Hey guys, and welcome to the first Thoughtful Thursday of 2016! Today, I want to do something a little bit different: rather than presentin...

Inside Out: The Missing Character

Hey guys, and welcome to the first Thoughtful Thursday of 2016! Today, I want to do something a little bit different: rather than presenting a topic and telling you what I think about it, I’m going to present a discussion point and ask what you all think (mostly because I’m not exactly sure what I think just yet).

This past weekend, I finally watched Inside Out, that reasonably new Disney movie that had everybody raving about its awesomeness and finally got them to forget about Frozen. My family and I watched it as a kind of family movie night thing and we all loved it: it was heartfelt, deep, and complex, without losing any of the fun family feel we know and love Pixar for.

And yet, as I thought about it, I realized that something seemed to be missing.


I think the concept of Inside Out, five core emotions running the human brain, is fascinating. But I also feel like it overlooks an important element of human processing: the movie seems to assume that humans are run almost entirely by their feelings and use very little logic.

I mean, the five emotions stand at the control panel, and each person’s driving emotion, be it Anger, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, or Fear, calls every shot as to how the person feels, acts, and basically experiences life. Logic is never applied; something happens, the corresponding emotion has a knee-jerk reaction, Riley feels something, and then she acts upon that feeling. The only representation of logic or thought is the actual Train of Thought (sidenote: I think it’s funny how it actually derails at a certain point in the movie, showing that Riley probably isn’t even thinking anymore), but that’s not an active entity in Riley’s decision-making, nor does it seem to influence either of her parents in the scene where you see things from their point of view. Now to be fair, each emotion does execute their own form of logic, and I’m not saying that any of themhuman characters or emotionsseemed dumb or unintelligent. Only that none of them had an actual representation of Logic in their heads, and I thought that was, well, kind of funny.

To be honest, I’m not even sure where I’m going with this. Because I’m not trying to say that the lack of Logic as a character caused all the movie’s conflicts, (though imagine what a difference it would’ve made if they had Logic walk in with a suit and tie, all Kazuma from Noragami style, while Fear, Disgust, and Anger, were in control. Lol, that would’ve been interesting) and I’m not trying to go into some spiel about how “this is why we should not be run by emotions” or “this is why logic should be our go-to in every situation.” (I mean, I think there’s some truth to that, but it’s another discussion for another time). I just... I think it’s interesting that they assumed—or, from my point of view, seemed to assume—that logic was not a large portion of the human thought process. That our core feelings and their derivatives make most of our decisions for us.

And I don’t know, I guess for some people it works that way? Some people are Feelers, but I consider myself a Thinker, and I’d like to think that I have a little characterization of Logic in my head, corralling all the crazy emotions when things start to get out of hand. But maybe I don’t. Maybe we are all run by some form of those five emotions; maybe logical decisions make some people happy, so their Joy is in charge. Or they’re annoyed with the general state of the world, so Disgust drives them as they pick apart and evaluate their daily life.

Or maybe I’m just overthinking it. Maybe it’s just a movie and it should not cause me to ruminate this deeply and ramble a whole blog post away. *shrugs* Honestly, I haven’t come to a complete conclusion yet, but I found the observation too intriguing not to share (also, after I made the little graphic thingy, I knew I had to post this come what may, because dang it, I really like how that pic turned out).

So yeah, lol, I guess I’m done for now. Rescue me from my ramblings and tell me your opinion in the comments: Do you think Logic is represented in each character? That Pixar missed a chance by not giving Logic its own part to play? That I’m completely overthinking this, clearly haven’t been on break long enough, and should come back when I have something insightful to say? Lol, whatever your opinion, let me know about them in the comments, and I can’t wait to chat with you all. :)



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18 comments:

  1. Yes, I agree. They completely skipped over Logic, and I actually consider everything as a situation to be approached with logic. Although, I think if they had created a character called Logic, he (or she) would have been shoved in the corner by the other emotions, or everything would have gone too smoothly, and there wouldn't have been much of a plot.

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    1. Interesting. I'd agree that logic should be applied to every decision, however because one does have to consider emotions, logic can't always have the final say.

