• Wallows
    8k
    Having been interested in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for a good while, due to my own issues related to depression and anxiety, I have found perhaps the most insidious cognitive distortion of them all.

    It is named "emotional reasoning".

    There isn't any way to reason with it, because it is inherently emotional. The fact that it is called as a reasoning process is somewhat illusory, due to the fact that it isn't inherently logical, predictable, or actually reasonable.

    Every doctor, therapist, or a psychiatrist is aware that in times of crisis people are overwhelmed with feelings of dread, despair, and a whole amalgamate of negative emotions that give momentum to self-destructive thoughts about suicide, homicide, and such matters.

    Just this past week, I was overwhelmed with feelings of suffering and was quite helplessly wallowing and crying about my predicament. No matter what I thought hard enough the feeling of despair and anguish of having to face them constantly returned. I saught emotional support in talking with my sister and mother, which helped; but, wasn't completely resolving the issue.

    Now, I have learned from this experience that has happened for more than once, that patience and impulsivity are two traits that can only help in times of trial and tribulations.

    Meaning, that reasoning is quite hopeless in the face of such feelings. Yet, is it?

    Hume is known to have said that reason is the handmaiden of the passions. Is that true in light of this cognitive distortion that at times every one of us may face?
  • Kaz
    15
    Meaning, that reasoning is quite hopeless in the face of such feelings. Yet, is it?Wallows

    I would guess reasoning serves the purpose of getting to the right end scenario. It is the part that can attempt to calculate the way through to the desirable situation. So, despite emotional difficulties, reasoning can be used to not loose sight of the bigger picture.

    There isn't any way to reason with it, because it is inherently emotional.Wallows

    I don't think we are strictly divided into emotional and rational. Both need to coexist and cooperate in an organic way. In other words, it's not about turning on the reasoning side and or the emotional side. In that sense, "emotional reasoning" may make sense, for all I know. Anyway, my two cents.
  • Wallows
    8k
    So, despite emotional difficulties, reasoning can be used to not loose sight of the bigger picture.Kaz

    Interesting. So, you would assert that there is some metalogical component to the reasoning process that gives rise to some reciprocal relationship between the emotions and reason?

    I don't think we are strictly divided into emotional and rational. Both need to coexist and cooperate in an organic way. In other words, it's not about turning on the reasoning side and or the emotional side. In that sense, "emotional reasoning" may make sense, for all I know. Anyway, my two cents.Kaz

    Well, yet here we are talking about them in some dichotomistic fashion? Is it language that is confusing us here or what?
  • Kaz
    15
    Interesting. So, you would assert that there is some metalogical component to the reasoning process that gives rise to some reciprocal relationship between the emotions and reason?Wallows

    This makes me think of Perl's Gestalt, where he mentions that awareness can help facilitate the self-regulation of emotions. Probably similar to laying down with a flu and letting it being worked out by the body itself. Or so his talk went. I wouldn't call the relationship reciprocal, personally. Since they work together, one cannot be imagined without the other, which makes it difficult to talk about it as well.

    Well, yet here we are talking about them in some dichotomistic fashion? Is it language that is confusing us here or what?Wallows

    Probably. Sometimes being more reasonable means being more emotional.
  • Wallows
    8k
    This makes me think of Perl's Gestalt, where he mentions that awareness can help facilitate the self-regulation of emotions.Kaz

    Ah, an important concept. Self-regulation. Why do people stray away from some safe equilibrium or state of affairs and risk disturbing themselves? What is this component of human nature called? Risk taking, exploratory behavior, etc.?

    Probably. Sometimes being more reasonable means being more emotional.Kaz

    Can you provide an example?
  • Kaz
    15
    Why do people stray away from some safe equilibrium or state of affairs and risk disturbing themselves?Wallows

    I would argue that most people are nowhere near the safe equilibrium. There are disturbances of one sort or another, and achieving equilibrium isn't that simple since the self-regulation process requires continuous awareness, at least as far as Perl's Gestalt is concerned.

    Can you provide an example?Wallows

    Let's say my brother is going through difficult times, but he hates me just sitting there and listening to him while making only practical suggestions. He wants me to show some emotions and empathy towards him and his situation. So, for the benefit of my brother, and for my own sake to emotionally connect with my brother, it is reasonable for me to be emotional with him.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    I don't think we are strictly divided into emotional and rational. Both need to coexist and cooperate in an organic way. In other words, it's not about turning on the reasoning side and or the emotional side. In that sense, "emotional reasoning" may make sense, for all I know. Anyway, my two cents.Kaz

    As far as I understand the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex are supposed to work in tandem. Without emotions one wouldn’t be able to make decisions. The limbic system places emotional value to the logical choices governed by the prefrontal cortex. Or something like that.
  • Wallows
    8k
    I would argue that most people are nowhere near the safe equilibrium. There are disturbances of one sort or another, and achieving equilibrium isn't that simple since the self-regulation process requires continuous awareness, at least as far as Perl's Gestalt is concerned.Kaz

    So, is it ideation itself to assert that some state of affairs will lead to complete bliss and nirvana? Buddhism talks about such a state of affairs quite a lot and isn't the easiest philosophy to master despite the simplicity and elegance of its core message.

    Let's say my brother is going through difficult times, but he hates me just sitting there and listening to him while making only practical suggestions. He wants me to show some emotions and empathy towards him and his situation. So, for the benefit of my brother, and for my own sake to emotionally connect with my brother, it is reasonable for me to be emotional with him.Kaz

    But, he's there talking with you. Isn't that enough?
  • Wallows
    8k


    True. What do you think about "emotional reasoning"? I'm trying to disambiguate this concept here.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    What do I think about it? Is it a technical term? Sometimes I get overly emotional. My limbic system overpowers my frontal lobe, and I make self-destructive choices.
  • Wallows
    8k


    As far as I'm aware the Prefrontal cortex is responsible for inhibition of emotions and stimulus control.

    As someone interested in a lifelong goal of mastering the art of reasoning and impulse control, I tend to place a great deal of interest in my PFC, rather than the wild and rambunctious limbic system.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    rather than the wild and rambunctious limbic system.Wallows

    But like I said, the limbic system is crucial to making decisions. One could think about options all day long, but without an emotional value placed, you would go nowhere.
  • Wallows
    8k
    One could think about options all day long, but without an emotional value placed, you would go nowhere.Noah Te Stroete

    Isn't that "philosophy" in a nutshell? Hehe?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    ha! One does have to prefer certain arguments over others all things being equal, though, I suppose.
  • Kaz
    15
    So, is it ideation itself to assert that some state of affairs will lead to complete bliss and nirvana?Wallows

    Maybe. The circumstances don't have to be ideal, but there are elements that can contribute to deviating person from that equilibrium, such as modern obsession with jobs and careers, approaches to relationships, and health related issues.

    But, he's there talking with you. Isn't that enough?Wallows

    Maybe it is, maybe it is not. However, if it is preferable for me to be emotional and it brings benefits to both me and my brother, it is reasonable for me to be emotional.
  • Wallows
    8k
    Maybe. The circumstances don't have to be ideal, but there are elements that can contribute to deviating person from that equilibrium, such as modern obsession with jobs and careers, approaches to relationships, and health related issues.Kaz

    Plato would have called it an ailment of the mind and society that produces such disharmonious states of affairs. Marcus Aurelius was very concerned with treating philosophy as an act of self-therapy. Even if we boil down the issue to devising a calculus of utility, the goal should be the reduction of the least common denominator to maximize benefits. Such, as limiting the scope and range of one's desire and passion.

    Maybe it is, maybe it is not. However, if it is preferable for me to be emotional and it brings benefits to both me and my brother, it is reasonable for me to be emotional.Kaz

    I contest that it is never rational to act on emotions in an uninhibited and without reflexivity.
  • Kaz
    15
    Marcus Aurelius was very concerned with treating philosophy as an act of self-therapy.Wallows

    I do use some of the philosophy for therapeutic purposes, but for the life of me, I cannot get into Stoics. Some of what Seneca's writings had comforting effect on me, but I couldn't identify with the Stoics past certain passages.

    I contest that it is never rational to act on emotions in an uninhibited and without reflexivity.Wallows

    Well, in the example of the brother, the rational calculation could have preceded the acting in an emotional state. I get tangled here, though. Getting back to how rational and emotional are not two strictly divided parts, even the emotionally uninhibited behaviour contains some rationality. Why is it never rational to you?
  • Wallows
    8k
    I do use some of the philosophy for therapeutic purposes, but for the life of me, I cannot get into Stoics.Kaz

    How about Wittgenstein, or Schopenhauer?

    Well, in the example of the brother, the rational calculation could have preceded the acting in an emotional state. I get tangled here, though.Kaz

    Yes, it is puzzling. I suggest the best option is to always listen to what is rational?
  • Kaz
    15
    How about Wittgenstein, or Schopenhauer?Wallows

    Not well read in either of them, regrettably. My therapeutic examples would be Camus' Myth of Sisyphus and Sartre's short stories. There's something refreshing about absurdism. Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology is oddly comforting, too.

    Yes, it is puzzling. I suggest the best option is to always listen to what is rational?Wallows

    Best for what? Could you give an example of rational vs. emotional?
  • Wallows
    8k
    My therapeutic examples would be Camus' Myth of Sisyphus and Sartre's short stories.Kaz

    Ah, both comforting stories to the mind. Yet, strangely comforting in their fatalism.

    Best for what? Could you give an example of rational vs. emotional?Kaz

    Going to Las Vegas to have fun might be a good example. If one were relatively poor, then what's the point?
  • Kaz
    15
    Going to Las Vegas to have fun might be a good example. If one were relatively poor, then what's the point?Wallows

    Well, why is having fun the right rational point? What if it's done on a whim while one is rich?
  • Wallows
    8k
    Well, why is having fun the right rational point? What if it's done on a whim while one is rich?Kaz

    Well, there is a typical tendency to place a great deal of emphasis on the gratification of wants and needs as resulting in happiness. This is a distorted view, which I don't believe in at least, though.
  • Kaz
    15
    Well, there is a typical tendency to place a great deal of emphasis on the gratification of wants and needs as resulting in happiness. This is a distorted view, which I don't believe in at least, though.Wallows

    Then is it still rational, to act in a way that's based on a distorted view of reality?
  • Wallows
    8k
    Then is it still rational, to act in a way that's based on a distorted view of reality?Kaz

    Well, if one were to actually believe in the notion that gratifying wants and needs would produce lasting happiness, then I suppose that would be a rationale, though not rational...

