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emotion: humanities friend of foe?

 
 
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2011 06:35 pm
in many ways, emotions have been friends of humanity. but occasionally, it must give way to logic. what do you think?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,943 • Replies: 23
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2011 09:49 pm
@hamilton,
Since Socrates we have exaggerated the difference between emotion and logic. There is probably more interaction between them--as there is between conscious and subconscious awareness--than we normally acknowledge. Emotions have to do primarily with drives and motivation. I don't think we have--except in the most academic of situations--unmotivated rationality. And logic is more about rules-for-thought than it is about orderly emotions.
fresco
 
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Reply Mon 4 Jul, 2011 12:06 am
@hamilton,
"Intelligence" has been defined by some psychologists as "the capacity to delay a response". The operation of what we call "logic" is a linguistic by-product of such a delay (It is a linguistic version of mathematical set theory). Within that delay window we able to contemplate truth functional connectives (such as IF-THEN). Such contemplation can serve both to dissipate "emotion" but also to exacerbate and sanitise it ( as in providing the "rationality" for aggression). And since logicality is predicated on a dubious naive realism (the existence of "things with properties") , the philosophical conclusion I draw is that "logicality" is more of "foe" than a "friend".
hamilton
 
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Reply Mon 4 Jul, 2011 08:30 am
@JLNobody,
i dunno...
starwars, revenge of the syth keeps playing in my head...
Setanta
 
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Reply Mon 4 Jul, 2011 09:15 am
@hamilton,
I think you must not be aware that "humanity's" is the possessive for the word humanity, and that humanities is an area of academic pursuit.
hamilton
 
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Reply Mon 4 Jul, 2011 09:51 am
@Setanta,
ok. thank you setanta. i appreciate it. i would change it, but, i cant at this point.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
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Reply Mon 4 Jul, 2011 03:51 pm
@fresco,
I tend to agree. Since logic perstains to orderly or rule-ruled relations between A's and B's (and other symbols for static "types" of things, conditions and events), it rests upon a fundamental falsification of reality. Reality consists of continuously changing, or, as the Buddhists say, "empty" processes: there are no static beings; all is impermanent, changing or becoming (else).
vikorr
 
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Reply Mon 4 Jul, 2011 11:36 pm
@JLNobody,
Logic is no more friend or foe than emotion is. Logic can serve a useful purpose, just as emotion can - or as Fresco pointed out - logic can be used to 'rationalise' aggression.

Many emotions are triggered by the structural sequences in our brain - structures that we have ourselves put there. For example 'I am suspicious of his/her motives' (suspicion is a self implanted structure in our brain, that our brain uses to quickly interpret other acts), therefore I interpret his/her intentions in a less favourable when than if someone else did (or said) the exact same thing (you may see an insult where in another person you would see a constructive criticism for example)...that less favourable light can then trigger emotions.

As for 'logic' I remember a member on this forum, arguing very articulately that adults having consensual sex with just post pubescent girls was okay (despite everyone very articulately pointing out just how wrong it was). I mentioned that he has already justified this in his head, regardless of the evidence, and that it was likely he would eventually use the same process on toddlers. About 2 years later he started posting why it was okay to look at pictures of people having sex with toddlers...once again - very articulately.

The point being - logic, especially in the human realm when it relates to cause and effect on others is based on emotion itself (ie the effect it will have on another person - which is mostly emotional). Logic of course can actually have truly 'logical' results, but not when dealing with human interaction.

I don't see emotion or logic as being friend or foe - I see it both as expression of self (yes I know, but I use the word self here rather loosely to mean 'person') that may, once recognised and understood, serve a useful, constructive, and educational purpose in life. The end result - good or bad depends on understanding and use.
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fresco
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 12:56 am
@hamilton,
I note that we have been discussing the status of "logic" as opposed to that of "emotion". You might be interested in referring to the esoteric work of Gurdjieff (possibly Sufi origin) in which "three minds" are advocated..."head, heart and guts"...which tend to work independently of one another but often "hijack" each other's function. The "enlightened" person has achieved harmony between such "minds" thereby reducing conflict between emotion and logic.
vikorr
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 03:18 am
@fresco,
Hi Fresco - I had actually wondered if anyone else had come to the same conclusion.

