Isn't it amazing how difficult it is to be AWARE of our own choices?
EMOTIONS; DO WE UNDERSTAND THEM?
Terry dude I enjoy your threads! having said that might I suggest g-o-l-f ? At this point you have really out thunk me (which is way easy to do btw) I'm kidding. So your pedantry ain't really a bore.K?
Actually I'm glad you post this. A friend of mine and I have been tossing around questions & trying to help each other out with our "thoughts". Similar to what you ask.
You either are in charge of your thinking or SOME BLIND PROGRAMMER has set the values for you!
What do YOU know and how do you distinguish it from what you FEEL?
Do you own your emotions are do you blindly follow them as private gurus?
I agree I'm in charge of my emotions (own them) although they have been known to frequently take over and kick me in the butt.As the little gurus they are can sometimes do.
So I know that perhaps I should go "think" about all this. say in the woods near a stream all alone and "distinguish" my Feelings from my Thoughts.
Thanks for the thread my friend will get an IM now new read.
Edited to add can I just continue to use "may the force be with you"?
My God man, the questions! You are like mega-Minimus or something..
Lets just simplify and look at the basics. If emotions are an effect of mind, then the question is do we understand mind. If mind itself is an effect of other things, it's a matter of whether we understand those causes. But then the question is what are you going to analyze those causes of mind with, the mind itself? If "we" make our own choices in our thinking and emotions, and we are the sum total of our choices, then has there been anybody that made any choices, or can you even call these movements choices? (I'm pretty sure Dyer understands this, but this is not something the general public would get into) Is there any actual choice remaining in the picture, or is there something other than mind involved? If we do not address this we are just going around in circles. Of course in general it is just a question of whether we understand ourselves. Self-esteem was mentioned, well who or what is that self that we have high or low self-esteem for, if we have any at all? And to go back to the question of self, who has it? How can you reasonably esteem something if you don't know that thing very well?
What you are raising is THE most important part of the discussion. It requires a separate topic header.
I've exhausted my Topic allowance for now and can't start a new Thread.
My basic answer is this. What you are; what you are born with +what you do with those raw materials constitute your NATURE. You cannot escape your nature.
The nature of man is that he is a creature of VOLITIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS. Reason does not work automatically; thinking is not a mechanical process. The connections of LOGIC are not made by __instinct__.
The function of your stomach, lungs or heart is automatic; the function of your mind is not.
In any hour of your life you are only free TO THINK or to EVADE.
How you think is by your nature. What you avoid is by your nature.
You are NOT FREE to escape from your nature, from the fact that REASON is your means of survival--so that for you, who are a human being, the question "to be or not to be" is the question "to think or not to think" they are the same question.
A being of volitional consciousness who cannot escape his own nature has no automatic behavior. HE NEEDS A CODE OF VALUES to guide his actions.
(See my thread: MORALITY: what is it really?)
I do not believe that you can choose to negate emotions. For women specifically, and even men on certain levels, we have hormonal changes that at least once a month manifest themselves. If hormones can cause these changes once a month, why can't this be the case at other times? Your emotional responses are not always about choice or thought.
People that deal with mild to severe depression(s) are having serotonin issues, in other words your body is producing the organic compound but for whatever reason is not regulating it properly. This isn't a choice in any sense of the word. You can think about it all day and night, but your body at times does not actually give you a choice. You can choose to take anti-depressants which are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and can calm your emotional roller-coaster down, but you can't just think about your serotonin levels regulating and it happens.
To ignore that some people's bodies are the cause of their negative emotions is dangerous. I'm happy for all of you with stellar mental health that apparently can dismiss negative emotions on a whim, but some people have an internal chemical fight going on inside them, that should be acknowledged and empathized with.
Terry, thank you for producing such a brilliant thread. I would like to apply some of your comments to JWs (and other cults) who use emotions to control their members.
The mind is the cause and the emotions are the effect when Conscious programming has set our values.
In JW land this is called a "bible-trained conscience".
Don't let anyone tell you JWs don't manipulate emotions. Instead of the hype and "holy-rollin", JWs are presented with the fix-all solution: Paradise.
This conscious programming works first on your mind, but the underlying motivation is a release from all negative emotions we experience. What is first required is "proof" for your mind that your belief is rational.
Once this acceptance is complete, all a JW needs is the repetitive drone of the meetings and conventions, and exclusive association of fellow JWs to maintain this emotional coma.
What are the symptoms of an evaded reality? What are the symptoms of a man divided against himself?
2.Immobilization by depression
3.Disassociation from reality (wishful thinking) (belief in magic)(mystical belief)
- Fear = fear of not surviving Armeddegon, or fear of loved ones not surviving.
- Depression = JWs paint the world "black" by awfulizing current conditions and their non-JW past. But it's ok, paradise is coming. Also, many JWs postpone their dreams/ambitions until Paradise, they are emotionally immobilized.
- Disassociation from reality = Say no more! Everything will be fixed in Paradise, no evil is so bad it can't be rectified.
- Low self-esteem = "sheeplike" attitudes are praised because JWs need submission: 'Stuff your emotions! Your emotions are not valid.'
Think about this, extreme emotional expression of any sort is not socially acceptable among JWs because they need to be emotionally asleep to maintain their faith.
And to Stinky:
I do feel with you on your point. However, by realizing that You are not your emotions can greatly help your emotional battles. I know, I fight that all the time.
Terry's statements still apply to the mentally/emotionally ill. It is your perception of your feelings that counts.
Are you assuming that everybody's born with exactly the same "tabula rasa" and it's only later experiences that shape our emotions, whether they are volitional or not?
emotions. my understanding.
when you are born, they work, after that it's anyones guess.
Stinky, you are quite correct, as I have physical issues that I have to deal with as well. As far as the chems go, the brain guys also point to dopamine and the physical brain being able to maintain a certain level of it as the diff between depression and "normalcy". The concept that your brain is another organ in your body like your pancreas, your liver, your spleen seems to escape a lot of people.
Terry, your threads are always cool. There has been a raging debate in science for about 200 years now as to whether the human brain is smart enough to understand itself. You sound like a participant in that debate. I don't know if you've heard of Cognitive Therapy or not, but it is fast becomming accepted in psych circles as the real thing. The numbers are showing that CT is as effective as traditional therapy and drugs alone, with almost half the rate of remission. The basic premise of traditional psych is that people have dark, gloomy thoughts because they are depressed, while CT feels that we are depressed because we have dark and gloomy thoughts. To realize and control our dark and gloomy thoughts and we control our depression. An interesting case that was the basis of the book "The Terminal Man" dealt with an individual who would have sudden and uncontrolable outbursts of anger. As kind of a last ditch effort, the docs placed electrodes in the guys brain so that when he felt an episode comming on, he could push a button which would send an electrical shock to an area of the brain and he would reduce, if not avoid, the oncomming outburst. Funny thing happened along the way. The docs, as an experiment, took the batteries out of the shocker device but didn't tell the guy, with the results being the same.
Your discussion of emotions is excellent, but I have a question. If emotions are the result of prewired "survival" instincts, why has the highest form of human endeavor always been the denial of self?