“Emotions drive everything!”
Michael through Stephen Cocconi
Welcome the Emotionally Centered: Discussing and Acknowledging the Power of Emotion
This Blog specifically examines the founding force of human creativity, judgment, philosophy, religion, war, opinion, and endeavor of any kinds, namely emotions! Expressed as chemical cocktails in the brain, emotions are the older and more fundamental aspect of mammalian life. The mind is emotions’ younger and intimidated sibling, jealous to the power that feeling holds over our existence. It is this jealousy which gives rise to the need of the mind to claim superiority over the more raw but more authentic elder. Thus, the mind pretends in order to control. (A word that has many inferences some useful, some heinous and dehumanizing.)
Through scientific analysis, philosophical declaration and historical evidence, we must come to grips with a profoundly important truth and one that our own minds and agents of intellectualism seem to increasingly wish to deny, while at the same time manipulate, which is the reality that human emotions are the fuel from which all motivation and action spring. And those actions, and the attitudes which precede them, are primarily fixed in orbit by the emanation of a particular emotion. In other words, when one is indifferent to a particular thought or idea, then it remains but an object floating in the space of intellect. But when any notion gets fused with passions like: love, devotion, terror, anger, or hatred, those ideas gain density and get locked into the orbit of that emotion. In turn, that idea becomes a belief and joins with others in a constellation we can equally call a concept, an attitude or a context: either personal or cultural.
Then, those constructs become fixated in person’s mind because of the sheer gravity (weight and intensity) of the emotion driving them. In the extreme we might call this, driven, obsessed, resolute, empowered or impassioned.
One way to account for this is to define emotion as: energy in motion or e-motion. Only when the emotion which holds a belief or attitude in place can be named and its fuel burned off in another direction can an idea be set free, leaving the mind with new openness and room to receive and review other incoming thoughts. Suppressing of an emotion, trying to rationalize it away, builds a second layer of containment to the first, and adds yet another degree of difficulty to unravel a rationalization.
To confront the bias against emotion and pretense needed to rationalize them.
Rationalization: Emotions driving thought
Nothing in our lexicon is a more cherished and so self congratulatory descriptor than to refer to ourselves the “rational animal.” Of course, I say: rationalizing animal or reasonable robot, or animal automaton. No need to read insult into these descriptions, my love for human beings, and indeed humanity itself, does not equate to indulgence of systemic self-deception and grandiose elevation of our species as more significant than others. In fact, it is our complexity when combined with our fear-based willingness to act in rote, unconscious, pretentious or prescribed ways, that is our most dangerous pitfall. Decisions rationalized from dogma, doctrine, theory, peer pressure, group-think, “common sense” or “conventional wisdom” instead of actual facts tempered by moral truth, seldom produce realistic, truly effective, or pro-survival strategies.
Thus it our tendency to defend, justify, explain, or hide an emotion, or reflexively jerked reaction, serves to shut down our true intelligence and thus animal cunning remains in control. Defensive strategies based in the need to mask or masquerade (different) an emotional response, usually fear (or one of the many variants – as we will soon note), abound in every type of how-to or self-help or get-ahead workshop or literature that abound. A great many religions place, as the underpinning of their doctrine, the types of emotions to avoid or to cultivate as if they were as easy as turning on switches. And indeed, in my anger-filled pronouncement about most religions, is that they then manipulate the “hell” into people’s emotions to get their obedience, subservience, and their tithing. Halleluiah for them, God help the rest of us.
Differentiating Erratic Behavior and Manipulating Emotions from Mature Expression of them.
Fear of the wild, reckless, or hostile actions that people grant themselves with impunity in the face of high emotion, has made fear of emotion itself, mistakenly, one in the same. Yes, the mob rule or the explosive anger or paralyzing fear are permissions people grant themselves to be unaccountable to anything but their immediate impulse. Yet what we are talking about here is not about emotion, but the action one indulges in using emotion as the excuse to do so. This type of knee-jerk, reactive, and narcissistic disgorging of energy is immature and holds no power in it simply because one allows whatever has been previously repressed to come out in full force.Be clear, it is a lack of awareness about the root cause of an emotional state and where it’s neural history has originated providing a rationale for extreme, dangerous, violent, or paralyzing behavior that is the issue here. Becoming aware of one’s motivation is the key to engage the emotional energy and channel it with deliberate psychological maturity and personal integrity. Anything less than this is still rationalization and denial.
In some cases, emotional outburst is the only logical thing to do. Running away from a predator or fighting back when someone is trying to inflict harm upon you are emotionally motivated behaviors which are 100% pro-survival! So, caging emotion in the confinement of an “ism” like emotionalism, is to damn an entire aspect of human nature and place it in conflict with another part of human beingness: the mind.
When a mind fears that authentic expression of emotion, it is because it fears appearing out-of-control. Which upon closer and deeper inspection we are speaking about vulnerability. So it the fear that one cannot cope with being vulnerable and whatever inner commentary or condemnation that accompanies actual consequences which puts the mind on high alert that genuine show of emotions is the same as being vulnerable to attack. Hence, emotional authenticity can come under attack equally from within as from without; making the need for preplanned mental fortifications like: identities, pat phrases, subject matter competence, self proclaimed “common sense” social survival tactics that are preloaded into memory and crowd out virtually anything unpredictable or unrecognized. The mind does not like spontaneity, the emotions thrive on it. Rather than frame the approach, as the last five thousand years of written philosophy has tended to do, equating man’s passions with his baser instincts and thus something that should be denied, controlled, or vilified; we must turn our attention to ceasing the war between the intellect and emotions. Instead we must get them into a working in partnership, or peril in the wake of our own, often incredibly reasonable but stupid, rationalizations. It is not control over emotions we should seek, but cooperation with them. From there learning how to cope and expression them authentically will be for better for us strategically. The only way this can occur is if we employ our minds to understand the intelligence of the emotional messages rather than condemn them as distractions. Also, language to clarify emotions in a more fundamental way need be defined.
To begin to do this, we must first clarify the muddy and confusing use of the word feeling.
Clarifying Feeling from Emotion
References and similar viewpoints
The business of the poet is not to find new emotions, but to use the ordinary ones and, in working them up into poetry, to express feelings which are not in actual emotions at all. T. S. Eliot