Emotions

I woke up this morning, 11 hours of sleep, groggy and angry at the world for both oversleeping and not feeling rested.

As I kept pouring coffee down my throat, flipped through blog posts and FB statuses, one thing I’ve learned kept knocking around inside my skull.

I can trace it back to last night’s indulgence into skepticism and refreshing my mind with logical fallacies. The words “skepticism,” “truth,” and “logic” kept bouncing around in my cranium until I felt sick. Like something wasn’t right about this constant inundation to pursue these things like nothing else matters.

What in the blazes was it?

Emotions.

This small, almond shaped part of our brain called the amygdala which feeds the rest of our body if gone unchecked. Too many times have I witnessed skeptics, thinkers, and the like ignore emotions as “illogical” (oh, Spock…) and pay it no conscious mind, despite the fact that doing so allows it to unconsciously control the entire body, including mental functions such as where to store memory.

What I am most tormented by is how far science has gone in researching how to regulate this destructive, illogical little but in our brain: not far. Well, to be specific: we have been able to reproduce stressful responses easily while happiness doesn’t seem so black and white. Stick a monkey with a prod: pulse sky rockets, blood pressure rises, muscles tighten… all the repercussions of the negative emotions. Give the monkey a banana? Still stressed cause you prodded it.

My mind spins with this in a mess of jumbled words and thoughts. My only hope: we can better research this thing that controls us so, rather than ignore it.

Help me out here with some thoughts?

On another pot of coffee.

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7 thoughts on “Emotions

  1. There are two things here that stand out to me:
    1 – Happiness is not a simple chemical release in the brain
    2 – Emotions do not control us. Certainly they do feed into decision making processes but that does not control us unless we give in to such inputs.

    The logic that you think gives over control to emotions is the one thing that counterbalances them. Ignoring emotions is dangerous. They are one of the few ways that your subconscious mind has to tell your conscious mind that something is wrong or right or dangerous or good. Your subconscious mind does not deliberate with you much on matters of the physical world – it knows what is good and bad historically and tells you to be afraid or feel love or compassion.

    The only way to let emotions control us is to abondon our conscious input to decision making – logic and reason.

    • With 2., it doesn’t necessarily, but your last is key: “unless we…” Emotions can be a very strong thing, and many are not even aware of their reign.

      1. has me wondering: what is it, then?

      The last sentence doesn’t sit well with me. Can’t put my finger on the cause yet…

      • Consider a group of people all huddled together. When is the group happy? Let’s not think of them as a group but rather an entity. When is it happy? What makes it happy? What single magical thing makes it happy?

        Happy has no definition other than happy = ‘not unhappy’ so what does it mean to be not unhappy? There are many influences with many scales… and no certain way to judge what should be the case given the subjective nature of what makes us unhappy.

        Is happiness the input of something that brings joy? Is it the lack of things that bring pain? Is it a combination? Is it merely a description of a state where pleasure inputs outweight pain inputs by some ratio?

        This begs the question of whether it is noble to seek a state of happiness or not. Is being happy a virtue? Are serial killers happy when they kill?

      • I was seeing this through more of a neurophysical sense. So although all of those are good questions, happiness does seem to be a chemical that causes change.

        But…. That’s perhaps another post for another day.

        I see your questions., and the need for them… But I think our basis of understanding or defining “happiness” is different.

        My assumed definition of happiness is lessened stress. The lesser/manageable the better. Mainly, because we can test and see it. Stress destroys, while no stress rebuilds. Right on down to our telomeres.

        My main concern was not in what happiness is, as I’ve found a definition that suits me, but in studying its causes more efficiently.

        See, I can agree with not knowing what makes us unhappy, but as all things…. I see it through my materialistic epistemology. Make sense?

  2. Trouble is, today’s science focuses more on controlling and manipulating emotions, rather than identifying their purposes and diffusing troubled emotions in natural ways. It’s like when you work a computer too hard, sometimes it will overheat and things won’t function as they should until you give it a chance to sort through all that has been input. Happiness is when an input process has completed successfully!

    • Huh, I like that! It has some rings of truth to it.

      My only issue is that oftentimes one can not just let the kind sort through. Sometimes, it needs help lest it fall into rumination, which leads to a deadly cycle of negative emotions.

      Bit yes, I agree with the former. Psychology is a new science, relatively. It has a lot of growing up and learning to do. πŸ™‚

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