Personally, I think of 'head, heart, gut' purely as locations in my mind. You could also find mental links to other parts of the body. Those parts are found in contemporary language. I find that I can consciously manipulate the area of the mind I am accessing - resulting in different qualities of voice (by purely imagining a different part of my mind, rather than trying to feel a particular emotion - when I speak my voice can sound warm / deep / high / determined / straight up and down / imaginative etc.).

Complicating matters is that it is easily possible to access two different parts of your mind at the same time. 3 is most likely possible - but I can't say for certain (but once you know how, it's easy to focus in with a specific part of the mind)....of course, it would need some sort of electronic mind activity device to show whether or not I have this right (not that it matters, because it has 'real' end results)

Further complicating matters is how we move between different parts of our mind as we converse with other people. The movement between different parts is often subconsciously programmed, and effects how we react to different situations - we can reprogram that habitual movement to achieve a different result.

I have read a book on the brain that explained the brain is actually made up of multiple sub-organs that have very differing functions, which is why we are often in conflict with ourselves (logic belonging to the top frontal load, survivable to the back rear, emotions to the bit just above the back rear etc- don't ask me what their names were)

I first noticed this when I (for some reason I don't recall) 'cast'' my mind back as far to the rear and downwards as I could - basically imagine it a metre behind you and a metre down, and focus in on that imagined spot - and I noticed that I could not consciously 'think' while focusing on that spot. That lead to gradual experimentation of the years to the point where I found we can actually control the 'movement' of our mind, and the parts of our mind that we can access (this last bit being an obvious conclusion of the previous experiment)

And yes, as I was doing this (and probably other things) I found that conflict between the differing parts of my brain lessened - drastically I would say.
fresco
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 07:49 am
@vikorr,
Sounds interesting!

You might enjoy the introductory course given by The School of Practical Philosophy, with the proviso that the organization has been accused of "cult status".
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 09:45 am
Vikorr, really nice posts. Some zen meditators position their consciousness on a part of the body when they want to inhibit conscious thought. This is known as the "hara", a spot just below the navel. They don't just think "of it"; they push down on it with the diaphram, and, voila! thought stops. I use to do that until I concluded that stopping thought--while it felt good--was not the point of meditation.

Fresco, it occurs to me that passivists sometimes have to enlist logic to "rationalize" their passivity (if that term characterizes them).
alberto knox
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 10:20 am
@hamilton,
@hamilton
if emotions are humanities foes just because they over shadow reason then how about this. psychopaths cannot feel emotions. they must then have the best logic. but how is killing of people logical. emotions are the way for preservation of humanity and the reason we live to ask philosophical questions. it is an aid in making decisions but surely not the only factor nor the most important one.
JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 10:41 am
@alberto knox,
Alberto Knox, it seems that in our evolution thought is much later than emotion, that we survived for a long time before language and thought emerged. But perhaps I'm confounding "feeling" with "emotion." It's probably raw, physically experienced FEELING that dominated action before the develeopment of emotion. EMOTION is closely linked to language. Sadness, anger, love, envy, fear, etc. are conceptually--and that makes them culturally--defined experiences. When we observe them closely we see that they are organized manifestations of bodily sensations or feelings. Yet, as "emotions", we also see that they are equally grounded in thought. I'm sure some psychological anthropologist has addressed this--or laughed it off.
hamilton
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 11:12 am
@JLNobody,
have you seen zombieland?
rule number i dont remember: dont be a hero
usually, what inspires people in that movie to be "heroes" is emotion. in the end, because he thought that girl was hot, and he loved her, he did what a hero would, and saved her, when the sensible and logical thing to do would obviously been to run. he should have ran, and was lucky he had made it.
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AmbitiousGirl7
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 11:50 am
@hamilton,
I believe that emotions and logic often conflict one another, but we use them both at the same time. We as people often use our emotions to make decisions without thinking about them rationally or logically. People should think with their heads and not their hearts all the time.
hamilton
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 12:05 pm
@AmbitiousGirl7,
welcome to a2k!
the thing about thinking with your head and not our hearts is that without thinking with our hearts, we would not have made so many achievements in the world. many athletes attribute their success to some base emotion, be it love, hate, anger, or something else. also, look around at an art museum. art is considered the language of the heart, as it is based on the emotion we feel as we create it, or the emotion to do with the scene portrayed. i picture art created with the head as a bunch of squares. have you read the dune series? in them, the robot Erasmus attempts to create humanity in its self, painting, trying our food, and trying to figure out what makes a human unique from another. of course, it always fails. humanity is something that is only produced by its self. emotion is to be human. but emotion leads to bad choices, as well. murder, for example. but logic and emotion are both competing to save face with our each other. they depend on each other. logic is used when we are calm, but emotion is what gives us power.
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 09:45 pm
@alberto knox,
Quote:
psychopaths cannot feel emotions
Haven't seen a correction to this - psychopaths have a very diminished sense of empathy for others. They still feel emotions. Those emotions are different from us because of that lack of empathy.
vikorr
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 10:06 pm
@JLNobody,
Quote:
It's probably raw, physically experienced FEELING that dominated action before the develeopment of emotion. EMOTION is closely linked to language. Sadness, anger, love, envy, fear, etc. are conceptually--and that makes them culturally--defined experiences. When we observe them closely we see that they are organized manifestations of bodily sensations or feelings. Yet, as "emotions", we also see that they are equally grounded in thought.