      And, lol, true. there would have been no plot if logic was completely in control. Or, at the very least, the plot would have been very, very different. It would be interesting if they did a sequel like that, though...

      Thanks for commenting! :)

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  2. Hm, as someone else who considers herself a thinker, I can see why you would want more thinking being shown, but at the same time, I don't think a "Logic" character would have added to the movie. First of all, logic isn't an emotion—at its essence, logic is just us deciding whether something is valid or not, and sound or not (or, to put it in less philosophical terms, whether an argument works and whether all the facts are right). Having a character representing logic would seem out of place because a) you don't feel logical, making it an incongruous character, and b) Riley does her own thinking. Riley often feels sad and happy and afraid at a bunch of times throughout the day, for example when she's nervous to start at a new school, but then she uses her amygdala to push that fear aside and take over. She knows that Fear thinking that the school will be hit by an asteroid isn't worth not going to school, so she overcomes that and logically overrides that emotion.

    And so, from that, I think logic and intelligence is represented in each character already. Riley's emotions look at things and think "Is this something I need to respond to?" And if she's about to trip over an electrical cord, Fear says, "yes, because I could get hurt" and she thus acts in such a way that will protect herself. The same goes for Disgust and Broccoli. In fact, in a wayyyyyy, you could think that the entire movie is about Joy finding out how to remove an invalid belief of hers from her own thinking process: From joy's perspective, "Sadness hurts Riley. I don't want Riley hurt. Therefore, I should keep Riley from being sad at all costs." But that is neither a valid nor sound argument. The fact of the matter is that Joy's entire arc is learning that she logically needs to allow Sadness to help Riley adjust to her new home, so that in the end she will be better off and happier.

    Ultimately, I see logic already in the characters, and I'm glad there wasn't a "logic" character. Though you may feel differently, I believe you can't separate your feelings from your thoughts. To some extent, your emotions are going to influence how you behave, and you and your emotions will need to work together to get through problems in logical, organized ways.

    *nods*

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    1. Hmm, you have a point in that logic isn't an emotion, however, since Fear wasn’t at the control panel when he was talking about the asteroid landing on the school, I don’t know if that counts as her actually feeling genuine fear about that. Except for the climax, everytime she had an emotion at the control panel (which was basically all the time), she immediately acted upon that emotion. And I feel like logic in its purest form would be to have an emotion at the control panel, to truly feel it, but to choose the completely logical course in spite of that emotion.
      And honestly, that's not always a good idea. Sometimes the "completely logical" course isn't actually the best one. Because emotions are a part of our lives and they definitely have to be taken into account. But I think Logic should at least be considered in most, if not all, situations.

      And yeah, that’s true, but their logic was always tempered by whatever emotion they represented, so none of them actually show logic in its purest form, the way they showed each emotion in its purest form.
      Like, whenever something happened, each emotion came in to kind of discuss the situation and decide how Riley should react to it, thereby each using their own form of logic. But it's like when they were trying to make Riley feel joy when Joy wasn't there. They couldn't do it. Though they each might feel joy and understand joy, Joy in its purest form wasn't there to work the control panel, so Riley couldn’t feel joy. So, though they might all understand logic and apply it the best they can, they can't actually make Riley reason through every decision in spite of themselves. Because Logic isn’t there, the emotions can’t make Riley act outside of her emotions.
      And I’m not saying necessarily that the movie should have contained Logic as a character. Because it’s a story, you should only include what is necessary to that story. Just that if one was to look at the movie as an example of human processing, I think it would be missing that important element.

      And I’d actually say that one can separate oneself from one’s emotions, but it wouldn't be a good idea. Like you said, you and logic have to work together with your emotions in order to completely and healthily experience life. :)

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    2. Thanks for commenting, btw!!! I love discussing stuff with you. :)

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    3. I always interpreted it to be those passing emotions as thoughts that might run through Riley's conscious mind but didn't manifest themselves as full emotions. Because who doesn't sometimes walk up to the sidewalk and be like "I wonder if I'll get hit by a car right now" even if there are no cars. We have lots of passing thoughts that are inherently connected to emotion but don't necessarily require the control panel. In the dinner scene, Riley was getting angry way before Anger actually did anything to the control panel. Even then, Riley has control about how she decides to make that emotion evident. With that in mind, I don't think that Riley would really need to have logic to be right at the control panel to have its influence working.

