We often marvel at our set of reasoning skills. And we are proud of how well we have assessed the physical world. We believe we direct our deeds with facts and common sense. Along with what we judge as the best course of action at any given time. Yet we have a range of feelings as well. But we may not see how much our emotions influence our decisions. Like how being sad affects what we eat. Or how our team scoring affects our willingness to buy a round of drinks. How much our considering available school systems affects our choice of houses to purchase. Or how likely we are to select a lawyer, based on their genetic heritage.
We are constantly subject to our own emotional urges to satisfy our wants and our needs. Along with our hopes and our goals. Which means our thinking is self-oriented. Living with others requires we go beyond that. But doing so also gives us many advantages. In addition, our common biology ties us together. This human bond means we need other people as much as they need us. So we must understand what they need from us; if we expect any cooperation from them toward meeting our needs. Or any reciprocation from them if we aid their call. If this understanding can be reached it will help us learn to abide each other, in peace. Which is a path to maintaining a healthy and well functioning society. Plus improves everyone’s chances at getting their wants and needs met.
Normally we work out our plans and goals in a reasoned, premeditated way. Using some system, pattern or design; within a defined timeline. However our feelings and passions are often expressed more spontaneously. Usually without a lot of prior thought. Yet emotion does not live in the same place as reason. And so has none of reasons limits. It is not rational, therefore logic has no meaning or importance to our emotions. Our feelings are blind to any data or facts. As a rote recital of information won’t touch how an underlying sensation feels. Thus intellectual responses can’t satisfy intense emotions or deeply wounded feelings. When emotions like these occur, they demand expression. Since keeping them bottled up is an unhealthy thing to do.
There are many other kinds of emotional pressure. But a notable one is the desire to save face. To not be publicly embarrassed or disgraced. Nor allow us or our group to be shamed, or proven wrong, in any way. No matter what it takes to maintain that facade. To a point where we are willing to lie, slander, use legal harassment or force; to break or bury any source that directs the public eye towards the truth. It matches the pressure to be loyal to our group and vilify anyone who is not like us. Group identity and cohesion are the currencies that hold sway today. Each group has an emotional perspective they work from. And accumulated energy from their unity and common purpose.
Our society is in the grip of competing emotional perspectives right now. In this competition, data, facts, reason and reasoning are being left behind. For that’s not what we value, just now. How we feel about an issue has become more important than the truth of the issue. Or even the issue itself. It is now fashionable to label something, or someone, we don’t like as ‘evil’. To class it or them as an abomination. In an effort to discredit or destroy an idea, a policy, a business, or a group of people. Because when emotions are inflamed we no longer use judgement or reason. We act from the gut level, which triggers our fight or flight response. Then we are ready for combat; not cooperation.
Once we decide our way is the only way, the just and right way; we lose the opportunity to see things any other way. Evaluating other points of view become difficult, at best. They also appear to be a waste of our time and so not worth the effort to consider them. This stance may be justified; if our original assessment is correct. Although even if it is, trying to force others to accept or acknowledge it can be counterproductive. If there is any flaw in our perception, plan or presentation; we may well drive away those we hope to persuade. In either case, our emotional state and emotional environment may affect our perceptions or our behavior.
In turn, that may influence our audience in unintended ways. Which could happen without our knowledge. This is something we should want to avoid. Because while everyone can’t be right about every subject; almost everyone knows something about some subject. In our society, we can’t tell who knows what; or how what is known all fits together. So when we reject one another, out of hand; we make our own lives harder for ourselves. If we try to hear each other, without our preset emotional biases; we have a chance to flourish. For then we can fill gaps in our collective understanding. To use for our mutual benefit.
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J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief,
Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc