• TranscendedRealms
    124
    We currently believe that it is our value judgments and outlooks alone that allow us to see the value in our lives. I think this is a false myth. Many people wish to dismiss emotions as nothing more than emotions and say that it is instead the thought that counts. I think it is the other way around. I think it is instead the emotion that counts. This is a theory that I have learned from struggling with much emotional trauma, hopelessness, and misery in my life.

    This is a world changing philosophy/theory of mine that would awaken humanity to their higher component (their emotions) and would encourage others to find cures for depression and other illnesses that take away our positive emotions. I am just saying it is a world changing theory just to get readers interested. It doesn't mean that it actually is. But who knows. It could be. You never know. I am going to present to you a logical argument that basically summarizes my whole theory. It is a logical argument that advocates hedonism as the only way to see value in our lives. Hedonism is the idea that pain=bad while pleasure=good.

    My Hedonistic Logical Argument

    1.) Wanting or liking something is the only way to see the good value and worth in said thing. Wanting or liking something such as an exciting new video game or movie is the only way to see good value in that movie or game. Having no wanting and liking towards it would mean that it wouldn't matter to you and, thus, you wouldn't be seeing any good value in it. Or, according to premise #2, you would be seeing bad value in it.

    2.) Not wanting and liking something is the only way to see bad value in it. It would be a negative reaction such as not wanting anymore people around you. It would be a situation that would matter to you in a negative way and, thus, you would see bad value in it.

    3.) Being in a completely apathetic state where you neither wanted, liked, nor did not want anything is the only way to see no value and worth in things. Nothing would matter to you at all and, thus, you would see no value in anything.

    4.) Simply acknowledging that things have good and bad value in your life is not actually seeing the good and bad value that these things hold. If you were completely apathetic where nothing mattered to you at all and you just said something such as: "Meh, this is really good," then you wouldn't be seeing any good value in said thing. You would just be blurting out a thought in your mind or some spoken words.

    5.) There is an objective form of wanting and liking. It would be our positive emotions. Here, I will quote this out to you:

    We have found a special hedonic hotspot that is crucial for reward 'liking' and 'wanting' (and codes reward learning too). The opioid hedonic hotspot is shown in red above. It works together with another hedonic hotspot in the more famous nucleus accumbens to generate pleasure 'liking'.

    6.) It would follow from premise #5 that our negative emotions would be an objective form of not wanting things (a negative response) while having neither positive nor negative emotions would be an objective form of things not mattering to you at all (a neutral response).

    7.) Your level of wanting, liking, not wanting, and neither wanting nor not wanting dictates the level of good, bad, or neutral value you see. If you really wanted something, then you would be seeing much good value in said stimulus. If you really did not want something, then you would be seeing much bad value in said stimulus. If you were very apathetic and nothing mattered to you at all, then you would be seeing much neutral value in said stimulus.

    8.) Moments where you want, like, not want, and are indifferent are moments where you see good value, bad value, or neutral value in certain stimuli.

    9.) You can have mixed wanting and not wanting. For example, if you claimed that something you wanted you saw bad value in, then there would have to be an unwanting thought there. So, you would see both good and bad value in that thing. (Note: I talk more about this when I discuss the concept of mixed emotions very soon).

    Even though thoughts of us wanting things make us feel positive emotions while unwanting thoughts make us feel negative emotions, if you did not feel mixed emotions during that scenario I have given of you seeing bad value in wanting something, then you could still be having mixed wanting and unwanting thoughts.

    This is because when you have a wanting thought that makes you feel a positive emotion, the unwanting thought does not always make you feel a negative emotion to mix in with that positive emotion. You could, for example, have an angry thought at a friend that makes you feel angry which would be an unwanting thought. But, at the same time, you could still want that friend in your life. That is, you could have the thought that a certain attribute of this friend is bad and another thought of him/her being a good person anyway.

    Therefore,

    Conclusion: It is only our positive moods/emotions that allow us to see the positive qualities of life such as good value, worth, joy, love, beauty, etc., our negative moods/emotions that allow us to see the negative qualities of life such as bad value, suffering, misery, hate, torment, etc. Having neither positive nor negative moods/emotions would be a state of mind where nothing mattered to you at all and, thus, you would not be seeing any good or bad value in your life. Your level of positive and negative emotions dictates the level of good or bad value you see in your life. From this, I can gather that our emotions are like the sense of sight. They allow us to see the good and bad value in things just as how our sight allows us to see objects.

    Having no sight would mean that no way of thinking or value judgment can allow you to see objects just as how no way of thinking, belief, outlook, or value judgment can allow us to see any good or bad value in our lives without our emotions. Therefore, seeing the value in our lives is not a matter of value judgment at all since it is not a thought form of awareness (perception) at all. It is instead purely an emotional awareness. This means that our emotions do not have some sort of mind control effect and make us perceive, through our thinking, the value in our lives. It is purely the emotions themselves that make us perceive value in our lives. Our positive emotions are like a divine and sacred sense. They are like a divine light energy or force that is intrinsic goodness itself flowing through our very conscious being.

    Our negative emotions would be like a horrible and negative spiritual dark energy flowing through our conscious being.Since I have presented to you this logical argument, it has now become quite obvious that we absolutely need our positive emotions to make our entire lives and atmosphere something perceived as profoundly beautiful, joyful, and good. Our positive emotions are like the divine and sacred light energy and water for a sacred plant. The plant needs this light energy and water to grow and thrive. Without them, then the plant will only wither away. In that same sense, we are like these sacred plants and we need the sacred light and water (our positive moods/emotions) for our conscious perception of good values and qualities to grow and thrive. Our positive emotions are simply a transcending and profoundly beautiful source of energy and growth for our consciousness.

    Lastly, depressed and miserable inspirational figures such as Abraham Lincoln weren't really seeing any good value and worth in their lives at all if they had no positive emotions. If they had a little bit of positive emotions, then they would only be perceiving a slim amount of good value in their lives. Therefore, these inspirational figures are conveying a false message when they say things such as that depression and misery are good, they inspire us, allow us to see greater good value in our lives, etc. Inspiration is a positive quality and can only be perceived by our positive emotions.

    So, it is not the depression and misery itself that allows us to see greater good value in our lives. It is instead the positive emotions that inspire us and make us see greater good values in our lives. These inspirational figures are, in a way, blind fools who think they see the truth when they can't. I am the only one who knows the real truth and it could change the world. So many people drag their lives on and on in unhappy lifestyles and this needs to be changed. People need to be awakened to the fact that an unhappy lifestyle is nothing at all. It is a no quality standard of living and people need to be awakened to the real good quality standard of living that my theory has proven.

    I don't care how offensive and insulting my theory is. The truth needs to be shared to the world regardless of how offensive it is. I am fed up with those types of people who only throw out and dismiss my positive emotions as trivial things that only a spoiled child would crave and all the emotional trauma I've been through as no form of real suffering in my life. This only serves to dismiss all the real suffering I've been through as being "all in my head" since, according to these people, it is nothing more than our value judgments and ways of thinking that either allow us to be in a state of joy or suffering. I think that is complete nonsense.

    Experiment

    Now that I have presented this logical argument to you, I will now present to you the experiment that can be performed to prove that wanting things is the only way we can see the good value in things. Take note that I am leaving out liking to make things easier, more convenient, and just for the sake of this experiment. If there were an item that a person said he did not want, but had to obtain anyway since he saw much good value in it, then how would this person respond once you take that item away from him? I am quite sure he would want that item. There is just no way he would be completely indifferent towards the situation of that item being taken away from him.

    As long as he is seeing much good value in that item, then this means the item is very important to him and, thus, he would want the item if you were to take it away from him. This experiment should discover evidence for my theory and make my theory known to the world. Here is another experiment. Take, for example, someone who says he doesn't want to go to work, but that he has to since it is important. This person would be seeing much good value in going to work. If you were to block his path, then I bet this person would become frustrated. He really wants to go to work and you would be in his way.
  • TranscendedRealms
    124
    Please read my opening post since it has a very brief summary.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    I agree that emotions can be perceived as another sense that feels something. I would say that emotions are guides to choices that we make just as other senses. Possibly deeper in nature.
  • praxis
    4k
    Emotions are actually a sense like sight.TranscendedRealms

    One fundamental difference is that given the same stimulus, like an apple, our sense of sight will always convey the same sensory information, whereas our emotional sense will not always convey the same emotional sense. If we're very hungry an apple will be desirable, valuable or generally 'good'. If we're full or sick an apple could be very unappealing, not valued or generally 'bad'. Nevertheless, we could override our emotional response to an apple and eat it anyway because we value its good qualities.

