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Monday, July 12, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 42 – Emotions

Hey guys! Sorry for the little delay between posts but I have been way busier than I thought I would be with work and my other endeavors. I am not yet ready to reveal the big news about my future plans but you will know soon and it could affect you, yes you, tremendously if you want it to. So I hope you will partake in my future but you probably have no idea what I am talking about so for now I will just get back to this note.

This is one note that I have wanted to write for a while and only recently remembered it after seeing Toy Story 3. These things that we have called emotions are what makes us “feel” and in a sense make us humans. They are in a way what drives us and motivate us down our paths and can have lasting impacts on our lives, both good and bad. These emotions are derived from our senses (hearing, touching, seeing, etc) just like the ways we increase our knowledge except emotions can work quite differently from knowledge. You can in sense progressively build up emotions like you do with your knowledge by learning more. With emotions you “feel” more. Through experience you end up feeling more and newer emotions that you then learn from and realize their effects on your life. A death of a loved one can show you the extremes of sadness and if you get a new promotion or get married you may experience a heightened sense of happiness you never had before.

With realizing these new and stronger emotions brings up the issue of self control. Strong emotions can be very hard to control. Probably two of the strongest ones are well known which are love and hate. I feel like it is very hard to experience these feelings “absolutely” as I think that true love or true hate result in building up these experiences of lesser emotions like having crushes or being annoyed with others. Love, as well all know, is in a sense the highest amount of admiration one can have for another being. You are willing to sacrifice and devote your own resources for the betterment of others and wish to experience life with them. Hate is the polar opposite. You would wish them out of your lives and possibly pain and punishment upon them depending how strong that feeling of hate is. Both emotions are so strong that they pretty much demand you take action. These emotions make us want to either propose to a loved one or want to kill another. It is amazing how much these emotions actually drive us through our lives. If you love someone you will be willing to do almost anything for them and hate motivates us to do anything to get away or exact revenge on someone. Life will almost inevitably place restrictions on us from actually completing such actions so self control is paramount in getting along and living a successful life in today’s society. Even though you might “hate” your boss, you still must put up with them in order to get that promotion you’ve always dreamed of.

Our emotions derived from the stimuli of our world are what make us who we are. In combination with our personalities, they help create the different feeling we get in certain situations. Your personality plays a major role in the emotions you feel. If you are a person who is shy, then you will develop the nervous “butterflies in your stomach” feeling compared to a charismatic individual who loves the limelight. Another example could be in a testing situation in your school. If you are a worrywart, then you will most likely be nervous regardless of how much studying you did prior to the test. If you continue down this path you might start pondering how your grade on the test will impact your future and then it sort of becomes a vicious cycle where you start to develop a sense of fear. This all escalates inside of you and it is sometimes hard to control. Here is where self control comes in again. Not only does self control apply to strong emotions such as love or hate but also to the multitude of other feeling we have in our day to day lives. It can be difficult to suppress the butterflies in your belly but by exhibiting some sense of control you then gain the ability to manage the way you feel. If you can accomplish such a feat you can then in a way feel the way you want to feel or at the very least, not feel the way you don’t want to feel. While you may not always be able to feel happy after you do badly on a test, it is much easier to control the anger or sadness that usually accompanies it. By doing so, you will end up living a happier life. On the test, if you can diminish the feeling of fear and calm down, you will probably do better on the test. It is very similar to the power of the mind podcast I recently did. The more you think you are going to do something, the more likely it will actually happen. If you can control your emotions and thoughts you can then use them to motivate yourself to do well. The same applies to negative emotions and thoughts however, like if you think about bad things the more likely you will get in a slump and are more likely to screw up.

Emotions are a monumental part of who we are. They let us feel alive but that isn’t always a good thing. While I do feel emotions are such an important part in our lives, I do want to recognize one quote that some of you may have heard before. It goes something like “I would rather hurt than feel nothing at all.” I want you guys to think about this and see if you agree with statement. I am leaning toward the side of never feeling at all. Pain can be a huge motivator to do certain actions but I feel like those resulting behaviors aren’t very productive. Just think of Star Wars where Anakin goes to the dark side because he doesn’t have control over his emotions. He lets hate and anger get the better of him and they result in him becoming Darth Vader, one of the greatest evils man has ever known. : P You may remember one of the first posts I did about the brain vs. the heart. Our heart is the organ most related to creating these emotions. Without it we would probably end up in a Terminator-like society where everything is driven by efficiency and no emotions are taken into consideration. I feel like this lifestyle isn’t truly “living” but I feel like it is better than the alternative, which is just feeling constant pain, wouldn’t be worth it because there would be no enjoyment and cherishment of the life you live. Random acts of kindness or goodwill would be thrown out the window because everyone is preoccupied with their own pain to feel any compassion towards others. I feel like balance is necessary in emotions. Much like the appreciation note I wrote about recognizing and being grateful for what you have only when you lose it, emotions work somewhat in the same way. You learn to savor the happiness once you become sad and then try to seek out more and even want to share the wealth and make others happy as well. Emotions are contagious. You will most likely want to be around a happy person because they will in turn rub off their happiness on you and lift your spirits. The same applies for sadness as being around someone depressed will most likely bum you out as well. Happiness is a great code to live by because it is where you are at your prime. You are more efficient and productive and by spreading such emotions, you play a vital role in improving the world’s morale and what they are capable of as well. So spread the wealth and make someone smile!


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