The End, Again

December 11th, 2016

We are looking at the end of another annual cycle with hopefully time for review and reflection.  A good theme for my last blog this year and a chance also for completion with a task.  It has been over a year past since I had a request to comment on emotions.  As a teacher I try to avoid talking about that subject, not because it is any more complicated, but because folks have strong beliefs that they are more than willing to defend.  I tend to think differently than most of my peers, and that is fine with me and them.  I don’t expect anyone to accept my views and I appreciate their courtesy in hearing me out, but with emotions, most folks are closed minded.  Growth is the process of overcoming the safety of familiar to discover potential.  Here is a very short overview of my thoughts on emotions; consider this your Holiday gift.

I interpret emotions as an awareness of energy flow through the body.  There is never a point in time in a living human being where there is not a flow of energy; normally a level of flow produced by a combination of elements with different responses to the increases and decreases of the level depending on its proximity to threshold.  There are at least two main categorizes in this conversation: requested energy and triggered energy.  When you perceive a value in the world and wish to act on that perception, either positive or negative, based on your cognitive evaluation the request flows energy to produce the demonstration.  A triggered flow is a reaction from your nervous system which is structured in two parts.  The somatic nervous system has to do with our senses; it takes in information from the world outside and acts on the world around us.  The autonomic nervous system is the one that produces the stimulated responses that many associate with emotional.  The “hot” responses are sympathetic or high expenditure of energy and the “minimal” responses are parasympathetic or conserving.  I like the theory put forth by George Mandler, Professor of Psychology of the University of California that this phenomenon is keyed by a discrepancy between one’s expectation and the actual evidence from the world—an interruption.  Whenever an expectation is interrupted, whenever an action cannot be brought to completion, whenever a plan is not quite brought to its end, or to its goal, this emotional arousal seems to occur.  Emotions are not something that people have, they are constituted of people’s states, values and arousals.

Again, we have our preferred labels for how we feel emotionally and we perceive the experience as singular; one emotion, mood or reaction.  I believe there is always a stack of emotions in the queue and your reactions vary by the content of the mix more than by a specific emotion.  Emotions are very important and mark our relationship with the energy that produces life.  Joy to you and yours for the Holiday.

Chriss

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