    Your error is in essentialism.
  • TranscendedRealms
    124


    It doesn't matter even if you thought that the apple was good to you during a negative emotional state; you still would not be able to actually see the good value that the apple has as long as you are not in a positive emotional state. Thoughts make us feel certain ways and it is these feelings that allow us to become aware of value (good or bad) in our lives.
  • praxis
    4k
    you still would not be able to actually see the good value that the apple has as long as you are not in a positive emotional state.TranscendedRealms

    You know this isn't true. We do things all the time that we don't feel like doing yet we know that they're good things to do.
  • TranscendedRealms
    124


    But that's only because of our wiring. We are wired to believe in this false version of value just like how religious people are wired to believe in their false gods such as Thor. So, the world has not been awakened yet to this emotional version of value I am talking about in my theory.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    No value judgment can allow this blind person to see just as how no value judgment or mindset can allow us to see the values in our lives.TranscendedRealms

    Could you unravel the negatives in this sentence? I don't understand it.
  • TranscendedRealms
    124


    I'm not sure what you're not understanding. If a person judges himself as having the ability to see when he is blind, then he would still not be able to see. In that same sense, if we judge our lives as having good value to us in the absence of our positive emotions, then we would still not be able to actually see that good value.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    I'm not sure what you're not understanding. If a person judges himself as having the ability to see when he is blind, then he would still not be able to see. In that same sense, if we judge our lives as having good value to us in the absence of our positive emotions, then we would still not be able to actually see that good value.TranscendedRealms

    OK. Personally I find this division between positive and negative emotions hopelessly simplistic. It's handy when psychologists want to do some counting up scores for experiments, but it doesn't mean much to me. Emotionality is nearly always a complex of more than one 'emotion': in grief I am angry, in despair I often keep hopeful, and so on. To place them on some binary scale feels trivial. We have complex ways with words that enable us to 'see' what we are talking about, though we may nto be able to simplify these complexities enough to satisfy people who want to judge psychology through multiple-choice questions.

    Out of this welter of emotions we arrive at value. There is an interplay between our feelings and our thoughts, and hey presto: here I am, judging how to act, or how I would like to ask others to act. I appeal to their values, I advance my own values.
  • TranscendedRealms
    124


    Positive emotions, also referred to as "euphoria," are states of mind induced by the biochemicals in the brain (i.e. serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin). It could either be a calm and relaxed state of well being or it could be feelings of joy and excitement from a new movie or video game. It could also be a feeling of love we would get from an attractive soul mate. This is what I am saying gives us the perception of good values in our lives just like how sight allows us to see. Now, we can have mixed emotions. So, if you were euphoric, but felt a little bit of dysphoria at the same time, then your life would be half good and half bad depending on the degree of euphoria and dysphoria. If it is just a little bit of dysphoria and the rest is euphoria, then things, situations, and moments in your life would be something like 20% bad and 80% good to you.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    Well, as I said, I just don't see emotions this way, I think they are too complex to be divided into positive and non-positive. You state these ideas as if they were facts but they are just a certain way of describing how we are, and indeed you use them in your last sentence to provide a supposed count of positivity/negativity. I don't do counting like that, although I can see it's useful if you want to compare people for some reason and think you can justify the counting-mechanism.

    Emotions are certainly a major source of valuation and judgment, I agree. .
  • TranscendedRealms
    124


    But do you agree that emotions are the only way we can perceive value in our lives? That's where my theory was getting at. I'm also not sure why putting emotions into positive and negative categories would be the wrong thing to do. When we have what we normally call a positive emotion, this emotion feels entirely distinct from what we call a negative emotion. To make this distinction, we say that emotions are either positive or negative. You could also have a mix of positive and negative emotions as well which is what I've pointed out earlier.
  • Shawn
    11.7k
    So, what is going on in the depressed mind when one only feels gloomy and sad? Is it all a deficiency on some neurotransmitter level or maybe an excess of empathy and feeling?
  • praxis
    4k
    You're basically describing affect.

    Affect.png

    It's not clear how you're relating affect to emotion and value concepts.
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    While I am always happy to have a cup of tea, I generally suppose that it is myself that is happy, and that the tea has little feeling for me. I perceive that I value tea, but the value itself is not a perceiving but an orienting towards tea.
  • TranscendedRealms
    124


    According to this effect chart, negative expressions, thoughts, and tones reflect negative emotions while positive expressions, thoughts, and tones reflect positive emotions. Perceiving good value and worth in your life is a positive expression while perceiving bad value in your life is a negative expression. Therefore, positive emotions are the only things that can allow us to perceive good value and worth in our lives while negative emotions are the only things that can allow us to perceive bad value in our lives.

