiple perspectives". Dialogue alone leads us to contemplations and thoughtfulness upon hearing different perspectives. Debate? It just leaves us pumping the air all "non-liberatory"-like, itching to see a victor and a vanquished. She writes: 
Achieving our objective of animal liberation depends on developing a comprehensive, complex, sophisticated, and flexible strategic approach to targeting a comprehensive, complex, sophisticated, and ever-changing form of institutionalized oppression. It is unlikely that the reductive, black-and-white rhetoric of debate can ever produce such nuance and analytical richness.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I smell straw. It's possible that she comes by it honestly and that Joy's own experience with debates has left her unnerved -- that a bad experience has left her with a limited and one-sided idea of their purpose or process. There's a certain irony in that something that's such an ordinary part of what I should hope most thinkers or academics view as critical dialogue ends up made a straw man by Joy and that her contrast between this straw man and her notion of "dialogue" is in and of itself as narrow and "black and white" as the outcome she purports results from engaging in debate. Debate, she claims, is "problematic" and is in fact "an obstacle". It's "non-liberatory" and thus (gasp!) non-vegan.

I'm a Pepper, He's a Pepper
She's a Pepper, We're a Pepper

Having established that debates are a Big Bad, Joy branches off from this to get to what I think is the true purpose of her essay, which is explain why it's just plain silly that some who call themselves abolitionists would want to engage in debate with others they call welfarists. According to Joy, advocates are just plain old confused. They've mistaken strategy for ideology (with the latter presented as "morally loaded", as if it's somehow horrible to attribute rightness or wrongness to something and to take a stance accordingly). Her concern, it seems, is that self-described abolitionists who busy themselves educating others about not using animals and who see other advocates focusing on how animals are used (and not engaging in vegan education) are making a big mistake in assessing those actions as reflecting the other advocates' ideology. According to Joy, those differences are just strategic and we're apparently all, in fact, seeking the abolition of animal use. She writes that it's only "when we untangle ideology from strategy [that] we can redirect the conversation to how best to bring about this end without getting sidetracked by moral argumentation. (Because who on earth would want to lose their way advocating for the rights of others by getting distracted actually discussing silly things like "rights" or other "morally loaded" junk?) 

I won't go into detail about how Joy rambles on about how there is absolutely no evidence that promoting welfare reform will or won't bring about the abolition of animal use, except to suggest to she should put down her Cooney and pick up a copy of Gary L. Francione's Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement or (better yet) The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation? and that she perhaps consider taking a quick look at some of the (dare I say it?) nuanced writings on his website about why one should opt to focus on educating others to go vegan rather than waste time on attempts at welfare reform (attempts which often end up reinforcing the idea to non-vegans that other animals are indeed ours to use). Joy writes that "our investment in being right can prevent us from being effective" which misses the point altogether that for abolitionists, our investment is not in being "right", but in convincing others to go vegan. For me, hearing that someone's connected the dots and has rejected animal use is what's effective. Joy's investment in thinking that I'm participating in a contest or sporting event is preventing her from seeing that I'm fighting a holocaust.