      See, just because the emotions can't act outside of themselves doesn't mean Riley can't act outside of her emotions. This seems like a weird thing to say since she takes life on the wild side at the end of the movie and tries to go back home which, while springing from a piece of reasoning from Anger, is maybe emotional, not logical, right? But the logic makes sense to Riley, even if it did come from her emotions. And the emotions themselves come to realize that this is a terrible idea—Fear, Disgust, and Anger are putting ALL THEIR ENERGY into making Riley not go. But Riley ignores them. Riley overrides her emotions and just does her own thing. Fear especially would be one to tell her that this is a terrible idea and why get on a bus with a bunch of strangers, you're eleven, do you even know what you're doing... and she ignores that. They can't pull the idea out of her consciousness because they aren't equipped to take over her consciousness, and she cuts them off.

      Thus, in my opinion, Riley does have a power over her emotions that we don't see because this movie takes place in Riley's mind, not Riley's consciousness. We don't see Riley herself reasoning through the problems she comes up against, and we don't see her own power to ignore her emotions and what she herself thinks about the situations unfolding before her. (And admittedly, there's the Sadness issue, but there's no guarantee that this won't happen again and none of the emotions will be able to do anything about it, again.)

      So even if logic is an important part of the human thinking process, logic still does not belong as one of the characters in Inside Out because logic is a function of Riley's own thoughts. It isn't a feeling, it's the way that she herself is going to use her brain in her consciousness. And, once more, Riley's consciousness is not the setting of the story, which means that the emotions don't entirely have complete control over Riley, and even so, the characters still work without it. Pretty much.

      (And, yeah, you can separate yourself from your emotions, as Riley does at the end of the movie, but it kind of reminded me more of what it is to be depressed. Depression like, completely disconnects you from that part of you, and I don't know where that's going, but I'm just pointing that out. Riley reminded me more of a depressed person than an emotional person at the end.)


      Indeed! (Like I'm sorry if I sound super harsh or anything... But it is fun to have fun arguments with people that don't make you hate them in the end. Because you could still disagree and we'd be okay.)

      (We are writing such long things about Inside Out why *headdesk*)

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    4. Yeah, okay, that makes sense. And you're right. But at the same time, she never fully manifested an emotion until after it touched the control panel.
      And yeah, she does seem to have some ability to act outside of them, but whatever reasoning she was using has already had come from and been compromised by Anger; it wasn’t pure logic at that point. And excepting the climax, anytime an emotion took an action (like when Sadness touches the memories) or was at the control panel, the emotion had complete control. And even at the climax, the logic she was using had already been tampered with by Anger, so it wasn’t logic in its purest form, the way each of the emotions represents their emotion in as pure as a form as possible.
      Cuz the emotions alone just have knee-jerk reactions. But when you temper them with Logic, you consider each situation both apart from and alongside the emotion. And I'd say maybe that just comes with maturity, except it's not represented in her parents' minds either.

      And I’m not saying that without a Logic character at the control panel, she and the other human characters are incapable of intelligent thought. Only that she doesn’t seem able to use logic to its fullest extent without him/her in headquarters; everything Riley does is influenced/tampered with by her emotions. She never seems to completely think through an idea and apply logic to see if it still holds. Because if she’d done that, she wouldn’t have run away.
      And of course we all have times when our emotions are running high and taking over, but there is no moment in the movie where the emotions at the control panel are not basically in charge. Except for the climax when she basically shuts off both thoughts and emotions and, to me, seems to be running on autopilot based on the course that Anger set her on.

      That’s exactly what I mean. We don't see her think. We only see her emotions reacting, and in most circumstances, her actions fall exactly in line with whatever her emotions are doing. And even in the end, as soon as Sadness removed the idea, Riley did exactly what the emotions wanted her to do: go home.