    To have a reverse effect where people display negative tones and expressions while having nothing but positive emotions or if they were to display positive expressions while having nothing but negative emotions would either have to mean that there was at least some positive emotion or positive sensual quality mixed in with the negative emotion or a negative emotion/sensual quality mixed in with the positive emotion.

    Otherwise, people would just be forcing tones, thoughts, and expressions that do not reflect their emotional state. It would be a contradiction no different than expressing the idea that your loved one is alive while he or she is really dead. This means that if a completely miserable person claimed to perceive his life as being good and worth living to him while having no positive emotions whatsoever, then that would not reflect his miserable state of mind. This would have to mean that this miserable person's claim would be false.

    Perception works differently than our tones of voice and gestures. You can force a certain tone or gesture, but you cannot force a perception. It's no different than trying to force yourself to see when you are blind. It's just not going to work. So, even though people without any positive emotions whatsoever can force themselves to think that their lives have good value to them, they cannot force themselves to perceive their lives as having good value to them.

    Our emotions are like intrinsically dark and light spiritual forces, if you will. People who have nothing but depressed moods with no positive emotions whatsoever are just resisting the dark force flowing through them and carrying on in their lives anyway. They are so used to this that they really think it is a good and worthwhile life to them when it's really not.
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    Emotions are actually a sense like sight. They allow us to see the values that things and situations hold in our lives.TranscendedRealms

    I can agree with this as a starting point but then is emotion really also an action? Sure, having a feeling of positivity or negativity is a state we can experience. We can call it a sensation. But at a deeper level, it is an orientation response - a call to action. It speaks to the broad assessment of whether to approach or avoid. Positivity draws us towards, negativity repels.

    So yes, the emotional brain is fully part of every moment of perception. We can't see anything without a basic feeling of evaluation - even if the feeling is a disinterested "meh".

    But to define emotion as a sensory modality - one to tally along with sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell - seems a miscategorisation as it is instead a generalised approach~avoidance kind of decision-making that applies across all these particular sensory modes.

    Then as we dig deeper into this "emotional faculty", we can see that it has more complex structure. As well as strong feelings of approach vs avoidance, it has a still more general decision to make of relaxed vs aroused. Does the self need to crank for big action - like approaching or avoiding? Or can the self relax and conserve energy because there is nothing to react to - a feeling which itself can be either positive or negative, depending on whether that lack of stimulus is a relief or a matter of boredom.

    Anyway, this basic action decision - crank up vs wind down - is a dichotomy wired into the body's nervous system as the contrasting sympathetic vs parasympathetic pathways. It is very real as a distinction built into the nervous system's design.

    So of course the emotions exist to evaluate the world. But they have to get news of that world through the senses, or perceptual paths. A tiger has to be seen or heard before an evaluation - positive or negative - can happen. So emotion is general in then making sense of a sensation - pointing us quickly to the right kind of action. It really has a foot in both the traditional camps.
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    Emotionality is nearly always a complex of more than one 'emotion': in grief I am angry, in despair I often keep hopeful, and so on. To place them on some binary scale feels trivial.mcdoodle

    There is a good reason why binaries make sense. To understand the world in the most computationally efficient fashion, you want to break it into sharp-edged black and white. So a dichotomy - like approach and avoidance, or relaxed and aroused - is a way to see the world in its complementary extremes. It gives two precisely opposed points of view. And that then provides the clarity within which a spectrum of graded response can occur. Once the bounds of possibility have been anchored crisply by black vs white, then in-between you can have with equal definiteness every possible shade of grey.

    So a dichotomy is a general processing principle. It fixes a decisive direction on the world. Then having broken the world towards two contrasting extremes, the third thing of a spectrum of intermediate reactions becomes possible. A glass can't be half full or half empty until there is a glass that is either completely full or completely empty.

    The question then for the study of emotionality would be what is the fewest such dichotomies that you could get away with in modelling the brain's architecture.

    Again, a most basic one would seem to be the sympathetic vs parasympathetic response - wind down or crank up.

    But then there is a whole hierarchy of further more specific breaks. If we are negatively aroused, this may manifest as demanding a sharp decision of whether to fight or run. And even the flight response is dichotomised in the neural wiring of animals. A further escape strategem is a choice of whether to run or freeze. If a tiger appears before you in the jungle glade, there are two "best" instinctive options that evolution has built into the brain.