    I say that it's not rational because it's an endless marathon run that is the attainment of happiness, and is most likely not a result of direct behavior; but, rather indirectly.
  • Kaz
    15
    Well, if one were to actually believe in the notion that gratifying wants and needs would produce lasting happiness, then I suppose that would be a rationale, though not rational...

    I say that it's not rational because it's an endless marathon run that is the attainment of happiness, and is most likely not a result of direct behavior; but, rather indirectly.
    Wallows

    What kind of behaviour is rational to you then? Or rather, what kind of lifestyle.
  • Wallows
    8k
    What kind of behaviour is rational to you then? Or rather, what kind of lifestyle.Kaz

    Perhaps one as close as possible to a Buddhist one, what do you think about it?
  • I like sushi
    853
    A buddhist’s life looks like not much of a life at all to me. Of course I’m thinking of the more ardent followers here rather than people whom merely practice meditation as means to help them in day-to-day activities.
  • Kaz
    15
    Perhaps one as close as possible to a Buddhist one, what do you think about it?Wallows

    Well, getting one with the authentic self (whatever that means in the end). The idea of not identifying with one of the roles we play in our society, but actually becoming that which is our own potential. Again, Gestalt and some Jungian ideas can be incorporated here.
  • Anthony
    124
    Every doctor, therapist, or a psychiatrist is aware that in times of crisis people are overwhelmed with feelings of dread, despair, and a whole amalgamate of negative emotions that give momentum to self-destructive thoughts about suicide, homicide, and such matters.Wallows

    Sounds like you're describing a runaway positive feedback, not a healthy and necessary, negative one. What I've taken from CBT, which doesn't seem it will ever lead to mental health (for me anyway) compared to auto-psychoanalysis is that it recommends something like canceling negative thoughts. Of course we know from the genius of Freud, that whatever is denied or repressed has a boomerang effect, and returns as repressed derivatives (which are controlled by instinct's dominations). Canceling anything that goes through your thought-feelings isn't a good idea for mental health due to the above mentioned feedbacks/feedforwards we've known about for a long time now. We have depression and anxiety for a reason, it hasn't popped out of the blue.

    Now, I have learned from this experience that has happened for more than once, that patience and impulsivity are two traits that can only help in times of trial and tribulations.Wallows
    What, now? Not sure what this means.
    Meaning, that reasoning is quite hopeless in the face of such feelings. Yet, is it?Wallows
    The relationship between what you are conscious of and unconscious of is a place difficult to enter with reason, and maybe it's true it isn't enough. When you feel empty inside, running away from that feeling isn't going to help because that is what is. Never run away from what is. The trick is to have a psychopomp in you, or a Hermes or a Janus that can communicate between states of consciousness. Maybe when we are more self-aware, we are less conscious of our unconscious and when we are less self-aware, the unconscious is more conscious of the consciousness. There's nowhere consciousness doesn't exist, it's only awareness that does or doesn't exist in various states of mind.
    Hume is known to have said that reason is the handmaiden of the passions. Is that true in light of this cognitive distortion that at times every one of us may face?Wallows
    I've given up on passion as a meaningful source of anything good or that will advance you wholistically. Passionate people are usually impulsive, compulsive, and infantile, myself included when I used to get passionate. Now the concept of least effort has replaced passion. Wu-wei is a much healthier and more intelligent substrate of psychological well-being and integration than passion. I'd recommend giving up passion and do all that is done in the spirit of Wu-wei (least effort).
  • Wallows
    8k
    What, now? Not sure what this means.Anthony

    I mean to imply that since there is no way to reason with depressive ruminations or anxious neurosis, then one must wait for the storm to pass and clean up and salvage what can be salvaged after the storm.

    I've given up on passion as a meaningful source of anything good or that will advance you wholistically. Passionate people are usually impulsive, compulsive, and infantile, myself included when I used to get passionate. Now the concept of least effort has replaced passion. Wu-wei is a much healthier and more intelligent substrate of psychological health and integration than passion. I'd recommend giving up passion and do all that is done in the spirit of Wu-wei (least effort).Anthony

    Interesting. What is this Wu-wei, thing?
  • Wallows
    8k
    A buddhist’s life looks like not much of a life at all to me.I like sushi

    Yes, there is a disposition to view the Buddhist's life as restricted and self-deprivation; but, I don't necessarily feel as though this is true.

    One issue that has cropped up for me in regards to Buddhism in the West, is trying to reconcile the Western obsession with growth, economics, and consumption with Buddhism. I haven't found a way to resolve the discrepancy, and the only way to do so would be to move to a monastery or to India or Nepal.
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