To Joy, though, we're all on the same side, albeit some of us are trying to play soccer and to force other advocates into forming an opposing team so that we can just whup their arses for the sake of whupping arses. Debating, according to Joy, is just the "othering" of fellow advocates for the sake of arse-whupping. In fact, she points out, the whole "welfare-abolition debate" is a perfect example of this. It's a "myth", she tells us. It's just a construct slapped together by those who call themselves abolitionists. Why? Supposedly to force into a make-believe opposing camp other vegans who don't self-identify as having any sort of specific political or ethical stance when it comes to the question of the morality of animal use per se. If their actions reflect a political or ethical stance (e.g. through participating in or promoting regulationist campaigns)? Joy says that using a descriptor to identify them is antagonistic and irrelevant if they, themselves, don't self-identify with that same descriptor. (An aside: I wonder if Joy would take this one step further, then, and assert that if someone doesn't self-identify as, say, a sexist, that this person cannot rightfully be called a sexist?) Plus, throwing that descriptor out there is tantamount to actively foiling the hard work that other advocate is doing, whatever that "work" may be.
Identification with a position has largely been the province of a small group of vegans who have constructed an identity around their strategic-ideological approach and who have constructed labels for both themselves and the other “side.” In our soccer analogy, it’s as if there is only one team trying to win the game; the rest of the individuals don’t even think of themselves as a team and are simply moving across the field, only kicking the ball when it gets in their way.
Even when she admits for a second that maybe there is indeed something to abolitionists contrasting themselves with advocates whose focus is not on use, but on treatment, Joy insists that the difference between welfarists and abolitionists is still somehow make-believe -- a "myth":
To be fair, just because only a minority of vegans have a “team” identity, this does not mean that the majority play no role in constructing the debate. It is entirely possible that the small, vocal minority have developed a cohesive group identity because they have felt that their valid and pressing concerns have not been taken seriously by the broader vegan culture. Both “sides” must work to defuse the Myth of the Great Debate.
So in the end, there is no such thing as a welfarist or an abolitionist according to Melanie Joy -- all vegans are ultimately abolitionists (Joy's obviously never heard of Wayne Pacelle, Paul Shapiro or of Erik Marcus). Oh, and for heaven's sake -- don't try to debate her on this, because you'll just be kicking a soccer ball in her path and blocking the effective advocacy in which she is currently engaged by trying to blur distinctions between two altogether different movements. Joy's intention seems to be to shame and to silence the one movement that is unequivocal about its focus on animal rights while fighting to end animal exploitation. She seems to want to co-opt the descriptor "abolitionist" as it is understood now in animal advocacy circles, and to stretch it out to include anyone and everyone who wants to self-identify with it, regardless of their ethical stances or of their actions and complicity in the reinforcement of speciesist attitudes. I'm guessing that explaining to her that terms come with context and with definitions would just lead to an accusation that I was being confrontational and "non-liberatory".

Descriptors Aren't Merit Badges

Isn't it funny? This whole business of calling those who are actually abolitionists and who reject animal use things like "extremist", "divisive", "bullies", et al. while wanting to co-opt the term for people who aren't actually abolitionist but who still involve themselves in perpetuating animal use by focusing on treatment, it's really no different than animal-using vegetarians calling vegans extremist, divisive, bullies, et al. and then vegetarians wanting to co-opt the term "vegan" to self-identify as some "degree" of vegan as they continue to deliberately engage in avoidable animal use. Vegans get scolded and shamed into accepting vegetarianism (i.e. animal use) as somehow being no more than a wee moral sidestep (lest they be deemed holier-than-thou, judgmental, the vegan police, elitist, et al.). Now abolitionists are being scolded and shamed into embracing welfarism and into allowing those who focus on animal treatment to co-opt the term "abolitionist" for themselves -- regardless of their political or ethical stances or of the nature of their hands-on advocacy. If you try to point out that they're different, according to Joy, you're obviously a bitter trouble-makers who's gobbling up the time of those who could otherwise be doing their tabling or starting Care2 petitions to stop Safeway from selling brown ducks on Tuesday mornings. I mean, how dare you?

Welfarists and abolitionists aren't just grumpy siblings sniping at each other in the back seat of a car while on summer vacation. There is no rift in one unified movement; we are two separate movements. Our differences goes far beyond being mere "diversity", but it seems that hammering that out by engaging in critical debates that would make this evident is "non-liberatory" and not in keeping with vegan principles. Joy claims that we need to be truth-seekers, but seems to want us to do so blindfolded. And if in their own truth-seeking, advocates around us do more harm than good to other animals, we should nonetheless "value" them for their truth-seeking-ness; instead of tapping them on the shoulder and suggesting that they're doing it wrong, we should give up on our own fixation on doing it "right".

According to Joy, judging another's actions is always "shaming" and shaming is non-liberatory (and thus goes against vegan principles). According to Joy, judging always involves bullying. (Critical thinking means less time for hugs?) Joy's investment in keeping us from stepping on each other's toes is preventing her from acknowledging that for each misstep one of my fellow advocates takes, there may be additional lives lost. It's not about us; it's about them. If I point out to you that spending all of your time trying to get non-vegans to sign a petition to convince a fast-food burger chain to only use eggs from chickens who have an extra three inches of room in the cages in which they spend their entire miserable short lives, I'm not doing it to hurt your feelings: I'm doing it because I'm thinking about those chickens and that the chickens in those cages would rather not be in those cages at all. It's not about us; it's about them.