Hi JL - this thing about language fascinates me. Using the apparent definitions of emotion and feeling that you have used - I don't quite agree with your conclusion on a couple of fronts :

- emotion can be exactly the same as feeling, except being named...or emotion can be, as you say, 'created' from the structures of language. Language structures themselves are complicated, because they are a structured association with a base concept. Language allows more intricate 'building' of a concept, but the base concept usually remains the same. What makes it more intricate is that we can attach other concepts, and other meanings to the language structure that we have built on top of the original concept.

-The emotion may then be triggered by language, but Feeling may flow from the emotion.

In other words, sometimes Feeling and Emotion are exactly the same (giving a name to it doesn't change it unless you believe it does change it), and Feeling may flow from emotion. At other times, emotion differs in a number of aspects to feeling.

Some of the reasons language fascinates me - the internal workings of our subconscious mind, and the structures and abilities of our mind, are often seen in the language we use. Hence when people say 'I have a gut feeling / listen to your heart / he hasn't got any balls / you're spinless' they are referring to both a part of our body and a character trait of our mind - and there is a reason we use these specific body parts to describe certain characteristics.

There are other ways of describing things that correspond directly to locations in our brain 'the depths of despair, the heights of passion, the forefront of new ideas, gone back to oblivion etc'.

Add this to our ability to access different parts of our minds and control 'movement' in our mind to produce results associated with specific feelings (but without actually experiencing those feelings) and it starts to become clearer.

Once you understand about accessing differing parts of your mind, it becomes clear why some people are described as 'well rounded individuals' or 'earthy' or 'off with the fairies' - it is a description of what parts of their minds they mostly access. The symbolism inherent in Russell Crowe's character in Gladiator reaching down and running his fingers through the dirt becomes clearer.

I dare say anyone who studies linguistics should find similar body part descriptions for similar corresponding behaviour, and similar experiential situations refered to in similar ways (back/forth/highs/lows etc) through all peoples and all languages.

In other words, language isn't just a structure in our mind, but is also representative of what already exists in our mind (prior to language) and represenative of the the connections to/and places in our mind where these things exist. So the passage goes both ways (probably from a similar cause to the passage between emotion and feelings going both ways)

Btw, that means we can use language to access our mind.

alberto knox
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 10:29 pm
@vikorr,
true psychopaths have diminished sense of empathy but feel emotions. My mistake.At the same time we can conclude that emotional unbalance too hinders correct decision making.rage,resentment works against and empathy,love works in favor of people who will be impacted by decision in general. So emotions cannot be bad. They are friends if we take them as a parameter to be taken care of.
 

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