    So yes, there is plenty of evolved complexity when it comes to our emotional responses. But also there is a single logic to all brain processing. The first job in making sense of the world is to break it apart as thesis and antithesis - frame it clearly as a black and white choice. Impose a clear directionality that makes a choice actually meaningful. Doing one thing becomes definitely not doing its opposite. And in that way, the whole of what it would be possible to do becomes contained within the spectrum of positions thus created.

    Complexity can then arise because having made a first most general black and white decision, a whole lot more more particular black and white decisions can be piled on top. Once the brain can decide to relax or crank up, it can decide whether to crank up in terms of approach or avoidance. And if the decision is avoid, that could be flight or freeze as a more particular black and white choice.

    As you say, when you get to the level of really complex (and culturally informed) emotions - like despair - the dichotomy is contained within the very concept. If despair is defined as a lack of hope, then despair is always going to make you think of hope - its antithesis. You can't actually have one without the thought of the other. Whiteness is really the sublimated idea that blackness happens to be maximally absent.
  • CasKev
    411
    Emotions are actually a sense like sight. They allow us to see the values that things and situations hold in our lives. It is only our positive emotions that allow us to see the positive qualities of life (i.e. the good values) while it is only our negative emotions that allow us to see the negative qualities of life (i.e. the bad values).TranscendedRealms

    Even if you accept this as truth, what are the implications of such a view? What difference would it make to how someone lives?
  • TranscendedRealms
    124


    Who would want to live a life that has no actual perceived good value and worth? That would be a no quality standard of living since there would be no perceived quality of good value and worth in a person's life.
  • CasKev
    411
    @TranscendedRealms But to whom is this relevant? Everyone has emotions.
  • TranscendedRealms
    124


    Some people do not have their positive emotions due to mental health conditions such as anhedonia, depression, etc.
  • CasKev
    411
    And what can they do about it based on your theory?
  • TranscendedRealms
    124


    All they can do is just wait and try things to help them recover their positive emotions even though doing said things cannot be perceived as having any real good value to them. Personally, if I were in such a position, I would do the same. However, if I could not recover my positive emotions within a reasonable time frame, then I would give up on life entirely.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    I think emotions are learned, not that feelings are not there from the beginning, but that we learn how to associate feelings with named emotions from others in learning. We learn to associate feelings with emotions in language learning [and as an aside, we learn to play roles associated with certain emotions].

    I agree that there are positive and negative emotions, but there is also lust which I think is very different, neither positive or negative perhaps part of our initial sex drive, certainly a strong emotion. Research I've read suggest the positive and negative emotions have their own neural signatures, but that lust has a completely different and dominant neural pattern.

    Interesting 7 minute video from Carnegie Mellon U: https://youtu.be/dIclRSpCnHY
  • praxis
    4k
    According to that effect chart, negative expressions and tones reflect negative emotions while positive expressions and tones reflect positive emotions.TranscendedRealms

    The chart shows an affective circumplex. It does not chart emotions or expressions of emotions.

    Interoception or affect is part of what makes an instance of emotion. We also need emotion concepts like trepidation or cheeriness to distinguish instances of affect. Abstract things that we might value, like truth, bravery, or life, are also concepts. Emotion concepts, value concepts, affect, and external stimuli are all variable and not fixed. We might love life one day and hate it the next. We might have an experience that changes our concept of bravery. An apple could be delicious or disgusting depending on our affect. Being well rested and fed our affect could pleasant and calm.

    There are only instances of emotion and value, so it should be no surprise that they may sometimes appear to disagree.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    The question then for the study of emotionality would be what is the fewest such dichotomies that you could get away with in modelling the brain's architecture.apokrisis

    I did a lot of reading about emotions earlier in the year. I was particularly struck by work done by Roddy Cowie et al for the HUMAINE project - trying to create a basis for modelling emotion in relation to computing and artificial intelligence. They began their project thinking they could get a framework of ideas up and running quickly and then get on with the detail: they ended up debating the framework very long and hard. Or so I understand it.