What Now?

She's right that we have "much work to do". Some animal advocates educate the general public about veganism; other advocates choose to educate the public about not not buying shoes made of kangaroo leather from one specific company while not addressing that no leather from any animal should be purchased and that all animal exploitation is problematic. As an abolitionist and an ethical vegan who truly wants to see an end to speciesism and to the horrific cycle into which billions of other sentient beings are enslaved and slaughtered every single year, part of my work involves sometimes tapping the kangaroo shoe petitioner on the shoulder and suggesting that more could and should be done. If someone like Joy wants to insist that that my doing so somehow goes against vegan principles -- that it's "divisive", so be it. At the end of the day I'd still offer Joy a big ol' hug. Then I'd ask her to substantiate her claims and to give me an opportunity to refute them, because this is where real learning and understanding come from -- not from smiling and nodding and turning a blind eye to others' fumbling around us.


Alex Chernavsky said...

Excellent analysis. I've observed over the years that abolitionists tend to say exactly what they mean: they say it clearly and concisely, with no obfuscation. In contrast, welfarists tend to write confused and confusing prose. Reading Melanie Joy's baroque essay made my head hurt.

-- Alex Chernavsky

James said...

What's the point of this? You spend most of the time simply summarising Melanie's essay with scare quotes and, frankly, confusing metaphor. What's next? Are you going to start simply [sic]ing people you disagree with?

Occasionally you actually respond to something she says but it's always just baseless assertions the rely on the bias of the reader. Take this for example:

"The thing is that likening diversity to those differences is less like comparing apples and oranges than comparing a bowl of gravy and a piece of granite. To insist otherwise merely undermines the seriousness of those differences."

What differences? Why are they so serious? Why do you have to drag out such a tired cliche to describe them? If you want to convince anybody of anything, you're going to have to do a lot better than this: this is mostly handwaving.

ludditerobot said...

Another excellent critique. I don't know that I'm in 100% agreement with you "ideologically" or "strategically" (shudder!), but this is really clear and persuasive. Her piece was barely readable for me.

Also, when I worked in campaigns and even more recently, we were strongly advised never to say "a small but vocal minority," because it's a condescending cliche and basically assholish. Interesting, no?

Team Earthling said...

Thank you for such a well thought-out response to the Joy article.

This discussion has given me lots to think about and I am grateful for your contribution.

Co-host of Team Earthling

gfrancione said...

Dear Mylène:

This is another fine essay.

What is interesting is that the position taken by Joy and other "let's put aside our differences and all embrace welfarism but call ourselves abolitionists" folks is that their position is *exactly* the same as the one that welfarists took with respect to the use of "rights" in the 1990s.

"Animal rights" emerged as a form of opposition to animal welfare. Animal rights as a concept made no sense if it was merely another name for animal welfare. Anyway, like Joy, the welfarists in the 1990s complained about labels and said that if their goal was to eliminate all (or much) animal use, and they wanted to get to that goal by using the same welfarist regulation that had been used for the decades leading up to the animal rights period, then they were "animal rightists" and anyone who disagreed was "divisive," "fundamentalist" "elitist" or whatever. Disagreement became synonymous with "bullying."

To say that there is no real difference between:

A. someone who advocates that we ought to abolish animal use and that the means to achieve that goal is promoting veganism as a moral baseline and rejecting "happy" exploitation and

B. someone who says they hope one day to to see the end of all (or most) animal use and that the means to that end is "happy" exploitation and animal welfare regulation

is like saying that there is no difference between:

A. someone who wants world peace and advocates nonviolence in our dealings with each other and

B. someone who says that they want peace as their goal but who advocates the use of war to get to the state of peace.

To say that the differences are only matters of strategy assumes that the means do not have to be consistent with the ends and may even be inconsistent. So it's fine to advocate "happy" animal use to get to (supposedly) no use; it's fine to advocate war to get to peace.