      Gotcha. And you definitely have a point. After thinking about it, I’m not certain that Logic as a character would’ve worked for the particular story that Inside Out wanted to tell. Because, had the emotions listened to Logic, it would’ve eliminated the need for Sadness to come back, which would’ve made the story take a completely different turn. And I don’t know, it definitely still could’ve been good, but it wouldn’t have been the story that Inside Out wanted to tell. So yeah, unless they could get around Logic (IDK throw the character in a closet or something?), it probably worked best for Inside Out’s particular emotional experience to turn out the way it did for Logic to not be fully represented.

      Exactly! And those people are pretty few on the internet. :p Agreeing to disagree is a bit of a forgotten concept.

      Because it's a fantastic movie and inspires much deep thought. ;)

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  3. There's definitely a difference between logic and emotions or being rules.

    I'd say they did overlook that or rather didn't THINK about addiNG LOGIC. lol

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    1. *difference between logic or emtions ruling us ;)

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    2. Lol, I see what you did there. ;)
      And yeah, there definitely is a difference and some people are ruled by their emotions, so maybe that's why they didn't show Logic as a character. But yeah. Like I said, I just thought it was an interesting observation for discussion. :)

      Thanks so much for commenting! :D

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  4. Logic is so true! I think you're right in that in Inside Out (I watched it a few weeks ago and LOVED it) each character does have some kind of logic, influenced by a 'lens' if you will as their emotional character traits colour how they justify their reasoning for an action. But in a lot of situations, logic can override emotion (like the character has some kind of veto power, i suppose) Personally, I feel emotional and want to lie on my bed complaining or get out my anger in some violent way or skip around when I'm feeling happy, but tell myself not to because societal norms/won't actually help/you don't need to do this/ you shouldn't be feeling this way anyway. So logic is, at least for me, pretty powerful, which is why this post is really wonderful <33

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    1. YES. This is what I meant, that they definitely each act on their own form of logic, but pure logic would be to act completely in spite of the emotions. Thank you so much for this! :)

      Aw, thank you!!! :D I'm glad you liked it! And thanks for commenting! :)

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  5. I thought a character was missing, I think Logic, would have made a perfect addition, and balanced out everything. I'm a feeler who seems to have a heavy dose of logic, so I think it's a rather important character.

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    1. Interesting. I think I've finally worked out my opinion now, lol, and I'm honestly not sure if it would have added or subtracted from the movie to have Logic as a character (depends on how strong of a voice he/she had, I suppose). However, it's definitely something that should be considered when examining human thought processing and decisionmaking. :)

      Thanks so much for commenting!!! :D

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  6. Adding the character Logic would've been perfect! The why he/she would try to handle the situation emotionlessly would've been both realistic and hilarious. I love your idea ;)

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!

      After considering it some more, I think that trying to handle the situation emotionlessly would've taken away from the emotional experience that is Inside Out (unless they locked poor Logic in a closet or something, which probably would've been pretty funny). However, it still could be pretty cool to see how the movie would work if a character of Logic was added. Like you said, realistic and hilarious. :D

      Thanks for commenting!

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  7. Hmm, I think this is definitely an interesting view point on this. I agree, I think it would have been more realistic had there been some sort of manifestation of logic, especially in the parents' minds. But I also don't think logic should have been included among the emotions, since the whole point is that the emotions are feelings and logic is not a feeling. I think a compromise might have worked though? Like, say there's this computerized system running everything, and the feelings have to consult the logic system before any action can be taken, and logic tends to make most of the calls. But then sometimes the emotions can get around logic and make their own calls and that can wreak havoc (or not, depending). :P

    Anyway, this was a really great post, and I think your idea of including logic was super creative and cool. :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oooh, I like that idea! That sounds like the perfect compromise actually, because as I talked to Heather and thought about it more, I realized that, though it would've been more realistic, unless they could somehow get around Logic, having an actual representation of it would have taken away from the emotional experience that is Inside Out. But yeah, that computer system idea, that is brilliant :D

      Thank you!! Glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for commenting! :)

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