March 24, 2003

Dangerous Emotions

Joi Ito's Web: Christiaan on mutual respect and the Arab world
I am pretty sure most people in the Arab world have not been sensitized to signal and deal with such dangerous emotions -- in many cases rather the opposite.
Emotions are not dangerous. Compression is. Compression of emotion that leads to harmful action is dangerous. But emotions are not; not rage, not fear, not grief, not joy. All these emotions need love by those who hold them and tolerance by people outside of them.

It's our basic misunderstanding that rage in the middle east is dangerous that is partly fueling this whole war. We're trying to attack something that is already acting out from feeling attacked.

We - everyone - need to distinguish physically expressed rage from violence. They are not the same thing. When we judge they are and react accordingly, it leads to behaviour that is ultimately destructive to everyone.

(Not to slam Christiaan's post too thoroughly; he has good intent. He recognizes that this part of his thinking is "primitive", which in his thinking probably means he wants to understand it more. But he's caught in that same ugly devolving belief pattern that the way to deal with emotions is to reason through them, and that emotions that resist that are "dangerous".)

Posted by Curt at March 24, 2003 01:49 PM


I think what is so important to emphasize here is that in trying to "reason" with emotion, there is an implicit judgement against them, as if you are trying to "reason" with a child. There is an implied feeling of looking down upon them.

The problem with that, even if you don't find that disturbing that you are judging against a part of yourself, is that you cannot understand something which you do not accept first. Understanding only comes from compasion and/or love. If judgements are held against these emotions, one cannot find understandings about them because the mind is not open to giving them any credit and only wishes to conveniently dismiss them off as soon as possible so that one can continue, "unbothered" by these feelings.

The other thing to distinguish here is that "reason," "understanding," and "rationalization" are all very different in feeling and to the degree that they judge against what one is feeling. Rationalization is trying to find merit and acceptability in something judged to be neither, reasoning is trying to find logic in something that is not intended to be logical, and understanding is trying to empathize. The key one here, surprise surprise, is understanding.

You cannot understand something which you do not accept. You cannot accept something that you judge against. Your emotions will only make "ssnse" to you when you stop judging them and start having compassion for where they come from... which means that you have to trust that emotions are not trying to hrut you and that all of you, including your emotions, has good intent and that, as Curt says, compression of emotion is the problem, not the emotion itself.

Posted by: Tamara at March 24, 2003 04:40 PM

u suk

Posted by: at August 20, 2003 10:34 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?