Volume 2, Issue 41
Such as when you are unhappy, anxious, scared, feeling guilty, mad at yourself, ashamed, bored, depressed, or not enjoying simply being alive and who you are? Measured against the alternative, just being alive is an amazing opportunity one must logically be grateful for, except perhaps during rare cases such as physical torture.
Nor is the Vulcan alternative really desirable. We do not espouse the strategy of killing off all emotions. Emotions are part of what makes life life. Being a robot and repressing all emotion not only shrinks life it also cuts one off from valuable information that helps optimize actions. Without an operating emotional center one becomes cut off from sensing and deeply grokking the emotions of others. Observer and Flow states become impossible or less likely with a goodly part of the sensorium (psyche, experiential panoply) edited out.
The word “control” has negative connotations, as in “mind control”, which raises specters of brainwashing, hidden persuaders, subliminal advertising, Nazism and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Yet we admire people who exhibit cool self-control when the average person would either fly off the handle, blush, show fear, or surrender to intimidation, so in that sense “control” is not always such a bad thing. In other words, as with most of life, there is always a balance point, a grey scale, where some amount of a thing is “good” (pragmatically valuable), and then too much of it is “bad” (counterproductive). Here we are speaking of being able to mediate, to a degree, the emotions we feel so as to make the whole of us more happy, creative, effective, and successful in the moment. And more likely to be in Observer or Flow.
A general “solution” to the types of negative emotions listed in the first paragraph above relies upon a better understanding of the causes and the phenomena themselves. If we can recall that the brain contains parts such as the limbic system, which can assert and draw energy to themselves, causing chemicals to flood our bodies during moments of unwanted emotion, this realization has the effect of giving us some degree of a more detached perspective. We may then become less stuck, less trapped in and overwhelmed by those feelings.
Many negative emotions are the result of one’s own ego. My Acceleritis theory is that the ego (software in the brain, built from proteins after birth, which is sort of one’s own built-in press agent, politicking with the outside world for a better deal) is made more powerful relative to the rest of our sense of self, by information overload — itself the result of visible language invented only about 300 generations ago, a relative eyeblink in evolutionary time. This is my putative explanation for the excessive competitiveness (e.g. continuous intraspecies war going on somewhere on Earth at all times) that has characterized us as a species since the dawn of written language.
When I feel negative emotions, I go after answering the question: what do I want so badly that I either fear I will not get or am angry that I have not gotten? Then I look inside to see why that thing is so darned important to me emotionally and whether having it is worth these tormented feelings. Typically (now after decades of such practice) I am able to rise above the attachment and negative emotion fairly quickly. What I value (Flow state) is something I would rather have than those other attachments, which when inspected are self-evidently ignoble motivations like wanting praise.
What is life after all? In my view (my Theory of the Conscious Universe) each of us is a microcosmic mask of the One Intelligence, which is all that truly exists. In Flow, one can actually contact that Original Self and feel fully one with it, in which perspective all annoying matters dissipate instantly with no effort whatsoever. One can be happy simply being Bill Harvey or whatever your name happens to be this time round. It’s more than enough just to be alive. This is what I intuit is the original meaning and intent of the Jewish toast “L’Chaim” (“To Life”).
Hoping these thoughts are useful in making your life more continuously blissful,