Giving Up on Logic

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Goku: (Referring to a giant tree sucking all the energy out of Earth) I think the only course of action left... is to reason with it!
Yamcha: Uh, Goku...
Goku: Big tree! If you don't leave right now, I'm gonna have to beat you up!
Yamcha: Goku, trees can't ta-
Offscreen Voice: Why don't you come up here and try it?

Yamcha: ... you know what, f*ck it, I don't even care anymore.
Dragon Ball Abridged, 2010 Christmas Special.

Lets face it, life is not kind to the Only Sane Man. They live in a World Gone Mad that constantly attempts to break them. Their advice and attempts to put some order and reason to things is cheerfully ignored at best, cruelly put down at worst. It's like the whole universe is out to make them the butt of jokes and a laughing stock!

Then there comes a final straw, and they give up on trying to make any logical sense of the world/situations they find themselves in, usually accompanied by a line like "I give up", or "Why do I even bother".

This trope tends to be especially common in various Abridged Series, where it is used to point out how nonsensical and absurd the plot point from the original work is.

Although this is usually played for laughs, when it's being done seriously it can lead to things such as a Sanity Slippage, Stopped Caring, or even a Freak-Out in extreme cases, and the person who is giving up may become convinced that they are The Chew Toy or a Cosmic Plaything due to their experience.

While this is generally a one time response to a specific event, a more gradual version may show the Character Development of a Flat Earth Atheist, Straw Vulcan, or Agent Scully as they become someone more willing and able to accept the unknown or supernatural around them.

Compare the Godzilla Threshold, Mulder Moment, Reality Is Out to Lunch.

Examples of Giving Up on Logic include:


  • This comes up fairly often in the Thursday Next books. One example would be the family conspiracy in First Among Sequels, where Thursday's daughter Jenny is often mentioned, but never seen. It turns out that Aornis Hades planted a mindworm, so Thursday thinks she has a second daughter and becomes distraught when she notices she never sees her. Thursday periodically figures it out, only to forget again due to the mindworm's effects. After some failed efforts to convince Thursday once and for all of the truth about Jenny, her husband and other kids give up and play along, acting as if Jenny exists and distracting Thursday when she seems likely to notice (again!) that the girl is missing.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Mat and two friends travel to the world of The Fair Folk in Towers of Midnight. Mat quickly realizes that logic as it works in the human world doesn't apply there, since things like walking in a straight line only to wind up right back where you started is common. Mat quickly urges the others to stop using human logic and instead rely on his luck to make their way. Since Mat is both Born Lucky and more or less a Reality Warper, it works.

Live Action TV

  • In the classic Star Trek the Original Series episode "A Piece of the Action," Spock says of the gangster planet, "Facts and logic seem not to apply here." Dr. McCoy is stunned, asking "You mean you'll admit to that?" to which Spock calmly replies, "To deny the facts would be illogical."
    • The movies show the more gradual and long term version of this trope happening with Spock. As he tells Lieutenant Valeris in The Undiscovered Country "Logic is just the beginning of wisdom, not the end."
  • In the Star Trek Voyager episode "Twisted", a strange energy field appears to warp and reshape the interior layout of Voyager. Tuvok attempts to search for crew members using a logical search pattern but is stymied by the alterations. Chakotay on the other hand decides to wander aimlessly, because there seems to be no logic behind what's happened. He actually goes so far as to chide Tuvok for attempting to solve the issue logically. (That said, Tuvok does successfully use logic at then end of the episode: since nothing the crew does seems to have an effect on the field, and it hasn't actually hurt anyone, he says the logical thing to do is simply ride out the effects and hope it doesn't harm them. He's right, and the crew later comes to the conclusion that the energy field was alive and attempting to interact/communicate with them).
  • Agent Scully of The X-Files remains a staunch skeptic through much of the show, although she does show moments of considering the unlikely. Late in the show's run after David Duchovny left, Scully wound up getting a new partner and becoming the one who was more likely to leap to supernatural and other unlikely explanations.

Web Comics

  • The webcomic Final Fantasy VII the Sevening has a case where Cloud stops trying to make sense of other people's weird behavior and suggestions (like using a leaping dolphin as a means of getting to the top of a 50 foot tall tower) here.

Web Original

  • As quoted above, in the Dragon Ball Abridged version of the Dragonball Z movie Tree of Might, Goku is taking his Idiot Hero/Cloudcuckoolander schtick Up to Eleven by attempting to talk to the giant tree. When Yamcha tries to interject some reason, an offscreen voice (which is actually a member of the Big Bad's Quirky Miniboss Squad) appears to answer for the tree. Yamcha gives up in disgust.
  • In the hybrid webcomic/browser game Demon Thesis a group of four college students are suddenly thrust into fighting Eldritch Abominations on behalf of a manipulative entity speaking in their minds. Since two of the characters are on their school's fencing team, they borrow some swords for a fight. If they give a foil to one of the non-fencers, it'll change into a broadsword, provoking this conversation mid-battle.

Clady: Sam, where'd you get that sword?
Sam: Uh... you gave it to me?
Clady: I gave you a fencing foil, not a broadsword.
Sam: ...
Clady: Yeah, never mind. I'm going to stop asking questions like that.


Western Animation

  • In an (in)famous sketch, Robot Chicken showed a new G.I. Joe sniper recruit named Calvin being introduced to the team, only to be humiliated in front of everyone and given an Embarrassing Nickname. This drives him to join Cobra, only for Cobra Commander to give him an embarrassing nickname as well. At that point Calvin says he doesn't even care anymore, he just wants revenge on the Joes. Which he gets by headshotting every single member of the team, except Duke, who leaves alive, telling him to live with it.
  • Frank Grimes from The Simpsons memorably went the more dramatic route when he gave up on reason and started imitating the mind-numbingly stupid antics of his coworker, Homer Simpson. Because Frank wasn't Born Lucky like Homer, he dies within minutes.
  • The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Feeling Pinkie Keen" is all about Twilight Sparkle trying to find a logical reason how Pinkie Pie has the strange ability called "Pinkie Sense" By the end of the episode, Twilight Sparkle gives up, and learns that not all things need to be completely understood to be considered real or true.
  • Although there's not a particular moment where it is shown, this happens with Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sokka calls water bending magic and laughs at the idea of a flying bison, within a few episodes he gets indifferent to both, (he's since been traveling across the world on said bison and seen his sister and Aang practice water bending) and by the end of the show he just accepts any of the weird things that happen to him, from interacting with spirits, reincarnation, etc.