Please forgive me but I find such a position to be be, to borrow Bentham's phrase, "nonsense on stilts."


Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

Spencer said...

Hi Mylene,

You are a fine writer and fun to read, but IMO, I thought uncharity largely pervaded your analysis of Joy’s article both in substance and (snarky) tone, notwithstanding the fact that some parts of her article can be difficult to interpret (I also disagree with some of her claims).

One example regarding debate, where you wrote: “according to Joy, merely having a rational critical discussion where you're expected to defend claims you make is tantamount to falling into this supposed non-vegan and "non-liberatory" mindset. Joy, in effect, decides to attack the entire idea and usefulness of debating, in and of itself...In fact, not only is it all about winning, but it's about labeling the person with whom you're engaging in critical dialogue a ‘loser’.”

This does not accurately represent what Joy was trying to say, for when she discussed the idea of “debate,” she had a very specific understanding in mind--one which involves *more* than “merely having a rational critical discussion.” Her initial qualification “In general, when we debate…” should have made clear that her intent was not to “attack the entire idea” of debate, but to focus on *how* debate is commonly practiced, where the goal *is* to win an argument, to defend a certain position, or to demonstrate why some argument is unsound or fallacious. “Debate” as commonly practiced is certainly counterproductive and undesirable, especially when critical issues are at stake, and one doesn’t have to look hard to find numerous examples in various forums and current politics. As an experienced participant in “debates,” in areas other than animal rights, I can tell you that this mentality is pervasive.

Consider the practice of trying to demonstrate that an argument is fallacious or unsound. A person in “debate mode” is strongly motivated, usually by ego, to “destroy” or “refute” the argument, because doing so is intellectually rewarding--it can make one feel good or powerful (I speak from personal experience). I believe most people reading this probably understand what I’m talking about, and if they engage in a little critical self-reflection regarding their debate motivations, I believe Joy’s observations will ring true.

But does this mean Joy is suggesting that “dialogue” should not involve “rational critical discussion?” Of course not. The distinction between “debate” and “dialogue,” according to Joy, lies in their different goals: one is largely ego-driven, the other is not. Thus in this sense the two processes *are* “two completely altogether different things.” Dialogue should *involve* putting forth arguments, counter-arguments, pointing out fallacies, rigorous scrutiny, etc, but it isn’t *about* those things--yet too often the difference is conflated, which I believe is Joy’s point. It’s *easy* to say: “Debate for me is merely about rational discussion, and thus not about *my* views against others - it's about *which* view is right. I’m not personally attached to *my* views and arguments simply because they're mine.” Most people who say this to themselves are probably self-deceived (again, I’m no exception). As I read her, Joy’s suggestion is simply that when engaging the topic of animal welfare, participants should not approach discussion with a “debate” attitude, which is the source of much hostility and tension. That, to me, makes eminent sense, but I welcome anyone to explain why Joy's point amounts to "straw."

Mylene, in light of my comments, I hope you would consider revising your current understanding of Joy’s article.

David said...

Spencer--This whole thing started because McWilliams wrote an incredibly uninformed piece in which he attacked abolition. Francione asked him to debate the position that he, McWilliams, promoted. McWilliams accepted and then declined after he realised that his position was not defensible, and for several weeks, we've been hearing sanctimonious speeches by McWilliams and Joy that actually include Joy telling us that Socrates would advise McWilliams not to debate Francione.

And now, you are saying that Mylène got it all wrong and Joy was actually trying to distinguish "good" debate from "bad" debate. So let me ask you, how would characterise Francione's debate with Prof. Garner? Francione's debate with Prof. Machan? Francione's debate with Prof. Ringach? Francione's debate with Prof. Narveson? Francione's debate with Wesley Smith?

I would say that they were all good debates. If you don't agree, then please tell us in what way you disagree. If you agree that they're all good debates, then you will be forced to conclude, as I have, that Joy is attacking a straw man and that this is all about a desperate effort to try to deflect attention from McWilliams' irresponsible and embarrassing essay into an attack on Francione.

Spencer said...

