Trapped by emotions
I just had a thought about emotions. Just listening to music of particular kind can completely change the polarity of my current perception of the world. It can be a shade of negative or it can be a shade of positive. Then I thought, what if I felt nothing? What if I could see the world without looking through the cloud of emotions?
But we don’t seem to be able to do it. We often believe we do things that are reasonable, that are logical, that are not based on emotions, but how often is this really the case? In majority of cases I think we’re actually guided by what we feel is right or what we like or love. In fact, we often base our reasoning directly on some sort of emotions. A good example may be common perceptions of what is moral and what is not.
What if we had no emotions? What if we were guided by reason and logic alone? How would our life be like? We would assess every situation we find ourselves in and act based upon our logic. We would in essence always do the right thing, always do what is most logical. Perhaps a world would be a better place for we would probably already, far far ago, come to the logical conclusion that war is not a way to grow, that alcohol, smoking, drugs, violence and many other self-destructive activities are simply not reasonable. We might be living in a sterilized, clean, peaceful and advanced society, perhaps more advanced than we are today, presuming that we set continuous advancement as a logical course of our evolution.
No, we would not be quite like Vulcans in Star Trek. Vulcans strive to be logical and to suppress emotions, but they do have them. In fact, their natural emotions are much higher and more intense than humans, which is why they developed a whole belief system based around suppression of emotions, so that they can keep themselves from lowly savage instincts that emotions often put them to.
Instead, a human without any emotions would probably be like a machine that we ourselves may soon be able to create, an android that is self-aware. Data from Star Trek is an excellent example here. Of course, then we wouldn’t be humans, if humans are defined as emotional beings.
And that brings us to an interesting intersection. Data in Star Trek constantly keeps striving to be more like humans, and as we are watching the series we can see various interesting points being revealed on the emotion – no-emotion relations that at some points makes us envy Data, the emotionless android, and at other points cherish the fact that we can feel.
And yet, even envy is an emotion.
In the end of any discussion about pros and cons of emotions perhaps it would be inevitable to conclude that it is both a blessing and a curse, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. I wonder how much of our culture is inspired by emotion? How many scientific discoveries? It seems that for every negative outcome of an emotion-inspired or affected activity there is a positive to be found.
Pity that we still have to deal with the curse. Between a positive and a negative the strive is and always should be towards the positive, the good. Therefore when faced with both a blessing and a curse we don’t just accept the curse, we try to ban it.
And how to do that?
Perhaps now, Vulcans have something to say about that. It is all about control or controlled suppression of certain emotions. It is about putting the logic and reason in us in place of an executive director of all of the rest that is in us – the ocean of emotion.
Controlled by emotion or controlled emotion. It’s a choice between being trapped and being free.
But it may be one of the toughest disciplines for us to master. And we all have our ways.