Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Emotion = Weakness?

Something I've been thinking about for a bit, but really hit home today so, I thought I'd ask the Internet - the web-denizens who may respond in a civil manner on my "safe space" here.  Well, if anybody actually read this...

I'm wondering at what point in Western or World society that "emotion" became "weakness?"  

I've been thinking about a personal choice (well, not wholly a choice) I've made in my life that I know is based a good part upon what appeals to me emotionally, rather than straight robo-logic.  I know that if I were to talk about it at certain places, or even possibly talk about it in detail here, that I would be condemned for my "weakness" in chosing to favor something because I find it emotionally favorable, filling to emotional needs.  You know, because only logic counts for anything according to most of the world.

People might even say that because on one level, I emote and choose an emotional answer, that it means I'm *incapable* of logic and have brains made of pudding.

A part of me wonders if this "emotion = weakness" thing is the result of a patriarical society that's tradtionally viewed emotion as a "woman thing."  I know that having an "overage of emotion" and having a hard time controlling it out in the real world is what I know keenly as a "mental illness" thing. 

I feel like it's to the point where one cannot be honest about emotion - particularly about favoring something in the way of a worldview out of emotional need. 

In other news, I'm writing up a little story that's different than the rest of what I have here - a little break, a delve into really *stupid* humor - something I may make into a comic at some point.


  1. I do think it's partly that overt emotions are coded female in our society. But I also blame the Enlightenment myth of objectivity, the idea that Truth and Knowledge can be obtained through rational, disinterested scientific investigation. If you have this idea that associates objectivity with truth and goodness, then of course emotion winds up being a bad thing, because what's more subjective than emotion?

    (And, even knowing this, I do it to myself: "What is wrong with you? Quit having emotions, dammit, you're an adult!")

  2. I got into something of a mini-argument (yesterday?) on a site-I-should-not-be-on over something like this, namely, I related a time I saw a testimony of someone going from one worldview to another based upon the emotion felt after a personal tragedy. Someone shot back that while they didn't find my story completely unbeliveable (because people make stupid decisions based on emotion), he found it a little incredulous because he found it hard to believe that anyone switching from his worldview to another *really, for truly, truly* EVER had his worldview in the first place. (I offered a link, but recinded the offer on the grounds that I feared that the person I was talking about was going to get harrassed).

    Because, you know, superior robo-logic. How can someone go with an emotional leaning after attaining a certain level of superior robo-logic?

    I pointed out that he reminded me of another group of people on the opposite end of the spectrum.

    He got *angry.* (Amazing how anger is somehow the "acceptable emotion" among so many who pride themselves on being "logical" ).

    I mean, I sometimes feel like a complete alien in this world because I actually embrace that humans are emotional creatures. It doesn't seem to be a problem in some contexts (talking about how you favor a piece of music because of the way it makes you *feel* seems to be fine and dandy), but admitting that I favor some things for emotional reasons seems to be a death-knell to any respect I hope to get in a lot of places and people don't seem to understand the idea of *balancing* logic and emotion, that it's possible for an admitted "emotional" person to actually make the occasional decision that's sane and not hysterical - or most decisions.

    I came to reply here and I thought about something that made me feel better about the whole mess: Look up June 2011. I had an experience (that I blogged about the night it happened) that I feel is one of the defining moments of my life. I learned a lot about myself out of having a harrowing experience in which I did something brave. What I did was in part because of a pure-animal rush of emotions during an adrenaline spike and I did what I *felt* to be the right thing. You try standing between a busy highway and a thousand pounds of panicked, stampeding quadraped in the freaking dark and tell me you don't feel a rush of many emotions! Honestly, if I had "logiced it out" I would have decided "No, survival of the fittest - a mere horse's life is not worth mine, I'll go back to the car where it's safe and if the horse ends up like its friend, it's it's own stupid-animal fault." Instead, I thought "I'll never forgive myself if I stand around and let this horse die or some stupid innatentive driver die." I risked my *life* based on an emotional response and I think it's one of the best things I ever did. And no, in everday life, I'm *not* prone to the illogic of reckless behavior. Amazing that - I acted on emotion yet I'm capable of logical, everyday life!