Hi David,

Thanks for commenting. The difference between a “good debate” and a “bad debate”--or Joy’s distinction between “debate” and “dialogue”--is not always obvious from the non-participant’s pov. Rather, we need to distinguish between the process or mentality of “debate” from the participant’s pov and the process or mentality of “debate” from the non-participant’s pov--we’re all familiar with both.

From the pov of participants, which was Joy’s focus, the distinction between “debate” and “dialogue” is one of attitude: Is my goal or motivation to “destroy” or “annihilate” my opponent’s arguments, while trying to “protect” my own? Or is my goal or motivation to carefully consider, with a conversation partner, the various arguments that can be put forth in favor of competing positions, where there is no personal attachment to any particular argument solely (or largely) because it is *mine* or because I have a personal investment in it? How many us are *truly* capable of regularly engaging in rigorous “dialogue,” especially on passionate issues? If our current political climate is any indication, I’d say “very few.” Again, I’m no exception, but I believe I have enough “debate” experience--specifically online--to be at least *sensitive* to the point that Melanie Joy made. “Debate” can be very ego-empowering, especially when one is good at it, but then it can also make it difficult to distinguish between one’s ego-driven motivations from one’s “enlightened” motivations for “mere rational discussion.”

From the pov of non-participants, the distinction about attitude is similar. Am I eager to see a particular side get “demolished,” “crushed,” “destroyed,” “owned,” “pwned,” or “rhetorically or intellectually humiliated?” Or am I instead eager to see a rigorous exchange where I’m primarily motivated to gain a better understanding of the various issues and competing arguments, so that I can come away more informed? For me on certain issues, it’s easier to take a “dialogue” attitude when I’m a non-participant, and Professor Francione’s exchanges that you mentioned are good examples. In particular, I found his debate/discussion with Professor Ringach very interesting and informative, and I’m glad it took place (thanks Professor Francione).

So to directly answer your question, from the pov of a non-participant, I found Professor Francione’s debates/discussion interesting and informative--so in that sense I would characterize them as “good.” Does this acknowledgment mean that Melanie Joy was “attacking a straw man?” Not at all, because it does nothing to call into question her observations about “debate” attitude.

Do you believe that her observations about “debate” apply to you or the people you’ve interacted with? If they don’t apply, then she isn’t saying anything of relevance to you, in which case there is no need, on your part, for objection (on *this* particular point); but if they do apply, then she *is* saying something of relevance to you, in which case it would be worth considering how to replace the “debate” attitude with the “dialogue” attitude. Joy’s point resonated with me *precisely* because her observations apply to me, so I found her remarks valuable. I suggest that if most people reading this took the time to engage in a little critical self-reflection, they might agree.

David said...

Sprncer--You state, "So to directly answer your question, from the pov of a non-participant, I found Professor Francione’s debates/discussion interesting and informative--so in that sense I would characterize them as “good.” Does this acknowledgment mean that Melanie Joy was “attacking a straw man?” Not at all, because it does nothing to call into question her observations about “debate” attitude"

Joy's essay was nothing more than a transparent attack on Francione for his inviting McWilliams to debate him after McWilliams published an essay that was scurrilous. So Joy presented a defamatory attack on Francione, claiming that his debates are not the Joy-permitted discussions. But there are many Francione debates out there and they are all "good" debates. So Joy's attack on Francione is quite clearly bollox. But you won't admit that. You are just being disingenuous at best and, frankly, I think you are dishonest.

Spencer said...

Dear David,

I’m not sure why or how my response generated such hostility from you (for I have none towards you), to the point where you would launch an unwarranted personal attack on my character. It would be easy to take your remarks personally, but I prefer to see them as the very problems that Melanie Joy was trying to address: the lack of compassion and empathy in our communications. Consider Joy’s words:

“Anger is a normal, appropriate response to injustice, but when we fail to examine and process our anger, it can grow and become chronic. And when we communicate from a place of anger, we inevitably project hostility. Our words – spoken or written – are pregnant with vitriol, righteously indignant.”

I hope you would re-consider what you said to me in light of the above, particularly by reflecting and meditating on the process of your anger.

Best wishes,
Spencer Lo

David said...

Dear Spencer,

I don't have hostility toward you.

I just think you are dishonest.

It's a cognitive thing; it's not emotional.

Best wishes,