    Broadly the findings were that emotionality colours - at the least - all of human lives - but that the usual terminology and categorisation (from psychology and philosophy) is not easy to match to open-minded empirical findings, i.e. it's probably wrong or partial. Our old models tend to be static when emotion is dynamic, depend on lists of categories when it seems these categories may be 'landmarks' in our emotional life rather than good moment-to-moment descriptions, and over-assume that one person's fear/desire/hope is like another's.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    But do you agree that emotions are the only way we can perceive value in our lives? That's where my theory was getting at. I'm also not sure why putting emotions into positive and negative categories would be the wrong thing to do. When we have what we normally call a positive emotion, this emotion feels entirely distinct from what we call a negative emotion. To make this distinction, we say that emotions are either positive or negative. You could also have a mix of positive and negative emotions as well which is what I've pointed out earlier.TranscendedRealms

    Well, I think a more complicated model like the one praxis quotes for 'affect' is clearly better than a simple positive/negative one. But such models are static, and emotion is a dynamic force, for instance feedback including feedback generated by emotion is integral to the whole shebang. In this dynamism what we call 'emotion' is surely interacting with 'rationality' or whatever you want to call our regular thinking. In valuing love for a fellow human being, for instance, I remind myself rationally that this is a long-term feeling and commitment I have, every time I'm tempted to disagree about a short-term problem because of an emotional reaction. Human beings are constantly double-checking themselves, so I don't see how you can isolate 'emotion' as the sole source of value.
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    I was particularly struck by work done by Roddy Cowie et al for the HUMAINE projectmcdoodle

    I read one of his literature reviews and thought it presented a very confused picture. For me, nothing about emotion makes sense until you can clearly distinguish between a neurobiological level of evaluation - what all animal brains are set up to do - and the socially-constructed emotionality of humans, which is a cultural framing of experience.

    The best source on social emotion was the group led by Oxford philosopher Rom Harre in the 1980s. It took the anthropological route of showing how different such constructs are across different cultures. And it tied in with the rediscovery of Vygotsky, the development of discursive psychology, at the same time. Harre did two good collections of essays.

    So the two levels of emotionality have to be understood in separate ways.

    The biological emotions are basic affective responses. The brain needs to be able to sense the body's physiological state - we are hungry, tired, etc - and also interpret the world in terms of its dangers, its rewards. It constantly needs to orientate in ways that match our physiology to the demands that are imminently expected. If we see a tiger, we need to start feeling the adrenaline that primes us for whatever decision we are going to take. That level of emotionality is simply what it feels like to be changing gear metabolically in a way that fits the particular challenge or opportunity of the moment.

    Then the social emotions are not about our own metabolic/physiological needs but about socially appropriate behaviour.

    There is also a biological basis as we are creatures highly evolved for social living. We naturally feel empathy or dominance or whatever. We can point to specific neurotransmitters and hormones, like oxytocin and testosterone, which subserve specific brain pathways.

    But language means that feelings and ideas can be woven together as social scripts. We know how we are supposed to behave when we are being "in love", or "brave", or "ashamed". These "higher emotions", or Platonic passions, stand as cultural ideals we are meant to do our best to live up to. And how we act rather than how we truly feel is what really matters.

    As I say, once you check the cross-cultural anthropological evidence, this becomes very obvious. But Western culture - with its particular stress on the rationality vs emotionality dichotomy - actually cuts across people's ability to believe it as a fact. The Western script - reaching its height of development through the dialectic of the Enlightenment and Romanticism - means that human emotionality can't be understood in simple pragmatic fashion as the learning of appropriate social habits. Reason and feeling must be dualistically divided, each somehow at war with the other for ownership of the individual psyche.

    That is the irony. Much of the energy of even science or philosophy goes into perpetuating a Western cultural mythology. And that is why emotionality seems such a confused and self-contradictory subject. People think they know the answer - its reason vs feeling, rationality vs irrationality, stupid - and so bend all their arguments to steer to that outcome.

    But also, it is a very successful social script, which is why it persists. By creating an exalted image of the individual human - always in a battle to conquer his/her base self by applying either higher reason, or higher feeling - then society is able to exert the maximum constraint on individual behaviour. We all become controlled by these learnt abstractions that are at the bottom of the West's creative, driving, growth-obsessed, mindset.
  • Wayfarer
    13.6k
    I think that part of becoming emotionally mature is not being too swayed by emotion. They're an obvious part of the human condition, but I think part of the process of growing up, is being able to see through them. In classical philosophy, emotions (or 'the passions') were something to be overcome. They were generally associated with weakness of will, intemperance, lack of self-control and impetuosity.

    I suppose this attitude conveys the impression of the proverbial Mr Spock - the cool rationalist, for whom emotion is a peculiar human trait, but who on that account misses something vital about being human. But, I think what this caricature doesn't see, is that one can rise above emotions while still being compassionate. Compassion or empathy might be different from 'emotions' in the sense of moods or passions.
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